Skip to: Site menu | Main content


We believe that a true and comprehensive understanding of Islam would not be possible without careful recognition of the Prophetic Tradition and the Prophet's Household. And Allah is the Source of Strength.

Taqiyyah; Concealing of Faith

Taqiyyah is one of the most misused article of faith against the Shia. People who only want to create fitnah amongst the Ummah claim that whenever you talk to a Shia regarding their beliefs, they tell you the Islamic beliefs from the Quran. Thus they conclude that the Shias are performing Taqiyyah, they are concealing their "real" anti-Quranic faith and are lying. It might be funny at times to but why shouldn't the Shia tell people about their faith which is exactly in line with the Quranic orders.

This is an article for those who have misunderstood Taqiyyah and misused it on purpose. Taqiyyah doesn't mean to lie. It is to conceal your faith due to fear of harm to your life or property.

The miscreants amongst the nasibis have an awkward view and belief regarding Taqiyyah or Taqiyyah. They think it means to lie or to hide the truth.

The sunnis claim that;

My Sunni friends are partly right and partly wrong. Shias do believe in the legitimacy of Taqiya, which means to believe in something else and to express something else. Other than that, everything is pure propaganda and are lies or common misconceptions generated against Shiaism. 90% of religion is not Taqiya. Imams did Taqiya or not will be discussed later on. But first, let me explain what is Taqiya and when is it justified.

In the early years of the Tawheed (Islamic conquest of the Arabian peninsula) and in the Fatah (Arab-Islamic invasion and conquest of the upper Middle East and the outside world), a Muslim concept was devised to achieve success against the enemy, Al-Taqiya. It was also beneficial for the early Muslims to escape the tortures of tyrants which the Muslims could suffer due to their belief in Tawheed.

Al-Taqiya, from the verb Ittaqu, means linguistically dodge the threat. Politically it means simulate whatever status you need in order to win the war against the enemy.

What is taqiyya? In simple words, it is saving your life when it is at risk. For example, if somebody pulled out a gun on your head and asked if you were Muslim and threatened to kill you if you said you were, you can certainly say you are not. Allah has given you the right of saving your life even if it means you apparently denounce your faith,  because your faith is for Allah and he knows what's in your hearts. This is Taqiyyah. 

He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith, but he who opens (his) breast to disbelief-- on these is the wrath of Allah, and they shall have a grievous chastisement.
Quran [16:106]

Quran has clearly told us that any Muslim who disbelieves after believing is ruined, except those who are forced to do so. If a person is under threat or under compulsion to utter disbelief, he can, but in his heart, he should be firm on his creed and beliefs. Taqiyya is just saving your life when under compulsion. 

Sahabas or companions of Rasool (SAW) performed Taqiyya throughout the prophetic mission, depending on the situation.

And He (Allah)  it is Who held back their (Meccans) hands from you and your hands from them (preventing bloodshed) in the valley of Mecca after He had given you victory (the treaty) over them; and Allah is Seeing what you do.  It is they who disbelieved and turned you away from the Sacred Mosque and (turned off) the offering withheld from arriving at its destined place; and were it not for the believing men and the believing women (in Mecca), whom, not having known, you might have trodden down, and thus something hateful might have afflicted you on their account without knowledge-- so that Allah may cause to enter into His mercy whomsoever He pleases; had they been widely separated one from another, We would surely have punished those who disbelieved from among them with a painful punishment.
Quran [48:24-25]

At the treaty of Hudabiya, fighting and an attack on Mecca was a major possibility. But as there were some Muslims in Mecca who had hidden their faith for safety issues, it was Allah who made things go in a peaceful manner because some of those Muslims in Mecca might have been killed on the hands of fellow Muslims only if Mecca was attacked. Some of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) performed Taqiyyah in Mecca as the above verse states.

