Define taqiyyah? Is it lying? When can it be used? Can it be used with non-Shia?


Define taqiyyah? Is it lying? When can it be used? Can it be used with non-Shia?


The word taqiyah comes from waqaya, meaning to protect. In this context, taqiyah means

“to agree with someone, in words or in action, on something which is not true, because of fear of harm from that person”

Taqiyah is not hypocrisy because:

•  In his heart the person believes in the truth and he is not trying to deceive anyone, but wants to protect himself
•  Allah (swt) endorses taqiyah in the Qur’an, and He would never endorse hypocrisy, so taqiyah cannot be hypocrisy

There are a number of instances in the Holy Qur’an where taqiyah is endorsed. The first is the story of Ammar ibn Yasir who under severe torture gave in and denounced Islam verbally with words. However, his heart never swayed from the true faith. He went to the Prophet distraught, thinking he had lost his religion. The Prophet (pbuh) asked: ‘was your heart sure of Islam?’ Ammar replied: ‘yes, I only denounced it verbally because of their torture’. The Prophet (pbuh) said: ‘then it is okay, and if they come and do the same to you again, you say the same thing again’. The following ayah of the Holy Qur’an is regarding this incident.

“Whoever disbelieved in Allah after his belief (except him who is forced thereto and whose heart is at rest with Faith)…theirs will be a great torment.” [16:106]

The other instance where taqiyah is mentioned in the Quran is 3:28.

Taqiyah can only be practiced under certain conditions:

• It must be to protect life, wealth or family from serious harm

• The situation must be weighed up to see what is more important. If practicing taqiyah means losing out on something more important than a person’s life, wealth or family, that person cannot practice taqiyah. This is why our scholars do not practice taqiyah in their writings. Shia scholars do not hide their beliefs. Rather, they discuss them clearly in their books. If all our books were written in taqiyah, why would we discuss al-Raj’a or the sinlessness of the prophets and Imams openly in our books?

• If practising taqiyah would harm the religion of Islam, then it is not allowed. For example, if a religious authority would mislead people by practising taqiyah then he cannot do so
• Practising taqiyah is not allowed if it would lead to the death of another Muslim
• Taqiyah can be used against anyone who wants to harm a person, not only disbelievers
• As much as possible, a person should use ambiguous language (tawriya) instead of lying when performing taqiyah

Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour