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The Ruling on Mocking the Times of Fitnah and Criticising Its Days

  Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAlī Farkūs

A question on whether it is allowed to criticise times of fitnah or to mock its days.

bismallah

  

  Whoever curses time, reproaches it and ridicules it, then indeed he has reviled its controller, Allāh. Thus, the days and years are not subject to insult and criticism because they are not the ones who created that which the criticizer dislikes.
Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAlī Farkūs, Majālis Tadhkiriyyah, pg. 476-478

 

The following question was directed to Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAlī Farkūs1 (حفظه الله):

There exist some people, based upon what we have heard, who scorn the times of fitnah and criticise its dark days. Therefore, does this negate tawḥid or not? Please enlighten us. May Allāh reward you.

The Shaykh (حفظه الله) responded by stating the following:2

Whoever curses time, reproaches it and ridicules it, then indeed he has reviled its controller, Allāh. Thus, the days and years are not subject to insult and criticism because they are not the ones who created that which the criticizer dislikes. They are simply from the creation of Allāh and the outcome of His actions.

[It has come] in the Ḥadith of Abū Hurayrah, which is agreed upon,3 that the Messenger of Allāh (ﷺ) said: "Allāh said: 'The son of Ādam abuses Me by cursing al-Dahr [time], whereas I am al-Dahr [the controller of time]; I alternate the night and the day.'"

[It was also mentioned] in another narration [reported] by Muslim, “Let none of you say: 'Woe be upon the time [i.e. complain about it], for verily, Allāh is al-Dahr.' What is meant by, 'I am al-Dahr' is: [He is] the controller and regulator of time, by His will, due to His statement:

وَتِلْكَ الْأَيَّامُ نُدَاوِلُهَا بَيْنَ النَّاسِ
‘And so are the days [good and not so good], We give to men by turns.’
[Sūrah Āl ʿImrān, 3:140]

Whatever Allāh wills will occur, and whatever he did not, will not occur. Therefore, whoever curses time, criticizes the days, months and years. Then verily, he has abused Allāh since He was the one who created that which the slave suffers from and is displeased with.

Some of the actions and statements of His slaves4 which consist of insult to His rights, abuse Him, as he [the Prophet (ﷺ)] said: 'None is more patient than Allāh against the harmful saying. He hears the people; they ascribe children to Him, yet He gives them health, and supplies them with provision.'5

Thus, abuse of Allāh is confirmed since, He affirmed it for himself as [is found] in the two previous Ḥadiths and [is found likewise] in His statement:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يُؤْذُونَ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ لَعَنَهُمُ اللَّـهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُمْ عَذَابًا مُّهِينًا 
'Verily, those who abuse Allāh and His Messenger (ﷺ) Allāh has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment.'6
[Sūrah al-Aḥzab, 33:57]

However, it is not like the abuse of the creation, due to His statement: 

 لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ ۖ وَهُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ 
'There is nothing like unto Him, and He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.'
[Surah al-Shūrá, 42:11]


Even though abuse of Allāh is affirmed, certainly, He is not harmed by that since nothing harms Him. He said: 

وَلَا يَحْزُنكَ الَّذِينَ يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْكُفْرِ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ لَن يَضُرُّوا اللَّـهَ شَيْئًا
'And let not those grieve you [O Muhammad (ﷺ)] who rush with haste to disbelieve; verily, not the least harm will they do to Allāh.' 
[Sūrah Āl ʿImrān, 3:176]

[Furthermore,] it is [found] in the Qudsī Ḥadīth: 'O My servants, you will not attain [the ability to] harm Me so as to harm Me.'7

[Hence,] what is mandatory upon the people of īmān is to think well of Allāh if they are afflicted with that which they dislike, to praise Him in every situation, to be pleased with His decree, and to know whatever afflicted them was simply because of sins and transgressions. 

[Furthermore, it is mandatory upon them to know that] upon them is to return to Allāh with repentance, to be patient upon what has befallen them from calamities and to hope for the reward that is with His for being patient upon that.

