The totalitarian nature of Sharia law can only be grasped when one appreciates how thoroughly it permeates and dictates everything in a believer's life—including when and to whom a Muslim may smile.
Popular Islamic TV preacher Sheikh Muhammad Hassan appears in this video clip asserting that, according to Sharia, it is "not at all permissible" for Muslims to smile at non-Muslims, "except in cases of da'wa."
Often translated as "missionary work," the word da'wa means to "call" or "summon" non-Muslims to Islam. Because it shares the same goals of jihad—empowering and spreading Islam—da'wa is often seen as jihad's nonviolent counterpart.
In fact, Sheikh Hassan himself asserts that "da'wa mode differs from jihad mode. Jihad mode requires power, zeal, manliness—basically, a stern face and such. But when in da'wa mode, you must smile, you must be gentle."
As proof, he pointed out that when Allah ordered Musa and Harun (the biblical "Moses" and "Aaron") to go and persuade that great infidel, pharaoh, to submit, Allah commanded them "to speak to him gently" (Quran 20:44).
Further demonstrating the stealth nature of da'wa, Hassan made abundantly clear that if a Muslim smiles to a non-Muslim "by way of heartfelt friendship, this is wala' which Islam has forbidden, and which contradicts faith according to Muslim consensus."
As proof, he quoted Quran 60:1: "O you who believe! Do not take my enemy and your enemy [non-believers] for friends: would you offer them love while they deny what has come to you of the truth [i.e., while they deny Islam]?"
All of this naturally leads to Islam's infamous doctrine of wala' wa bara', or "Loyalty and Enmity"; the verse quoted by Hassan is but one of many that portray non-believers as enemies to be shunned and subjugated (see also 4:89, 4:144, 5:51, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23, and 58:22).
For instance, Quran 3:28 commands "believers not to take infidels for friends and allies instead of believers… unless you but guard yourselves against them, taking precautions." According to mainstream exegete Tabari, "taking precautions" means:
If you [Muslims] are under their [non-Muslims'] authority, fearing for yourselves, behave loyally to them with your tongue while harboring inner animosity for them … [but know that] God has forbidden believers from being friendly or on intimate terms with the infidels rather than other believers—except when infidels are above them [in authority]. Should that be the case, let them act friendly towards them while preserving their religion.
After interpreting Quran 3:28 as meaning that Muslims may "protect" themselves "through outward show" when under non-Muslim authority, Ibn Kathir, perhaps Islam's most celebrated exegete, quotes a close companion of Muhammad saying: "Let us smile to the faces of some people while our hearts curse them."
Such Islamic texts and teachings provide one with new appreciation for smiling, stealth jihadists operating under non-Muslim authority. Soon after watching the video clip of Sheikh Hassan, I came across the following picture of various CAIR characters, some of whom were convicted of terrorism, and wondered:
Is that what a da'wa-smile looks like (minus, of course, Siraj Wahhaj, whose "stern face" suggests he is in "jihad mode")?
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.