The Taqiya Bombs

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An overwhelming majority of people get along with everyone and mind their own life, while a few will spend their energies on denigrating others. We can actually count and list those few. They are a part of every race, religion, region and culture. 

You will always find a few around you,  who are eager to believe that White men are racist,  Black men are violent, KKK  is Christianity,  Muslims are terrorists, Jews control the world,  and don’t trust ‘them’ whoever ‘them’ might be.  To this non-sense, add one more item; Taqiya.  They attempt to plaster this label on Muslims, as if the modus operandi of Muslims is Taqiya.  Stereotyping is an unfortunate part of life.

What is Taqiya?

In essence it is lying to save one’s life. Wikipedia, “Taqiya (literally “prudence, fear, caution”) is an Islamic term referring to precautionary dissimulation or denial of religious belief and practice in the face of persecution.”  

Wikipedia fails to distinguish between a religion and its followers, I will take this up with them and work on replacing the word Islamic with Muslim.  No religion teaches one to lie, but you will always find a few followers who don’t get it.  

Even though individuals like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel and many others have hurled Taqiya Bombs at Muslims, I chose not to respond to their accusations, as have many Muslims in public life.  No Muslim has ever believed that lying is permitted, and no Islamic school has ever taught anyone to lie. 

When I met Anila Ali, a Muslim activist at APPNA conference in Washington, she mentioned the ‘Taqiya” she had to deal with.  So, I chose to put an essay together, and thanks to the Imams who have reviewed this.   

Individuals under intense pressure and life threatening situations have lied to save their tails. The lies are not specific to Muslims; you will find them in every group of people including 0ur Presidents, Generals and Preachers.

What does Islam teach?

Truth is the most sacred value in Islam; indeed it is the most enduring value of every religion and social system and governance.

All the good things in a given society are sustained by truth, and truth alone.  Truth is the solid foundation upon which secure societies are built. 

God does not authorize anyone to lie, God simply does not do that, and Islam is God’s word, as are other faiths.

Taqiya, i.e., hiding one’s religious identity was practiced by a handful of persecuted Shias, Jews and people of other faiths.  The hostile kings and dictators with Sunni labels had made the life of Muslims with Shia labels a living hell.  Taqiya was reluctantly practiced until the Safavids came along to put an end to that oppression.  Likewise Esther, the Jewish heroine of the book of Esther also practiced Taqiya by hiding her Jewish identity during crises, and you can find similar stories in just about every religion, region and race.  However, Neither Judaism, nor Islam or any religion for that matter has advocated one to lie.

Ibn Kathir, one of the explainers of Quran has made references about Sunni Muslims.    Unfortunately, he has added his own opinions as a reaction to prevailing situations, leading many a Muslims to believe that they are Islamic thoughts.  They are not Islamic by any stretch of the imagination as you see the strongly worded verses from Quran to nullify him.   May be it was not his problem but ours.  Sadly, very few Muslims are willing to say that Ibn-Kathir was wrong.  Muslims ought to know, nothing supersedes Quran and that is the only truth for Muslims, all else is questionable.   

What Quran says is the word of God for Muslims.

Quran 4:135  (Asad), “O YOU who have attained to faith! Be ever steadfast in upholding equity, bearing witness to the truth for the sake of God, even though it is against your own selves or your parents and kinsfolk. Whether the person concerned be rich or poor, God’s claim takes precedence over [the claims of] either of them*. Do not, then, follow your own desires, lest you swerve from justice: for if you distort [the truth], behold, God is indeed aware of all that you do! “  *i.e., “Do not allow the fact that a man is rich to prejudice you in his favour or against him, and do not, out of misplaced compassion, favour the poor man at the expense of the truth”

Islam emphasizes on being truthful; indeed, there is
no 5th in Islam, i.e., the right NOT to tell the truth if it goes against you and your interests.  Truth is the only thing that ensures justice and sustenance of safe and secure societies.  It is un-Islamic to lie.
Whether it is Zarathustra, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, Confucius, Jesus, Muhammad, Nanak, Baha’u’llah or spiritual masters in native traditions, they all emphasized in being truthful, as they saw “Truth” is the panacea to the problems of the society. 

Indeed, truth is one of the most extolled virtues in all religions. Hindus laud Satya Harishchandra an icon of absolute truth, and most of you are familiar with the name Satya Sai Baba – Satya means truth.  The Bible declares, “The truth will set you free.” Prophet Muhammad was called the “Amin” by his people made up of Jews, Christians and Pagans, meaning someone who is truthful, trustworthy, and reliable and gives a sense of security to others around him.  Truth is the only thing that can restore the trust, and thus safety of the individuals in a given society hinges on truth.

Mike Ghouse is a Muslim thinker, speaker and a writer, and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. |

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