In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: Hudhaifa [radiyallaahu-anhu] reported that the Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: “Tribulation will be presented to the hearts of people like a reed mat woven stick by stick and any heart afflicted by them will have a black mark put into it, but any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put into it. Thus there will be two kinds of hearts: one is pure like a white gemstone and it will not be harmed by any tribulation as long as the heavens and earth endure, and the other is black and dusty like a worn-out vessel, neither recognizing good nor rejecting evil, but rather immersed in its desires.” [Sahih Muslim 144]
Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullaah] said: The Fitan [tribulations] that will be presented to the hearts are the cause of their sickness; and they are the Fitan of Shahawaat [evil desires] and the Fitan of Shubuhaat [those affairs that are made to resemble the truth but are falsehood in reality]; the Fitan of Ghay and Dalaal [being led astray in knowledge and intent and misguided in knowledge and creed]; the Fitan of Ma’aasee and Bidah [disobedience and innovation in religion]; and the Fitan of Dhulm and Jahl [injustice and ignorance]. The first affair [i.e. the Fitan of Shahawaat] necessitates corruption in one’s intent and desire, and the second affair [i.e. the Fitan of Shubuhaat] necessitates corruption in one’s knowledge and creed. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Ighaathatul Lahfaan 1/15-16. Publisher: Daar Aalimul Fawaa’id’ 1st Edition 1432AH. slightly paraphrased]
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [hafidhahullaah] said:
Abu Hurairah [radiyallaahu-anhu] narrated that the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: ‘’Hasten towards [performance of] good deeds; [for] there will be trials which would be like a part of a dark night, wherein [i.e. during these trials] a man wakes up as a believer and becomes a disbeliever by night; or he begins the night as a believer and wakes up as a disbeliever, and a man would sell his religion for a [portion] of the worldly life [i.e. the worldly things].’’ [Saheeh Muslim Kitaab Al-Imaan number: 118]
Then the Shaikh Rabee said: The author [i.e. Imaam Al-Aajurree] pointed out that a lot of Fitan have occurred- a people were humiliated during it and also [others] were destroyed, such as the likes of Abu Muslim Al-Khurasaanee and [during] the Fitna of Ibnul Raawandee. Many Fitan have occurred and from them the Fitna of the khawaarij, the Rawaafid and killing. Deviation and misguidance have occurred – either fighting and trials [related] to politics or trials [related] to creed, methodology and what is similar to it. Many people who were to be destroyed were destroyed and the one whom Allaah protected was saved and [enabled] to adhere to the true methodology.
Indeed, all praises and thanks be to Allaah, many [people] were saved due to the clarity and establishment of this methodology [of the Salaf], just as the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallaam] promised, that “There will not cease to be a group from my Ummah manifest and upon the truth –neither being harmed by those who forsake them nor by those who oppose them until the hour is established”.
So, Allaah’s proof has been established against the people from the time Muhammad [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallaam] was sent until the establishment of the hour. A time will not come except that His [i.e. Allaah’s] proofs are established by the inheritors of the prophets [i.e. the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah]- the people of sound knowledge, the ‘Taa-ifatul Mansoorah [i.e. victorious group] that adheres to the truth and will not depart from it until the establishment of the hour. Allaah’s proof has been established against [the people] and through them [i.e. the inheritors of the prophets, Allaah saves many people, and all the praises and thanks be to Allaah.
Therefore, during every trial, they [i.e. the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah] must openly proclaim the truth and clarify it for the people. They should distinguish for them [the difference] between guidance and misguidance; between truth and falsehood; the manner in which the people will be safeguarded from these trials; the path through which they will be saved from entering into Fitan and other affairs [by way of which] Allaah [The Blessed and Most High] guides this [victorious] group when [they] face every Fitna. And indeed the author reiterated this hadeeth: ‘’A man will wake up in the morning as a Muslim and by evening he becomes a disbeliever.” He [i.e. the author] said that a people will be humiliated; Yes! A man may be upon truth, and then you do not see him thereafter except that he has become a disbeliever or a misguided innovator! This is nothing else but humiliation! He used to claim that he is upon good, a possessor of knowledge and upon the truth, but then he falls into disbelief–either Kufr Akbar or kufr Asghar. This is ignominy and Allaah’s Protection is sought. How many people have been humiliated and exposed by a trial! [Suddenly] you come to know of them and their false claims are unveiled, and their reality is clarified for you. [Source: An Excerpt from ‘Adh-Dharee’ah Ilaa Bayaan Maqaasid Kitaab Ash-Sharee’ah’ – 1/200-202. Slightly paraphrased]
Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr [may Allaah preserve him] said:
‘’From the (evil) effects and consequences of Fitan (trials) is that indeed the one who enters into a Fitna (a trial) and is embroiled in it will return with destructive consequences and will not attain good. He will return with destructive consequences and evil end results, and at the same time he does not attain good. Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [rahimahullaah] studied a number of trials that took place during eras before his and scrutinized them in his book Minhaajus Sunnah – a beautiful and beneficial (scrutiny) regarding the (evil) end results of trial- and said, ‘’Few are those who rebel against the one in authority [i.e. the rulers] except that the evil that result from his actions is greater than the good outcomes’’. He [i.e. Shaikhul Islaam] mentioned many examples of Fitan that have occurred, then he summarized the end results and consequences of those Fitan and said, ‘’Neither did they establish (the) Religious affairs nor did they maintain (or preserve) the worldly affairs’’. That is: those who embarked upon those Fitan and hastened towards them neither established (the) religion nor maintained (or preserved) the worldly affairs because when Fitnah is unleashed, killing takes place, murder becomes rife, the people become excited, trial occurs and its evil consequences, (then) the incitement behind the trial will not bring about any good. [Slightly paraphrased] [Source: http://www.ajurry.com/vb/showthread.php?t=12360 ]