Silencing Spencer: Taqiyya and Kitman are part of Judeo-Christian Belief

What follows is a refutation of “Lying: It’s wrong–except when it isn’t”, found in Chapter 6 (“Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill) of Robert Spencer’s book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades).

Part of the grandiose anti-Muslim conspiracy theory espoused by Islamophobes today includes the idea that Muslims are, in the words of Robert Spencer, involved in “large scale deception campaigns today.” [1] Spencer dedicates chapter 6 of his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) to convince his readers that Islamic law allows for and even encourages lying “if it fosters the growth of Islam.” [2] In this manner, moderate Muslim-Americans are cast away as “stealth jihadists”, who are simply using deception to further their belligerent faith.  Any Muslim who says otherwise is accused of lying.  When moderate Muslims express their peaceful views, these are dismissed as “deception campaigns.”  On the other hand, when extremist and fundamentalist Muslims express their belligerent views, these are accepted as being “real Islam.”

Is Lying Acceptable in Certain Circumstances?

The Prophet Muhammad repeatedly commanded his followers to be truthful.  Lying is no small sin in Islam, and in fact leads to Hell.  Robert Spencer himself acknowledges as much, saying:

Muhammad minced no words about the necessity of telling the truth: “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and the man who continues to speak the truth and endeavors to tell the truth is eventually recorded as truthful with Allah, and beware of telling of a lie for telling of a lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell-Fire, and the person who keeps telling lies and endeavors to tell a lie is recorded as a liar with Allah.” [3]

There are dozens of other Prophetic traditions that say the same.

However, Spencer argues in his book that while lying is generally prohibited, “Islam allows for lying…in certain circumstances.”  [4] Having established this, Spencer boldly entitles the chapter “Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill,” arguing that Islam is the one religion on earth that advocates lying.  On the same page, Robert Spencer opposes “the idea that Islam shares the general moral outlook of Judaism and Christianity.”  In particular, “Islam doesn’t have a moral code analogous to the Ten Commandments.”  By this, he means to say that the religion of Islam does not hold fast to the 9th Commandment, which prohibits lying: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

Before we proceed, it should be very clear that it is Robert Spencer himself who opens up the chapter by comparing the Judeo-Christian belief system to Islam.  Therefore, when we question this comparison, let our opponents not cry “tu quoque, tu qouque!” as they always do whenever we point out their bold-faced hypocrisy and double standards.  What Spencer is saying is quite clear: unlike other religions, Judaism and his own Christianity in particular, Islam advocates lying in certain circumstances.

The revelation, that Islam allows for lying in certain circumstances, is supposed to shock the mind. Ohmigosh, how could a religion sanction lying!? But if we move past sanctimonious outrage, we realize that any moral code, be it based in religious faith or atheistic humanism, should allow for lying in certain circumstances.  That’s the most obvious thing in the world.  If, for example, the Nazis knock on your door and ask you “are you hiding any Jews in your attic?”, would Robert Spencer demand you to be truthful and say “yes”?  In that circumstance, lying should not only be allowed, but encouraged or even obligated.  A moral code that did not allow for a lie in this circumstance would be highly flawed. This is simply common sense.  No moral code, be it religious or otherwise, ought to command honesty without exception.  It’s common sense that there should be some exceptions to truth-telling.

In Islam, the Prophet Muhammad allowed for three (and only three) exceptions to the rule of truth-telling:

Lying is not permitted except in three cases: (1) a man’s speaking to his wife to make her happy; (2) lying at times of war; (3) and lying in order to reconcile between people. [5]

Let us review each of these scenarios one by one.

A Man’s Speaking to His Wife to Make Her Happy

Under Islamic law, a husband is permitted to lie to his wife if she asks him “do I look beautiful?”  So as not to hurt her feelings, the husband may claim she is the most beautiful woman on earth, even if in reality she looks horribly ugly.  This permission is given to the husband, argue Islamic jurists, to safeguard the woman’s feelings.  It would be cruel, they say, to be honest in this case. (One cannot help but be reminded of the epic Geico commercial.)

Lest our opponents, the self-proclaimed defenders of the Judeo-Christian tradition, doth protest too much, let us note that the Jewish tradition itself discussed this very situation in none other than the Talmud.  In the book entitled The Book of Jewish Values, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says:

When, If Ever, Is It Permitted to Lie? (2): Judaism and White Lies

The Talmud records an unusual debate between the houses of Hillel and Shammai concerning the words celebrants should sing when dancing in front of a newly married woman. According to the House of Hillel, the dancers should chant the same words in front of all brides: “What a beautiful and graceful bride!” Their opponents, the House of Shammai, disagree. “If she is lame or blind, are you going to say of her, ‘What a beautiful and graceful bride?’ Does not the Torah command, ‘Stay away from falsehood?'” (Exodus 23:7) They thus oppose reciting a standard formula; rather, each bride should be described “as she is” (see Ketubot 17a). [6]

The opinion of the house of Hilel, that a lie should be uttered in this case, became “accepted as Jewish law”:

Hillel’s position is accepted as Jewish law.  One praises the beauty of all brides.  [7]

Rabbi Telushkin continues:

If somebody at a party asks you how they look, and you think they don’t look well at all, a blunt statement of what you feel may cause the person terrible discomfort, and accomplish no good whatsoever…There are indeed times when a petty lie is preferrable to an ugly truth. [8]

Christians have also debated this topic.  Professor Michael Heiser, an instructor at the MEMRA Institute for Biblical & Ancient Studies and Academic Editor for Bible Study Magazine, argues that the 9th Commandment does not prohibit all lies.  In a post entitled Lies and Deception, this professor gives his Biblical view that “deception” is sanctioned in certain circumstances:

Let’s think about some real life situations. I do not believe the ninth commandment was given to force full, exhaustively detailed “truth telling” to questions like the following:

1. Do I look fat in this dress?
2. Doctor, did my little boy suffer before he died?
3. How do I look?

Not only is deception permitted to a Christian (in certain circumstances, of course), but the Christian God and a Christian prophet (Samuel) engaged in deception.  Prof. Heiser writes:

In regard to the 1 Samuel 16 incident and the “does God lie?” question, I do not think God lied.  He did, however, certainly deceive…Samuel also did not lie…But, again, he plainly withheld information and deceived Saul’s men. Both God and Samuel were deceivers in this passage, but neither were liars. God may use deception to punish evil, but he does not lie.

Imagine Robert Spencer’s reaction if an Islamic scholar said that God deceives to punish the evil of unbelievers.  Just imagine.

Lying in Order to Reconcile People

Another exception in Islam with regard to telling the truth is when it comes to reconciling people.  This, argue Muslims, is based on Islam’s emphasis on peace.  The Prophet Muhammad said:

He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar. [9]

The Islamophobic website mocks this Prophetic saying, arguing that it justifies lying.  Yet, these “defenders of the Judeo-Christian tradition” do not realize that the exact same thing is found in their own religious tradition.  Rabbi Telushkin writes:

According to Jewish law, one also should not go about telling people critical comments you hear made about them.  Indeed, if somebody asks you what another person said about him, you should leave out the negative comments by the other person…

When it comes to trying to reconcile feuding parties, Jewish law is remarkably tolerant of “white lies.”  Of Aaron, Moses’ brother and Israel’s first high priest, the Rabbis relate that he would utilize untruthful means to make peace between peopel who had fought.  He would go to one, telling how sad his adversary was about the dispute, and how ashamed and disheartened he felt.  Then he would go to the other and tell him the same thing.  As the Midrash concludes, “Later, when the two met, they would embrace and kiss each other” (The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan 12:3)…

Jewish tradition endorses Aaron’s behavior…In instances of personal feuding, when truth and peace conflict, peace usually should take precedence. [10]

Christian professor Dr. Michael Heiser recognizes something similar in his own religious belief system:

The ninth command was not given so evil could progress; it was given to STOP evil. It was not given to force us to hurt people’s feelings or crush their spirit, either. Withholding information is virtuous in these instances for reasons that should be obvious in context.

Will these self-declared “defenders of the Judeo-Christian tradition” now burn in their own fury?

Lying in Times of War

It is this third instance of permissible lying that Robert Spencer et al. make the most fuss about, especially the Prophet Muhammad’s statement that “war is deceit/deception.”

As mentioned by our very own Inconnu, the Prophet Muhammad made this statement during the Battle of the Trench.  The Confederates were threatening to use their overwhelming numbers to destroy the fledgling Islamic city-state of Medina.  They lay siege to the beleaguered city, and the entire religion of Islam was on the brink of being snuffed out entirely.  It was in this particular circumstance that a man named Nuaym ibn Masud was instructed by the Prophet Muhammad to break the deadly siege.  Nuaym said he could do this, but that “this requires me to lie.”  The Prophet replied with those now infamous words “war is deception.” And so Nuaym went to the various factions making up the Confederates and convinced them of the supposed disloyalty of their own allies.  This sowed discord and disunity in the enemy ranks, which the Muslims capitalized on to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. [11]

Two things are of note here.  First, the fact that Nuaym protested that “this requires me to lie” implies that he was cognizant of the fact that the Prophet Muhammad and the religion of Islam forbid lying in general.  Otherwise, he would not have said it.  It thus indicates that the early Muslims were known for their honesty.  Second, the context of the statement is imperative to understand:  The city of Medina was under siege, and the defenders of the city were heavily outnumbered by a ratio of more than 3:1.  This was a situation of “national importance.”  Lives would have been lost had these lies not been said.  It is strange that the extreme right-wingers like Robert Spencer can justify the nuclear annihilation of Japanese cities because “lives would have been lost” but can’t seem to understand why the Prophet Muhammad justified lying in this particular scenario.  Which is worse?  Nuclear annihilation or lying?

The idea that it would be necessary to lie during war is so self-explanatory that I feel a bit silly needing to draw this out.  But because Robert Spencer makes a great fuss about this, let me go over the top with this.  The idea that “war is deceit/deception” has been accepted since time immemorial.  As our very own Inconnu writes:

In fact, “War is deceit” is one of the oldest military principles in history. It is found in none other than The Art of War by Sun Tzu, a Chinese strategist from the Sixth Century B.C. This book is the oldest military treatise in the world. In Part I, principle No. 18 says:

All warfare is based on deception.

This book forms the foundation of modern military thinking, and is listed in the United States Marine Corps Professional Reading Program.  The book is required reading for CIA officers, and recommended reading for all U.S. military intelligence personnel.   The book is required to be stocked in every major military library.  Is Robert Spencer being unpatriotic and un-American by criticizing the foundation principle of our U.S. military, namely that “all warfare is based on deception”?  But Spencer’s double standard is quite clear: it’s OK when Evangelical Christians in the U.S. military believe such a thing, but completely unacceptable if Muslims do.

Inconnu goes on:

How about the Trojan Horse, a story from one of the oldest poems in Western Civilization? …Why doesn’t Spencer condemn the Greeks, the Fathers of Western Civilization, for practicing deceit in times of war?

Not only did Sun Tzu write of deception in warfare, but Italian Renaissance thinker Niccolo Machiavelli wrote:

Though fraud in other activities may be detestable, in the management of war it is laudable and glorious, and he who overcomes the enemy by fraud is as much to be praised as he who does by force.

How about more recent times? During World War II, there was a military operation called “Operation Fortitude.” It was a disinformation campaign to deceive the Germans about the Normandy invasion:

“Fortitude” was the codename given to the decoy (or disinformation) mission mounted by the Allies to deceive the Germans about the date and above all the place of the landings…[The Germans] had to be made to think that a whole group of [Allied] armies was present in Kent, opposite the Pas-de-Calais.

To deceive the German observation planes…the local estuaries, creeks and harbours were crammed with dummy landing craft, made out of bits and bobs…For the benefit of the Germans, a team of technicians maintained constant radio traffic between totally fictitious units.

Fortitude succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Long after June 6th, Hitler remained convinced that the Normandy Landings were a diversionary tactic to induce him to move his troops away from the Pas-de-Calais, so that a decisive attack could then be launched there. He therefore kept his best units in readiness there, until the end of July, desperately scanning an empty horizon, while the fate of the war was being decided in Normandy.

Dr. Joseph Caddell, Lecturer on Military History at North Carolina State University, wrote in 2004:

Deception in warfare is probably as old as armed conflict itself. The logic of confusing an adversary is obvious, and the rewards can be realized very quickly.

On the website of the Air University, the military education system for the United States Air Force, there is a list of numerous books, documents, and periodicals that chronicle deception in WW I and WW II. Here is just some of the examples of the books written about deception in warfare:

Barros, James and Gregor, James. Double Deception: Stalin, Hitler, and the Invasion of Russia. DeKalb, IL, Northern Illinois University Press, 1995. 307 p. Book call no.: 940.532247 B277d

Basic Deception and the Normandy Invasion. New York, Garland, 1989. 1 vol. Book call no.: 940.5485 C873 v.15

Breuer, William B. Hoodwinking Hitler: The Normandy Deception. Westport, CT, Praeger, 1993. 263 p. Book call no.: 940.54 B846h

Breuer, William B. The Secret War with Germany: Deception, Espionage, and Dirty Tricks 1939-1945. Novato, CA, 1988. 318 p. Book call no.: 940.5485 B846s

I think Inconnu makes his point very clear, but allow me to give another example:  The U.S. military used deception during the invasion of Iraq:

Its war plan successfully deceived the Iraqis regarding disposition of allied ground forces

Is Robert Spencer being unpatriotic and un-American for criticizing the U.S.’s tactic of using deception in their invasion of a Muslim-majority country?  If the U.S. military can be justified in its use of deception to invade and occupy a far weaker country, then how is the Prophet Muhammad to be faulted for using deception during war to defend his city-state from attack and destruction by a far superior force?

How about CIA officers trying to infiltrate the ranks of Al-Qaeda?  Should they not utilize deceit in order to safeguard their cover?

This is of course a completely absurd line of attack Robert Spencer has employed against Islamic law. But to completely cripple Spencer’s argument, let us once again turn to the Judeo-Christian tradition that Spencer so valiantly defends and promotes in his book.  Once again, a familiar pattern emerges: Spencer criticizes something about Islam that is found in his own religious belief system as well.

