Taqiyya from the root letters waw-qaf-ya has the meaning of caution or guard. Where technically the term is used for the dispensation from the requirements of one’s faith under compulsion or persecution and the real threat of torture or in life and death situations. In such extreme cases, God will not hold one accountable for the denial of faith or expression of blasphemy.

With the exception of those who are forced to say they do not believe, although their hearts remain firm in faith, those who reject God after believing in Him and open their hearts to disbelief will have the wrath of God upon them and a grievous punishment awaiting them. (Quran 16:106)

A secret believer from Pharaoh’s family said, ‘How can you kill a man just for saying, “My Lord is God”? He has brought you clear signs from your Lord- if he is a liar, on his own head be it- and if he is truthful, then at least some of what he has threatened will happen to you. God does not guide any rebellious, outrageous liar. (Quran 40:28)

The believers should not make the disbelievers their allies rather than other believers- anyone who does such a thing will isolate himself completely from God- except when you need to protect yourselves from them. God warns you to beware of Him: the Final Return is to God. (Quran 3:28)

A few examples of circumstances where Taqiyya would be permitted are in the like of the times of the Biblical story of Abraham (peace be upon him),[1] the Spanish Inquisition[2] or the Crusades, the Bosnian genocide, the alleged tyranny of some of the Caliphs and Muslim Rulers throughout history till date and the menace of ISIS/ISIL.

There is absolutely no warrant from the above Quranic verses to sanction deception for any perceived greater purpose other than preserving the sanctity of life. To assert otherwise is perhaps projecting one’s perceptions and sentiments onto others.[3]

Who, then, is more unjust than he who lies about God and rejects the truth when it comes to him? Is not Hell an abode for those who deny the truth? (Quran 39:32)


And Allah knows best.

[1] 12 When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. 13 Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.” Genesis 12:12-13 New International Version (NIV)

[2]  A time between 1232 and 1820 when the Catholic Church used torture and other unkind means to try to identify religious heresy and affiliation especially of Jews and Muslims  forced converts.

[3] 19 Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. 20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 New International Version (NIV)