Sumayyah Meehan is a “Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam.” In this article she transgresses somewhat against her Khaleej Times headline, “Why Islam rejects lying and deception in all forms,” by detailing, quite accurately, the circumstances in which lying is permitted according to Islamic law — including “in times of war.” Which means now.
Some Western analysts claim that taqiyya, which is essentially religious deception, is an exclusively Shi’ite practice that is not condoned by Sunnis — and that only “Islamophobes” believe that any of it is going on today. Meehan here quotes a tradition of Muhammad that also appears in other hadith collections besides Tirmidhi, and is generally considered authentic by Sunni Muslim scholars. Will those analysts brand Meehan an “Islamophobe”?
“Why Islam rejects lying and deception in all forms,” by Sumayyah Meehan for Khaleej Times (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
[…] Islam rejects lying in all forms. However, there are a few instances where even Islam allows lying for the sake of brotherhood, which I will discuss later. Lying is something that almost everyone does, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. We sometimes lie without even meaning to do it! Like if an annoying neighbour calls on the phone and you tell your child to say that you are in the shower or otherwise indisposed so you don’t get stuck on the phone for an hour. That’s a lie. Other lies are more evil and salacious.
There are, however, a few choice instances where lying is acceptable in Islam. The reason they are acceptable is not to cheat or be deceptive with others but rather as a benefit and sometimes even a saving grace.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Lying is not permitted except in three cases: a man speaking to his wife to make her happy; lying in times of war; and lying in order to reconcile between people.” (Tirmidhi)
While these types of lying are tolerated, it is crucial not to step over the bounds of what is and is not acceptable. For instance, if a woman asks her husband if he is having an affair and the husband lies and says that he isn’t (when he is) to make her “˜happy”, this is not a permissible lie and actually not what the above hadith permits. This is a deceptive lie that the husband is using to serve his own agenda. However, if a woman asks her husband if she is the “˜salt of the Earth” and everything he imagined his wife would be (but he does not think she is at all), it is permissible for him to lie in the affirmative to please her, which in turn will create even more affection between them. The same applies during war. If a prisoner is captured by the enemy and perhaps asked how many soldiers are with his army, he can lie about the number in order to protect his own fighters. As for reconciling people, this type of lying is not meant to inflict harm but rather to be beneficial. For example, if someone accidentally reveals a secret about his brother to a third party and the brother finds out, it is permissible for a lie to be told so that the brothers will not break their ties of kinship over the mistake. However, lying about other things like property rights or things of that nature would not be permissible given again that they serve a greedy agenda that has nothing to do with maintaining the family bond….