The Menorah: A Monthly Magazine for the Jewish Home expounds:

Deception in war…is legitimate according to Jewish law.  Joshua used stratagem in capturing the city of Ai (Josh. viii), and the same was copied against Bejamin (Jud. xx).  Ehud ben Gera killed Eglon, King of Moab, by disguise and deceit (Jud. iii., 20-22)…In our own times Gen. Fred Funston devised an artful plan to entrap Emilio Aguinaldo.  Such deceit, however, is recommended in order to avoid needless bloodshed and hasten peace. [12]

Notice that the excerpt above seems to indicate that deceit is not only permitted in Jewish law but recommended in times of war.  Rabbi Telushkin says the same in his book entitled A Code of Jewish Ethics, and even indicates that assassinations by stealth are permitted according to the Bible:

During a war, one may deceive enemies.  The Bible relates how Ya’el, a Kenite woman, invited the fleeing Canaanite general Sisera into her tent: “Turn aside, my Lord, turn aside to me; have no fear,” she told him, before lulling Sisera to sleep and then killing him…The prophetess Deborah praised Ya’el for her deception of Sisera (Judges 5:24-26; see also Judges 4:17-21)

…In short, in the proper circumstances, deception is not only tolerated, but applauded. [13]

In the example of Ya’el and Sisera, we have Biblically-sanctioned treachery and assassination.  To bring this topic closer to home for Robert Spencer, let us quote from the Christian tradition.  The British and Foreign Evangelical Review says of Ya’el and Sisera:

That there was treachery, is admitted on all hands.  The whole question resolves itself into this: Did Sisera deserve to be treacherously dealt with?  Was Jael [Ya’el] justified in taking the advantage of him [as] she did? …If the deceptions of war we noticed just now [in the Bible] are not immoral, then we regard Jael’s act as morally defensible…She must use stratagem to kill him. [14]

In a section entitled When Deceptions becomes Legitimate, The British and Foreign Evangelical Review writes:

Again, we find in the conquest that the Israelites were directed [by God] to practise certain deceptions upon their enemies…The moral aspect of these cases of deception on the part of God…[are justified by the] general understanding that in such circumstances “everything is fair” that can secure an advantage…There is no moral delinquency, therefore, in denying the whole truth to men, that is, in practising deception upon them, when it is understood that deception is part of the risk of war. [15]

Should we berate Christians for their belief in lying during war and that “‘everything is fair’ that can secure an advantage”?  Can one imagine Robert Spencer’s reaction if a Muslim said that “everything is fair” if it secures an advantage for Islam?

Dr. Hans Martensen, the nineteenth century Catholic bishop who penned the epic book Christian Dogmatics: Compendium of the Doctrines of Christianity, writes in his book entitled Christian Ethics:

Mutual deception cannot in this respect be condemned, since both sides are agreed in employing against each not force alone, but craft, together with all the artifices of war. [16]

Dr. Mortensen is stressing an important point here, which I will return to later: deception is mutually expected in war.

In any case, it could be said–using the emotive language of Robert Spencer–that deception in war is part of Christian ethics.  Christian professor Dr. Michael Heiser concurs that the “act of deception” and even “outright lie” is tolerated in war, even “HOLY war.”  In a post entitled “Does God lie,” Prof. Heiser says that God uses deception, and even argues that Jesus himself used deception:

We know that there are specific statements asserting very clearly that God does not tell lies (e.g., Num. 23:19; Titus 1:2). However, God does use deception.  Some of you no doubt will want to define lying so that it includes deception, but that is not only unwise, it puts you (and God) in a theological pickle…Why did Jesus demand deception (withholding the truth) on occasion? Why is that permissible?

Why is it that Robert Spencer takes great offense to the Islamic prophet using deception in war to defend his city-state and religion from being wiped off the map, but on the other hand takes no issue with the Biblical prophet Joshua using deception in war, by the Command of God no less, to invade the city of Ai?  In a book entitled The Art of Darkness: Deception and Urban Operations, we read:

In roughly 1200 BC, Joshua captured the city of Ai by means of deception. [17]

The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, after citing numerous examples of Biblically sanctioned deception during war, concludes:

Many people have been honored for deceiving the enemy during wartime and saving innocent lives, and this was war! [18]

The gentleman Robert Spencer doth protest too much methinks.

Lying to Unbelievers?

Robert Spencer has implied in his book and website that Muslims are instructed to be honest only to fellow Muslims, and that they can lie to unbelievers.  Says Spencer:

Muhammad minced no words about the necessity of telling the truth…However, as with so many other Islamic principles, this is largely a matter between believers.  When it comes to unbelievers–particularly those who are at war with Muslims–Muhammad enunciated a quite different principle: “War is deceit.” Specifically, he taught that lying was permissible in battle. [19]

As I have said in my previous article criticizing Robert Spencer’s methodology, he mixes half-truths (70% of his writings) with outright lies (the remaining 30%).  Here is where Spencer slips in a bold-faced lie.  (The irony of using deception while writing an article on deception should not be lost.)  In the text above, Spencer implies that Muslims don’t have to be honest with non-Muslims.  However, the reality is that the Prophet Muhammad never said that a Muslim can lie to a non-Muslim.  What he did say was:

Lying is not permitted except in three cases: (1) a man’s speaking to his wife to make her happy; (2) lying at times of war; (3) and lying in order to reconcile between people. [20]

Do you see the word “unbeliever”, “non-Muslim”, or “infidel” anywhere there?  No, no, and no.  Lying is permitted during war, and this has nothing to do with being a Muslim or non-Muslim.  Being a non-Muslim in this case is merely incidental.  Spencer’s insinuation to the contrary is dishonest and…deceitful.  Had the Prophet Muhammad wanted to say that lying to unbelievers is permitted, then he would simply have said as much: “Lying is not permitted except in three cases…(2) lying to unbelievers.”  But he didn’t.  And I challenge Spencer to bring forth a single quote from the Quran or the Prophetic traditions saying anything of the sort.

In fact, the early Muslims fought a civil war (the Battle of Siffin): Muslims vs. Muslims.  And guess what?  In this battle, one side used deception to cause discord in the opposing side’s ranks.  In Islamic history, this is one of the famous examples of the use of a ploy during battle.  To give a modern day example, the fundamentalist Taliban–whom Spencer considers “the real Muslims”–used deception to kill their fellow Muslim, a war hero who led the Northern Alliance. Deception, then, is merely a consequence of war.  Spencer is needlessly trying to make this into a Muslim vs. non-Muslim thing, when in fact it is simply a matter of war.  When Nuaym ibn Masud said that the ploy would require him to lie, the Prophet Muhammad did not justify it by saying “oh well, they are infidels anyways.”  Instead, he said that it was a time of war and therefore permissible.  The fact that Nuaym even asked indicates that the Muslims at that time did not think it was permissible to lie to unbelievers, nor were ever taught such.

The Prophet Muhammad was known by the name of Al-Amin (The Trustworthy), and even his greatest enemies did not know of him as a liar.  The only “lie” they counted against him was his claim to be a prophet of God.  Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Quraish (the archenemy of the Muslims at the time), was asked by Heraclius about the Prophet Muhammad’s honesty.  Heraclius asked: “Have you ever accused him of telling lies?…Does he break his promises?”  To both these questions, Abu Sufyan was forced to respond in the negative.   The Prophet Muhammad was known as being honest to all, regardless of religion.  Muslims today remember him as being honest to both Muslims and non-Muslims, which indicates that the religion of Islam honors honesty towards all human beings, irrespective of religious affiliation.

The Quran repeatedly mentions that the believers are those who stay honest to their oaths with the non-Muslims, and criticizes the Quraish idolaters for their failure to live up to their word.  After the battle of Uhud, the Muslims enter into a degrading peace treaty with the non-Muslims, and the Prophet Muhammad not only lives up to his side of the bargain, but also says that he does not even want to give a hint of not being honest to the agreement.  The Prophet was entrusted on numerous occasions with the wealth of non-Muslims, and he never violated or usurped their belongings.  And in the capacity of a merchant, he was just and honest with non-Muslims when it came to business transactions.  One could certainly argue that the Prophet Muhammad’s purported honesty may be a thing of legend, i.e. Islamic hagiography, but this is irrelevant: what is important here is that Muslims remember the Prophet as being honest to non-Muslims, a fact that indicates that Islam values honesty towards all human beings, including those outside the faith.

Clearly, Spencer has used deception to craft his argument, trying to conflate being non-Muslim with being at war.  The burden of proof is on Robert Spencer to prove his claim that Islam honors honesty only towards Muslims.  Can he show even one Quranic verse or Prophetic saying that advocates anything of the sort?

What Constitutes War?

Now Spencer and co. will claim that Muslims consider themselves at war with the United States and/or Western Christendom, so this allows them to lie.  After all, isn’t a state of war in the eyes of the beholder?  Yet, all of these arguments can equally be used against Judaism and Christianity.  As we have demonstrated earlier, Jews and Christians are allowed to lie during times of war.  The United States is at war with at least two Muslim-majority countries, and many would argue–such as Robert Spencer and other nutty right-wing extremists–that we are at war with radical Islam.  If this is so, does this mean that Robert Spencer and co. are allowed to lie and use deception in their campaign against radical Islam?  Ahh, perhaps this explains Spencer’s recurrent use of deceitful argumentation!  Suffice to say that any argument that the Islamophobes craft against Islam using this line of reasoning can be equally applied to Judaism and Christianity.

Having said that, Islamic law clearly defines what a war is.  It is an open state of hostilities, in which both sides recognize that they are at war with each other.  I explained in this article here (see the comments as well) why a Muslim-American cannot consider himself at war with the United States.  Hence, Robert Spencer’s claims against Islam and Muslim-American spokesmen have no theological grounding.

Furthermore, Islam differentiates between “deceit/deception” and “treachery.”  The former is permitted in war, whereas the latter is not.  While it is true that the Prophet Muhammad said “war is deceit/deception”, one of his commandments to the Muslim soldiers was “do not be treacherous.” [21] So there is a difference in Islam between deceit and treachery, the former which is allowed and the latter which is not.  Conservative Islamic apologist Bassam Zawadi explained it as follows:

Deceit in war simply means deceiving your enemy into thinking that your strategy is A while it is actually B. A perfect example is the deception that the Muslims employed on the kuffar in the Battle of the Ditch. Treachery means betrayal of a trust. Hence, you can deceive in war without being treacherous because you were never loyal to your enemy in the first place in order to have betrayed them.

This is similar to what Dr. Hans Mortensen said as I quoted above, namely that there is a mutual expectation of deceit/deception during war.

The ultraconservative Islamic website,, explains the difference between deceit/deception and treachery:

[Question:] Does Islam permit deception in war? Is this considered to be betrayal and treachery?

[Answer:] Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah has forbidden treachery and has condemned those who do it. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“They are those with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time and they do not fear Allaah” [al-Anfaal  8:56]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“Every betrayer will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection, by which he will be known.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6966; Muslim, 1736)

Al-Bukhaari narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: ‘The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘There are four characteristics, whoever has them all is a pure hypocrite: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise he breaks it; when he is entrusted with something he betrays that trust; and when he argues, he speaks in an obscene manner. Whoever has one of these traits has a trait of hypocrisy until he gives it up.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3878; Muslim, 58)

And it was narrated that Maalik said: “I heard that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Abbaas said: ‘There is no people who betrays their covenant but Allaah gives their enemies power over them.” (al-Muwatta’, Baab ma jaa’a fi’l-wafa’ bi’l-‘ahd)

Yet despite this condemnation of betrayal, Islam allows deception in war in order to attain victory. Al-Nawawi said: “The scholars are agreed that it is permissible to deceive the kuffaar [infidels] in war in any way possible, except if that would mean breaking the terms of a treaty or trust, in which case it is not permitted.”

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “War is deceit.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3029; Muslim, 58).  One of the most dangerous elements of deceit is taking the enemy by surprise and catching them unawares before they can get ready to fight. When the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) wanted to head for Makkah in order to conquer it, he ordered the Muslims to get ready without telling anyone of his intention until after they had set out for Makkah, and after taking all precautions to prevent news of that reaching the mushrikeen. And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to send out many raiding parties, and he would tell them to travel by night and conceal themselves by day so that they could catch the enemy unawares.

Although it is permissible to use deception in war, we say that Islam has attained a high standard of ethics with regard to the use of these tricks in war. Among the most prominent examples of that are the following:

‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab wrote to the commander of an army that he had sent out: “I have heard that some men among you look for kaafirs, then when they run to hide in difficult mountainous terrain they say, ‘Do not be afraid,’ then when they catch up with them they kill them. By the one in whose hand is my soul, if I hear that anyone has done that I will chop off his head.”

It was narrated that Abu Muslimah said: “ ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: ‘By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if any one of you were to point to the sky [i.e., a gesture to imply that he will not harm him] to make a mushrik come down to him and then kill him, I would kill him for that.’”

Islam has forbidden treachery, and treachery is not one of the kinds of tricks and deception that are permitted in war. This Islamic sharee’ah makes a distinction between the kinds of deceit that are permitted and that which involves treachery and breaks treaties. See al-‘Allaaqaat al-Khaarijiyyah fi Dawlat al-Khilaafah, 197. Islam Q&A Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

Notice the quote from the classical Islamic scholar who clearly said:

The scholars are agreed that it is permissible to deceive the kuffaar [infidels] in war in any way possible, except if that would mean breaking the terms of a treaty or trust, in which case it is not permitted.

According to Islamic law, the status of citizenship is considered a trust.  It cannot be violated.  Therefore, it would be impermissible for a Muslim-American to violate his American citizenship.  As such, it would be completely forbidden in Islam for a Muslim-American to plot against the United States of America.  Such a person would be resurrected on the Day of Judgment with the Banner of Treachery, according to Islamic theology.

According to Islamic law, when a person enters a non-Muslim country using a visa, by doing so he enters into a covenant of peace with them.  It thereby becomes forbidden for such a person to plot against them, and their wealth, lives, and property are considered sacrosanct.  As the classical Islamic jurist Imam Shafi’i opined: “If he is safe from them, they should be safe from him.”  In other words, a Muslim may not plot against the non-Muslims who allowed him to enter their country.  During the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad, a man named Mughira bin Shuba converted to Islam while living in the lands of the non-Muslims.  Upon his conversion, Mughira killed the men while they were caught unaware, and ran off with their wealth.  When Mughira fled to the lands of Islam with this wealth, the Prophet Muhammad rejected his action, calling it “treachery.”  The Prophet said: “The wealth…is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”  The ultraconservative Islamic website says:

When a Muslim enters a kaafir country, it is as if he entering into a peaceful agreement with them – which is the visa which is given to him to enable him to enter their country – so if he takes their wealth unlawfully, then he is breaking that agreement, in addition to being a thief.

The wealth that he steals from them is haraam. It was narrated that al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah kept company with some people during the Jaahiliyyah. He killed them and took their wealth, then he came and entered Islam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “As for your Islam, I accept it, and as for the wealth, I have nothing to do with it.” According to a report narrated by Abu Dawood, “As for your Islam, we accept it, and as for the wealth it is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”

(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2583; Abu Dawood, 2765; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood, 2403)

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:

The phrase “and as for the wealth, I have nothing to do with it” means, I will not touch it because it was obtained through treachery. What we learn from this is that it is not permissible to take the wealth of the kuffaar [non-Muslims] by treachery when they have trusted you and granted you safety, because when people accompany one another (when travelling), they do so on the basis of mutual trust, and that trust should not be betrayed, whether the other person is a Muslim or a kaafir…

Fath al-Baari, 5/341

Al-Shaafa’i (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: When a Muslim enters dar al-harb (the non-Muslim lands) on peaceful terms, and finds himself in position to take something of their wealth, it is not permissible for him to take it, whether it is a little or a lot, because if he is safe from them, they should be safe from him…

Al-Sarkhasi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not right for a Muslim who is on peaceful terms with them to betray them, because betrayal is haraam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every betrayer will have a banner by his backside on the Day of Resurrection, by which his betrayal will be known.”

