Taqiyya – the Deliberate Deception of Islam



Taqiyya (also spelled taqiya, taqiyah or taqiyyah) is deliberate deception that is not only permitted in Islam, but encouraged in order to protect the Muslim community and is a form of defensive jihad*.  Sunnis are permitted to practice taqiyya in dealings with non-Muslims and with Muslims if  being  forced, coerced or threatened. Shias are permitted the practice taqiyya with Muslims, non-Muslims and “in all necessary matters”.  Muslims are encouraged to practice taqiyya when they form a minority of the population (i.e. are outnumbered by non-believers); and are told that they ‘need to guard themselves‘, ‘taking a “security“. The word for “security” is taqiyya and includes pretending to be friendly to non-Muslims. 

*Note: Both defensive jihad and offensive jihad were covered in the previous article, “A Difference of Interpretation – what separates moderates from Jihadis”. [see http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/06/14/ja-difference-of-interpretation-what-separates-moderates-from-jihadis/]

Origins of the Doctrine of Taqiyya

After the prophet Mohammed’s death in 632 AD (C.E.), Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, one of Mohammed’s closest friends was named Caliph (leader of the Islamic community). Some felt that title of Caliph belonged to Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin (and adopted son), who was husband of his daughter, Fatima. Supporters of Abu Bakr became the Sunnis and those that supported Ibn Abi became the Shias (Shiites)Abu Bakr was the first Caliph and after his death and the death of his predecessor, Ibn Abi finally did became Caliph, but was murdered in 661 AD. Conflict between the two groups continues until this day.

Since Shia Islam was a minority sect to Sunni Islam, the practice of taqiyya enabled Shias to protect themselves from Sunnis and was not only permitted by the Twelve Imams of Shia Islam but elevated to the level of faith and prayer;

“He who has no taqiyya has no faith”

“he who forsakes taqiyya is like him who forsakes prayer”

taqiyya is the believers shield, but for taqiyya, God would not have been worshipped”

Medoff,L.,"TAQIYA i. In Shiʿism,"  Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/taqiya-i-shiism

Taqiyya – always permissable with Non-Muslims


Sunni scholars permit the practice of taqiyya in dealings with nonMuslims and when under compulsion and compulsion is defined as protecting one’s belief during extreme circumstances (Arabic: idtirar إضطرار), such as being forced or coerced or threatened and is not limited to concealing one’s faith.

Iqbal, Javid; 'Umar, Muhammad Suhail (2000). The concept of state in Islam: a reassessment (Volume 13 of Iqbal Academy brochure series). Iqbal Academy Pakistan, original from the University of Michigan. p. 12.


Shia scholars permit the practice of taqiyya in interactions with Muslims, non-Muslims and in all necessary matters.

Medoff,L.,"TAQIYA i. In Shiʿism,"  Encyclopædia Iranica, online edition, 2015, available at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/taqiya-i-shiism

When is Taqiyya Permitted?

Sunnis permit the practice of taqiyya in dealings with non-Muslims and with Muslims if being forced, coerced or threatened (under compulsion). Shias permit the practice with Muslims, non-Muslims and in all necessary matters. 

Most religions encourage their adherents to choose their friends from their own community but the Qur’an goes beyond encouragement and prohibits Muslims from being friends with unbelievers instead of believers. It it doesn’t stop there, however.

The Qur’an instructs Muslims that when they form a minority of the population (such as they do in the West) and are outnumbered by non-Muslims that they are to ‘guard themselves‘, ‘taking a “security  (the word for “security” is taqiyya) against non-Muslims, including pretending to be friendly to 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. Allah biddeth you beware (only) of Himself. Unto Allah is the journeying.”

Qur’an – Surah 3:28

Tafsir Ibn Kathir, which is based on the Hadith (words and actions of Muhammad) explains Surah 3:28 as follows;

“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 behavior when He said, “And whoever does that, will never be helped by Allah in any way,” meaning, whoever commits this act that Allah has prohibited, then Allah will discard him. Similarly, Allah said, “O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them” until, “And whosoever of you does that, then indeed he has gone astray from the straight path.” 60:1

Ibn Kathir 

Who is Defined as “the Enemies of Allah”?

