Fitnah

FLEEING FROM FITNAH

By Shaykh Muhammad al-Hamood an-Najdee

“All praise is for Allaah who, in every age and intervals between the Prophets, raises up a group from the people of knowledge, who call the misguided to guidance and patiently bearing ill-treatment and harm. With the Book of Allaah, they give life to the dead, and by Allaah’s Light they give sight to the blind. How many a person killed by Iblees have they revived. How many people astray and wandering have they guided. How beautiful their effect has been upon the people, and how vile the people have been towards them.

They expel from the Book of Allaah the alterations of those going beyond bounds, the false claims of the liars and the false interpretations of the ignorant-ones – those who uphold the banner of innovation and who unleash the fitnah (trial and discord), who differ about the Book, oppose the Book and agree to oppose the Book. Those who speak about Allaah and His Book without knowledge, and who argue about what is ambiguous in the Book, and deceive the ignorant with such ambiguities. So we seek refuge in Allaah from the fitan (trials and discord) of the misguided-ones.” [2] And I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allaah, alone, having no partner and that Muhammad (saws) is His trustworthy slave and Messenger. And may Allaah extol and send His blessings of peace upon him, his Family, and his Companions. To proceed:

FORBIDDANCE OF BEING HASTY AND IMPATIENT:

From the very nature of fitnah (trial and discord) is that matters become confused, mistakes increase, and minds and intellects begin to swerve. Protection and safety from this – in such times – lies in the jamaa’ah; at the head of which are the Scholars. So it is obligatory upon the people – those leading and those being lead – to take hold of the sayings of the Scholars and to act upon them. Since the general masses being pre-occupied with issues of fitnah, wherein they begin to express their own opinions, only leads to an increase in the fitnah and further splits in the Ummah. So the umoorlul-’aammah (affairs relating to public benefit and welfare) – from the matters related to peace, security and fear – should be referred back to those who possess sound knowledge and understanding, as Allaah – the Most High – has said: “When there comes to them some matter related to public welfare of security or fear, they make it known amongst the people. If only they had referred it back to the Messenger, or to those in authority amongst them, then the proper people would have investigated and reviewuated the matter from them. Were it not for the grace and mercy of Allaah upon you, you would have indeed followed Shaytaan – except a few of you.” [Sooratun-Nisaa‘ 4:83]

Imaam as-Sa’dee (d.1376H) – rahimahullaah – said: “This is the disciplinary admonition from Allaah to His servants with regards to their unbefitting action. And that it is a must for them, that when there comes to them the news of some important matter – such as the issues connected to public welfare and the safety of the Believers, or those that are related to breach of security, or fear of a calamity befalling them – that they should first verify such news and not be hasty in spreading it. Rather, they should refer such issues back to the Messenger (saws), and to the people in authority; those who possess knowledge, understanding, sound advice, intellect, maturity and composure; those who understand the affairs and have knowledge of the associated benefits and harms. If they see that in broadcasting there is a benefit and a cause of happiness for the Believers, and a means of protection from their enemies, then they should do so. But if they see that there is no benefit in it, or that there is some benefit, but the harm in it is greater, then they should not do so. This is why Allaah said: “Then the proper people would have investigated and reviewuated the matter from them.” Meaning, that they would reviewuate it with their sound understanding and their firm and correct knowledge. So in this is an evidence for an important principle which is: If there arises a need to investigate a particular issue, then it is obligatory that it is left to those who are qualified for it, and no one should precede them in this – and this is closer to what is correct and safe from error. And in this is also a prohibition of being hasty and impatient in spreading the news as soon as they hear it. Likewise, there is a command to reflect and consider before speaking, so he looks into it to see if there is a benefit in doing so, if so, he embarks upon it, and it not, he abstains from it.” [3]

THE SCHOLARS AND THE AFFAIRS OF THE UMMAH:

In issues of fitnah and other detailed issues connected to matters of public welfare of the Ummah – such as affairs related to siyaasatush-shar’iyyah (politics of the Sharee’ah), and the wide-spread evils, and their like – people are in need of having sound knowledge and understanding of the maslahah (benefit) and the mafsadah (harm). Since these issues, most of the time, are the cause for fitan to occur; and they are not like the issues related to purification, Prayer, Pilgrimage and their like; which is possible for a young student of knowledge – or in some cases, even the layman – to speak about, and to prefer one saying to another. And this is because: “Understanding the objectives and goals of the Sharee’ah is not possible, except by thoroughly studying the texts and studying the detailed workings of the Sharee’ah. Since fiqhul-maqaasid (the science of understanding the objectives and goals of the Sharee’ah) in indeed a great and mighty science which cannot be gained by just anyone. Rather, it can only be gained by one who has reached a high level of knowledge, has examined the state of affairs and is well-acquainted with them, and has looked into the various possible outcomes that may occur. And weighing between the benefits and harms is dependant upon understanding the Sharee’ah and its objectives, and having understanding of the state of affairs, and the various degrees of benefits and harms. So none of this is possible, except for the Scholars.” [4]

Imaam an-Nawawee (d.676H) – rahimahullaah – said: “The one ordering the good or prohibiting the evil must be knowledgeable about what is being ordered or prohibited. And the level of knowledge required for this will vary in accordance with what is being ordered or prohibited. Thus, if it is an issue concerning clear-cut obligations and well-known prohibitions – such as Prayer, Fasting, fornication or drinking intoxicants – then every Muslim is a Scholar with regards to such issues. However, if the issue involves detailed matters, or matters connected to ijtihaad (the science of extracting rulings of the Revelation), then the general body of Muslims cannot enter into it, nor is it for them to order or prohibit. Rather, this is only for the Scholars.” [5]

And the subjects that we have mentioned (i.e. that which is related to affairs of public benefit and interest of the Ummah; such as matters connected to Sharee’ah politics, weighing the affairs, correcting the widespread evil, takfeer (declaring Muslims to be unbelievers) and (rebelling against the rulers) are from the most important subjects which have touched the Islaamic awakening in these days, and about which there is plenty of discussion, controversy and argumentation between those Muslim youth who are film in clinging to the Religion and who earnestly desire good. So these subjects are of an extremely important nature, and likewise, deviating from the correct path with regards to them is extremely dangerous!

Due to this, I wanted to gather some of the statements from our noble contemporary Scholars on this subject – may Allaah protect them and look after them, and continue making them of benefit to the Ummah for the remainder of their time – those who are the Scholars of the Religion and the inheritors of the Prophets, those who concentrated on understanding the formulating principles regarding the halaal (lawful) and the haraam (prohibited). Shaykhul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (d.728H) – rahimahullaah – said: “And whosoever from this Ummah, is known for having truthfulness, whereas he has been praised and commended by the majority of the various groups of people from this Ummah, then those are the leaders of guidance and the beacons in the darkness.” [6] So they are the Rabbaanee Scholars, [7] those who teach the people the Book and the wisdom, and to cultivate the people upon it. And they are the people of deep understanding and wisdom, whom Allaah commanded us to ask, by His saying: “Ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” [Sooratul-Anbiyaa‘ 21:30]

So returning to them, being around them, and asking them, is the way of the fitan – as we have previously explained – especially when there are a great number of differences and a great number of people differing, and many differing paths ahead of the traveler.

CLING TO THE JAMAA’AH:

The Scholars are the leaders and the Jamaa’ah that we have been commanded to cling to, and which we have been warned against separating from – as occurs in the hadeeth of ’Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood (raa) who related that the Messenger of Allaah (saws) said: “The blood of a Muslim who testifies that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allaah and that I am the Messenger of Allaah, is not lawful, except in one of three cases: the one who commits adultery, a life for a life, or the one who abandons his Religion and splits from the Jamaa’ah.” [8]

’Umar Ibnul-Khattaab (raa) relates that the Messenger of Allaah (saws) said: “Cling to the Jamaa’ah and beware against splitting! For indeed Shaytaan is with the individual person but is farther away from two people. And whosoever desires the centre of Paradise, then let him cling to the Jamaa’ah. And whosoever is pleased by his good deeds and saddened by his evil deeds, then he is a Believer.” [9]

Thus, whosoever clings to the Jamaa’ah – not separating from it – will be the successful one. But whosoever splits from the Jamaa’ah and its amazed with his own opinion and knowledge, and the larger number who follow him – then he is the one who is destroyed.