If he betrays them and steals their wealth, and brings it to the Muslim lands, it is not right for a Muslim to buy from him if he knows about that, because he has obtained it in an evil manner, and buying from him is encouraging him in that, which it is not right for the Muslim to do. The basic principle in this matter is the hadeeth of al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allaah be pleased with him), when he killed his companions and brought their wealth to Madeenah and became Muslim, and asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to take the khums of his wealth, and he said, “As for your Islam, we accept it, and as for the wealth it is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”

Al-Mabsoot, 10/96

Al-Sarkhasi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: It is not right for a Muslim who is on peaceful terms with them to betray them, because betrayal is haraam. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every betrayer will have a banner by his backside on the Day of Resurrection, by which his betrayal will be known.” If he betrays them and steals their wealth, and brings it to the Muslim lands, it is not right for a Muslim to buy from him if he knows about that, because he has obtained it in an evil manner, and buying from him is encouraging him in that, which it is not right for the Muslim to do. The basic principle in this matter is the hadeeth of al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah (may Allaah be pleased with him), when he killed his companions and brought their wealth to Madeenah and became Muslim, and asked the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to take the khums of his wealth, and he said, “As for your Islam, we accept it, and as for the wealth it is obtained through treachery, and we have no need of it.”

Al-Mabsoot, 10/96

It is very clear: Islam does not permit Muslim-Americans to engage in treachery against their fellow American citizens, or against the American state.  Deceit/deception is only allowed against those with whom one is at war with, not against those who “have trusted you and granted you safety.”  Muslim-Americans are granted safety and refuge in the United States, and therefore it is not permissible to betray this trust, especially not by treachery.

It is not even allowed to steal electricity from the government, let alone plot against it!  The same website says:

Stealing phone time from a kaafir [unbeliever] state

[Question:] I decided to ask about…stolen phone time….Many people justify [stealing phone time] by saying that the government is not Muslim and is hostile towards Islam and Muslims, so we are entitled, indeed obliged, to corrupt their economy. So they regard this as permissible if the phones belong to the government.

[Answer:] It is not permissible for you to transgress against the property of this government even if they are kaafirs, because they have trusted you and have allowed you to enter their land on the basis of this trust, and you have promised to respect their trust and not betray it. Simply by entering their land you have given them this covenant and promise, otherwise they would not have allowed you to enter.  The Muslim should not break his promise or covenant deceitfully or betray a trust. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily, the covenant will be questioned about”

[al-Isra’ 17:34]

“O you who believe! Fulfil (your) obligations”

[al-Maa’idah 5:1]

And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust.” Agreed upon; narrated from Abu Hurayrah. Muslim added: “… even though he prays and fasts and claims to be a Muslim.”

Notice that this ultraconservative Islamic website forbids even waging “stealth economic jihad” against the United States.  Treachery is not permitted at all.  The idea, then, that Muslim-Americans are conspiring against their government, supposedly because “war is deceit/deception”, is completely bogus.  It is alarmism of the highest order.

Although Robert Spencer will insist on interpreting the religion of Islam for Muslims, what is known to Muslims is that the deceit/deception being referred to by the Prophet Muhammad was simply fooling the enemy that one’s troops are located at X location instead of Y.  Or to make the enemy think that the assault will come during the evening but in fact it comes at noon.  To analogize all this to World War II, the type of deception that is permitted in Islam would be the Allies’ fooling the Nazis as to where the invasion would take place.  The forbidden type, i.e. treachery, would be the Nazis’ attacking the Soviet Union in violation of their mutual pact.

Do Robert Spencer’s Claims Sound Familiar?

Notice the title of Robert Spencer’s chapter: “Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill.”  And he says further that Islam “sanctions lying, stealing, and killing in order to advance Islam.” [22] Spencer’s claims against Islam are in fact frighteningly similar to those made against Judaism by anti-Semites.  Bein Yisroel Lo’amim, which describes itself as “a global Jewish organization with the goal of undermining the foundations of anti-Semitism that have led to so many tragedies in the past”, declares (emphasis is ours):

Many anti-Semites, in their efforts to vilify the Jewish people, have focused on certain passages in the Talmud which, they claim, prove that the Talmud considers gentiles [non-Jews] less than human and permits Jews to kill, steal from and cheat gentiles. Such propaganda, supported with inaccurate, misleading and out of context quotations, has always existed, and formed the substance of many Jewish-gentiles debates over the centuries. However, today the problem is perhaps greater than ever due to the widespread accessibility of this material via the Internet.

Just as anti-Semites have always claimed that Talmudic law “permits Jews to kill, steal, and cheat gentiles [non-Jews]”, so do Islamophobes like Robert Spencer claim that Islamic law “sanctions lying, stealing, and killing” against non-Muslims.  One hundred years from now people will wonder how people could have actually believed such nonsense about Islam, just as today we wonder how people could have believed such stuff about Judaism. And let’s be clear: the anti-Semites bring forth their “proof” just as Islamophobes do.  Anti-Semites quote extensively from the Talmud, the most authoritative book of Judaism.  For example, one anti-Semitic website cites the following proof from the Talmud:

Hitting a Jew is the same as hitting God

Sanhedrin 58b. If a heathen (gentile) hits a Jew, the gentile must be killed.

O.K. to Cheat Non-Jews

Sanhedrin 57a . A Jew need not pay a gentile (“Cuthean”) the wages owed him for work.

Jews Have Superior Legal Status

Baba Kamma 37b. “If an ox of an Israelite gores an ox of a Canaanite there is no liability; but if an ox of a Canaanite gores an ox of an Israelite…the payment is to be in full.”

Jews May Steal from Non-Jews

Baba Mezia 24a . If a Jew finds an object lost by a gentile (“heathen”) it does not have to be returned. (Affirmed also in Baba Kamma 113b).

Sanhedrin 76a. God will not spare a Jew who “marries his daughter to an old man or takes a wife for his infant son or returns a lost article to a Cuthean…”

Jews May Rob and Kill Non-Jews

Sanhedrin 57a . When a Jew murders a gentile (“Cuthean”), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile he may keep. Baba Kamma 37b. The gentiles are outside the protection of the law and God has “exposed their money to Israel.”

Jews May Lie to Non-Jews

Baba Kamma 113a. Jews may use lies (“subterfuges”) to circumvent a Gentile.

Non-Jewish Children are Sub-Human

Yebamoth 98a. All gentile children are animals. Abodah Zarah 36b. Gentile girls are in a state of niddah (filth) from birth. Abodah Zarah 22a-22b . Gentiles prefer sex with cows.

In fact, just Google the words “Judaism cheat Gentiles”, “Talmud cheat Gentiles”, and similar such search phrases, and you will find dozens of anti-Semitic websites.  In reality, they look no different than the sites geared against Islam.  Just replace “Judaism” with “Islam” and “Talmud” with “Quran.”  The anti-Semitic site I quoted above places a disclaimer that they are not racists, just as Robert Spencer always has to clarify that he opposes white supremacists who use his material.  The anti-Semitic site reads, in a very Jihad Watch sort of way:

The racist, white supremacist “Stormfront” organization has illegally appropriated this Talmud articles against our wishes and without our permissible.  (Legal action has been initiated and litigation is pending).  We are opposed to all forms of racism, whether “white Aryan” or rabbinic.

Those of you who follow Robert Spencer’s site will realize the similarities, even to the laughable “legal action has been initiated…”  (What ever happened to Spencer’s supposed litigation against whoever registered and redirected to his site?  I guess most court systems do not permit people to sue their own selves.)

Notice the similarity between the title of the anti-Semitic article, Truth about the Talmud: Racist, Rabbinic Hate Literature, and Robert Spencer’s Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion. Likewise, Jihad Watch claims Robert Spencer is “the acclaimed scholar of Islam”, just as the anti-Semitic website claims that the author of the article is the “foremost scholar of Judaism in the English-speaking world.” The anti-Semitic site is a bit more modest, in that it constrains it to “the English-speaking world” only!

The anti-Semitic site goes on to say that they are not racists, since Judaism is a religion not  a race.  Sound familiar?  It’s exactly what the Islamophobes say to justify their bigotry towards Islam.  And if they are pushed more, they might say they are only opposed to “radical Islam” just as the anti-Semitic site will claim that it is only opposed to “rabbinical Judaism.”  The fact that the Islamophobic rhetoric is so similar to anti-Semitic propaganda is worrisome indeed.

Ironically, Robert Spencer’s books against Islam read very similar to anti-Christian books as well. For example, Spencer has penned a book entitled The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran, a title remarkably similar to T. Joyner Drolsum’s anti-Christian work entitled Unholy Writ: An Infidel’s Critique of the Bible.  Spencer entitles chapter 6 of his book “Islamic Law: Lie, Steal, and Kill.”  How remarkably similar is this title to Drolsum’s section heading of “Biblically Sanctioned Lying, Killing, and Stealing”, the only difference being in the order of the words!  Drolsum argues that “there are numerous instances in the bible” of lying, killing, stealing, “often with God’s blessing”, which “appear to be something of a divinely sanctioned double standard” between believers and unbelievers.  He goes on to say that “God promotes killing elsewhere in the bible and is often directly involved in it” and that “Paul and others are willing to lie a little to further God’s truth (Rom 3:7; 2 Cor. 12:16).” [23]

Although I will refrain from commenting on the alleged “double standard” of the God of the Bible, I will certainly comment on the double standard of Robert Spencer:  how many times will I hammer him with his inconsistencies?  How many times will he be caught sparing no stone when it comes to Islam, while found living in the flimsiest of glass houses himself?

Lying About the Religion

Robert Spencer claims that Muslims are permitted to lie about their religion. Hence, Muslim-American spokesmen will come on television and routinely lie about Islam, according to Spencer.  However, the truth is that it is Spencer who is lying, and no such belief exists in the Islamic religion.  There are, as we have seen, only three permitted instances of lying, and this is not one of them.

In fact, lying about the religion is considered more heinous than a regular lie, and constitutes an act of disbelief (kufr).  It is classified as a “lie against God and His Messenger”, and leads straight to Hell.  For example, a Muslim is not permitted to say to a non-Muslim that beer is permitted in Islam, even if he wishes by this to entice the person to Islam.  Not only is this not acceptable, but such a Muslim would be considered an apostate from the religion, because he lied about Islam (which is considered a lie against God and His Messenger).  Similarly, a Muslim who denies that jihad is an active part of Islam is considered an apostate, which is why mainstream Muslims expelled Ahmadis/Qadianis from Islam.  (I will write an article on the topic of jihad in the future, and in that I will explain that jihad does not mean what many people think it does.)

There is not a single instance in the life of the Prophet Muhammad in which he lied about Islam or allowed anyone else to do that.  Spencer’s claim–that Islam permits lying about the religion to further it–is complete fabrication.  It is Spencer who is lying when he claims that Islam allows for lying about the religion.  The reality is the exact opposite: lying about the religion is completely forbidden.  This is why many Muslims are cautious about giving religious rulings, for fear that they mistakenly say something about Islam that is not really true.  If this is their attitude with simple mistakes, one can imagine the opposition to intentional lying.  The burden of proof is on Spencer to prove otherwise.

Lying to Further the Religion

Closely linked to the above claim is the idea, furthered by Robert Spencer, that Muslims are allowed to lie in order to “further the religion of Islam.”  This is, once again, a fanciful argument.  There is no proof whatsoever that Muslims are allowed to do this.  The burden of proof is on Spencer to provide a verse from the Quran or Prophetic tradition in which this is allowed.

What kind of vile religion would permit lying in order to further the religion, wonders an incredulous Spencer.  The gentleman doth protest too much.  Although some Christian theologians were staunchly against all lies, other major Christian thinkers were less particular about it, especially if it would further the interests of the church.  Martin Luther, the founder of Protestant Christianity, felt that “lying for the sake of the Christian church would not be a sin.”  Luther wondered:

What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church…a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies that would not be against God… [24]

Can one imagine Spencer’s reaction if an Islamic text said that “lying for the sake of the Islamic religion would not be a sin”?  But for some reason, this statement–ascribed to the founder of Protestantism–does not find Spencer’s ire.

And what about Spencer’s own Catholicism?  The Catholic Encyclopedia writes that “St. John Chrysostom held that it is lawful to deceive others for their benefit, and Cassian taught that we may sometimes lie as we take medicine, driven to it by sheer necessity.”  So would “deceiving others” to bring them to Christ be considered “for their benefit”?

The gentleman doth protest too much methinks!

Taqiyya and Kitman

One of the favorite buzz words of Islamophobes is “taqiyya!”  They translate it to mean “holy lying” (alternatively as “holy hypocrisy” or “religious deception”) and say that it is a central tenet of Islam that Muslims are allowed to lie to non-Muslims.  When moderate Muslim spokesmen declare Islam to be a religion of peace, Islamophobes like Robert Spencer will accuse these Muslims of “taqiyya!”  Spencer explains in his book:

The doctrines of religious deception (taqiyya and kitman) are most often identified with Shi’ite Islam and are ostensibly rejected by Sunnis (over 85 percent of Muslims worldwide) because they were sanctioned by the Prophet.  However, they can still be found in traditions that Sunni Muslims consider most reliable…When Shi’ite Muslims were persecuted by Sunnis, they developed the doctrine of taqiyya, or concealment…

Closely related to this is the doctrine of kitman, or mental reservation, which is telling the truth, but not the whole truth, with an intention to mislead.  Sunnis have also practiced them throughout Islamic history, because of their Qur’anic foundation.  Ibn Kathir, who was no Shi’ite, explains that “the scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation, or to refuse.” [25]

Taqiyya is a doctrine that developed in Shi’ism, exactly for the reason that Spencer stated, namely persecution at the hands of the majority Sunnis.  Based on this belief, Shi’ites could pretend to be Sunnis in order to avoid torture and death.  In other words, if a Sunni tyrant threatened to kill a Shi’ite, that Shi’ite could claim to be a pious Sunni and thereby save his life.  Although it is a Shi’ite-specific doctrine, it is true that there is some justification for such a belief in Sunni canonical sources.  In fact, Robert Spencer himself quotes the relevant Quranic verse, namely 16:106, which reads:

Anyone who, after having once accepted faith in God, verbally renounces his faith and of his own accord opens his heart to unbelief, on such falls the condemnation of God, and a tremendous penalty awaits such.  This, to be sure, does not apply to those who do it under duress if their hearts are full of faith. (Quran, 16:106)

If we read Azbab ul-Nuzul (The Reasons for Revelation), we find the context of this verse:

Said Ibn ‘Abbas said: “This verse was revealed about Ammar ibn Yasir. The idolaters had taken him away along with his father Yasir, his mother Sumayyah, [etc.]…and tortured them. As for Sumayyah, she was tied up between two camels and stabbed with a spear in her female organ…[and] killed. Her husband Yasir was also killed…As for ‘Ammar, he was coerced to let them hear what they wanted to hear [i.e. renunciation of Islam]. God’s Messenger was told that Ammar has renounced faith, but he said: ‘Never, Ammar is filled with faith from his head to his toes; faith is admixed with his flesh and blood!’ Ammar then went to see God’s Messenger, crying.  God’s Messenger used his hands to wipe Ammar’s tears, and said: ‘If they return to you, let them hear again what you told them’. Then Almighty God revealed this verse [16:1o6].”

