In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful The Bestower of Mercy
The Means To Safety For The Ummah by Sheikh Saaleh Al Fawzaan (May Allaah preserve him)
The Truth Is Aided When Put To the Test, So Do Not Be Surprised Because This Is the Way of the Most Merciful Allaah
This is from the Wisdom of Allaah (The Most High), so that the people of Eemaan are differentiated from the people of hypocrisy thereafter. He (The Most High) said: ‘’Do people think that they will be left alone because they say: ‘’We believe,’’ and will not be tested. And We indeed tested those who were before them. And Allaah will certainly make (it) known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make (it) known (the falsehood of) those who are liars, (although Allaah knows all that before putting them to test)’’ (29:2-3)
And Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’But if it had been Allaah’s Will, He Himself could certainly have punished them (without you). But (He lets you fight) in order to test some of you with others’’ (47:4)
And He (The Most High) said: ‘’But those who are killed in the Way of Allaah, He will never let their deeds be lost. He will guide them and set right their state. And admit them to Paradise which He has made known to them (i.e. they will know their places in Paradise better than they used to know their homes in the world)’’ (47:6)
And He (The Most High) said: ‘’O you who believe! If you help (in the cause of) Allaah, He will help you, and make your foothold firm’’ (47:7)
Therefore, do not be amazed by the dominance of the disbelievers and the hypocrites over the people of Eemaan and the people of Islaam in these times. Do not be amazed, because this is the way of Allaah with His creation, ‘’In order that Allaah may distinguish the wicked (disbelievers, polytheists and doers of evil deeds) from the good (believers of Islamic Monotheism and doers of righteous deeds), and put the wicked disbelievers, polytheists and doers of evil deeds) one over another, heap them together and cast them into Hell. Those! It is they who are the losers’’ (8:37)
Do not be surprised in this era when the Muslims are visited with what comes about from the enemies of Allaah amongst the disbelievers with their different orientations and presumptions; and do not be surprised by what comes about from the hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease- those who propagate propaganda against Islaam when the Muslims are faced with what is seen and heard of trials and tribulations caused by these ones. However, it is obligatory to hope for Allaah’s reward and to be upon patience; ‘’And the Aaqibah (the blessed end) is for the pious ones’’ (7:128)
He (The Most High) said: ‘’You shall certainly be tried and tested in your wealth and properties and in your personal selves, and you shall certainly hear much that will grieve you from those who received the Scripture before you (Jews and Christians) and from those who ascribe partners to Allaah; but if you persevere patiently, and become Muttaqoon (the pious) then verily, that will be a determining factor in all affairs”– alongside fulfilling the condition of being upon Patience and Firmness, and not abandoning anything in the Religion to please the disbelievers and the hypocrites, and regardless of the inconvenience and severity of the affair, just as Allaah (The Most High) said: ”And We made from among them (Children of Israel), Leaders giving guidance under Our Command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our Ayaat” (32:24)
Sheikh Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) stated about this ayah: Imaamatu-Ad-deen (i.e. the Muslims being given authority in the land and the strength to establish their Religion) is achieved through Patience and Certainty. However without Patience and Certainty, the achievement of authority and leadership will prove difficult.
And towards the end of his life, the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) admonished the people, as occurs in the hadeeth of Irbaad Ibn Saariyah (radiyallaahu anhu), who said: The prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-sallam) led us in prayer one day, then turned his face towards us, and delivered a powerful admonition that made our hearts fearful and our eyes tearful. So a man said: ”O Messenger of Allaah, it is as if it were a farewell admonition, so what do you enjoin upon us”? He said: ”I advise you to have fear of Allaah and to listen and obey even if a slave is a leader over you. Verily, the one who lives among you after me will see a lot of differences. So stick to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulafaa. Bite onto that with your molar teeth. And avoid the newly invented matters. Verily, every newly invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is misguidance.”
In this advice, the Prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) advised us to have fear of Allaah, and (Taqwah-fear of Allaah) is a comprehensive term that combines all good qualities. The meaning of Taqwah, is a barrier that is placed as a means of protection between yourself and what you fear will harm you. It is what protects you from danger, such as a shield placed as a means of protection between your foot and the excessive heat on the ground, or a shield placed as a means of protection between you and an injurious thing, or a shield placed as means of protection between you and a weapon, or a covering that is placed as a means of protection between you and the cold or the heat.
