Taqiyya: A Concept Used to Divide Muslims, Christians and Jews
By Aylin Kocaman
I was talking to the head of a Christian group a few years ago about the importance of love and affection in Islam. He was listening with interest and nodded in agreement. I thought he was agreeing with me and what I was saying; at least until I heard the word ‘taqiyya.’
It was the first time since I was a child that I had heard the word used in that sense. He did not believe a single word I was saying about peace and love. Despite all my efforts, the evidence I produced and the verses of the Koran I cited, he was accusing me of lying. But the really important thing was that he simply did not, or could not, believe that Islam is a religion of peace.
The word taqiyya has become very well-known in subsequent years. I have encountered this often in many non-Muslim groups. It has become so well-known, so quickly! How much it has spread! It was as if the opponents of Islam had discovered a treasure trove. Propaganda videos were not late in coming: “If Muslims treat you well and speak of peace, do not believe them. This is taqiyya!” What breathtaking ignorance!
In point of fact, ignorance was not the problem with some of them. They were actually preparing the background for a war they believe had to happen, but which was actually long since finished. That terrible war that required the slaughter of many Jews and Muslims. Muslims would be eliminated from the world, and only 144,000 Jews would be left. It was therefore essential to portray Islam as a religion of violence and the idea of taqiyya came to their assistance to neutralize Muslims who espoused peace, who espoused the correct meaning of the Koran: “They will speak of peace to bring you together and slaughter you!”
This is an insult to the Koran and true Muslims, because:
The Arabic word ‘Taqiyya’ means “protection, concealment.” The verse of the Koran in which the term appears reads: “Those who reject God after having had faith – except for someone forced to do it whose heart remains at rest in its faith – but as for those whose breasts become constricted with disbelief, anger from God will come down on them...” (Koran, 16/106) This verse is describing how someone who has been pressured, despite being a believer, into rejecting God may say, on a temporary basis, that he does so in order to escape those difficulties. The concept of justified lying has no other meaning whatsoever.
What we have here is someone who is afraid for his life and forced to say he does not believe in God. This was the situation facing the opposition to Bashar al-Assad in our day. Captive members of the opposition who knew they would be killed otherwise, were forced by soldiers to say, “Assad is great” instead of “God is great.” (Surely God is beyond that). God imposes this grave difficulty as a precondition for Muslims for the use of justified lying.
Imagine a Muslim who devotes his entire life to peace, brotherhood and friendship for God’s sake, who convinces Christians and Jews to be his friends despite the destructive effects of Islamophobia, despite the threats from the proponents of war and radicals, who even risks his own life and who spends his time, money, means and youth for the sake of that friendship – then try to imagine him deciding to slaughter all the people with whom he established a union of love despite a thousand and one difficulties! This is a totally perverse perspective. If someone has satanic ideas and wants to kill people, there is no need to resort to ‘taqiyya,’ especially today when killing is so widespread. He can act on that satanic idea under any conditions. If he does this in the name of religion, there are plenty of people around who use religion as a pretext for slaughter. The media is always full of fundamentalists who kill “because our religion so commands.”
So can Muslims never desire peace according to this logic? Are they trying to prohibit Muslims from being supporters of peace by using the words ‘taqiyya’? Can Muslims not obey the explicit command of the Koran to love and protect Jews and Christians? The Koran commands that a Muslim can be a guest of members of the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) in their homes and eat food prepared by them. He can marry their women. Does that Muslim suddenly have to decide to slaughter the woman he has loved and protected all his life, with whom he has shared a pillow and called “my love”, the mother of his children, as that other perspective maintains?
This cunning plan set in motion with the use of the word ‘taqiyya’ supports the infliction of war and conflict on the world. By doing this, people are indoctrinated with the idea that peace can never come, and are told that terror and slaughter will go on forever. New communities of fear are created and turned into structures full of hatred and rage. The most practical thing to do is then lay the blame at the door of all Muslims.
A Muslim cannot live a lie his whole life. That is unlawful. A Muslim lives his life by the Koran. Of course there are Muslims who do not live by the Koran yet call themselves Muslims and they have always been part of our intellectual struggle. Let us look at true Muslims: in the light of the Koran, they have an obligation to bring love to the world (19/96): They have an obligation to establish peace across the world (2/208): They have an obligation to establish union and unity (8/73): They have an obligation to protect unbelievers, even if that means risking their own lives (9/6). They have an obligation to be friends and brothers of the People of the Book, who occupy a special place in the Koran. They have an obligation to protect them, not murder them, because they love them, not to force them to convert to their own religion, because they know that this is what God commands and because the People of the Book say ”God is One”. Those who try to set Muslims and the People of the Book against one another by fraudulent misuse of the concept of ‘taqiyya’ will never succeed in their cunning plans because such plans are made to be thwarted. Representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths will cause peace to reign across the world, despite all the plans for war by those who desire to spread corruption in the earth and indulge their sadistic and perverse fantasies of genocide. As always, God will cause the truth to prevail.
The writer is a commentator and religious and political analyst on Turkish TV and also a peace activist. She is a host and Executive Producer on the Building Bridges Show (http://en.a9.com.tr/showdetails.php?id=86) and writes as an op-ed columnist for the Jerusalem Post, the Washington Post, Moment Magazine, Gulf Daily News and Haber Hilal in Turkey. Her webpage is: http://en.aylinkocaman.com