Bismillah. This is a continuation of the minor signs of the day of judgement. I actually added two more signs to finish off the previous post. Those two minor signs were: 1) the fire in hijaaz which would light the necks of the camels in Busra, Syria; 2) and the war with the Turks.
On a side note – I discovered this wickedly awesome website for searching hadith: sunnah.com InshaAllah I’ll start using it as my hadith database search since the MSA one seems to be out of order. Another thing that I learned when citing hadith…there is apparently not a universal number system to look up which hadith is being referred to. Reading citations in different books and websites, I found conflicting numbers for the exact same hadith. So I guess it would be wiser to name the chapter it is listed under instead of some number which may or may not mean something 🙂
Trials and Tribulations
Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman narrated: the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) stood up among us and he did not leave out anything that is to happen until the Hour begins, but he told us about it. Those who memorized it, memorized it and those who forgot it, forgot it. These companions of mine know them, and there are some things which slip my mind, but when they happen, I recognize them just as a man remembers the face of a man who has been away from him, but when he sees him, he recognizes.” (Muslim, The Book Pertaining to the Turmoil and Portents of the Last Hour)
The severity of these fitan (tribulations) will vary. Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman reported: By Allah, I have the best knowledge amongst people about every turmoil which is going to appear in the period intervening me and the Last Hour; and it is not for the fact that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) told me something confidentially pertaining to it and he did not tell anybody else about it, but it is because of the fact that I was present in the assembly in which he had been describing the turmoil and he especially made a mention of three turmoils which would not spare anything and amongst these there would be turmoils like storms in the hot season. Some of them would be violent and some of them would be comparatively mild.” Hudhaifa said: “All (who were present) except I have gone (to the next world).” (Muslim, The Book Pertaining to the Turmoil and Portents of the Last Hour)
One of the main reasons why tribulations and calamaties happen is the lack of knowledge and the prevelance of ignorance, abandoning Islam, committing sins and acts of disobedience, and violating sanctities.
One of the greatest calamities to ever afflict this ummah happened during the time of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, but before we discuss that, we will mention the door between this Ummah and fitnah.
Once ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said, said, “Who amongst you remembers the statement of Allah’s Apostle regarding the afflictions?” Hudhaifa replied, “I remember what he said exactly.” ‘Umar said. “Tell (us), you are really a daring man!” Hudhaifa said, “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘A man’s afflictions (i.e. wrong deeds) concerning his relation to his family, his property and his neighbors are expiated by his prayers, giving in charity and enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.'”
Umar said, “I don’t mean these afflictions, but the afflictions that will be heaving up and down like waves of the sea.” Hudhaifa replied, “O chief of the believers! You need not fear those (afflictions) as there is a closed door between you and them.” ‘Umar asked, “Will that door be opened or broken?” Hudhaifa replied, “No, it will be broken.” ‘Umar said, “Then it is very likely that the door will not be closed again.”
Later on the people asked Hudhaifa, “Did ‘Umar know what that door meant?” He said. “Yes, ‘Umar knew it as everyone knows that there will be night before the tomorrow morning. I narrated to ‘Umar an authentic narration, not lies.” We dared not ask Hudhaifa; therefore we requested Masruq who asked him, “What does the door stand for?” He said, “‘Umar.” (Bukhaari, the book of virtues of the Prophet peace be upon him and his companions)
This meant that ‘Umar would be murdered. During his khilaafah, while he was leading the prayer, ‘Umar was murdered by a non-muslim. It’s amazing, if you read about the story of ‘Umar’s murder. There are many things we can learn from the companions’ amazing personalities. For example, even after he was stabbed, the sahabah completed the prayer. I won’t go into the details of his murder at this time though.
A Stormy Period
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Be prompt in doing good deeds (before you are overtaken) by turbulence which would be like a part of the dark night. During (that stormy period) a man would be a Muslim in the morning and an unbeliever in the evening or he would be a believer in the evening and an unbeliever in the morning, and would sell his faith for worldly goods.” (Muslim, the Boook of Imaan)
In another narration of this hadith, Al Hasan alBasri gave an explanation, saying: “In the name of Allah, I have seen these people. Forms, but no minds; bodies without any conscious. Like moths attracted to a fire; and flies attracted by greed. They would go for two dirhams, and a person would be willing to sell their religion for the small price of a goat.” Al Hasan alBasri was saying this at the time of the tabi’een (students of the sahabah)! What would he say if he lived to see this day?
