To explain the Arabic word TAQIYAH, Hughes Dictionary of Islam says, “Literally it means “Guarding oneself”. (It’s a) Shi’ah doctrine. A pious fraud whereby a Shi’ah Muslim believes he is justified in either smoothing down or in denying the peculiarities of his religious belief, in order to save himself from religious persecutions. A Shi’ah can, therefore, pass himself off as a Sunni to escape persecution.”

“The Shi’ah traditionalists relate that certain persons inquired of the Imam Sadiq if the Prophet had ever practiced taqiyyah or “religious dissimulations”, and the  Imam replied:”Not after this verse was sent down to the Prophet, namely Surah v71: ‘O thou Apostle! Publish the whole of what has been revealed to those from thy Lord; if thou do it not, thou, thou hast not preached His message, and God will not defend thee from the wicked men; for God guides not the unbelieving people. When the Most High became surety for the Prophet against harm, then he no longerdissimulated, although before this revelation appeared he had occasionally done so.”[1]

Commenting on the Islamic practice of taqiyyah, noted scholar Babu Susilan writes: “Under the Islamic concept of Al-Takkeya, it is legitimate for Muslims to lie, cheat, murder, deceive and violate non-Muslims. According to Takkeya, Muslims are sanctioned to communicate with fake sincerity. In reality, they may have just the opposite agenda in their hearts. It is clear that Islam permits the Muslims to lie anytime, anywhere to promote the cause of Islam."

To narrate how a law-abiding non-Muslim society is harmed by this dirty concept of Islamic taqiyyay, he writes, “The concept of Al-Takeyya (lying) for the cause of Islam bears gross implications for freedom loving, law abiding non-Muslims. Muslims can negate any agreement, cheat, deceive, lie, and absolve from any permanent commitment. When a Muslim says "Islam is peace", watch out. When a Muslim shout "Allah loves you", he mean "Allah hates you" unless you are a Muslim.”

He adds: "There are many incidences in the life of Mohammed where he often lied and instructed his followers to do the same. A good example is the assassination of Kaab Ibn Ashrf, a member of the Jewish tribe, Banu al-Nudair. Mohammed ordered his assassination by deception, lying and tricks. Mohammed also ordered the murder of Shaalan by deception and lying. Islamic history is replete with incidents of murder and assassination by deception”.[2]

In his article, The principle of Al-Takeyya, the author says, “The Arabic word, “Takeyya”, means “to prevent,” or guard against. The principle of Al Takeyya conveys the understanding that Muslims are permitted to lie as a preventive measure against anticipated harm to one’s self or fellow Muslims. This principle gives Muslims the liberty to lie under circumstances that they perceive as life threatening. Islamic scholars believe that Muslims can even deny the faith publicly, declaring them non-Muslims, for saving their lives, if they do not mean it in their hearts, following the Quranic verse (3:28):

“Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution (prevention), that ye may Guard yourselves from them (prevent them from harming you.). But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah."

So, in simple words, taqiyyah is an example of Islamic style of deception, originated in the Koran, which Muslims profusely use to deceive and fool the non-Muslims. This manifests to what degree, Islam permits a Muslim to indulge in lying and cheating the infidels.

Two Faces of Koran

It is now well-known that the Muslims play many tricks and tell even dark lies to deceive and fool the infidels, such as they say that Islam means peace, kafir means an atheist, jihad means war between good and evil forces inside a man and so on. They also deceive the kafirs in another ingenious way. There are some verses of Koran, which, on the surface, appear to be tolerant and innocent. For example:

  1. “Allah does not love the oppressors” (3.140),
  2. “Allah has prepared painful punishments for the oppressors” (14.22),
  3. “Allah does not love them who creates indiscipline” (5.64),
  4. “Allah does not like jealousy and aggressiveness” (57.23),
  5. “Allah loves patience and forgiveness” (42.43),
  6. Your religion (is dear) to you and my religion (is dear) to me” (109.6),
  7. “The Prophet has no other duty but to propagate the message of Allah” (5.99) and so on and so forth.

