Joe, I tried to have an open mind about your source, but picking through some of their citations, I have a hard time seeing this site as some sort of unbiased authority. Let me just go through a few.
Alright, so they start off with this:
Islam is the only world religion which allows, encourages, and even demands lying by its followers.
To back this claim up, they cite a text called Reliance of the Traveller
. Right off the bat, they're making a mistake. According to the wikipedia entry, this is not exactly something that Muslims
in general find authoritative. It represents the thinking of one school of thought within one legal tradition within Sunni Islam, Shafi'i. Anyway, the bit they cite from the manual is this:it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory..
This is actually kind of misleading. When read in context, the offending passage seems a bit more reasonable than they're making it out to be: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 (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying
is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if
the goal is obligatory. When for example one is concealing a muslim from an oppressor who asks where he
is, it is obligatory to lie about his being hidden. Or when a person deposits an article with one for
safekeeping and an oppressor wanting to appropriate it inquires about it, it is obligatory to lie about having
concealed it, for if one informs him about the article and he then siezes it, one is financially liable(A:to
the owner)to cover the article's cost.
I really don't see what the problem with this is supposed to be.
In any case, their claim that Islam is the only religion in which this sort of thing is considered permissible reflects either bias on wikiislam's part, poor research or both. For example, in the book of Joshua (chapter 2) Rehab
is depicted as heroic for hiding some Israelite spies and claiming not to know their whereabouts. (Which is not unlike the example the manual uses.) For this, she and her family are spared when the Israelites take the land. This would seem to be an example of permissible lying in a text considered sacred to both Jews and to Christians. Indeed, in the New Testament (James 2:25) she is used as an example of how one can be "justified" by their good works.
Lying for Islam is generally referred to as Taqiyya (???). Many Muslims will claim that this is not an Islamic, but a Shi'ite practice. Unfortunately, this is a lie. There are many verses in the Qur'an which condone lying and deception
To begin with, as nogodsforme pointed out, taqiyya
is indeed mostly associated with Shia Islam.
It's also a more narrow idea than lying for Islam
. It's lying about one's faith to avoid persecution, not for the promotion of the faith. With respect to the claim that the Qur'an condones deception more broadly, I found their examples of acceptable deception in the Qur'an to be mostly confusing:
Surah 2:225 relates to marital expectations and divorce, Surah 3:28, the passage you cited, really has nothing to say about lying, and then there's Surah 16:106 which is:Whoever disbelieves in Allah after his belief... except for one who is forced [to renounce his religion] while his heart is secure in faith. But those who [willingly] open their breasts to disbelief, upon them is wrath from Allah , and for them is a great punishment;
Like the concept of taqiyya the lying here relates only to those that faithful Muslims use to avoid persecution or who are relenting under the burden of persecution. But maybe I'm missing something here. Feel free to offer me a correction. I'm not claiming to be anything like an authority on Islam.
Another example they use is the case of a Jewish poet, Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf
. They write that in dealing with the poet, Muhammed "[allowed] his followers to use deception to silence critics":
Muhammad permitted a Muslim to “say what he likes” i.e. to lie in order to kill Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf, a Jewish poet who wrote an anti-Muslim poem which offended him. This is a clear case of Lying endorsed by the prophet in order to achieve the objectives of Islam, therefore Muslims are permitted to lie and kill in defense of Muhammad, his character and Islam.
What's being left out is that he was not simply a "critic." According to ye olde wiki machine he was also an opponent in war. That seems like kind of an important detail given that most of these questions about when it is or is not appropriate to lie in various schools of Islamic thought seem to hinge on whether or not the truth would bring about adverse consequences and especially physical harm or death to Muslims.
With respect to your point about Surah 3:28,
For those of you who think you have Muslim friends, Koran 3:28 tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves.”
I think my problem with this sort of thinking is that it seems like you're asking me to entertain the thought, in some cases disregarding over a decade of experiences, that my mostly not very observant Muslim friends are in such deep cover that they've been pretending to be my friend since we were teenagers. I'm just scratching my head at how someone would have the audacity to write something like: "For those of you who think you have Muslim friends"?
Do you realize how insane that sounds to people who have close Muslim friends? I mean Joe, I've got family members that are Muslims. We're not enemies. In most cases the entire extent of our religious conflicts (and here I'm talking about family) is about me telling dudes to get their tropical ass off the cooler like Cane in Menace II Society.
It's not politically correct to say anything bad about Islam, and their propaganda and brain-washing have been quite effective. They are gaining more converts and power, and forcing their will on more people everyday, yet we continue to apologize for them and we're afraid of offending them. Even on a forum dedicated to atheism which often discusses the dangers and atrocities of religion, I get scorned for saying something negative about Islam. That's how effective their propaganda campaign has been.
Here's where I'm coming from. I have no problem with saying that Islam is false or that Islam can be dangerous. I have no problem with saying that there are many instances in which attempts to adhere to Islamic law result in just absolutely barbaric results. I just said it.
What I do have a problem with is singling out Islam as if it is uniquely dangerous, especially in the context of American life. I have a problem with you questioning my Muslim friends' loyalties based solely on your
interperetation of an aspect of their faith. I mean, we often criticize people of faith for "cherry picking" and rightly so. But what does that imply? It implies that there are people out there that pick and choose what they want to take away from their holy books. It implies that this passage that you're citing might not be something that many Muslims actually believe to be true. We often criticize people of faith for being ignorant of what's in their own holy texts and rightly so. But what does that imply? It implies that there are people that aren't even aware of the passages you're citing. We often accuse believers of engaging in SPAG, and again, rightly so. But what does that imply? It implies that people are interpereting their holy books to mean what they want
it to mean rather than their authors intended. It means that they can dismiss offensive passages as being outdated, nonapplicable, out of context, etc. We often roll our eyes at this sort of thing. We marvel at the contortions that people are willing to go through in order to make a particular passage acceptable. And we get frustrated when believers seem to decide what passages are or are not literal, seemingly based on nothing but the degree to which they find the passage difficult to defend. Some of us even mock them for this, joking that they've put on their magic decoder ring. But we often times just as quickly fail to grapple with what this actually implies about the way these people are experiencing and interacting with their religious faith.
Really, this is my problem with a lot of atheist critiques of religion. They rely on a sort of fundamentalist understanding of a given religion. That's fine if you want to argue about what's actually in the Bible or the Qur'an. But it's not particularly useful if we're trying to have a discussion about the ways that people of faith actually interact with them. I doubt, for example, that there are very many Muslims in this country that are going through their lives pretending to be friends with non-Muslims. If I'm right about that, then even a knock down case that this is contrary to Islam wouldn't change that. It would just mean that Muslims in this country relate to their holy texts in more or less the same way that other religious people in this country relate to theirs. And I don't see why this should be such a strange thought. I mean, it's not like there aren't Jews that eat pork.
Keep your guard up or your wives will be fitted for a hijab before you know it.
Can I ask what exactly you mean by this?
I live in Southern California. Do you think I should be worried about sharia coming here
? Should I also be deeply suspicious of Huma Abedin and Keith Ellison?
What do you mean?