In another hadith narrated by Imam Ahmad, that also talks about the fitnah, the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
“[…] the one who is sitting is better than the one who is standing. And the one who is standing is better than the one who is walking is better than the one who is running. So break your bows and stay home. And if anyone enters your home, be like the best of the two sons of Adam.”
This means it is better to stay away from those trials. Everything is so mixed up that you cannot separate truth from falsehood. Everything is in the gray area. RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is saying to withdraw. ‘The one who is sitting is better than the one is standing’ means that if you’re away from it, than you are better than the one who is standing. Once again meaning: don’t get involved. Have the least involvement and stay home. If somebody comes into your house, be like the best of the two sons of Adam. Qaabil killed Haabil. Haabil had said that ‘If you extend your hand forward to kill me, I’m not going to fight back.’
In terms of fitan, there are many that happened, and many that did not happen. RasulAllah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam pointed towards the east (when he was in Madinah) and said, “The fitan come out from here.” And he said, “That’s where the horn of shaytaan comes out.” The source of some of the greatest trials and tribulations were from the east of Madinah: many of the deviants came from the east; political unrest came from there; the Mongolians. That is also where Ad-Dajjaal (pseudo-Christ) and Yajuj and Majuj (Gog and Magog) will come from.
Now we will mention some of the trials that have already passed:
THE Fitna: Assassination of ‘Uthmaan
The assassination of ‘Uthmaan was the beginning of the fitna. It opened the door for every fitna after. We already mentioned how ‘Umar was a door between this Ummah and fitna. During his time, there was stability and security. There were no trials and tribulations during his time. During his time, there was expansion of the Muslim Ummah. After ‘Umar was murdered, the trials began.
‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan became the khalifah. ‘Uthmaan was also assassinated. The difference between the assassination of ‘Umar and the assassination of ‘Uthmaan? Huge.
‘Umar was murdered be a disbeliever, but ‘Uthmaan was murdered by people who claimed to be Muslim. That is how the door for disunity was opened.
‘Uthmaan was the khalifah, and some issues happened during his khilaafah. There are a few things to keep in mind during this time. Islam had been spreading incredibly far and fast by now. There were many new Muslims coming into Islam. The problem was, unlike the sahabah, they didn’t know much about Islam or understand enough about it. These people began to cause trouble. In the end, some Muslims gathered and they surrounded his house and they wanted him to give up khilaafah. They wanted him to step down. Keep in mind that none of these people were from amongst the sahabah.
You may ask, well, why didn’t ‘Uthmaan just step down so that these hooligans would go away? ‘Uthmaan was told by the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Allah will give you a cloak, and if the people ask you to take it off, don’t.” ‘Uthmaan had no idea what this meant at that time. He understood what it meant when the people were asking him to step down. Allah gave him this khilaafah, and these people were telling him to give it up, so he refused.
At the same time, he refused to fight them. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib and his sons were guarding ‘Uthmaan. He told ‘Uthmaan, “Give me your orders, we will fight them.” ‘Uthmaan said, “I don’t want one drop of blood to be shed for my cause. I don’t want any killing to happen to safeguard me.” He told ‘Ali not to fight for him. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib told his sons – Hassan and Hussain – to guard ‘Uthmaan. Eventually they came in. These people were in thousands. They were in Madinah and surrounding the house of the khalifah. They came in and killed ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan.
We all know of this famous hadith in which the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was climbing Uhud with his companions:
The Prophet ascended the mountain of Uhud and he was accompanied by Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan. The mountain shook beneath them. The Prophet hit it with his foot and said, “O Uhud ! Be firm, for on you there is none but a Prophet, a siddeeq (truthful) and two martyrs.” (Bukhari, Companions of the Prophet) The two martyrs, of course, were ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan.
The Battle of Al-Jamal
Another great tribulation followed the murder of ‘Uthmaan: a serious division amongst the sahabah themselves.
When ‘Uthmaan ibn Affaan was killed, the killers were not immediately bought to justice. This is because of the sheer number of people involved. There was also no khalifah appointed immediately. Some of the Muslims came to ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib and told him that they will give him bay’ah (allegiance).
