Value Of Dissimulation

The value of dissimulation is that on many occasions, it is a great self-guard for safety; besides affairs of the world depend on it. If dissimulation disappears from the world, all the kingdoms would decline and all relationships would scatter and all kinds of factories would be abandoned; cities become enclosures and lanes and streets look like flowing rivers of blood; relationships would be break off and in the end, human beings would be destroyed from the face of the earth in a very short time.

We should know that dissimulation is based on a great exigency. It has full authority in the matter of the world and religion. It has no concern with any falsehood and it is not based on selfishness. For example, if anyone says: “You kill so and so person, otherwise, I would kill you,” In such a situation, one would prefer getting killed than to kill someone else. According to Shariah, it is not an occasion of dissimulation and if a person resorts to dissimulation in such a case, he would become eligible for Hell. In the following discussion, we shall prove that dissimulation is as lawful in Ahlul Sunnat as it is in Shia religion.

Allah says:

“Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully.”1

It means that it is not lawful for true believers to have friendship with infidels, except in the condition of dissimulation. Baidhawi writes that Yaqoob Qari has recited it as Taqayyah and in times of fear, friendship with infidels is lawful.2

Allah says:

“And a believing man of Firon’s people who hid his faith said…”3

He was Hizqeel, a cousin of Firon and he concealed his faith from Firon and his community for a hundred years.4 In Seerate Muhammad5, in the incident of Abu Jindal, it is mentioned that Allah has made dissimulation lawful for Muslims, if they are in danger and the sentence after that says: The Messenger of Allah (S) allowed one to keep faith in the heart and lie from the tongue, just like in the incident of Abu Jindal. In the same way, in this book on page 448, it is mentioned that the Holy Prophet (S) asked: “O Abu Dharr, what would you do when people banish you from Medina?”

Abu Dharr replied: “I would fight with my sword.” The Prophet said: “Don’t do that. It would be better for you to listen to them and obey them even if they be cruel slaves of Abyssinia.”

In Seerate Nabawiya of Sayyid Ahmad Dahlan6, it is mentioned that when the Quraish infidels of Mecca asked His Eminence, Ali (a.s.), “Where is Muhammad?” He replied: “I don’t know.” Although he knew that the Holy Prophet (S) was hiding in the cave. What was it, if not dissimulation? Let Ahlul Sunnat say it was lying, but the poor Shia can never attribute falsehood to His Eminence, Ali (a.s.).

Similar situation is described in Tarikh Khamis7 when the infidels asked Abu Bakr about the Prophet, Abu Bakr said: “He is a guide, leading the way.” No doubt that in this situation, Abu Bakr had also adopted dissimulation.

In Seeratul Halabiyah8, Halabi says that wherever the infidels are dominant and Muslims are weak they should not curse the idols of infidels and this order continues till now. According to Seerate Muhammadiya9 and Sahih Bukhari10 the Holy Prophet (S) stayed in Mecca for fifteen years and preached for only four or five years secretly and in fear, because the infidels rejected the Holy Quran, the Prophet and Allah the Almighty. That is why, Allah revealed to pray softly, so that polytheists may not hear, but it was not necessary to hide from companions, ‘but you must not pray so loudly that infidels snatch the Quran from you.’

We come to know from the report of Isafur Raghebeen11 that when the Holy Prophet (S) prayed, he prayed in a secluded corner. One day, a disbeliever found Saad bin Abi Waqqas praying and he condemned and cursed him. Saad and the polytheist had a fight in which Saad beat up that disbeliever. Obviously, if they had been cautious as ordered by the Prophet, this would not have happened.

According to Tirmidhi12, people would first come to Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) for intercession on Judgment Day but Ibrahim (a.s.) would say: “I can’t do anything for you, because I have lied three times in my life.” The fact was that he had to resort to this because of dissimulation. That is why the Holy Prophet (S) stated that such lies were lawful for Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) by Shariat.

In Sahih Bukhari13, it is quoted from Ibn Abbas that the Holy Prophet (S) told Miqdad that to hide belief from infidels was the best action of faith. Such as he was doing in Mecca. It shows that when you feel danger from infidels you should conceal your faith. Undoubtedly, it is the proper occasion for dissimulation.

It is related by Huzaifah in Sahih Muslim14 that “once I was with the Prophet when he said: ‘Conceal our Islam.’ I asked: ‘Why do you fear? There are six or seven hundred people in my tribe.’ The Prophet said: ‘You don’t know, perhaps you may encounter the enemies of Islam alone, and if such an occasion comes for anyone, it becomes necessary to pray in a low voice.’”

Qastalani writes that the companions of the Messenger of Allah (S) did not openly declare Islam and that they prayed secretly, so that they would not create any trouble. Baidhawi15 writes that according to the verse of Surah Shuara, Prophet Moosa (a.s.) was in dissimulation for thirty years. Qastalani says in Sharh Bukhari16 that lying is justified to save ones life from unjust people and enemies of religion.

According to Baidhawi17, the following verse permits dissimulation:

“And cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands…”18

Tafseer Maalimut Tanzeel also supports Tafseer Baidhawi. But it should be known that dissimulation was permissible in Islam in the beginning as it was weak and that now there is no more need for it. Although according to Imam Sadiq (a.s.): “It (dissimulation) is our religion, till Judgment Day.” According to Tafseer Jalalain, Tafseer Ibn Abbas, Tafseer Nishapuri and Tafseer Kabir Razi, dissimulation is permitted only in times of need. Thus, Shia and Sunni, both consider it necessary, but it is very regretful that Ahlul Sunnat use it as a means to vilify the Shias.

  • 1. Surah Aale Imran 3:28
  • 2. Ref. Baidhawi, Pg. 134
  • 3. Surah Momin 40:28
  • 4. Ref. Tafseer Baidhawi and Tafseer Ibn Abbas.
  • 5. Pg. 294
  • 6. Vol. 1, Pg. 384
  • 7. Vol. 1, Pg. 335
  • 8. Vol. 1, Pg. 466
  • 9. Pg. 191
  • 10. Vol. 1, Pg. 351
  • 11. Pg. 15
  • 12. Vol. 2, Pg. 16
  • 13. Vol. 10, Pg. 35
  • 14. Vol. 1, Pg. 84
  • 15. Vol. 2, Pg. 106
  • 16. Vol. 5, Pg. 279
  • 17. Vol. 1, Pg. 99
  • 18. Surah Baqarah 2:195