In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Hudhaifah Bin al Yamaan [may Allaah be pleased with him] said: People used to ask Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] about the good times, but I used to ask him about bad times fearing lest they overtake me. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! We were in a state of pre-Islamic ignorance and evil, and then Allaah brought us this good [time through Islam], is there any evil time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked, ‘Will there be a good time again after that evil?’ He said, ‘Yes, but therein will be a hidden evil.’ I asked, ‘What will be the evil hidden therein?’ He said, ‘[That time will witness the rise of] the people who will follow ways other than mine and seek guidance other than mine. You will know [their] good points as well as [their] bad points.’ I asked, ‘Will there be an evil time after this good one?’ He said, ‘Yes. [A time will come] when there will be people standing and inviting at the gates of Hell. Whosoever responds to their call they will throw them into the fire.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! Describe them for us.’ He said, ‘They will be a people having the same complexion as ours and speaking our language.’ I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah! What do you suggest if I happen to live in that time?’ He said, ‘You should stick to the main body of the Muslims and their leader.’ I said, ‘If they have no [such thing as the] main body and have no leader?’ He said, ‘Separate yourself from all these factions, though you may have to eat the roots of trees [in a jungle] until death comes to you and you are in this state.’’’ [Bukhari and Muslim…. The wording of the above is that of Imaam Muslim]
“The people used to ask Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] but I used to ask him about bad times fearing lest they overtake me”.
Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah protect him] said: They used to ask him [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] about the good related to righteous actions, sound Islamic creed and dealings, but Hudhaifah used to ask him about the evil times fearing lest they overcome him. Therefore, in this is evidence that it is not enough to only learn about good; rather one must know about the evil in order to avoid it. If you do not know about the evil, you will come close to falling into it, as the poet said, “I acquaint myself with the evil not for the sake of evil, but to be safeguarded from it. The one who does not know (the distinction between) evil and good will fall into evil”.
A person must learn about the truth- its proofs and evidences. He must learn and know what falsehood is and the doubts associated with it, in order that he can be saved from falsehood and warn people against it. (see footnote 1) How can he avoid and warn people against it if he is unaware of it? And with regards to this, the Qur’aan has clarified truth and falsehood- clarified Eemaan and Kufr, Tawheed and Shirk, and Halaal and Haraam. It has not only clarified Tawheed, Halaal and truth; rather it clarified that which is in opposition to them, so that the Muslim can avoid them.
Likewise, the Prophet – in his Sunnah- clarified good and evil, truth and falsehood in all affairs of the religion. The scholars clarified – in their written works- what Tawheed, Shirk, disbelief and hypocrisy are. They have clarified the belief of Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa’ah (see footnote 2) and the beliefs of the deviated sects, such as the Jahmiyyah, the Mutazilah, the Ashaa-irah…..and other than that. (see footnote 3)
They have clarified the correct and forbidden (deeds) in mutual dealings; clarified the correct (Islamic) marriage, the false and corrupt marriage and the women forbidden (for one to marry); (Footnote 4) clarified the (good manners legislated in the sharee’ah) and the evil manners that are in opposition to it. All of this gives the Muslim an insight into his affairs, so that he knows the truth by its evidences, knows what falsehood is and the doubts associated with it, in order that he can avoid falsehood and tell the people avoid it.
This is why you find in the books of belief: clarification of the belief in Tawheed and the belief of Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah, clarification of the beliefs (that are tantamount) to misguidance, the doubts associated with it and refutation against it, in order that the Muslim is not misled by beliefs (that are tantamount to) deviation, false beliefs and deviated schools of thought; and in order that the Muslims can be upon a correct understanding with regards to the affairs of their religion and that which is in opposition to it.
Some of the people at present- the majority of them ignorant ones and amongst them misguided ones- say, “Do not learn about the false beliefs; suffice yourselves with learning the correct belief only and do not involve yourself in seeking to know the beliefs of the people of misguidance and the refutations against their doubts. Leave this and teach the children of the Muslims the correct belief only. Do not inform them about the statements that are in opposition (to the truth), the doubts and refutation against them”. (see footnote 5) This one (i.e. the one who makes these statements) is either an ignoramus who knows nothing about knowledge or he is one of those motivated by personal desires- those who want to spread the false schools of thought and their doubts; rather it may be that they say, “It is sufficient for a person to say, ‘I am a Muslim, I am a believer….. a general Islaam suffices, do not say, Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaa-ah, (do not say), ‘the people of misguidance, schism and differing, do not say this, because it will cause division between the Muslims'”.
These (statements are tantamount to) misguidance because Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] has clarified the truth in opposition to falsehood, guidance in opposition to misguidance and Tawheed in opposition to shirk. Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] has clarified all the affairs of the Religion- a detailed clarification of the affairs related to worship, mutual dealings and manners. Therefore, this must be clarified in order that it is made clear to the people, [and in order] that they can be upon clarity, and so that the true Muslim is distinguished from the so-called Muslim and no deviation and forgery enters into Islaam. We must make a distinction between this and that one, in order that truth is not confounded with falsehood, and [in order] to distinguish between truth and falsehood, and [between] good and wickedness. We do not suffice ourselves with a general Islaam because this is misleading, and it is deception. We warn against this propaganda. The truth must be clarified and distinguished from falsehood, and guidance must be distinguished from misguidance. Hudhaifah used to ask the Prophet about the evil and did not suffice himself by only asking the Prophet about the good. The Prophet affirmed that for him and did not say to him, “Suffice yourself with knowing what good is” rather he affirmed and clarified – for him- the evil that was to occur, in order that he may beware and warn others. This is the Sunnah, the path of the Qur’aan and that of the Messenger. [An Excerpt from Sharh Hadeeth Innaa Kunnaa Fee Jaahiliyyatin pages 9-12]
Footnote 1: Acquaintance with doubts and their refutation does not mean that we look into the books of misguidance or listen to the speech of ahlul bidah, rather the scholars and the upright students of knowledge are the one who mention them and then transmit their refutations. Imaam Sufyaan Ath-Thawree [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Whoever lends an ear to a person of innovation, has left the protection of Allaah and is entrusted to it (i.e. to the innovation)”. Al-Allaamah Saaleh Al-Fawzaan [may Allaah preserve him] said, “The narration about fleeing from ahlul bidah and not to sit with them, nor to accompany them has proceeded; so, whoever accompanies them and listens to their statements and does not reject them, will be destroyed alongside them. It is not permissible for you to lend an ear to them whilst saying: ‘’I am a believer with strong Eemaan and I am well acquainted with the Aqeedah, and they [i.e. the innovators] cannot have an effect on me.’ This is self -deception [and] trial for the people; for being distant from (the innovators) and not listening to their false statements is Safety. As for lending your ear to them, then you will become worthy of being put to trail alongside them. And regarding Sufyan’s statement, ‘And is entrusted to it (i.e. to the innovation)’, that is because Allaah safeguards the one who seeks safety with Him but the one who listens to innovation is worthy of being put to trial by it. He is entrusted to it and is removed from the Protection of Allaah [Glorified and Exalted be He]. [It-haaful Qaaree Vol 2. pages 316-317]
Footnote 2: Who are Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah:
Distinguishing Signs of The People of Sunnah | Abu Khadeejah
Distinguishing Signs of The People of Sunnah – Part 2 | Abu Khadeejah
Footnote 3: The Deviated Sects