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said not until the Muslims make a shoorah (consultation) and decide. The Muslims told ‘Ali that ‘Uthmaan was killed, there was a fitnah and the killers of ‘Uthmaan will spread all over and the problems will get bigger and bigger. Therefore, you must be the khalifah. They kept insisting until ‘Ali agreed. They had to have a leader. They needed somebody to unite the Muslims. Az-Zubayr ibn al Awwaam and Talha also gave bay’ah to ‘Ali (this is important because both of these sahabah were promised Jannah/Paradise by the Prophet).
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “The awliya of ‘Uthmaan have to come forth and ask for his revenge.” And the awliya are the closest relatives of the deceased. In the Islamic shari’ah, if someone is murdered intentionally, then their closest relatives are the ones who ask for justice. And they have the decision of either asking for execution or accepting the financial compensation (also known as diyah). The family decides this, not the court.
Talha, AzZubayr and ‘Aaisha bint Abi Bakr (the wife of the Prophet) wanted the killers of ‘Uthmaan to be bought to justice. So these two thoughts formed parties and eventually there came to a point where two armies met for battle. Talha, AzZubayr and ‘Aa`isha actually came to an agreement with ‘Ali and everything was fine at that time. At night time, some of these killers of ‘Uthmaan, which were in ‘Ali’s army, attacked the army of Talha, AzZubayr and ‘Aa`isha. Talha, AzZubayr and ‘Aa`isha did not come out there to fight; they came out in a big army to ask for justice. AzZubayr and Talha thought that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib attacked and that is how the fighting started.
It was a very brief fight. In the end, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib was able to convince them that he didn’t attack and that he is right in his opinion and they agreed.
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib was once told by RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam that something will happen between you and ‘Aa`isha. This is narrated by Imam Ahmad. ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “Between me and ‘Aa`isha?” RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Yes.” ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “Then I am the most unfortunate of people.” (Meaning, he must be unfortunate if a disagreement happens between him and one of the Mothers of the Believers.) RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “No. And when that happens, then take her back to safety.” ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib went to ‘Aa`isha and told some of his army’s officers to accompany her back to Madinah. This was a fulfillment of the prophecy of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The Battle of Siffeen
This battle was also just around that time and followed the murder of ‘Uthmaan.
RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam mentions in a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, “There will be a war between two big armies of Muslims and they are fighting for the same cause.” (Both of them want the same thing, but they are still fighting.) This is a contradiction. How could you fight for the same reason? Usually, you fight for different reasons. The interpretation for this is as follows: The murderers of ‘Uthmaan were in thousands in ‘Ali’s army. Mu’awiyah was the waliy of ‘Uthmaan; he was his relative. He had the authority to ask for justice in the case of ‘Uthmaan. He asked ‘Ali to hand them over. ‘Ali said, “I will, but I need to establish my authority first. The ones that killed ‘Uthmaan are in the hundreds. I cannot just hand them over like that; a fitna will happen. You have to give me bay’ah first. Everyone in the ummah has to give my bay’ah first. When I have the authority given to me by the Muslims, then I will hand them over. I can’t hand them over without authority.” Mu’awiyah said, “I will not give you bay’ah until you hand them over.”
The right side, obviously, was ‘Ali’s. Mu’awiyah made an ijtihaad and it was a wrong ijtihaad. He is still a sahabi of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam and a katab al-wahiy (writers of the revelation). RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam entrusted him with writing down the Qur’an. And he is the brother-in-law of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Umm Habeebah bint Abi Sufyaan (the wife of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was his sister.
Whenever we hear of the fitnah that occurred between the companions, we should never degrade any side. They are all companions of the Prophet and they are all beloved by us. We should remember all of their virtues; we should remember that their differences were just that: differences.
The ones who were on the right track were the ones with ‘Ali. There was an indication: RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam told Ammaar ibn Yaasir that he will be killed by the transgressing side. Ammaar ibn Yaasir was fighting on the side of ‘Ali and was killed by people from the army of Mu’awiyah. We cannot accused Mu’awiyah, because RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that two groups of Muslims will fight each other. And this hadith is in Bukhari and Muslim.
