Takkiya is one of three Islamic concepts that are closely related. The other two concepts are “hiyal” and “kitman”. All three of these uniquely Islamic concepts provide justification under sharia law for lying or deception about Islam. The difficulty with these concepts stems from the ambiguity around the exact definition of the concepts themselves and the situations in which they are acceptable. As with many other Islamic concepts, these are interpreted in a wide range of different ways, depending on the integrity, motivations, worldview and interests of the interpreter. The common thread, however, is that all of these concepts make deception acceptable in circumstances that are defined by the one who finds it advantageous to deceive. The effect of these three concepts on non-Muslims is that they can have limited assurance that the words spoken by any believing Muslim with respect to Islam or its teachings are true and reliable.
We realize that this last statement might be viewed by some as a rabidly anti-Muslim statement – maybe even islamophobic. Possibly we can make our meaning a bit more acceptable by saying that the same is true of every human you may encounter, whether they are Christian, Jew, Sikh, Muslim or whatever. The difference is that the ideology of Islam is unique among the worlds religions in calling these actions acceptable! A truly devout Christian or Jew will generally not deceive you or deny his faith, even in the face of death. He may not be as devout as he would like others to believe. He may be mistaken. He may inadvertently misinterpret his scripture. But he will know that deception is inherently wrong according to his faith. On the other hand, a truly devout Muslim might firmly believe that deception is totally appropriate in any given circumstance and he would legitimately be able to do this based on the teaching of his ideology.
We want to emphasize that the following definitions are generalized and that they can be interpreted by the user to apply in a wide range of circumstances.
The concept of Takkiya conveys that it is OK for a believer to deny his faith if faced with danger of persecution. The Muslim may also deceive non-believers about aspects of Islam that the non-believer would find unacceptable. The objective of this deception is to protect or promote the interests of Islam.
Hiyal is a concept that allows legalistic deception or trickery, including such practices as making promises or statements that are capable of multiple interpretations, including the one desired by the hearer - but with no intention to interpret it in the way the hearer expects.
Kitman is described as a subfield of Hiyal, consisting of the art of making ambiguous statements, paying lip-service to authority while reserving personal opposition. Another way to say it is that kitman is employing a kind of political camouflage while maintaining mental reservations. In the description of this concept we find that the deceiver holds a sort of pride or feeling of superiority over the person who is deceived as a result of their trust in the deceiver.
We urge you to investigate these three concepts more thoroughly if you would like greater clarity on their meaning and use. There is plenty of information available on line.