Similarly, you place a shield between you and the Anger of Allaah, His punishment and the fire of hell, by carrying out what He has commanded and avoiding what He has forbidden. You cannot be protected from the punishment of Allaah, His Anger and the Fire of Hell through a fortresses, armies and garments; rather you can only be protected through the Taqwah-fear of Allaah (The Most High), by carrying out what He has commanded and avoiding what He has forbidden.
Then he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Listen and obey even if a slave is placed as leader over you’’: This is amongst the means to safety. Indeed, the ummah listens and obeys its Leader, so that they become a united body, a state, a powerful force and a shield of protection against its enemies. He (The Most High) said: ”And hold fast, all of you together, to the Rope of Allaah (i.e.the Qur’aan), and be not divided among yourselves” (3:103)
The Jamaa-ah cannot be accomplished except by way of Leadership and a ruler. Leadership cannot be accomplished except by way of listening and obedience to the Ruler even if he is an Ethiopian slave, and as long as he does not command disobedience to Allaah. It does not matter who this Leader is; It does not matter whether he is of Arab descent or not, or whether he is attributed to a tribe or not; descent is not what is given consideration, rather what is given consideration is his position (as Leader). Therefore, the Leader of the Muslims is to be obeyed, and that is because in this is found an overriding benefit for the Muslims in bringing about the unity of the word of the Muslims. And the exception is that which the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) has made an exception in his statement: ‘’There is no obedience to the creation in disobedience to the creator.’’
Therefore, he (The Ruler) is not obeyed in disobedience to Allaah, but he is obeyed in that which is in opposition to sin. This does not mean that we come out against him and rebel if he commands disobedience. No, rather we do not obey him in sin, but we obey him in those affairs that do not involve sin. Then, he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) clarified what will take place in the future and indeed the ummah is in need of this advice. They are to listen to the Ruler and should be obedient to him. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Verily, the one who will live among you after me will see a lot of differences, so still to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khulafaah.’’ This is another means amongst the means to safety.
The first means to safety is that we listen to the Muslim Ruler and are obedient to him. The second means to safety is that we adhere to the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), and the Sunnah of the Rightly Guided Khulafaah: Abee Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, and Ali (radiyallaahu anhu). They are the successors of the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) whose way is to be adhered to alongside the Sunnah of Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam).
And he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Ikhtilaafan Katheerah” [You will see a lot of differences] and not ”Ikhtilaafan Yaseerah” (little/minor differences); rather it will be a lot. The ummah cannot find safety from these numerous differences, except by way of holding fast to the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi- wasallam) and to that which his Rightly Guided Khulafaah, the Muhaajiroon and the Ansaar were upon. Allaah (The Most High) said: ”And the foremost to embrace Islaam of the Muhaajiroon (those who migrated from Makkah to Al Madeena) and the Ansaar (the citizens of Al Madeenah who helped and gave aid to the Muhaajiroon) and also those who followed them exactly (in faith). Allaah is well pleased with them as they are well-pleased with Him. He has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise) (9:100)
And after he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) informed of the differences and splitting that will occur, he said: ”The Jews split into 71 sects, and the Christians split into 72 sects. And my Ummah will split into 73 sects, all of them in the fire except one. We said: ”Which one is it O Messenger of Allaah”? He said: Those who are upon that which I and my companions are upon”
Therefore, there is no safety from the trials and tribulations and the differing in every era, especially during the end of time, except by way of holding fast onto the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and that of his companions. This is what will safeguard us from the fire, this is why Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa-ah is called ”the saved sect” from trials and tribulations and from the fire on the Day of Judgment. And that which opposes it will not be saved -all of them are in the fire except one- due their opposition to it and splitting away from it.
Firmness upon the truth, the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and the way of the companions cannot be reached except by way of beneficial knowledge. How can you be firm upon something, yet you are ignorant of it? We must learn the Sunnah of the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and that which his companions were upon, until we become firm upon it and holding fast to it. Hudhaifah bin Al Yamaan (radiyallaahu anhu) said:
”The people used to ask Allaah’s Messenger (sallal-laahu alayhi-wasallam) about good, but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me. Once, I said, ”O Allaah’s Messenger! We were in ignorance and in evil and Allaah has bestowed upon us the present good; will there be any evil after this good? He said, ”Yes.” I asked, ”Will there be good after that evil?” He said: ”Yes, but it would be tainted with Dakhan (i.e. little evil). I asked, ”What will its Dakhan be”? He said, ”There will be some people who will lead (people) according to principles other than my Sunnah. You will see their actions and disapprove of them.” I said, ”Will there be any evil after that good?” He said, ”Yes, there will be people who will invite others to the gates of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it, will be thrown in it (by them). I said, ”O Allaah’s Messenger! Describe those people to us.” He said, ”They will belong to us and speak our language”. I asked, ‘‘(O Allaah’s Messenger)! What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?” He said, ”Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Ruler.” I asked, ”If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a Ruler (what shall I do)?” He said, ”Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite the root of a tree, till death reaches you while you are in that state.”
