Alhamdulillah How to Handle Crises (Fitn)

Abu Abdillah

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Author: Shaykh Hussain ibn Abdul Azeez al-Ashaykh
Jumah Khutbah: Prophets Masjid
Date: March 14, 2003 (Muharram 11,1424)

All praise is due to Allâh, Lord of all the worlds. May and peace and blessings of Allâh be upon the Messenger of Allâh, his household and companions.

Fellow Muslims! Our ummah is now undergoing great crises whose causes and sources are many. They are crises in matters that relate to our religion, politics, policies, economies and social being. Others are crises that affect our children, honour and lives. They are crises in which awful things are portrayed as beautiful and beautiful things are portrayed as unpleasant. These are crises in which falsehood is adorned and promoted and an attempt is made to wipe out the truth and make it frightening. Crises that seek to destroy and cause disturbances. These crises are being spread through many means that include destructive ideologies, misleading precepts and false propaganda.

These are crises that manifest in attacking Islâm and casting doubts at it.Brethren in faith! The Messenger of Allâh has informed us about a crisis in matters of religion and worldly affairs. As for the crisis in matters of religion, it is anything that blocks the way to belief in Allâh, abiding by His commandments and following the guidance of His Messenger like false and destructive creeds, corrupt behaviour and blocking the way to remembrance of Allâh and carrying out religious obligations. As for the trial in worldly affairs, it is killings, fear and usurpation of people’s properties that happen. The Messenger of Allâh said,

“Times will move closer to one another, the deeds will become fewer, greed will become rampant and trials will appear.”

Fellow Muslims! The danger of trials affects all if it is not attended to in the light of Islâmic teachings. Allâh warns against trials and their evil effects when He says

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong.” (Al-Anfâl 8:25)

Ibn Kathîr said in his explanation to this verse: ‘Though this verse was primarily addressed to the companions, other Muslims are also included. For the Messenger of Allâh had always warned against crises.”

Brethren in faith! The law of Islâm which is applicable at all times and places contains fundamentals and principles that guarantee security against crises, has preventive measures against their occurrences and provides ways to remove them when they occur. The teachings of Islâm in this regard are sublime.

They are teachings that mark out the proper ways for the ummah in times of crises. These are teachings whose understanding protects the ummah from erroneous paths and brings to them all good things. These teachings are based on some principles:One: Muslims in general, should do all they can to keep away from places of fitnah and its causes. Allâh says,

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong.” (Al-Anfâl 8:25) The Messenger of Allâh said,

“There will be afflictions (in the near future) during which a sitting person will be better than a standing one, and the standing one will be better than the walking one, and the walking one will be better than the running one, and whoever will expose himself to these afflictions, they will destroy him. So whoever can find a place of protection or refuge from them, should take shelter in it.” (Al-Bukhârî and Muslim)

Two: Holding fast unto Qur’ân and Sunnah. Holding fast unto them saves the Muslims from all evils and corruptions. Allâh says,

“O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (peace be upon him), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” (An-Nisâ 4:59)

Ibn Abbâs, said “The Messenger of Allâh gave a sermon in the Farewell Pilgrimage in which he said,

“O you people! I am leaving for you something which if you hold tenaciously to it, you will never go astray: the Book of Allâh and my Sunnah.” (Mâlik)In another hadîth narrated by Al-‘Irbâd bin Sâriyah, the Messenger of Allâh said

, “You should fear Allâh and you should listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is made a ruler over you. You will experience serious differences after I am gone. So hold fast unto my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided successors after me. Hold tenaciously unto it and beware of innovated things. For every innovation is erroneous.” (Abû Dâwûd and others)Shaykhul-Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah said,

“When a man adheres to Qur’ân and Sunnah, Allâh will guide him to the straight path.

For the religion of Islâm is like Noah’s Ark. Whoever boards it will be saved and whoever stays away from it will be drowned.” All this is in the context of following the path of the righteous predecessors of this ummah, which guarantees safety from perversion and cures all corruptions.

