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As for those who strive in Us,

We surely guide them to Our paths (Quran)

To exemplify, the story of one of the most famous companions of the prophet SAW, who is Tlaha Ibn Obiad Allah, has great lessons to be learned. Talha converted to Islam in the early days of the new revelation, and was injured while fighting with prophet SAW in the Battle of Uhud. This man, however, ended his life fighting against, the commander of the faithful believers, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib, who has taken the sword of Talha after his death and said:

“A sword that he had often used to clear the anguish from the face of the Messenger of Allah, Peace be upon him and his progeny, however, the devil breathed into his nostrils.” [2].

"سَيْفٌ طَالَمَا جَلَّى بِهِ الْكَرْبَ عَنْ وَجْهِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وآله، ولكنَ الشَّيْطَانُ نَفَخَ فِي أَنْفِهِ "

This is an astonishing example of a man who succeeded in finding his way toward Islam and served the truth with a great service, however, he failed when faced with the ‘Fitnah’. So what ‘Fitnah’ is? The best illustration of ‘Fitnah’ is that given by Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib who said in his book ‘Peak of Eloquence’:

“O mankind, the beginning of the occurring of Fitnah (trial/upheaval/chaos) is only whims that are followed and Commands (ahkam) that are innovated. In it is opposed the speech of Allah. In it, men (blindly) follow (or, copy) men. And were falsehood unmixed, it would not be obscure upon the person with a mind. And were the truth unmixed, there would be no variance (ikhtilaf). However, from this a handful of herbs is taken and from this a handful of herbs, and they are mixed and come together. So there Satan takes hold over his friends (awliya). And saved are those that good precedes them from Allah” [3].

"إِنَّمَا بَدْءُ وُقُوعِ الْفِتَنِ أَهْوَاءٌ تُتَّبَعُ، وَأَحْكَامٌ تُبْتَدَعُ، يُخَالَفُ فِيهَا كِتابُ اللهِ، وَيَتَوَلَّى عَلَيْهَا رِجَالٌ رِجَالاً، عَلَى غَيْرِ دِينِ اللهِ. فَلَوْ أَنَّ الْبَاطِلَ خَلَصَ مِنْ مِزَاجِ الْحَقِّ لَمْ يَخْفَ عَلَى الْمُرْتَادِينَ; وَلَوْ أَنَّ الْحَقَّ خَلَصَ مِنْ لَبْسِ الْبَاطِلِ، انْقَطَعَتْ عَنْهُ أَلْسُنُ الْمُعَانِدِينَ; وَلكِن يُؤْخَذُ مِنْ هـذَا ضِغْثٌ، وَمِنْ هـذَا ضِغْثٌ، فَيُمْزَجَانِ (فيخرجان) فَهُنَالِكَ يَسْتَوْلِي الشَّيْطَانُ عَلَى أَوْلِيَائِهِ، وَيَنْجُو الَّذِينَ سَبَقَتْ لَهُمْ مِنَ اللهِ الْحُسْنَى ."

The following Quranic verses make it clear that it is inevitable to be faced with ‘Fitnah’:

“Do people think that they will be left alone saying," we believe" and will not be tested with fitnah? Certainly those before them were tested with fitnah-so that Allah may make it known those were truthful and make it known who are the liars” [Surah al-Ankabut 29:1-2].


"أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ * وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ ."

By accepting that Islam and the Quran is a revelation from Allah, you have succeeded in facing major ‘Fitnah’ and reached a major milestone in your life that marks the beginning of a new journey. The following Saying by the prophet SAW to Imam Ali, helps to sense the nature of this new journey:

“The day you find helpers for establishing the book and the Sunnah, fight them over the explanation of the Quran, Just as I fought them over its Revelation.” [4].

"فإذا وجدت يوما أعوانا على إقامة الكتاب والسنة فقاتل على تأويل القرآن كما قاتلت على تنزيله ."

Hence, what is next is to find your way to the true explanation of this revelation that you have you have been given as inheritance. Achieving this goal, however, is not without challenges, as at this stage you will be faced with people having different interpretation of Islam, each claiming to speak for Islam. It is a real Fitnah! The one nation described by the Quran as: “Lo! this, your Ummah (religion), is one Ummah, and I am your Lord, so worship Me” (Quran 21-92) “إن هذه أمتكم أمة واحدة وأنا ربكم فاعبدون ”, has become divided into competing factions.

