Some of our readers may have heard reference here or elsewhere to a particular concept of the Islamic faith known as “Taqiyya.” According to the al-Islam Digital Islamic Library, sort of a Shi’ite encyclopedia, it is a “thorny” topic that nevertheless requires “discussion.”
The word “taqiyya” quite literally translates as: “Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury.”
In other words, dissimulation, which means to purposefully hide something underneath a false appearance.
The concept of concealing one’s faith and the goals associated therewith from those who don’t share said beliefs is believed to have arisen early and become accepted on the Shia side of the Islamic split. It was used in order to counter persecution or threats coming from the Sunni side of the split, though Sunnis have also embraced the concept over the centuries as well, and adapted its use to further their own jihad.
Many Islamic scholars have gone to great effort to cite specific instances in the Quran that would support the belief that it is not only permissible, but even encouraged, for a Muslim individual to deliberately lie to non-Muslims about their faith or intentions, if doing so would save them from potential harm while at the same time not causing any harm to the Islamic faith as a whole.
Part 3 of al-Islam’s dissertation on dissimulation quoted several different suras from the Islamic holy book, two of which were suras 3:28 and 16:106.
“Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, (they) shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution (“tat-taqooh”), that ye may guard yourselves (“tooqatan”) from them,” read 3:28, which essentially stated that lying by way of precaution to guard oneself was acceptable and wouldn’t draw the wrath of Allah.
Sura 16:106 stated nearly the same thing, as “Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, EXCEPT under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith — but such as open their breast to unbelief, — on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Chastisement.”
The al-Islam site further sought to justify the deliberate use of deception by Muslims as being perfectly natural and merely the inherent instinct of self-preservation and survival shared by virtually all living things.
So there you have it, not from some supposedly “Islamophobic right-winger,” but straight from the Quran and the Islamic scholars that interpret and explain it on behalf of their faith to enlighten their followers, that Muslims are permitted to lie to non-Muslims in certain circumstances that are rather loosely defined.