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Understanding Taqiyya

Understanding Taqiyya - Islamic
Principle of Lying for the Sake of Allah

by Warner MacKenzie

30 April, 2007

Lying and cheating in the Arab world is
not really a moral matter but a method of safeguarding honor and
status, avoiding shame, and at all times exploiting possibilities,
for those with the wits for it, deftly and expeditiously to convert
shame into honor on their own account and vice versa for their
opponents. If honor so demands, lies and cheating may become
absolute imperatives.”
[David Pryce-Jones, “The Closed
Circle” An interpretation of the Arabs, p4]

“No dishonor attaches to such primary transactions as
selling short weight, deceiving anyone about quality, quantity or
kind of goods, cheating at gambling, and bearing false witness. The
doer of these things is merely quicker off the mark than the next
fellow; owing him nothing, he is not to be blamed for taking what he can.”
[David Pryce-Jones, “The Closed Circle”, p38]

The word "Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing, precaution,
guarding.” It is employed in disguising one's beliefs, intentions,
convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions or strategies. In practical
terms it is manifested as dissimulation, lying, deceiving, vexing
and confounding with the intention of deflecting attention, foiling
or pre-emptive blocking. It is currently employed in fending off and
neutralising any criticism of Islam or Muslims.

Falsehoods told to prevent the denigration of Islam, to protect
oneself, or to promote the cause of Islam are sanctioned in the
Qur'an and Sunna, including lying under oath in testimony before a
court, deceiving by making distorted statements to the media such as
the claim that Islam is a “religion of peace”. A Muslim is even
permitted to deny or denounce his faith if, in so doing, he protects
or furthers the interests of Islam, so long as he remains faithful
to Islam in his heart. (See endnotes)

Like many Islamic practices, taqiyya was formed within the
context of the culture of Arab tribalism, expansionary warfare,
Bedouin raiding and inter-tribal conflict. Taqiyya has been used by
Muslims since the 7th century to confuse, confound and divide 'the

A favoured tactic was ‘deceptive triangulation’; used to persuade
the enemy that preparations for a raid were not aimed at them but at
another tribe altogether. The fate in store for the deceived enemy
target was an unexpected plunderous raid, enslavement of the women
and death to the post-pubescent males.

The core foundation of hyper-masculine Arab culture is bound up
in perceptions of "honour and shame". At all times, he (it's usually
a male) must avoid having his face "blackened" by words or actions
which are a slight upon, a challenge or affront to, his status in
the family or broader social / tribal group. To be open, frank and
forthright or to make self-damning admissions in his dealings
(particularly with the infidel enemy) is to leave himself open and
vulnerable to humiliating shame and to the subsequent disrespect
from his peers. Tongues will wag in the bazaar’s coffee shops and
rumours will rapidly spread that so-and-so has lost his "manliness"
and status. In short, he is no longer worthy of deferential respect;
to an Arab, this is worse than death itself.

The higher one is placed in the social order (or rather, on how
important the individual perceives himself to be), the more
imperative it becomes to strenuously avoid “loss of face”. The
male's perceived loss of honour and status, must be redressed and
his face "whitened", i.e. his honour regained and restored, at any
cost; even to the extent of (as in the honour killing of daughters)
murdering the person “responsible” for causing the initial
humiliation. When taqiyya is used to avoid making an admission or
concession it is simply an essential means of ensuring that ones
honour and standing remain intact and untarnished. Blood feuds and
vendettas, caused by an ancient humiliation of a long dead ancestor,
can persist, fuelled and propelled by shame and honour, for
generations. Muhammad, who is promoted as every Muslim’s exemplar,
set the precedent for vengeful retaliation when he ordered the
murder of those who mocked or satirised him and, as he was an Arab,
caused him potential loss of face. [See link, “Muhammad’s
Dead Poets Society


Islamic spokesmen commonly use taqiyya as a form of 'outwitting'.
The skilled taqiyya-tactician doesn’t want the matter at hand to be
debated or discussed; so his opponent must be outwitted or
preemptively outflanked by the use of taqiyya. The objective is to
divert attention away from the subject through duplicity and

The claim is often made that difficulties in translating from
Arabic to English makes the meaning of what they say or write
difficult or impossible to convey….this is simply another
subterfuge. Keysar Trad has repeatedly claimed that Sheikh Hilali’s
obnoxious, inflammatory and misogynistic comments have been
“mistranslated”, misquoted or “taken out of context”. The aim of
this ploy is to dilute or neutralise public opprobrium. The use of
independent translators has, in the past, disproved his assertions.
The Sheikh states what he believes to be correct according to
Islamic precepts and his “interpreter” reconfigures the statement to
make it palatable to the unwitting listener.