Brethren in Faith! Adherence to Qur’ân and Sunnah implies fearing Allâh, turning to Him in repentance and remaining firm on His religion. Fear of Allâh is the way out of crises and tribulations. Allâh says:

“And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine.” (At-Talâq 65:2-3)

The Messenger of Allâh said,

“Hasten to carry out righteous deeds before there come trials in which man will wake up in the morning as a believer and will enter into the evening as an unbeliever and he will enter into the evening as a believer and wake up in the morning as an unbeliever.” (Muslim)Crises usually have its greatest effect on those who are weak in faith and those who follow their lusts. For crises find in this kind of people no resistance. Hudhayfah said: “The crisis will not affect you as long as you know your religion. The crisis is only when you cannot distinguish between truth and falsehood.”

The Prophet (SallAllahu'Alaihi Wassalam) said:

“Safety of this your ummah lies in its first generation. Its later generations will be afflicted with calamities and things you will find repulsive. Trials will follow one another successively until later ones will make the former seem insignificant until the believer will say at the advent of each trial: ‘This is the one that is going to destroy me.’ So let whosoever wants to be saved from Hell and made to enter Paradise die while he is believing in Allâh and the Last Day and let him do to people what he would like them to do to him.” (Muslim)

It is imperative on Muslim rulers and the ruled to know that whatever crises and tribulation that affect the Muslims are the results of their deeds. Allâh says,

“(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: "From where does this come to us? Say (to them), "It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds)." (Aal `Imrân 3:165)

Therefore, the implementation of Sharî`ah in all aspects of life is a necessity for all the Muslims and it is only by adhering to it that they can achieve the glory in this world and happiness in the Hereafter. It is also the only guarantee against trials and afflictions.

Conversely, lack of implementing the Sharî‘ah is the major cause of crises and evils that is widespread among Muslims and there is no way out of all this except through upholding the Sharî‘ah in all parts of the Muslim world and establishing a wholly Islâmic order in politics, administration and economy and in every aspect on human life.

Three: Staying with the community of the Muslims and their leader. Allâh says,“And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allâh (i.e. this Qur’ân), and be not divided among yourselves.” (Aal ‘Imrân 3:103)

The rope of Allâh in this verse includes the Book of Allâh as it includes staying with the community of the Muslims and their leader. The Messenger of Allâh said

: “Allâh loves that you do three things and dislikes that you do three things: He loves that you worship Him alone without associating anything in worship with Him; that you hold fast together the rope of Allâh and that you do not be disunited. He dislikes for you gossiping, too much questions and wasting of money.” (Muslim)He also said:

“The believer’s heart never betrays in three things: Sincerity to Allâh in all deeds, giving sincere advice to the rulers and sticking to the community of the Muslims.” (Ahmad)

Ibn Taymiyyah pointed it out that these three things

“Summarize all fundamentals of religion. The well-being of the Muslims in their religious and mundane lives lie in their unity and their adherence to the rope of Allâh.”

Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhâb said after mentioning these three things,

“People’s religion never became defective until after there was a defect in these three things.”The Messenger of Allâh said:

“Whoever disapproves of something done by his ruler then he should be patient, for whoever disobeys the ruler even a little will die as those who died in the Pre-Islâmic Period of Ignorance (i.e. as rebellious Sinners).” (Al-Bukhârî and Muslim)In the hadîth reported by the Al-Bukhârî and Muslim, Hudhayfah bin Al-Yamân said:

“The people used to ask Allâh's Apostle about the good but I used to ask him about the evil lest I should be overtaken by them. So I said, "O Allah's Apostle! We were living in ignorance and in an (extremely) worst atmosphere, then Allah brought to us this good (i.e., Islam); will there be any evil after this good?" He said, "Yes." I said, 'Will there be any good after that evil?" He replied, "Yes, but it will be tainted (not pure.)'' I asked, "What will be its taint?" He replied, "(There will be) some people who will guide others not according to my tradition? You will approve of some of their deeds and disapprove of some others." I asked, "Will there be any evil after that good?" He replied, "Yes, (there will be) some people calling at the gates of the (Hell) Fire, and whoever will respond to their call, will be thrown by them into the (Hell) Fire." I said, "O Allah s Apostle! Will you describe them to us?" He said, "They will be from our own people and will speak our language." I said, "What do you order me to do if such a state should take place in my life?" He said, "Stick to the group of Muslims and their Imâm (ruler).”

