The Reality of Fitnah
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem
The Reality of Fitnah
Here, a fallacious argument or an uncertainty may arise, especially among the cowards who hypocritically feign piety or effectively fake it, but they lack the mentality to make judgements, which allows one to perceive the realities of the Ummah’s entity or the State’s entity. So the uncertainty may arise, especially by the likes of those aforementioned folk, suggesting that fighting the usurping ruler leads to bloodshed, strife, anarchy and generating Fitnah among the Muslims and this is not allowed. Besides, the Muslim in times of Fitnah should remain indoors in compliance with the numerous Ahadith on this issue. It has been reported on the authority of Abu Musa that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:“In the times of fitnah, break your bows, cut your strings and strike the stones with your swords... if one were to enter his house, let him be like the better of Adam’s two sons.”
It was also reported on the authority of Saad Ibnu Abi Waqqas that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“There will be fitnah in which the one who sits is better than the one who stands, and the one who stands is better than the one who walks and the one who walks is better than the one who runs.” When asked: “What if he enters my house and extends his hand to kill me?” He said: “Be like the son of Adam.”
In the report of al-Bukhari, the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
“There will be fitnah (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 fitnah, they will destroy him. So whoever can find a place of protection or refuge from them, should take shelter in it.”
Abu Tharr reported:
“The Messenger of Allah (saw) said to me: O Abu Tharr!” I said: “Gladly at your disposal.” He asked: “What would you do if you saw the oil stones submerged in blood?” I said: “Whatever Allah and His Messenger decide for me.” He said: “You keep yourself to what concerns you.” I asked: “O Messenger of Allah, do I not take my sword and carry it on my shoulder?” He replied: “You will have taken part with the folks then.” I asked: “So what do you order me then?” He said: “You stay indoors.” I asked: “What if he enters my house?” He answered: “If you fear that the glitter of the sword dazzles you, then throw your garment over your face and he will incur your sin and his.”
Al-Miqdad Ibnul Aswad reported:
“By Allah I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say three times: “The happy one is he who avoids fitnah and he who has been afflicted by them and resists their enticement.”
These Ahadith indicate the magnitude of the threat posed by fitnah and exhort the Muslims to avoid them, move away from them and not cause anything to fuel them. They stipulate that fighting the usurping ruler would definitely result in a fitnah, since he would have usurped power with the help of a group and they would fight; then fighting would break out between the Muslims and they would kill each other. Fitnah would then take place and in times of fitnah the righteous ones would seek refuge in their homes and would run away from the fitnah in compliance with the Ahadith. Hence, leaving the usurping ruler to his own devices and not fighting him is what the Muslims should act upon.
In answer to this dubiousness in respect of the first case/instance which stipulates that the matter should take the rule of its consequence, i.e. since the fighting of the usurping ruler would result in bloodshed and chaos, which is prohibited, thus fighting him would also be prohibited because it would lead to this same outcome’ we say that the principle “the consequences of actions”, which is the basis upon which this rule is built, is invalid from the onset. This is because when the Shari’ah text brings a solution for an action and then reason is used to judge the consequence of this action as being a detriment, the rational judgement has no value whatsoever in relation to what the text stipulates.
Likewise, when the Shari’ah text prohibits an action and then reason is used to judge that the consequence of the action is a benefit, again the rational judgement will have no value whatsoever in relation to what the texts stipulate. This is because the Legislator is Allah and the text is Revelation from Allah. The role of reason is to perceive the text, not to lay down the rule. Hence, what results from reason should be null and void and only what the text stipulates is considered.
Therefore, the principle “the consequences of actions” or what they refer to as “Sadd al-Thara’ee” (Blocking the Means) becomes invalid. This is because it is based on the notion that where Shari’ah has already demonstrated its ruling on a matter but reason deemed the consequence of the action to be contradictory to the Shari’ah rule, it would cancel the text and maintain the rule that reason has concocted. This is, without any shade of a doubt, false. Our issue in this context in which the dubiousness occurred, is that a text has mentioned the rule of fighting the usurping ruler; the usurping ruler has seized power by force and the Messenger of Allah (saw) has ordered the fighting of the usurper by saying: “Fight, and if you are killed you will be in Paradise and if you kill him he will be in Hell.” The text is very clear: “Fight” – and yet these people want to cancel this text, because fighting the usurping ruler would allegedly lead to a detriment, namely bloodshed, catastrophe, anarchy and fitnah; and because this amounts to a detriment, it should take the rule of the detriment and therefore as it is prohibited, then the fighting should also be prohibited. This means nullifying the text by what reason deems as a detriment if the text is acted upon. This is why it is a false claim. Hence, the dubiousness and objection are removed and the text remains applicable and executable, namely fighting the usurper who seizes power by force.
As for the answer to this dubiousness in terms of the second instance which stipulates fitnah and the need to keep away from it, the Ahadith mentioned on fitnah are addressing those who do not know who is right and who is wrong from among the fighting parties during the fitnah. They are also related to the instance when the war is between two factions that are both in the wrong. Apart from this, the texts are clear in terms of the obligation to side by the truth and fighting the renegades. This is the school of thought of the Sahaba and the Tabi’een.
Allah (swt) says:
“If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight (all of you) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just).” [TMQ 49-9]
This ayah is conclusive in meaning about the obligation to fight the transgressing faction and to side with the faction that is right. If the Muslims, especially the righteous ones, were to refrain from supporting the truth and from fighting the transgressors, and if they were to remain indoors, corruption would spread and the transgressors and wrongdoers would become emboldened and they would subject people to tyranny. This, Allah forbid, would signal the destruction of the Muslims and the erosion of Islam, in addition to its contradiction to the definite texts that are conclusive in meaning. Hence, in the presence of the general conclusive text, the Ahadith of Fitnah ought to be interpreted as being in reference to the instance when it is not clear, for whatever reason, which of the warring factions is right and which is in the wrong; or in reference to the instance when the two factions are in the wrong. Apart from this, it is forbidden for the Muslim to be a bystander; he should rather fight in support of the truth; otherwise he would be sinful and he would incur the punishment of Allah. Hence, the dubiousness of those impotent individuals is invalid. If there were a fitnah, then it would be obligatory to fight the transgressors and to side with the truth and even more so when someone commits transgression against all the Muslims and usurps the authority from them. According to the saying of the Messenger of Allah (saw): “Fight him” and “Fight”, in other words, he should be fought until the authority is taken back from him and returned to the Ummah, so that she may appoint the ruler she wants with consent and free choice.
Source: The Dossier (Hizb ut-Tahrir)