Wednesday, August 11, 2010


The Mufti of Constantinople
Within the Islamic theological framework the concept of taqiyya (تقیه) pronounced as "tagiyeh" by speakers of Iranian Persian, derives from the Arabic triliteral root waw-qaf-ya and denotes 'piety, devotion, uprightness, and godliness refers to the practice of precautionary dissimulation whereby believers may conceal their faith when under threat, persecution or compulsion.

Origin of the Practice

The practice of concealing one’s faith in dangerous circumstances originates in the Qur'an itself, which deems blameless those who disguise their beliefs in such cases. The practice of taqiyya in difficult circumstances is considered legitimate by Muslims of various persuasions. Sunni and Shi'i commentators alike observe that Q 16:106 in particular refers to the case of ‘Ammar b. Yasir, who was forced to renounce his beliefs under physical duress and torture.

Similarly, Q 3:28 enjoins believers not to take the company of doubters unless as a means of safeguarding themselves.

Two texts in the Koran specifically refer to taqiyya. The Prophet Mohammed, the founder of Islam reportedly said:

"[H]e who keeps secrets shall soon attain his objectives. … All War is a ruse” and “Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers; if any do that, they shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution … [taqiyya] that ye may guard yourselves." [Koran 3:28 and 40:28, emphasis added]

Regarding 3:28, Ibn Kathir, a prominent authority writes, "Whoever at any time or place fears their [infidels'] evil may protect himself through outward show." As proof of this, he quotes Muhammad's companion, al-Hassan, who said, "taqiyya is acceptable till the Day of Judgment [i.e., in perpetuity]."

Lying and cheating in the Arab world is not really a moral matter but a method of safeguarding honor and status, avoiding shame, and at all times exploiting possibilities, for those with the wits for it, deftly and expeditiously to convert shame into honor on their own account and vice versa for their opponents. If honor so demands, lies and cheating may become absolute imperatives." [David Pryce-Jones, "The Closed Circle" An interpretation of the Arabs, p4]

“No dishonor attaches to such primary transactions as selling short weight, deceiving anyone about quality, quantity or kind of goods, cheating at gambling, and bearing false witness. The doer of these things is merely quicker off the mark than the next fellow; owing him nothing, he is not to be blamed for taking what he can.” [David Pryce-Jones, "The Closed Circle", p38]


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