Imaam Aboo Bakr al-Aajurree (d.360H), after quoting various aayaat and ahaadeeth that order clinging to the Jamaa’ah, then said: “The sign whosoever Allaah – the Mighty and Majestic – intends goodness for, is that he traverses this path: Clinging to the Book of Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (saws), and to the path of his Companions (raa); and all those who followed them in correctness and goodness, may Allaah have mercy upon them all; and also to what the Scholars of the Muslims were upon in the various lands – such as al-Awzaa’ee (d.157H), Sufyaan ath-Thawree (d.164H), Maalik Ibn Anas (d.179H), ash-Shaafi’ee (d.204H), Ahmad Ibn Hanbal (d.241H), al-Qaasim Ibn Sallaam (d.235H), and all those who were upon a path similar to theirs, avoiding taking any path which those Scholars did not take.” [10]

Footnotes:

[1] Taken from al-Furqaan magazine (no. 61/p. 44-46)

[2] ar-Radd ’alal-Jahmiyyah waz-Zanaadiqah (p. 2) of Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal

[3] Tayseerul-Kareemir-Rahmaan (2/54-55), refer also to Qawaa‘id fee Ta’aamul-ma’il-’Ulamaa‘ (p. 121)

[4] Qawaa’id fee Ta’aamul ma’il-’Ulamaa‘ (p. 119) of Shaykh ’Abdur-Rahmaan al-Luwayhiq

[5] Sharh Saheeh Muslim (2/23)

[6] Majmoo’ul-Fataawaa (11/45)

[7] The Rabbaanee Scholar is one possessing deep knowledge and who acts in accordance to his knowledge and teaches it to others in accordance to their level. Refer to Fathul-Baaree (1/214) of al-Haafidh Ibn Hajar.

[8] Related by al-Bukhaaree (9/6) and Muslim (3/1302)

[9] Saheeh: Related by Ahmad (1/18) and at-Tirmidhee (no. 2254). It was authenticated by al-Albaanee in Dhilaalul-Jannah (no. 87).

[10] ash-Sharee’ah (no. 14) of Imaam al-Aajurree

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THE REASONS FOR THE OCCURRENCE OF TRIBULATIONS & THEIR REMOVAL

Taken from the Book: The Methodology Of The Saved Sect

By Shaikh Muhammad bin Jameel Zaynoo, Chapter 39

The Noble Qur’an has mentioned the reasons for the affliction of trials and tribulations and how Allaah will lift them from His slaves. Some of these reasons are mentioned by Allah, the Most High, in His saying:

1. “That is because Allaah will never change a grace which He has bestowed on a people until they change what is in themselves”. (Surah Al-Anfaal:53)

2. “Whatever misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands earned. He pardon much”. (Surah Ash-Shoora:30)

3. “Evil has appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned (by oppression and evil deeds), that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return”. (Surah Ar-Room:41)

4. “Allaah puts forward the example of a town (Makkah) that dwelt secure and well-content, its provisions coming to it in abundance from every place, but (its people) denied the Favours of Allaah. So Allaah made it taste extreme hunger and fear because of that (i.e. denying the Prophet) which they used to do”. (Surah An-Nahl:112)

Verily, these noble verses inform us that Allaah, the Most High is Just and Wise and that He does not afflict a nation with trials except by reason of their disobedience to Him and opposition to His Commands. In particular, detachment from tawheed and disregard for it and the spread of the manifestations of shirk in most of the Islamic countries which suffer trials and tribulations as a result.

So these trials and tribulations will not be removed except by returning to the tawheed of Allaah and ruling by His Sharee’ah in ones self and the society.

5) The Qur’an mentioned the state of the Mushrikeen and the fact that they used to call upon Allaah alone when they were afflicted with trials, tribulations and severe circumstances. However, when they were safe from that which had befallen them, they returned to shirk and calling upon other than Allaah during times of ease and happiness.

Allaah, the Most High said: “When they embark on a ship, they invoke Allaah, making their Faith pure for Him only, but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share to their worship to others”. (Surah Al-‘Ankaboot:65)

6) However, when misfortune befalls many of the Muslims today, they call upon other than Allaah and they utter: “Oh Messenger of Allaah, Oh Jilaanee, Oh Rafaa’ee, Oh Marjaanee, Oh Badawee, Oh Shakh al-Arab ….”

They make shirk with Allaah during times of hardship and ease, in opposition to the Speech of their Lord and the speech of their Messenger.

