I am currently studying Arabic in university and have the following question:

If it is known that the Arabic Language Studies department at a particular school is vehemently anti-Israel and anti-Semitic (which are somewhat in vogue these days), and that in the past, openly religious Jews who have tried to go far in the study of the language have not done well and have "mysteriously" gotten poor grades (which have discouraged them from continuing their study of Arabic), may one present themselves, upon entering their study in the department, with an Arabic name and instead of a kippah wear a kufi (of a style not necessarily unique to Muslims), wear their ssissith in, and on holidays wish their teacher and fellow students "Eid Mubarak" (Arabic for "happy holiday") if the intent of all of this is merely to allow them to assume that such a person is a Muslim?

According to Jewish law may one allow the Arab staff of a university and their classmates to incorrectly assume that they are a Muslim in order to protect their GPA, especially if they never directly say that they are a Muslim? Have Jews in history ever allowed Muslims in their societies to believe that they were Muslims in order to protect themselves from potential loss? Are there any sources that discuss this?

Thanks. Kol tuv.

  • I've heard that the Rambam (among others) pretended to convert to Islam.
    – Scimonster
    Jul 5, 2015 at 19:44
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    He just changed the Q from 1st to 3rd person, and added "Are there any sources that discuss this? ". This is ridiculous, why not take the question as such, and answer with sources, instead of bothering the user. i mean, only after the Q is in third person, there's a "חלות" of valid question?. This question was an excellent one from the beginning. +1 Jul 5, 2015 at 22:59
  • @Emilios1995, that's effectively the process for changing a question from a request for p'sak to a general knowledge question. Ideally, a CYLOR note would be appended. Jul 6, 2015 at 1:07
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    @Scimonster he was under duress(if the story is true) Jul 6, 2015 at 1:41
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    @scimonster,I find that very hard to believe since the Rambam used choice words to describe their leader and he also wrote about the Igerres Hashmad
    – sam
    Jul 6, 2015 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch in Yoreh De'ah siman 157 siff two discusses some of your suggestions. See especially the end of the Ramma which would seemingly rule that any possible leniency of wearing clothes without any verbal proclamation would not apply being that this is not a time of gzeira but rather just a financial interest.

אסור לאדם לומר שהוא עובד כוכבי' כדי שלא יהרגוהו אבל אם כדי שלא יכירוהו שהוא יהודי משנה מלבושו בשעת הגזר' מותר כיון שאינו אומר שהוא עובד כוכבי': {הגה: ואפי' לובש כלאים (נ"י פרק הגוזל בתרא) ואע"ג דאסור לומר שהוא עובד כוכבים מכ"מ יוכל לומר להם לשון דמשתמע לתרי אפין (נמוקי יוסף פ' הגוזל) והעובדי כוכבים יבינו שהוא אומר שהוא עובד כוכבי' והוא יכוין לדבר אחר וכן אם יוכל להטעותם שהם סוברים שהוא עובד כוכבים שרי (ת"ה סי' קצ"ז) וכן בדרך זה מי שלבו העלה טינא וחושק באשת איש אם תוכל אשתו לבא אליו ושיסבור שבא על הערוה שרי (שם בנ"י) וכל זה לא שרי רק במקום סכנה אבל שלא במקום סכנה כגון שילבש בגדי עובד כוכבים שלא יכירוהו שהוא יהודי ויעבור מכס או כדומה לזה אסור. (אשיר"י ונ"י פרק הגוזל בתרא ות"ה סימן קצ''ו ושאר פוסקים)

Although under normal circumstances we assume Muslims are not idol worshippers as the brought in the halachos concerning stam yayin, here the issue is not acting as if one has accepted a new forbidden religion, here the issue is appearing to have abandoned Hashem's chosen path for us, which is living according to the Torah.

This is apparent in the Shach who focuses on Chilul Hashem and not on Avoda Zara. One is still making a chilul Hashem when he abandons Judaism for a different monotheistic religion. And all laws of chilul Hashem apply.

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    Nice source. However, Muslims are not idolaters. This would apply more if the question were about pretending to be a Christian or a Hindu, I think. Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Jul 6, 2015 at 4:42
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    @maimonist , according to the Rambam they aren't but not everyone agrees,the Ran holds it is that's why many poskim don't allow jews to enter a mosque for no reason because of this Ran who assurs it
    – sam
    Jul 6, 2015 at 13:01
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    @sam - Those who held Islam to be avodhah zarah were under the false assumption that Muslims worshipped the Kaaba and other such things. And because of these misunderstandings regarding them among some of the rishonim, some of the ahharonim re-adopted these incorrect positions in their writings. The fact is that Muslims many times have a purer sense of monotheism than many Jews. And their status as non-idolaters was firmly established in the writings of the Rambam (particularly in iggereth hashmadh and in his response to Ovadya HaGer).
    – user3342
    Jul 6, 2015 at 13:41
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    The Rema ONLY discusses this as being assur in regard to ovdhei kokhavim. He never discusses any other type of non-Jew. Muslims are NOT idolaters and therefore do not fit into the comments of the Rema. To my mind, it could be little more than allowing someone to assume that you're a secular communist in order to avoid loss. I just don't see how the Rema applies here unless we're discussing ACTUAL idolatry. Kol tuv.
    – user3342
    Jul 6, 2015 at 16:38
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    @Maimonist , do you mean that the Ran was mistaken when he wrote this : חידושי הר"ן מסכת סנהדרין דף סא עמוד ב ולמדנו מכאן שהקדשים של כותים וגם המשוגע של הישמעאלי' אף על פי שאין טועין אחריהם לעשותן אלהות הואיל ומשתחוים לפניהם השתחואה של אלהו' דין ע"א יש להן לכל דבר אסור של ע"א שלא בהדור לבד הם משתחוים פניהם שאין הדור למתים אלא כענין עבודה של אלהות היא עבודתן:
    – sam
    Jul 7, 2015 at 1:27

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