By Raymond Ibrahim:
I was recently involved in an interesting exercise—examining taqiyya about taqiyya—and believe readers might profit from the same exercise, as it exposes all the subtle apologetics made in defense of the Islamic doctrine, which permits Muslims to lie to non-Muslims, or “infidels.”
Context: Khurrum Awan, a lawyer, is suing Ezra Levant, a Canadian media personality and author, for defamation and $100,000. Back in 2009 and on his own website, Levant had accused Awan of taqiyya in the context of Awan’s and the Canadian Islamic Congress’ earlier attempts to sue Mark Steyn.
For more on Levant’s court case, go to www.StandWithEzra.ca.
On behalf of Awan, Mohammad Fadel—professor of Islamic Law at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law—provided an expert report to the court on the nature of taqiyya, the significance of which he portrayed as “a staple of right-wing Islamophobia in North America.”
In response, Levant asked me (back in 2013) to write an expert report on taqiyya, including by responding to Fadel’s findings.
I did. And it had the desired effect. As Levant put it in an email to me:
It was an outstanding report, very authoritative and persuasive. Of course, we don’t know what the plaintiff’s [Awan’s] private thoughts about it were, but we do know that after receiving the report, he decided to cancel calling his own expert witness [Dr. Fadel]—who happens to be a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. After reading your rebuttal, he decided he would rather not engage in that debate.
My expert report follows. In it, I quote relevant portions of Fadel’s expert report (which can be read in its entirety here). Most intriguing about the professor’s report is that it’s a perfect example of taqiyya about taqiyya. By presenting partial truths throughout the report, Fadel appears to have even employed taqiyya’s more liberal sister, tawriya.
Accordingly, readers interested in learning more about the role of deception in Islam—and how to respond to those trying to dismiss it as an “Islamophobic fantasy”—are encouraged to read on.
Raymond Ibrahim’s Expert Report on Taqiyya
Instructions: I have been asked to assess a report concerning the doctrine of taqiyya in Islam, written by one Mohammad Fadel; and, if I disagreed with any parts of it, to explain why—objectively, neutrally, and in a non-partisan manner. My findings follow.
The Islamic doctrine of taqiyya permits Muslims to actively deceive non-Muslims—above and beyond the context of “self-preservation,” as is commonly believed.
One of the few books exclusively devoted to the subject, At-Taqiyya fi’l-Islam (“Taqiyya in Islam”) make this unequivocally clear. Written (in Arabic) by Dr. Sami Mukaram, a former Islamic studies professor at the American University of Beirut and author of some twenty-five books on Islam, the book demonstrates the ubiquity and broad applicability of taqiyya in its opening pages:
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.
The following report is written as a response to Mohammed Fadel’s report (henceforth referred to as MFR) which deals with the topic of taqiyya and its place and usage in Islamic jurisprudence. Because MFR is written in a premises-conclusion format, the following report will follow MFR’s numbering schemata, pointing out which premises are agreeable and which are not—offering correctives to these latter resulting in an antithetical conclusion.
Numbers/Premises of MFR in Order:
1-3: Preliminary statements.
5: Agreed, with the following caveat: To many Muslims, jihad, that is, armed struggle against the non-Muslim, is the informal sixth pillar. Islam’s prophet Muhammad said that “standing in the ranks of battle [jihad] is better than standing (in prayer) for sixty years,” even though prayer is one of the Five Pillars, and he ranked jihad as the “second best deed” after belief in Allah as the only god and he himself, Muhammad, as his prophet, the shehada, or very First Pillar of Islam.
All this indicates jihad’s importance in Islam—and thus importance to this case, since, as shall be seen, taqiyya is especially permissible in the context of jihad or struggle to empower Islam and/or Muslims over non-Muslims.
6: Agreed. Qiyas, or analogical reasoning, the practice of finding antecedents in the teachings of the two revelatory sources (Qur’an and Hadith) and rationalizing their applicability to modern phenomena, also belongs to usul al-fiqh, or Islam’s roots of jurisprudence. It gives more elasticity to Islam’s rules (a major theme throughout this report). Qiyas, for example, is the way al-Qaeda and other jihadi organizations justify suicide attacks: although killing oneself is clearly forbidden in Islam, in the context of jihad—in the context of trying to empower Islam—suicide attacks are rationalized as legitimate forms of stealth warfare, since those giving their lives are not doing so out of despair but rather for Islam (as in Qur’an 9:111).
