Dissimulation (تقیّه ) : Unintended Consequences

Dissimulation is a form of  deception whereby the truth is concealed to gain an advantage.

Dissimulation or Taghiyeh (تقیّه ) is an Islamic concept where one conceals or disguises one’ beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies  at a time of eminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury.

Sunnis associate this practice wholly to Shiites, and characterize it as hypocrisy.  In response, Shiites qualify this practice by referencing passages from the Quran.  It was rationalized that if one’s “heart” remained true to one’e true beliefs, then dissimulation was permitted and was considered safe to practice.  However, while some Shiite sects survived and grew in this way under the dominant Sunnis, others like the Ismailis gradually assimilated and as a consequence their numbers dwindled.

Unintended Consequences

Consequences are the resulting effects of the actions we take and as such we consider how they may affect us and others physically, morally, and materially.   Our actions may include what we say, what we do, as well as when and where it takes place, and in the presence or involvement of whom it occurs.  We are accustomed to rationalizing our actions and may at times go to great lengths to rationalize them if some form of deception is involved.  The concept of dissimulation in Islam, however, may have opened the door to the possibility that the ‘faithful’ can legitimize actions that otherwise would have been considered ‘forbidden’.  In this context, the means could justify the end just as Islamic apologists argue that dissimulation is an act of diplomacy in Islam.

It is my contention that dissimulation has contributed to deception and hypocrisy in our society.  Furthermore it has served the theocracy in Iran to survive and advance its causes but justifying much that is abhorrent.

It is also my contention that the inferno that rages within our society will most likely consume those that exercise this type of diplomacy!


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