r8.2 p 744 The Prophet said,

“He who settles disagreements between people to bring about good or says something commendable is not a liar.”

This much is related by both Bukhari and Muslim, with Muslim’s version recording that Umm Kulthum added, “I did not hear him permit untruth in anything people say, except for three things: war, settling disagreements and a man talking with his wife or she with him (A:in smoothing over differences), ”This is an explicit statement that lying is sometimes permissible for a given interest, scholars having established criteria defining what types of it are lawful. The best analysis of it I have seen is by Imam Ghazali. If something is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish it through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible.

[…] Whether the purpose is war, settling a disagreement, or gaining the sympathy of a victim legally entitled to retaliate against one so that he will forbear to do so; it is not unlawful to lie when any of these aims can only be attained through lying.

But is religiously more precautionary (def:c6.5) in all such cases to employ words that give misleading impression, meaning to intend by one’s words something that is literally true, in respect to which one is not lying (def:r10.2) while the outward purport of the words deceives the hearer, though even if one does not have such an intention and merely lies without intending anything else, it is not unlawful in the above circumstances.

[…]  One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie, though if the reverse is true or if one does not know which entails more damage, them lying is unlawful.


r10.1 (Nawawi:) Giving a misleading impression is among the most important topics, being frequently met with and often abused. It befits us to examine the matter closely, and whoever learns of it should reflect upon it and apply it. Having previously mentioned that lying is severely prohibited, and the danger that exists in saying something without any particular intention, what follows below shows a safe alternative to these.

r10.2 Giving a misleading impression means to utter an expression that ostensibly implies one meaning, while intending a different meaning the expression may also have, one that contradicts the ostensive purport. It is a kind of deception. (A: It often takes the form of the speaker intending a specific referent while the hearer understands a more general one, as when a person asks a householder, “Is So-and-so here?” to which the householder, intending the space between himself and the questioner rather than the space inside the house, replies, “He is not here.”)

r10.3 Scholars say that there is no harm (def: p8.2(A:)) in giving a misleading impression if required by an interest countenanced by Sacred Law that is more important than not misleading the person being addressed, or if there is a pressing need which could not otherwise be fulfilled except through lying. When neither of these is the case, giving a misleading impression is offensive though not unlawful unless used as a means for wrongful gain or suppressing another’s right, in which case it becomes unlawful.

The above determine its permissibility. As for the hadith evidence, some of which permits it and some of which does not, it is to be interpreted in the light of the above criteria (al-Adhkar (y102), 514).


Something that is not true is not always a lie : [Bukhari 3,49,857] Mohammed: “A man who brings peace to the people by making up good words or by saying nice things, though untrue, does not lie.”

An oath by a Muslim is flexible: [Bukhari 8,78,618] Abu Bakr faithfully kept his oaths until Allah revealed to Mohammed the atonement for breaking them. Afterwards he said, “If I make a pledge and later discover a more worthy pledge, then I will take the better action and make amends for my earlier promise.”

Mohammed repeatedly told Muslims to deceive Kafirs, when it would advance Islam : [Bukhari 5,59,369] Mohammed asked, “Who will kill Ka’b, the enemy of Allah and Mohammed?” Bin Maslama rose and responded, “O Mohammed! Would it please you if I killed him?” Mohammed answered, “Yes.” Bin Maslama then said, “Give me permission to deceive him with lies so that my plot will succeed.” Mohammed replied, “You may speak falsely to him.” [Bukhari 4, 52, 268] Mohammed said, “Jihad is deceit.”

Famous cases of taqiya (lying in Islam)

 1) The late Yasser Arafat, soon after negotiating a peace treaty criticized as conceding too much to Israel, addressed an assembly of Muslims in a mosque in Johannesburg where he justified his actions: “I see this agreement as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca.”[41] In other words, like Muhammad, Arafat gave his word only to annul it once “something better” came along—that is, once the Palestinians became strong enough to renew the offensive and continue on the road to Jerusalem.

[Elsewhere, Hudaybiya has appeared as a keyword for radical Islamists. The Moro Islamic Liberation Front had three training camps within the Camp Abu Bakar complex in the Philippines, one of which was named Camp Hudaybiya.[42]]

2) Manipulative ambiguity and Semantics: Sheik Hilali  and the late Yasser Arafat are both on public record as (a) ‘condemning’ the 9/11 attacks, in ambiguous terms, to the Western media and (b) praising suicide bombings, or “ martyrdom operations”, to their Arabic speaking audiences. Islamic spokesmen will rarely unequivocally condemn a specific act of terrorism and direct questions will be skillfully evaded. (NB: because Muslims regard Islamic attacks as “jihad”, and not terrorism, their spokesmen can truthfully deny any support for terrorism.)


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