The enemies of Allah are defined in many Surahs (verses) of the Qur’an, ain the Hadiths and in the Tafsirs (Islamic commentaries). In the Tafsirs pertaining to Surah 3:28 above, the “enemies of Allah” are defined as Jews and Christians;

“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends of each other. And whoever befriends them, then surely, he is one of them” 5:51

Ibn Kathir 

When is Taqiyya Used?

Protection of the Muslim community is a major priority in both Shia and Sunni Islam and forms the basis for defensive jihad (practiced by both).  Moderate Muslims use non-violent means of defensive jihad to order to protect the Muslim community, including writing, speaking and through education and when necessary – through the practice of taqiyya. Defense of the Islamic community permits Muslims to deliberately lie to the non-Muslim community around them.

Muslims are instructed to act as if they are friends with non-Muslimsto show friendship outwardly, but never inwardly – to “smile in the face” and “curse in the heart”.

“Allah said next, (unless you 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. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, “We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.” Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, “The Tuqyah is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.”

Tafsir Ibn Kathir

from Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Parts 3,4, & 5 (Surat al-Baqarah, verse 253 to Surat an-Nisa, verse 147), pg 142

The same interpretation as that found in Tafsir Ibn Kathir (above) is found in Tafsir al-Jalalayn on Surah 3:28;

Let not the believers take the disbelievers as patrons, rather than, that is, instead of, the believers — for whoever does that, that is, [whoever] takes them as patrons, does not belong to, the religion of, God in anyway — unless you protect yourselves against them, as a safeguard (tuqātan, ‘as a safeguard’, is the verbal noun from taqiyyatan), that is to say, [unless] you fear something, in which case you may show patronage to them through words, but not in your hearts: this was before the hegemony of Islam and [the dispensation] applies to any individual residing in a land with no say in it. God warns you, He instills fear in you, of His Self, [warning] that He may be wrathful with you if you take them as patrons; and to God is the journey’s end, the return, and He will requite you.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

from Tafsir al-Jalalayn -Volume 1, As-Suyuti Jalaludeen , Al-Mahall Jalaludeen, 2014 translation

The Tafsir explains the word for “safeguard” as the verbal noun from taqiyyatan – which is taqiyya (Arabic: تقیة ).

Tafir Ibn Abbas instructs Muslims not to take as hypocrites and disbelievers such as Jews as friends and to speak to them in a friendly way towards them while your hearts dislikes it;

“(Let not the believers take) the believers ought not to take [the hypocrites:] ‘Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his companions and [disbelievers] the Jews (for their friends) so as to become mighty and honourable (in preference to believers) who are sincere. (Whoso doeth that) seeking might and honour [by taking the hypocrites and disbelievers as friends] (hath no connection with Allah) has no honour, mercy or protection from Allah (unless (it be) that ye but guard yourselves against them) save yourselves from them, taking (as it were) security, saving yourselves from them by speaking in a friendly way towards them with, while your hearts dislikes this. (Allah bideth you beware (only) of Himself) regarding the shunning of unlawful killing, unlawful sex, unlawful property, consuming intoxicants, false testimony and associating partners with Allah. (Unto Allah is the journeying) the return after death.”

Tafir Ibn Abbas

Some final thoughts…

Moderate Muslims will often deny that taqiyya has any role in their religion today, and that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’. The very nature of taqiyya allows for the real possibility that such claims themselves maybe be deliberate deception. Knowing about this practice should cause us (and others) to consider the things we are told very carefully.  We should become in the habit of reflecting on questions such as: ‘what benefit would it be, or what protection would it offer the Islamic community if what we were being told was not true’

Understanding the difference between how Jihadis interpret their holy texts and how moderate Muslims do, is essential. Click here to read the second in this series of 3 articles: http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/06/14/ja-difference-of-interpretation-what-separates-moderates-from-jihadis/

People say “most Muslims are peaceful”, so what if we assumed 99% of Muslims really are peaceful; how many is 1%?  The number is staggering! Click here to read the first of this series of 3 articles on this topic: http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/06/13/assuming-99-of-muslims-are-peaceful-how-man-is-1-percent/

This post called “Putting the Pieces Together” does just that. If you don’t have time to read the other two articles right now, please read this one: http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/06/16/putting-the-pieces-together/

UPDATE: Please read this follow-up article titled “Terrorism – what delineates radical Islamists from moderate Muslims” http://www.morehasbara.com/2016/07/15/terrorism-what-delineates-radical-islamists-from-moderate-muslims/

Content without references was adapted from David Wood, www.answeringmuslims.com