Nidal Hasan and Fort Hood: A Study in Muslim Doctrine (Part 1)


This doctrine, which revolves around deceiving the infidel, is pivotal to upholding loyalty and enmity wherever and whenever Muslim minorities live among non-Muslim majorities. In fact, the Koran’s primary justification for deception is in the context of loyalty: “Let believers [Muslims] not take for friends and allies infidels [non-Muslims] instead of believers. Whoever does this shall have no relationship left with God -- unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions” (Koran 3:28). In other words, when necessary, Muslims are permitted to feign friendship and loyalty to non-Muslims, or, in the words of Abu Darda, a pious companion of Muhammad, “We grin to the faces of some peoples, while our hearts curse them” (AQR, p. 73). Taqiyya’s importance for upholding loyalty and enmity is evidenced by the fact that, just three pages into his treatise, Zawahiri has an entire section called “The Difference Between Befriending and Dissembling.” There he shows that, while sincere friendship with non-Muslims is forbidden, insincere friendship -- whenever beneficial to Muslims -- is not.

Again, Zawahiri quotes that standard reference, Tabari, who explains Koran 3:28 as follows: “Only when you are in their [non-Muslims’] power, fearing for yourselves, are you to demonstrate friendship for them with your tongues, while harboring hostility toward them. But do not join them in the particulars of their infidelities, and do not aid them through any action against a Muslim” (AQR, p. 74).

And therein lies the limit of taqiyya: when the deceit, the charade begins to endanger the lives of fellow Muslims -- whom, as we have seen, deserve first loyalty -- it is forbidden. As Zawahiri concludes, the Muslim may pretend, so long as he does “not undertake any initiative to support them [non-Muslims], commit sin, or enable [them] through any deed or killing or fighting against Muslims” (AQR, p. 75).

Again, we are reminded that the “moment of truth” for Hasan, who seems to have led something of a double life -- American major and psychiatrist by day, financial supporter of jihadi groups and associate of terrorists by night -- is the fact that he was being deployed to Afghanistan, i.e., he would have been aiding non-Muslim Americans against fellow Muslims (remember, he was “a Muslim first and an American second”). He tried to prevent this, getting a lawyer, to no avail. Thus, since he had taken deceit to its doctrinal limit and was now being placed in a position where he would have to actually demonstrate his loyalty to Americans against Muslims, it appears he decided to take it to the next level (see the following doctrine, jihad).

Incidentally, we also find that “he [Hasan] was going to be kind of the caretaker for [American] Muslim soldiers. Sometimes Muslim soldiers have a rift between what they’re doing and their faith,” according to Major Khalid Shabazz, an Army Muslim chaplain. “That person who is a leader needs to quell some of those fears and help them through that process.”

This all sounds well and good, but what, precisely, does it mean? If, as we have seen, Islam clearly forbids Muslims from aiding infidels against fellow Muslims, and if being in the U.S. Army requires American Muslims to fight non-American Muslims now and again, how was Hasan -- or any other observant Muslim -- going to “quell some of those fears and help through that process”? How, if not by merely instructing them in the centuries-old arts of taqiyya?

In part two, Mr. Ibrahim analyzes jihad, proselytizing, and spiritual calmness.