The writer of “What is Shi’aism?” writes on page 15, under the heading “Taqiyah”:
“Nifaaq or hypocrisy is a principle of the Shi’a religion. They technically term such hypocrisy as Taqiyah which means the permissibility to conceal one’s true belief for the sake of expediency”

COMMENT: It is easy to give a wrong meaning to a word and then heap abuses on it. Taqiyah is a Qur’anic term: it means permission of hiding one’s true faith, not for the sake of expediency, but when there is danger to one’s own life, property or honour or to that of another believer. This principle is initiated by Qur’an, was followed by many respectable Sahabah, and is accepted by all Muslims, Shi’as and Sunnis alike.

But the writer of that booklet is outside the circle of Islam; therefore, he does not know these things. He does not realize that it is not only the Shi’a “religion” but the religion of all Muslims.

I would like to give here only a few references from the Qur’an, actions of Sahabah, Tafsirs, traditions and writings of respected Sunni scholars.

From the Holy Qur’an

مَنْ كَفَرَ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ بَعْدِ إِيمَانِهِ إِلَّا مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَٰكِنْ مَنْ شَرَحَ بِالْكُفْرِ صَدْرًا فَعَلَيْهِمْ غَضَبٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

He who disbelieves in Allah after his belief in Him, (is the liar) except he who is compelled while his heart remains steadfast with the faith (has nothing worry). But who opens his breast for infidelity; on these is wrath of Allah, and for them is a great torment.1

This verse of the Qur’an refers to the incident when the respected Sahabi ‘Ammar bin Yasir (May Allah be pleased with both) had to utter some words against Islam to save himself from the Quraishite infidels.

The Quraishites brutally martyred Yasir and his wife Sumaiyah just because of their faith. They were the first martyrs of Islam. When the parents were killed, ‘Ammar pretended to renounce Islam and thus saved his life. Someone told the Prophet that ‘Ammar had become Kafir. The Prophet said: “Never; verily the flesh and blood of ‘Ammar is saturated with true faith.” Then ‘Ammar came to the Holy Prophet bitterly weeping that he had to utter evil words against Islam, in order that he could slip away from the clutches of the infidels. The Prophet asked him: ‘How did you find your heart?” ‘Ammar said: “Steadfast in Faith”. The Holy Prophet told him not to worry and advised him to repeat those words if the infidels again asked him to do so.

And it was not only the Holy Prophet who liked the choice of ‘Ammar (r.a.) Even Allah confirmed his action in the verse quoted above.

This event is mentioned in almost all books of Tafsir, under this verse. For example:
Tafseer Ad -Durru ‘l-Manthur oflmam as-Suyuti. vol.4 , p. 132
Tafseer Al-Kashshaf of az-Zamakhshari, Beirut ed. vol. 2. p. 430
Tafseer Kabir oflmam ar-Razi.

Another Ayat:

لَا يَتَّخِذِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْكَافِرِينَ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَمَنْ يَفْعَلْ ذَٰلِكَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَ اللَّهِ فِي شَيْءٍ إِلَّا أَنْ تَتَّقُوا مِنْهُمْ تُقَاةً وَيُحَذِّرُكُمُ اللَّهُ نَفْسَهُ وَإِلَى اللَّهِ الْمَصِيرُ قُلْ إِنْ تُخْفُوا مَا فِي صُدُورِكُمْ أَوْ تُبْدُوهُ يَعْلَمْهُ اللَّهُ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَاللَّهُ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“Let not the believers take the disbelievers as their friends rather than the believers; whosoever shall do this then he has no relation with Allah, except when you have to guard Yourselves against them for fear from them; but Allah cautions you of Himself, for unto Allah is the end of your journey. Say: whether you conceal what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it; and He knows all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; and verily Allah has power over all things.”2

The reason of this permission is given in this very ayat: “Say whether you conceal what is in your hearts or manifest it, Allah knows it”.

Here Allah assures the Muslims that Faith is a spiritual thing, connected with heart; and if your faith inside your heart is unimpaired, then Allah is pleased with you whether you manifest that faith or hide it. It is all the same with Allah, because He knows your hidden secrets, and even when you hide your faith from unbelievers, Allah knows it and recognizes it.

There are other verses too; but we do not want to spend much time on this topic here.

Now some statements from the books of Tafseer.

Imam as-Suyuti writes inter alia under this verse:

واخرجابنأيبحاتممنطريقالعويفعنابنعباسف قوهل:إلانتتقوامنهمتقية :فاتلقية باللسان من محل عيل امر بتلكم به وهو معصية هلل فيتلكم به خمافةانلاس وقلبه مطمئ باليمان فإن ذ لك ل يرضه إنما اتلقية باللسان ... واخرج عبد بن محيد عن احلسنقال اتلقيةجائزةإيل يومالقيامة– واخرجعبدعن أيب رجاء أنه اكن يقرأ إل ان تتقوا منهم تقية- وأخرج عبد لنب محيدعن قتادةأنه اكن يقرؤها إل ان تتقوا منهم تقية بالاء.