It is worthy to mention that cursing the time, ridiculing it and criticizing it does not enter into the chapter of descriibng the years as being difficult and the days as being disastrous if the description was ascribed to the people [i.e. from the perspective of the people] and not to it [i.e. time itself], as [appeared] in His statement:

ثُمَّ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِ ذَلِكَ سَبْعٌ شِدَادٌ
'Then will come after that, seven hard [years],'
[Sūrah Yūsuf, 12:48]

meaning: difficult/burdensome [years] upon them. [Likewise,] in His statement:

فِي يَوْمِ نَحْسٍ مُّسْتَمِرٍّ
'On a day of continuous calamity,'
[Sūrah al-Qamar, 54:19]

meaning: disastrous upon the people. As for the days and years, then they do not possess anything from the affair since the affair is with Allāh.


Endnotes:

[1]: He is one of the Salafī scholars from Algeria whom Shaykh ʿʿUbayd al-Jābirī (حفظه الله) and others have praised on more than one occasion.
[2]: Majālis Tadhkiriyyah, pg. 476-478.
[3]: That is, it was reported both by al-Bukharī and by Muslim.
[4]: The Shaykh, when using the term slave here, is referring both to the Muslims and the non-Muslims. This is so since the Rububiyyah of Allāh is of two types: the general type where He provides, sustains, protects, guides, and other than that from His Attributes of Rububiyyah, all of his creation, from the Muslims and the non-Muslim, both the good and bad from each of the two groups. Have you not seen that Allāh provides food, clothing, shelter, health and other than that for even the most wretched from amongst the non-Muslims?! These provisions come from the general type of His Rububiyyah.
As for the second type, then it is the specific type of Rububiyyah which is reserved only for the believers. Therefore, the non-Muslim is a slave of Allāh from the context of the general type of His Rububiyyah, but not the specific type.
[5]: Reported by al-Bukharī in al-Adab al-Mufrad and Muslim.
[6]: Ibn Kathīr explains that this abuse is caused by opposing Allāh's commands, indulging in that which He prohibited and being persistent upon that. He then cited the very Ḥadith the shaykh cited: "The son of Ādam abuses Me by cursing al-Dahr [time], whereas I am al-Dahr [the controller of time], I alternate the night and the day." He then explained that the reason for this prohibition of abusing Allāh which came in the Ḥadith was because of the actions and speech of the people in the time of Jāhiliyyah, for they use to say: "Woe be upon time, it has done this and that to us." That is, they complain about time as mentioned in the Ḥadith, and they would ascribe what occurred to them to it and not to Allāh, even though He created and controls it.

He then used Ikrimah's interpretation of the statement of Allāh: 'Verily, those who abuse Allāh and His Messenger…' as an example of an action that abuses Him, for indeed, Ikrimah was of the view that those mentioned in the previous verse who abuses Allāh are the picture takers.

Perhaps the reason for this is because it is as though the picture taker competes with Allāh in one of His Attributes: the Attribute of creation. So, it is as though the picture taker shares something with Allāh from His Attributes; hence, he has abused Allāh by indirectly ascriibng creation to himself.

Shaykh Muḥammad ʿAlī Farkūs indicated to this abuse of Allāh while speaking about some of the actions and speech of the slaves of Allāh that: "...consist in them insult to his rights." He then gave an example from a Ḥadith where the slaves transgress against Allāh's rights when they ascribe children to Him, yet He gives them health and provides for them.

Another example of this is the statement of the Christians: 

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ ثَالِثُ ثَلَاثَةٍ
"Allāh is the third of the three [in a Trinity]," 
[Sūrah al-Māʾidah, 5:73]

and their statement:

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الْمَسِيحُ ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ
"Allāh is the Messiah [ʿĪsá (Jesus)], son of Maryam [Mary]."

[Sūrah al-Māʾidah, 5:72]

Like Ibn Kathir explained the reason for this prohibition when he said, speaking about the days and years: "They are not the ones who created that which the criticiser dislikes. They are simply from the creation of Allāh and the outcome of His actions." He also said, when discussing the affair of the one who curses time: "Then verily he has abused Allāh since, He was the one who created that which the slave dislikes and suffers from and is displeased with."
Consequently, ascriibng what occurs to the slave to the days and the years is an "insult to His rights," as the shaykh said, since He is the one who created them and controls them, and they within themselves have no control over the affairs. Thus, by doing so the slave would have abused Allāh.

The shaykh further went on to explain a crucial point, providing relevant evidence from the Book of Allāh and the Sunnah of His Messenger (ﷺ): even though some of the actions and speech of His slaves cause abuse to Him, they do not cause harm or injury to him in any way whatsoever, contrary to His creation.
[7] Reported by Muslim.

Translated by: Musa Shaleem Mohammed

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