Doctrine of Taqiyyah

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Taqiyyah, sometimes written as taqiya or taqiyah, is the Islamic doctrine of deception found within the Quran (6:106 & 3:28) and the Hadith.

It allows followers of Islam to lie for the purpose of protecting their faith, themselves, and/or their Muslim community. This includes the denial of their own Islamic beliefs and practices in the midst of persecution, or under threat of death or injury. For example, Taqiyyah was practiced by Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th century as it permitted them to falsely convert to Christianity while still remaining Muslim and practicing Islam in secret.

In light of Taqiyyah, Muslims are exhorted, out of their fear for Allah, not to befriend unbelievers unless they are persecuted. If such a Muslim denies Islam in the face of persecution but is nevertheless a true believer then he will not suffer great punishment (16:106). Taqiyyah is also found in the ahadith (the legendary sayings or accounts of the prophet Muhammad) in which Muslims are to avoid combat with their enemies until they possess a sufficiently strong military force through which they can defeat their opponents. Taqiyyah also instructs Muslims to be friendly to unbelievers even though they despise them. The Quran instructs Muslims not to take unbelievers as friends unless it is to guard oneself against them,

“Let not the believers take disbelievers for their friends in preference to believers. Whoso doeth that hath no connection with Allah unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them, taking (as it were) security” (3:28) .

Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir, a respected Quranic exegete of the 14 century, in his commentary on 3:28 stated that,

“Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships, rather than the believers. Allah warned against such behaviour when He said, ‘And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way,’ meaning, whenever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him.”

According to Ibn Kathir, Allah would discard (reject) the Muslim who has an unbeliever as a friend with one exception. According to Ibn Kathir this exception was that,

“‘Unless you (the Muslim) indeed fear a danger from them,”’ meaning, except those believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.”

Ibn Kathir then quoted Abu Ad-Darda, a companion of Muhammad, who said that “we smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.”


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