As-Sallamu-Alaykom to all of our readers,
In today’s article we will examine the issue of Taqiyya with three main objectives:
We will first learn about Taqiyya (when is it applicable, what is the definition etc), secondly we will seek to prove its legitimacy from the Holy Quran, and finally examine the issue from the perspective of Sunni Muslim’s most authentic book, and see if Taqiyya has ever been performed throughout Islamic history.
Learning about Taqiyya
The (Islamic) definition of Taqiyya is
“To save life, honour. Or property (either one’s own or of other believers) by hiding one’s belief or religion”.
(Shah `Abdu ‘l-`Aziz Dehlawi, Tuhfa-e-Ithna-’ashariyah, ch. 1, p. 368)
A very important note that we should not forget is that Taqiyya is only applicable if your life is in danger, or if you are threatened with physical or mental injury. It is only applicable during certain times. ( Kitab al-Hidaya, Chapter Five)
Learning about Taqiyya: Examining some rules that apply to Taqiyya
“Taqiyya is allowed in matters related to manifestation of friendship or enmity; and it is also allowed in matters connected to professing (their) religion. But it is certainly not allowed in matters which affect other persons, like murder, fornication, usurpation of property, perjury, slander of married women or informing the unbelievers about the weak points in the Muslims’ defence.
“The Qur’anic verse apparently shows that taqiyah is allowed with dominant unbelievers. But according to the madhhab of Imam Shafi’i (May Allah be pleased with him) if the condition between (various sects of) the Muslims resembles the condition between the Muslims and the polytheists, then taqiyah (from the Muslims too) is allowed for the protection of one’s life.
“Taqiyya is allowed for protection of life. The question is whether it is allowed for the protection of property; possibly that too may be allowed, because the Prophet (saw) has said: `The sanctity of a‑Muslim’s property is like the sanctity of his blood’; and also he (saw) has said: `Whoever is killed in defence of his property, is a martyr’; and also because man greatly needs his property; if water is sold at exorbitant price, wudhu‘ does not remain wajib and one may pray with tayammum to avoid that small loss of property; so why should not this principle be applied here? And Allah knows better.
“Mujahid has said that this rule (of taqiyah) was valid in the beginning of Islam, because of the weakness of the believers; but now that the Islamic government has got power and strength, it is not valid. But `Awfi has narrated from al‑Hasan (al‑Basri) that he said: `Taqiyah is allowed to the Muslims upto the day of resurrection.’ And this opinion is more acceptable because it is wajib to keep off all types of harm from one’s self as much as possible.”
(Ar‑Razi, Tafsir Mafatihu ‘l ghayb, Beirut, 3rd ed., vol. 7, p. 13)
Learning about Taqiyya: When Taqiyya is not allowed
There are certain circumstances which when take place disallow the practice of Taqiyya. The book written by Syed Saeed Akhtar Rizvi entitled ‘’Taqiyah’’ will be the answer to the above statement in regards to when Taqiyya is not allowed.
‘’Taqiyya is based on the principle of opting for the lesser evil. Telling a lie is not as big a sin as destroying a life. Therefore, lie is preferable to putting oneself in danger of life.
Now, if safety of one’s own life depends upon putting another believer’s life in danger, then, by the same reasoning, Taqiyya is not allowed, because one believer is going to die in any case. So, it is better for you to die than to cause the death of another believer.
By the same reasoning, if there is a likelihood that one’s Taqiyya may destroy the belief of other believers, then Taqiyya is forbidden to such a person’’. (Page 13 pdf version)
The topic of when Taqiyya is not allowed is spoken about further in the Tafsir of Ar-Razi:
‘’(while commenting on Taqiyya)…it is certainly not allowed in matters which affect other persons, like murder, fornication, usurpation of property, perjury, slander of married women or informing the unbelievers about the weak points in the Muslims’ defence.’’
(Ar‑Razi, Tafsir Mafatihu ‘l ghayb, Beirut, 3rd ed., vol. 7, p. 13)
Proving Taqiyya from the Holy Qur’an
We have now gotten a better understanding of what Taqiyya is now let us see the legitimacy of it from the Holy Qur’an.
I will only be using one verse today due to the fact that the one verse is sufficient in itself, but in case anyone would like to know of the other verse please feel free to ask
Surah Sixteen (16) verse Hundred and Six (106) states:
‘’Any one who, after accepting faith in God, utters Unbelief,- except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from God, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.’’ (16:106)
Let us see what Ibn Kathirs Tafsir Says:
… (Except one who was forced while his heart is at peace with the faith) This is an exception in the case of one who utters statements of disbelief and verbally agrees with the Mushrikin because he is forced to do so by the beatings and abuse to which he is subjected, but his heart refuses to accept what he is saying, and he is, in reality, at peace with his faith in Allah and His Messenger. The scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation…’’
Not only does this Tafsir prove Taqiyya from the Qur’an but Ibn Kathir goes a step further when he states ‘’ The scholars agreed that if a person is forced into disbelief, it is permissible for him to either go along with them in the interests of self-preservation…’’ So not only is Ibn Kathir in agreement but he even states that scholars (plural) agree with him.
To prove Taqiyya from the Sahih Books of Sunni Muslims
Now we have proven the legitimacy of Taqiyya from the Qur’an and we have seen the comments of the scholars of Sunni Islam, now let us examine Taqiyya from the Sahih Books of Sunni Muslims
There are many hadith I can post, but I will only post one for now, because I believe it is sufficient enough, but if you would like anymore feel free to ask.
Sahih Bukhari: Volume 9, Book 83, Number 5:
Narrated Al-Miqdad bin ‘Amr Al-Kindi:
…The Prophet also said to Al-Miqdad, “If a faithful believer conceals his faith (Islam) from the disbelievers, and then when he declares his Islam, you kill him, (you will be sinful). Remember that you were also concealing your faith (Islam) at Mecca before.”
This Hadith is quite interesting with the reason being that had Al-Miqdad not practiced Taqiyya he would have been killed by the Pagan’s of Mecca which proves that at times the necessity of performing Taqiyya is of utmost importance.
Nonetheless by the grace of Allah (sawt) we have proven Taqiyya from Sunni Muslims own Sahih Book.
As we can clearly see Taqiyya originates from the Holy Qur’an and the verses dealing with Taqiyya and the opinion of the scholars are conclusive and thorough.
The Sahih Books of Sunni Muslims affirm what we say to a point where if anyone says otherwise the only conclusions that can be made of such a person is he is ignorant.
Even though Taqiyya is a practice which has its basis in the teachings of Islam, we must not forget that only in certain circumstances and situations can taqiyya be performed