02 September 2010

Taqiyya--the art of the lie

This is what makes dealing with Islam very problematic for Judeo-Christian cultures. Our respective views regarding truthful speech differ greatly.

The Arabs have a story which exemplifies subtle, semantic dissimulation (taqiyya) perfectly. Legend has it that Mohammed’s nephew, son-in-law and future Caliph, Ali, was sitting on a stool outside his dwelling when one of his allies ran red-faced and gasping into the village and hid in Ali’s home. Perceiving that the man was being pursued, Ali promptly got up and sat on another nearby stool. A few minutes later, a group of angry pursuers ran into the encampment and asked Ali if he had seen the man they were pursuing. Ali responded with the statement “AS LONG AS I HAVE BEEN SITTING ON THIS STOOL I HAVE SEEN NO ONE.”


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