Mujahid said: “This verse was revealed about some Meccans who accepted faith [i.e. Islam]… The Quraysh caught up with them…and coerced them to renounce their faith. It is about them that this verse was revealed.”

It amazes me that Robert Spencer would take any issue with this.  If Al-Qaeda captured some Christian missionaries and threatened to kill them unless they declare belief in Islam, would any sane person take issue with a feigned confession?  Even U.S. law takes into account acts done under duress.

This, i.e. renouncing Islam under duress, is the only application of “taqiyya” that exists in Sunni Islam, which 85% of Muslims follow.  Virtually all Shi’ites believe in a similar restriction of taqiyya.  Did some fringe Shi’ite sects of the past develop the doctrine of Taqiyya more elaborately?  I honestly don’t know because I haven’t studied such a topic (and neither has Robert Spencer).  I have read accusations by Sunnis against Shi’ism that say so (and Robert Spencer often reproduces these charges), but excuse me if I take that with a grain of salt.  It’s a bit like taking information about Catholicism from a fundamentalist Evangelical Protestant. But in any case, what is 1,000% certain is that Sunni Muslims do not believe in any other application of taqiyya except renouncing Islam under duress, i.e. torture and death.

Once again, we find Robert Spencer throwing stones from his glass house.  “Taqiyya” is permitted in the Judeo-Christian tradition itself.  Although there is some debate wether renouncing one’s faith is permitted or not, Judaism permits lying to save one’s own life., a website dedicated to expounding Jewish law, declares:

There is no question that Jewish law obligates one to prevaricate in order to save one’s own life or the life of another person.

Rabbi Michael Broyde writes:

It can be clearly demonstrated that lying to save the life of an innocent person is permissible. Thus, this lie becomes legally justifiable to save one’s own life too.

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin writes:

Jewish law condemns as foolish and immoral both telling the truth to an evil person and thereby enabling him to go on doing evil, or telling the truth to an evil person that leads to your [own] murder.

And he says further:

We are permitted to lie, or otherwise deceive, unscrupulous people even if we only suspect that our lives may be in danger. [26]

The Christian tradition has generally been less tolerant towards lying, as Rabbi Telushkin explains:

Some of the greatest figures in Christian theology and Western thought have argued that lying is always wrong, even when life is at stake. Saint Augustine, the great fourth-century Church Father (in his treatise “On Lying”) argued that lying bars one from eternal life; hence, it makes no sense to give up one’s place in the next world to save another life if it means having to lie: “Does he not speak most perversely who says that one person ought to die spiritually, so another may live? …Since, then, eternal life is lost by lying, a lie may never be told for the preservation of the temporal life of another.”

Some fifteen hundred years after Saint Augustine, Immanuel Kant, in an effort to establish a universally binding secular ethic, also condemned all lying, whatever the circumstances. Thus, Kant taught (in his Critique of Practical Reason) that if a man fleeing for his life is hiding in our house, and the would-be murderer asks whether “our friend who is pursued by him has taken refuge in our house,” we are forbidden to lie or mislead him.

The Catholic Encyclopedia expounds:

According to the common Catholic teaching it is never allowable to tell a lie, not even to save human life.

The stricter Christian position can be partially explained by the fact that after the rise of Augustine the Christians were never generally faced with a situation like the Inquisition.  In other words, they had the convenience of theorizing about the greatness of martyrs, without facing the fear of having their religion being wiped off the face of the earth by those in power.  (Contrary to the misconception harbored by Islamophobes, the Christians under Islamic law were generally never forced to convert en mass to Islam as Jews and Muslims were in many parts of Christendom.)

After World War II, this absolutist position against lying became less tenable.  The question arose: was it permissible to lie to Nazi stormtroopers when they ask you “are you hiding any Jews in your attic?” Should we now berate Robert Spencer’s Catholic faith, and say that it is his faith that is responsible for the killing of so many Jews during the Holocaust? Should we impugn his entire faith for the lackluster response of the Catholic church to the plight of Jews during this period of intense persecution?

In any case, many Christians now believe that lying to save life is generally permitted. Christian professor Dr. Michael Heiser includes the question “Are you hiding Jews in your attic?” as one of those instances in which it is permitted to lie.  Surely this is the more sensible position.  If the church permitted lying to further Christianity, as Martin Luther and others believed, then surely it would be permitted to lie to save life.

Eric Sammons, a Catholic speaker and head of evangelization at St. John Neumann parish, writes (emphasis is ours):

Can we lie to save lives?

One of the classic moral dilemmas of the 20th century was the case of hiding Jews during Nazi Germany. If a Nazi officer comes to the door asking if any Jews are in the house, are you morally permitted to lie to the officer in order to protect the lives of those Jews hiding within? …The answer is that telling an untruth in such a situation is not a lie, and therefore it can be moral to be deceptive in such situations…So we cannot “lie” to save a life, but we can tell an untruth if necessary, but in doing so, that is not a lie.

Similarly, Islamic jurists discussed and debated this situation.  Their rulings are remarkably similar to Jewish and Christian opinions on the matter.  George F. Hourani discusses how Islamic jurists of one theological school argued that lying was permitted in such a case, whereas another argued “one can always escape from such a dilemma by insinuations or silence…[instead of] a direct lie.” [27] An application of this came during World War II, when for example a French mosque hid and saved almost two thousand Jews from their Nazi tormentors.  Is this the kitman (i.e. “mental reservation” or “half-truths”) that Spencer so opposes?

All three Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) discussed the hypothetical situation in which hoodlums–bent on murdering a man hiding inside your house–knock on your door and ask if that man is inside.  The Jewish tradition, as we have seen, is unequivocal in the fact that in this case lying is permitted. As for Christianity, the Catholic Encyclopedia says (emphasis is ours):

According to the common Catholic teaching it is never allowable to tell a lie, not even to save human life. A lie is something intrinsically evil, and as evil may not be done that good may come of it, we are never allowed to tell a lie. However, we are also under an obligation to keep secrets faithfully, and sometimes the easiest way of fulfilling that duty is to say what is false, or to tell a lie. Writers of all creeds and of none, both ancient and modern, have frankly accepted this position. They admit the doctrine of the lie of necessity, and maintain that when there is a conflict between justice and veracity it is justice that should prevail. The common Catholic teaching has formulated the theory of mental reservation as a means by which the claims of both justice and veracity can be satisfied.

The entry goes on to talk about the Catholic doctrine of “mental reservation”.  If, for example, hoodlums demand to know if a man is hiding inside your home, it is permissible to deceive them using mental reservation:

Such expressions as “He is not at home” were called equivocations, or amphibologies, and when there was good reason for using them their lawfulness was admitted by all. If the person inquired for was really at home, but did not wish to see the visitor, the meaning of the phrase “He is not at home” was restricted by the mind of the speaker to this sense, “He is not at home for you, or to see you.” Hence equivocations and amphibologies came to be called mental restrictions or reservations…

All Catholic writers were, and are, agreed that when there is good reason, such expressions as the above may be made use of, and that they are not lies. Those who hear them may understand them in a sense which is not true, but their self-deception may be permitted by the speaker for a good reason.

Deception using “mental reservation” is therefore permitted in Catholicism, if for “a good reason.”  What’s quite surprising is that this is in fact the exact same belief in Shi’ism that Robert Spencer takes offense to, namely kitman.  Let’s recall Spencer’s own definition of kitman, as follows:

Closely related to this [i.e. taqiyya] is the doctrine of kitman, or mental reservation, which is telling the truth, but not the whole truth, with an intention to mislead. [28]

What is truly mind-boggling is that Robert Spencer takes offense to kitman which he himself translates as “mental reservation” when in fact his own religious creed believes in mental reservation!  Spencer didn’t even choose to translate the word kitman differently! To reiterate: Spencer opposes Shi’ite Islam’s belief in mental reservation, but either ignores or is oblivious to the Catholic doctrine in support of mental reservation!  This is truly amazing, and really makes me think that Spencer seriously thought nobody would challenge his writing. His own religious doctrine sanctions the use of kitman if there is “a good reason” to use it.

When the Nazis rounded up Jews, many Jews claimed to be Christians in order to save themselves and their children.  This is “taqiyya” in every sense of the word.  (The word “taqiyya” is properly translated to “religious dissimulation” and is accepted in Judaism as it is in Shi’ism.)  Would Robert Spencer like to condemn these Jews for engaging in taqiyya?  As we can see, taqiyya and kitman are both found in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Of course, the reality is that most Muslims have never even heard of the words “taqiyya” or “kitman” until Islamophobes bring them up.  Usually what happens is that an Islamophobe will mention these words, and then the bewildered Muslim will have to go look up the meaning of these words, usually finding definitions on an Islamophobic website.  Taqiyya and kitman are obscure words that were only found in any real significance in old Shi’ite texts, mostly in regards to situations of mass religious persecution.  Today, these two words have fallen into utter disuse and are only invoked by Islamophobes.  Contrary to the claims made by Robert Spencer and co., taqiyya and kitman do not form a fundamental part of Islam.  Rather, these are two doctrines that have fallen into disuse and obscurity, and were in fact never developed doctrines in mainstream Islam.

Showing Friendship to Disbelievers Outwardly but not Inwardly?

In the same chapter of his book, Robert Spencer quotes verse 3:28 in the Quran, which reads as follows:

Let not the believers take the disbelievers for awliya (friends) rather than believers; and whoever does this God will have nothing to do with him, except by way of precaution when you fear them. (Quran, 3:28)

Spencer follows this verse by saying:

Remember that the next time you see a Muslim [American] spokesman on television professing his friendship with non-Muslim Americans and his loyalty to the United States. [29]

In this manner, Spencer uses verse 3:28 to support his xenophobic conspiracy theory: Muslim-Americans, especially their nefarious spokesmen, are just professing loyalty to the United States (“taqiyya!”) but in reality plotting to overthrow Western democracy to replace it with Islamist Sharia.  This is the basis for his alarmist claim that Muslim-American organizations are involved in “stealth jihad.” His claim seems outlandish at first, but he convinces his audience by pointing to the verse above, which says that you can only take non-Muslims as friends “by way of precaution”, i.e. taqiyya.  Spencer then quotes the tafsir (commentary) of this verse, written by Ibn Kathir, a prominent medieval jurist.  Spencer explains verse 3:28 as follows:

In other words, don’t make friends with unbelievers except to “guard yourselves from them”: Pretend to be their friends so that you can strengthen yourself against them.  The distinguished Qur’anic commentator Ibn Kathir explains that, in this verse, “Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers.”  However, exempted from this rule were “those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers.  In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.”

In fact, Ibn Kathir goes on to say:

Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”

Based on this, the Islamophobes argue that the Muslim-Americans, especially those pesky spokesmen, are smiling at our faces while their hearts curse us!  It’s right there in the Quran and the classical commentary of the Quran!

Case closed?  Not really.  A closer analysis of verse 3:28 gives another picture.  While it is true that many fundamentalist Muslims believe it is forbidden to become friends with non-Muslims, moderate Muslims believe the term awliya does not properly translate to “friends.”  Rather, the Arabic term awliya refers to a specific type of friendship, an unequal friendship to be exact.  It refers to a relationship wherein a Muslim is considered an inferior, receiving protection from the non-Muslim; in particular, the Muslim is at the mercy of the non-Muslim.  A better translation of the word awliya would be “protecting friends”, or simply “patrons.”  There is abundant proof for this, but to do the topic justice I will write another article on it in the near future.

Suffice to say, there are very similar verses in the Bible that seem to say that a Christian should not be friends with infidels.  In particular, 2 Corinthians 6:14 forbids being friends with infidels, i.e. “do not be yoked with unbelievers”, but many Christians understand it to mean “do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers”, very similar to how Muslims view 3:28 as referring to unequal friendships.

The prohibition of taking disbelievers as awliya is repeated in verse 60:1, wherein God says:

O you who believer, do not take My enemies–who are your enemies as well–as your awliya–offering them your love, even though they have rejected the Truth that has come to you, and have on the contrary driven out the Prophet and yourselves from your homes, simply because you believe in your Lord God!  (Quran, 60:1)

Just a few lines down, God clarifies that He is only talking about those disbelievers who oppress the Muslims by fighting them for their faith and driving the Muslims out of their homes:

As for those disbelievers who do not fight against you on account of your faith, and who do not expel you from your homelands, God does not forbid you to show them kindness and equity, for verily God loves the equitable!  God only forbids you from taking as awliya (protecting friends) those who fight you for your faith, and who drive you out of your homes and support others in driving you out.  Those who seek their protection are indeed wrongdoers.  (Quran, 60:8-9)

We see here quite clearly how the Islamophobes take verses out of context, reproducing the first part but not the second part which explains that the Quran is only referring to those disbelievers who oppress the Muslims.  Even if we–for argument’s sake–accept the definition of awliya as simply “friends”, the Quranic verse would only prohibit taking those disbelievers as friends who oppress the Muslims…not all non-Muslims.

Furthermore, 3:28 was revealed in a certain context: the Prophet Muhammad had begun preaching his new religion in Mecca, his birthplace.  The pagans of Mecca oppressed and tortured his followers.  As has been discussed earlier, the Prophet Muhammad gave permission to some of the weaker and more vulnerable converts to pretend to renounce their faith in order to avoid being tortured and killed.  (This developed into the Shi’ite doctrine of taqiyya.)  Eventually, the persecution reached such a level that the Prophet ordered his followers to flee to the city of Yathrib (Medina), an event that came to be known as the Hijra (Emigration).  However, some of the early Muslims were too weak to travel and/or were prevented from leaving by the pagans of Mecca.  It was these that were permitted to use “taqiyya” to save their lives.

The pagans of Mecca threatened to destroy the city-state of Medina, and with it the religion of Islam.  They established a network of spies in Medina, by reaching out to some of the non-Muslims of Medina as well as some of the Muslims weak in faith.  The looming threat of a pagan conquest of Medina caused many of the weaker willed Muslims to lose their faith in the Prophet; many of them sought the protection of the Meccan pagans.   It was these Muslims that the Quran was calling out in verse 3:28 and 60:1, urging the Muslims not to “take the disbelievers (i.e. the pagans plotting to overthrow Medina) for awliya (protecting friends) rather than believers (the Prophet and the defenders of Medina).”

