The Believer's Stance towards the Trials (Fitnah)
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May the good end be for the pious people. Peace be upon Muhammad, His Messenger and His Slave, and upon his wives and offspring just like He sent His peace upon Prophet Ibrahim and his family. May Allah bless Prophet Muhammad, his wives, and offspring just like He blessed Prophet Ibrahim and his family. He (Glorified be He) is indeed Praiseworthy and Glorious.
I would like to thank Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) for this meeting with our dear brothers and sons. I implore Allah (Exalted be He) to make it a blessed meeting, make us benefit from what we learnt, rectify our hearts, and our deeds, protect us all from the evils within ourselves and our misdeeds, grant victory to His Religion, make His Word superior, set right the affairs of the Muslims everywhere, let the best among them rule, and protect them from the evil ones among them. He is the Generous, the Gracious. I would like also to thank those in charge of Imam Muhammad ibn Sa’ud University for organizing this meeting. May Allah (Exalted be He) double their reward and guide us all to every good in religion and life and to the benefit of the whole Ummah (nation). He (Glorified and Exalted be He) is the Generous, the Gracious.
Dear brothers and sons, my speech today is entitled “The Believer’s Stance towards the Trials”. The Prophet (peace be upon him) clarified the danger of trials - may Allah (Exalted be He) save us their evils - and told us what we should do regarding it.
What is the meaning of trial?
Trial is a general word that has many meanings. It means Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship), which is the utmost expression of trial, according to Allah’s Saying: “And fight them until there is no more Fitnah (disbelief and polytheism, i.e. worshipping others besides Allâh) and the religion (worship) will all be for Allâh Alone [in the whole of the world].” [Al-Anfal: 39]
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “They ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (i.e. 1st, 7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islâmic calendar). Say, “Fighting therein is a great (transgression) but a greater (transgression)” [Al-Baqarah: 217]
Trial also refers to torture and burning according to Allah’s Saying: “Taste you your trial (punishment i.e. burning)!” This is what you used to ask to be hastened!”[[Al-Dhariyat: 14]
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Verily, those who put into trial the believing men and believing women (by torturing them and burning them), and then do not turn in repentance (to Allâh), then they will have the torment of Hell, and they will have the punishment of the burning Fire.” [Al-Buruj: 10] Trial here refers to torturing and punishing.
Trial also refers to testing. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “…and We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good.“[Al-Anbiya: 35]
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “Your wealth and your children are only a trial“[Al-Taghabun: 15] This means a test to determine those who use wealth and children in obeying Allah, fulfilling Allah’s rights, avoiding Allah’s prohibitions, and respecting the limits of Allah (Exalted be He), and those who deviate from this path and follow their own desires.
Trial also refers to afflictions and punishment according to Allah’s Saying: “And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people)“[Al-Anfal: 25] This means that it will affect all the people in general.
It is reported from Al-Zubayr ibn Al-‘Awwam (may Allah be pleased with him) and a group of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) that they said about the trial of ‘Uthman’s murder: “We would not have thought it (i.e. trial) could strike us until it took place.”
A group of ignorant and unjust people, some of whom were misguided, killed ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) due to false doubts and wrong interpretations. This trial spread, grew larger, and afflicted some people who had nothing to do with it and were not among the unjust people. This led to what took place between ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and Mu’awiyah (may Allah be pleased with him), and the Battles of the Camel and Siffin, which were consequences of the injustice done to ‘Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him). A group of people led by Mu’awiyah claimed revenge for Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) and asked ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), after being chosen as the fourth Caliph by the Muslims, to surrender the murderers to them. ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) told them that the time is not suitable to surrender the murderers now, and he promised them to do the right thing later, but he could not take revenge at that time. War took place in the Battle of the Camel and the Battle of Siffin as is known, and a group of the Salaf (may Allah be pleased with them) including Al-Zubayr said that the Ayah (Qur’anic verse) was revealed to treat situations like that, as it entails this meaning, and that this was the first trial to take place in the Ummah.
“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial) which affects not in particular (only) those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allâh is Severe in punishment.“[Al-Anfal: 25]
The trial affected a large number of people, including the Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) and others. ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, Talhah ibn ‘Ubaydullah, who is among the ten Sahabah given the glad tidings of entering Jannah (Paradise), and Al-Zubayr who is also among the ten Sahabah given the glad tidings of entering Jannah were killed during this trial, in addition to other Sahabah who were killed in the Battles of the Camel and Siffin.
Trial also takes place by means of doubts and lust. Many people were exposed to trial because of groundless doubts, like the Al-Jahmiyyah (a deviant Islamic sect denying some Attributes of Allah, claiming they are ascribed to people and cannot be ascribed to Allah), Al-Mu’tazilah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that those who commit major sins are in a state between belief and disbelief), Shi’ah (Shiites), Al-Murji’ah (a deviant Islamic sect claiming that Faith is restricted to belief not deeds), and other deviant sects from Ahl-ul-bidah (people of innovations) who were misguided by doubts and deviated from the way of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (adherents to the Sunnah and the Muslim mainstream). This led to trial for them and for other people, except those on whom Allah (Exalted be He) had mercy.
The way to avoid the different forms of trial is adhering to Allah’s Book and the Sunnah, according to the narration reported on the authority of ‘Ali and ranked as Marfu’ (a Hadith narrated from the Prophet with a connected or disconnected chain of narration) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There will be trials”. He was then asked: “O Allah’s Messenger, what is the way out of them?” He replied, “The Book of Allah, in which there is the news of things before you, the reports of the matters after you, and the laws to settle your disputes.” This means that there is no escape from all forms of trial, whether lust, doubts, fight, or Bid’ahs (innovations in religion) except with good understanding of Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him), and knowing the Manhaj (methodology) of the Salaf and those who followed them from the Imams (leaders) of Islam and the callers to guidance.
Anything people say and adhere to in times of war and peace should be judged according to Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him). In His Noble Book, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.” [Al-Nisa: 59] This is the only way to follow; we should judge according to the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) after his death.
Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) also says: “But no, by your Lord, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.“[Al-Nisa: 65]
Accepting the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as a judge means referring to the Qur’an and the Sunnah. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “Do they then seek the judgement of (the days of) Ignorance? And who is better in judgement than Allâh for a people who have firm Faith.“[Al-Maidah: 50]
Anything other than Allah’s judgment is considered judgment of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic time of ignorance). Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed, such are the Kâfirûn (i.e. disbelievers of a lesser degree as they do not act on Allâh’s Laws). And whosoever does not judge by that which Allâh has revealed, such are the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers - of a lesser degree).” [Al-Maidah: 44-45]
“And whosoever does not judge by what Allâh has revealed (then) such (people) are the Fâsiqûn [the rebellious i.e. disobedient (of a lesser degree) to Allâh].“[Al-Maidah: 47]
The only way to avoid trial is to refer to Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) by referring to the scholars who are well-informed and knowledgeable about the Qur’an and the Sunnah and who have applied it. The whole Ummah; man and Jinn (creatures created from fire), Arabs and non-Arabs, and men and women should refer to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and follow the way of the Salaf and those who follow them in piety and righteousness at times of war or peace, in acts of ‘Ibadah (worship) and transactions, and in matters in which people differed with regard to Allah’s Names, Attributes, Resurrection, Hellfire, Jannah, and everything else. This also includes the wars launched by some people, in which they should refer to Shari’ah.
The same applies to preparation for war, people whose help is sought, and people whose help is not sought. All this should be judged according to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). This includes what took place on 11th of Muharram, 1411 A.H., when the ruler of Iraq invaded Kuwait. His threat to this country and the Gulf countries is also a trial that should be referred to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). According to scholars and people of Iman (Faith), there is no doubt that this man has committed a grave Munkar (that which is unacceptable or disapproved of by Islamic law and Muslims of sound intellect), a terrible sin, and a fierce unjustified attack. If he had been a caller to Islam and a person who refers to Shari’ah, he would not have invaded another country, whether Kuwait or any other one, unless he had warned them, his allegations against them are observed, and their concordance with Shari’ah is judged. However, he invaded a country, killed people, captured the booty, and took captives without any pangs of conscience. This indicates that he does not have the least amount of required religiousness, magnanimity, or modesty. Nevertheless, he claims to be a true Muslim, who he is fighting in the Cause of Allah, and that he intends to protect the Two Sacred Mosques. This is really hypocrisy, deception, and absolute Kufr (disbelief).
