Islam by topic: Lying

Generally speaking, lying is shunned in Islam. However, there is a practice called taqiyya where lying is permissible under three conditions: battle, reconciliation of people, reconciling of spouses.  Muhammad advocated lying and he said lying against him would result going to hell. But generally, lying is to be shunned. However, the Christian must be aware that a Muslim can practice lying in order to advance Islam.

  1. Shun what is false
    1. Surah 22:30, "Such (is the Pilgrimage): whoever honours the sacred rites of Allah, for him it is good in the Sight of his Lord. Lawful to you (for food in Pilgrimage) are cattle, except those mentioned to you (as an exception): but shun the abomination of idols, and shun the word that is false."
  2. Lying against Allah is forbidden
    1. Surah 6:93, "Who can be more wicked than one who inventeth a lie against Allah, or saith, “I have received inspiration,” when he hath received none, or (again) who saith, “I can reveal the like of what Allah hath revealed”? If thou couldst but see how the wicked (do fare) in the flood of confusion at death!—the angels stretch forth their hands, (saying),“Yield up your souls: this day shall ye receive your reward—a penalty of shame, for that ye used to tell lies against Allah, and scornfully to reject of His signs!”
  3. Lying against Muhammad gets you hell
    1. Narrated Al-Mughira: I heard the Prophet saying, "Ascribing false things to me is not like ascribing false things to anyone else. Whosoever tells a lie against me intentionally then surely let him occupy his seat in Hell-Fire." I heard the Prophet saying, "The deceased who is wailed over is tortured for that wailing."  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #23, Hadith #378)
  4. Lying forbidden except in three cases:  battle, reconciliation, to spouse
    1. "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, Book #032, Hadith #6303)
  5. Lying is okay if it makes peace between people
    1. Narrated Um Kulthum bint Uqba: That she heard Allah's Apostle saying, "He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar."  (Sahih Bukhari, Book #49, Hadith #857)
  6. Muhammad permitted lying
    1. Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: 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 Bukhari, Book #59, Hadith #369)
  7. Permissible under compulsion
    1. Surah 16:106, "Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief—except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith—but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty."
  8. Permissible to break treaties
    1. Surah 9:3, "And an announcement from Allah and His Apostle, to the people (assembled) on the day of the Great Pilgrimage—that Allah and His Apostle dissolve (treaty) obligations with the Pagans. If then, ye repent, it were best for you; but if ye turn away, know ye that ye cannot frustrate Allah. And proclaim a grievous penalty to those who reject Faith."
  9. Practice of deceit is an optional - Taqiyyah
    1. Surah 3:28, "Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah."
      1. Note:  "Prudence [precaution] translates tuqāh, which some read as taqiyyah; the latter is more widely known and often translated “dissimulation,” though the word itself is etymologically related to “taking care” and “being wary” and is lexically related to taqwā, or reverence (see 2: 2c). Those who guard against them out of prudence are exempted if they fear death or great harm through persecution at the hands of the community in which they live, in which case they can hide their faith through words but not through actions, which is to say they can deny to others that they are Muslim, but they cannot then violate the major rules of Islam by, for example, murdering, stealing, or committing adultery under the cover of this denial (Q, R, Ṭ).(Nasr, Seyyed Hossein; Dagli, Caner K.; Dakake, Maria Massi; Lumbard, Joseph E.B.; Rustom, Mohammed (2015-11-17). The Study Quran: A New Translation and Commentary (Kindle Locations 8485-8491). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.)

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.