Four: The Muslims must be patient is the face of trials. Many trials actually happen as a result of lack of patience. Having patience and perseverance are therefore, the safety from calamities and afflictions. Patience also removes many hardships. Allâh says:

“O you who believe! Seek help in patience and the prayer. Truly! Allâh is with the patient.” (Al-Baqarah 2:153) Shaykhul Islâm Ibn Taymiyyah said:

“No trial occurs except as a result of abandonment of what Allâh commands. He has commanded the truth and patience. So trials occur either as a result of abandonment of truth or abandonment of patience.”Al-Bukhârî reported on the authority of Zubayr bin ‘Adiyy who said:

“We went to Anas bin Malik and complained about the wrong we were suffering at the hand of Al-Hajjâj. Anas bin Mâlik said, "Be patient till you meet your Lord, for no time will come upon you but the time following it will be worse than it. I heard that from the Prophet.”Imâm Ahmad used to say:

“Bearing our present situation with patient is better than taking part in a crisis in which blood is shed and properties and honours are violated.”

Five: Dealing with issues with deliberateness and perseverance. Allâh tells us in His Glorious Book that the path of the Prophets is deliberateness and sure guidance. He tells us about Prophet Ibrâhîm that,

“Verily Ibrâhîm (Abraham) was one who invokes Allâh with humility, and he was forbearing.” (At-Tawbah 9:114) The Messenger of Allâh told Ashajj ‘Abdul Qays:

“Indeed, you have two traits that Allâh loves: Patience and deliberateness.”It is through patience and deliberateness that matters can be seen in their true pictures and the real form of disease is known only through careful diagnosis. So whenever there are crises, the first thing that people need most is patience, perseverance and deliberateness.

Six: Handling matters with utmost gentleness: Treating people gently in times of crises is an important factor in achieving best results. For one of the general principles of Islâm is to stick to gentleness in all things.

The Messenger of Allâh said: “Anything in which there is gentleness becomes adorned and anything from which gentleness is removed becomes marred.”

Seven: Matters should be adequately studied from every angle in order to have proper understanding of them. Whenever there is a crisis, Muslims must study the matters deeply and not rush into conclusion, because one of the general principles of Islâm is that what is important in anything is its essence not its outward appearance. There is also a principle that says: ‘Making a decision on something is a result of its proper understanding.’ Allâh says:

“And follow not (O man i.e., say not, or do not or witness not) that of which you have no knowledge. Verily! The hearing, and the sight, and the heart, of each of those one will be questioned (by Allâh).” (Al-Isrâ 17:36)

Eight: Muslims must give the scholars their due regard and ask them of whatever is not clear to them. For a Muslim’s guidance depends on his adherence to Qur’ân and Sunnah and his adherence to these two depends on following those who have the knowledge of both. Allâh says:

“So ask of those who know the Scripture (learned men) if you know not.” (An-Nahl 16:43)

Imâm Ahmad said: “People are in need of knowledge more than food and drink. For knowledge is needed at all time.” All Muslims, especially the youth, must therefore follow the sincere scholars. They should take knowledge from them and stick to their guidance. Allâh says:

“When there comes to them some matter touching (public) safety or fear, they make it known (among the people); if only they had referred it to the Messenger or to those charged with authority among them, the proper investigators would have understood it from them (directly). Had it not been for the Grace and Mercy of Allâh upon you, you would have followed Satan, save a few of you.” (An-Nisâ 4:83)

Some scholars of Tafsîr said: “This is a reproach from Allâh to His slaves. He is telling them that whenever they are faced with important issues that relate to security and happiness or that relate to fright in which there is a tribulation for them, they should not rush to spread them. They should rather refer them to the Prophet and to the wise and knowledgeable ones among them.

It is only the scholars who recognize beneficial and harmful things. When these knowledgeable men see that there is good for the Muslims in spreading these issues, they spread them and if they see that there is no good in doing