4 Fitnah mentioned in Surah Kahaf.
1-Fitnah of Faith (Eman)
2-Fitnah of Wealth
3-Fitnah of Knowledge
4-Fitnah of Power
The word fitnah literally means the process of cleaning Gold or Silver. And in one Hadith Prophet SAWW said that human being is a mine of Gold and Silver which means humans have so much potential that they can do so much to make this world a better place to live (i.e by establishing deen). Fitnah isn’t something negative or positive but its in the middle and the consequences of fitnah can be negative and positive.
We’ll explain each of the four Fitnah in Surah Kahaf Insha’Allaah and will try to find out solutions meantioned in the same Surah.
1- Fitnah of Faith/Eman:
Allaah SWT narrates a story of youth who were believers, who believed and had complete faith in Allaah SWT. “It is We who relate to you, [O Muhammad], their story in truth. Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” [18:13] These few young men fled into the cave fearing the king and the people of that time who were idol worshippers. Allaah SWT narrates that they went in cave and slept there for three hundred and nine years! They wanted to save their eman and they did what they could do. They didnt think that what would a cave do and people would find us and will kill us. No, they had their trust in Allaah so they did the necassity and left the rest to Allaah. And Allaah never leave His slaves alone. Allaah says: “Indeed, they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We increased them in guidance.” Means Allaah took care of that small band of people who had nothing in hands and were running to save their eman! SubhanAllaah. This was one type of help that they were put to sleep for 309 years but Allaah helped them in various forms. Allaah says: “And [had you been present], you would see the sun when it rose, inclining away from their cave on the right, and when it set, passing away from them on the left, while they were [laying] within an open space thereof. That was from the signs of Allah . He whom Allah guides is the [rightly] guided, but he whom He leaves astray – never will you find for him a protecting guide.” Means Allaah preserved their bodies and didnt made them exposed to sun so much so that their skins would burn. Allaah protected them from direct sunlight! Then there is more. Allaah says: “And you would think them awake, while they were asleep.” Means Allaah made them look like they were awake so that no one could harm them thinking they are asleep. There’s more protection from Allaah, He SWT says: “And We turned them to the right and to the left,” Means Allaah protected their bodies from decaying. He made them change their sides so that no insect could eat their bodies! There’s more help! Allaah says “while their dog stretched his forelegs at the entrance. If you had looked at them, you would have turned from them in flight and been filled by them with terror.” The dog! Allaah made him sit at the entrance so that no one dare to come close to the cave! SubhanAllaah!
The trial is to protect our eman because nowadays its even more difficult, especially for youth, to preserve eman. Thats why Allaah used youth in this example to illustrate us the fitnah of eman. In this highly sexualised society its difficult to maintain the same level of faith, but its not impossible!
The sollution to turn the consequences of this fitnah of eman onto positive side i.e to protect eman, is taking care of our priorities. First thing first and deen comes first! Taking care of your salah, your cleanliness of your heart and soul (tazkiya). If you have to do this work then nothing should come in your way and stop you from that. You want to go to hang outs on saturday night then you stop yourself from going and instead do something productive. Allaah will help you in doing so. He will strengthen you. He will surely give you something to enjoy, sometime to relax if you leave the haraam way of enjoyment. Allaah will make you content Insha’Allaah. Prioritize your tasks, leave the unproductive ones as Allaah beautifully explain this in ayah “Said a speaker from among them, “How long have you remained [here]?” They said, “We have remained a day or part of a day.” They said, “Your Lord is most knowing of how long you remained…” The point is that it wasnt of any importance to ask how long did they sleep. So few of them ignored the matter by saying only Allaah alone knows how much time did we sleep, so lets not focus on it and try to get some food to eat as this was the first priority as mentioned here “…So send one of you with this silver coin of yours to the city and let him look to which is the best of food and bring you provision from it and let him be cautious. And let no one be aware of you.”
Another example of prioritzing things is given in this ayah where Allaah SWT advice us not to get into the debate regarding how many men were they: “They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog – guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone.” So ayah tells us that is it important to know the exact number of them? No, leave this matter and do not ask about it but just focus on the story and learn lesson from it.
So the first sollution is taking care of priorities. First thing comes first.
The second solution is to have good company. This story isnt about one young man but a group of young men. “They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog – guessing at the unseen…” Have friends who will remind you of Allaah. Dont be alone and arrogant that nothing will happen to you. The Wolf always attack the sheep who is wandering out of the herd. Be with someone who can guide you whenever you are lost, who can give you advices, who can bring you more closer to the deen of Allaah SWT. An then be that same protector and guardian of that person too. Be his friend, be his companion in hard times. Just dont be alone. “And keep yourself patient [by being] with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance. And let not your eyes pass beyond them, desiring adornments of the worldly life, and do not obey one whose heart We have made heedless of Our remembrance and who follows his desire and whose affair is ever [in] neglect.”
