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Taqayya an important aspect of Belief

Amirul Momineen(as) said:

We confront many people in the battle. They are our enemies by heart, they are enemies of Allah. We observe dissimulation (taqayya) with them to protect our brothers and not our selves.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83] 

Imam Hasan(as) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (saww) said:

The Almighty Allah gave excellence to the prophets over all the creatures, because they are humble and hospitable to the enemies of religion and for the sake of their brothers-in-faith act on the best dissimulation (taqayya) with them.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

Mentioned below are some incidents where the followers of Imams(as) have done taqayya / dissimulation

INCIDENT 1:

Once an opponent posed a question to a Shia man in the presence of Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as): What is your opinion about the Ten Companions (of Ashra Mubashira)?

He said: I remember them gracefully so that Allah forgives my sins and raises my status.

Hearing his answer that questioner said: Thanks be to Allah, that He has saved me from your malice. I thought you were a Rafidi due to your malice to Sahaba.

That man said: Know that, curse of Allah be on one who bears malice to one of them.

That opponent said: Perhaps, you imply something.

What do you say about one who bears enmity with Ashra Mubashira.

The Shia man said: Curse of Allah, the angels and all the people be on one who bears malice to all ten of them.

Hearing this that man stood up, ran towards that Shia and kissed his forehead and said: Forgive me for accusing you of being a Rafidi before this.

The Shia man said: I have forgiven you and now you are my brother.

The man went away from there. After his departure, His Eminence (a.s.) said to that believer: Well done, may Allah reward you, how nicely you answered him! Your beautiful concealment of real feelings (made you free from his hands and did not harm your faith) and surprised the heavenly angels very much. Allah increased trouble and grief for our opponents and kept the intention of our devotees secret.

This statement of the Imam impelled the companions to say: O son of Allah’s Messenger, in our opinion, his words were in favor of that Nasibi and enemy of Allah and Prophet.

His Eminence (a.s.) said: You may not have understood his intention, but we know it; and Allah is thankful to him because our friend is our friend’s friend and the enemy of our enemies. When Allah tests him with opponents, He helps him to give such replies to them so that his religion and his prestige remain safe and Allah confers him a great reward for his dissimulation.

See, your friend first said: Curse on those who bear enmity to one of them – means one who accuses one of them, and that is Amirul Momineen Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.). The second time he said: Allah’s curse on one who blames all ten of them. It is true because one who accuses all ten of them he has also accused Ali (a.s.) since he is also included in the ten. If he does not censure Ali and did not criticize him, he has not accused all of them. He has only accused some of them.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

INCIDENT 2:

Hizqil had resorted to diplomatic statements when people complained to Firon about him. Hizqil invited them towards the command that Allah is one and Prophet Musa(as) is His Prophet and Muhammad(saww) is most excellent of all prophets and messengers, and His Eminence, Ali Ibne Abi Talib(as) and all Imams are superior to the legatees of all prophets. One must be disgusted of Firon’s lordship.

The backbiters went to Firon and said: Hizqil asks us to oppose you and help your enemies against you.

Firon said: He is my cousin and heir. If he has done as you say, then he surely deserves my severe punishment for denying my bounty. And if you have accused him falsely, you deserve a severe punishment, because you intended bad for him.

Hizqil and the backbiters were summoned and they began to quarrel and said: O Hizqil! You deny the lordship of Firon and reject his bounty.

Hizqil addressed Firon and said: O king, have you ever seen my falsehood?

Firon said: No, not at all.

Hizqil said: Ask them, who is their Lord is? They said: ‘Firon’. He asked: Who is your creator? They said: ‘Firon’. Then he asked: Who is your sustainer and supporter and who saves you from unbecoming things? They said: ‘Firon’.

Then Hizqil said to Firon: O king! I make you and all these people witness and say: Their sustainer is my sustainer, their guardian is my guardian, except for their lord and creator I have no lord and creator. And I make you and all the people witness and say that except for their lord, creator and sustainer I am disgusted with every lord, creator and sustainer and their lordship and I deny their divinity.

The intention of Hizqil was that only Allah was the Lord of all of them, Who is my Lord. That is why he did not say: One whom they call their lord, is my lord. He said: Their lord. This matter remained concealed on Firon and other people. They thought that Hizqil was saying that Firon is his lord and sustainer.

Then Firon said to the backbiters, O bad people, mischief mongers. You wanted to create a rift between my cousin and me, you are worthy for severe punishment from me because you intended to create mischief in my kingdom so that my cousin would be killed and there be chaos. After that he got nails driven in their chest and shin and ordered the executioners to tear up their flesh.

Almighty Allah has mentioned this incident in Quran as follows:

So Allah protected him from the evil (consequences) of what they planned…[388]

That is Allah saved him from the backbiters (of Firon) while they wanted him to be killed, so they backbit about him to Firon.

…and the most evil punishment overtook Firon’s people.[389]

The people of Firon, who had backbitten to Firon were surrounded by a severe chastisement; such that nails were driven into them and their flesh was torn apart.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

INCIDENT 3:

A special follower, trembling with fear said to Imam Musa Kazim(as) in private: O son of Allah’s Messenger! The hypocrisy of so-and-so son of so-and-so regarding your successorship and imamate has terrified me.

His Eminence(as) said: Tell me about the incident in detail.

