What is “tawriya?”

I recently came across a curious word — “tawriya” — applied to the Muslim faith that I felt compelled to investigate. This comes after reading one person’s definition of “Islamophobe” as “one who knows more about Islam that he is supposed to,” so I want to be that person. Anyway, I did a search on tawriya, and came across a blog post penned by someone named Raymond Ibrahim entitled, “Tawriya: Islamic Doctrine Permits ‘Creative Lying’.”

He begins:

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.

Apparently, Sharia Law allows lying in three instances: lying in war, lying to one’s spouse, and lying in order to reconcile people. These are instances in which a Muslim can legitimately tell a lie without having to use the creativity provided for under tawriya.

Tawriya is a bit different, in that it requires “creative lying.” An example the author uses is the claim, “I don’t have a penny in my pocket.” The implication is that one has no money, when, in fact, he is carrying only dollar bills. He does have money, just not a literal penny.

There are two instances when tawriya is permissible: when the words used fit a hidden meaning, or when it does not lead to an injustice (as defined by Sharia, of course, not Western standards).

So when does tawriya actually come into play?

The writer concludes:

Of course, while all the sheikhs give examples that are innocuous and amount to “white” lies, tawriya can clearly be used to commit terrible, “black” lies, especially where the adversarial non-Muslim infidel is concerned. As Sheikh al-Munajid puts it: “Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a Sharia interest.” Consider the countless “Sharia interests” that run directly counter to Western civilization and law, from empowering Islam to subjugating infidels. To realize these, Muslims, through tawriya, are given a blank check to lie—a check that surely comes in handy: not just in trivial occasions, like avoiding unwanted callers, but momentous ones, such as at high-level diplomatic meetings where major treaties are forged.

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