Definition of Taqiyah
The 'actual' definition of Taqiyyah
Taqiyyah means 'concealing one's religion or faith due to fear, but in one's heart, the person must believe in the religion s/he is concealing'. In other words it is a form of self-defence that encompasses defending one's life, property, esteem and beliefs. According to the Shariah, if a person is trapped between two hardships and one of them is intolerable, then to save oneself from the greater hardship, one should tolerate the lesser one. Therefore, Imam of Ahle Sunnah Allamah Fakhruddin Razi wrote:
When faced with two hardships, one should go through the smaller one to save one's self from the bigger one. This is a recognized fact.
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 5, Page 746-750 (published in Istanbul)
In the same Tafseer, we read:
“Taqiyyah is permissible till the day of Qayamah and this statement is better because it is Wajib to protect our life from any harm”
Tafseer Kabeer, Volume 4 page 170
If speaking the truth can cause a man to lose his life, property or esteem, then it is a natural instinct that he shall seek to protect those things, through methods that can include (in some circumstances) refraining from stating the truth. Islam claims to be the religion of nature, one that in times of desperate need allows its adherent to even eat the meat of dead animal or pork.
He hath only forbidden you dead meat and blood and the flesh of swine and that on which any other name hath been invoked besides that of Allah but if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits then is he guiltless. For Allah is Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful.
Surah Al Baqara, Ayah 173; transliteration of Abdullah Yusuf Ali
Famed Ahle-Hadeeth scholar Maulana Waheed uz Zaman Khan records:
“Al-Taqqiyah also means that a man conceals his belief due to a fear of losing his honor or life. This is permissible according to all, the Ahle Sunnah and Imamiyah. It is stated in the Quran that ‘A believer, a man from among the people of Pharaoh, who had concealed his faith’ [40:28]’ and ‘except by way of precaution, that ye may Guard yourselves from them.’ [3:28].
Ammar Yasir had practiced Taqqiyah, as did Muhammad bin Musalimah”
Lughaat al-Hadeeth, Alphabet ‘Tay’ page 17
At another place, while mentioning the statement of Hasan Basri, Maulana Waheed uz Zaman stated:
‘At-Taqiyya shall remain until the Day of Resurrection. It means, that if one fears losing his life, or being dishonored, or the amputation of an organ or of some severe jolt that is unbearable, then to save oneself through some dissimulation is called Taqiyyah.’
Lughaat al-Hadeeth, Alphabet ‘Tay’ page 85
Ibn Hajar Asaqlani gives the following definition of Taqqiyah:
قلت ومعنى التقية الحذر من إظهار ما في النفس من معتقد وغيره للغير
“I say that the meaning of Taqiyyah is to be cautious of revealing that which is in one’s mind regarding ones beliefs and practices, in front of others.”
Fath al-Bari, Volume 12 page 314
Imam Ibn Hayan Andlasi records in Tafseer Bahar al-Muheet, Volume 3 page 190:
قال ابن مسعود : خالطوا الناس وزايلوهم وعاملوهم بما يشتهون ، ودينكم فلا تثلموه.
Ibn Masud said: “Live, comply and behave with the people as they like but as for your religion, don’t harm it”.