The gravity of accessing doubters’ websites

The gravity of accessing doubters’ websites
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By: Badr Ad-Deen Araaq –

One of the most prominent features of our present time is the easy access to information, thanks to the modern means of communication that have helped us overcome many obstacles and made easy what was once difficult. Sadly, many Muslim youths are being hit by an avalanche of websites and web portals that promote endless misconceptions and doubts, resonating with a large segment of social media users and followers in particular. Perhaps this is what was meant by the words of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) in the Hadeeth narrated by Usamah Ibn Zayd  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him wherein he said: “Once, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) stood at the top of a high building in Madeenah and said, ‘Do you see what I see? (No doubt) I see the spots where Fitnah (temptations) will fall in your houses as numerous as the spots where raindrops fall!’ [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim] The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) depicted an image of the Fitnah (temptation/havoc) that would befall people after his death, informed by the knowledge of the Unseen that Allah, the Exalted, imparted to him, and he likened such Fitnah to the pervasive rains, descending on all lands and people. The metaphor used in the Hadeeth is very accurate and quite amazing, as if it describes the ether-based transmission of audio-visual media, such as satellite channels, Internet routers, mobile phones, and the like, which transmit into space and then their transmission is deflected back through satellites and descends on all homes.”

Therefore, Islam strongly warns against the Fitnah that shall befall people near the end of time and lays heavy emphasis on urging Muslims to keep away from the callers to Hellfire. Allah, the Exalted, Says (what means): {And it has already come down to you in the Book that when you hear the verses of Allah [recited], they are denied [by them] and ridiculed; so do not sit with them until they enter into another conversation. Indeed, you would then be like them. Indeed Allah will gather the hypocrites and disbelievers in Hell all together} [Quran 4:140] It was narrated on the authority of An-Nu‘aman Ibn Basheer  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  them that the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: “That which is lawful is clear and that which is unlawful is clear, and between the two of them are doubtful matters about which many people do not know (whether they are lawful or unlawful). Whoever avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honor, but whoever falls into doubtful matters (eventually) falls into that which is unlawful, like a shepherd who pastures his herd in the vicinity of a Hima (i.e., private pasture), all but grazing therein. Truly, every king has a Hima, and truly the Hima of Allah is His prohibitions.” [Imam Al-Bukhari and Imam Muslim]

Imam Ibn Al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Fitnah is of two kinds: Fitnah of doubts (and misconceptions) – and this one is the graver Fitnah of the two kinds – and the Fitnah of desires. It is possible that both befall a person at the same time, or he may be afflicted with one of them only. Regarding the Fitnah of doubts, it is due to having weak insight and lack of knowledge, especially if this is accompanied by corrupt intentions and the pursuit of whims and desires, and herein lies the gravest Fitnah; this is indeed the worst of all afflictions. Such Fitnah leads to disbelief and hypocrisy, and it is the Fitnah that befalls the hypocrites and those given to Bid‘ah (religious innovations), according to the level of their Bid‘ah, for all of these people fall in this sin due to the Fitnah of doubts that causes truth to be confused with falsehood, and guidance to be confused with misguidance.”

An observer of the plots devised by the enemies of the Muslim Ummah (community/nation) realizes that they are leveraging all these modern means of communication to entrap the Muslim youth, the beating heart of the Muslim Ummah, by virtue of the speed that these modern means of communications access their hearts before their minds. Search engines have often led their users to websites and webpages brimming with misleading information and misconceptions, and they, sadly, lack the adequate religious knowledge to refute and repel them, and accordingly end up accepting them out of ignorance or falling into their trap because of heedlessness.

Some people have fallen prey to missionary networks that actively spew out their poisons into the people especially among the youth in the virtual world, deceiving those who are unmindful or lack religious knowledge, by promoting false information at times and luring people with the glamor of wealth and a life of glittering luxuries at other times ... Alas, some of these Muslim youth were exposed to misconceptions that found root in their empty hearts and minds, and accordingly were shaken to the core by these doubts, plagued with overwhelming confusion, and could not find the means or ideas to refute them. Consequently, they fell under the magic spell of the media devils, and these doubts and misconceptions gripped their hearts as they repeatedly visited these websites and channels. Their feet slipped after they were once firm, and they became like one whom the devils enticed and caused to wander upon the earth confused.

Because of all this, young people are strongly urged to take precautions and be mindful of such peril. Just as a sick body with weak immunity must be shielded with vaccines to stimulate power for protection against germs and microbes, a Muslim is, similarly, ought to be shielded himself against the misconceptions raised by the wicked skeptics and doubters. Perhaps the story of Abu Hamid Al-Ghazali  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him is a good lesson for many people venturing into this path. He delved deep into philosophy for many years and debated the philosophers of his time and defeated them in many arguments, but he did not leave unharmed by such polemics. Some traces of alien philosophies clung to Abu Hamid’s thought and he could not guard himself against their perils, despite being the renowned scholar that he was. This prompted his own student Abu Bakr Ibn Al-‘Arabi to make his famous statement: “Our Shaykh Abu Hamid swallowed the philosophers (i.e. completely refuted them), and he wanted to vomit them up but he couldn’t.” This happened to Imam Al-Ghazali, a well-established scholar who was versed in Islamic sciences; what about a lay Muslim who is many miles behind him in this regard?

Therefore, it is imperative that our youth should follow the sincere callers to Allah, learn from the devout scholars, and absorb as much knowledge as they can from the books of the righteous predecessors to shield themselves against the arrows of the skeptics and doubters. They should also avail themselves of the Islamic websites that adopt a correct methodology, adhere to the sound Islamic creed, and embody moderation, and there are many websites that fit this profile now; all praise be to Allah.

In brief, we believe with certainty that our religion is the true religion and that we are on the right path and methodology. This is a conviction that is firmly established in our hearts that cannot be shaken by the changed conditions and adversities. However, what we are trying to warn against is the peril of having some young Muslims fall as easy prey in the traps of doubters and skeptics. This is what Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) who was sent as a mercy to mankind and divinely bestowed bounty, advised us. This is recorded in the book of Saheeh Al-Bukhari and it was narrated on the authority of Huthayfah Ibn Al-Yaman  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him that he said: People used to ask the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) about good, but I used to ask him about evil lest I should fall in it.

So, I said, “O Messenger of Allah! We (Arabs) were leading an ignorant wicked life before Allah, the Exalted, bestowed upon us this ultimate good (i.e., Islam); will there be any evil after this good?”

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Yes!’

I said, “Will there be any good after that evil?”

The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Yes, but it will be tainted with evil.’

I asked, “How would that be?”

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘There shall be some people leading with other than my guidance. You will approve of some of what they say and disapprove of some.’

I asked, “Will there be any evil after that tainted good?”

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Yes, (there will be) some people who will call others to that which leads them to Hellfire; whoever responds to their call will end up in Hellfire.’

I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, describe them to us?’

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘They will be from our own people and will speak our language.’

I said, “What do you command me to do if I should live to witness those people?”

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Adhere to the Muslim community and their leader.’

I said, ‘What if they have no community nor leader?’

He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: ‘Then turn away from all these sects even if you were to bite (eat) the roots of a tree until death befalls you while you are in that state.’[Imam Al-Bukhari]

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