Quarterly: Issue No 78

Rabi-us-Saani 1437 / January 2016




All Praise is due to Allah, Exalted be His Name, and Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah be upon His beloved Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions.  Ameen. 


Our beloved Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) advised us very clearly to be cautious during the period of fitnah? Here below is an extract from a khutbah delivered by Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani (May Allah preserve him).


The first advice concerning the period of Trials (Fitnah)

The first advice which the Holy Prophet (SAW) gave us concerning this period of trial is:

(At such a time) the major party of the Muslims and their Imam (leader) should be followed.

A Companion asked: O Messenger of Allah! What should the Muslims do when they have neither an organised association of Muslims nor have they a popular and acceptable Imam? The Holy Prophet (SAW) replied to this question by saying:

In such a situation lead a secluded life away from every group and party and stick to your houses like the mats and rugs spread on the floor of your houses and remain confined to the boundary of your houses as far as possible and do not join the disorganised groups.

Now what injunction can be more clear than this?


The second advice concerning the period of Trials (Fitnah)

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said in another Hadith:

While you are leading a secluded life away from the people and if the Muslims begin to fight among themselves killing one another, do not look at them, because the onlooker of such scenes may be caught in the trial and disturbance (the scene may catch him too who looks at the scene of quarrel). In such a critical time keep to the bounds of the house.


The third advice concerning the period of Trials (Fitnah)

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said in another Hadith:

The trial will be such that one who remains standing during that period will be better than the one who is walking and one who is sitting will be better than the one who is standing.

In other words, during that time of trials, you should take no part in its activities and movements. You should instead, try to better your own personal life, sitting quietly at home. Do not involve yourself in these collective trials and tribulations.


The best property of a man during the period of Trials

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said in another Hadith:

A time will come when the best property of a man will be his goats with which he can go up to the mountain peaks, leaving the hustle and bustle of town life. For his sustenance he should depend on his goats. He will be much safer in the mountains than in the towns where visible and invisible trials are ready to pick him up.

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) wants to advise by means of these Ahaadith that time will not be suitable for collective and social activities, because all the parties and associations will be unreliable and untrustworthy.  It will not be possible to distinguish between right and wrong.  So, during such an uncertain period one should engage himself in obeying Allah and safeguarding his own Imaan (Faith), so as to die as a believer (mu’min).   This is the only way of safety from these trials (fitan). 


The verse I have recited in the beginning lays emphasis on the same point, i.e. 

O believers, look after your own souls. He who is astray cannot hurt you, if you are rightly guided. Unto God shall you return, all together, and He will tell you what you were doing. (Chapter 5: 105)


When this verse was revealed, the Noble Companions (may Allah be pleased with them all), put this question to the Holy Prophet (SAW).  They said:

This verse seems to tell that man should mind his own business without worrying about others. if someone is going astray let him go and do not advise him to do good and refrain from doing wrong. This is one side of the problem. On the other side, there are clear injunctions to enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong. How do we reconcile these two conflicting injunctions?


While replying to this question the Holy Prophet (SAW) said:

The verses which enjoin doing good and forbid doing wrong are also quite right in their places as they advise the propagation of Deen.  A time will, however, come when man will be responsible to take care of, and reform his own self. This will be the time in which the following four signs will appear:


(1) Firstly, it will be the time when man will be hankering after wealth and will become miserly.  From morning till evening he will be engrossed in his lust to increase his balance by hook or by crook. All that he will do will be in the interest and love for worldly gains.


(2) Secondly, people will be drowned at all times in satisfying their desires and lusts. A man will follow the direction towards which his desires push him, without caring what is lawful and what is unlawful and whether the path he is following leads to Paradise, to the pleasure of Allah or to His displeasure. Forgetting all these considerations, he will be running after his own desires.


(3) Thirdly, preference will be accorded to the worldly gains over the Hereafter. The people will be warned against the approach of the Hereafter; arrival of death about which there is no doubt; burial in the grave; presence before Almighty Allah. The only reply to all these warnings will be:  I cannot help, this is the trend of the times.  After all, one should follow the affairs of the world also in which one has to pass his life with others. Thus ignoring all these admonitions man will become totally absorbed in earning the worldly resources.


(4) Fourthly, every man will be self-willed, not prepared to take better advice. He will think that he alone is right and all others are wrong. This is a common observation. Everyone has formed his own opinion about what is lawful and what is unlawful even though he has not spent a single day in trying to study and understand the Holy Qur'an and the Ahaadith. When some problem of the Shari’ah is mentioned before him, he raises objections and begins to project his own misleading notions. Everyone will feel proud of his own opinion.


Therefore, try to seek your own safety when the above four signs become apparent, i.e.

 I) Love of worldly resources;

 2) Hankering after one’s own desires;

 3) Preferring the world to the Hereafter;

 4) Taking pride in being self-willed.


As already stated, at such a critical time people should mind their own salvation and safety forgetting what the others are doing. They should keep themselves aloof from the common men and try to reform their own selves.  They should keep within the bounds of their houses at all costs. This is the injunction of the Holy Prophet (SAW) to his Ummah to follow during the period of trials and tribulations (fitnah). 








It is a very common practice in this age to label the various School of Thoughts as sects and convince people that they are condemned in the light of Qur’anic injunctions. Let us examine the Qur’anic concept of sect and sectarianism and how that is different from other forms of religious groupings or Schools of Thought.


Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) commands us as follows with regard to the concept of sects and sectarianism:

And hold fast, all together, by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves.” (Chapter 3: Surah Aal-Imraan: Verse 103).


It is a consensus among Islamic scholars that the word ‘rope’ used in this verse means the Noble Qur’an. There is also a saying of our Nabi (saw) in which Quran has been described as a link between ‘arsh’ and the earth. This Quranic verse is advising all Muslims to hold fast to Noble Qur’an and not to be separated (wa laa tafarraqoo). In other words, if any group of Muslims separate themselves from Qur’an, such an act is called by Qur’an as sectarianism. It therefore means that mere division of Muslim society into various Schools of Thought may not be labelled as sectarianism, as long as such religious Schools of Thought hold views / beliefs based on the Noble Quran, and they do not separate themselves from following the commands of the Noble Qur’an.


A grouping is based on something unique/peculiar to a group of people, which is missing in other groups of people. The Noble Qur’an approves of grouping of Islamic society within its main principles.  Allah (SWT) says:

On the day when We call every nation with their leaders, those whose record of deeds are given to their right hands will read the book and the least wrong will not be done to them. (Chapter 17: 71).

From this verse, it is clear Quran approves of grouping of people; but this grouping has to be on the basis of Quran.  As grouping is always based on peculiarity, grouping on religious Schools of Thoughts can have different views/ beliefs but they cannot have views/beliefs opposite to Quran.


This is the basic difference between groups that are approved by the Noble Quran and sects that are not approved by it. Groupings are based on differing views but not opposite to the fundamental teachings of the Noble Quran; whereas sects are based on views that are opposed to the fundamental teachings of the Noble Quran.


We can therefore safely conclude that religious Schools of Thoughts (Hanafi, Shafi, Malki, Hanbali) found in Islamic society today cannot be called “sects” as long as they do not deviate from Quran. Merely having different opinions is not sectarianism, if such opinions are based on Quran.


May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger Muhammad, his family and all his companions.  Ameen.


O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.


Requesting your humble duas!


Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Kyalami Glen, Gauteng

Johannesburg, South Africa