Table of Contents

52: To Practice Taqayyah With Mischief-Makers And To Maintain Secrecy From People Of Other Faiths

In Kafi through an authentic chain of narrators it is narrated from His Eminence, Abi Abdullah Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he said explaining the verse:

أُولَٰئِكَ يُؤْتَوْنَ أَجْرَهُمْ مَرَّتَيْنِ بِمَا صَبَرُوا وَيَدْرَءُونَ بِالْحَسَنَةِ السَّيِّئَةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنْفِقُونَ

These shall be granted their reward twice, because they are patient and they repel evil with good and spend out of what We have given them. (Qur’an, Surah Qasas 28:54)

Imam Sadiq (as) says, “(They shall be granted their reward) for their patience in practicing Taqayyah.” Regarding, “and they repel evil with good”, Imam (as) says that ‘good’ refers to Taqayyah and ‘evil’ refers to the revealing of confidential matters.1 Again in Al-Kafi Imam Sadiq (as) says, “Taqayyah is the shield of a believer and a protection for him.

One who does not believe in Taqayyah does not have faith. Indeed our tradition does not reach a person but that he fulfills religiousness between himself and his Lord. That thing brings him respect in the world and light (Noor) in the hereafter. And our tradition reaches another person and he exposes it (to opponents) and it causes him insult and the Almighty Allah takes away the Noor from him.”2

It is mentioned in a correct tradition from Hisham Kandi3 that he said: I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) say: It must not be that you do something that causes us to be censured, because a father is criticized for the bad character of his son. You should be an ornament to one in whom you have faith [the rightful Imam] and you should not be cause of disgrace to him. Perform prayers in their [Sunnis’] congregation, and visit their sick and participate in the funeral of their dead and they should not get precedence over you in any good deed, as you are worthier than them for it.

By Allah, Allah, has not been worshipped by anything which is more liked by Him than ‘khaba’. The narrator asked: What is ‘Khaba’? Imam (as) replied: It is Taqayyah.4 In the same book in another tradition from His Eminence (aj) it is mentioned that: One who sighs in sorrow regarding us and is aggrieved for oppression on us, this act of his is like glorification of Allah, and to be sad with regard to us is like worship and maintaining our secrets is like Jihad in the way of God.5

Muhammad bin Saeed – a narrator of this tradition – says: Write down this tradition in gold, I have not written anything better than this.

In Kamaluddin it is narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that he was asked what is the best deeds that a believer can perform during the period of occultation and His Eminence (aj) said: Controlling the tongue and sitting at home.6

In Tafseer Nishapuri it is mentioned that the following verse was recited before Abdullah bin Masood:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا عَلَيْكُمْ أَنْفُسَكُمْ ۖ لَا يَضُرُّكُمْ مَنْ ضَلَّ إِذَا اهْتَدَيْتُمْ ۚ

O you who believe! take care of your souls; he who errs cannot hurt you when you are on the right way. (Qur’an, Surah Maidah 5:105)

He said: This would happen in the last period of time.

I say: There are numerous traditional reports on this matter but we have refrained from quoting them here for the sake of brevity. Here it is necessary to remove the doubt that some people have that there is contradiction among the traditions narrated from the Holy Imams (as).

This doubt haunts most of those who have not pondered over these traditional reports carefully and those who from the very beginning think that these traditional reports are contradictory, since in some of them it is commanded to publicize the matter and in some, we have been ordered to conceal the matter and observe Taqayyah. This contradiction can be explained from what we have learnt from the saying of the Holy Imams (as) that: People are of three types, either they are scholars and enlightened with truth or non-scholars; and the second types consist of eight groups:

Group One: Ordinary ignorant people, who if they recognize the truth, will not refuse to accept it.

Group Two: Those who have fallen into confusion as they are in the middle of inquiry and recognition of truth, but they are in a state of bewilderment.

