By Aanu Oluyide

Every religious concept of ideology that’s being practised today has a background history/story. The Term Taqiyya which ordinarily means the ” Prudent Fear of Allah”, or simply “The Fear of God” has become both a popular and unpopular concept amongst Muslims. I know of a Muslim family that named their child “Taqiyyatullah”. However, as every term has Lexical, Technical and Contextual meanings and information, Taqiyya is being used contextually in an entirely different way, which is not a new one though.

Background Story Of Taqiyya
A Muhajirun in Islamic history named Ammār ibn Yāsir, converted to Islam at the same time there was serious persecution by the Quraysh. He and his family would then be taken out and tortured to recant the Islamic faith. History had it that they would be taken out in the scorching hot sun and be beaten, this was done severally until Yāsir recanted the Islamic faith openly.

Going back to Muhammad to tell him what he has done and how he has renounced his faith publicly, Muhammad affirmed that even if he made such declarations publicly, as long as he is a Muslim at heart, he is saved. Islamic verses backing this up are Qu’ran 3:28, Qur’an 16. The period between Mecca and Medina and the growing of the new religion (Islam) was a tough one for Muhammad and to see such followers like Yásir was a thing of pride. The prophet may not want to put him away just because of that single event, because he is one staunch and devoted follower, hence the function of Taqiyya. Well, who knows.

How Taqiyya Is used Today
Taqiyya has been used as a tool for disguise in many situations. The human heart is dynamically mischievous hence the clause that follows the supporting verse for Taqiyya ” in the face of persecution” is neglected most of the time.

An incident happened in Toronto three years ago, an 11-year-old girl who set off a firestorm and claimed a stranger had cut her Hijab with scissors while she was in school. After relating the incident in front of a camera, a few days later a report came out that the incident didn’t happen and that she had lied to save herself from persecution. Some said it is taqiyya. Denying and deceiving non-Muslims to achieve an Islamic goal.

What are the implications of this?
It means you may kill, you may rape, you may do any other thing to people who are not of your faith, as long as the end goal in your heart is to achieve an Islamic goal. Saying something verbally when you imply another thing should not be glorified. In other words, there’s been a transition from what the term was originally intended for, to a shift in its usage for the perpetration of many activities. If you can renounce your religion at will, what else can’t you do?. It means you can be an adherent today, and appear as none tomorrow.

There’s the hiding of identity and there’s the concealing of the esoteric teachings of Islam to non-Muslims. Taqiyya is not meant to be used for Muslim engagements no matter how ugly it may look but to non-Muslims. The latter is common with some groups of Muslims. I remember that in the University, during a course on contemporary Islamic groups, we couldn’t get a thorough field study of a group unless we were part of the group.

The usage of Taqiyya for concealing identity and denial in the face of persecution and death was and are still most popular among the Shiites branch of Islam. This may be because they have been at the receiving end of persecution and disregard for most of their existence, they’re also in the minority. In the past, this term was used to conceal not even the followers’ identity but that of their leaders. Their Sheikhs, it is believed that any danger that comes near them may implicate the entire Muslim Ummah.

Yet, that single act of Taqiyya no matter how you may try to brand it denies your religion and God. There are a few Qur’anic verses quoted out of context to support this, but it is only propagated by a few. Islam as a religion supports martyrdom, in other words, you may die for your religion, hence the majority of the Islamic community do not support the use of taqiyya out of its original meaning of “The fear of Allah”.

Some Muslims say that taqiyya is being used wrongly and there’s been no general agreement on the term. Islamic denominations like Shiites,Tableegh who take Taqiyya seriously are being regarded as absolutely on a different path outside of Allah and his prophet.

While this is plausible as human beings to try and save our lives first in dire situations, especially a life-threatening one. It is human instinct to save your life first, in fact, it will take a lot of psychological religious brainwashing to die for religion because a normal human being will run to save their lives first. With the aforementioned in mind, Taqiyya may be reasonable as human beings who want to save their lives first but the denial of what you are is a lie, one that can endanger and put other people in trouble.

After making enquiries, it was glaring that most Muslims do not even know what taqiyya is about or its usage, this may be because Nigeria is a Sunni Islam dominated country. For all that is true, Sunni Islam tries as much as possible to dissociate from Taqiyya in this sense, it is not reckoned with. Categorically, most sources made it clear that the term is only peculiar to Shi’a Islam, Raafidis and Tableegh. The sources attached lies, deceit, and a state of being two-faced to taqiyya and it should be left as such, no one should be given the liberty to lie and deceive other people under the umbrella of a permissible religious term.