It is known that the Ba’ath Party, communism, and all secular parties contradict Islam, and are more indulged in Kufr than the Jews and Christians, because it is lawful to eat the animals slaughtered by the Jews and Christians, eat with them, and marry the chaste women among them. However, it is impermissible to eat with atheists or marry their women. The same applies to idol worshippers. Any atheist who does not believe in Islam is worse than the Jews and Christians. Those who belong to the Ba’ath Party and secularists who reject Islam, in addition to the communists, socialists, and all the other atheist parties who do not believe in Allah and the Day of Judgment are worse in Kufr than the Jews and Christians. The same applies to idol worshippers, grave worshippers, tree worshippers, and stone worshippers; they are worse than the Jews and Christians. That is why Allah (Exalted be He) has distinguished their rulings, even if they are all Kafirs (disbelievers), misguided, and will enter Hellfire.
However, they are not of the same degree of Kufr and misguidance. They will be in Hellfire if they die while in the same state. If a person who belongs to the Ba’ath party wants to claim that they are Muslims, they have to leave their party, whether Ba’ath, socialism, or communism, and perform Tawbah (repentance to Allah) from all that contradicts Islam, so that their sincerity is proven. If that cunning Saddam, the Ruler of Iraq, wants to perform Tawbah, he should reject and disclaim the Ba’ath party, announce himself a Muslim, withdraw from the country he invaded, correct and regret the injustice he did to the people, withdraw his army from Kuwait, announce his Tawbah, and refer to Shari’ah in his rulings, to prove his sincerity to the people.
Fighting him is one of the most important forms of Jihad (fighting in the Cause of Allah), which is fighting a barefaced enemy to take revenge, return the rights to their owners, and solve the trial that he caused. All the Islamic countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its allies should fight him. It is considered a Shar’i (Islamically lawful) Jihad. If a fighter is killed in it, he is considered a martyr; if he returns safe, he will gain a great reward if he is a Muslim. The ruling on seeking the help of non-Muslims is known by scholars, and there are a lot of proofs on it. The correct opinion is what was mentioned in the decree of the Council of Senior Scholars in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is permissible to seek the help of non-Muslims in case of necessity to fight back an unjust enemy and protect the country from his evil, if the Muslim forces are not adequate to do this. In this case, it is permissible to seek the help of those who are most probably able to offer help, whether they are Jews, Christians, idol worshippers, or others.
This happened to the Prophet (peace be upon him) in Makkah when he sought the help of Mut’im ibn ‘Adi when he returned from Al-Ta’if and was afraid of the people of Makkah after the death of his uncle Abu Talib. He first sought the help of others, but they did not respond, then he sought the help of Al-Mut’im who was one of their chiefs, and he protected him. He (peace be upon him) also used to pass by the Mushriks (people who associate others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) at their homes in Mina to ask them to protect him so that he could convey the Message of his Lord, even though they were non-Muslims. He sought the help of ‘Abdullah ibn Urayqit during the Hijrah (Prophet’s migration to Al-Madinah), although he was a Kafir, being fit for the job and unlikely to report them to the Mushriks. On the day of the Battle of Badr he said: “I do not seek the help of a Mushrik.” However, he did not say: “Do not seek the help of Mushriks”; he spoke only about himself, as he did not need them at that time, and he had a group of Muslims to help him. This was one of the reasons behind the guidance of the man, whose help was rejected, and he embraced Islam.
On the day of the Conquest of Makkah, he borrowed shields from Safwan ibn Umayyah who was still a Mushrik. He asked, “Are you going to take them by force, Muhammad?” He (peace be upon him) said, “No, it is just a loan.” He sought the help of the Jews in Khaybar when the Muslims were preoccupied with Jihad and had no time to think about agriculture. He agreed with them on cultivating the land of Khaybar in return for half of the crops, even though they were Jews, as he saw that it was better for the public interest. He kept them in Khaybar until the Muslims managed to take care of their money in Khaybar during the era of ‘Umar. Only then, ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) asked them to leave the country. There is also a known rule in Allah’s Saying: “…while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity“[Al-An’am: 119]
If the Muslims are forced to seek the help of a less evil enemy to fight a worse enemy, there is no harm in this. It is known that atheists, Ba’thists, and such people are worse than the Jews and the Christians; any atheist is worse than the People of the Book. So, according to Shar’i rules, it is permissible to seek the help of some Mushriks to fight a worse evil enemy and protect the Muslims from their evil. The scholars reported many narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him) about trial and avoiding it, which are as follows:
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There will be trial in which the sitting person will be better than the standing one, the standing one will be better than the walking one, and the walking one will be better than the running one. Whoever looks forward to those trials, they will overtake him, and whoever finds a refuge or a shelter should take refuge.”