Consider the following statement by Mr. Trad on the February 24

Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association of
Australia, told Reuters that Australian Muslims

agreed with Costello's (Australia’s Treasurer, Peter Costello)
sentiments about being good, law abiding citizens.

"But to continually single out the Muslim community like this is
very unhelpful, it's very divisive and it does stir up

Trad said.

"We're proud to be Australian and our religion strongly
stipulates that if you make an oath, whether it's an oath of
citizenship or any other oath, that you honour it, abide by it."

However, the Prophet Muhammad seems to have a different idea on
the subject.

Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 67, Number 427:

“By Allah, and Allah willing, if I take an oath and later find
something else better than that. Then I do what is better and
expiate my oath.' "

Role playing as the victim:

When placed under scrutiny or criminal investigation, (even when
there is overwhelming, irrefutable evidence of guilt or complicity),
the taqiyya-tactician will quickly attempt to counter the allegation
by resorting to the claim that it is, in fact, the accused who are
the 'the victims'. Victims of Islamophobia, racism, religious
discrimination and intolerance. Currently, this is the most commonly
encountered form of distraction and 'outwitting'….. Defence by

Manipulative ambiguity and Semantics:

Sheik Hilali and the late Yasser Arafat are both on public record
as (a) 'condemning' the 9/11 attacks, in ambiguous terms, to the
Western media and (b) praising suicide bombings, or “ martyrdom
operations”, to their Arabic speaking audiences .

Islamic spokesmen will rarely unequivocally condemn a specific
act of terrorism and direct questions will be skillfully evaded.

(NB: because Muslims regard Islamic attacks as “jihad”, and not
terrorism, their spokesmen can truthfully deny any support for

Interviewers would be better advised to ask the more precise
question “do you believe in jihad against the unbelievers?

However, a direct question requiring a simple "YES" or "NO" reply
is rarely forthcoming and is usually deflected by responding with a
tangentially irrelevant rejoinder or, in an attempt to neutralise
the original question, counter-challenging with another question
such as “are you in favour of killing children in Iraq?”…..Touché
and Checkmate!

Diversion, deflection and "tu quoque”:

Questions relating to the 9/11 terrorist attacks will usually be
diverted by either making outrageously wild conspiracy claims “the
CIA did it to give the U.S. an excuse to attack Muslims,… Mossad was
the perpetrator… No Jews came to work at the World Trade Centre on
September 11” etc. or by making an irrelevant counter reference to
“the plight of the Palestinians”,.. Iraqis,.. colonialism,.. the
crusades, or US foreign policy’s support for Israel” as the 'root
causes' of terrorism.

Then, of course, there’s the ever popular, specious allegation
that George Bush is a bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden.

Diversionary “tu quoque” response ploys usually start with the
words “but” or “what about…?” in an attempt to turn, and transfer an
equal culpability back on their interlocutor.

Demanding 'evidence':

Islamic spokesmen practice a form of taqiyya defined in
psychology as 'cognitive denial' by repetitive and persistent
demands of 'where is the evidence!' and 'prove it!' whenever there
is Muslim complicity in terrorist acts, evidence, which they know
very well, for security or legal sub-judice restraints, can not be
disclosed. If indeed the “evidence” were to be publicly presented,
they would then move on to the familiar “prejudicial to the
defendant receiving a fair trial--grounds for a mistrial” default

Tactical denial:

Rather than admitting that a proposition concerning a subject
under discussion can be partly true, an Islamic spokesman will
flatly deny a claim or proposition in absolute terms. For example,
"It is impossible to be a Muslim and a terrorist”; this semantic
argument is purely a matter of definition, because radical Islamists
don’t define their violent attacks as terrorism, but jihad. (i.e.
holy war in the way of Allah) .Another popular assertion is that
'Islam forbids suicide', which is true, but by virtue once again of
definition, irrelevant, because suicide bombings are regarded as
“martyrdom operations” and are therefore not forbidden, but on the
contrary, admirable and praiseworthy. Muslim spokesmen are also fond
of using extreme hyperbole. Their refutations regularly include the
word “percent”. e.g. “I am 150% certain that Jews orchestrated
September 11”…. “I guarantee the accused is 200% innocent”.

Exploiting cognitive dissonance:

Islamic spokesmen regularly perplex and baffle interviewers and
their audiences as they resort to double talk, 'clichés and
platitudes' concerning Islam. A state of cognitive dissonance (i.e.
holding two contradictory beliefs and attempting to resolve them) is
therefore induced in viewers and readers as they attempt to mentally
process the claim that Islam is a peaceful religion despite the
indisputable evidence before them of Islamist involvement in
terrorist acts or criminal conduct.