Group Three: Deviated and misguided souls; who as a result of being in the company of deviated or sinful people, go astray in acquisition of knowledge and recognition etc. According to reason and religious texts, it is obligatory for the learned scholar to guide these three groups, invite them to guidance. A tradition is narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) to the effect that: If the Almighty Allah guides a single man through you, it is better for you than everything in the world.

Group Four: Deniers and opponents of truth; who are such that when truth is mentioned before them, they would ridicule it and make fun of the Imam (as) and those who call to the truth.

Group Five: Such deniers and opponents that if truth is expressed before them it would cause harm to life, honor or property.

It is necessary to observe Taqayyah from these two groups and according to the command of reason and religious texts it is obligatory not to speak to them as would be clear for the intelligent. In Kafi, it is narrated through a correct chain of narrators from Abdul Alaa that he said: I heard His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) say: Undertaking our matter is not only by believing and accepting it.

Undertaking our matter is by preserving and keeping it secret from those, who are not qualified for it. Deliver my greetings to them (the Shia) and tell them that I say: May Allah have mercy on one who brings me and himself people’s love by telling them of what they know and concealing what they deny. By Allah, he that makes war against us, is not more harmful to us than one, who accuses us of what we hate.7

In the same book, in another tradition it is narrated from His Eminence (aj) that he said: One who exposes our matter is like one who has denied it.8 It is also narrated from His Eminence that he said: Indeed, nine-tenth of the faith lies in observing Taqayyah and one who has no Taqayyah, has no knowledge…9 and there are numerous traditions on this matter.

Group Six: It is of those who have a weak intellect and Marifat (recognition); believers who are not capable to bear, accept and protect the secrets. As per the dictates of reason and texts it is necessary to conceal the secrets from this group also as mentioned in the above traditions.

In Kafi, in a correct tradition from Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) it is mentioned that he said: By Allah, the best of my companions in my view are those who the most pious, most thoughtful and the most secretive (from our opponents about our traditions) and the worst of them are those, who are such that when something is narrated from us and attributed to us they don’t accept it; and also denies that which he has; although he doesn’t know that this tradition has come from us and is attributed to us; and as a result of this denial he goes out of our Wilayat.10

In Basairud Darajat, through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) that he said: Deal with the people according to what they recognize and leave what they deny; and don’t put yourself and us in difficulty.

Indeed, our matter is difficult and intricate which none can bear except the proximate angel, or a messenger prophet or a believer whose heart the Almighty Allah has tested for faith.11 It is narrated through the author’s own chain of narrators from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) from his father that he said: One day the topic of Taqayyah came to be discussed in the presence of Imam Ali Ibne Husain (as).

His Eminence (aj) said: By Allah, if Abu Zar knew what was in the heart of Salman, he would have killed him, although the Messenger of Allah (S) had established brotherhood between them. Then what can you expect from other (common) people? Indeed, the knowledge of the scholars (Aale Muhammad) is difficult, serious, convincing, clear and sharp-witted. None can bear it except the proximate angels, messenger prophets or the man whose heart the Almighty Allah has tested for faith. His Eminence (aj) said: Salman became to be included among the scholars because he is from us, Ahle Bayt (as), that is why he is related to us.12

Through the author’s own chain of narrators it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) that he said: Our traditions are difficult, such that they could not be borne by anyone except the proximate angels, messenger prophets or the man tested for faith or a city that is having a strong fort.

Thus when our matter happens and our Mahdi reappears, men from our Shias would become like brave lions and sharp spears, they would trample our enemies under their feet and hit them with the claws of their hands. And it is the time when the blessing of deliverance would be sent by the Almighty Allah on the people.13

Group Seven: It is of those whose ears and hearts have been sealed by the Almighty Allah because they turned away from truth and chosen falsehood so that the call to truth may not affect them, and that good advice may not profit them, although they are such that they cause harm to everybody; it is best to avoid calling them to truth and the mention of truth before them should be avoided, because it is of no use; it being alike to them whether you warn them, or do not warn them, will not believe.14 Therefore it is commanded in traditions that religious propaganda must not be directed to them, as mentioned in Kafi, through the author’s own chain of narrators from Thabit Abi Saeed that he said: His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as) said: O Thabit, what have you got to do with the opponents? Keep away from them.

