The Muslim Ummah and Fitan (Trials) – The Batiniyyah

As we go deeper into traditional scholarship and those who mold their ideas and lives according to it, we find precious gems and jewels that help us steer our lives in the correct direction. We are empowered to hold firmly to the Noble Qur’ān and the Blessed Sunnah by giving life to the golden words written by the traditional scholars of Islām.

May Allāh Ta’ālā bless us with understanding and the ability to practice. Āmīn

Hereunder are the words of the great Muhaddith, Shaykh Sayyed Muhammad Yūsuf Binnorī rahimahullāh on the fitnah of the Bātiniyyah, i.e., the Ismailis, and its contemporary form, followed by a call from a contemporary master of Islāmic history, Dr. Ali M Sallabi.


The Ummah of Sayyiduna Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam has been saved from many general illnesses and general punishments through the blessings of the ‘mercy to the worlds’ that have afflicted previous nations. Despite this, the īmān and faith of this Ummah will be tested in every era by means of fitan, i.e., trials and tribulations.

Whenever any fitnah affects the global population, then all the pious and sincere hearts are definitely affected. They might remain protected in terms of their practices and deeds, but the strength of īmān and its vigor does not remain as before. This is the reason why, as we go further away from the era of Nubuwwah, the amount of fitan increases. Accordingly, there is weakness created in the īmān of people.

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During a season of abundant rain, the entire environment is affected and there is an increase in the moisture level, to the extent that in some homes, even clothing that is packed away in boxes is affected by the moisture. In the same way, during a time of sin and vice, the hearts of the pious are affected too.

A du’ā’ of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam reads, ‘O Allāh, when you intend to place a nation into fitnah, then take me away to You without being trialed.’ [Tirmidhī]

Types of Fitan

In every era, there have been different forms of fitan. However, there are basically two types of fitnah:

1. Fitnah related to Deed and Practice

2. Fitnah related to Knowledge

Fitnah Related to Deed and Practice

Various types of sin and vice become prevalent in the Ummah. An increase of adultery and drinking, consumption of interest, bribery, immorality, nudity, music, and dancing. As a result of this, one will find an increase in illnesses affecting the character of people. These evil deeds and terrible character traits affect salāh, fasting, zakāt, hajj, and all good deeds. The more evil there is, the more weakness will be created in good deeds and pious actions.

Fitnah Related to Knowledge

The fitan related to knowledge come through the path of the sciences and fields that are studied. In the history of Islām, there were various forms of fitnah related to knowledge and the sciences. These fitan had a direct effect on the beliefs of people. The most dangerous of these fitan was the Bātiniyyah fitnah. This had spread to a significant degree during the era of the Qarāmita. The effect of this fitnah was that it opened the door of ilhād (heresy) and tahrīf (interpolation) in the religion of Islām. Moreover, it opened the door to new interpretations and interpolation of the fundamentals of Islām, its foundational beliefs and practices, and its outstanding features.

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During these times, this very same fitnah has begun to spread like wildfire on a large scale in the Muslim countries, as it blows from Europe. The Orientalists from Europe have made it their objective and purpose of life to take revenge from Islām by means of their lectures, discourses, written works, research papers, and other material. The students that travel from Muslim countries to acquire PhD’s in Europe [and the West more generally] write such articles and research papers that throw the reader into great doubt about the belief structure of Islām.

A report in Majma’-uz-Zawā’id from Mu’jam Tabrānī states that Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to seek protection from the fitnah of the East. He was asked, ‘Will there be fitnah in the West too?’ He said, ‘It is very severe, it is very severe.’

It cannot be said with certainty what the purport of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam was. It could possibly indicate the fall of Andalus, but this fitnah of the West, could also possibly indicate to the fitnah of the Orientalists, as this fitnah of ilhād and tahrīf spread into the Muslim world through the doors of the West. Whatever the case, the words of the hadīth include this fitnah in its general sense.[1]

The Courage of Al-Ghazālī and Call to Contemporary Scholars

The Bātinī Shi’ites used to threaten everyone among those who were close to the king and among the scholars who they thought posed a danger to them. They threatened them with vengeance at the point of a dagger or in poisoned food or some other method which they were skilled in and carried it out with surgical precision. If this proves anything, it proves the courage of Imam Al-Ghazālī in speaking the truth out loud against them and confronting their falsehood, regardless of the outcome, and his faith that nothing would befall him except that which Allāh Ta’ālā had decreed for him.

This is a lesson and reminder for contemporary scholars to be sincere towards Allāh Ta’ālā in resisting the new wave of Bātinīs. I have seen some of those who are regarded as scholars showing their fear of them, being afraid of being killed or assassinated or accused of sectarianism. Some of them have succumbed to the Bātinī influence and flattery that carries no weight in the Sharī’ah. Thus, they leave them to tamper with the beliefs of the Ummah and that which is sacrosanct to it. Some scholars have even contributed to deceiving the Muslim masses, even though they are well aware of the danger that these people pose to the beliefs and morals of the Ummah.

Do they not fear a day when hearts and eyes will be overturned?[2]

Follow Mufti Abdullah on Twitter: @MuftiAMoolla


  1. Basā’ir wa ‘Ibar vol.1 pp.86-88
  2. Salāh Ad-Dīn Al-Ayyūbī, Dr Ali M Sallabi, vol.1 p.239
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