7) Verily, the reason for the defeat of Muslims in the Battle of Uhud was due to the opposition of some of the archers of the leader. Furthermore, the Muslims were surprises at the defeat, so Allaah, the Most High, said to them: “Say: It is from yourselves”, (Surah Aal ‘Imraan: 165)

In the Battle of Hunain, some of the Muslims said: “We shall not be defeated by this small number”. However, it was a defeat for them and the censure and reprimand from Allaah, came in the saying of the Most High”

“On the day of Hunain when you rejoiced at your great number, but it availed you nothing”, (Surah At-Tawbah:25).

Umar Ibn al-Khattab write to his commander Sa’ad, in Iraaq: “Do not say that our enemy is worse then us, so they will not be able to defeat us, for it is possible a people may be defeated by those who are worse them them, as the Children of Israel were defeated by the disbelieving Maajoos (Fire-worshippers) due to their sins they (the children of Israel) committed. And ask Allaah for Help against your own souls, as you ask Him for help against your enemies”.

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LIFE IS A FITNAH: AS UNDERSTOOD FROM SOORAT AL-‘ANKABOOT

Shaykh Saalih ibn ‘Abdil-‘Azeez Aalish-Shaykh

Source: http://www.bakkah.net

[ In the Name of Allaah, the All-Merciful, may His Salaah and Salaam be upon His final Messenger to all mankind, and upon his companions and family members, and all those who follow his path until the Day of Judgement, to proceed: ]

The central theme of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot, as some of the scholars have mentioned, is fitnah (trials and tribulations). Fitnah is mentioned right from the very beginning of the soorah where Allaah says [2]: ( Alif – Laam – Meem. Do people then think they will be left alone upon saying, “We believe in Allaah,” and they will not be faced with fitnah? And verily we put those who came before them to trials, so that Allaah would make known those who have been truthful, and so that Allaah would make known the liars. )

So fitnah is mentioned specifically in the beginning of the soorah.

So what kind of fitnah are people tried with? A man may be put to trial due to his intellect, or by the dunyaa. He may be tried by his parents or by his family. He may be put to fitnah by way of a long lifespan. His fitnah may be that he faces no hardships at all in life! So the reality is that a man may be tested by a variety of trials, all of them are mentioned here in this soorah.

So in this soorah, Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot, Allaah mentions the varieties of trials and the foundations that they are built upon. He also mentions how a man may be saved from these kinds of trials.

That is because this worldly life, in reality, is merely a test and a trial. The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) said, as ‘Iyyaadh ibn Himaar narrated, and it has been collected by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh: “Allaah, Most High, has said, ‘Yaa Muhammad! Verily I have only sent you to put you to trials and to put others to trial by way of you.'” [3]

So life, in reality, is just a fitnah. And this fitnah – is it by way of evil things or good things? It is by way of evil and good things alike! (Allaah says) [4]: ( And We shall test you with trials of evil and good, and to Us you will return )

Look to what Allaah mentions in the beginning of this soorah: ( Do people then think…) Who is included in the word ( people )? It includes both the believer and the disbeliever. It includes both the old and young. It includes all categories of people as they interact with all other categories.

( Do people then think they will be left alone upon saying, “We believe in Allaah,” and they will not be faced with fitnah? ) You say you are a believer, so when can your faith be considered true eemaan? That is when trials have been placed in front of you, and you have passed them successfully upon Allaah’s Order.

You might even be tried by your own self! There are people who are put to fitnah because of their beauty and good qualities. A woman may be tested by her own possessions, and a man may also be tested by his own wealth. One may be tested by his parents as well. So you will find in this soorah mention of all these kinds of fitnah, their origins, and solutions to them.

The Fitnah of Disbelieving Parents

Take this example: In the first part of the soorah, Allaah says [5]: ( And we have commanded the people to be good to their parents. But if they strive to make you join partners with Me, those that you have no knowledge of, then do not obey them! To Me is your return. ) Note here that some parents cause fitnah and strive to make a servant commit shirk. Isn’t this a fitnah? Indeed it is a tremendous fitnah!

The scholars of Tafseer have mentioned that this verse was revealed about the events involving Sa’d ibn Abee Waqqaas, when his mother tried to turn him back to disbelief. Even with this kind of situation, Allaah ordered him to bear the company of his parents with kindness, but no to obey them. He said [5]: ( But if they strive to make you join partners with Me, those that you have no knowledge of, then do not obey them! To Me is your return and I will inform you of what you used to do. )

And He said in the beginning of the verse: ( And we have commanded the people to be good to their parents ) This is a tremendous fitnah! So then what is the way out of it? The answer is, with the proper understanding of Allaah’s Legislation, that you do not obey them when they command you with kufr, shirk, or disobedience to Allaah, however you still bear their company with kindness.

