As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu
I though it might be beneficial that we reflect on some of the ahadith regarding fitan in the Jazirah prior to the Day of Judgment. Of course, we should remember that only Allah knows when these events will pass. My reference is At-Tuwaijari's Itihaf al-Jama'ah, I, pp. 75-81 (may Allah be merciful with him):
Chapter: What Has been Related Regarding a Fitna that Will Sweep the Arabs Away
Upon 'Abdullah ibn Amr (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said: The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
"There will be a fitna that will cleanse (tastanzifu) the Arabs - its dead will be in the Hellfire. During this time the tongue will be more severe (ashad) than a blow of the sword."
At-Tuwaijari then comments on the narrators of this narration and after concluding that the hadith is hasan he proceeds to explain it as follows:
"[Regarding the Prophet's] statement 'cleanse the Arabs,' Ibn Al-Athir and Ibn Al-Manzur [see author's note 1] have said: It means it will encompass them in destruction. It is said (in Arabic): istanzafat ash-shay', if you take it all ... While Ali al-Qari has said in Al-Mirqat [see author's note 2]: It has been said that it means it will purify them from filth (al-ardhal) [see author's note 3] and the people of al-fitan."
"I (i.e. At-Tuwajari) say: This [second] opinion is strong in light of the evidence, even though the first opinion is stronger in light of the [Arabic] language.
"What bears witness to what Al-Qari has said is what has been mentioned regarding the fitna known as ad-duhayma' [see author's note 4]. [Where the Prophet said]: 'It will not leave any single individual of this Ummah but slap him on the cheek.' In [the hadith on the duhayma' fitna, the Prophet] said: 'Until the people become two camps: one of faith with no hypocrisy and one of hypocrisy with no faith.' "
"This shows that the duhayma' fitna will clean the believers from the people of fitan, doubt and hypocrisy; not that it will annihilate them completely. And the duhayma' fitna is the greatest fitna that will occur prior to the appearance of the Antichrist."
At-Tuwaijri then continues:
"[Further] evidence that the fitna will not consume all the Arabs is what Muslim reports in his Sahih and At-Tirmidhi in his Jami' upon Jabir ibn 'Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said: Umm Sharik informed that she heard the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) say:'The people will flee from Dajjal to the mountains.' Umm Sharik said: 'O Messenger of Allah where will be the Arabs that day?' He replied: 'They will be few.' At-Tirmidhi said this hadith is hasan sahih gharib.
At-Tuwaijari then cites another hadith in Ibn Majah of the same meaning as the one above but with the Prophet's reply being: "They [i.e., the Arabs] will be few, most of them that day will be in Jerusalem, their imam will be a righteous man ... " The hadith then continues to describe the descent of Jesus.
At-Tuwaijari then cites another evidence that not all the Arabs will be annihilated in the Prophet's hadith in Al-Bukhari and Muslim that the Banu Tamim will be most severe of his Ummah against the Antichrist.
At-Tuwaijari then comments, "The Banu Tamim is a large tribe of Arabs."
He then relates the hadith reported by Al-Hakim regarding the peace between the Muslims and Ar-Rum (Christian Europe) to fight a common enemy and the victory of the Muslims over that enemy, followed by the treachery of the Europeans against the Muslim expeditionary force. In the hadith after the Europeans treacherously massacre the Muslim contingent they say to their boy-king, "We have sufficied you the edge of the Arabs." In other words, we have ended their ability to attack/fight. The hadith then describes how after defeating the Arab army, they will then rally their forces to attack the Middle East coming under eighty banners, under each banner twelve thousand soldiers (80 x 12,000 = 960,000 men!).
After discussing the isnad of this hadith, At-Tuwaijari points out that the proof is the reference to the Arabs which shows that the Great War (Al-Malhama al-Kubra) [see author's note 5] will be between the Arabs and Europe.
He then relates a hadith from Ahmad and others that the Prophet (sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "The Great War, and the conquest of Constantinople, and the appearance of the Antichrist will [all occur] within seven months [of each other]."
At-Tuwaijari then surmises that "these four ahadith all indicate that a large number of Arabs will remain after the great fitna mentioned at the beginning of the chapter. Upon this, [the Prophet's] statement, 'cleanse the Arabs,' means that it will consume most of them in destruction. The juxtaposition of the majority when saying all is prevalent in Arabic. And Allah knows best."
As for the Prophet's statement, " ... its dead will be in the Hellfire."
At-Tuwajari then explains that some scholars have interpreted this to mean that since they did not intend by fighting to raise Allah's Word, or push back an injustice, or assist the people of the truth; but rather they sought to show off and sought wealth and power (al-mulk), they are in Hell.
At-Tuwaijari then mentions a number of hadith about fighting under a 'blind' banner (rayah 'immiya), i.e., a call of blind partisanship, be it tribal, national, etc.
At-Tuwaijari then explains how the tongue during this fitna is more severe than the sword as follows:
"The confirmation of this is seen in our times in the spread of radio broadcasts and newspapers in all corners of the earth. The tongues of those who speak through [these media], insulting, bellitting, mentioning the faults of those who disagree with them, spreading fitan, and whipping up hatred and animosities is much greater than the blow of the sword."
At-Tuwaijari then continues by saying:
"This fitna [which will clean the Arabs] has yet to occur, and perhaps it is the duhayma' fitna which will occur just prior to the appearance of the Antichrist."
He then mentions a number of hadith which tie a deaf, blind fitna and the destruction of the Arabs. One hadith has the wording, "Woe to the Arabs of an evil drawing nigh, its shadow has fallen on [them] by the Lord of the Ka'bah, its shadow has fallen on them." I.e., drawn close so that it is as if its shadow is casted upon them.
Some of these hadith mention that the fitna will occur due to competing claims of jahiliyyah, i.e., call of nationalism, tribalism, etc.
At-Tuwajari then remarks:
"Much death and killing has occurred in our times due to the call of jahiliya especially due to the removal of the imama and the khilafah and it being replaced by jumhuriya." [see author's note 6] ... This is the pure resemblance of the infidel nations and following their ways as one sandal resembles the other. It is not far-fetched that the duhayma' fitna will be due to such call of jahiliyyah. Refuge is sought with Allah from the fitan."
He then concludes with a couple of hadith regarding the fitna in general and the eventually total war with Europe.
I also remember that elsewhere in his book he ties the duhayma' fitna with the drying up/retraction of the Euphrates and its uncovering a mountain of gold.
And Allah knows best.
- Ibn Al-Athir is the scholar who wrote An-Nihaya fi Gharib al-Hadith, a dictionary on uncommon words found in hadith texts; Ibn Al-Manzur is the author of the famous Lisan al-Arab.
- Al-Mirqat is a commentary of Mishkat al-Masabih.
- Perhaps here it is best translated as sins.
- Ad-duhayma' means black and dark, At-Tuwaijiri gives a lengthy discussion on the meaning of this word on pages 55-56.
- To which they refer to as the Armageddon.
- Jumhuriya is normally translated as republic, but here it has a broader meaning to include all governments of the slogan/type for the people, by the people.