2- Fitnah of Wealth
The story narrated is of a man having two gardens. He never thanked Allaah for anything which He gave to him. He was arrogant and proud. So Allaah siezed everything from him and his garden and all wealth was destroyed all at once! The wealth is a test from Allaah. So much wealth can lead a person to greed and make him a miser. And in today’s world the greed for wealth can destroy you completely so much so that you wont be able to take care of your obligations in deen. Which is very dangerous! So the solution is to remind ourselves of the very nature of this dunya which is destruction. Allaah SWT puts a very good example: “And put forward to them the example of the life of this world, it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is Able to do everything.” A beautiful example that everything in this world will eventually end. Nothing is forever except the hereafter. So do not stick to those things who will perish but earn those things which will remain forever with you which are good deeds! “Wealth and children are [but] adornment of the worldly life. But the enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for [one’s] hope.” Prophet SAWW said that this world is sweet and green. Notice that a sweeter thing rots more quickly then other things because ants, flies and other insects get attracted to it. And notice a green thing will never remain green forever but eventually it would become dry and brown and just mix in air!
3- Fitnah of Knowledge
This story is of Hazrat Moosa and Khidhar AS. Allaah wanted to show Moosa AS that despite he has so much knowledge but still there is someone who has more knowledge than him. SubhanAllaah. So when moosa met khidhar he requested him to allow him to travel with him. The permission was granted on condition that Moosa AS wil not ask of anything Khidhar AS would do. But Moosa AS couldnt bear it and they parted eventually. The Fitnah is that knowledge leads to arrogance if the person isnt careful. Although Moosa AS wasnt arrogant but still Allaah wanted to make a parable for us to follow. The solution is to make yourself humble. Being humble is not only to have a good ikhlaq and keeping quite but its way more than that. Read this story how Moosa AS was humble SubhanAllaah. Remember Moosa AS is one of the 5 leaders of Prophets (Ulul Azam). He is a guide to other Prophets like Haroon AS. He is the one who directly talked to Allaah SWT! Allaahu Akbar. He is a Kaleemullaah! No one is like him and yet when meets khidhar he requests him to be with him. In other words he accepts Khidhar as his teacher. And Khidhar AS is no ordinary teacher, he says No, you would not be patient with me. So Moosa AS is like please please take me with you. So Khidhar AS agrees and order him not to speak! Feel the humbleness of Moosa AS. Then when Khidhar AS damaged the boat of orphans Moosa AS couldnt keep quite and asked for a good reason for this apparent wrongful act. Khidhar AS said that I asked you not to speak so Moosa AS is like oh sorry please I wont do it again. Then again when Khidhar AS killed the boy and this time Moosa AS felt even more wierd because killing is not something little. But again when Khidhar said the same thing and asked him to leave, Moosa AS apologised and asked for last chance which was accepted. Then again when they went in a town and asked for food but no one gave them food. Then Khiodhar AS started building a fallen wall Moosa AS said you could have asked for its payment why didnt you do it. So this time Khidhar AS said this is the parting of ways, you couldnt be patient with me. See the humblenes of Moosa AS! So be humble even if you are the most knowledgeable! And always remember that there is always a more knowledgeable person than you. Have a teacher who would put you in place whenever you do something wrong. Be guided by those who have more knowledge than yours and dont think you dont need advices!
4-Fitnah of Power.
Although this story is of a Just Ruler Zulqarnain who travled the world and helped people out but the word power should not be made specific to the ruler. An ordianry father has a power if he has a family to look after. A big brother has a power if he have siblings. An Ameer of an Islamic organisation has a power. And Power leads to responsibily and accountability! Then again the fitnah is to have control on our desires when we are in power or commanding authority. So the solution is that we must be an ordinary person and not feel special. Be good to people who are under you whether a whole nation, or group of people in organisation, or your family, or your young siblings. “We (Allah) said (by inspiration): “O Dhul-Qarnain! Either you punish them, or treat them with kindness.” He said, “As for one who wrongs, we will punish him. Then he will be returned to his Lord, and He will punish him with a terrible punishment. But as for one who believes and does righteousness, he will have a reward of Paradise, and we will speak to him from our command with ease.”” Pophet SAWW said that The one who isnt good to those who are under his command will not smell a fragnrance of Jannah even! Also remember Prophet SAWW used to sit with all kinds of people. He used to visit weak and old and poor as well as rich and strong. We need to communicate with people under us. A father must give time to his family. A brother must guide his younger ones and help them. See how Zulqarnain communicated with people and helped them and protected them from Yajuj majuj by building a great wall, even he couldnt understand them nither they could understand his language “Until, when he reached [a pass] between two mountains, he found beside them a people who could hardly understand [his] speech.”.
These were the Fitnah and solutions in Surah Kahaf. In the end Allaah SWT gives us deep advices. Allaah SWT revives our Faith in Hereafter that everyone is accountable of his/he deeds and the Day of Judgement will establish. Allaah SWT tells us the importance of Good deeds that we must do good deeds otherwise there is no other way into Jannah. Then Allaah SWT Praise Himself beautifully and puts us in our place that we are His slaves. He says: “Say (O Muhammad SAW to mankind). “If the sea were ink for (writing) the Words of my Lord, surely, the sea would be exhausted before the Words of my Lord would be finished, even if we brought (another sea) like it for its aid.”” And last but not least Allaah SWT reminds us of the Biggest sin that we must keep ourselves away from Shirk.
[Notes taken from Abdul Nasir Jangda’s Lecture]
A visual prezi of the summary of this is available here