Leaving Islam



Islamic Honesty and Honor

By: Vernon Richards ([email protected])

Extracted from his book ‘Islam Undressed‘, available free upon request.

With regard to honesty and lying, Islam has some semblance to other religions. There are sections in the Qur’an (Koran) where honesty is praised as a virtue, and in a general sense lying is forbidden. The Qur’an says, "Truly, Allah does not guide one who transgresses and lies."[Surah 40:28]. In the Hadith, Mohammed was quoted as saying: "Be honest because honesty leads to goodness, and goodness leads to Paradise. Beware of falsehood because it leads to immorality, and immorality leads to Hell." This approach to communication and ethics is laudable, but unfortunately for many in the world, that direction appears to be intended as a standard limited to Muslim-to-Muslim relations, and does not necessarily apply to non-believers, whom the Islamic God 'does not love'. Unlike most religions, within Islam there are certain provisions under which lying is not only tolerated, but actually encouraged. Bluntly stated, Islam permits Muslims to lie anytime that they perceive that their own well-being, or that of Islam, is threatened. The book "The spirit of Islam," by the Muslim scholar, Afif A. Tabbarah was written to promote Islam. On page 247, Tabbarah stated:

"Lying is not always bad, to be sure; there are times when telling a lie is more profitable and better for the general welfare, and for the settlement of conciliation among people, than telling the truth. To this effect, the Prophet says: 'He is not a false person who (through lies) settles conciliation among people, supports good or says what is good."

Outlined in the Qur’an (Koran) and other Islamic sacred works is a description of the murder of one “Kab Ashraf”. In this carefully chronicled event we learn that the Prophet Muhammad specifically sanctioned the use of deceit and lies to kill a troublesome opponent. For some time after his arrival in Medina, Muhammad continued to have problems with various people who refused to acknowledge his claim to prophethood, and had several critics murdered prior to this Kab Ashraf. Kab, a prominent local, made it known that he did not believe in Muhammad, yet never lifted a weapon against any Muslim. He only voiced his opinion against Muhammad, and allegedly made up some unsavory poems about Muslim women. Muhammad saw him as a threat, and had him killed in the night. When Kab’s volunteer assassins sought permission from the Prophet to speak falsely to gain the trust of their victim, Muhammad replied: "Yes. … You may say it." Ibn Ishaq quoted Him as answering, "Say what you like, for you are free in the matter".

There are other events in the life of Mohammed where he lied and instructed his followers to do the same, rationalizing that the prospect of success in missions to extend Islam's influence overrode Allah's initial prohibitions against lying. An example similar to the assassination of Kab Ashraf can be found in the story of the killing of Shaaban Ibn Khalid al-Hazly. It was rumored that Shaaban was gathering an army to wage war on Mohammed. Mohammed retaliated by ordering Abdullah Ibn Anis to kill Shaaban. Again, the would-be assassin asked the prophet's permission to lie. Mohammed agreed and then even told Abdullah exactly what lie to tell. He instructed him to lie by stating that he was a member of the Khazaa clan. So when Shaaban saw Abdullah coming, he asked him, "From what tribe are you?" Abdullah answered, "From Khazaa … I have heard that you are gathering an army to fight Mohammed and I came to join you." Abdullah then started walking with Shaaban telling him how Mohammed came to them with the heretical teachings of Islam, and complained how Mohammed badmouthed the Arab patriarchs and ruined the Arab's hopes. They continued in conversation until they arrived at Shaaban's tent. Shaaban's companions departed and Shaaban invited Abdullah to come inside and rest. Abdullah sat there until the atmosphere was quiet and he sensed that everyone was asleep. Abdullah severed Shaaban's head and carried it to Mohammed as a trophy. When Mohammed sighted Abdullah, he jubilantly shouted, "Your face has been triumphant (Aflaha al- wajho)." Abdullah returned the greeting by saying, "It is your face, Apostle of Allah, who has been triumphant. (Aflaha wajhoka, ye rasoul Allah)."

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