Taqiya: Hiding One's Religion in Times of Danger
Ayatullah Shaykh Muhammad Husain Muzaffar
No one of the Imams but al- Sadiq, peace be on him, suffered from the Marwani and the Abbasid dynasties, which waged war against the Islamic Law and its Owner the Trusty Prophet through obeying lusts and mastering pleasures.
Then from among those stringed instruments and songsters and that injustice and dissoluteness appeared the leaders of the heresies and the schools and the ideas and the desires, setting traps for reputation because there was no one to punish them and prevent them from doing that, rather the supreme doctrine of ahl al Bayt and decreased its supporters.
Abu Abd Allah al- Sadiq, peace be on him, saw that lasting conflict between religion and the two dynasties, between the truth and the masters of those heresies.
So, what was the attitude of al-Sadiq towards that disorderly situation? Was it suitable for him to declare war against the supreme authority and the heresies while he knew people and their weakness for the truth?
How many a time he saw and heard about the assassination of an Alawid or Ahashimi. And that did not concern him if he knew that he would achieve his aim as Imam Husayn, peace be on him, did because his life was not more valuable than religion.
But he surely knew that he would perish his life without any advantage for religion or for himself. In the meantime if he kept silent towards that conflict, he would shoulder a great responsibility before Allah and the Owner of the Islamic Law. So, he had to think of a way to save religion from that conflict and protect himself and his chosen companions from the claws of those savage lions.
So, al- Sadiq adopted a wise policy to spread sciences, knowledge, Islamic commandments, wise sayings, and virtues. Meanwhile, he tried to suppress misguidance through producing evidence in support of his beliefs. So, he adopted taqiya as a shield to carry out his wise policy. Therefore, his teachings were a service for the Islamic Law, his worships were guidance for men, and his debates were war against the heresies. For this reason, he went on jihad till he passed away.
Now we need to allot a complete chapter for taqiya (protection).
Evidence for Taqiya:
(The word) 'taqiya' is derived from the word wiqayya (i.e. protection). So it is a shield you use to repulse fears and dangers. And its source is the fear (of losing) the valuable, such as life, and the like.
Evidence for taqiya is: the Book, the Sunna, intellect, and the Shi'ite consensus. As for the Book, it is enough to mention these Words of Allah, the Exalted,: "Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming."(92) So, Allah, the Exalted, permits the believers to pretend to be friends of the unbelievers during protection and fear of their evil (deeds), apart from this verse, there are some other verses we will mention for you in the following pages.
As for the Sunna, what has been mentioned on the authority of ahl al Bayt, and other than they is innumerable. We will mention a part of it within this chapter. It is enough of the Sunna which the two parties (the Shi'a and the Sunnis) have reported about 'Ammar.
Nevertheless, Allah, the Exalted, forgave him when He sent down this verse concerning him: "He who disbelieves in Allah after his having believed, not he who is compelled while his heart is at rest on account of faith."(93)
As for the Shi'ite consensus the rightfulness and necessity of taqiya is very clear. So we will not discuss it or mention its sources, because no two persons differ in opinion about the matter and necessity of taqiya with the Shi'a and their followers.
As for intellect, it is intuitive that a person should protect himself and his valuable things as much as he can. In the meantime it prevents him from casting himself to perdition. Also, the Holy Book prevents him from doing that. So, Allah, the Exalted, said: "And spend in the way of Allah and cast not yourselves to perdition with your own hands."(94)
"And do not kill yourselves; surely Allah is Merciful to you."(95)
The line of conduct of the wise men takes place according to this rational judgment. Rather, the human being practices taqiya by nature. For example, if you halt at the house of people who disagree with you on your political doctrine and principle and you are afraid of them knowing your beliefs, you will by nature keep what you have a secret without knowing the judgment of intellect and religious law in this connection.
If you study the history of Islam from the beginning, you will find that taqiya was a necessity people resorted to. For example, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, concealed his mission till he summoned Bani Hashim to believe him. Then Allah, the Glorified, ordered him to declare it. The early Muslims kept their faith a secret before the appearance and spread of Islam. Abu Talib concealed his Islam to protect the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and avoid the accusation of his protection for the Prophet.