By Allah, Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali led large battalions like mountains against Muawiya. ‘Amr bin Al-As said (to Muawiya), “I surely see battalions which will not turn back before killing their opponents.” Muawiya who was really the best of the two men said to him, “O ‘Amr! If these killed those and those killed these, who would be left with me for the jobs of the public, who would be left with me for their women, who would be left with me for their children?” Then Muawiya sent two Quraishi men from the tribe of ‘Abd-i-Shams called ‘Abdur Rahman bin Sumura and ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amir bin Kuraiz to Al-Hasan saying to them, “Go to this man (i.e. Al-Hasan) and negotiate peace with him and talk and appeal to him.” So, they went to Al-Hasan and talked and appealed to him to accept peace. Al-Hasan said, “We, the offspring of ‘Abdul Muttalib, have got wealth and people have indulged in killing and corruption (and money only will appease them).” They said to Al-Hasan, “Muawiya offers you so and so, and appeals to you and entreats you to accept peace.” Al-Hasan said to them, “But who will be responsible for what you have said?” They said, “We will be responsible for it.” So, whatever Al- Hasan asked they said, “We will be responsible for it for you.” So, Al-Hasan concluded a peace treaty with Muawiya. Al-Hasan (Al-Basri) said: I heard Abu Bakr saying, “I saw Allah’s Apostle on the pulpit and Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali was by his side. The Prophet was looking once at the people and once at Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali saying, ‘This son of mine is a Saiyid (i.e. a noble) and may Allah make peace between two big groups of Muslims through him.” (Bukhaari, Peacemaking)
Divided, We Fall
There were people whose sole purpose was to just cause problems (in Urdu, I would call them fasaadi, or troublemakers.) Some of them were leaders of tribes; they were the ones inflaming this problem. They existed on both sides. They said, “How can ‘Ali give up? This is the hukm of Allah. ‘Ali is putting the opinion of men over the order of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.” What idiots, preferring killing to peacemaking.
Initially, they accused ‘Ali of making a mistake, and eventually they accused him of kufr. Look how quickly and often they change colors! They obviously accused Mu’awiyah of kufr before. These people broke off from the army of ‘Ali and that is where they got their name of khawaarij from. Khawaarij means “people who broke off”. This was the beginning of the formation of the Khawaarij sect.
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib sent ‘Abdullah ibn Abbaas to have a talk with them. ‘Abdullah ibn Abbaas convinced 4,000 of them to come back. He was the man! 🙂 We all can testify how hard it is to give da’wah to one.
The source of khawarij existed during the time of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The major characteristic of khawaarij is extremism.
Abu Saeed AlKhudri narrates: While the Prophet was distributing (something), ‘Abdullah bin Dhil Khawaisira at-Tamimi came and said, “Be just, O Allah’s Apostle!” The Prophet said, “Woe to you! Who would be just if I were not?” ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said, “Allow me to cut off his neck!” The Prophet said, “Leave him, for he has companions, and if you compare your prayers with their prayers and your fasting with theirs, you will look down upon your prayers and fasting, in comparison to theirs. Yet they will go out of the religion as an arrow darts through the game’s body in which case, if the Qudhadh of the arrow is examined, nothing will be found on it, and when its Nasl is examined, nothing will be found on it; and then its Nadiyi is examined, nothing will be found on it. The arrow has been too fast to be smeared by dung and blood. The sign by which these people will be recognized will be a man whose one hand (or breast) will be like the breast of a woman (or like a moving piece of flesh). These people will appear when there will be differences among the people (Muslims).” (Bukhaari, Dealing with Apostates)
Look at the rudeness of this man, ordering the Prophet of Allah to be just. RasulAllah (peace be upn him) is telling us that the way that they worship, you will think that the fasting and praying of the sahabah will seem like nothing compared to theirs. And though their recitation is beautiful, it will not be in their actions; in the inside, there is no Qur’aan. You may hear the Qu’raan with your ears, but there is not Qur’aan in the heart. RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was telling that the sources of people like this were people like AlKhuwaysarah. The roughness and rudeness is the source of the sect of khawaarij. These were the same people that killed ‘Uthmaan; they caused these wars between the Sahabah; and when they saw peace between the Muslims, they broke off. Na’oothubillah.
How do we know that the ones who broke off from ‘Ali’s army were the ones that RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was talking about? RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave us a sign in a hadith narrated by AlBukhari. Abu Saeed alKhudri said RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that one of the men will be a dark man and one of his arms is like the breast of a woman, meaning that there is no bone in his arm.