The words “except by way of precaution when you fear them” was referring to those Muslims left behind in Mecca, reassuring them that they were not to be faulted for trying to save their lives (from torture and death) by using “taqiyya.”  However, a key point here is that the Muslims of Mecca were commanded to flee to Medina, and whoever did not do so was considered sinful, except those physically incapable of doing so.  The Quran says:

When the angels collect the souls of those who die in sin against themselves (because they did not emigrate from Mecca), the angels will ask: “What was wrong with you?”  The people will answer: “We were too weak on earth.”  The angels will say: “Was God’s earth not spacious enough for you to migrate to some other place?”  For such the goal is Hell, what an evil refuge!  Except those who are truly weak and prevented by the oppressors, those men, women, and children who have no means in their power to emigrate.  For these, there is hope that God will forgive them: for God blots out sins and forgives again and again.  He who forsakes his home in the Cause of God finds the earth wide and spacious, with many places of refuge.  Should he die as a refugee from his home, his reward from God is sure.  God is Most Forgiving and Most Merciful.  (Quran, 4:97-100)

Clearly, it is not appropriate to analogize the circumstance in verse 3:28 to the situation of Muslim-Americans today.  Unlike the Muslims of pagan Mecca who were tortured and killed if they professed their faith in Islam, Muslim-Americans have freedom of religion.  The state will not kill Muslim-Americans for being Muslim.  Yes, if Muslim-Americans are ever rounded up and sent to concentration camps, as some of the Islamophobes so desire, then in that situation a Muslim-American could use taqiyya to deny that he is a Muslim.  But what relevance is taqiyya when their lives are not at stake?  Even the verse that Spencer himself quotes, verse 3:28, says “except by way of precaution when you fear them.”  Do Muslim-Americans fear for their lives?  Spencer doesn’t even believe that Islamophobia is real, let alone the idea that Muslim-Americans fear for their lives due to their profession of faith, so how does this verse apply at all?

It would only apply to a situation such as the Inquisition in Spain.  And even in this case, the first option would not be taqiyya.  Rather, the Muslims would be commanded to emigrate to another place, such as to the Muslim majority world, wherein they could freely practice their religion.  Any Muslim who willingly stayed behind in Spain and pretended to become Christian would be considered sinful (and go to Hell!).  God would only forgive those Muslims who were physically incapable of leaving Spain, due to handicap or prevention by the Spanish authorities.  Therefore, we see that taqiyya is a last case option, and only when there is no other choice.  Even if a Muslim-American felt like he was tortured or killed for his faith in the United States, he would still have the option of migrating to another country.  Taqiyya would simply not be an option, and anyone who resorted to that would be considered sinful and Hell-bound.

Furthermore, taqiyya has nothing to do with lying about Islam, or lying to further one’s religion.  Rather, taqiyya simply means lying about one’s own faith, denying one’s Muslim identity in order to save one’s life.  So how does it make sense for Robert Spencer and co. to claim that Muslim-American spokesmen are “doing taqiyya”?  Those spokesmen are not only boldly claiming their Muslim-ness, but they are claiming to be the spokesmen of Muslims!  Surely, Spencer should only accuse non-Muslims of taqiyya; for example, nutty Spencer has alluded to the fact that President Obama may be a Muslim doing taqiyya.  But even that doesn’t make sense, since it is not as if Obama would be killed if he openly stated he was Muslim!

One astute reader of ours pointed out that there is a fundamental contradiction here: if the jihadists follow real Islam, then why aren’t they using taqqiya (which is supposedly a religious obligation)?  After all, Spencer says that it is the jihadists themselves who have supposedly discussed the advantages of using taqiyya.  If taqiyya means to lie about one’s religious belief, then why do jihadists like Al-Qaeda and co. not practice taqiyya?  Why do they openly advocate war and hatred against infidels?  Does this make any sense?  Surely it does not.

The reality is that Robert Spencer et al. throw around the word “taqiyya” with little care for its actual meaning.  It’s an attempt to prey on the ignorance of the masses, who have no idea what the word means.  It is quite sloppy rhetoric, with no real substantive value.

Kol Nidre

If Robert Spencer vilifies Islam because of the concept of taqiyya, then let him also vilify Judaism for the belief in Kol Nidre. This is a prayer said by Jews every year on Yom Kippur, which reads as follows:

All vows and oaths, all promises and obligations, all renunciations and responses, that we shall make from this Yom Kippur till the next–may it come to us in peace–all of them we retract. May we be absolved of them all, may we be released from them all, may they all be null and void, may they all be of no effect. May these vows not be vows, may these oaths not be oaths, may these responses not be responses.

Anti-Semites have used this Jewish prayer to vilify Judaism, arguing that it exonerates Jews from all truth-telling to Gentiles (non-Jews): all vows, oaths, promises, and obligations to infidels–for the entire year–can be broken.  Just imagine, simply imagine, if this prayer was an Islamic one!  Imagine the reaction of Robert Spencer!

Jewish apologists argue, quite rightfully, that this prayer was historically used in a time of great persecution, and must therefore be understood in that context: Christian authorities were forcing Jews to take oaths against their own faith.  But an anti-Semite would not care for such details, and still rejoice in the fact that “Judaism allows its adherents to lie to infidels!”  How is Spencer’s argument against Islam any different?  If anything, due to the seemingly explicit text of the Kol Nidre, a stronger argument could be made against Judaism’s Kol Nidre than Shi’te Islam’s taqiyya.

Benjamin Sarlin of The Daily Beast noted the marked similarity between the Islamophobic taqiyya line of argument with the Kol Nidre tool used by anti-Semites:

“Have you heard of ‘taqiyya?’” [Geert] Wilders said, referring to a provision in Islamic law in which believers can conceal their faith in order to escape physical harm and persecution. “Taqiyya means Muslims can lie. They are even rewarded to lie, and they should lie. I’m not saying all do, but most of the time it’s Muslims living under non-Muslim rule in non-Muslim countries. Taqiyya means that they can fool and lie and are allowed, even have incentive, to lie until they become stronger and change their tune.”

The explanation bore a creeping resemblance to anti-Semites’ historic use of the Kol Nidre prayer on Yom Kippur, in which religious oaths made before God are declared void, to inaccurately claim that Jews had carte blanche to lie.

The white supremacist website boasts an article entitled Kol Nidre: Judaism’s License to Lie.  How remarkably similar is this to an Islamophobic website entitled Taqiyya is Islamic license to lie.  The racist white supremacist website explains what Kol Nidre is, and then asks the readers: “Can you trust your Jewish Congressman?”  (I’ll give you one guess as to what the answer is!)  And once again, quite similarly, we find that Islamophobes–such as this website that links back to Spencer’s Jihad Watch–asks about a Muslim Congressman: “Will he be allowed to practice taqiyya?”

If a Jewish person says that he doesn’t believe in Kol Nidre–at least not in the way the anti-Semite claims–then the anti-Semite nullifies this by saying that the Jew is just lying (and will be forgiven because of Kol Nidre).  Likewise, if a Muslim claims that he doesn’t believe in taqiyya–at least not in the way that the Islamophobe claims–then this will be nullified by saying that the Muslim is just lying (and using taqiyya).

An anti-Semite asks “How can a Jew take an oath of loyalty to America, when he is allowed by his religion to lie and disregard this oath if it benefits him or his people?”  Likewise, Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch argues that a Muslim-American taking an oath of loyalty to America is “the purest taqiyya, or kitman, or combination of both…” and that such “an oath, given to an Infidel polity” is invalid in Islam.

If we were to use the tactics of Robert Spencer against any other religion, including Judaism and Christianity, we could fill pages and pages with alarmist accusations.  For example, in his book entitled A Code of Jewish Ethics Rabbi Telushkin lists over thirty different instances in which a Jew is permitted to lie.  If Islam is to be considered a “lying religion” for permitting three instances of lying, then what can be said of a religion that permits 30+ instances of lying?  Rabbi Telushkin says that one of those instances of “permitted lying” in the Bible was with regard to lying to idolaters in order to kill them for their idolatry:

Jewish law normally opposes “sting operations” in which police or other government officials lie and attempt to bribe or otherwise induce a person to commit a crime…However, the Bible does record a “sting operation” that was set up to catch only those who were engaging in behavior that Judaism regards as abhorrent: idolatry.  Fifty-one of the Torah’s 613 commandments oppose idol worship.  During a spread of such worship in ancient Israel–a veritable life-and-death struggle betwene the God of Israel and the god Baal–King Jehu pretended to be a follower of Baal (as his father, Ahab, had been).  The king then invited the priests of Baal to a large religious gathering.  When they arrived, the Bible reports, “Jehu acted with guile in order to exterminate the worshippers of Baal” (II Kings 10:18-19). [30]

Can one imagine the reaction of Robert Spencer and co. if it had been an Islamic cleric that cited the Quran to claim that it is permitted to lie to infidels in order to kill them?

Spencer Tries to Slip Another Lie into His Work

As I was reviewing the section entitled “Lying: It’s wrong–except when it isn’t” in order to ensure that I had refuted each and every line Robert Spencer wrote, I noticed this doozie here:

Jihadists today have spoken of the usefulness of deceptive practices. [31]

Oh yeah, which ones?  Who and where?  What have they said?  Notice Spencer slips this in, without providing a single quote or reference to back his claim.  I’ve never seen an Al-Qaeda member or some other “jihadist” invoke taqiyya or kitman.  Far from it: they seem to openly declare their enmity and hatred for infidels.  They may have brutish beliefs, but they are painfully honest about these beliefs.  Although Al-Qaeda and co. operate sleeper cells, I’ve never seen any proof that they justify these based on any doctrine of taqiyya or kitman.  I’ve never seen any of the jihadists invoke taqiyya; instead, they vilify Shi’ites for believing in this doctrine.


The irony is not lost on the perceptive reader that Robert Spencer and the Islamophobes use deceptive arguments to claim that Muslims are engaging in “large-scale deception campaigns today.” [32] It is paranoid alarmism of the worst order, designed to spread anti-Muslim sentiment.  Spencer’s vitriol is similar to the anti-Muslim polemic used by the Church during the Crusades, which does not come as a surprise, considering that his book opens up with the Crusader slogan “Deus Vult!” (God wills it!) and the very last word in it is “Crusade.”  What is contained between “Deus Vult!” and “Crusade” is the propaganda needed to wage this Crusade that God so willed.

Taqiyya simply means that a Muslim can renounce his faith in order to save his life from torture or death.  The doctrine of taqiyya is found in Judaism, which commands its followers to save their own lives even by lying.  Many Christian thinkers also believe this is something permissible.  As for kitman, this means “mental reservation” (i.e. telling half the truth in order to mislead someone), and is a doctrine accepted by the Church.   Kitman is also accepted in Judaism.

If Muslims are to be vilified for believing in lying and using deceit in war, then Jews are to be condemned even more for believing that lying is permissible to kill idolaters for their idolatry.  If Muslims are to be vilified for allowing lying to save life, then Christians are to be vilified more for the belief that lying is permitted to further the interests of the Church.  Naturally, our opponents will balk and cry “tu quoque, tu quoque!”  They wish Islam to be judged by a standard that their own religious belief cannot withstand.  These Islamophobes engage in “mental reservation” when they mention half-truths about Islam.  One must wonder if Robert Spencer believes it is permissible to lie in order to further the interests of the Catholic church?  Considering that he is a fervent anti-Muslim Catholic apologist, it would not be hard to believe.


refer back to article 1. Robert Spencer, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), p.79. ISBN 0-89526-013-1

refer back to article 2. Ibid.

refer back to article 3. Ibid.

refer back to article 4. Ibid.

refer back to article 5. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sahih al-Muslim

refer back to article 6. Joseph Telushkin, The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living, p.102. ISBN# 0609603302, 9780609603307

refer back to article 7. Ibid.

refer back to article 8. Ibid., p.104

refer back to article 9. Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol.3, Book 49, #85

refer back to article 10. Telushkin, p.103

refer back to article 11. see N.K. Singh’s The Prophet Muhammad and His Companions, pp.259-263. ISBN# 8187746467, 9788187746461

refer back to article 12. B’nai B’rith, Jewish Chautauqua Society; The Menorah: a monthly magazine for the Jewish home, Volume 33; p. 35. Menorah Pub. Co., 1902

refer back to article 13. Joseph Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics, p.429. ISBN# 1400048354, 9781400048359

refer back to article 14. Robert M’Cheyne Edgar, British and Foreign Evangelical Review, p.30. Published in 1878. Oxford University

refer back to article 15. Ibid.

refer back to article 16. Hans Mortensen, Christian Ethic: Special Part, Vol. 2, Published in 1884, p.233

refer back to article 17. Scott Gerwehr, The Art of Darkness: Deception and Urban Operations, p.32. ISBN# 0833027875, 9780833027870

refer back to article 18. Warren W. Wiersbe, The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, p.386. ISBN# 078144540X, 9780781445405

refer back to article 19. Spencer, pp.79-80

refer back to article 20. Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sahih al-Muslim

refer back to article 21. Sahih al-Muslim, #1731

refer back to article 22. Spencer, p.79

refer back to article 23. T. Joyner Drolsum, Unholy Writ: An Infidel’s Critique of the Bible, p.132. ISBN# 1434300374, 9781434300379

refer back to article 24. Herant Katchadourian, Guilt: The Bite of Conscience, p.44. ISBN# 0804763615, 9780804763615

refer back to article 25. Spencer, pp.80-81

refer back to article 26. Joseph Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics, p.428

refer back to article 27. George F. Hourani, Reason and Tradition in Islamic Ethics, p.104. ISBN# 0521035635, 9780521035637

refer back to article 28. Spencer, p.81

refer back to article 29. Ibid., pp.80-81

refer back to article 30. Joseph Telushkin, A Code of Jewish Ethics, p.430

refer back to article 31. Spencer, p.81

refer back to article 32. Ibid., p.79

132 thoughts on “Silencing Spencer: Taqiyya and Kitman are part of Judeo-Christian Belief

  1. Oh Danios, I’ve got this exam tomorrow and I know I won’t be studying now….am gonna read the article….your articles are too absorbing…sigh…

  2. Amazing researcg Danios. This is exactly the right way to fight bigotry and deception: with facts and truth. Only light can extinguish darkness.

  3. Yup, just read through the complete article. A few months back, Danios promised to deal with this topic and he’s really come through in style. Thank you sir!!

    Actually, I’ve learned a lot about Islam over the last year or so just from reading Danios’ articles alone, so in that sense, I kinda agree with Nonie Darwish that “LoonWatch are Imams!” LOL! 🙂

  4. Excellent stuff Danios! I find it amusing that although Taqiyya is “supposed” to be an Islamic practice, those who use it the most happen to be non-Muslims like Robert Spencer. Funny!

