Taqiyya in BuzzFeed: “Mohammad Fadel, an expert on Islamic law at the University of Toronto, described taqiyya (and its many alternative spellings) as ‘a doctrine of prudential dissimulation’ that arose from a time when Muslims were minorities in hostile societies. It instructed Muslims that hiding one’s faith could be permissible to escape persecution. It’s more closely associated with the Shiite branch of Islam, whose adherents are themselves often minorities within Muslim societies.”
Fadel leaves out the fact that the Muslims who were “minorities in hostile societies” were Shi’a Muslims in Sunni Muslim societies. He gives a hint of this when he says: “It’s more closely associated with the Shiite branch of Islam, whose adherents are themselves often minorities within Muslim societies.” Only an attentive reader will put together the fact that it was Muslim-on-Muslim persecution, Sunni persecution of Shi’ites, that led the Shi’ites to develop this concept.
As I explain in my book The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran, the concept of taqiyya was formulated during the time of the sixth Imam, Jafar al-Sadiq, in middle of the eighth century, when the Shi’ites were being persecuted by the Sunni caliph al-Mansur. Taqiyya allowed Shi’ites to pretend to be Sunnis in order to protect themselves from Sunnis who were killing Shi’ites. Until the conversion of Persia to Shi’ism, taqiyya was an important element of Shi’ite survival, for Sunnis, in the majority almost everywhere, would not infrequently take it upon themselves to cleanse the land of those whom they referred to as Rafidites, that is, rejecters — those who rejected the caliphates of Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman.
Fadel adds: “The Qur’an permitted Muslims in that situation, who were fleeing death or torture or other bad treatment, to dissemble about their true beliefs. And as long as they were faithful in their hearts, they would not be considered sinful.” But then BuzzFeed adds that Fadel “said taqiyya does not allow for broad deceptions and has no connection to Sharia.” How could something that the Qur’an permits have no connection to Sharia? Sharia is formulated from the Qur’an and Sunnah. Fadel is relying on the ignorance of his audience.
Fadel also glides by the fact that something that is permitted in the Qur’an is not just a Shi’ite thing, but something that applies to all Muslims. The great Islamic scholar Ignaz Goldziher points out that while it was formulated by Shi’ites, “it is accepted as legitimate by other Muslims as well, on the authority of Qur’an 3:28.” Qur’an 3:28 warns believers not to take unbelievers as “friends or helpers,” “unless that you but guard yourselves against them.” This is a foundation of the idea that believers may legitimately deceive unbelievers when under pressure. The word used for “guard” in the Arabic is tuqatan, the verbal noun from taqiyyatan — hence the increasingly familiar term taqiyya.
The Sunni commentator on the Qur’an Ibn Kathir says that the phrase “unless that you but guard yourselves against them” means that “believers who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers” may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’ Al-Bukhari said that Al-Hasan said, ‘The Tuqyah [taqiyya] is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.” Abu Ad-Darda’ was a companion of Muhammad.
Also, there is Muhammad’s statement, “war is deceit.” He also allowed for lying in battle and between a husband and wife. And when he gave permission to one of his followers, Muhammad bin Maslama, to murder one of his critics, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, he also gave Muhammad bin Maslama permission to lie to Ka’b in order to lure him close enough to be killed. All this matters because Muhammad is the “excellent example of conduct” for Muslims (Qur’an 33:21).
BuzzFeed’s Ishmael N. Daro engages in some taqiyya himself when he says: “Reported hate crimes against Muslims rose by 20% from 2015 to 2016, according to the most recent FBI hate crimes report. That’s higher than for any other group.” He omits the fact that the same report shows that hate crimes against Jews are two times more common than hate crimes against Muslims — yet there is no national hand-wringing about anti-Semitism the way there is about “Islamophobia.” And why not? Also, the “anti-Muslim hate crimes” that turn out to have been faked by Muslims are so numerous as to be commonplace.
Finally, BuzzFeed brings us the imam Omar Suleiman, complaining that “bigoted groups” have supposedly hijacked Google with material that is false about Islam. In reality, it is Suleiman who has hijacked Google with misleading apologetic material about Islam that Google has allowed to take precedence over truthful information.
“‘Taqiyya’: How An Obscure Islamic Concept Became An Obsession Of Anti-Muslim Activists,” by Ishmael N. Daro, BuzzFeed, April 12, 2018:
…Levant was referencing a false interpretation of an obscure Islamic doctrine that has become a bedrock belief among anti-Muslim writers and activists, alt-right trolls, and even by current Trump cabinet member and former presidential candidate Ben Carson. Misinformation about taqiyya continues to surface in search results on Google and spreads widely on other platforms.
There are few Islamic teachings that are as widely misunderstood by non-Muslims as taqiyya; likewise, few other teachings are as frequently invoked to impugn the motives of Muslims, according to Islamic scholars and advocates.
Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Arizona chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said he constantly encounters false claims about taqiyya.
“I mean, 99.99% of Muslims don’t even understand what taqiyya is, but every alt-right Twitter troll is an expert on Islamic theology now, which is completely absurd,” he said.
Mohammad Fadel, an expert on Islamic law at the University of Toronto, described taqiyya (and its many alternative spellings) as “a doctrine of prudential dissimulation” that arose from a time when Muslims were minorities in hostile societies. It instructed Muslims that hiding one’s faith could be permissible to escape persecution. It’s more closely associated with the Shiite branch of Islam, whose adherents are themselves often minorities within Muslim societies.
“The Qur’an permitted Muslims in that situation, who were fleeing death or torture or other bad treatment, to dissemble about their true beliefs. And as long as they were faithful in their hearts, they would not be considered sinful,” Fadel told BuzzFeed News.
But this idea has mushroomed, Fadel said, into a false claim that Muslims are permitted, or even commanded, to lie to non-Muslims as part of a larger project to take over Western countries and impose Sharia, or Islamic law. He said taqiyya does not allow for broad deceptions and has no connection to Sharia.
“Unfortunately, it’s really become dogma among the right in North America, really the entire anti-Muslim coalition you see in the West,” Fadel said….
Siddiqi said such misinformation from prominent anti-Muslim activists and politicians is part of a larger trend in American life.
“We can’t deny that there is a massive rise in anti-Islam sentiment and anti-Muslim hate crimes,” he said, adding that while false reports do occur, they are exceedingly rare.
Reported hate crimes against Muslims rose by 20% from 2015 to 2016, according to the most recent FBI hate crimes report. That’s higher than for any other group. A recent BuzzFeed News analysis found that Republican lawmakers in 49 states have publicly attacked Islam, with some sharing “hate-filled social media posts urging violence against Muslims.”
One of the biggest hurdles in countering the widespread impression of Muslims as inherently untrustworthy is technological. There is simply too much negative and false information about Muslims and Islam on the internet, and online platforms are giving those sources greater prominence than others, according to Imam Omar Suleiman, founder of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research in Texas.
“Google definitely has a role to play to not allow for these well-funded, bigoted groups to dominate the conversation on Islam and hijack the search engine,” Suleiman said.
Until recently, most of the top Google search results for Islamic terms like “Sharia” and “jihad” came from anti-Muslim sources. While these websites may have neutral-sounding names like religionofpeace.com or WikiIslam, Suleiman said they present a skewed view of the faith.