The Islamic 'defence' script:

Islamic spokesmen repeat the same predictable duplicitous clichés
concerning Islam in Europe, as do their counterparts in Australia
and America. They appear to follow a well prepared script as they
repeat "Islam is tolerant and peace loving”. In instances where they
find themselves presented with, and cornered by, undeniable evidence
that murderous radicals are indeed guilty as charged the spokesman
will then fall back on the old chestnut that the culprits are only a
“small minority” and not “true Muslims” anyway. Islamic spokeswomen
use taqiyya when making the somewhat Orwellian claim that wearing
the hijab, niqab, burqa etc. is “liberating” and “empowering”, and
that, for reasons known only to them, these symbols of submissive
exclusion offer them more freedom than Western women, thereby
implying that women in Muslim countries are somehow 'freer' than
women in the West. This ruse is designed to preclude further
examination into the well documented inferior status of females in
Islamic societies. Being put on the spot, and having to admit their
true obedient and subservient status, would be embarrassing and
therefore shame inducing so resorting to denial and exaggerative
taqiyya is their only option.

There’s a common and oft repeated lie that “Islam” means peace”,
it doesn’t, it translates as “submission” (to Allah).

Islamic falsehoods are echoed uncritically by Western politicians
and other apologist dupes, for example "A small group of
fundamentalists have hijacked a great and noble religion”. This
timely, skilful, misleading and diversionary theme of the
'hijacking' of Islam was introduced into public, political and media
discourse by an Islamic 'spokesman' in the United States shortly
after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and has become an “accepted fact”
repeated, ad nauseum, ever since.

The "Islam has been hijacked” myth is now a clichéd media and
political reference which serves to deflect attention from the
empirical proof of a fourteen hundred year continuity of the
doctrinal, political and religious nature of Islamic jihad.

A related theme that “a small minority of Muslims are engaged in
terrorism” is utterly irrelevant as terrorism is always perpetrated
by 'small minorities' or more accurately small groups or cells.
Surveys consistently reveal that between 10-15% of all Muslims
sympathise with the aims and methodology of this radical strain of
Islam which has been “hijacked”. This means, that within an
estimated world population of 1.2 billion Muslims, there are 120-180
million people prepared to fund, facilitate and in general, give
moral and financial assistance to the jihadists….. “a small
minority”? decide!

The indisputable truth is that there has been no “hijacking” of
Islam. Islamic extremists can, and do, find ample inspiration,
justification and encouragement for their violent ideology in the
Quran and Hadith.

Taqiyya as impressions and perception management

Pathos and the tactical use of children:

Australian television viewers may recall that interviews with
terrorist suspects raided by ASIO (Australian Security Intelligence
Organisation) and AFP (Australian Federal Police) frequently
featured women in hijabs holding small children or a crying baby as
they plaintively protested their husband's innocence and attested to
his innate piety, decency and kind-hearted nature.

Trembling fingers and quavering voices pointed out damage,
disruption and disarray to the family home. In some interviews the
suspect / father holds the child, whilst denying any involvement in,
or knowledge of, radicalism .

Sheikh Hilali’s daughter, in a newspaper interview, played the
taqiyya pathos card by claiming that, because the cold northern
winter was imminent, her father was travelling to Lebanon to “hand
deliver” thousands of blankets to “orphanages” and homeless victims
of the war between Israel and Hizbollah.

In the same Israel /Hezbollah war, a photojournalist filmed a
Lebanese man, strewing, for the purpose of emotional impact, the
contents of a large cardboard box full of children’s stuffed toys
amongst the wreckage and debris. This was obviously for the benefit
of a large contingent of international TV film crews who were about
to be taken on a guided tour of the bombed buildings later that

Photos of carefully placed baby’s bibs and dummies (pacifiers)
also appeared to be extraordinarily abundant on the internet, as
were “staged” photos of a “body” being removed from the piles of
collapsed concrete. One sequence of photos clearly shows the “body”
in question, alive and well, walking around with his “rescuers”
before and after the “retrieval” of his dusty, “lifeless body”. This
is taqiyya by imagery!

