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Tawriya: New Islamic Doctrine Permits ‘Creative Lying’

29th February 2012

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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. (Though tawriya is technically not “new”—as shall be seen, it has been part of Islamic law and tradition for centuries—it is certainly new to most non-Muslims, hence the need for this exposition and the word “new” in the title.)

The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as, “hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion.” Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g., 5:31, 7:26).

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.

Being a Muslim is like belonging to the Mafia: Rules only apply to others in your group; anything goes with outsiders.

5 Responses to “Tawriya: New Islamic Doctrine Permits ‘Creative Lying’”

  1. Cathy Sims Says:

    It’s more subtle than crossing your fingers behind your back, I’ll give them that.

  2. Jehu Says:

    Taqiyya makes good sense to me. After all, if by religious doctrine you’re at war with everyone outside Islam (and you define the other sects of Islam as not being ‘real Moslems’), then it being ok to lie to them makes absolute perfect sense. You’re not required to tell the truth to people that you’re at war with, as all warfare is by means of deception.
    This on the other hand strikes me as an out-there religious ruling, like ‘temporary wives’ (something some of my Sunni friends back in the day liked to make fun of the Shia about).

  3. Tim of Angle Says:

    Indeed, the parallels between Islam and the Mafia are astonishing.
    Rules only apply inside the group; anyone outside the group is prey.
    People who pay the protection money (jizya) get ‘protected’ but if they get uppity you can do what you want to them and they have no recourse.
    Women are effectively property; wives learn early on to keep their mouths shut or they can lose some teeth.
    Anyone who kills one of you gets whacked; if one of you kills an outsider, well, too bad for them.

  4. Dennis Nagle Says:

    The problem with ‘out there’ religious rulings, Jehu, is that Islam has no central doctrinal authority. Every Imam is a Pope unto himself, so to say.

    So someone can come along, adopt any ‘out there’ ruling they wish, and still be accepted within the Muslim community.

  5. Jehu Says:

    They have no central authority, but they frequently fight about such things, often in the military sense of the word. Sunni-Shia is just one of the many divisions—I think they all consider the Bahai to be heretics.