When these verses are uttered before the infidels, many of them, out of ignorance, think and admit that the Koran has a tolerant, humane and innocent message. In this context, it is very important to mention that before a non-Muslim audience, the Muslim speakers make frequent use of the verse “Your religion to you and my religion to me”, to pretend that, Islam is basically a very tolerant religion.

The Koran contains over 6 thousands verses (ayahs) divided into 114 chapters (suras). All these verses of the Koran can be broadly divided into two categories: 1) Makki verses, and 2) Madini verses. The early verses revealed to Muhammad when he was staying at Mecca, are called Makki verses; those, revealed after his migration to Medina, are called Madini verses. Before his migration (hijrat) to Medina, the Prophet was a humble servant of Allah and a good husband of his only wife Khadija, without enjoying any economic, political or military power. And Allah, in consonance with the situation, revealed tolerant and innocent verses alone.

But after his migration to Medina, the Prophet became the administrator, the chief of the army and the judiciary of Medina. In other words, he became the sole and supreme dictator of Medina. After acquiring so much of power, the idea of spreading Islam by the sword came to his mind, and he invented the doctrine of jihad. It may be recalled that so long the Prophet was in Mecca, Allah forbade war for the Muslims. But after the hijrat, Allah could make the right sense of Muhammad's might and, duly, made fighting obligatory for every able Muslim. From that time on, Allah began revealing violent verses of jihad, such as “There is nothing in the sight of Allah which may be equated to jihad.” (9.19) and “No equal are those believers who sit at home (except those who are old and disabled) and those who strive hard and fight with their wealth and lives in the cause of Allah” (4.95). “That is because they (who sit back at home) suffer neither thirst, nor fatigue, nor hunger in the cause of Allah. …Nor they raise the anger of the disbelievers or inflict any injury (killing, robbing or taking captive) upon enemy” (9.20). “Anyone whose feet get covered with dust in Allah’s cause will be forbidden from the hell-fire” (Bukhari 4.66).

Allah rebuked those, who sit back at home for their cowardice, and threatened them with cruel punishments, as the Koran says: “If you march not forth (for jihad), I will punish you with painful torment and will replace you with other people” (9.39). It is needless to say that these verses of violence and bloodshed have inspired Muslims, from the days of Muhammad itself, to massacre the kafirs en masse by launching jihad against them with the final goal of establishing an empire of Islam over the whole world. It should also be noted here that, this change of modus operandi of Muhammad/Allah for the spread of Islam officialized the Islamic principle of taqiyyah and has been in force ever since.

Taqiyyah to convert the infidels of Medina

After migrating to Medina, Muhammad/Allah initially held back from revealing the Madini verses or kept them concealed amongst his Meccan disciples and used the Makki verses to attract the infidels of Medina to Islam. But as soon as the Muslim population grew into a sizable amount and Muhammad could form a criminal gang with his uncle Hamza, his cousins and other loyal Muslim hooligans, the Makki verses were thrown out and the newly-revealed Madini verses were used to inspire his gang to engage in violence and terror. Especially after the victory in the Battle of Badr, Muhammad started to convert the infidels of Medina by threat and violence.

With Allah's reveled verses to strike terror into the hearts of the infidels, Muhammad, in compliance, assassinated poets Kaab bin Asraf, poet Abu Afak and poetess Asma, drove the Jews of Beni Kanuika and massacred 800 Jews of Beni Koraiza. So, taqiyyah, or deceiving the infidels, with the Makki verses of the Koran for conversion, lost its importance and jihad or violence came to the fore.

But the practice of taqiyyah in still alive and the Muslims are playing the same trick even today. Whenever the Muslim preachers talk about Islam in a civilized forum, they, to hide the bloody face of Islam, always utter the Makki verses of the Koran, knowing full well that most of those Makki verses were abrogated (elnasekh wal mansoukh, i.e. cancelled and replaced) by violent and bloody passages that were revealed after Muhammad’s migration to Medina.