  5. Wow.
    Congratulations Danios. This may very well class as the very best bit of work you’ve done to date, and probably may rank as the best rebutall of anti-islamic work ever.

    Very comphrensive rebutal and a nice thorough dismantling of this “taqqiyah & kitman” garbage these guys have made out to be some major part of the Islamic doctraine when in reality, a vast majority of muslims have never even heard of it.

    I’m saving this for future reference should i ever cross paths with the ignorant fools you regurgitate this arguement.

  6. “On the other hand, when extremist and fundamentalist Muslims express their belligerent views, these are accepted as being “real Islam.””

    There’s a fundamental contradiction that no one is picking up, if the jihadists are real Islam, then why aren’t they using Taqqiya which is a religious obligation?

    Great work btw

    • Thanks everyone for your comments. Makes me feel that my work is not in vain!

      MesaTesa, I am not a scholar. Just a writer. I want that to be clear, because I am not a fraud like Robert Spencer.

  7. Epic Danios. Epic.

    Mind-boggling that the level of discourse has had to come to this. 15,000 words (!!) dedicated to dismantling what should be obvious slander against Muslims and Islam – but you have done an epic, epic job of dismantling this taqiyya myth once and for all.

    Can’t wait to see whats next. You’re a powerhouse, man.

    • Thanks, Nat.

      I totally agree with you that it’s amazing that we even need to write rebuttals about such topics. But such is the atmosphere we live in today.

  8. Thanks everyone! It’s really nice to hear that you guys enjoyed the piece. I’m sorry for being M.I.A. for so long. Work has been intense. Unfortunately I am not paid to blog, so I have to balance work and my writing! 🙁

    MP11, I added your point to the text. Thanks a lot.

  9. Next topic is refuting Robert Spencer on the topic of j-i-h-a-d!!!!! About 65% done with that article (actually more like a mini-book judging by how long it is).

  10. All the comments in this blog confirm the assertion that Muslims would kill to further their cause. The threats herein are frightening where even one viewer has SPencer’s real address of residence! Evereything in this site confirms the danger that Islam poses in the western world and why we should do everything to reduce its influence and growth.

    • Hey asshole, I was born in the United States, I am American, I served in the military, I’ve killed for my country, and I’m Muslim. Go fuck yourself.

    • All the words in your post confirm the assertion that Islam-bashers will kill common-sense and basic observation skills to further their cause. The threats herein are frightening where one commenter (you) has completely lost touch with reality! Everything in this post confirms the danger that stupid people pose to the Western world and why we should do everything to reduce its influence and growth.

      P.S: personally I think your comical words (with a few minor replacements, ofcourse) apply much better to you…:D

  11. I can’t wait for your next piece Danios. More, more! Spencer is looking like a Witch doctor indeed. Facts scare him like the light scares a vampire.

  12. Is this site owned by a Muslim or just a PC liberal appeaser for Islam? Just wondering.

    In any case, I’m sure the Islamic extremists who find this website will applaud your attempts at obfuscating and discrediting Spencer and his message. Unfortunately for you, all you have is ad hominem fallacies, whereas Robert has the truth about Islam, a truth that becomes more clear every time evil is committed in the name of Islam (daily).


    • You say “liberal” like it’s a bad thing. And for the record, my stance on Islamophobia has nothing whatever to do with political correctness; I’ve hated that bigotry existed in the world since I knew the meaning of the word. And that means bigotry against ANYONE, by the way, be they Muslim, Jewish, black, homosexual or anything else.

      Where Spencer is concerned, his arguments are refuted all over Loonwatch, including his central ones about jihad ( and taqiyya (this very article). We are not extremist Muslims (in fact, many of Loonwatch’s top posters and writers are former counter-jihadists themselves); I’ll bet fewer of us are liberal than you think as well. We’re just “a motley group of hate-allergic bloggers dedicated to monitoring and exposing the web’s plethora of anti-Muslim loons, wackos and conspiracy theorists”. (–Loonwatch “About” page)

  13. Muslims can’t handle the truth about their founder, that’s why you are censoring. Islam detests the freedom of speech.

    • Your comment was snipped for being off-topic. That’s really the only time I ever “censor” comments. Otherwise, I pretty much let everything else go, including you saying “go f*** yourself, danios.”

      Keep trying to desperately shift the topic away from the topic at hand, i.e. taqiyya/kitman and how they are found in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well.

      I suspect your desire to shift the topic of conversation stems from your frustration that you cannot refute anything I wrote.

      • Believe whatever makes yourself feel important on this sad knockoff of a website. I am not going to dedicate time to reading and refuting your diatribe, especially now that I know free speech is not tolerated and that you will simply pick and choose which points can be viewed.

        Ok, maybe just one that I happened to see while skimming…

        Oh yeah, which ones? Who and where? What have they said? Notice Spencer slips this in, without providing a single quote or reference to back his claim. I’ve never seen an Al-Qaeda member or some other “jihadist” invoke taqiyya or kitman. Far from it: they seem to openly declare their enmity and hatred for infidels. They may have brutish beliefs, but they are painfully honest about these beliefs. Although Al-Qaeda and co. operate sleeper cells, I’ve never seen any proof that they justify these based on any doctrine of taqiyya or kitman. I’ve never seen any of the jihadists invoke taqiyya; instead, they vilify Shi’ites for believing in this doctrine.

        Real descriptive. “I’ve never seen…” (multiple instances), “they seem to…”, “they may…” This is supposed to be a refutation? Is the rest of your scholarly output this dependent on your own point of view? And you criticize Spencer for not providing a source in this same paragraph. What a joke.

        Even *if* you managed to shoot down one of Spencer’s arguments, does that mean he is completely wrong in everything he says and does, which is what you are suggesting by operating this website? I don’t think so. Muslims are making his argument extremely easy to make because they are proving him right on a daily basis. You are the one who has to be the apologist and write a 15,000 + essay to try and establish a reasonable doubt in the minds of the unbiased. Trying to prove that Islam really is a religion of peace is going to be very hard for you, considering the facts and the evidence are all against you.

        • Hi Snackbar,

          If you are not going to dedicate the time to read the article, then it is beyond my power to force you to do so. 🙂

          As for your claims about “freedom of speech”, there seems to be some confusion in peoples’ minds about the concept. One can be one of the most ardent supporters of freedom of speech and at the same time censor ALL comments on his own website.

          Having said that, I only censor off topic comments. Notice how your post was not censored now that you stayed on topic? Good job!

          As for your criticism about the issue of Jihadists invoking taqiyya/kitman, I would kindly advise you that it is generally accepted that the burden of proof lies on the shoulders of the one who makes the claim. In this case, it is Robert Spencer who made the claim and I am challenging him to bring forth his proof. To turn this around makes no sense.

          As for claiming that refuting “one argument of Spencer’s is not enough”, that’s OK since I have already refuted plenty of Spencer’s arguments and will continue to refute more of them. In fact, I have promised to debunk his entire book. In any case, taqiyya/kitman can be classified as one of Spencer’s main arguments, and as I have demonstrated, it is bogus.

          Thanks for posting.

          • Ok, then how about you prove that Robert Spencer set up and redirected it to his own site?

            (What ever happened to Spencer’s supposed litigation against whoever registered and redirected to his site? I guess most court systems do not permit people to sue their own selves.)

            Another weak/faulty point that I came across while skimming. I would wager this sample is representative of the overall article. Not worth my time, and certainly not worth Spencer’s time.

            I think your ad hominems and creative photoshopping are your best chance at entertaining the sycophants that follow this site. Stick to those.

          • Snackbar,

            The evidence that Robert Spencer was associated with the website was presented in a few articles that we published long time ago. Feel free to post on those articles.

            Once again, you are desperately trying to get off topic. As iSherif pointed out, your comment has nothing to do with the matter at hand.

            Yes, I did mention it in my article, but only passingly and to mock Spencer for claiming that he was pursuing litigation. That question remains: what happened to Spencer’s “legal action”?

            Anyways, seems like iSherif has figured you out: you are trying to change the topic.

            Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Allah snackbar, you can’t refute anything Danios says so you resort to name calling, pretty pathetic, by the way isn’t it way past your bedtime?

    • Wouldn’t have been necessary if my comment about Muhammad (off topic on a website related to Islam, apparently) was not deleted.

      Although what more could I expect from someone who is arguing for Islam, and all the Sharia freedom hating elements it encapsulates?

      • Since you are not paying for this website, you have no business deciding what should be allowed on it.

        The simple rule that these webmasters have established (and a rule that a lot of forums have) is that the comments stay on topic. If you have nothing to say about the topic, then don’t bother commenting on it.

  15. “Another weak/faulty point that I came across while skimming. I would wager this sample is representative of the overall article.”

    Snackbar, it’s unlikely you only ‘skimmed’ through the article. I’ll wager that you did go through the whole article, picked up on those points where you figured you could put up some sort of lame defense and then claimed that your ‘samples’ are ‘representative of the overall article.’

    Let’s face it Snackbar, you are unable to refute the central point of the article and thus you are forced to nitpick. To prove us wrong, please deal with the central theme of this piece. Do you deny that the concepts of Taqiyya and Kitman are found in Judeo-Christian beliefs too?

  16. Snackbar, as is typical of people of your ilk, all you do is call fallacy without ever pointing out where one even took place (especially laughable since you didn’t even bother to read the article *facepalm*). If it isn’t worth your time, don’t waste ours with your butthurt diatribe. This goes for any other keyboard warriors who decide to come to the defence of the acclaimed scholar by posting bullshit that usually revolves around the terms ad hominem, tu quoque, taqqiya or kitman.

  17. I loved Snackbar’s point about free speech given that Spencer routinely bans posters (like myself) who disagreed with him and provided evidence of his bigotry.

  18. I just wanted to thank my readers for their input. I would also like to give a special “shout out” to “Patriot” who posts on Jihad Watch. Thank you for promoting our website and my articles. It is pro-active readers like you who make the difference.

    From one patriot to another,

  19. I forgot to add that this is a wonderful article Danios. I’ve also been waiting for your piece on Jihad, and I’m glad to hear it’s about 65% finished 🙂

  20. Spencer’s inane arguments flow with anti-Islamic bigotry and sentiment that seem to stem from the Enlightenment era when all French Philosophers argued that Arabs and Muslims needed to get out of their ‘ant holes’. Voltaire is probably his role model.

    P.S. Danios, could you perhaps add a PayPal link so we can donate to both LoonWatch and SpencerWatch?

  21. I would like your permission to use your piece , in a translated and slightly adapted form in Dutch to debunk
    Geert Wilders Taqqiyya claims for use on the Krapuul website .
    It’s one of the best most concise pieces on the subject i’ve seen to date

    • My articles can be freely reproduced and/or translated, so long as they are linked back to the originals on SpencerWatch or LoonWatch.

      Thanks for the comments.

  22. I too wish to add my thanks for your article, Danios. I echo iSherif’s statement about learning much about Islam just from your articles. This particular article was about as thoroughgoing as it’s possible to be, I expect, in showing what Taqiyya is, how reasonable it is when correctly understood, and that Judaism and Christianity both also (generally speaking) advocate the very same thing. In fact, Judaism and Christianity apparently go even further in what kinds of deceptiveness are acceptable!

    That someone like “Allah Snackbar” would think he/she could ‘refute’ Danios without even having read the article is just humorous. It’s really funny that he/she openly states that he/she couldn’t even be bothered to read what Danios wrote; but he/she nevertheless is sure that Danios couldn’t possibly have refuted that brilliant scholar Robert Spencer. 😆 When a person such as “Allah Snackbar” does such an excellent job of exposing his/her own folly, there is no need for someone else to do what Proverbs 26:5 says: “Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes”.

  23. I certainly enjoyed the article ..was one of the most awaited pieces ..Excellent job Danios..(u should really consider become an Imam…wat say?)..Just could’nt stop laughing me head off with the loony’s (allah snackbar)reaction ..I am sure there are a lot many loonies out there whose hands are itching to post sumthing in this blog…but they can’t do much as their evil master counting his last days in the blog world..

  24. Danios:

    Simply great work. I doubt even a muslim scholar will do such a indepth research. I always give reference to your writings in discussion at other sites.

    May Allah Bless You!!!

  25. Danios, you’ve done a fabulous job. I can barely imagine how much work you’ve put into this. Was worth every letter! 🙂

    Anyway this point especially grabbed my attention:

    On the same page, Robert Spencer opposes “the idea that Islam shares the general moral outlook of Judaism and Christianity.” In particular, “Islam doesn’t have a moral code analogous to the Ten Commandments.”

    I think Spencer is too lazy (or too dishonest) to do a very simple google search, which gives this:

    “The Ten Commandments in the Qur’an”

    I remembered this, because I had once read a string of consecutive verses that were very reminiscent of the 10 commandments, will have to search for that again. But this list will do to prove what kind of rubbish “scholar” this man is.

  26. Danios wrote:

    ***the Islamic prophet using deception in war to defend his city-state and religion from being wiped off the map***

    Another lie ?

    Perhaps the Pagan Arabs you claim were hell bent on wiping the Muslims out were unaware of this fact when they departed from the Battle of Uhud after they sought their revenge ?

    Heck, if you actually go back to the accounts, Abu Sufyan was well aware Muhammad was alive after the battle and chose not to go after Muhammad.

    Abu Sufyan and the Pagans chose the high road. After all, whole sale massacres of entire villages (despite your lies) were unheard of in Arabia until AFTER Muhammad became a self proclaimed prophet.

    But really, you should pat yourself on the back for your heroic defense of a mass murderer.


  27. JihadBob: Perhaps the Pagan Arabs you claim were hell bent on wiping the Muslims out were unaware of this fact when they departed from the Battle of Uhud after they sought their revenge ? Heck, if you actually go back to the accounts, Abu Sufyan was well aware Muhammad was alive after the battle and chose not to go after Muhammad. Abu Sufyan and the Pagans chose the high road.

    You make it sound as though that after defeating the Muslims in the Battle of Uhud,, the Pagan Arabs had their thirst for revenge quenched and so were no longer looking for another fight. Not true. As F.E. Peters writes, “The abortive expedition to Dumat al Jandal….was Muhammad’s only political act during a stretch of nearly eighteen months in 625-627 A.D. The long period of quietude, and the absence of any tangible profits from what had at first appeared an enormously successful enterprise (referring to the Battle of Uhud), may have emboldened the opposition once again to unseat the Prophet”. (p.220, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam)

    Wikipedia adds, “Abu Sufyan, whose position as leader was no longer undisputed, set about forging alliances with surrounding nomadic tribes in order to build up strength for another advance on Medina.”

    JihadBob:After all, whole sale massacres of entire villages (despite your lies) were unheard of in Arabia until AFTER Muhammad became a self proclaimed prophet.

    You really think so?

    • I agree, although it should be noted that not even the “cherry picking” has produced anything worthwhile for them.

      The Battle of the Trench was a defensive conflict for the Muslims. There is no question about that.

      But yes, you are right that this point, even if they could prove it wrong, is not crucial to the argument I made overall.

