Instigation (Fitna)

An example of fitna is to cause distress and trouble to others, e.g. by pursuing a policy which will pave the way for a military takeover. It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: "Fitna is asleep. May Allâhu ta'âlâ's curse be upon those who awaken it." Stirring up a rebellion against the laws of the land and against the state is considered as awakening fitna, which in turn is forbidden. It is a sin graver than homicide without extenuations. Islam prohibits also a rebellion against a cruel government exercising draconian and oppressive measures. Should there arise a rebellion against an oppressive government, any activity to support the oppressed insurgents is also forbidden. The harm of a rebellion, and the concomitant sin, is worse than the harm and sin immanent in the cruelty.

Another instance of fitna is (for the imâm conducting a prayer called namâz in jamâ'at) to recite sûras longer than the ones advised in the sunnat and thereby to prolong the namâz. If all the participants in the congregation consented to his long recital, then it would not be fitna; it would be permissible. Preachers' and men of religious posts' speaking or writing on subjects that are beyond the comprehension of their audiences or readers is considered as fitna. We should speak to others in a level they can understand. No one should order Muslims acts of worship they cannot perform. Instead, they should be advised to perform the worships that they can carry out even if that advice depends on a weak proof of fiqh. We should also be careful not to raise fitna while doing amr al-ma'rûf. We are not commanded to put ourselves into danger in order to do amr al-ma'rûf. We should neither cause instigation with respect to religion nor ever cause any instigation in worldly affairs by harming others. Amr al-ma'rûf which will cost you worldly losses is permissible; in fact, it is an act of jihâd. However, it should be given up if you are not patient enough to go the distance. At times of fitna, it is advisable to stay home and avoid company. Patience is the sole way out once you get embroiled in any sort of fitna (which you cannot help).

The following information is written in the abridged version of Tadhkira-i-Qurtubî: Rasûlullah 'sall-Allâhu 'alaihi wa sal-lam' said, "Do not raise instigation 'fitna!' Raising instigation by speech is like raising instigation through the sword. Instigations caused by sinners (fâjirs) and tyrants (zâlims) through backbiting, lying, and slandering of others are more harmful than the instigation caused through the sword." Almost all scholars inform us unanimously that even those who are compelled into such difficult circumstances as they have no other choice but save their lives and property, should not rebel against the government and laws of the land. For, hadîth-i-sherîfs command us to be patient against oppressive governments.