CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 29, 2015 – In light of the latest controversy over Islam resulting first from the Donald Trump presidential campaign and later Ben Carson, the Arabic term “taqiyya” is growing as the newest media buzzword.
Much as Carly Fiorina has risen in the ranks of Republican presidential contenders, taqiyya is elevating itself within the world of Arabic nomenclature among non-Muslims.
Many authorities insist that taqiyya is purely a Shia concept that remains unrecognized by Sunnis in the Muslim world; however, the practice has become a legitimate aspect of contemporary mainstream Islam with no less an authority than the Quran itself.
The N.J. Daewood interpretation of the Quran (Arab scholars say the Koran cannot be translated, only interpreted) says in chapter (sura) 3:28, “Let not believers make friends with infidels with preference to the faithful – he that does this has nothing to hope for from God – except in self-defense. God admonishes you to fear him: for to God all shall return.”
One Islamic scholar, Ibn Kahir, points out that a Muslim may “show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly.”
In the year 627 AD, a major battle took place between Arab and Jewish tribes near Medina. The Jewish army, called the “Confederates,” formed in retaliation after two tribes were banished by Muhammad from Medina. The Confederates, consisting of about 10,000 men plus approximately 600 horses and camels, greatly outnumbered the Muslim forces
As a defensive measure, Muhammad ordered a massive trench to be constructed along the northern front. Miraculously, the enormous undertaking was completed in just six days.
When the siege began, with the Arabs outnumbered more than 3 to 1, the Confederate forces were unprepared to cope with the massive ditch. Instead, the sides traded verbal insults across the trench for nearly three weeks.
Eventually Na’im ibn Mas’ud went into the Muslim camp and, in the process, converted to Islam. When Muhammad realized his enemies on the other side were unaware of Mas’ud’s conversion, he counseled with Mas’ud to return to his former allies and persuade them to abandon their siege. In so doing, the prophet originated the phrase, “War is deceit,” which became a notorious rallying cry during the 9/11/01 attacks on the United States.
Mas’ud returned to the Confederate camp offering bad advice and instigating quarrels among the tribes to the point where that the soldiers no longer trusted each other and eventually disbanded.
Thus, Muhammad saved his fledging religion during its embryonic stages by using a tactic which has grown into what we know today as taqiyya.
The Battle of the Trench, also called the Battle of the Confederates and the Battle of the Ditch, resulted in the beheadings of approximately 700 to 900 Muslim enemies and the enslavement of their wives and children.
Anyone paying even tangential attention to Islamic jihad since Sept. 11, 2001, understands that historic dates and events play a major role in the justification of Islamic extremism. Therefore, taqiyya has evolved as a major tenet of Islamic thinking. It is something the West and its leaders must come to understand in dealing with the Middle East today.
As Robert Spencer, a noted critic of Islam and founder of Jihad Watch, puts it, “(Noah) Feldman (of the Harvard School of Law) helped create the Iraqi constitution that enshrined Sharia (law) as the highest law of the land. At the time, he published a lengthy exposition of what Sharia was all about in the New York Times. In it, he never once mentioned the Sharia provisions mandating second-class status (dhimmitude) for Christians and conversion or death for non-Muslims not considered ‘People of the Book,’ such as Yezidis.”
We have all heard another relatively new term that has become the darling of the media, “Islamophobia.” It is an easy escape to lay blame on anyone who disagrees with Islam or comprehends its true nature, much like the phony war on women or being racist if you dispute Barack Obama.
Taqiyya has now filtered its way into the debate between Muslims and non-believers. It has become a significant aspect of the concept of Islamophobia.
For example, Omid Safi, director of the Duke University Islamic Studies Center, said, “If an American Muslim (or Muslim more generally) says that they want to kill Americans, we take them at face value. If an American Muslim (or Muslims more generally) says that they are committed to American democratic principles and pluralism, we state that they are of course lying, and hoping to achieve nefarious goals.”
Such thinking is precisely the manipulation and parsing of words that make it so difficult to negotiate with Islamic thinkers. They can tell you a snowball is black instead of white and before the conversation is over you believe them.
In Islam, Muhammad, though not divine, is considered the perfect man. As such, his example of taqiyya, dating as far back as 627, is yet another guideline for Muslims to emulate.
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award-winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of the Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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