But when Islam spread, the unbelievers in Mecca and Medina pretended to be Muslims while the concealed unbelief
The Beginning of Taqiya and its Justifications:
The taqiya of the Shi'a did not begin at the time of al- Sadiq, peace be on him. Rather it began at the time of the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al-Mu'minin), because he himself used taqiya many times during his days.
For instance, he used it when the caliphate was taken from him. He and some men knew that the caliphate was his own right. But he kept silent because he had no supporters.
If he had had forty resolute persons, as he stated, he would have waged war against those people. Men, even those who opposed him, knew his viewpoint towards those people (who took the caliphate from him). And during the consultation, the people in session decided to pay him homage, provided that he should follow the policy of the two previous caliphs, but he refused that and insisted on following the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet.
The Commander of the Faithful went on using taqiya after he had taken the reins of authority because he knew that some people were ready to oppose him if he told them about everything he had.
The evidence for this was that many of his followers mutinied against him (at the Battles of Al- Jamal and Siffin). So, if he had stated all what he knew and thought, all over the country would have revolted against him.
Though Kufa was dominated by the Shi'a and was the capital of the authority of the Commander of the Faithful, he was not able to change what they had learned from the previous caliphs and was not able to declare what he knew but very little while he was the Owner of the two authorities: the spiritual and the temporal authorities. Just imagine how much more the state was when he had no supporter and the power was against his sons!
The Imams used taqiya as a shield because they knew what that declaration would cause for them and their followers. Moreover, the Commander of the Faithful had used it before his sons. In this connection, in his book 'Al- Ihtijaj', al- Tibrisy(96) has reported what Amir Al- Mu'minin said about taqiya: "And I order you to use taqiya in your religion.
With that you may keep those who were known of our followers and brothers. Indeed, (to use) that is better than to subject yourself to destruction with which you cease an action in the religion and righteousness of your believing brothers. And be careful not to leave taqiya which I have ordered you (to use) because you will shed your blood and the blood of your brothers, subject yourself and their selves to vanishing, abase them with the hands of the enemies of religion while Allah orders you to honor you. Then if you disobey my commandment, your harm against your brothers and yourself will be more than that of those who show enmity toward us and disbelieve in us."
Shiism and the Shi'a appeared during the days of the Commander of the Faithful (Amir al- Mu'minin) because he was the Imam then. So, the enemies of the Shi'a knew them throughout the countries.
For this reason, what happened to them after his ruling had been undermined.
Mu'awiya waged war against the Shi'a using all means, such as abusing Abu al- Hasan (Imam 'Ali), killing their famous figures, and appointing Zyyad over Kufa and Basrah where the Shi'a lived. Concerning Zyyad, al- Mada'iny said: "So, he killed them under every stone and mud (every where), terrorized them, cut off their hands and legs, knocked out their eyes, hanged them on the trunks of the date- palms, dismissed and banished them from Iraq. So, there was no famous figure in it."(97)
But those who were unable to escape, because they were famous in the country, or escaped but were captured, faced horrible death. Among them were Hajr b. 'Ady and his companions, 'Amru b. al- Hamq and the like. In his book 'al- Tarikh', p.87, al- Tabary said: "Mu'awiya spread spies against the Shi'a of 'Ali, so he killed them wherever he found them."
On mentioning the disasters that hit him and his followers, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: "The greatest. (disasters) were during the time of Mu'awiya after the death of al- Husayn, peace be on him, so our Shi'a (followers) were killed in every country, the hands and the legs were cut off for the doubt, and whoever loved us and devoted himself for us was imprisoned, his property was plundered, and his house was demolished."(98)
Mu'awiya was afraid of al- Hasan, peace be on him, because people waited for his rise. He made peace with Mu'awiya provided that the latter should give him the Caliphate after his death. So, he poisoned him and mistreated his followers.