In this context, it should be pointed out here that, after the September 11 attacks, many television channels broadcast interviews with Muslim reporters, intellectuals and religious leaders and the people of the print-media. In all such cases, to fool the kafirs, Muslim journalists, clerics and political leaders quoted Makki verses alone from the Koran, especially the verse "Your religion to you and my religion to me." (109:6)

In a country where Muslims are still a minority, they always make use of the Makki verses, but as soon as they gain majority or become strong in muscle power, they turn to the Madini verses for launching a jihad. For example, in India, when the Muslims come to Hindu populated areas, they never utter a Madini verse. But the same Muslims in their Muslim-dominated areas propagate Madini verses from mosques with loud-speakers to scare away the minority Hindus of that locality. Thus, under unfavorable situations, Muslims make use of the principle taqiyyah by projecting the Makki verses and keeping bloody weapons concealed; and in a favourable situation, they switch over to the Madani verses and unsheathe swords.

Origin of Taqiyyah

In order to understand the Islamic mind and the policy of taqiyyah, one has to understand the preliminaries of the Arab Bedouin Tribal culture in which Islam was born.  Starting his prophetic career in a culture based upon tribalism and the hard nomadic values of tribal warfare, Muhammad started raiding neighbouring non-Muslim communities, taking over their women and children as slaves and concubines, their possessions, their stock and their grazing lands, and killing their men with the exception of those, who would accept Islam.

The Arabs, mainly illiterate but cunning, were also extremely proud and arrogant, especially the men. The masculine Arab culture placed a very high value on ‘honour and shame’ associated with his place in the social order of his family, his tribal group, or his society. It was extremely important that he must not suffer ‘a loss of face’. The importance of honour and status is so important that it often justified ‘honour killings’ within the family, a tradition which Islamic societies still nurture and value. Blood feuds and vendettas were, and still are, maintained for generations to defend the honour of long-dead ancestors. Mohammed himself ordered the vengeful murder of all those who mocked or satirized him, as he was an Arab and the potential loss of face was unacceptable.

“Lying and cheating in the Arab world is not really a moral matter but a method of safeguarding honour and status, avoiding shame, and at all times exploiting possibilities, for those with the wit and cunning for it, deftly and expeditiously to convert shame into honour on their own account and vice versa for the opponents. If honour so demands it, lies and cheating may become absolute imperatives.”[3]

Thus, by skilful manipulations, dissimulation, deceiving, lying, confounding or deflection of accusations, it is possible to foil or block or fend off an attack or accusation, and thus turn a humiliation into a positive outcome and the save one’s face or life. This same skill, then a part of the tribal Bedouin Arab life, has been adopted into the Islamic way of life in the defence and protection of Islam. This skill is known as ‘Taqiyya’ and greatly enhances the capabilities of Muslims to defend and promote Islam. This skill, Taqiyya, comes so naturally to Muslims that they are not even aware that they are using it to communicate dissimulate Islamic information to the less informed. It is a part of their way of life since childhood. This trait can also be observed in many other cultures especially in the East.

To give a few examples of Taqiyya as an illustration, Muslims will deny that “terrorist suicide bombers killed innocent people” were Muslims who were responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers in New York. And they are right because Muslims do not approve of Suicide (Haram), so they could not have been Muslims) and wanton murder of innocent people (but Muslims do not consider non-Muslims as innocent. They are the enemy and so are legitimate targets.). So Muslims may safely say that they condemn any terrorist acts, because terrorists are not identifiable as Muslims. But Muslims knew that these were acts of Islamic Jihad, and thus were truthful in denying it was “an act of terrorism” by Muslims, because they were actually “acts of martyrdom” or Jihad not “terrorism.” (ref. 3)

[1] T P Hughes, The Dictionary of Islam, Rupa & Co., 2007

[2] TAKIYAH Islamic Concept of al Takkeya By Babu Suselan (2 Feb. 2009)


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