There are some people who are tried by this fitnah, and they accompany their parents, not in kindness, but with harshness, and have thus fallen into the prohibition to some degree. The one who can be patient with such a difficult affair, bearing their companionship with kindness and not obeying them (when they order him with disobedience to Allaah), is the one who is successful in dealing with fitnah in such a case.

The Fitnah of Being in the Minority

Another kind of fitnah is when a person sees a great number of people disbelieving in Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic. They do not believe, and so along comes a man and feels that he and the people of faith are very few, and that the disbelievers, the hypocrites, criminals, or disobedient ones are the majority. How can he keep straight himself, how? This is a kind of fitnah that attacks the heart.

Very few of the people in this kind of situation stay firm. Most of them look to the people – the majority are into evil, so they fall into it. In this soorah, there is mention of this issue, along with the solution! So read the soorah and contemplate over that. [6]

The Fitnah of Seeing the Enjoyment of the Disbelievers

Another kind of fitnah that is mentioned in this soorah is that a man sees the enemies of Allaah and His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) living long, secure lives. He sees that they live long lives on earth, enjoying their strength and oppressing others, and they are the enemies of Allaah, polytheists!

This may lead him to start following the pleasures of the dunyaa, and join them in preventing others from the path of Allaah. (Allaah says) [7]: ( The life of this dunyaa is made beautiful to those who have disbelieved. They have mocked the people who believed, but the people who have taqwaa will be above them on the Day of Judgement)That was from Soorah Al-Baqarah. In this soorah, Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot, Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic mentions the story of Nooh (‘alayhis-salaam) in only two verses. What is the relationship of this story to the them of the soorah, which is fitnah?

Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says [8]: ( And verily we sent Nooh to his people, and stayed amongst them (calling them to Allaah) for all of 1000 years, save 50. Then the great flood overtook them while they were oppressive. So we saved him and those on his boat, and we made it a sign for all the creation. )

The story of Nooh is found here in only two verses? What is the reason for that? This entire time, 950 years, he was inviting them, while the believers were very few, as is understood from another soorah [9]: ( And no one believed along with him, except very few )

Some of the scholars explained that the number of believers had only reached 13 individuals. Others said that seventy-some men and women had believed.

He stayed amongst them a thousand years while shirk was the predominant practice, the worshipping of idols: Wadd, Suwaa’, Yaghooth, Ya’ooq, and Nasr. [10] And he was advising them and inviting them day and night, secretly and openly, and no one responded except this small number. Wouldn’t the hearts be facing a fitnah?

Indeed this was a fitnah. It was not just 10, 20, or 50 years, or even 100 years. 200 years went by, 300, 400, 500, to a complete 1000 years, save 50. Then finally came the way out from Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.

Therefore, a man may be put to trial by seeing the long lives of the enemies. So this soorah causes the true believer to take heed and realize that this is for a reason. (Allaah says) [11]: ( So that Allaah would make known those who have been truthful, and so that Allaah would make known the liars. ) When will this be made known? When the fitnah is encountered, and it is dealt with successfully. So the theme of the soorah, as we are noting, is fitnah, even with the story of the Prophet (Nooh). The lesson here is fitnah, and what will save you from the fitnah that lasts for a long time.

Some people mistakenly think that Allaah’s affair will reach him however they want. No, rather the wisdom of Allaah is all-encompassing. He will test people, as He tested Nooh (‘alayhis-salaam) and his people, as they lived amongst their people (calling them to Allaah) for 950 years, and after that only a small group of people responded. So one way to succeed in the face of trials is mentioned here in the soorah, and that is by way of patience. (Allaah says) [12]: ( So we saved him and those on his boat, and we made it a sign for all the creation )

The Fitnah of Argumentation

Then we see in the story of Ibraaheem another kind of fitnah – opponents who argue and fight against the invitation, they do not submit, rather they only plot and plan. Certain things from the dunyaa that they love are made very dear to them, as Allaah says [13]: ( And he (Ibraaheem) said, “You have taken idols as objects of worship instead of Allaah, loving them. But this love is only for the dunyaa, as on the Day of Judgement you shall disown each other…” )

So in argumentation there is a kind of fitnah. Few people have patience upon the Truth, remaining upon it, without becoming affected by this kind of fitnah, the doubts that the polytheists and disbelievers may instill in one’s mind. These doubtful thoughts become renewed with the passing of time.

