Tawriya: Islamic Doctrine of ‘Creative Lying’
February 29, 2012 By
The following article was originally published by the Stonegate Institute.
Perhaps you have heard of taqiyya, the Muslim doctrine that allows lying in certain circumstances, primarily when Muslim minorities live under infidel authority. Now meet tawriya, a doctrine that allows lying in virtually all circumstances—including to fellow Muslims and by swearing to Allah—provided the liar is creative enough to articulate his deceit in a way that is true to him....
As a doctrine, “double-entendre” best describes tawriya’s function. According to past and present Muslim scholars (several documented below), tawriya is when a speaker says something that means one thing to the listener, though the speaker means something else, and his words technically support this alternate meaning.
For example, if someone declares “I don’t have a penny in my pocket,” most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him—though he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies. Likewise, say a friend asks you, “Do you know where Mike is?” You do, but prefer not to divulge. So you say “No, I don’t know”—but you keep in mind another Mike, whose whereabouts you really do not know.
All these are legitimate according to Sharia law and do not constitute “lying,” which is otherwise forbidden in Islam, except in three cases: lying in war, lying to one’s spouse, and lying in order to reconcile people. For these, Sharia permits Muslims to lie freely, without the strictures of tawriya, that is, without the need for creativity....
As with most Muslim practices, tawriya is traced to Islam’s prophet. After insisting Muslims “need” tawriya because it “saves them from lying,” and thus sinning, Sheikh Uthman al-Khamis adds that Muhammad often used it. Indeed, Muhammad is recorded saying “Allah has commanded me to equivocate among the people inasmuch as he has commanded me to establish [religious] obligations”; and “I have been sent with obfuscation”; and “whoever lives his life in dissimulation dies a martyr” (Sami Mukaram, Al Taqiyya Fi Al Islam, London: Mu’assisat al-Turath al-Druzi, 2004, p. 30)....
Of course, while all the sheikhs give examples that are innocuous and amount to “white” lies, tawriya can clearly be used to commit terrible, “black” lies, especially where the adversarial non-Muslim infidel is concerned. As Sheikh al-Munajid puts it: “Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a Sharia interest.” Consider the countless “Sharia interests” that run directly counter to Western civilization and law, from empowering Islam to subjugating infidels. To realize these, Muslims, through tawriya, are given a blank check to lie—a check that surely comes in handy; not just in trivial occasions, like avoiding unwanted callers, but momentous ones, such as at high-level diplomatic meetings where major treaties are forged.