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TAQIA - DISSIMULATION

The word "al-Taqiyya" literally means: "Concealing or disguising one's beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury." A one-word translation would be "Dissimulation".

al-Taqiyya vs hypocrisy

al-Taqiyya and Hypocrisy are two opposite extremes.

al-Taqiyya is concealing faith and displaying nonbelief
Hypocrisy is the concealment of unbelief and the display of belief.

They are TOTAL opposites in function, form and meaning.

The Quran reveals the nature of hypocrisy with the following verse:

"When they meet those who believe, they say: `We Believe;' but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: `We are really with you, we (were) only jesting [2:14]."

The Quran then reveals al-Taqiyya with the following verses:

"Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, EXCEPT under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith -- but such as open their breast to unbelief, -- on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Chastisement [16:106]." (Emphasis Mine.)

And also:

"Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, (they) shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]"

Moreover:

And when Moses returned unto his people, angry and grieved, he said: Evil is that (course) which ye took after I had left you. Would ye hasten on the judgment of your Lord? And he cast down the tablets, and he seized his brother by the head, dragging him toward him. (Aaron) said: "Son of my mother! Lo! People did oppress me and they were about to kill me. Make not the enemies rejoice over my misfortune nor count thou me amongst the sinful people. [7:150]"

Now, we see that Allah (SWT) Himself has stated that one of His (SWT) faithful servants CONCEALED his faith and pretended that he was a follower of the Pharaoh's religion to escape persecution. We also see that Prophet Aaron (Haroon) observed Taqiyya when his life was in danger.

We also observe that al-Taqiyya is CLEARLY permitted in a time of need. In fact, the Book of Allah instructs us that we should escape a situation which causes our destruction for nothing:

"and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction [2:195]"

Historical incident

It has been narrated by Abd al-Razak, Ibn Sa'd, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, al-Bayhaqi in his book "al- Dala-il," and it was corrected by al-Hakim in his book "al- Mustadrak" that:

"The nonbelievers arrested `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) and (tortured him until) he (RA) uttered foul words about the Prophet (PBUH&HF), and praised their gods (idols); and when they released him (RA), he (RA) went straight to the Prophet (PBUH&HF). The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Is there something on your mind?" `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) said: "Bad (news)! They would not release me until I defamed you (PBUH&HF) and praised their gods!" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "How do you find your heart to be?" `Ammar (RA) answered: "Comfortable with faith." So the Prophet (PBUH&HF) said: "Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again." Allah (SWT) at that moment revealed the verse: "....except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith...[16:106]"

NOTE: The full verse that was quoted partially as part of the tradition above, is: "Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief, EXCEPT UNDER COMPULSION, his heart remaining firm in faith -- but such as open their breast to unbelief, -- on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Chastisement [16:106]."

More Sunni References

Reference 1:
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Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al-Tafsir al- Ma'athoor," narrates Ibn Abbas', the MOST renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis, opinion regarding al-Taqiyya in the Quranic verse: "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, (they) shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]" that Ibn Abbas said:

"al-Taqiyya is with the tongue only; he who has been COERCED into saying that which angers Allah (SWT), and his heart is comfortable (i.e., his TRUE faith has NOT been shaken.), then (saying that which he has been coerced to say) will NOT harm him (at all); (because) al- Taqiyya is with the tongue only, (NOT the heart)."

NOTE: The two words "tat-taqooh" and "tooqatan," as mentioned in the Arabic Quran, are BOTH from the same root of "al-Taqiyya."

NOTE ALSO: The "heart" as referred to above and in later occurrences refers to the center of faith in an individual's existence. It is mentioned many times in the Quran.

Reference 2:
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Ibn Abbas also commented on the above verse, as narrated in Sunan al- Bayhaqi and Mustadrak al-Hakim, by saying:

"al-Taqiyya is the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith."

NOTE: The meaning is that the tongue is permitted to utter anything in a time of need, as long as the heart is not affected; and one is still comfortable with faith.

Reference 3:
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Abu Bakr al-Razi in his book, "Ahkam al-Quran," v2, p10, has explained the aforementioned verse "...except by way of precaution ("tat-taqooh"), that ye may guard yourselves ("tooqatan") from them....[3:28]" by affirming that al-Taqiyya should be used when one is afraid for life and/or limb. In addition, he has narrated that Qutadah said with regards to the above verse:

"It is permissible to speak words of unbelief when al-Taqiyya is mandatory."

Reference 4:
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It is narrated in Sunan al-Bayhaqi that Ibn Abbas explained the above verse "Any one who, after accepting Faith in Allah, utters unbelief....[16:106]" by saying:

"The meaning that Allah (SWT) is conveying is that he who utters unbelief after having believed, shall deserve the Wrath of Allah (SWT) and a terrible punishment. However, those who have been coerced, and as such uttered with their tongues that which their hearts did not confirm to escape persecution, have nothing to fear; for Allah (SWT) holds His (SWT) servants responsible for that which their hearts have ratified."