The Fitnah of Passions and Desires

After this, Allaah mentions the story of Loot (‘alayhis-salaam). In it is mention of the fitnah of the desires of men that go against man’s very nature. This, along with a number of other passions and their outward promotion of them, they claimed that there was no harm in them. They would refute anyone who prohibited them from their actions.

He (Loot) prohibited them, and said, “You are practicing all kinds of evil in your gatherings!” But all they said to him was, “Bring us Allaah’s Punishment if you are indeed truthful!” [14] It was great fitnah for Loot that his wife from his own house had given into their evil and became like them, encouraging the men to have intercourse with the men who came to their land, and the likes. (Allaah says) [15]: ( So we saved him and his family, except his wife, as she was from those who stayed behind )

So then the desires are a form of fitnah. How can one escape his desires and passions? He escapes them by recognizing that they are a source of fitnah.

Allaah intended for the passions in the flesh of mankind to be something that leads him to preserve his lineage (by having children), and to test the servant as well. Does he have perseverance or not? Does he push forward, firm upon what Allaah wants from him, or does he turn to his desires and lose hold of his grasp over them, going after anything he wants? So in this story, the fitnah was something that led to the release of Allaah’s Punishment upon those who did not cease doing things He, the Mighty and Majestic, had forbidden.

The Fitnah of Disobedience Upon Knowledge

Another kind of fitnah is when the people have knowledge, the society knows what is correct, but they do not act according to the knowledge. An ignorant man can be taught, but when knowledge has spread throughout a society and the people know the boundaries and they have some insight, but they contradict what they know, isn’t that a fitnah?!

Knowledge has not been a blessing for them, rather it has only been a fitnah. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, mentions that the tribes of ‘Aad and Thamood were people of knowledge. They knew and had insight, but with that they rebelled and disobeyed. Allaah, may He be glorified, said [16]: ( And (remember the destruction of) ‘Aad and Thamood! Verily their (destroyed) places of residence have made clear to you (how they were destroyed). The Shaytaan beautified their actions for them and kept them away from the Path, while they were people of insight. )

The Shaytaan beautified their actions for them, and then kept them away from the Path, while they were people of insight! Were they ignorant? No. Were they deficient in some of their knowledge? No. They had knowledge, but the Shaytaan had beautified their actions for them, and thus kept them away from the Path! All of this while they had good insight and clear vision.

This is a tremendous fitnah, that a man has knowledge but he obeys the Shaytaan, leaving behind the knowledge that he has received from his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, and from His Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).

The Fitnah of Argumentation (Debate)

Strength can also be a fitnah, just as dialogues and debates are fitnah in many situations. Today dialogues are commonly being propagated: debating with Christians, debating between people, debating between the religions, between math-habs, between sects, etc. This debating is a kind of fitnah! Programs about this idea are currently being broadcast on television, since they have an effect on those with weak hearts. You see the different religions and sects – this one is worshipping something, and that one is worshipping something else. A person could become doubtful and be tried due to this. But the true believer knows that this variety and assortment is only a further proof that the Truth is only one way, and that those other people are as Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says [17]: ( Laboring hard and weary, they will be put into a blazing hot Fire ) They wanted to follow the path to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, but they were mistaken. But as for the subject of debating – does a man debate or not? Does he argue or not? This is indeed a fitnah.

But who is the one who should debate them? The one who has knowledge, not just anyone! So it should be mentioned here that, as some of you know, some people that enter into debates with either the corrupt Muslims, the Christians, the Jews, or some other religion or stray ideology, they are occasionally defeated, or the opponent is stronger. So then the people are tried by this. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, has clarified in this soorah that fitnah will spread if the dialogue is not done by the scholar arguing in a way that is better. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, says [18]: ( And do not debate the People of the Book (the Jews and the Christians) except in a way that is better, except the oppressors from them. And say: “I believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our God and your God is one, and we are submitting to Him.” And thus we revealed the Book to you… ) Until He, the Mighty and Exalted, said [19]: ( Rather they are clear proofs in the chests of those who have been given knowledge ) So Allaah prohibits us from debating the People of the Book except in a way that is better. But who is to do the debating? The one who debates is the one who knows the Qur’aan, as Allaah says [19]: ( Rather they are clear proofs in the chests of those who have been given knowledge )

So based on this, whoever does not know the Qur’aan, the proofs found in the Qur’aan, the clear examples found in the Qur’aan, the evidences in the Qur’aan, how examples of debating have been given in the Qur’aan, examples of debating the wicked sinners, the people of arrogance, those who go beyond all boundaries, and all categories of people – whoever does not know all this, then he is not fit for debating.