(Had there not been believing men and believing women) `living among the Makkans hiding their faith for fearing for their safety from the pagans. Otherwise, We would have given you authority over the Makkans and you would have killed them to the brink of extermination. However, there were some faithful believers, men and women, living among them, about whom you had no knowledge of being believers and you might try to kill them. (whom you did not know, that you may kill them and on whose account a sin would have been committed by you) an evil and erroneous act, (without (your) knowledge, that Allah might bring into His mercy whom He wills) that Allah might delay the punishment of the pagans of Makkah to save the believers who lived among them, and so that many of the idolaters might embrace Islam. Allah the Exalted and Most Honored said, (if they had been apart), if the disbelievers and the believers who were living among them had been apart, (We verily, would have punished with painful torment those of them who disbelieved) `We would have given you dominance over the disbelievers and you would have inflicted tremendous slaughter on them.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 48, verse 25

In other words, Taqiyyah is a form of self-defense that encompasses defending one's life, property, esteem and beliefs. According to shariah, if a person is caught up between two hardships and one of them is intolerable, then to save one's self from the bigger hardship, one should tolerate the smaller one.

In some tafseer books, it is written in the following manner:

When this incident occurred with Ammar bin Yaser (ra), people said to the Holy Prophet (s), "O messenger of Allah (s), Ammar has become a non-believer." Prophet Muhammad (s) replied "it is not possible, Ammar is full of Islamic zeal from head to toe. This zeal is mixed in his flesh and blood." A while late Ammar (A.S) came to the Prophet (s) crying, after wiping Ammar's (A.S) tears, Prophet Mohammed (S) said, what happened? If non-believers force you to repeat these words, repeat them. “This verse (16:106) is a proof that if one is forced to, one can denounce Islam”.
Tafseer-e-Bezawi, Volume 1, Page 453, Publishers, Luknow

This is Taqiyya, and the Quran allows it, so does Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

If a cruel man comes to kill a person who is hiding, or comes to wrongfully take someone else’s possessions, and asks for information about that (possession), then it is a must on everyone who has any knowledge about it, to hide it and lie about it. This is not just a lie, infact it is a must for the reason that it is a means of protecting the weak from the cruel. 
Sharh Muslim Nawawi, Volume 2, Page 106-266, Published Luknow

Infact, saying a lie is promoted on certain occasions such as.

  1. To Reconcile the people in battle
  2. To reconcile the husband and wife

The proof? 

Humaid b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of 'Uqba b. Abu Mu'ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him), as saying that she heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).
Sahih Muslim, Book 32, Hadith 6303

On the analogy [Qiyas] of these cases, the scholars of Hadith have pointed out some other exemptions: for saving the life and honor of innocent person from the highhandedness of tyrants and oppressors if one finds no other way to save them.

Infact, in the early times of Muslims in Mecca, Muslims were neither allowed to show their faith openly, nor were they allowed to pray, perform Salat, Openly. Why? Think over it.

I beleive first part of the article is complete. Taqiyya is permissible by the Quran, practiced by the companions of Prophet (SAW) to save their lives.

However, you must also note that the Quran clearly states:

Surely (as for) those whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls, they shall say: In what state were you? They shall say: We were weak in the earth. They shall say: Was not Allah's earth spacious, so that you should have migrated therein? So these it is whose abode is hell, and it is an evil resort Except the weak from among the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape); So these, it may be, Allah will pardon them, and Allah is Pardoning, Forgiving.
Quran [4:97-99]

Al-Bukhari recorded that Muhammad bin `Abdur-Rahman, Abu Al-Aswad, said, "The people of Al-Madinah were forced to prepare an army (to fight against the people of Ash-Sham during the Khilafah of Abdullah bin Az-Zubayir at Makkah), and I was enlisted in it. Then I met `Ikrimah, the freed slave of Ibn `Abbas, and informed him (about it), and he forbade me strongly from doing so (i.e., to enlist in that army), and then he said to me, `Ibn `Abbas told me that some Muslims used to go out with the idolators increasing the size of their army against the Messenger of Allah . Then, an arrow would hit one of them and kill him, or he would be struck on his neck (with a sword) and killed, and Allah sent down the Ayah, (Verily, as for those whom the angels take (in death) while they are wronging themselves).'' Ad-Dahhak stated that this Ayah was revealed about some hypocrites who did not join the Messenger of Allah but remained in Makkah and went out with the idolators for the battle of Badr. They were killed among those who were killed. Thus, this honorable Ayah was revealed about those who reside among the idolators, while able to perform Hijrah and unable to practice the faith. Such people will be committing injustice against themselves and falling into a prohibition according to the consensus and also according to this Ayah.
Tafsir of Ibne Kathir, Tafsir of Surah 4, Verse 97

You must note that although Ibne Kathir's explanation is correct historically, his interpretation is illogical. A hypocrite is a person who claims to be a Muslim but in his heart has disbelief. The above verses point out the fact that the person who died on unbelief apparently, in his heart had faith (opposite to that of hypocrites) but the only thing which stopped him from openly accepting it and joining the party of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was his weakness. Thus when such a person who in his heart had Islam to an extent, but accompanied the pagans on account of his own weakness (Taqiyya), increased the number of the apparent pagan army and would be a means of terrorizing the Muslim army (as he would add to the numbers). Such a person if died in such state would face Allah's wrath, because the excuse he gave for his Taqiyya was his weakness, while he in his powers had the authority and the choice to migrate.

