The Islamic doctrine of Takkiya

I’m sure this isn’t politically correct but I read it in a book a bit ago and thought it would be interesting to start a discussion on it. I don’t think I’ve ever blogged anything about Islam before so this may be an absolute flop, or may attract attention. Time will tell.

So anyway, there is an Islamic doctrine called Takkiya. It’s taken from the Qur’an, Sura 16:106:

Anyone who after accepting faith in Allah utters Unbelief except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith but such as open their breast to unbelief, on them is wrath from Allah.

This verse was given after one of Muhammad’s followers, Ammar bin Yasir, was forced to worship idols, encouraging him that you can deny your faith outwardly while still remaining a guilt-free Muslim.

In fact, Muhammad said that Allah would not hold a Muslim accountable for lying in three situations: (1) when in war, espionage, concealment, or in weakness, (2) with a spouse, and (3) when reconciling and maintaining peace. This is added to by the Qur’an when it allows Muslims to take oaths yet still lie in Sura 2:225:

Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts.

As a result it is very difficult to debate with a Muslim about matters of faith, as Sam Soloman explained:

The Takkiya is very effectively used in apologetics, so a Muslim debater will hide or deny certain parts of the Qur’an to justify and advance the cause of Islam. Always outmanoeuvring his Christian opponents, the debater does this with no guilt as it is divinely sanctioned. I personally practiced this prior to coming to the Lord [Jesus Christ].

5 Responses to “The Islamic doctrine of Takkiya”
  1. paul says:

    wow…now i know

  2. Aaron says:

    From the article, “Dissimulation” in the Encyclopaedia of the Qur’an:

    The action of concealing one’s religious convictions when divulgence would bring danger or death, called taqiyya in Arabic. Two qurʾānic verses seem to allow Muslims to conceal their true convictions in case of danger, i.e. Q 3:28 and 40:28 (cf. Q 16:106). The two main terms found in these verses for tactical dissimulation or mental concealment in matters of faith are taqiyya, literally “care” or “fear”(from the same root w-q-y come tattaqū and tuqātan in Q 3:28) and kitmān, literally “the act of concealing or hiding” (from k-t-m, cf. yaktumu in Q 40:28).

    Although taqiyya is known to have been practiced by Sunnī Muslims in particular political situations, dissimulation has remained closely linked to the Shīʿīs (with the exception of the Zaydīs) since the classical period. The origin of the practice most likely derives from the Shīʿī doctrine of associating (tawallī) with ʿAlī and disassociating (tabarrī) from the first three caliphs, in particular the first two, Abū Bakr and ʿUmar. Later taqiyya would be more precisely applied to the concealment of particular religious beliefs, divulgence of which ran the risk of putting believers and especially their leader, the Imām, in danger…

    Citation: Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, “Dissimulation.” Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān. General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe . Brill (Leiden and Boston), 2005. CD-ROM version.

    Taqiyya is not a Muslim ticket to lie. Nor is taqiyya a ticket for Christians to disregard Muslims when we don’t agree with them. There are many passages in the Qur’an that make truth telling requisite for Muslims.


    • Sam says:

      Thanks for your comment Aaron, and thanks for the useful link. I’d like to address what you said here:

      Firstly, I’m not saying that Christians should disregard Muslims when we disagree – I was just relaying something that I read in the hope that a conversation would start – and one has! I have far less knowledge about Islam than I would like.

      You pointed out usefully that the Qur’an makes truth telling requisite for Muslims, but on its own I don’t think that’s very helpful. The Qur’an has contradictions within it which are explained away by the doctrine of abrogation so I’m not sure that the fact that ‘many passages’ suggest something can lead us to a definite conclusion.

      I hope that makes sense!

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