Principle of Dissimulation

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Principle of Dissimulation (Arabic: قاعدة التقية) states that any act performed by a person while in a state of Taqiyyah is correct. This principle is a direct consequence of the permissibility of doing religious dissimulation itself. Numerous narrations are taken as making the issue much more clear. An example is a narration of Zurara from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir:

التقية في كل شئ يضطر إليه ابن آدم فقد أحله الله له
Allah makes permissible to the son of Adam everything that he is forced to do in taqiyyah.[1]

The argument is that since it is made licit to the person to do taqiyyah, this makes the acts performed in it correct in terms of religious law.

Rationally, it is also argued that the obligation to perform religious acts correctly ceases when they are trumped by a more important obligation, such as protecting one's life. Scholars of Usul al-Fiqh refer to such situations as tazahim (تزاحم), the state where two obligations collide with each other but one is more important than the other. Since the obligation to perform the act correctly has dropped, it would require separate evidence to indicate the obligation of making up that act at a later time. As a result, a person who, for example, prays as a Sunni in order to avoid persecution, does not need to make that prayer up at a later time. Scholars have disagreed, however, as to whether or not this principle applies in a situation where it is possible for a person to abandon taqiyyah and perform the act correctly in privacy.


  1. الكافي, Usul al-Kafi, volume 2, pg. 2, #18
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