Chapter One: Definition of Taqiyyah states:

One other Imami Shi’a doctrine that must be related is the doctrine of Taqiyyah, or dissimulation, (i.e. calculated deception). In support of this doctrine of deception, the Shi’a attribute the following to Abu Abdullah (Ja’far as-Sadiq): “Nine tenths of religion is Taqiyyah (dissimulation), hence one who does not dissimulate has no religion.” (Al-Kafi vol.9 p.110) “He who conceals his religion has saved it, and he who makes it public has destroyed it.” “A believer who does not dissimulate is like a body without a head.” (Tafseer al-Askari) “Mix with them (i.e. non-Shi’a) externally but oppose them internally.” (Al-Kafi vol.9 p.116)

The ‘actual’ definition of Taqiyyah

Taqiyyah means ‘concealing one’s religion or faith due to fear, but in one’s heart, the person must believe in the religion s/he is concealing’. In other words it is a form of self-defence that encompasses defending one’s life, property, esteem and beliefs. According to the Shariah, if a person is trapped between two hardships and one of them is intolerable, then to save oneself from the greater hardship, one should tolerate the lesser one. Therefore, Imam of Ahle Sunnah Allamah Fakhruddin Razi wrote:

“When faced with two hardships, one should go through the smaller one to save one’s self from the bigger one. This is a recognized fact”.
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 5 pages 746-750 (published in Istanbul)

In the same Tafseer, we read:

“Taqiyyah is permissible till the day of Qayamah and this statement is better because it is Wajib to protect our life from any harm”
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 4 page 170

If speaking the truth can cause a man to lose his life, property or esteem, then it is a natural instinct that he shall seek to protect those things, through methods that can include (in some circumstances) refraining from stating the truth. Islam claims to be the religion of nature, one that in times of desperate need allows its adherent to even eat the meat of dead animal or pork.

“He hath only forbidden you dead meat and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah but if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful”.
Surah Al Baqara, Ayah 173; transliteration of Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Famed Ahle-Hadeeth scholar Maulana Waheed uz Zaman Khan records:

“Al-Taqqiyah also means that a man conceals his belief due to a fear of losing his honor or life. This is permissible according to all, the Ahle Sunnah and Imamiyah. It is stated in the Quran that ‘A believer, a man from among the people of Pharaoh, who had concealed his faith’ [40:28]’ and ‘except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them.’ [3:28].
Ammar Yasir had practiced Taqqiyah, as did Muhammad bin Musalimah”

Lughaat al-Hadeeth, Alphabet ‘Tay’ page 17

At another place, while mentioning the statement of Hasan Basri, Maulana Waheed uz Zaman stated:

‘At-Taqiyya shall remain until the Day of Resurrection. It means, that if one fears losing his life, or being dishonored, or the amputation of an organ or of some severe jolt that is unbearable, then to save oneself through some dissimulation is called Taqiyyah.’
Lughaat al-Hadeeth, Alphabet ‘Tay’ page 85

Ibn Hajar Asaqlani gives the following definition of Taqqiyah:

قلت ومعنى التقية الحذر من إظهار ما في النفس من معتقد وغيره للغير

“I say that the meaning of Taqiyyah is to be cautious of revealing that which is in one’s mind regarding ones beliefs and practices, in front of others.”
Fatah ul Bari, Volume 12 page 314

Allamah Mehmood Alusi al-Baghdadi stated in Tafsir Ruh Al-Ma’ani, Volume 2 page 479:

“Scholars have defined Taqiyyah as to protect one’s life, property and honor from evil of the enemy and enemies are of two kinds, one that is based on difference in religion such as between a non-believer and a Muslim and the second type of enmity is due to worldly affairs such as wealth, possessions and sovereignty and leadership.”

We read in in Tafseer al-Manar by Rasheed Raza, Volume 3 page 231: 

التَّقِيَّةِ وَهِيَ مَا يُقَالُ أَوْ يُفْعَلُ مُخَالِفًا لِلْحَقِّ لِأَجَلِ تَوَقِّي الضَّرَرِ

”Taqiyyah is to say or act contrary to the truth in order to avoid any harm”

Imam Ibn Hayan Andlasi records in Tafseer Bahar al-Muheet, Volume 3 page 190:

قال ابن مسعود : خالطوا الناس وزايلوهم وعاملوهم بما يشتهون ، ودينكم فلا تثلموه.

Ibn Masud said: “Live, comply and behave with the people as they like but as for your religion, don’t harm it”.

Likewise Ibn Hazm records in Al-Muhala. Volume 8 page 336:

سَمِعْت عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ مَسْعُودٍ يَقُولُ: مَا مِنْ ذِي سُلْطَانٍ يُرِيدُ أَنْ يُكَلِّفَنِي كَلاَمًا يَدْرَأُ عَنِّي سَوْطًا أَوْ سَوْطَيْنِ إِلاَّ كُنْت مُتَكَلِّمًا بِهِ

Abdullah Ibn Masud said: ‘If a ruler insists that I say something after which I will be spared from one or two lashes then I will definitely comply accordingly’.


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