The Black Clouds of Fitnah are Closing in upon us
- by Mufti Zubair Bayat
The teachings of Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) were comprehensive in every respect. Not only did he teach about the past and present, but also about the future. So accurate and precise were his sayings regarding the future, that year for year and day for day, we see so many of his words coming true right before our very eyes. Many predictions have already occurred, and many are still to come. But just as we expect the sun to rise tomorrow morning, nay, even more, should be our conviction regarding the rest of his future predictions.
Among the major predictions of Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi-wasallam) was the appearance and prevalence of fitnahs that will afflict mankind. Certain Sahabah (RA), such as Hazrat Huzaifah (RA) specialised in this subject, and had such vast knowledge of this subject, that at times he would say, if I had to mention certain things, this throat (pointing to his throat) would be slit.
EXAMPLES OF FITNAH
Fitnahs have been explained by way of two examples in the Hadith. One example is like that of rain, “Fitnahs shall fall upon your homes like the falling of rain.” Another example given is like that of a black night, “There shall be fitnahs like a part of a black night …” In these examples, the salient aspect mentioned of fitnah is the all- pervasiveness of its nature, that none shall escape it but a few, just as it is difficult to escape the rain. Furthermore, it will be dark and black in colour, indicating to its ominous nature and the inability to see ones way through it like a person groping in the dark, which is what happens to most people during the era of fitnah.
WHAT IS FITNAH
Fitnah is an Arabic word, which literally refers to the smelting of gold ingots and removing the impurities from it, i.e. separating the good from the bad. This is what happens during a fitnah, the good is separated from the bad. So in this sense, it refers to a test, or event, or a crisis or calamity, that shows the result openly as to who is good and who is not, who succeeds and who shall fail.
TYPES OF FITNAH
There are a variety of fitnahs facing the Ummah. Among the greatests of fitnahs is that of Irtitaad or apostasy, where many who were born Muslim are turning away from Imaan, knowingly or unknowingly. This is predicted as a great fitnah in the very Hadith that enlikens fitnah to a black night, “…. a man will be a Mumin in the morning and a Kaafir (disbeliever) by the evening, and a Mumin in the evening and a Kaafir in the morning.” These days, the instance of people uttering outright statements of kufr is increasing alarmingly, and many do not even realise the grave implications of this. May Allah protect our Imaan and that of our generations to come.
Another fitnah is that of liberalism and hedonism, where material wealth and objects and the gratification of desires and self- aggrandizement becomes the very goal and purpose of a human being’s existence. Regarding this fitnah, Nabi (sallallahu-alayhi- wasallam) warned, “When you see greed being pursued, and desires being obeyed, and the world being preferred (over the Hereafter), and every person proud of his own opinion, then worry about yourself (personal salvation) and do not worry about others.” More and more, the prevalence of this fitnah is manifesting in the world. Today, it is all about what car you drive, where you go for vacation, how much of wealth you own, etc.
The disunity and division of the Ummah and the resultant strife, bloodshed and oppression is another example of fitnah. The lesser that is said about this the better, for never has this Ummah, which was supposed to be like a single human body, been as divided and fragmented as it is these days. Whether on an international scale, between Muslim countries and their leaders, or on a national, regional, local level, right down to organisations, families and even homes, there is division and disunity all round. May Allah unite the hearts.
Technology has brought about many fitnahs, such as the fitnah of the internet, mxit, cellphones, computer games, videos, etc. Then there is the fitnahs of drug and substance addiction, illicit sexual relations, divorces, music, satanism, social upheaval, crime, etc.
These are some examples of the fitnahs mentioned. There are in fact hundreds of fitnahs that have been mentioned, and whole books have been written on the subject of fitnah titled “Kitab-al-Fitan”, for example the “Al-fitan” of Allamah Miwazi and others.
WHAT TO DO AT THE TIME OF FITNAH
This is the most important issue. Knowing all about the fitnahs is not sufficient. One needs to know how to survive and combat the fitnahs. This has also been mentioned in the Hadith Shareef. Some of the solutions or remedies proposed are as follows:
Stick to the majority body and their leaders as is mentioned in one Hadith. This refers to the mainstream body of the Ummah – the Ahlus-Sunnah-wal-Jama’ah. He who stays aloof, and goes towards the ‘fringes’ is more likely to go astray.
Remain low profile. The Hadith Shareef says: “like the mat on the floor”. A time will come, when the one who is standing will be better off than the one who is walking and the one who is sitting will be better off than the one who is standing and so on.
Every head of every home must work dedicatedly and devotedly for the reformation and salvation of his own family. The Quran Shareef states: “O Believers, save yourselves and your families from the fire of hell.” And every one is a shepard, responsible for his own flock as is mentioned in a famous Hadith.
Every individual should strive for a strong spiritual condition, which is the only protector against all fitnahs. This will entail, acquiring correct and sufficient basic knowledge, keeping constant company with the pious, reciting the Qur’an and doing Zikrullah regularly and making lots of Dua, along with other good deeds.
Undertake to do Mashwara and Istikharah before undertaking any decision, for in this is great safety and protection, and guidance towards the right path.
May Almighty Allah protect the whole Ummah from every fitnah. We have been taught this Dua in the Hadith Shareef. This is a vital Dua to recite regularly in the dangerous times of fitnah we live in: O Allah! I seek Your protection from all fitnahs, open and subtle. Aameen, Aameen, Aameen.