“And Ibn Jarir and Ibn Abi Hatim have narrated through al-’Awfi from Ibn ‘Abbas (that he said about this verse): ‘So taqiyah is by tongue. Whoever is compelled to say something which is disobedience of Allah and he speaks it because of those people’s fear while his heart remains steadfast in the faith, it will do him no harm; verily taqiyah is with the tongue only.’3

“..........And ‘Abd ibn Hamid has narrated from al-Hasan (al-Basri) that he said: ‘Taqiyah is lawful upto the day of resurrection: And ‘Abd (ibn Hamid) has narrated from Abu Raja’ that he was reciting, ‘ilia an tattaqu minhum taqiyatan’; and ‘Abd ibn Hamid has narrated from Qatadah that he was reciting (likewise).... taqiyatan with ya.”1

So, you see here the name ‘Taqiyah’ favourably mentioned in the Qur’an. And this unknown writer says it is hypocrisy!!

Imam Fakhruddin ar-Razi has mentioned some rules concerning taqiyah under this verse, some of which are given here:

المسألة الثالثة : قال الحسن أخذ مسيلمة الكذاب رجلين من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال لأحدهما : أتشهد أن محمداً رسول الله؟ قال : نعم نعم نعم ، فقال : أفتشهد أني رسول الله؟ قال : نعم ، وكان مسيلمة يزعم أنه رسول بني حنيفة ، ومحمد رسول قريش ، فتركه ودعا الآخر فقال أتشهد أن محمداً رسول الله؟ قال : نعم ، قال : أفتشهد أني رسول الله؟ فقال : إني أصم ثلاثا ، فقدمه وقتله فبلغ ذلك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ، فقال : « أما هذا المقتول فمضى على يقينه وصدقه فهنيئاً له ، وأما الآخر فقبل رخصة الله فلا تبعة عليه . » واعلم أن نظير هذه الآية قوله تعالى : { إِلاَّ مَنْ أُكْرِهَ وَقَلْبُهُ مُطْمَئِنٌّ بالإيمان } [ النحل : 106 ] .

المسألة الرابعة : اعلم أن للتقية أحكاماً كثيرة ونحن نذكر بعضها .

الحكم الأول : أن التقية إنما تكون إذا كان الرجل في قوم كفار ، ويخاف منهم على نفسه وماله فيداريهم باللسان ، وذلك بأن لا يظهر العداوة باللسان ، بل يجوز أيضاً أن يظهر الكلام الموهم للمحبة والموالاة ، ولكن بشرط أن يضمر خلافه ، وأن يعرض في كل ما يقول ، فإن التقية تأثيرها في الظاهر لا في أحوال القلوب .

الحكم الثاني للتقية : هو أنه لو أفصح بالإيمان والحق حيث يجوز له التقية كان ذلك أفضل ، ودليله ما ذكرناه في قصة مسيلمة .

الحكم الثالث للتقية : أنها إنما تجوز فيما يتعلق بإظهار الموالاة والمعاداة ، وقد تجوز أيضاً فيما يتعلق بإظهار الدين فأما ما يرجع ضرره إلى الغير كالقتل والزنا وغصب الأموال والشهادة بالزور وقذف المحصنات واطلاع الكفار على عورات المسلمين ، فذلك غير جائز ألبتة .

الحكم الرابع : ظاهر الآية يدل أن التقية إنما تحل مع الكفار الغالبين إلا أن مذهب الشافعي رضي الله عنه أن الحالة بين المسلمين إذا شاكلت الحالة بين المسلمين والمشركين حلت التقية محاماة على النفس .

الحكم الخامس : التقية جائزة لصون النفس ، وهل هي جائزة لصون المال يحتمل أن يحكم فيها بالجواز ، لقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « حرمة مال المسلم كحرمة دمه » ولقوله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « من قتل دون ماله فهو شهيد » ولأن الحاجة إلى المال شديدة والماء إذا بيع بالغبن سقط فرض الوضوء ، وجاز الاقتصار على التيمم دفعاً لذلك القدر من نقصان المال ، فكيف لا يجوز ههنا ، والله أعلم .

الحكم السادس : قال مجاهد : هذا الحكم كان ثابتاً في أول الإسلام لأجل ضعف المؤمنين فأما بعد قوة دولة الإسلام فلا ، وروى عوف عن الحسن : أنه قال التقية جائزة للمؤمنين إلى يوم القيامة ، وهذا القول أولى ، لأن دفع الضرر عن النفس واجب بقدر الإمكان .