The Khawarij said to ‘Ali, “You have betrayed the order of Allah.” ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said, “Then I would give you a few things: you can pray with us in the masaajid, if you wish; I will give you your share of the booties of war when it is split amongst the Muslims [look at ‘Ali’s forgiveness!]; I will leave you alone as long as you leave the Muslims alone.” But they did not leave the Muslims alone.
The next story of the khawarij murdering is a little graphic, so please don’t read this if you have a weak stomach. The son of a Sahabi of RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was travelling with his wife. The khawarij stopped him. He identified himself as the son of a sahabi. They asked him, “Whose side are you on?” He said, “I’m not against you, but I’m with the truth.” They killed him. His wife was pregnant. They opened up her stomach and killed the fetus. They killed her. After that, ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib opened up war against them. Because the deal was: as long as you leave the Muslims alone, I’ll leave you alone. Because of the execution of this sahabi’s son and the brutal execution of his wife’Ali he waged war against them.
A side note: subhanAllah, look at how they stood up for each other’s honor! It seems like common sense to fight such cruel people – but in reality, it takes a lot to do that. And nowadays, we see much worse atrocities and nobody says a thing.
Battle of Nahrawand
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib defeated them and killed many of them. Abu Saeed AlKhudri, the narrator of this hadith, said that ‘Ali told us to go and search for this man whom RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam described. He (Abu Saeed) said that he saw the man; he was of the exact description that RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam described and he was laying with the dead. And that is a sign that RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was talking about these particular people.
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said about them that there is a great reward for the one who kills them. RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that, “If I live until that time, I would kill them like the people of ‘Aad were eliminated.” Complete elimination. Why? Because such an extreme mentality – there is no way to deal with except by elimination. You cannot reason with such extremism. These people want bloodshed; they won’t settle for peace. If you leave them alone, they won’t leave you alone.
They have caused the Muslims so many problems. Some of the biggest fitan (trials) were caused by them. The scholars of hadith say that they never find khawaarij that fabricate hadith. Many of Ahl us-Sunnah did. Khawaarij never lie, but their minds are very stubborn and they don’t mind killing.
The fitna of khawaarij was not temporary to that era. RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that whenever one generation of them leave, another generation of them will come up again, until the time of ad-Dajjaal. The continuation is not linear. They cannot continue. Why? Because they end up fighting themselves and they destroy themselves. They kill each other or they are killed by outside forces. Extremism comes into the minds of other people, then they fight each other and cause bloodshed…and so on.
They have a saying in Yemen: “He didn’t find anybody to disagree with, so he disagreed with his own people.” That is the mentality of the khawaarij.
In a hadith by Ibn Maajah, ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar said that he heard RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam say, “Whenever one generation of them comes out, it will be amputated. Then another generation will come out and it will be amputated.” ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said that RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam repeated it more than 20 times.
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “They are the worse of people, because they took the ayaat referring to the non-believers and they applied them on the believers. They accused the Muslims of disbelief.”
They are very easy in accusing people of disbelief – that is their major characteristic. So another important lesson that we can learn for ourselves here is that we should be careful in judging people!
Death of Al-Husain ibn Abi Taalib
RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was once presented with red dirt by Gabriel. Gabriel (Jibreel) told RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam that your grandson – Al-Husain – will be killed, and this is the dirt of the area that he will be killed in.
Al-Husain, as all Muslims know, was killed in Karbala. Al-Hasan (Husain’s older brother) had the khilaafah for six months; he gave it up. After him, Al-Husain was given the bay’ah. Some tribes of Iraq promised him support, and a large group of ahl al-bayt (his relatives from the house of the Prophet sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). They fought with the army of Banu Umayyah, and these tribes which promised them support betrayed them. In the end, it was just Al-Husain and his relatives from ahl al-bayt. And they fought until the last person. They were all killed in the end. It was a big bloodshed of the family of the Prophet.
This was a dark point in the history of the Ummah, that the Ummah would do this to the family of the Prophet peace be upon him. This happened during the time of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah.
He also committed a massacre in Madinah. He attacked for days and killed many of the descendents of the Ansaar and the Ansaar (the Helpers of the Prophet). RasulAllah sallallhu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that he saw rain of trials falling on the houses of Madinah.
Both of these massacres happened during the time of Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah’s khilaafah.
And here we will end this depressing post… InshaAllah we will discuss how to protect oneself from such trials.