Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:
The Prophet said, "War is deceit."
For some reason, Muslims have less of a problem with dishonesty than others I've debated. Sometimes, they outright lie. When called on it, they don't even react offended and just try again!
A common lie is just to ignore what you said in the previous message, or, better yet, what they may have said themselves. It's as if they don't think you'll save every message through your inbox. I've spent a lot of time cutting and pasting old messages just to remind Muslims of things I said or they've said. So - remember - save every message!
Always call Muslims out on the lying or use of fallacies as a defense. Never let them get away with it. Remind them that the worst form of lying is lying to oneself. This gets to the heart of the matter. If Muslims have to resort to lying to make their point - what does that say about Islam? If Islam is the "one, true religion," shouldn't defending it be easy?
It's hard to show you examples of lying from my messages with Muslims because you would have to see long message histories. However, there are some great examples from the public:
1. Denmark's most famous Imam, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Abu Laban, forged cartoons to push a political agenda. Sadly, this disclosure had no affect on the rampaging Muslim world as we all know. This was a religious leader lying. Read here, here, and here. One more.
2. Watch a short documentary here about Pallywood - just scroll to the bottom for the link. Pallywood is a phrase used to refer to stage news events by Palestinian and other cameramen to portray Israel in an unfavorable light.
3. An long list of Fauxtography links. Fauxtography is a key Muslim method of news reporting where real photos are purposefully mislabeled and/or photoshop is applied to falsely create intended drama around a fabricated story. One of my favorites is the one where an old, unused ambulance is falsely portrayed as the victim of an Israeli attack.
Why Muslims lie is an interesting question. I admit to knowing enough on the subject to explain the causes, but not enough to have a complete understanding. I may update this page as I learn more.
Let's start with lies that are sanctified in the Hadith:
Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them). (Sahih Muslim, Hadith number 6303-05; see also Sahih al-Bukhari 3.857)
So this Hadith is saying that you can lie to
1. achieve success in war
2. to bring about peace
3. to help a husband and wife reconcile.
You can also 4. lie to save one's life:
"The idolators seized Ammar, and they let him not go until he had abused Mahomet and spoken well of their gods. He then repaired to the Prophet, who asked of him what had happened." - "Evil, oh Prophet of the Lord! I was not let go until I had abused thee, and spoken well of their gods." - "But how," replied Mahomet, "dost thou find thine own heart?" - "Secure and steadfast in the faith." - "Then," said Mahomet, "if they repeat the same, do thou too repeat the same." Ibid. Mahomet also said that Ammar's lie was better than Abu Jahl's truth.
Taqqiyah is one reason (or the key reason) lying goes further. Dr. Walid writes, " Al-Taqiyah. Al-Taqiyah, from the verb Ittaqu, means linguistically dodge the threat. Politically it means simulate whatever status you need in order to win the war against the enemy ..." This is from a Muslim site:
"Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings,
opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or
later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury."
One more definition:
"A one-word translation would be”Dissimulation.” In Arabic the translation would be “hypocrisy in the pursuit of a greater purpose. And ……… "
I think you get the picture.
The definition of Taqqiyah gives liars enough leeway to take it as far as they want (how do you define fear of mental injury or pursuit of a greater purpose?). Moreover, it leads to a cultural mindset about lying and dishonesty.
There is a particularly Shia doctrine of Kithman, which is related to Taqqiya...here is a cut and paste:
Kithman is a command to deliberately conceal one’s beliefs. It is a particular form of lying primarily practiced by the minority Shia’ Muslims. This doctrine is articulated by Imam Jafar Sadiq, the sixth Imam of Shia’ Islam:
One, who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us.
You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honor him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him.
Mohamed (Mohammad) helped the dishonesty culture by setting an example. I gave an example above where he approved of lying about faith. Here's another from the Hadith:
Allah's Apostle said, "Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?" Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The Prophet said, "You may say it." ... (Sahih al-Bukhari 5.369, cf. the article on Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf for further details)
After the conquest of the city of Khaybar by the Muslims, the Prophet was approached by Hajaj Ibn `Aalat and told: "O Prophet of Allah: I have in Mecca some excess wealth and some relatives, and I would like to have them back; am I excused if I bad-mouth you to escape persecution?" The Prophet excused him and said: "Say whatever you have to say."
Imam Abu Hammid Ghazali says: "Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish 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." (Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveller, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, amana publications, 1997, section r8.2, page 745)
Note that Al-Ghazali is one of the most famous and respected Muslim theologians of all time.Now my 4 word summary: means to an end.
The culture of dishonesty and lying is so ingrained that Muslims lie to themselves without even thinking twice. The obvious question for a believer would be "if I'm lying in order to defend Islam logically, does that mean that Islam is illogical on its own?"
Here are some great sources that go through this issue in better detail (although there is the unfortunate Christian counterpoint as well).
Next...read the Koran
Here's a nice quote from Muhammad:
If you ever take an oath to do something and later on you find that something else is better, then you should expiate your oath and do what is better."
Sahih Bukhari 9:89:26