He (hudhaifah) sought clarification from the prophet (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) about what to do if he came across evil in the future, so that he can be well aware of it and is saved from it. This cannot be reached by making excuses; it cannot be reached except by way of knowledge, asking questions and asking questions. This is seeking knowledge from the Messenger of Allaah (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam).
Then, when he (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) clarified for him concerning what was to take place of reoccurring differences after him (i.e. after the departure of the Messenger from this world), he (Hudhaifah) said: ”What do you order me O Messenger of Allaah if I come across that?” He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Ruler.” This is similar to his (sallal-laahu-alayhi wasallam) statement: ”Upon you is to have Taqwah of Allaah, and to listen and obey.” That is: Do not go with the stray sects; rather you should be upon firmness, perseverance and understanding in the religion.
Look to that which the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) and his companions were upon and adhere to it. You should listen, be obedient to the Ruler of the Muslims and be with the Jamaa-ah of the Muslims. He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Ruler.” He (Hudhaifah) said: ‘’O Messenger of Allaah! What if there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a Ruler? He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ”Keep away from all those different sects.’’ So, as long as there is no Jamaa-ah and no Ruler adhering to the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, then keep away from all of that, because all of that is misguidance. Do not be with them even if you had to bite the root of a tree, till death reaches you while you are in that state. However, as long as there is a Jamaa-ah and Ruler for the Muslims, then do not be isolated; rather be with the Muslims in order that you may have security and safety.
Likewise, amongst the means to safety is adherence to the creed of Tawheed; singling Allaah out in worship, and keeping away from Major and Minor shirk. This is the foundation of belief and the main means to safety from the fire, for the one who adheres to it. Allaah said: ”It is those who believe and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.”6:82
And the meaning of ”They Believe’’: Belief is Tawheed and that is to worship Allaah (Alone) and keep away from worshipping others besides Him. And His (The Most High) statement: ”And confuse not their belief with zulm”; that is: They do not mix their belief in Tawheed with Zulm (i.e. shirk). This is because Tawheed is corrupted when mixed with shirk. Hence, Tawheed can never be actualised with the presence of shirk, for two opposites cannot come together. Tawheed and Major shirk can never co-exist, but minor shirk and Emaan may co-exist. 
”ZULM ” is ”SHIRK”, just as the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) explained when this ayah caused some unease for the sahaabah. They said: ”O Messenger of Allaah! Which of us has not wronged himself?” He (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam) said: ‘’It is not as you think, for indeed Zulm means shirk. Haven’t you heard the saying of the righteous slave (i.e. Luqmaan); ‘’O my son! Join not in worship others with Allaah. Verily! Joining others in worship with Allaah is a great Zulm (wrong) indeed’’ (31:13)
Therefore, the intent behind Zulm in this ayah is Shirk. The one safe from shirk will have safety in this life and the next. He will receive guidance for being upon the truth. And Allaah (The Most High) said: ‘’Allaah has promised those among you who believe and do righteous good deeds, that He will certainly grant them succession to (the present rulers) in the land, as He granted it to those before them, and that He will grant them the authority to practice their religion which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam). And He will surely give them in exchange a safe security after their fear (provided) that they (believers) worship Me and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me’’ (24:55)
These great issues (mentioned in the above ayah) cannot be reached except by way of this condition; that is, ‘’they (.i.e. the believers) worship Me (Allaah) and do not associate anything (in worship) with Me’’ (24:5)
If this condition is fulfilled, that is to worship Allaah (alone) and abandon worship of other than Him; then these noble promises of Allaah (The Most High) will be attained. Certainly, they (the believers) will be granted succession to (the present rulers) in the land, and He (The Most High) will grant them authority to practice their religion, which He has chosen for them (i.e. Islaam). And He (The Most High) will surely give them in exchange a safe security after fear. These great aims/goals cannot be achieved except by way of Tawheed, and that is to worship Allaah (alone) and abandon worship of other than Him.
- Distinguishing Signs of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)
- Ahlus-Sunnah with al-Hasan al-Basree (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)
- The Belief of the Khawaarij is Shameful and Disastrous (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)
- Determining the Right Way (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)
- An introduction to Shirk and its divisions (sabeelalmumineen.wordpress.com)