Sunday, December 09, 2007


[A]ssessing the intentions of Iranian decision makers is a beguiling task since tactics of intentionally misinforming or blatantly lying is sanctioned by the Shiite practice of "taqiyyah" (dissembling or concealing truth).

from Salim Mansur: Questionable intelligence on Iran

taqiya or taqiyyah

In Islam, the practice of concealing one's faith and forgoing ordinary religious duties under threat of death or injury to oneself or one's fellow Muslims. Its basis is found in the Qur'an, and Muhammad is regarded as having set its first example when he chose to make the Hijrah. It has since been practiced mostly among minority groups, particularly those of the Shi'ite branch.

The Qur'an allows Muslims to profess friendship with the unbelievers (3:28) and even outwardly to deny their faith (16:106), if doing so would save them from imminent danger …

from Britannica Concise under taqiyyah
and Britannica under taqiya

Let not the believers Take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you (To remember) Himself; for the final goal is to Allah.

Koran 3:28, trans Yusuf Ali

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.

This because they love the life of this world better than the Hereafter: and Allah will not guide those who reject Faith.

Koran 16:106-107, trans Yusuf Ali

Whether conscious or unintentional, Mansur is practising a little taqiyyah in his introduction of this concept inside today's article. Since the idea originates in the Koran it is not an exclusively Shiite notion though its practice would inevitably be more common among such a minority group.

Incidentally, verse 16:107 - included above where it follows on and completes the second Koranic source for taqiyyah - puts every modern or "moderate" Muslim (such as Mansur himself) in a difficult place for it is a prime verse justifying suicide in the name of Islam. It also essentially contradicts the preceding verse since the only "compulsion" that could justify denying one's Islamic faith would be torture or death, both of which are trials or pains "of this world" and therefore not to be compared with those of the Hereafter Where It Really Counts.

see also hiding and revealing

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