Question: Is it permissible to deceive in order to avoid being pressured into sin?
Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
Thank you for your important question.
Yes, it is permissible to use vague or deceiving language in order to avoid being pressured into sin.
For example, some teenagers are teasing another teenager and telling him that he is too chicken to drink. If he doesn’t have the moral strength to evade their influence, he could say something, like ‘I drink every weekend!’, meaning that he drinks water, etc.
That said, it is far superior to be straight forward about it and not use vague or deceiving language when possible. Furthermore, getting into a habit of using this kind of language is very dangerous and leads to lying.
Sometimes using deceptive and vague language is actually recommended or obligatory. For example, if someone forced you at gunpoint to divorce one of his wives, you could use deceptive and vague language to seem like you divorced one, without that actually being counted as a divorce. If you are looking after someone’s car and can use misleading information to stop it from being stolen or broken, it would actually be obligatory to do so (al Majmu, Nawawi).
This would be permissible as long it does not affect anyone else’s rights. If deception or intentional vagueness affects others’ rights, it is not permissible.
Khattabi said, ‘Sometimes we are forced in cases like this to embellish a little and bend the truth so as to get out of trouble and out of harm’s way. Essentially some element of evil (fasad) has been permitted because of the greater good (salah) that is hoped for’ (Maalim al Sunan).
When this tiny evil because a modus operandi and a Muslim basically lies his way through life with the “bona fide fatwa” that he can lie or bend the truth to get out of any and trouble, you know that he is not applying the Sacred Law properly.
‘Make sure you speak the truth, for the truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise. A man will keep speaking the truth and trying his best to tell the truth until he is eventually recorded as a genuinely truthful person (siddiq) in Allah’s eyes. Beware of lying, for lying leads to obscenity, and obscenity leads to the Hell-Fire. A man will keep lying and trying his best to tell a lie until he is recorded as an inveterate liar in Allah’s eyes’ (Muslim).
I pray this helps.
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language