Tawriya: Islamic Doctrine of ‘Creative Lying’

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


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More specifically, in a canonical hadith, Muhammad said: “If any of you ever pass gas or soil yourselves during prayers [breaking wudu], hold your nose and leave” (Sunan Abu Dawud):  Holding one’s nose and leaving implies smelling something offensive—which is true—though people will think it was someone else who committed the offense.

Following their prophet’s example, many leading Muslim figures have used tawriya, such as Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, founder of one of Islam’s four schools of law, practiced in Saudi Arabia.  Once when he was conducting class, someone came knocking, asking for one of his students.  Imam Ahmed answered, “He’s not here, what would he be doing here?”—all the time pointing at his hand, as if to say “he’s not in my hand.” The caller, who could not see Ahmed, assumed the student was simply not there.

Also, Sufyan al-Thawri, another important Muslim thinker, was once brought to Caliph Mahdi who refused to let him leave, until Thawri swore to return.  As he was going out, Thawri left his sandals by the door.  After a while, he returned, took his sandals and left for good. When the caliph asked about him, he was told that, yes, Thawri had sworn to come back—and, indeed, he had come back: only to take his sandals and leave.

Lest it seem tawriya is limited to a few colorful anecdotes more befitting the Arabian Nights than the religious law (Sharia) of a billion people, here are some more modern Muslim authorities—Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, the famous cleric who says Islam forbids Muslims from smiling to infidels, except when advantageous, and Dr. Abdullah Shakir—justifying it. They both give the example of someone knocking on your door, you do not wish to see them, so a relative answers the door saying, “He’s not here,” and by “here” they mean the immediate room, which is true, since you will be hiding in another room.

Likewise, on the popular Islam Web, where Muslims submit questions and Islamic authorities respond with a fatwa, a girl poses her moral dilemma: her father has explicitly told her that, whenever the phone rings, she is to answer saying “he’s not here.”  The fatwa solves her problem: she is free to lie, but when she says “he’s not here,” she must mean he is not in the same room, or not directly in front of her.

Of course, while all the sheikhs give examples that are innocuous and amount to “white” lies, tawriya can clearly be used to commit terrible, “black” lies, especially where the adversarial non-Muslim infidel is concerned. As Sheikh al-Munajid puts it: “Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a Sharia interest.” Consider the countless “Sharia interests” that run directly counter to Western civilization and law, from empowering Islam to subjugating infidels.  To realize these, Muslims, through tawriya, are given a blank check to lie—a check that surely comes in handy; not just in trivial occasions, like avoiding unwanted callers, but momentous ones, such as at high-level diplomatic meetings where major treaties are forged.

Note: The purpose of this essay was to document and describe the doctrine of tawriya.  Future writings will analyze its full significance—from what it means for a Muslim to believe the Supreme Being advocates such lying, to how tawriya is liable to suppress one’s conscience to the point of passing a lie detector test—as well as compare and contrast it with the practices of other religions, and more.

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  • truebearing

    Another description of tawriyah would be: doctrinally endorsed evil. Why are we not surprised?

    This kind of dishonesty is unbelievably pernicious. It encourages a level of rationalization that suspends individual conscience, regardless the evil behavior. It is reminiscent of the deep, pervasive dishonesty seen on the Left where all lies are justified as a means to political power.

    Both Islam and the far Left encourage adherents to operate according to the great anti-ethic: the end justifies the means. Curiously, "the end justifies the means" has an eerie similarity to the one Satanic Commandment: "Do As Thou Wilt." I guess it comes as no surprise then that the fruits of Islam and Marxism are statist evil and misery for those under the rule of either. Equally curious is the great antipathy harbored against Jews and Christians by both political religions. The Devil is nothing if not political.

  • Ken

    And this surprises anyone?? This had been going on for years.

  • HolmesSimons

    Tawriyah is a lesson learned well and a technique used constantly by Barack Obama. A well known example is his declaration to "Transform America", by which he meant "use subversive tactics to hasten destruction of the world's largest capitalist society. Since he and others had sold him as a "constitutional scholar and professor of constitutional law", many believed the "Hope & Change" mantra to mean a return to constitutional principles. He is a smoothie, but he has proven by his actions that he is indeed a pathological liar.

  • Crossbow87

    The more I learn about Islam the more I despise it and appreciate my Christianity.

    • fiona

      You read my mind

  • johnnywoods

    Democraps, liberals and mooslims,etc. all practice this which is why you always know when al-Obama is lying whenever his lips are moving.

  • Larry

    A couple of classic examples of this are "islam is a religion of peace" and "we don't target innocents". Both totally true if you understand what they mean by peace and innocent.