Reference 5:
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Another explanation of the above verse is provided by Jalal al-Din al- Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al- Tafsir al-Ma-athoor," vol. 2, p178; he says:

"Ibn Abi Shaybah, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Munzir, and Ibn Abi Hatim narrated on the authority of Mujtahid (a man's name) that this verse was revealed in relation to the following event: A group of people from Mecca accepted Islam and professed their belief; as a result, the companions in Medina wrote to them requesting that they emigrate to Medina; for if they don't do so, they shall not be considered as those who are among the believers. In compliance, the group left Mecca, but were soon ambushed by the nonbelievers (Quraish) before reaching their destination; they were coerced into disbelief, and they professed it. As a result, the verse "...except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith [16:106]..." was revealed."

Reference 6:
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Ibn Sa'd in his book, "al-Tabaqat al-Kubra," narrates on the authority of Ibn Sirin that:

The Prophet (PBUH&HF) saw `Ammar Ibn Yasir (RA) crying, so he (PBUH&HF) wiped off his (RA) tears, and said: "The nonbelievers arrested you and immersed you in water until you said such and such (i.e., bad-mouthing the Prophet (PBUH&HF) and praising the pagan gods to escape persecution); if they come back, then say it again."

Reference 7:
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It is narrated in al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, v3, p61, that:

After the conquest of the city of Khaybar by the Muslims, the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was approached by Hajaj Ibn `Aalat and told: "O Prophet of Allah: I have in Mecca some excess wealth and some relatives, and I would like to have them back; am I excused if I bad-mouth you (to escape persecution)?" The Prophet (PBUH&HF) excused him and said: "Say whatever you have to say."

Reference 8:
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It is narrated by al-Ghazzali in his book, "Ihya `Uloom al-Din," that:

Safeguarding of a Muslim's life is a mandatory obligation that should be observed; and that LYING is permissible when the shedding of a Muslim's blood is at stake.

Reference 9:
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Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Ashbah Wa al-Naza'ir," affirms that:

"it is acceptable (for a Muslim) to eat the meat of a dead animal at a time of great hunger (starvation to the extent that the stomach is devoid of all food); and to loosen a bite of food (for fear of choking to death) by alcohol; and to utter words of unbelief; and if one is living in an environment where evil and corruption are the pervasive norm, and permissible things (Halal) are the exception and a rarity, then one can utilize whatever is available to fulfill his needs."

NOTE: The reference to the consumption of a dead animal is meant to illustrate that EVEN forbidden things become permissible in a time of need.

Reference 10:
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Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti in his book, "al-Durr al-Manthoor Fi al-Tafsir al- Ma'athoor," v2, p176, narrates that:

Abd Ibn Hameed, on the authority of al-Hassan, said: "al-Taqiyya is permissible until the Day of Judgment."

Reference 11:
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Narrated in Sahih Muslim (English version), Chapter MLXXVII, v4, p1373, Tradition #6303:

Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).

The (Sunni) commentator of this volume of Sahih Muslim, Abdul Hamid Siddiqi, provides the following commentary:

Telling of a lie is a grave sin but a Muslim is permitted to tell a lie in some exceptional cases, and this permission is given especially on three occasions: in case of battle for bringing reconciliation amongst the hostile Muslims and for bringing reconciliation between the husband and the wife. On the analogy [Qiyas] of these three cases, the scholars of Hadith have pointed out some other exemptions: for saving the life and honor of innocent person from the highhandedness of tyrants and oppressors if one finds no other way to save them.

Notice that neither the above tradition nor the commentary are concerned with dealing with non-Muslims only.

Please refer to Sahih Muslim Volume IV Chapter MLXXVII Tradition no. 6303 p1373 English only - Abdul Hamid Siddiqui

It has been demonstrated under the section of "Sunni Sources In Support of al-Taqiyya" that it is permissible to lie to save oneself, as al-Ghazzali asserted; that it is legitimate to utter words of unbelief as al-Suyuti stated; and that it is acceptable to smile at a person while your heart curses him as al-Bukhari confirms; and that al- Taqiyya is an INTEGRAL part of the Quran itself, as has been shown under the section of "The Quran Speaks: al-Taqiyya vs. Hypocrisy;" and that it was practiced by one of the MOST notable companions of the Prophet (PBUH&HF), none other than `Ammar Ibn Yasir (May Allah Reward him GENEROUSLY); and we have seen that al- Suyuti narrates that al-Taqiyya is permissible until the Day of Judgment; and that a person can say anything he wants, even to badmouth the Prophet (PBUH&HF) if he is in a dangerous and restrictive situation; and we have also seen that even the Prophet (PBUH&HF) himself practiced al-Taqiyya in a manner of diplomacy that served to advance good relations among the people. Furthermore, the Prophet did not disclose his mission for the first three years of his prophethood, which was, in fact, another practice of al- Taqiyya by the Prophet to save the young Islam from annihilation.

Every human regardless of religion practices al-Taqiyya whether they acknowledge the fact or not. It is an innate part of human nature to save oneself from harm and most often we do it without even noticing. The other word of al-Taqiyya is 'diplomacy'.

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