In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Messenger of Allaah [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said: “The Fitan 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], 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. [Ref 1]
Abu Hurairah [radiyallaahu-anhu] narrated that the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] said, “Hasten towards good deeds, because there will be trials which would be like a part of a dark night, wherein 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]
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Madkhalee [hafidhahullaah] 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 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 were saved due to the clarity and establishment of this methodology (i.e. the Salafi path), 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 guidance and misguidance, 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 group when facing 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. [Ref 2]
Aasim Bin Humaid [rahimahullaah] said, “I heard Mu’aadh Ibn Jabal [radiyallaahu-anh] saying, ‘Indeed, you will not see in this Dunyaa except affliction and trial, the affair will not increase except in severity and you will not see from the rulers except harshness https://www.abukhadeejah.com/the-tyranny-of-the-rulers-a-reason-for-rebellion/. You will not see an affair that is terrifying and causes you hardship, except that it will be lesser in severity than what will occur thereafter’. Imaam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal [rahimahullaah] said [i.e. after hearing this statement], ‘O Allaah! Make us pleased (with You)! O Allaah! Make us pleased (with You)’”.
The author [i.e. Ibnul Bannaa (rahimahullaah)] transmitted this narration in which Mu’aadh [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “Indeed, you will not see in this Dunyaa, except affliction and trial”. Meaning that is because this Dunyaa is a place of affliction, trial and test. Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He] said: [وَنَبۡلُوكُم بِٱلشَّرِّ وَٱلۡخَيۡرِ فِتۡنَةً۬ۖ وَإِلَيۡنَا تُرۡجَعُونَ – And We shall make a trial of you with evil and with good, and to Us you will be returned. (Surah Al-Anbiyaa. Aayah 35)]
Then Mu’aadh [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “And the affair will not increase except in severity”. Meaning that is because the affair of the believers alternates between perfection and deficiency, and an era will not come to the people except that the era thereafter will be lesser in virtue.
Then Mu’aadh [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “And you will not see from the rulers except harshness”. Meaning, the way you are [i.e. righteous or sinful] will determine who will rule over you. Whenever deficiency occurs in the religious affairs of the people, this will also be the state of the one who rules over them.
Then Mu’aadh [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “And you will not see an affair that is terrifying and causes you hardship, except that it will be lesser in severity than what will occur thereafter”. Meaning, it may be that a person witnesses an affair which he considers to be terrifying and difficult, but then another era comes thereafter and he considers it more severe than the one that occurred during his youth.
Mu’aadh [radiyallaahu-anhu] made these statements to notify the believer regarding the state he should be in when afflictions occur, so that he strives against his soul [i.e. in obedience to Allaah], remains steadfast upon the truth, turns truthfully to Allaah [in obedience, submission, reliance, repentance etc], pleased with Allaah, not to deviate, not to be like those who are destroyed and seeks Allaah’s Protection against the trials that are apparent and that which is hidden. This is the reason why Imaam Ahmad [rahimahullaah] said twice [i.e. after hearing Mu’aadh’s speech], “O Allaah! Make us pleased (with You)! O Allaah! Make us pleased (with You)”.
This shows what a Muslim should be upon during trials – that he should be pleased with Allaah in two ways: [رضىا بالله and رضا عن الله]. The meaning of Ridaa Billaah can be found in a hadeeth of Allaah’s Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi wasallam] as follows:
ذَاقَ طَعْمَ الإيمَانِ مَنْ رَضِيَ بِالله رَبّا وَ باْلإِسْلاَمِ دِيناً و بِمُحَمّدٍ رسولا
The one who pleased that Allah is his lord and Islam is his religion and Muhammad is his messenger shall taste the sweetness of Eemaan. Ridaa Billaah is related to being pleased with the Names and Attributes of Allaah.
As for Ridaa Anil laah, it can be found in the statement of Allaah: [رضي الله عنهم ورضوا عنه] and it is related to being pleased with Allaah’s reward and good recompense.
Therefore, with regards to the trials, it is obligated on a Muslim to turn to Allaah [in submission, obedience, reliance, humility, repentance etc]. Whenever the trial becomes more severe, he increases in turning to Allaah. Indeed, the Prophet [sallal-laahu-alayhi wasallam] said, “Worship during Al-Harj [i.e. during chaos, confusion, disorder, fighting, killing etc] is like emigrating to me”. harj12
This shows that during trials a Muslim should turn to Allaah – turn to worship, remembrance of Allaah, submit and humble himself to Allaah. As for many other people, trials bussies and diverts them from remembrance of Allaah; rather many people are preoccupied with the trial and diverted]from obedience to Allaah. How many people are preoccupied with trials and diverted from establishing the prayer at its fixed time! How many people fall into evil due to Fitan! Fitan is destructive and no one is saved from it, except the one whom Allaah saves.
And in relation to Mu’aadh’s [radiyallaahu-anhu] statement, it has also been reported in Shu’ab Al-Imaan by Bayhaqi [rahimahullaah] from Abee Mas’ood Al-Ansaari [radiyallaahu-anhu] who said, “A time will not reach you except that the time after it will be worse than it”. So they (i.e. the people) said, “Indeed, a time has reached us in which we had things in abundance and a time in which we did not have things in abundance”. He said, “By Allaah! Indeed, I neither mean your time of abundant produce nor your time of scarcity, rather I mean the disappearance of knowledge or the scholars. Indeed, before you there was Umar [radiyallaahu-anhu], so show me a time like his?!” Perhaps it can be said (in relation to this statement of Abee Mas’ood (radiyallaahu-anhu)] regarding this era of ours, “Ibn Baaz was here (i.e. alive amongst us few years ago), so show us someone like him (or an era like his)?!” However, good is still present. Even though the likes of these statements are transmitted, but also the texts regarding tranquillity, the people of virtue and that good will remain should be mentioned, such as the statement of the Prophet [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam], “There will not cease to be a group of my Ummah who will be upon the truth, neither will they be harmed by those who oppose them nor by those who betray them until the establishment of the hour (i.e. the day of judgement)”.
This proves that good will remain and the likes of these narrations [i.e. the narrations by Abee Mas’ood and Mu’aadh (radiyallaahu-anhumaa)] are not aimed at leaving a person in a state of hopelessness and despair; rather it is aimed at making him turn to Allaah (in obedience, submission, reliance, humility, repentance etc] and to be from the people of virtue, even if they are few. [Ref 3]
[Ref 1: Source: An Excerpt from ‘Ighaathatul Lahfaan 1/15-16. Publisher: Daar Aalimul Fawaa’id’ 1st Edition 1432AH. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 2: Source: An Excerpt from ‘Adh-Dharee’ah Ilaa Bayaan Maqaasid Kitaab Ash-Sharee’ah’ – 1/200-202. Slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 3: An Excerpt From ‘Sharh Risaalah Al-Mughniyah Fis Sukoot Wa Luzoomil Buyoot. Lessons 2 – By Shaikh Abdur Razzaaq Al-Badr (hafidhahullaah)]