Allah has clearly said in the above verses that those who can migrate, should migrate and practice the religion of Allah openly because his earth is spacious. Of the people "whom the angels cause to die while they are unjust to their souls" Allah will forgive only "the weak from among the men and the children who have not in their power the means nor can they find a way (to escape)".

Thus Allah has given his people alot of options which they can use in times of need. The companions of Rasool (SAW) were martyred in the way of Allah (Yasir RA), the companions migrated (to Abyssinia, Medina etc), the companions hid their faith and performed Taqiyya (according to the verse of Hudaibya and apparent reverting of Ammar RA). Verily, Taqiyya is one of the legalized strategies Allah has given to his believers in order to save their lives according to the situation. Verily martyrs are above all.

Coming to the second part, did the Imams of the Ahlulbayt perform Taqiyya? Imam Ali (AS) was martyred in a mosque. Imam Hassan (AS) was poisoned. Imam Hussain (AS), his family and blessed companions were martyred in the battle field of Kerbala. All of the Imams after Hussain (AS) were imprisoned and poisoned. Does it sound like they performed Taqiyya? People whose hearts and heads Allah has locked, do  not see the difference between patience and fear.

The final part; about Shias performing Taqiyya even in religious discussion. This is one of the  most ridiculous accusations against the Shias. To clarify it, Taqiyya can not be practiced until one is under threat and in discussions over the Internet, no Shia needs to perform Taqiyya as threat can not reach him on the net. However i would not accuse a Shia of claiming to be a non-Shia given the persecution they have faced throughout Pakistan, Iraq etc.

How did this myth start, of Shias performing Taqiyya every time, considering it to be the greatest act of worship? Maybe Sunnis expect Shias to say that Ali (AS) is god, or that angel Gabriel delivered the revelation to Rasool (SAW) by mistake. But when Shias tell them that there is only one Allah, and Muhammad (SAW) is Rasool Allah, and Ali (AS) is Wali Allah, and angels do not make mistakes, the haters of Ali (AS) assume that we are lying or performing Taqiyya just to save our lives.

Maybe then, when they realize that Quran orders Taqiyya to be practiced when one is in danger, and in discussions over the internet, one's life cannot be in danger thus there is no need for Taqiyya, they might think that why did the Shia claim to believe what is in the Quran itself? Because according to their perception and teachings of extremist ignorant Mullahs, Shias eat babies alive and believe the Quran to be obsolete and incomplete (God forbid). Maybe it is then that the haters of Ali (AS) assume that the Shia performed Taqiyya because they consider it to be nine-tenth of faith.

Please note that by "haters of Ali (AS)", i do not mean the Sunnis at all. I point out at that group, which is not blessed with patience, wisdom, knowledge and piety, the group which does not hesitate at labeling any one a kaafir, which does not hesitate to kill innocents.

Islam is beautiful but it is being misrepresented to the outer world. Muslim is just another word for terrorist. The sadder part is that we Muslims, fear for our lives, not from others, but from fellow Muslims ourselves. It is a shame that in tribal areas of Pakistan, people have to perform Taqiyyah from Muslims only. If this disunity in Islamic faith continues, that time won't be far away where we all need to perform Taqiyyah in order to stay alive, and that Taqiyyah would be for so long that our later generations will forget if their disbelief is apparent or actual. 

When i see people killing people, Muslims slaughtering Muslims, Muslim women wearing bikinis, Muslims taking bribes, not giving Zakat/Khums, indulging in adultery and businesses of Interest/Riba, I think that time has already arrived, where we do not know if our disbelief is apparent of actual. Allah is not with those who disobey Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Feel free to email your comments/replies to this article at or post a message at our Forum, no registration Required.
To view comments/suggestions for this article, visit Here.