This strange word is an anglicization of an Arabic word, meaning dissimulation (which is a long word meaning telling lies). I got it from a publication I have just received from The Barnabus Fund. Patrick Sookhdeo, the Director, is a Pakistani who has converted from Islam to Christianity.
Lying in Islam appears to be an anomaly. One of the 99 names of Allah is 'al-Haqq' meaning 'the reality, the supreme truth'. In the Qur'an truth is commended and lies condemned. How is it that anyone can suggest that Muslims tell lie?
The doctrine of taqiyya developed from a time of religious persecution where Muslims could save their lives by concealing their true beliefs. I don't think that there is any obligation on an honorable man to tell the truth to tyrants. Thus, we would commend those brave souls who concealed allied airmen from the SS in the second world war. In the Bible Moses concealed from Pharoah his true purpose of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Neither the SS nor Pharoah deserved to be told the truth.
All well and good, but in Islam that principle has been extended so that it seems that Muslims can hardly be trusted by Christians and Jews to keep their word - the possiblity of taqiyya always exists. Obviously some Muslims are honorable men, but if many Muslims conceal the truth from Christians and Jews those many jeopardize the integrity of the many who are honest. As Hamid Enayat, a Muslim historian who was a Fellow of St Anthony's College Oxford states, "Taqiyya has in practice become the norm in public behaviour among all Muslims - both Sunni and Shi'a - whenever there is a conflict between faith and expediency."
The devlopment of the doctrine was as a cloak of protection for the Shi'a minority who passed themselves off as Sunnis to protect themselves from harm. Muslim's interpret the Qur'an to say that they have a duty to save life, honor and property from danger and unlawful destruction whenever possible, even if this means dissimulation. This runs to pretended friendship with non-Muslims, a practice condemned by the Qur'an, "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than Believers; if any do that, in nothing will there be help from God:" but there is a get out clause as it continues, "except by way of precaution that ye might guard yourselves from them." In other words pretend to be their friend as a precaution against their harming you.
A famous Hadith (A Hadith was originally an oral tradition relevant to the actions and customs of the Prophet. They are meant to be a secondary source of Islam with the primary source being the Quran.) says, "Lying is allowed in only three cases: falsehood spoken by a man to his wife to please her, falsehood in war, and falsehood to put things right between people." (Al-Tirmidhi #5033: narrated by Asma', daughter of Yazid).
The doctrine of taqiyya is there to defend Islam against its perceived enemies. As a conequence, much of what is said publicly by Muslim's to non-Muslims is likely to be untrue. For example, Hamid Ali, spiritual leader of the Al-Madina mosque in West Yorkshire publicly condemned the 7/7 bombings in London 2005. But in coversation with a Bagladeshi-born undercover reporter of the Sunday Times he said that the 7/7 bombings were a 'good act' and praised the bombers.
This is a quote from Sheikh 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdul Khaliq, a Saudi Salafi scholar taliking about peace treaties made with Israel.
"The first duty is to firmly believe in their invalidity and becuse they contain invalid conditions they were born deadthe very day they were given birth to...
The second duty of the Muslim is to believe that those treaties do not bind him and that it is not lawful for hime to give effect to any of their contents except under compulsion and necessity...
The third duty is to work towards overthrowing these treaties..."
While many Muslims are honest and open in their dealings with non-Muslims the possiblity of taqiyya makes it difficult for non-Muslims to assess the relability of statements made by Muslims to them, says Sookhdeo, it si easier to be sure of what Muslims really think by checking what they say to each other and by what they do.