So it is not for every individual to enter debates with them, using his own opinions and thoughts, rather this debating is to be done by the scholars. Hiwaar (debating), or mujaadalah as it has been named in the Qur’aan, is only for the people of knowledge, those who know the limits that Allaah sent down to his Messenger (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam).

So therefore fitnah could very well take place with argumentation. A man comes and says, “Debate with me! Why won’t you debate me!?” So he begins by looking for a subject to debate about, what issue can he argue over… This is a way that the common people are destroyed!

So a man must look to his religion in a situation like this, and uphold and display the honor of his religion. He must know that the Qur’aan is the Truth, and whoever has it in his chest is upon the Truth, since the Qur’aan is the ongoing evidence against all the people! It could be that a man does not know some of the proofs needed, and if that is the case, then verily he must say, as Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, has said [20]: ( And say: “I believe in what was revealed to us and in what was revealed to you, and our God and your God is one, and we are submitting to Him.” )

This is the general manner of debating them, and the specific and complete details are known to those who know the Qur’aan, and to those who know the Sharee’ah.

The Fitnah of the Dunyaa

Another fitnah from those mentioned in this soorah is that Allaah makes this life beautiful, with all of its vain pleasures and playing about, and all the things that are fun to enjoy in it. A person may indulge in these things and forget about the Next Life. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, says in the latter part of the soorah [21]: ( And this worldly life is nothing but vain pleasures and playing about )

So many of the people are put to fitnah because of this life, with its vain pleasures and amusement, thinking these things will last, but they do not know the reality of life! Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic says after that [21]: ( And indeed the Next Abode is the Hayawaan, if they only knew ) Hayawaan is an extreme _expression of the word hayaat (life), so the verse means that the Next Abode, Paradise and the Hellfire, is the truly complete and everlasting life. So whoever wants true delight and complete enjoyment and satisfaction, then it is in Paradise in the Next Life.

Whoever wants to be free from harmful things, then all of the harmful things are in the Hellfire. So whoever wants to flee from them, then he flees from the Hellfire. A number of scholars, including Ibn Al-Jowzee, have said, explaining this, “Whatever Allaah mentions in the Qur’aan about the delights of the dunyaa, that is for you to look at the delights of this world and contemplate over the delights of the Next Life. For every example of an enjoyable thing or something the people indulge in, it is a proof against you if you have not reflected over the delights of Paradise. And every example of a harmful thing in the dunyaa, even if it is something that causes a slight amount of grief, or even something as light as a slight fever, verily they are examples that Allaah is using to remind you about the things in the Next Life, the punishment, torture, and deprivation (of the Hellfire).”

So whoever seeks the real, true life and happiness, then let him look for the everlasting happiness. This worldly life, with its amusement and playing about, is only just that – vain amusement and playing about. So it is a source of fitnah.

Look to the people today and how they are being tried by the amusement and play of the dunyaa! Why have the hearts become hardened and unreceptive? Because the people have turned to amusement and play! Why have they turned away from the Next Life? Because they have turned to amusement and play! Why don’t they have hardly anything memorized from the Qur’aan? Because they have turned to amusement and play! The earnest, intelligent man is the one who looks into His Statement [21]: ( And indeed the Next Abode is the Hayawaan, if they only knew )

The Fitnah of Safety and Security

Another kind of fitnah mentioned here in this soorah, and the escape from it is also mentioned, is the fitnah of safety and security.