The above are examples of taqiyya in the age of impressions and
perception management and are designed to, dupe, play on the
emotions of, and elicit sympathy from, the compassionate, unwitting

Taqiyya and the Deceptive definition of Jihad:

The contemporary political meaning of jihad is clear: it is
“Jihad of the sword” and not the peaceful internal struggle for
spiritual improvement as their spin-doctors would have us believe.
Islamic fundamentalists consider jihad to be the sixth pillar of
Islam, a binding duty and integral to the faith. Claiming that Jihad
is a subjective and psychological state to become a better person is
taqiyya. In contemporary terms, Jihad means – HOLY WAR - against the
unbelievers and it is in this context that Al Qaeda training manuals
and other radical preachers use and refer to jihad.

The study of taqiyya is crucial to an understanding of Islamic
fundamentalism and terrorism. Its use ranges from the issuing of
false terrorist threats, operational and strategic disinformation
issued by Al Qaeda in the form of 'intelligence chatter' for the
purpose of throwing national defence groups into confusion.
Terrorist in captivity resort to taqiyya during interrogation. It is
most frequently used by Muslim 'spokesmen' whilst intentionally
making misleading public statements concerning Islam and terrorism.

The Arabs have a story which exemplifies subtle, semantic
dissimulation (taqiyya) perfectly. Legend has it that Mohammed’s
nephew, son-in-law and future Caliph, Ali, was sitting on a stool
outside his dwelling when one of his allies ran red-faced and
gasping into the village and hid in Ali’s home. Perceiving that the
man was being pursued, Ali promptly got up and sat on another nearby
stool. A few minutes later, a group of angry pursuers ran into the
encampment and asked Ali if he had seen the man they were pursuing.

This story demonstrates why nothing an Islamist says can be taken
at face value. Every statement and utterance needs to be thoroughly
analysed, or “unpacked”.

After yet another violent incident in Sydney, involving “Males of
Middle-Easter Appearance”, a spokesman for the Muslim community
appeared on a Sydney television evening newscast. In the brief
soundbight he defensively declared “our religion teaches us that we
must be kind to one another” ….and indeed it does, it simply depends
on how we are to interpret the words “one another”, as these verses
from the Quran demonstrate:

Muslims are harsh against the unbelievers, merciful to one
another. – (Q 48:25)

Muhammad is Allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to
the unbelievers but merciful to one another.

Through them, Allah seeks to enrage the unbelievers*. – (Q48:29)

So, was this spokesman lying?

Or was he telling the truth?

The answer is both, YES,… and NO! –Or, perhaps neither, and if
you are confused by this apparent contradiction?,. You’re meant to
be, because he was practising taqiyya; ……where the devil is ALWAYS
in the detail.

* The precise identity of the “unbelievers” in the above
references requires no further explanation.



1. Imam Abu Hammid Ghazali says: "Speaking is a means to achieve
objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling
the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying
because there is no need for it.

When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by
telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is
permissible." (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the
Traveller, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, amana publications,
1997, section r8.2, page 745)

2. Bukhari Vol 3: 857 “Narrated Um Kulthum bint Uqba”:

That she heard Allah's Apostle saying, "He who makes peace
between the people by inventing good information or saying good
things, is not a liar."

3. Bukhari Vol 4: 269 “Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: The Prophet
said, "War is deceit."

4. Bukhari Vol 5: 668 “Narrated Zahdam:

“When Abu Musa arrived (at Kufa as a governor) he honored this
family of Jarm (by paying them a visit). I was sitting near to him,
and he was eating chicken as his lunch, and there was a man sitting
amongst the people. Abu Musa invited the man to the lunch, but the
latter said, "I saw chickens (eating something (dirty) so I consider
them unclean." Abu Musa said, "Come on! I saw the Prophet eating it
(i.e. chicken)." The man said "I have taken an oath that I will not
ea (chicken)" Abu Musa said." Come on! I will tell you about your
oath. We, a group of Al-Ash'ariyin people went to the Prophet and
asked him to give us something to ride, but the Prophet refused.
Then we asked him for the second time to give us something to ride,
but the Prophet took an oath that he would not give us anything to
ride. After a while, some camels of booty were brought to the
Prophet and he ordered that five camels be given to us. When we took
those camels we said, "We have made the Prophet forget his oath, and
we will not be successful after that." So I went to the Prophet and
said, "O Allah's Apostle ! You took an oath that you would not give
us anything to ride, but you have given us." He said, "Yes, for if I
take an oath and later I see a better solution than that, I act on
the later and gave the expiation of that oath"

5. Bukhari Vol 6: 138 Narrated Aisha:

“That her father (Abu Bakr) never broke his oath till Allah
revealed the order of the legal expiation for oath. Abu Bakr said,
"If I ever take an oath (to do something) and later find that to do
something else is better, then I accept Allah's permission and do
that which is better, (and do the legal expiation for my oath ) ".


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