This is the trial in which Al-Haqq (the Truth) is unclear; a believer should avoid it by every possible means. This also applies to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “A time is about to come when the best property of a Muslim will be sheep, which he takes to the tops of mountains and the places of rainfall, so as to flee with his religion from trial.“(Related by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih [authentic] Book of Hadith)
This also applies to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him) when he was asked: “Who is the best among the people? He replied: “A believer who fights in the Cause of Allah.” People asked, “Who is next?” He replied: “A believer who stays in one of the mountain paths worshipping Allah and saves the people from his mischief.” This refers to the times when matters are ambiguous and the believer is afraid for himself. However, if they realize who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed, he should stand with the oppressed against the oppressors. This is according to the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Help your brothers, whether they are oppressors or oppressed.” A man asked: “O, Messenger of Allah, how can I help them if they are oppressors?” He (peace be upon him) said: “By preventing them from oppressing (others), as this is how to help them.”
When the trial took place at the time of the Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with him), some of them became dubious and refused to participate in it because of the Hadiths relevant to trials, such as Sa’ad ibn Abu Waqqas, Muhammad ibn Maslamah, and other Sahabah (may Allah be pleased with them). However, the well-informed Sahabah supported ‘Ali, as he was the one who deserved support, in the face of Al-Khawarij (separatist group that believes committing a major sin amounts to disbelief) and the aggressors of the people of the Levant (the region covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine) when they knew the truth, and that ‘Ali was wronged and should be supported, for he was the Imam (ruler) that should be followed and Mu’awiyah and his supporters wronged him and accused him of killing ‘Uthman. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in his Glorious Book, “And if two parties or groups among the believers fall to fighting, then make peace between them both. But if one of them outrages against the other, then fight you (all) against the one that outrages” [Al-Hujurat: 9] He does not say “keep away from them”, but He says: “…then fight you (all) against the one that which outrages till it complies with the Command of Allâh. Then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly, and be equitable. Verily! Allâh loves those who are the equitable.” [Al-Hujurat: 9]
If the oppressor is known, the oppressed should be helped according to Allah’s Saying: “…then fight you (all) against the one that outrages till it complies with the Command of Allâh.” [Al-Hujurat: 9]
In the era of the Sahabah, the oppressors were Mu’awiyah and his supporters, and the oppressed were ‘Ali and his supporters. That is why the great Sahabah supported ‘Ali as previously mentioned. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said a Sahih Hadith wherein he speaks about Al-Khawarij. He (peace be upon him) said: “There would be two groups in my Ummah. A group will secede from them, and the one that is closer to Al-Haqq will kill them. ‘Ali and his supporters who were nearer to Al-Haqq killed them.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said about ‘Ammar: “‘Ammar will be killed by the oppressing group.” He was killed by Mu’awiyah and his supporters in the Battle of Siffin.