Don’t invite the people to Imamate as by Allah, if all the folks of the heavens and the earth try to misguide one whom Allah wants to guide, they will not be able to do it. You are separate from the people, and don’t consider the opponents to be your brother, cousin and neighbor. Indeed, when the Almighty Allah wants good of a person, He purifies his soul. Thus when he hears something good, he recognizes it and denies that which is bad. The Almighty Allah puts such a word in his heart that he understands the matter of Imamate.15

In Tohaful Uqool, among the advices of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) to Momin Taq the same statement is mentioned.16 Also in Kafi, in a correct report, from Fudail it is mentioned that he said: I asked His Eminence, Abu Abdullah Imam Sadiq (as): Shall we invite the people to Imamate? He (Imam) replied: O Fudail, when the Almighty Allah wants the good of a person, heorders an angel to catch his neck and make him accept this matter willingly or unwillingly.17

In the same book, in another tradition from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) it is mentioned that he said: Do not dispute with the people regarding your religion as it induces many diseases of the heart. The Almighty Allah told His Prophet (S):

إِنَّكَ لَا تَهْدِي مَنْ أَحْبَبْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ

Surely you cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whom He pleases. (Qur’an, Surah Qasas 28:56)

And also:

أَفَأَنْتَ تُكْرِهُ النَّاسَ حَتَّىٰ يَكُونُوا مُؤْمِنِينَ

Will you then force men till they become believers?18

Group Eight: Whose position is not clear; that is you don’t know whether they would accept the call and truth or not. The duty of a scholar with regard to them is as mentioned in the tradition that the venerable Shaykh, Muhammad bin Hasan Saffar has narrated through his own chain of narrators from Asbagh bin Nubatah from Amirul Momineen Ali (as) that he said: I heard His Eminence (aj) say: Indeed, our traditions are difficult, crude and harsh. Thus only very few of them are told to the people. One who understands them, more are given to him and one who denies them, they are denied to him. None bear them except three groups: the proximate angels or messenger prophets or a believer whose heart the Almighty Allah has tested for faith.19

Through the author’s own chain of narrators, it is narrated from Furat bin Ahmad that he said: Amirul Momineen Ali (as) said: Indeed, our traditions are such that people accept them with great difficulty; thus to one who accepts them, tell more and leave those who deny them.20

In a tradition of Imam Muhammad Baqir (as) it is mentioned that he said: Indeed, the hearts of the people would accept our traditions with much difficulty. Thus to one who accepts them, tell more and leave those who deny them. Indeed, there will be trials so that all the evil is sieved, such that even those who split hair (for perfection) would fall off. So much so that except for us and our Shias none would remain.21

Nomani has also mentioned this same tradition in his Ghaibat, in which after the sentence: “Indeed, the hearts of the people would accept our traditions with much difficulty,” it is mentioned, “Inform them only about some traditions. Thus to one who accepts them, tell more and leave those who deny them.”22

  • 1. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 217
  • 2. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 221
  • 3. Apparently it is Hisham bin Hakam.
  • 4. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 219
  • 5. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 226
  • 6. Kamaluddin; Shaykh Sadooq, Vol. 1, Pg. 330
  • 7. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 222
  • 8. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 224
  • 9. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 217
  • 10. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 223
  • 11. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 26
  • 12. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 25
  • 13. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 24
  • 14. Surah Baqarah 2:6
  • 15. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 213
  • 16. Tohaf al-Uqool, Pg. 229
  • 17. Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 213, Tr. no. 3
  • 18. Surah Yunus 10:99 and Usool Kafi, Vol. 2, Pg. 166 & Vol. 2, Pg. 213
  • 19. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 21, Chapter 11, Tr. no. 5
  • 20. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 23, Chapter 11, Tr. no. 12
  • 21. Basairud Darajaat, Pg. 23, Chapter 11, Tr. no. 14
  • 22. Ghaibat Nomani, Pg. 107