7-19: Generally agreed (or indifferent to: some information in these numbers is not necessarily germane to the issue at hand and did not warrant confirmation).
20: “Normative Islamic doctrine places strong emphasis on the obligation to speak the truth.”
This is the first of many statements/premises that are only partially true.
For starters, Islamic jurisprudence separates humanity into classes. The rules concerning the relationship between a Muslim and a fellow Muslim differ from the rules concerning the relationship between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.
First there is the umma—the “Islamic nation,” that is, all Muslims of the earth, irrespective of national, racial, or linguistic barriers. Many of the Qur’an’s and Hadith’s teachings that appear laudable and fair are in fact teachings that apply only to fellow Muslims.
For example, although the Qur’an’s calls for Muslims to give charity (zakat) appear to suggest that Muslims may give charity to all humans—in fact, normative Islamic teaching is clear that Muslim charity (zakat) can only be given to fellow Muslims, never to non-Muslims.
As for legal relations between Muslims and non-Muslims—or kuffar, the “infidels” (kafir, singular)—within the Islamic world, these fall into two main categories: first, the harbi, that is, the non-Muslim who does not reside in the Islamic world; if at any time a Muslim comes across him in the Muslim world, according to classic Islamic doctrine, he is free to attack, enslave, and/or kill him (the exception is if he is musta’min—given a formal permit by an Islamic authority to be on Muslim territory, such as the case of the many foreigners working in the Arabian Peninsula).
Second is the dhimmi, the non-Muslim who lives under Muslim domination (for example, all the indigenous Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Berbers, etc. whose lands were conquered by Muslims beginning in the 7th century). By today’s standards, the rules governing the dhimmi, most of which are based on the so-called “Conditions of Omar” (sometimes the “Pact of Omar”) are openly discriminatory and include things such as commanding non-Muslims to give up their seats whenever a Muslim wants it.
It is, then, in this divisive context that one must approach the Qur’an, keeping in mind that most of the verses discussing human relations are discussing intra-relations between Muslims, not Muslims and non-Muslims. For examples of the latter, see Qur’an 9:5, 9:29, 5:17, and 5:73 for typical verses that discuss relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, verses which have further abrogated the earlier, more tolerant ones. 
As for the Qur’an verses listed in MFR 20—which are meant to support the statement that “Normative Islamic doctrine places strong emphasis on the obligation to speak the truth,” a close reading, supported by mainstream Islamic exegeses, demonstrates that the true function of those verses is to portray true believers (Muslims) and Islam’s prophets as the epitome of honesty and sincerity. Significantly, none of the verses mentioned in MFR 20 actually exhort Muslims to be honest and truthful, including to fellow Muslims, in the same vein as, for example, unequivocal statements such as “Do not lie to one another” (Colossians 3:9) and “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16).
The fact is, other Islamic teachings and caveats have permitted Muslims to deceive even fellow Muslims. For example, the doctrine of tawriya allows Muslims to lie in virtually all circumstances provided that the lie is articulated in a way that it is technically true.
The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as, “hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion.” Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g., 5:31, 7:26).
As a doctrine, “double-entendre” best describes tawriya’s function. According to past and present Muslim scholars (several documented below), tawriya is when a speaker/writer asserts something that means one thing to the listener/reader, though the speaker/writer means something else, and his words technically support this alternate meaning.
For example, if someone declares “I don’t have a penny in my pocket,” most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him—though he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies.
This is legitimate according to Islamic law, or shari‘a—the body of legal rulings that defines how a Muslim should behave in all circumstances—and does not constitute “lying.”
In a fatwa, or Islamic decree, popular Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajid asserts that, “Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a shari‘a interest.” As mentioned, empowering Islam is one of the highest shari‘a interests  (hence why jihad, so lauded by Islam’s prophet as aforementioned, is sometimes seen as the “sixth pillar”).
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