Mu’awiyah and his supporters were oppressors, but some people that thought they were right in claiming revenge for ‘Uthman, as Talhah, Al-Zubayr and ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with them) thought that on the day of the Battle of the Camel, but they were not right in their judgment. They would take a reward for Ijtihad (juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings), but missed the reward of right judgment. ‘Ali will take the reward for Ijtihad and right judgment as well. This is the Shar’i rule concerning Mujtahids (scholars qualified to exercise juristic effort to infer expert legal rulings); if a judge, a reformer, or a fighter seeks truth, he will have double reward if he is right and only one reward if he is wrong in judgment. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If a judge gives a verdict according to the best of his knowledge and his verdict is correct, he will receive a double reward; and if he gives a verdict according to the best of his knowledge and his verdict is wrong, he will get one reward.” (Agreed upon by Imams Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Every trial induced by a Muslim, a Mubtadi’ (one who introduces innovations in religion), or a Kafir should be examined. A believer should support the wronged one against the wrong-doer. Thus, Al-Haqq is supported, the affairs of the Muslims are settled, an oppressor is prevented from oppression, and a truth seeker knows that he should cooperate in righteousness and piety not in sin and transgression. This is according to Allah’s Saying: “Help you one another in Al-Birr and At-Taqwâ (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression.” [Al-Maidah: 2]
Fighting an aggressor or a Kafir who attacks the Muslims out of oppression is a duty, a form of righteousness, helping the oppressed, and fighting the oppressors. Thus, fighting Saddam and those like him is a form of righteousness and guidance. The Muslims should exert all possible efforts in fighting him, and seek the help of anyone who may be useful in resisting the oppressor and getting rid of his evil. It is also impermissible for the Muslims to abandon the oppressed and leave them for the oppressors to exploit them in any way; the oppressor should be resisted and the oppressed supported in every way.
All the Muslims should comprehend their religion, have deep insight in what they do and what they refrain from doing, refer to Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger (peace be upon him) in everything, study them to seek the truth for the sake of Allah (Exalted be He) and the Hereafter, carry out Allah’s rulings among the people, and beware of desire, as it makes people fall into Hellfire. Allah (Exalted be He) says: “…and follow not your desire — for it will mislead you from the Path of Allâh.” [Sad: 26]
He (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “But if they answer you not (i.e. do not bring the Book nor believe in your doctrine of Islâmic Monotheism), then know that they only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from Allâh? Verily Allâh guides not the people who are Zâlimûn (wrong-doers, disobedient to Allâh, and polytheists).” [Qasas: 50]
Any person who has deep insight believes that if Saddam is left to do what he likes, he will ruin the country, and will be helped by people from the North and the South in his falsehood. If he becomes able to carry out his plans, this will lead to terrible disasters, serious corruption, and great evil. However, it is out of Allah’s Mercy and Bounty that the rulers of Saudi Arabia noticed his evil and corruption, so they sought the help of multi-national forces to fight him and defend the religion and the country, until Allah (Exalted be He) ruined his plotting and prevented him from achieving his aim.
May Allah grant us a good end, save us from his evil and the evil of others, and support our Islamic armies and those who help them against the ruler of Iraq until he stops his aggression, withdraws his army from Kuwait, and knows his limits. May Allah also grant our armies the best understanding of religion, save us from the evils of our sins, save us from the evil of all Kafirs of all nationalities, make them return to their countries while we are safe from their evil, guide them to Islam, and save them from Kufr.
May Allah guide them all, make them return to Al-Haqq and guidance, and save us from the evil of Ba’thists, Christians, or others. May Allah guide them to Islam, save us from their evil, make the Kafirs among them return to their countries and leave the Muslims, get rid of the ruler of Iraq and his army, and choose for Iraq a righteous ruler who judges according to Shari’ah. May Allah also grant all the Muslims rulers who judge according to Shari’ah, lead them by the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and save the Muslims from the evil of their rulers who contradict Shari’ah. May He set right the affairs of Muslims and their leaders, guide them to His Right Path, make the best of the Muslims their leaders, save them from the evil of enemies wherever they are, ruin the plotting of the enemies, and save us from the evil of our sins.
May He enable us to perform sincere Tawbah and make the hard affliction that happened in Kuwait a lesson for everyone and a reason for guidance. May Allah guide our government to all goodness, help it obey Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), and prepare a strong army that suffices them and makes them dispense with all the enemies of Allah.
May Allah guide all our neighboring countries to adhere to Allah’s Book, make them all consent to Al-Haqq and guidance, enable them to obey Allah (Exalted be He) and His Messenger (peace be upon him), save them from the enemies and hypocrites among them who fight the Qur’an and the Sunnah and call for their opposite. May Allah ruin the plotting of His enemies and disunite them. May He guide the truth seekers to what pleases Him, set right the affairs of the Muslims everywhere, unify the opinions of Muslims everywhere on Al-Haqq and guidance, and save us from the evil of our enemies wherever they are. He is the Most Generous One. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon His Slave and Messenger, our Prophet Muhammad, his family, Companions, and those who followed them in righteousness.
See also: Ruling on seeking the help of the disbelievers to fight other disbelievers