Following are excerpts from an interview with Khalil Al-Zayyan, head of a Gaza-based association for reform in education. The interview aired on Al-Aqsa TV on April 5, 2009.
Khalil Al-Zayyan: [April Food’s Day] has no basis in Islam, which has forbidden this innovation. Lying, in any form, is forbidden. Of course, there are three cases in which Islam permits lying. In these cases, lying is necessary for Muslim society, and is not lying for the sake of lying, but is done in order to unite, and out of love.
For example, in order to reconcile two people, we can lie to one of them… When someone is angry, he might curse someone, using inappropriate language. When we hear this kind of talk, and we want to reconcile them, we might say to one of them: “He is saying nice things about you”…
Interviewer: Even if it is not true…
Khalil Al-Zayyan: That’s right. This kind of lying is deeply rooted in Islam.
Secondly, a man, is permitted to lie to his wife – not in all cases, mind you… He may tell her that she is beautiful, even though she is ugly. He may say such things for the sake of love and affection. He may say: “The food tastes good” – even though he doesn’t like it – in order to bring the family together and promote love and affection.
The third case in which Islam permits lying is in order to deceive the enemy – saying, for example, that a martyrdom operation will take place in Jerusalem, when it will take place in Tel Aviv. We deceive the enemy into taking security precautions in Jerusalem, so that a martyr can take advantage of this security lapse and blow himself up.
These are the three cases in which lying is permitted. I don’t know of any others.