      Thanks for posting.

    • LoL.

      Surely not idiots like Danios and the rest of the morons at his well funded site ?

      Or has Danios refuted Spencer’s on Jihad warfare and Islamic supremacism ?

  28. The Battle of the Trench was defensive in nature.

    Assistant Professor Martyn Smith writes on p.137 of Religion, Culture, and Sacred Space (emphasis is mine):

    “The historical context…being related to the defense of Medina from the attack of the Meccans (who were then still hostile to Muhammad). This conflict, known as the ‘Battle of the Trench’ (for the distinctive form of defense that Muhammad and the Medinans adopted), took place in 627 AD.”


    • I’m not arguing that the battle of the trench wasn’t a defensive battle.

      Perhaps that confused you (though I don’t see how since my post was pretty clear and Ibn didn’t have trouble understanding what I wrote and my response was equally clear).

      What I questioned was whether there is real evidence to base your statement that the Meccans had sought to wipe out the Muslims of Medina. Would they have killed Muhammad (even though they did not at the battle of Uhub ?) Probably, but one person’s death is not a genocide.

      • Take a seat, son. Class is in session.

        1. You admit that the Battle of the Trench was defensive, so your argument is not at all relevant to this discussion, as you have already admitted the premise of my argument.

        2. You said:

        “What I questioned was whether there is real evidence to base your statement that the Meccans had sought to wipe out the Muslims of Medina.”

        Here is a quote from Ar-Raheeq al-Maktoum:

        “They [the Quraish] sent him [chief of Medina] a strongly-worded ultimatum ordering him to fight or expel the Prophet, otherwise they would launch a widespread military campaign that would exterminate his people and proscribe his women.”

        As for your weak sauce claim about the Battle of Uhud, the Quraish did not pursue the Muslims out of tactical reasoning: they had won the day, avenged their dead, and did not want to test their luck by pushing forward more.


  29. Pingback: Silencing Spencer: Taqiyya and Kitman are part of Judeo-Christian Belief | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper

  30. Brilliant! Absolutely brillaint, Danios! I really wish Spencer would agree to debate you. I’m sure he never will though. You scare him too much with your logic. That’s the problem with lying and making up all your arguments.
    Anyway, great piece! Waiting with bated breath for the one on Jihad. 😀

    • If it had too many links in it, then it probably got filtered. Comments that have too many links get filtered out. I tried it so I know.

  31. @Jihad bob,

    Personally i wonder why young Danios gives you clowns the time of day…

    Well done Danios, fantastic article as always. P.s. I think we should set up a Danios blog fund so you can write full time…

  32. Pingback: Taqiyya: The Ultimate Intellectual Cop-out | Islamophobia Today eNewspaper

  33. Danios wrote:

    ***and did not want to test their luck by pushing forward more.***

    I can’t help but question the wisdom of your statement knowing full well that by the time Muhammad and Abu Sufyan were exchanging words, Muhammad’s scattered army had fled the battle.

    There were no existing Muslim battle formations. The only Muslims still grouped together somewhere were the injured and weary men who found shelter, along with an injured Muhammad and Abu Bakr, in the cave from which Muhammad was once more threatening Abu Sufyan from.

    I can’t help but wonder *HOW* the Pagans could have ‘tested their luck’ at this point when there was no organized Muslim army to test it against.

    In fact, the Pagans on their way back sensibly decided to return to Uhud (they would have been on horses and the Muslims on foot) to find Muhammad and finish the threat off once and for all – I suppose this important detail blows your little theory out of the water.

    But the point is that if the Meccans were as blood thirsty as you have claimed – it would not have occurred to them well after the battle was (and well too late) that they should have killed Muhammad. Something like that would have been instinctual and they would have killed Muhammas along with pick off as many of the Muslim soldiers fleeing back to Medina as they could have.

    Once again, your evidence is weak in the face of opposing facts. [snipped for being off-topic]

    • JihadBob:

      Time to shut you up.

      The reason that the pagans did not risk pursuing the Muslims was because the Muslims (including the Prophet Muhammad) had fled to high ground, and it is atop the hills that the Muslims responded to those famous words that “we have avenged the dead of Badr!” Prof. James E. Lindsay writes on p.61 of Daily Life in the Medieval Islamic World (emphasis is mine):

      “The Medinese [Muslims] took refuge in the lava flows near the hill of Uhud north of Medina where the Meccans’ horses and camels could not pursue them. Muhammad and some of his followers defended themselves from atop the hill until the Meccans disbursed. Muhammad sustained some injuries and Hamza, his uncle and hero of early Islam, was killed.”

      Now you will probably change your user name out of embarrassment. Just be a man and admit you were proven wrong.

  34. Thank you.

    I’ve been wondering where the concepts came from, as I had never heard of any of this before the likes of Spencer brought them up, even after converting to Islam over 15 years ago and voraciously studying my new chosen faith.

  35. JihadBob: What I questioned was whether there is real evidence to base your statement that the Meccans had sought to wipe out the Muslims of Medina. Would they have killed Muhammad (even though they did not at the battle of Uhud ?) Probably, but one person’s death is not a genocide.

    You would have had a point if after the Battle of Uhud the Meccans simply left Muhammad(saw) alone and went about their own business. However, the Quraysh agreed to help the Bani Nadir against Muhammad(saw) afterward, showing that they were not completely satisfied with what had happened at Uhud. Thus, you are wrong.

  36. Great Job Danios! I appreciate the hard work you put into this work. I was born in a Muslim family and have been a practicing Muslim for nearly 40 years. The first and subsequently the only times I heard about Taqiyya or Kitman was from Islamophobes and bigots like Bobby and Pammy. Recently, this term has been taken up by a number of Islamophobes and it confused me a lot since I had never heard of such a ‘fundamental’ aspect of my own faith.

    Isn’t it funny! They ask Muslims to explain this or that aspect of Islam and if the explanation doesn’t fit their bigoted viewpoints, they cry, “Taqiyya”. Innocu’s title at Loonwatch says it all – it is an ultimate intellectual cop-out.

    Thanks to both of you and I did learn something about my faith from this article too. Keep up the good work.

  37. Part I

    Excellent article Danios, keep up the amazing work! The more these people get exposed for their hatred, the better it is for everyone! 🙂

    Just to add something to it, and sorry for the length but I hope it might be useful for all. The article refers to Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir of 3:28, but when we look at that in and of itself, as well as other established Tafsir, we get a much different picture.

    First of all, it’s nice of Spencer to use the shoddy English (Saudi) translation of the ‘abridged’ Tafsir Ibn Kathir from – so much for exacting scholarship! The site abridges (i.e. cuts out in supposed summary) Ibn Kathir’s own exegesis and is known for its duplicity both academically and by other Muslims. I also wonder how many other times he has used such publications rather than going directly to the Arabic sources, but that is another issue entirely.

    For a start, Ibn Kathir clearly states that this prohibition is in relation to ‘موالاة‘ (mawala). So do later scholars, including al-Shawkani, who is also used by those on the extreme a lot, so I will use him here.

    Now, this term ‘mawala’ is the 3rd form passive in Arabic, and denotes the act of protection/patronage being performed on the believers in this case. In the technical language of Islamic jurisprudence, this was the term used to refer to clientage (i.e. not quite as bad as a slave, but also not like an equal partner or ally – I am sure all the Islamophobes have much to say regarding this practice after the advent of Islam so know its practice well). In modern Arabic it still is used to denote a type of sponsorship, and Hans Wehr even notes that it refers to clientage in Islamic law. Other Tafsirs also make this immediate connection: al-Jalalayn simply glosses it as ‘يوالونهم‘ [lit. ‘their loyalty to them’, i.e. the believer’s loyalty to the non-believers], which makes sense considering the non-Muslims were generally seeking to exterminate the early Muslims anyway, so giving them loyalty at the expense of the rest of the Muslim community would not have been the best move of securing a continuation of the fledgling religion.

    Ibn Kathir is quite clear regarding the issue, including the section Spencer quoted from the abridged Tafsir. Ibn Kathir adduces a number of Qur’anic verses in the course of his overall argument, including 8:73 “The disbelievers support one another. If you do not do the same there will be persecution in the land and great corruption.” No doubt the latter persecution would be against the Muslim believers themselves as they were in the minority! It is at this juncture that Ibn Kathir writes the section Spencer cited originally. In a somewhat more literal translation, it reads as follows: “God forbade the believers to support the disbelievers, and from taking them as patrons, delighting in their friendship/attachment (سرون إليهم بالمودة) rather than the believers (من دون المؤمنين).” [The دون cited immediately above is still used in modern Arabic to refer to “rather than”, or “without”, giving a sense of exclusion]. The context for this is clear from the Qur’anic verse cited to support his own line of reasoning.

    Al-Shawkani explains this more clearly by stating: “In place of them; i.e. bypassing the believers to non-believers entirely, or in collaboration”(في محل الحال، أي: متجاوزين المؤمنين إلى الكافرين استقلالاً، أو اشتراكاً، )

  38. Part 2

    The hadith which Spencer quotes is definitely included in what Ibn Kathir says but he does not reproduce Ibn Kathir’s argument properly, nor any of the other three hadith following his citation, at least one of which would have lent itself to being skewed out of context much more easily for his cause than the one he chose to roll with. Smiling at someone whilst disliking them inside is, I am sure, something everyone has experienced at some stage. Hardly duplicitous, it usually refers instead to a situation where another has some type of authority over you and you have to ‘be nice’ to them or else your daily life can be made extremely difficult. Once again, this is no doubt due to Spencer’s reliance on the badly translated and abridged tafsir rather than the original Arabic (see above), which is only Ibn Kathir in Wahhabi-skewed digest form.

    Ibn Kathir says, referring to those ‘exempted from this rule’: “except due to fear in some places or times from their [i.e. the non-believer’s] evil ( شرهم), and it is prudence (يتقيهم) by external means, not internally or by intention.” [Interestingly, the term ‘prudence’ Ibn Kathir uses and ‘taqiyya’ come from the same trilateral root as ‘taqwa’ – usually translated as being God-fearing or pious – with all three instances relating back to the concept of being cautious and protecting oneself].

    From what I can gather, this means that in an extreme condition of fear, you can say something disparaging the religion by your tongue, as long as you don’t believe it in your heart, in order to protect yourself against this ‘evil from non-believers’ harming you. This is because, as the original verse (3:28) explains, “And God cautions you all about Himself; To God is your destination” [meaning, to be judged], and the following (3:29) “God knows everything that is in your hearts, whether you conceal or reveal it…” For a believer’s faith to remain safe, it is based on their intention and faith in their heart, even if pressed by dire need to do something ordinarily demeaning, including verbally rejecting the religion under extenuating circumstances. As Shawkani explains, it is “an exception from the general conditions” of things. (استثناء مفرغ من أعم الأحوال)

    I really don’t see how any of the actual Tafsir relating to this ayah fits in with the agenda Spencer has at all, and I’ve looked at a few in regards to this issue. Most of the discussion of tafsir scholars (apart from contextualising the verse) ultimately relates to a theological postulate, and most of the tafsir scholars I have looked at take many pages to discuss this creedal issue regarding turning to other created beings for support instead of believing that support comes entirely from God. Ibn Kathir himself discusses this, by relating the denouncing of belief by the tongue to the concept of being judged through citing part of 5:5, which says the following: “Whoever disbelieves in God after believing in him, except through compulsion, their hearts remaining firm in faith…”, which reinforces the above argument, as the verse goes on to discuss such rejection as being in vain and leading to punishment.

    Muslims have a concept of ‘tawakkul ‘ala Allah’, or reliance on God, to look after them throughout their daily life, and this is especially strong in troubles times or times of need. Indeed, many of the most famous Sufi litanies refer to this as a key cornerstone in achieving a high spiritual station. The famous North-African Sufi Ibn ‘Ata’ Allah al-Iskandari, for example, discusses it profusely in one of his texts translated as The Book of Illumination, regarding achieving a spiritually enriched life.

    The way that Spencer links this verse with the whole “war is deceit” issue and creates his own narrative is simply crazy – he is in effect making up his own tafsir to fit his agenda rather than reporting what existing Muslim literature says regarding the verses/issue in question! So much for reporting what Muslims say themselves in order to show Islam for what it really is!

    Again, keep up the good work Danios, and I can’t wait to see your other instalments of this series. 🙂

  39. Just another quick thought as well, one of the most often recited verses immediately contextualises this use of “awliya'” in the verse quoted by Spencer in his text, and the term “mawala” found as a cognate/synonym in the Tafsir. Most of the verse is a supplication to God. Found in 2:286, it states “You are our Protector (مولا ‘mawla’)”, reinforcing the point that the verse above – besides its immediate context – relates more to a creedal issue rather than an everyday occurrence.

      • You were linked to a lot of the Muslim blogs I read, like Austrolabe and Umm Yasmin’s Dervish.

        The Golden Years of the Australian-Muslim blogosphere.

  40. Hello Danios, I just want to say I really enjoyed reading your paper. I’d like for you to consider that most of the individuals that need to understand your words read and comprehend at a fifth grade level, if that. As such, I think it would be invaluable if you could write a shorter, less intensive version of this article for mainstream distribution. Just my $0.02.

    • Thanks for your input.

      However, I am a firm believer in writing thorough rebuttals, which is quite simply impossible if one sets a word limit.

      I understand and value your point, however. Eventually I will write “executive summaries” to all of my articles.

      Unfortunately, I am really busy nowadays due to work. When I do have free time I would like to spend it on my next rebuttal (which is fortunately or unfortunately much longer than this one)! Writing summaries right now would distract from that.

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  46. Great article over all. Really I enjoyed it a great deal. I can’t even imagine a response, but knowing Spencer’s style, I’m sure he’ll find some bigoted way to spit out more falsehood.

    I would also respectfully caution the author to be measured in his assumptions. Ahmadi Muslims do NOT deny the validity of Jihad in the manner indicated in this article. It made it sound like you are validating declaring Ahmadi Muslims to be kaffir/apostates – and doing so with an incorrect understanding of the stance of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on Jihad. I was quite disappointed to see such a well-researched article be tarnished with such an ignorant remark. Hopefully my understanding of what you said is incorrect.

    • Actually, Ahmadi Muslims have replaced Jihad of the Sword with Jihad of the Pen because today is the age of diplomacy not the age of warfare. It’s a good point but when the enemies of Islam will use all force available it’s no good standing there with a pen.

      That said, many Ahmadis believe Jihad to be allowed for self defence but overall they are pacifist. Ahmadis were considered apostates mainly because they believe in a Prophet after the Prophet Muhammad. Also, many Muslims were suspicious because Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s dismissal of Jihad was exactly what the British wanted at a time when Muslims and Hindus were uniting to demand independence and a bit of violence was expected.