When Yazid became caliph, b. Zyyad became stronger than he was before. So, he killed Muslim, Hany, Rashid al- Hajary, Maytham al-Tammar, and the young men of the Shi'a and their prominent figures.
In his prisons were twelve thousand people of the Shi'a. Then he committed the massacre of al- Taf (Karbala).
People were still remembering those crimes and disasters. Nevertheless, al- Hajjaj came to complete that cruel role. Now, let us listen to our Imam Mohammed al- Baqir, peace be on him, tell us about that terrorist role he himself witnessed. He says: "Then al- Hajjaj came and committed various kinds of crime against them (i.e. the Shi'a), and punished them for every doubt or accusation. So, the person preferred to be called Zandiq (duelist) or Kafir (unbeliever) to be called the Shi' a of 'Ali, peace be on him."(99)
Also the Abbasid dynasty adopted the terrorist policy of the Omayyads against the Alawids and their followers. We have told you about their enmity and cruelty toward ahl al Bayt.
After those disasters, was it possible for ahl al Bayt or their Shi'a to declare their anti government attitude?
By your conscience, intelligent man, what would you do when those disasters hit you and your followers? Would you tell them to declare their attitude so that they would be liable to killing and torture? Or would you force them to keep their attitude a secret to avoid killing and severe torture?
Al- 'Utra (the Prophet's family) was one of the thaqalayn (the two most valuable things the Prophet left- the Koran and ahl al Bayt).
They (the Prophet's family) protected the religion and its laws. So, if they had been killed at the battles, who would have continue the way of Islam?
Therefore, it was impossible for ahl al Bayt to leave taqiya because they wanted to spread the teachings of the Koran and disclose the misguidance and ignorance of those heretics.
For this reason, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said: "The taqiya is my religion and the religion of my fathers. And whoever has no taqiya has no religion. And, indeed, whoever discloses our secret is like (the person who) disbelieves in it." He, peace be on him, said to a group of his companions:
"Do not discloses our secret and do not tell (anyone) about it but the appropriate people, because whoever discloses our secret is more dangerous than our enemy, go away, may Allah have mercy on you, and do not reveal our secret."(100)
He, peace be on him said, "The breath of the person who is sad on account of the injustice we suffered from is glorification (of Allah)."(101)
He (al- Sadiq), peace be on him, said to Mudrik b. al- Hazhaz(102): "Mudrik, it is not only to accept our doctrine but also to safeguard and keep it a secret from inappropriate people. Send Allah's peace and mercy and blessings to our companions.
And say to them: 'May Allah have mercy upon the person who makes people love us and tells them what they know and leaves what they disprove.'"(103)
They were persistent on those commandments for their companions. For example, Jabir al- Ja'fy, a reliable person, said: "I have reported fifty thousand traditions. No one has heard them from me." Rather, it was said that they (the traditions) were seventy. And it was said that they were ninety from al- Baqir only. And he did not tell anyone of men about them."(104)
For this reason, al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said to al- Ma'alla b. Khani: "Do not be captives in the hands of men on account of our tradition: if they wish to make you safe, they do. And if they wish to kill you, they do. And he, peace be on him, said: 'Al- Ma'alla was not killed but because he disclosed our difficult tradition.'"(105)
Al- Sadiq, peace be on him, said many traditions to prevent their followers from revealing their secrets and sayings. He added that whoever disclosed them would kill them intentionally, not by mistake.(106)
So, these traditions and others show you the reason why ahl al Bayt adopted taqiya. It is as if that they knew people would blame the Shi'a for taqiya, so they denoted the reason for that.
The Effect of the Taqiya on the Service of Religion:
No one ignores the effect of taqiya on the service of religion and the Shi'ite society.
That is because the number of the Shi'a at Kufa decreased during the days of Zyyad to an extent that there was no famous Shi'ite figure. And the sate of the Shi'a during the days of al- Hajjaj became worse than it was during the days of Zyyad. so, the person asked people to call him Zandiq (duelist) or Kafir (unbeliever) and not to call him a Shi'ite.
