by Nayyar Ahmed Khokhar
Some of the most persistent critics of Islam and Muslims in general are constantly on the move to find allegations that can be leveled against the teachings of this peaceful religion. One such allegation is the use of a concept known as “Taqiyya”, which in crude definition is one hiding in plain sight and masquerading as peaceful citizen while harboring malicious intent of harming the very fabric of their country of residence. Personally, I stumbled upon the concept of Taqiyya while having an argument on social media with one such critic. Being raised as an Ahmadi Muslim I had never even heard of such practice to be a part of Islamic teachings..
Many of my American friends are misled and misinformed by so called Muslim scholars and extremists who believe Taqiyya to be a real teaching practiced by Muslims, especially those who live in the West. Rest assured, Taqiyya has no roots or teachings in Islam as you will discover in this article. Islam is a religion that promotes the ideology of justice that can only be achieved by speaking the truth.
For a peaceful society to exist, it is essential for truth to prevail giving rise to a civil culture. Free exchange of ideas based on such truth becomes a hallmark of a civilized society. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) encouraged Muslims to speak the truth and to maintain honesty across all facets of life, whether personal, for business or on a state level. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) practised truth and honesty so much so that even before the advent of Islam, per Arab traditions, he was given the titles of “Al-Amin” and “Al-Sadiq” by the leaders of Mecca, which literally means the one who is Truthful and Trustworthy.
“Taqiyya” literally means prudence, fear or caution and to further elaborate this practice I will now quote an excerpt from the writing of Qasim Rashid, who is a human rights activist and advocate of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States, “…the Quran requires a Muslim to obey and be loyal to those in his charge. Prophet Muhammad added, “You should listen to and obey your ruler, even if you [despise him].” While national loyalty does not forbid dissent, that dissent must be expressed legally and peacefully — never violently. Critics like Robert Spencer claim Islam allows Muslims to engage in Taqiyya, treachery against non-Muslims. However, the Quran unequivocally forbids lying or hiding the truth and Prophet Muhammad instructed, “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth.”
The Holy Quran emphatically rejects lying or practicing Taqiyya with the intent of causing harm to another human being. Islam explicitly upholds the sanctity of life and emphasizes to believers that to save one life is as if to save all mankind (Quran 5:33). Hence, such practice is rejected by the Quran and Hadith, and does not represent the overall sentiments of a billion Muslims who are law-abiding and peaceful citizens of their respective countries, and bear no such intent to cause harm to their country of residence.