He said: Today I went along with him to attend a gathering of a rich man in Baghdad. The host told my companion: You consider Musa bin Ja’far(as) to be an Imam and do not believe the Caliph on the throne of Baghdad as your Imam. That friend of His Eminence(as) replied: I don’t have such a belief. Rather I think that Musa Ibne Ja’far(as) is not an Imam. And if I don’t consider him other than Imam then curse of Allah, the angels and all men be on me and one who does not have such a belief. The host said: May Allah give you a good reward and may He curse those who backbit about you.

When His Eminence (a.s.) heard this, he said: It is not as you think. Your companion is wiser than you. His saying that Musa Ibne Ja’far is non-Imam means one who is not an Imam but has posed himself to be an Imam; and Musa Ibne Ja’far is other than such Imam. The result is that he is the true Imam. Therefore he has proved my Imamate and negated the Imamate of others. O you believer man, when will the sin of considering your believer brother a hypocrite will be washed off! Repent to Allah.

The man understood the meaning and became very sad. He said: O son of Allah’s Messenger! I have nothing that I can present to him and make him happy but I can give a part of my rewards for reciting durood in you Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and cursing your enemies. His Eminence (a.s.) said: Now you are released from the fire of Hell.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

INCIDENT 4:

Imam(as) said: A person told me: We were in the company of Imam Reza(as) when a man came to Imam Reza(as) and said: O son of Allah’s Messenger, today I saw a strange thing with a man who lived with us and used to claim that he was a follower of Aale Muhammad(as) and very much disgusted with their enemies. I saw him today wearing a robe of honor and being taken around Baghdad. Some people walk in front of him calling: Listen to the repentance of this Rafidi. Then they ask him to speak up.

He says: Khairun Naasi Ba’du Rasoolillaahi Abaa Bakrin. When he says this, the people shout and say that he has repented of being a Rafidi and has given priority to Abu Bakr(la) over Ali Ibne Abi Talib(as).

His Eminence(as) said: Tell me about it in private. When he was alone, he asked again.

His Eminence(as) said: I didn’t clarify his words before foolish people lest anyone informs the opponents and they come to know about his true condition and put him in trouble. See, if that man had said: Khairun Naasi Ba’du Rasoolillaahi Abu Bakrin (The best of men after the Messenger of Allah was Abu Bakr), he would have indeed given precedence to Abu Bakr(la) over Ali(as). But he said: Khairun Naasi Ba’du Rasoolillaahi Abaa Bakrin, which means: ‘O Abu Bakr(la), better than all men after the Messenger of Allah…’ And it does not mean what people understand. It was said to make common ignorant people happy who were passing by and that he may be safe from their mischief because Allah has made such diplomatic statements a protection of our Shias and friends.

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

INCIDENT 5:

Once a person said to Imam Muhammad Taqi(as): O son of Allah’s Messenger! Today when I passed through the Karkh locality, people saw me and said: This man is a neighbor of Muhammad Ibn Ali(as), Imam of the Rafidis. Ask him who is the best of all after the Holy Prophet(saww)? If he says, Ali(as) is the best after the Holy Prophet(saws), kill him at once and if he says, Abu Bakr(la), leave him.

So a huge crowd accosted me and asked: Who is the best person after the Messenger(saww)?

I said: The best of the people after the Messenger(saws) are Abu Bakr(la), Umar(la) and Uthman(la), (and I mentioned all the three names in interrogative). After that I kept quiet and did not mention Ali(as).

Some of them said: He has superseded us. At this point we also mention the name of Ali(as).

I said to them: I doubt about it, so I will not say anything.

They said in unison: He is more prejudiced than us. We are wrong about him. Saying this they all went away, and in this way I escaped from their clutches.

O son of Allah’s Messenger, have I been guilty? By saying thus my intention was to question and I was not making a statement; that is: Were such and such and such better than all after the Messenger of Allah(saws)?

His Eminence(as) said: Allah is thankful to you for this reply and He written a reward for you and kept it in the Wise Book that is the Protected Tablet. And for every letter of your reply, made obligatory for you so many things that aspirations of those who aspire fail to reach them. 

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]  

INCIDENT 6:

Abi Yaqoob and Ali, narrators of the Tafseer, narrate: One day we were present in the company of Imam Hasan Askari(as) when a companion of His Eminence(as) said: A Shia brother was trapped among the ignorant public and they were testing him in the matter of Imamate and making him swear every time.

He asked me: What should be done to escape the clutches of these people?

I asked: What do they say?

He said: They ask me: Are you convinced that such and such person is the rightful Imam after the Holy Prophet(saww)? Hence I cannot do anything except say ‘Na’am’, otherwise they beat me. When I said ‘Na’am’, they said: say: ‘wallaah’.

So I said: ‘Na’am’ and my intention was to mean four-footed animals like camels, cows etc.

I told this person: When they ask you to say ‘wallaah’ (By Allah) you must say ‘walla’ (turned away); they will not able to distinguish and you will remain safe. He asked: What if they come to know about it and tell me: Say ‘wallaah’ and pronounce ‘h’ clearly? I said: Then you can say as: ‘wallaahu’ because if it is not pronounced as ‘wallahi’, it does not denote an oath. Then he went away and again he returned and said: Those people asked me to take an oath. I did the way you told me to.

His Eminence(as) said: You are like the example of the tradition of Messenger(saww) that one who guides to a good thing is like he has himself performed that good act. Allah has written so many rewards in his scroll of deeds for this good act of dissimulation that they are equal to the number of letters used in dissimulation by our Shias and friends and the number of those who have resorted to Taqayyah. So that even if a hundred year old sins are there in comparison of one small good deed, they shall be forgiven and since you have guided him, you will get the same reward

[Source: Tafseer-e-Askari, Sura Baqara, Verse 83]