  47. I will assume that your analysis of taqiyya is correct. But still it brings me to this consideration:

    1) there are an estimated 1.25 billion Muslims in the world;
    2) by the estimates of moderate Muslims (which I think we can assume to be more generous than not), 20% of Muslims are “funtamental/radical/etc” (ie 250 million Muslims consider themselves “at war” with the West);
    3) Islam specifically condones lying in war….

    So, how can you trust ANY Muslim since you can’t tell if they are lying about wanting to kill you until he breaks out the AK? I mean, this isn’t a situation where believing the lie is going to send you in the wrong directions from the mall…believing this lie will potentially kill you and/ore those you love.

    So, doesn’t the instinct for self-preservation demand never trusting a Muslim?

    • Can you prove that 20% of Muslims are radical. Try reading “Who speaks for Islam?”. The link to that book is in the top right of this site.

      “Islam specifically condones lying in war….”

      You blatantly haven’t read the article where it is proved that lying in war is part of Christian and Jewish belief as well as many other religions. Therefore, I could present the same argument to you about Christianity.

      And don’ t tell me Christians don’t deceive when it comes to war. Has George Bush found those Weapons of Mass Weapons in Iraq? No. I rest my case.

      And of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world how many have committed terrorist attacks? A very small minority. So statistically, any Muslims you will meet is not a terrorist and is just going about his life minding his own business. But as well as that, use your damn common sense. Why the hell do you judge people before you get to know them?

  48. Pingback: Does Islam allow deceiving non-believers? Taqiyya explained | Defend the Prophet

  49. Dear Mr. Danois!

    You have by means of your erudition and studious labours succeeded in showing that when it comes to permit lying and deception in certain fields of life, the Judeo-Christian traditions are equally as bad as the traditions of Islam?

    I wonder if you likewise could demonstrate the resemblance of Islam with Christianity with respect to the following text passages from NT: –

    …”Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.”…
    …”For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”…

    -In other words: a jihad without material weapons! And this is the one and only legitimate war in Christianity! Deception and lying is hardly a question in a war where physical violence and force is excluded.

    So where are the congenial hadith and quranic texts that likewise unambiguously rule out violent and physical warfare and retribution?

    (Under Moses and Joshua wars were instigated by God in order for God, through the Israelites, to exercise judgment on reprobate nations and fulfil the promise to Abraham through Isaac and Jacob/Israel concerning the portion of their inheritance (Psalm 105: 7-11). These Israelites were living rightfully and legally and by necessity B.C. and their means and achievements were corresponding to their predicament. Unfortunately the majority of Jews today and all Muslims still live B.C. (so do also many “Christians”) while faithful Christians live A.C. – after Christ.

    The only hope for mankind is that faith – and the just shall live by faith – and when we all come to that faith, we can beat our swords to ploughshares and our spears into pruning-hooks. Until then, wars and lies and deceptions will afflict the world.)

    Among other numerous texts worthwhile comparisons is this one from the passion story:

    …”Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.”…


    …“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”…


    …”not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” …

    How is it, that a childish cartoon portraying Mohammed as a dog or with a bomb in his turban can cause such demonic frenzy in his followers, that many Muslims are ready to kill in order to demonstrate their devotion to their caricatured human all too human prophet? Is that really all it takes in order to give full sway to Mr. Hyde? Where is the magnanimity of such a religion? Can’t Muslims see that by such reactions, they themselves validate their religion as a caricature and a subversion of true religion?

    Where is the provision and example for bearing ridicule and rejection in Islam in the same manner as the much more mean-spirited demeanour was born in the text quoted above: Silently and forgivingly–even to the cross?!

    It is only after that demonstration and by that man a righteous God can replace judgements in time and in this world with eternal judgements in the hereafter!

    Where is the corresponding righteousness of Allah in Islam?

    In order to highlight the real lying and deception of Islam, please direct me to text passages in the Quran and the Hadith where this theme is developed, because this is the one dominating, all encompassing symphonic theme in the New Testament: not to return evil for evil.

    In all friendliness:
    Happy New Year!

  50. Mubarak: “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.” …

    Amusingly, the Gospels record Jesus making plenty of unprovoked derogatory remarks about his opponents. For instance, he called the Scribes and Pharisees, “fools, hypocrites, blind guides, whited sepulchers, murderers, a generation of snakes”. The usage of “fools” is especially embarrassing given that in Matthew 5:21-22, he explicitly said “And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Thus, Jesus has condemned himself to the Hell in his own words.

    The insults don’t stop there. He would even make vituperative comments about his own followers! According to Matthew 16:23, he insulted Peter by calling him “Satan”.

    So much for turning the other cheek!

  51. This article destroys people’s false belief that taqiyya is part of Islam. It destroys this argument using a variety of methods, one of which is looking at Judaism and Christianity. Most negative commenters have only read the title and think that Danios had just attacked Judaism and Christianity but that is not the case. Danios is not Muslim and he is not looking to attack other religions. This article just disproved a belief held by Islamophobes that Muslims lie and are disloyal. This belief is dangerous because it used by Islamophobes, many of whom are Christian and Jewish, to justify not trusting Muslims and deporting them to other countries. Many of the Islamophobes holding this view, who happen to be Christians, wish to see Muslim countries destroyed by Nuclear Weapons.

    “-In other words: a jihad without material weapons! And this is the one and only legitimate war in Christianity! ”

    For this part of the comment you talk about Jihad. Apparently, an article destroying the Islamophobes’ argument that in Islam, all Muslims must wage war against Non-Muslims, will be released soon by this website. How can you say that a war with weapons is not allowed? Do you have no idea about Christian history, throughout which numerous wars have been fought including the Crusades which were considered Holy wars. Jesus may be considered a pacifist, but Christians following him and even Popes have not acted like him. Even with Jesus was some violent behaviour for example when he drove out the gamblers in the Temple and overturned their tables in his anger. For any religion to fully forbid the use of war is impractical and the major denominations of Christianity have not forbidden war at all. Like Islam, many Christian sects have devised rules that allow war in exceptional circumstances.

    “that many Muslims are ready to kill in order to demonstrate their devotion to their caricatured human all too human prophet”

    A “demonic frenzy” as you called it is not required by Islam. Muslims were told by many of their religious leaders to be calm and fight the blasphemy legally. Obviously, many Muslims ignored it but can you really blame the actions of a few extremists on all 1.5 billion Muslims? How would you like it if I took the example of Christian terrorists and blamed it on all Christians? There are also incidents of some extreme Orthodox Christians that have had artists arrested because they blasphemed against Jesus.

    “Where is the provision and example for bearing ridicule and rejection in Islam in the same manner as the much more mean-spirited demeanour was born in the text quoted above: Silently and forgivingly–even to the cross?!”

    Here it is: “when ye hear the signs of Allah held in defiance and ridicule, ye are not to sit with them unless they turn to a different theme: if ye did, ye would be like them. For Allah will collect the hypocrites and those who defy faith – all in Hell.” [Quran 4:140]

    There’s more verses that say something similar in which Muslims are commanded to be patient and show restraint and “turn away”. Yes, to “turn away”, not just turning the cheek but the whole body and to walk away. By the way, Christians have also responded violently to blasphemy and heresy in the past. For example, numerous Protestants were killed for holding beliefs that went against the Catholic Church. Numerous Catholics were killed for holding beliefs against the Anglican Church. Again read your history. You will realise that Christians have often behaved differently to how their scriptures commands them to. Similarly, Muslims often behave differently to how they are commanded by the Quran and Sunnah.

    “In order to highlight the real lying and deception of Islam, please direct me to text passages in the Quran and the Hadith where this theme is developed, because this is the one dominating,”

    Please, please read the article and don’t make assumptions from the title that it will only talk about Christians and Jews. The article deals with the hadith where “deception” is apparently mentioned.

    “In all friendliness:
    Happy New Year!”

    Happy New Year to you too!

  52. Great article, Danios. Masha’Allah, I always love reading your stuff. Recently I have been debating a lot in Right Wing Political Forums, and they keep throwing the word “taqiyya” all the time – now I know where to send them 🙂

    One thing I have issue with your article though is when you use the term “moderate muslim”. I hate that word – it gives the impression that we’re not “normal” muslims, but some lesser practising group!

    I also loved the way JihadBob eventually just stopped posting – he had no answer!

  53. I regret the fact that I have not have the chance to review this facinating article by Danios till this very late date.
    Will you please publish all your works in a book and make it easier for people like me to purchase the book and having it on a shelf as a reference in my home library,instead of keep printing out your articles one by one from the computer and file them. The money I spend on ink for the printer of the computer is becoming too expensive. It is less expensive to purchase your book or books,if you just publish it or publish them.


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  56. You try to malign Judaism and Christianity as allowing lying within their respective religions “as well.”
    The funny thing is that all the Jewish and Christian examples you gave were for saving someone’s FEELINGS from getting hurt, whereas Islam gives examples of war, hatred and annihilation of the infidel.
    No comparison, jackass!
    Plus, as I read your dribble, I look to the right and see an article entitled Jesus Loves His Enemies…and Then Kills Them All.
    So, you don’t want anyone to hate on Moosies, but you want to hate on everyone else. You’re pathetic and transparent.

    • “Try to malign”!

      Ha! Loonwatch has Christian and Jewish writers and readers so I find that hard to believe. Anyway, you couldn’t respond to any of the evidence presented in this article.

      The point was to refute Spencer’s garbage that Islam is unique in this issue when in fact his own religion advocates the same or worse.

      But it wasn’t just a comparison, the actual claims presented by Islamophobes against Islam were responded to as well.

  57. The funny thing is that all the Jewish and Christian examples you gave were for saving someone’s FEELINGS from getting hurt,

    It was the same for the Islamic examples quoted as well, ironically enough. Oops, looks like somebody didn’t bother to read the entire article before bravely trying to refute it.

    whereas Islam gives examples of war, hatred and annihilation of the infidel.

    No it doesn’t. That is a lie. Or maybe it isn’t a lie, and is just plain ignorance; as perpetuated by demagogues like Robert Spencer.

    So, you don’t want anyone to hate on Moosies, but you want to hate on everyone else.

    First, wtf is a Moosie? Is it supposed to be short for Mooslim? Secondly, you’re judging an entire article by its title. Real mature. Surprisingly enough, there is no hate found anywhere on that article. *GASP!*

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  59. Just a small comment…not really interested in having a conversation.

    While I found your article well written and well researched (I assume you did the best you could) the excerpts you pull etc. about the Jewish faith are obviously mentioned with an ignorance of Jewish customs and laws. (No offense meant with this…I really wouldn’t expect you to really understand them since you have no real reason to. )

    Just one major example: The Kol Nidre prayer said every Yom Kippur nullifying oaths for the coming year are for one reason only: We realize that we may make an oath (it’s as simple as doing an extra to a good deed three days in a row) and accidentally break it (by not doing it on the fourth day). Thus, the request is that because we do not wish to sin in the coming year, all oaths that we make should be null and void before it leaves our lips or actions. It does not mean that if we promise to do something we can sit back and relax because we didn’t make a vow.

    Like I said: good research just some flaws which are to be expected.

    (Jewish Law actually has many more minutiae than people realize when they quote those “terrible Talmud texts” etc. {Actually the quotations themselves shows a basic ignorance on the part of the quoter since the commentary is essential to the understanding; and there is plenty of commentary to go around.})

  60. What a thorough and well-written article. (I sincerely mean that)

    Towards the end, I was almost convinced that it’s been the Jews attacking everybody all these years. 😉

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  63. thank you so much for this! this topic really needed a refutation. inshaAllah i will share this article with others. PLEASE KEEP UP YOUR WORK AND REFUTE THE LIES ABOUT ISLAM.

  64. Pathetic attempt. Wish you had put in long hours for something productive, not pointing out(supposed) mistakes in one religion in order to devilify the other.
    What’s the use of this when we have examples of Zakir Naik and Deedat lying openly in their speeches, giving other religions bad names etc. These examples are enough to prove how Taqiya is essential for practising muslims.

    • @Loki, Lool, you use 2 Muslims who supposedly lie in their speeches, and conclude that “these examples are enough to prove how Taqiya is essential for practising muslims.”

      Firstly, even if these two did do that, you can’t analyse a religion based on the followers. In the same way, you can’t analyse (for example) the teachings of atheism based on a few atheists.

      Secondly, actually prove your preconcieved notion of Taqiya by citing scholarly references, not a Robert Spencer or Ibn Warraq book. They’re not Islamic sources. (Tip: don’t try and re-invent the wheel by trying to derrive Islamic laws yourself when you are probably not qualified to do so, as fuqaha have already derrived rules).

    • If you think it’s full of lies, then prove it.

      None of your Islamophobe buddies including Robert Spencer could refute this article. If you think you’re up to the task, then please go ahead.

      The author has shattered all Islamophobic arguments about taqiyya from the Quran and Hadith, which is why Islamophobes are keeping quiet about this article. Most Muslims like me had never even heard of taqiyya (the word is not in the Quran or Hadith) until Islamophobes brought it up.

      • me too ! in my entire life ive never heard anything called taqiyaa still font know how they keep coming up with it even asked my mother who has a masters degree in sharia and she told me she never heard of it and as for lying there is a famous hadith that practically every muslim know that says who ever lies incessantly shall be branded a liar in the after life and countless others

  65. Excellent article, well written, and addresses each of the false claims against Islam in a detailed way. No matter how many comments trolls and Islamophobes hope to leave under the article in an attempt to further their lies and distortions of fact, this article is a slap in the face of the LIAR.

  66. Wow that was a long, but interesting article. I must admit that after 10k words I may have skimmed a little so please forgive me if this has been covered.
    I am in no way Islamaphobic if that word means afraid or hateful of Muslims. I absolutely fear, however, a world taken over by Islam and ruled by Sharia and hate anybody that would push that world upon the unwilling, so if that is the definition then go ahead and label me.
    To my point…
    Of the thousands of people who died at the hands of Islamic jihadists in the past 15 years, how many knew that they were openly at war with those Islamists? How many of those incidents of attacks in foreign countries were not performed by citizens or foreigners allowed to enter the country trustfully?
    It is my opinion that although some notable and quotable people (skillfully compiled in your article) believe that treachery and lies are not permissible without open war or in a state of trust, that belief is not commonly shared by all the facets of Islam, not even by the most powerful and notable (ie, Islamic governments of the world that fund and support those treacherous attacks).
    It is all well and good to say that some Muslims are not like that, and it is all well and good to say that some non-Muslims are equally treacherous, but what do those points have to do with the fact that large numbers of Muslims do not agree and wage secret wars and treacherous attacks?
    Please forgive my ignorance of the stories of Mohammed, but did he not enter into treaties with the hidden knowledge that it was his plan to break them and attack when he was able? Does he not encourage this behaviour in his followers? To enter a treaty, creating a bond based on trust, with the complete intent to break that treaty is unquestionably an act of treachery in itself. He may have been at war when making the treaty, but upon its signature he is no longer at war and the shattering of truce falls specifically against the words that you’ve quoted.
    Thank you for your intelligent discourse.

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