Look at the security of the Haram (in Makkah), the security of the places surrounding it, after years and years of security, the people begin to believe that what befalls the other people will not befall them. Earthquakes happen in other places, as for the people who live near the Haram, it does not happen to them. Atrocities, difficult living conditions, things that befall the others… the people who live in the Haram say: “We are the children of Allaah and his beloved ones!” Or they say, “We are His favored ones,” or they say similar things. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, has said clarifying this kind of fitnah near the end of the soorah [22]: ( Have they not seen how We have made a secure Haram, and people are being snatched away from all around them? )

We are to look to this kind of fitnah, a blessing from Allaah. This blessing of Allaah should not be a source of fitnah for the people, it should not be that Allaah’s Blessing becomes a fitnah, as Allaah caused the people to be safe and secure during the time of one of the previous prophets, and as much of the time after him that He willed. Allaah says [22]: ( Have they not seen how We have made a secure Haram, and people are being snatched away from all around them? ) What is the intent here? (Allaah says) [22]: ( Will they then believe in falsehood and become ungrateful for the blessings of Allaah!? ) Are they going to believe in falsehood after Allaah has blessed them so much!? Are they going to engage in shirk, kufr, and the rejection of the message of Muhammad (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam), pledging obedience to the devils. Or are they going to fall into things less than that, like disobedience, sinning, and transgression?

They are ungrateful for the blessings of Allaah! Who is it that gave them those blessings? Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted! (Allaah says) [23]: ( And what you have of blessings is only from Allaah! Then when some harm reaches you, to Him you cry for help. ) Then therefore, from the many varieties of fitnah that Allaah may allow to befall some of his servants is what has been mentioned in this soorah, that a servant feels that trials and tribulations are only for other people, and that he is not tried or tested with difficulties.

So the loss of wealth, as one may think, that was for So-and-So, not for him. Sickness is for So-and-So, as for him, then he does not get sick. Severe illnesses strike the people, and may Allaah give us security from them, verily they only befall the others, as for him, he feels they will not befall him.

Strokes and things like that are for the other people, he feels that he will not face them, so he does not contemplate. Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, says, explaining this example [22]: ( Have they not seen how We have made a secure Haram, and people are being snatched away from all around them? Will they then believe in falsehood and become ungrateful for the blessings of Allaah!? ) Conclusion

These are examples from the many kinds of fitnah and trials, and things that relate to the subject of the soorah. So the beginning and the end of this soorah meet each other upon the same subject, providing proof for those of the scholars who say, “The subject of the soorah will be found in the agreement of the beginning and the end of a soorah.” Allaah, the Mighty and Exalted, says in the beginning of the soorah [2]: ( Do people then think they will be left alone upon saying, “We believe in Allaah,” and they will not be faced with fitnah? And verily we put those who came before them to trials. ) What is the way out from all of these situations? The answer is found in the end of the soorah, in the very last verse [24]: ( And those who strive hard in Our Way, verily We will guide them to Our Paths. And verily Allaah is with those who do good. )

I ask Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, to bless us all in what we have heard, and that He makes us from the people of the Qur’aan, those who are His special and favored people, and that He increases us in knowledge and that He reminds us of what we forget. I also ask that He makes us from those who make halaal what is halaal in His Book, from those that consider what has been prohibited in His Book as haraam, and from those who firmly believe in what is reported in His Book about the unseen affairs. Verily He, Most High, is the Bestower of Good, the Generous One.

FOOTNOTES (Abul-‘Abbaas)

[1] from the second side of cassette entitled Maqaasid As-Suwar wa Atharu Thaalika fit-Tafseer, translated by Abul-‘Abbaas

[2] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):1-3

[3] from an authentic hadeeth collected by Imaam Muslim in his Saheeh (#7136), it begins with: “Verily my Lord has ordered me to teach you what you did not know from what He has taught me…”

[4] the meaning of Soorah Al-Ambiyaa’ (21):35

[5] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):7

[6] A further explanation of this comes later in the article.

[7] the meaning of Soorah Al-Baqarah (2):212

[8] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):14-15

[9] the meaning of Soorah Hood (11):40

[10] as mentioned in Soorah Nooh (71):23

[11] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):3

[12] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):15

[13] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):25

[14] Refer to Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):29.

[15] the meaning of Soorah Al-A’raaf (7):83

[16] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):38

[17] the meaning of Soorah Al-Ghaashiyah (88):3-4

[18] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):46-47

[19] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):49

[20] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):46

[21] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):64

[22] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):67

[23] the meaning of Soorah An-Nahl (16):53

[24] the meaning of Soorah Al-‘Ankaboot (29):69

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