Concealing of Eimaan and Islam: allowed or not?
By: Khurshid Imam
Islam is for everyone from Bali to Boston and Japan to Jordan. Islam is for every era. Islam is for every situation – when you are in tranquility as well as when you are being oppressed. There can be situations when it becomes very difficult to practice Deen or may be even to declare Deen. What about the scenario when someone accepts the religion of God but situation around is very hostile?
Quran guides us for such situations also. Guidance of Quran is clear i.e. eimaan is a matter between a person and God. Allah knows our situation, Allah knows what is going on with us, Allah knows what is beyond our capacity.
Whether you conceal what is in your hearts or reveal it, Allah knows it. And He knows that which is in the heavens and that which is on the earth. Quran 3:29
One can conceal eimaan if situation is not favorable. It’s no way a symbol of weak eimaan, rather God has praised such people. Below are two references from Quran:
A. Meccans who couldn’t migrate to Medina and concealed their Eimaan.
There were some people in Mecca who had accepted Deen but couldn’t migrate like other Muslims. They continued to live in Mecca concealing their eimaan. The historical event of Sulah-e-Hudaybiyyah took place between Muslims of Medina and Mushrik of Mecca.
The main reason for this treaty was to save the lives of those Muslims of Mecca who had concealed their eimaan. Yes, so much was the status of these people in the sight of Allah that prophet was guided by God to go for a treaty with Meccans even though Muslims were in good strength.
“.. Had there not been believing men and believing women whom you did not know that you were trampling down and on whose account a crime would have accrued to you without (your) knowledge. Quran 48:24
a. There were some believers who had concealed their eimaan and Prophet did not know them.
b. Had a fight broken out between the two parties then these people could have got killed. In order to save their lives, the Prophet was commanded to go for a treaty.
Such is the high regard in the sight of Allah of those who stand by their eimaan in difficult situations.
B. A believer in the court of Firaun.
There was a person in the court of Firaun who was a believer but he had concealed his eimaan. Quran has praised him so much so that a whole chapter (Number 40) is named after him: Surah Momin [also refereed as Surah Ghafir].
He defended Moses against Pharoah and gave dawah of the Deen to pharaoh indirectly without revealing his identity. Quran has praised him and talks about that person in Surah 40, Ayah 28 onward. See, the wise way he used for giving dawah to Firaun:
Musa (Moses) said: "Verily I seek refuge in my Lord and your Lord from every arrogant who believes not in the Day of Reckoning!" 40:27
And a believing man of Fir'aun's (Pharaoh) people, who hid his faith said: "Would you kill a man because he says: My Lord is Allah, and he has come to you with clear signs (proofs) from your Lord? And if he is a liar, upon him will be (the sin of) his lie; but if he is telling the truth, then some of that (calamity) wherewith he threatens you will befall on you." Verily, Allah guides not one who is a Musrif (oppressor, transgressor), a liar! 40:28
"(the believing man who had concealed his emaan said) O my people! Yours is the kingdom today, you being dominant in the land. But who will save us from the Torment of Allah, should it befall us?" Fir'aun (Pharaoh) said: "I show you only that which I see (correct), and I guide you only to the path of right policy!" 40:29
Then said the man who believed: "O my people! Truly I do fear for you something like the Day (of disaster) of the Confederates (in sin)!- 40:30
"O my people! This life of the present is nothing but (temporary) convenience: It is the Hereafter that is the Home that will last. 40:39
a. The person who had concealed his eimaan was very wise and did two things : defended Moses against Firaun and gave dawah to Firaun and his people.
b. That concealed eimaan person spoke about different aspects for inviting Firaun to Deen. He gave several arguments so that people could think about the true Deen.
These two incidents are sufficient to prove that Islam permits concealing of Deen / emaan. It’s always between a believer and God.