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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Al-Taqiya Arabic verb , It means "avoid the threat". In political Islam it is the concept of dissimulation and it means to simulate whatever status is needed in order to defeat the enemy through covert means. This tactical principle is believed to be widely practiced by islamic militant groups.

Another term for this concept, kitmān (lit. "action of covering, dissimulation"), has a more specific meaning of dissimulation by silence or omission.

According to Al-Taqiya, Muslims are given by the Sharia legitimacy to infiltrate Non-Muslim societies Dar al-Harb (the house of war) under false pretenses in order to plant the seeds of discord, sedition and sabotage.


Al-Taqiya originated in the early years of the Islamic conquest of the Arabian peninsula and in the Islamic invasion and conquest of the upper Middle East and East Asia.

The aim is to deceive the enemy so as to get a position of advantage or to insert a wedge between allied enemies. Thus throughout Islamic history enemy groups or factions have been played against each other using the concept of Al-Taqya.

In Shi'a Islamic tradition, Taqiyya (التقية) is the dissimulation of one’s religious beliefs when one fears for one's life, the lives of one's family members, or for the preservation of the faith. It is most often used in times of persecution or danger. Some Sunnis assert that Taqiyya is an act of hypocrisy that serves to conceal the truth. According to them, Taqiyya constitutes a lack of faith and trust in God because the person who conceals his beliefs to spare himself from danger is fearful of humans, when he should be fearful of God only.

The practice was a method of self-preservation for the Shi'as who historically were the minority and persecuted by Sunni Muslims. Sunnis would sometimes force Shi'as to curse the House of Ali - believing that no devout Shi'a could commit such an act. As a result of this persecution, the idea of Taqiyya emerged. In other words, if a Shi'a Muslim's life is in danger, he may lie as long as he holds his faith true in his heart.

Shi'as justify the practice using the following verse from the Qur'an:

Any one 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, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty. Sura 16:106

And the following

[Shakir 3:28] Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends (awliyaa) rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard (tattaqoo) yourselves against them, guarding carefully (tuqatan); and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming.

According to Shi'a interpretation of these verses, 3:28 is telling that believers should not take unbelievers as Walis rather the believers, those who do it will lose the wilayat (5:55) of God, that is unless they are using taqiya/protecting them self, and doing so with caution. And God knows what is in your heart, so fear his wrath, for nobody escapes God.

Taqiyya, like any other Islamic tenet, has guidelines and limits. According to many Shi'a Muslims, Taqiyya can only be legally used by a Muslim verbally when he or she is being wrongly persecuted. The situation may be when no matter whichever course of action an individual chooses he has to commit an evil. In that case, he should select the lesser evil.

Shi'as cite the first use of Taqiyya historically during the time of Muhammad when Muslims were beginning to be tortured by the Quraishites. Ammar ibn Yasir, a follower of Muhammad, whose friends had been killed for being Muslim by the Quraish, was confronted by a Quraishite. 'Ammar pretended to renounce Islam and thus saved his life.

Many Sunnis criticize Ammar for his actions or question the reliability of the story. Sunnis cite the examples of many Muslims who were tortured and murdered merely based on their belief during the time of Muhammad, Umayyad and Abbasids but didn't renounce their faith. Sunnis believe that God decides when someone is going to die. Therefore, it's wrong to deny the faith in order to escape torture or death. By contrast, the Shi'a believe that life is a gift from God and should be preserved. In a life-threatening emergency, the preservation of life takes precedence over anything else.

Critics of the Argentinian president Carlos Saúl Menem of Syrian descent have dismissed his early conversion to Christianity as taqiyya.

The Druze, a Levantine religion influenced by Islam, allow disguising their Druzeness and the simulation of being Muslim or Christian to avoid the frequent persecutions by the local majorities.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Taqiya" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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