History of Nass Imamate: Taqiyya of Twelver Imams

 Excerpt from my book History of Nass Imamate -

1 ) QUOTE:

Narration of Abu Mikhnaf in Tarikh al-Tabari, showcased below shows Zayd ibn Ali wanted to gain the support of the Imamiyyah (pre-cursors of Twelvers).

The Imamiyyah believed that Muhammad ibn Ali al-Baqir is the Imam designated by his father Imam Ali al-Husayn. Thus, if he orders a revolt with Imam claimant Zayd - it would be out of taqiyya, as the only true Imam is the designated Imam. 

Not Zayd, who claimed to be an Imam by virtue of revolutionary merit, instead of designation by his father.

“It is said that Zayd requested from them [i.e, the Rāfiḍa] that they ask Abā Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī (on whether to revolt with Zayd).

If he [al-Bāqir] ordered them to rise with him (Zayd), they would rise with him.

So they then told him (Zayd): Even if he orders us to rise with you, we wouldn’t rise because we know that is out of taqiyya - out of shyness from you.

So he [Zayd] said what he said (about the Rāfiḍa).

ويقال أن زيدا طلب منهم أن يسألواء ابا جعفرمحمد بن علي فإن أمرهم بالخروج

معه خرجوا فاعتلوا عليه ثم قالوا : لو أمرنا بالخروج معك ما خرجنا لأنا نعلم أن

ذلك تقية واستحياء منك فقال ما قا


A) In Kitab al-Aghani by al-Isfahani Imam al-Baqir permits his companion al-Kumayt to write poetry praising the Umayyads.

And the Imam tells him this is permissible out of taqiyya:

Narrated Muhammad ibn Khalaf Wakee’, from Ishaq ibn Muhammad ibn Aban, from Muhammad ibn Abdullah ibn Mahran, from Rub’i ibn Abdullan ibn al-Jarud, from his father: 

Al-Kumayt ibn Zayd al-Asadi entered upon Abi Ja’far, Muhammad ibn Ali [al-Baqir].

So he (al-Baqir) said to al-Kumayt: You are the one who says ‘I have went on path of Umayya, and the matters [i.e, my actions] are firm on their faith’?

He [Kumayt] said: ‘I have said that, but by Allah - I only desired dunya by saying this, and I know your virtue now.

He [al-Baqir] said: If you said that, it is halal (permissible) out of taqiyya

أخبرني محمد بن خلف وكيع قال حدثني إسحاق بن محمد بن أبان قال حدثني محمد بن عبد الله بن مهران قال حدثني ربعي بن عبد الله بنالجارود بن أبي سبرة عن أبيه قال 

دخل الكميت بن زيد الأسدي على أبي جعفر محمد بن علي عليهما السلام فقال له يا كميت أنت القائل 

فالآن صِرُتُ إلى أُمَيةّ ... والأمورُ إلى المصايِرْ ) 

قال نعم قد قلت ولا والله ما أردت به إلا الدنيا ولقد عرفت فضلكم قال أما أن قلت ذلك فإن التقية لتحل

B) In Kitab al-Busat, Zaydi Imam al-Nasir lil Haqq al-Atrush al-Hasan ibn Ali narrates:

“From his (al-Atrush’s isnad), fron Abdullah ibn Dahir, from Salim:

Jafar (al-Sadiq) said:

I heard my father [al-Baqir] say: ‘Taqiyya is my religion, and religion of my fathers. There is no imaan to he whom has no taqiyya”

بإسنادِه ، حدثنا عبد الله بن داهر، عن سالم، قالسمعت جعفرا يقولسمعت أبي يقول: ((التَقيّة دِيني ودِين آبَائي، وﻻإيمَان لِمَن  

تقيّة لَه))


One can understand that the politically quietist Imamiyyah had an established criteria of discerning when the Imam says something out of taqiyya or not, as early as the times of Imam al-Baqir. And the belief that certain ahadith said in taqiyya are inapplicable.

That’s why they told Zayd even if the Imam tells them to rise with him - it is out of taqiyya and they will take part in it.

Taqiyya corroborated as an established way of life by al-Baqir in Imam al-Atrush’s hadith saying “There is no imaan to whom has no no taqiyya”.

And Imam al-Baqir instructing his companion al-Kumayt to partake in it.

The Tabari report thus can be construed as a practical demonstration of Imam al-Baqir plausibly doing taqiyya, as corroborated by Zaydi sources. 

As now, the claim Imam al-Baqir did taqiyya has basis.

And additionally, it goes against the popular Zaydi conception of the Ahlulbayt (such as al-Baqir & al-Sadiq) so vigorously dedicated to publicly speaking up the truth with no taqiyya.

Wa Allahu A’lam