Third Rule: Taqiyah 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.

Fourth Rule: The Qur’anic verse apparently shows that taqiyah is allowed with dominant unbelievers. But according to the madh-hab 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.

Fifth Rule: Taqiyah 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 (S) has said: ‘The sanctity of a Muslim’s property is like the sanctity of his blood’; and also He (S) 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.

Sixth Rule: 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.”4

From Ahadith

Imam Bukhari has written a full chapter, Kitabul Ikrah, on this subject of compulsion, wherein he writes, inter alia:

قول الله تعالى: إلا من أكره وقلبه مطمئن بالإيمان... وقال إلا أن تتقوا منهم تقاة وهي تقية... وقال الحسن التقية إلى يوم القيامة... وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم: الأعمال بالنية

And Allah said ‘except when you have to guard yourselves against them for fear from them’. And it is Taqiyah ... And Hassan (Basri) said: ‘Taqiyah is upto the Day of Resurrection’ .... And the Prophet (s.a.w.) said: ‘Deed are according to intention’.5

That is why the Prophet (S) has categorically said:

لا دين لمن لا تقية له

He who has no taqiyah has no religion.6

It is clear that the principle of Taqiyah is a part of the religion of Islam, initiated by the Qur’an, confirmed by the traditions of the Prophet, fully agreed by the Sunni scholars and mufassirin, and followed by respectable sahabah. And now look at this ignorant man saying that Taqiyah is nifaaq or hypocrisy!! Certainly he himself is not only a munaafiq (hypocrite) but an out-right kafir who accuses the Holy Prophet (S) and respected sahabah of propagating and practising nifaaq!! Astaghfirullah! Remember that according to the hadith of the Prophet this enemy of Taqiyah is not Muslim at all (has no religion).

The fact is that taqiyah is opposite of Nifaq. Remember, Iman and Kufr, when seen with their ‘declaration, can be divided in four categories only:
1. Correct belief of Islam by heart and its declaration in words. This is open Iman (faith).
2. Belief against Islam by heart and expression of that anti-Islamic belief in words.

This is open Kufr (infidelity). These two categories are opposite to each other and cannot combine in one place.

3. Belief against Islam in heart but declaration of Islam in words. This is Nifaq (hypocricy).
4. Correct belief of Islam by heart but declaration of anti-Islamic belief in words.

This is taqiyah, and these two categories (Nifaq and Taqiyah) are, likewise, opposite to each other and can never be found in one place.

In other words, he who opposes Taqiyah is munafiq like that unknown writer.

Imam ar-Razi too has clearly described this contrast in his tafsir in the following words:

وهذا إشارة إلى أن الاعتبار بما في القلب ، فالمنافق الذي يظهر الإيمان ويضمر الكفر كافر ، والمؤمن المكره الذي يظهر الكفر ويضمر الإيمان مؤمن والله أعلم بما في صدور العالمين ، ولما بين أنه أعلم بما في صدور العالمين

“This points to the fact that (in these matters) consideration is given only to what is hidden in the heart. A hypocrite who shows faith and hides dibelief is a disbeliever, while a believer who under compulsion shows disbelief and hides faith is a believer; and Allah better knows that is hidden in the hearts of all.”7

If anyone wants to know more on this subject, he should read my booklet, Taqiyah, available from Bilal Muslim Mission, Box 20033, Dar es Salaam, or P.O. Box 10396, Nairobi.

Before closing this chapter, I would like to ask this unknown author why has not he disclosed his name in his booklet? Is it not Taqiyyah? And that too without any justification? Kenya is a free country and there was no danger to his life, honour or propeny if he wrote his name as the author. So Taqiyyah is a shameful thing if it is done by a non-Wahhabi to protect his life from Wahhabis’ barbarism; but very admirable if done by a Wahhabi without any reason!

  • 1. Qur’an, 16:106.
  • 2. Qur’an, 3:28-29.
  • 3. A s-Suyuti, ad-Durru ’l-manthur, Vol. 2, pp. 16 – 17.
  • 4. Imam ar-Razi, Tafsir Mafatiu ’l-ghayb Beirut, 3rd ed., vol. 7, p. 13.
  • 5. Sahih al-Bukhari, Egypt ed., vol. 9, pp. 24-25.
  • 6. Mulla ‘Ali Muttaqi, Kanzu ’l-‘Ummal, Beirut, 5th ed., 1405/1985, vol. 3, p. 96, hadith no. 5665.
  • 7. Tafsir Mafatiu ’l-ghayb, under verse 19:10.