In order to succeed in facing these challenges, you need to ensure maintaining your independent thinking, and to resist the imposition of ideas upon you. It’s logical to start with seeking to understand the historical and theological backgrounds of the areas of extensive debate. Practically, you need to identify the defining events that have divided the Muslim Ummah and to read about them from the different points of views. Although some may discourage you from researching some areas that are considered taboo, you need to acquire an adequate understanding of some critical events that have shaped the Inter-Islamic map, such as the final hours of the life of the prophet [s], The conference of al-Saqeefa, which was held While the dead body of the Holy Prophet of Islam [s] was still being prepared for burial, and the Battle of the Jamal (Camel) that took place between forces allied to the Commander of the Faithful, Ali ibn Abi Talib (the prophet’s [s] cousin and son-in-law) and forces allied to Aisha (widow of the prophet [s]).

Among the other historic events that shed light on how did the early Muslims understand the message of Islam, is the treaty between imam Hasan, the son of Imam Ali and Muawiya, the son of Aabu Sufyan, who had led armies in battle against the Prophet [s] and the Muslims. Exploring the terms of this treaty could help explaining the historic background of some events that are still dividing the Muslims today, such as the tragedy of Karbala and the Hara incident that followed it.

Related to these historic events is the topic of “State in Islam”, which has always been at the centre of the debate between the different sects and factions within Islam and beyond. Within this realm, it’s important to have an understanding of the views of the scholars of these factions regarding terms like Caliphate and Imamate, which represent the core of the political doctrine of Islam.

At this stage, you will have already heard about the different accusations exchanged between different Islamic factions. It’s important to read the responses of the accused faction regarding such accusations.

All in all, having subjective knowledge is a must to find your way toward fulfilling your responsibility toward obeying the commands of Allah, who ordered Muslims to seek knowledge and also to be united, where he said in one verse of the holy Quran:

“…Say (unto them, O Muhammad): Are those who know equal with those who know not? But only men of understanding will pay heed” [Surah Az-Zumar, 9].

"...قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِي الَّذِينَ يَعْلَمُونَ وَالَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۗ إِنَّمَا يَتَذَكَّرُ أُولُو الْأَلْبَابِ" .


And said in another verse:

“And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; And remember Allah's favour unto you when you were enemies, then He united your hearts so by His favor you became brethren; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire, then He saved you from it, Thus Allah maketh clear His revelations unto you : that ye may be guided” [Surah Aal-e-Imran, 103].

"وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا ۚ وَاذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ كُنْتُمْ أَعْدَاءً فَأَلَّفَ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِكُمْ فَأَصْبَحْتُمْ بِنِعْمَتِهِ إِخْوَانًا وَكُنْتُمْ عَلَىٰ شَفَا حُفْرَةٍ مِنَ النَّارِ فَأَنْقَذَكُمْ مِنْهَا ۗ كَذَٰلِكَ يُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ آيَاتِهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ" .

May Allah guide us all to his pleasure.

References:
[1] Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol.19, p.182.

[2].Sharh Nahj al-balagha (Comments on ‘Peak of Eloquence’), ibn Abi l-Hadid, Vol. 13, pp. 147 - 148 .

[3] Peak of Eloquence, Nahjul Balagha, Sermon no. 50.

[4]. Kitab Salim bin Qays Al-Hilali, p 305, Al-Hadi Press, Qum, Iran.

holy quran:

“Do people think that they will be left alone saying," we believe" and will not be tested with fitnah? Certainly those before them were tested with fitnah-so that Allah may make it known those were truthful and make it known who are the liars” [Surah al-Ankabut 29:1-2].
"أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ * وَلَقَدْ فَتَنَّا الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ فَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَلَيَعْلَمَنَّ الْكَاذِبِينَ ."

Now that I have converted, What’s next? 


DR. SAYED JALALUDDINE Al hashemi


Upon the return of soldiers from the holy wars, the Prophet told them:


"Welcome to a people who have performed the lesser jihad in the way of Allah, but their greater jihad is still ahead”. It was said: “Messenger of Allah, what is the greater jihad?” The Prophet replied: “The struggle against your self." [1].


"مَرحَباً بِقَومٍ قَضَوا الجِهَادَ الاَصغَر وَبَقِيَ الجِهادُ الاكبَر، قِيلَ يَا رَسُولَ الله وَما الجِهادُ الاكبَرُ؟ قال: جِهَادُ النَّفسِ "

 Similarly, as a new member of the Islamic Ummah, your journey does not end with saying the Shahada (the Muslim declaration of Faith), in fact, it only begins there! And you need to be aware of the potential challenges that await you at every turning point of your journey toward Allah Almighty.