In spite of that cruel policy, the number of the reporters of al- Sadiq, peace be on him, increased to four thousand or more because they adopted taqiya and were indifferent to policy. This number has been mentioned by Ibin 'Uqda, Shaykh Tusi (may his grave be fragrant) in his book 'Al- Rijal, al- Tibrisy in A'lam Al- wara, al- Hilly in Al- Mu'tabar.
Most those reporters were from Kufa. Al- Hasan b. 'Ali al- Washa(107) said: "If I knew that this tradition was demanded very much in such a way, I would increase it because I knew, .in this mosque, (i.e. the mosque of Kufa) nine hundred shaykhs. Each of them said: "Ja'far b. Mohammed, peace be on them, has told me." Al- Washa' did not know of that class but few.
From here, you are able to understand the reason why the reporters of al-Sadiq were many, why al- Sadiq became the source of sciences, knowledge, commandments, and judgment, why he became a school for the Sunnis who reported from him such as Malik, Abu Hanifa, the two Sufyanis, Ayyub al- Sikhtiyany, Shu'ba, b. Jarih, and the like.
That happened because al- Sadiq, peace be on him, was far away from people who accused him of seeking leadership and caliphate, and because he spread knowledge and ethics secretly. Because of taqiya the sciences and the outstanding merits of al- Sadiq appeared, people have known the importance of ahl al Bayt and the truth of the Koran and the sciences of the religion, the oppression of the masters of the two dynasties has become clear. Many of the false sects died and became obvious for the Muslim jurisprudents and theologians, and the Shi'a has become seventy millions and spread everywhere.(108)
From here, you understand the effect of taqiya on the service of the religion and the Islamic Law, removing oppression and misguidance, making people know the facts of faith and the false suspicions and heresies.
So, I (the author) think that you, after this explanation, will not listen to any slander about taqiya or about ascribing the Shi'a to the Batiniyya (the Batanians or assassins) because they hide their beliefs and doctrine.
We have stated the above- mentioned details to tell the truth to those who claim that taqiya has unknown good traits because it is like a thick curtain. and there maybe a thousand shortcomings behind the curtain. And whoever adopts taqiya in his religion, how can people know what he has and see the beauty of what he hides? But, is this slander true when we have told about the advantages of taqiya?
But, today, because of printers, the sciences of the Shi'a and their beliefs have spread, so where is hiding? And where is taqiya?
Taqiya was only at that time when the Shi'a were few in number, and if the sword had removed them, ahl al Bayt would have had no remembrance, knowledge, proof, and report.
But, today, the Shi'a are not afraid of publishing any book. Rather, their books are everywhere and full of information necessary for every writer or reader who may claim that the doctrine of the Imamis is hidden adopting taqiya. They do not know its principles and beliefs, nor its fundamentals and branches.
92 Al- Umran: 28.
93 Al- Nahl 106.
94 Al- Baqara 195.
95 Al- Nisa: 94.
96 (His name was) Ahmad b. 'Ali b. Abu Talib. He was among the scholars and shaykhs of the Shi'a.
His book Al- Ihtijaj is of many advantages and great importance.
97 Sharh Al- Nahj: 3/15.
98 Sharh Al- Nahj: 3/15.
100 Bihar Al- Anwar: 2/74/42.
101 Ibid: 2/64/1.
102 Or b. Abu al- Hazaz al- Nakha'y al- Kufi. He reported from al- Sadiq, peace be on him, And the reliable persons reported from him.
103 Bihar Al- Anwar: 2/77/62.
104 Ibid: 2/69/21-22.
105 Ibid: 21/71/34.
106 Ibid: 2/74/45.
107 Al- Bajaly al- Kufi. He was among the prominent figures of the Shi'a. He was among the companions and reliable reporters of al- Rida. He has books such as Mas'il Al- Rida, peace be on him. All biographers have written about him.
108 In our book 'Tarikh Al- Shi'a, We have in detail written about the Shi'a, their number and their countries.