One of the signs of Fitnah (affliction and trial): The predominance of fools

Ibn Taymiyyah (رحمه الله) once said:

“When fitnah occurs, the wise will be unable to repel the foolish, and this is the case of fitnah, as Allah Almighty said:

(وَاتَّقُواْ فِتْنَةً لاَّ تُصِيبَنَّ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُواْ مِنكُمْ خَآصَّةً)

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people)..” Qur’an (8;25). If the fitnah does occur, no one will be safe from its contamination except whom Allah Has preserved.”

Ibn Taymiyyah shed light on a dangerous fact in the days of Fitnah, which is the predominance of the foolish over the wise. Perhaps this is one of the most dangerous consequences of Fitnah on this Ummah. Therefore, warning against Fitnah was, and still is, one of the most important things a Muslim should take care of, especially since our time until the Day of Resurrection is known by the succession and intensification of Fitnah. As the Prophet ﷺ reported, on the authority of Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence (Fitnah) which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods” (Sahih Muslim).

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) addressed us, saying, “Every Prophet before me was under obligation to guide his followers to what he knew was good for them and to warn the evil thing which he knew. As for this Ummah, it will have sound state and in its early stage of existence; but the last phase of its existence, will be faced with trials (fitnah) and with things you do not recognize. There will be tremendous trials, one after the other, and to each the believer will say, ‘That is it’. Whenever a trial arrives the believer will say: ‘This is going to bring about my destruction.’ When this passes, another calamity will approach and he will say: ‘This surely is going to be my end.’ Whosoever wishes to be removed from the Fire (Hell) and admitted to Jannah should die with faith in Allah and the Last Day; and he should treat others as he wishes to be treated. He who swears allegiance to an Imam, he should give him the pledge in ratification and the sincerity of his heart. He should obey him to the best of his capacity…” (Sahih Muslim).

And because at the end of time, Fitnah becomes the most threatening thing to a person’s religion, the Prophet ﷺ said: “A time will soon come when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep which he will take on the top of mountains and the places of rainfall (valleys) so as to flee with his religion from afflictions (Fitnah)” (Sahih Al-Bukhari).

The hadith indicates the many temptations will descend upon the people, so the believer will find no alternative but to flee with his religion and graze sheep between mountains and valleys.

The origins of evil in Fitnah

The great companion Hudhaifah bin Al-Yaman (رضي الله عنه) said: “The fitnah is entrusted with three things:

-with the sharp-eyed man who faces anything that fastly rises by suppression with the sword,

-and with the preacher who calls for it,

-and with the famous.
As for the first two, it will put them down to their faces, and as for the famous, it will test him”
(Al-Zuhd for Imam Ahmad (2/136))

By that he means:
that if fitnah occurs, it will have a severe negative impact on three types of people, more than it affects others, and they are:

– The intelligent, witty, temperamental man, who is quickly affected by everything that passes on him, and interacts with it without foreseeing the results and consequences.

– The preachers who inflame people’s emotions, and move them in the path of fitnah, according to the opinion and position of that (sharp-eyed man). However, they are not scholars who inform people of the consequences and outcomes of “fitan”.

-Famous individuals, whom people follow simply because of their fame and their social or political position among them, and not because of their knowledge and experience of matters and their consequences.

-Fitnah destroys the first two categories, crushes them on their faces, and tests and afflicts the third category, who may gain insight into the matter and escape from the evil of fitnah.

Similarly, the great companion Abdullah bin Masoud (رضي الله عنه) when he was asked: Which people of this time are evil? He said: “Every eloquent preacher, and every follower and listener to him”

By that he means:

-The eloquent preacher who invites people to bid’ah (innovation) and deceives them with his words.

-And the follower, the one who hurries to respond to this preacher.
The first encourages Fitnah with his tongue, and the second by following him. So, the two evils combined; The evil of words and the evil of action.

The outcome of that will be; “Impulsive behaviours without patience and foresight”. Neglecting the approach of the Prophet (ﷺ), overlooking the approach of Salaf, and without thinking about the consequences of actions.. Nevertheless, only those who ponder know how difficult it is to anticipate fitnah.

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نبّهني عن

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