  • Anamah

    The more I learn about Islam and all the hypocrite lobby more I love dogs.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    To expect your enemy not to lie is stupid and naive. Understanding the rules and rationale behind those lies is nice stuff to know, but it's not a good reason to justify western ignorance. That's because they, and we, have always lied and both cultures excuse it. Anyone remember bartering in the marketplace? It's not evil, its just the same in pawn shops and most western business negotiations. Do western politicians ever lie? No, they never lie, they just call it nation building, schools for girls, irrigation projects or whatever. The lies that should most concern the column writer and comment writers are the lies we tell ourselves. If Islam is inherently evil, why does America import millions of believers? If the enemy tells lies, why do the American leaders continue to take what they say at face value? Why apologize for burning Korans when it is the practice of Muslims to burn discarded Koran's? Whether or not the enemies of the West tell lies is not the important question; the important question is when and if the West will ever get honest with itself?

  • E. Jaksetic

    The use and justification of deception and dissimulation on religious grounds is not a recent or modern phenomenon. There is an interesting and informative book that takes a scholarly look at the use and justification of deception and dissimulation by various people and groups in European history (from the late 1400s to the early 1600s) who were faced with religious ostracism and persecution, and strong pressures to conform religiously. The book is Perez Zagorin, Ways of Lying: Dissimulation, Persecution & Conformity in Early Modern Europe (Harvard University Press, 1990).

  • TG Browning

    >> how tawriya is liable to suppress one’s conscience to the point of passing a lie detector test <<

    Hate to point this out but lie detectors don't work, period. That's why there is no court in the United States allows one to be introduced as evidence. Period.

    None.

  • jacob

    Strange no Muslim has so far, denied what the writer states in his article…

    I guess they can't defend what's indefensible and so, they will probably take shelter in the mantra they
    recite when unable to counter the facts thrown at their faces, that " ISLAM IS A RELIGION OF PEACE" ..

    What is strange is why is this pague allow to keep on immigrating into the USA, while valuable people
    are denied entry….

  • ahmadnb

    Good grief, you seem to know more about Islam than even I know…and I'm a lifelong practicing Muslim.

    Then again, maybe not.

    Ever since my childhood, the only times I have learned that it is OK to lie to anyone (and the Christians among whom I grew up amongst agreed) is to save one or more innocent lives from murder and/or persecution, regardless of religious, ethnic or racial background.

    The above essay contains nothing more than a bunch of nonsense spouted by a bunch of hypocritical Muslims who are more concerned with their lives in this world than in what awaits us all in the Afterlife. As far as I'm concerned, the Qur'an is clear on this: Anyone who sacrifices the Afterlife for the comforts of this world could end up burning in hell for eternity.

    Look at the bigger picture…not in what a few fools spout and claim to represent "true" Islam.

    • kevinh

      The author appears to cite sources that present a view of Islam which is held by many (Arafat, et al). Perhaps it is you who is being hypocritical and denying the faith as it was revealed by Muhammad.

      With all respect,
      kev

      • ahmadnb

        Arafat was no pious Muslim…the PLO was a secular-left movement and included many Christians, some who were even more anti-Israel than Arafat himself.”Perhaps it is you who is being hypocritical and denying the faith as it was revealed by Muhammad.”I know the faith as it was revealed to Muhammad. You don't, and so are being completely ignorant and arrogant here by even daring to insinuate that I'm being hypocritical here. I don't need the likes of you to tell me how to be a good Muslim.

        • Kevinh

          You are not a hypocrite. You follow the teachings of Muhammad. I get that. http://prophetofdoom.net/Islamic_Quotes.Islam

          Can we find a "pious" Muslim here? http://islamizationwatch.blogspot.com/2010/09/ira

          Your prejudice is apparent. Please consider the possibility that I don't need your half-correct information to understand Islam.

          kev

          • ahmadnb

            Nice try. Take a few Qur'anic quotes from some website out there and base all your knowledge of Islam on them? Think that makes you an expert on Islam? In that case I can prove to you, using the method you've used here, that I'm a neurosurgeon, a nuclear engineer, an orthodontist, a lawyer, and a rocket scientist. BTW, I'm really none of the above.I cannot find a pious Muslim in the link that you sent to me.Now…if there's a better alternative to Islam, one that is THE TRUTH, please let me know. And please tell me what is it in Islam that you see is false.

  • StephenD

    You made no mention of one of the biggest Tawriya lies. They say Islam forbids the killing of innocent people. They don't believe ANY Israeli citizen is innocent and they don't believe Jews are "people" so killing them is not against their beliefs. A belief system straight form the pits of hell.

  • Stanton

    Question: Why haven't we known about this tawriya before??
    Yea, I know about taqiyya, but this is really much worse! This allows swearing to God and lying to fellow Muslims. If that is the case, how deep and constant are the lies to us infidels?!
    Gosh – it seems we are just scratching the surface of Islam's depravity.

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