Rafed English

Taqiyah (pious dissiumlation or concealing one's faith in dangerous circumstances)

In the matter of taqiyah also the Shi'as are very much defamed and the reason for that is that ordinary people are quite ignorant of its reality. A careful consideration will show that the taqiyah in which the Shi'as believe is not peculiar to them alone. Rather, it is a logical necessity and a natural demand. There is no commandment of the shari'ah which is inconsistent with wisdom and learning. In every problem, knowledge and wisdom appear together.

If one assesses innate human tendencies, one has to admit that everyone has a natural disposition to defend himself: life is dear. Of course, if there is a matter of honour at stake, or a question of protecting the truth, then, even though life is dear, it is not given any relative importance. But if circumstances do not reach such an extreme, what sane man would be prepared to endanger his own life just so that the world may laugh at him? What is more, to court danger is against the counsel of wisdom and religion.

Thus the Holy Lawgiver has permitted the Muslim who is surrounded by danger and who risks his or her life or his or her honour to hide his or her belief outwardly although he or she must continue to observe his or her religion inwardly. There are also verses in the Holy Qur'an suggesting the same thing and the story of 'Ammar, his parents and some other companions of the Prophet shows that when he was suffering the persecutions of the idol-worshippers, he professed unbelief.
There are of course rules for taqiyah. They are three:

1) if life will be lost for no purpose, then it is an obligation;
2) if expressing the truth would serve some useful purpose, then it is optional;
3) if atheism (kufr) is gaining the upper hand, people are being led astray, and their is danger of cruelty and oppression, then taqiyah is forbidden.

Now let us throw some light onto the matter so that a conscientious person may make up his own mind as to whether the Shi'a are actually guilty of taqiyah (supposing that it is condemnable), or whether they were forced to do taqiyah by certain groups who took away their freedom and forced them to dissimulate their beliefs.

As soon as Mu'awiyyah took over power, he made the shari'ah into a plaything and victimized the Shi'as of 'Ali (a.s.) with unconcealed savagery. The blood of the Shi'as was cheaper to him than water. The Marwanid caliphs also followed the same iniquitous policy. Then came the 'Abbasid period, and they even increased the atrocities. Consequently, those who loved the ahl ul-bayt (a.s.) had to adopt various tactics. Sometimes they went into hiding, sometimes they rose up.

Sometimes they were forced to conceal themselves and sometimes they stood up against the oppression in their enthusiasm for the truth so that their blood might become a beacon lighting the path for others.Some great Shi'ahs, therefore, paid no heed to taqiyah and braved all kinds of cruelties, sometimes ending up as martyrs. There is the very famous story of the martyrs of Maraj Azra, who were fourteen brave warriors who sacrificed their lives in the way of God under the leadership of the pious companion Hajar ibn Abi Kindi. He was also the military leader who was responsible for the conquest of Syria. Mu'awiyah said of him, "I know what was the case with everyone of those whom I put to the sword in Maraj Azra, but I am at a loss to understand what the crime of Hajar was for which he was killed." But we can easily say what his fault was. He did not feel there was any need to do taqiyah, because he wanted to let the world know the tyranny of the Umayyids and the deep religious feelings of his own family.

Let us not forget the events surrounding the ends of the great companions 'Amr ibn Himq al-Khuza'i and 'Abdu 'r-Rahman ibn al-Hasan al-Ghazi, who were buried alive by ibn Ziyad. Nor Maytham Tammar, Rushayd al-Hajari and 'Abdullah ibn Yaqfar who were crucified. Moreover, there are the examples of the hundreds and thousands of other Muslims who died fighting for their beliefs in the way of God before the disbelievers who crushed them to death.

These lovers of truth did not do taqiyah because such was the need of the moment. Their abstaining from taqiyah protected the truth and showed up the false religiosity of Mu'awiyyah, Yazid, Ziyad and Ibn Ziyad.

How can we possibly forget the events surrounding the martyrdom of al-Husayn (a.s.) and his worthy companions? They, of course, considered taqiyah to be unlawful in its particular circumstances, but there are other situations in which it may be compulsory, or may be merely optional.

It is reported that once Musaylimah, the false prophet, captured two Muslims and forced them to acknowledge his prophethood and deny the prophethood of Muhammad (s.a.w.). One of them refused and was therefore killed, but the other accepted and was released. When the news reached the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), he said, "The first man made haste to reach heaven, the second man marked his time. Bothe of them will be recompensed."

O Muslims! Do not taunt your brothers concerning taqiyah. May God bless you and us in the hereafter, and may we all be united on the point of guidance. Salam, peace, to you all, and may God bestow on you His Mercy and His Blessings.

Adopted from the book: "The Origin of the Shi'ite Islam and its Principles (Asl ash-Shi'ah wa Usuluh" by: "Allamah Kashiful Ghita"

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