The Meaning of Fitna in the Quran

Muslim masses nowadays particularly those who are unlearned and gullible oftentimes proclaim that when they are either gossiped or being accused of committing something bad, they get stuck in a statement called fitna. Thus they improperly quote Quranic verse which is to their understanding this verse gives them somewhat protection against it, usually the verse quoted in this case was verse 191 of Chapter Al-Baqarah which states al-fitnatu ashaddu min‘l-qatl. Based on that verse they encourage each member of Muslim society not to throw fitna to other Muslim for fitna is worse than killing or in other word how can Muslim give his/her brother or sister fitna whereas killing its self is condemned in Islam. Apart from that, in this our own era which is obviously far from the time of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him!) according to Prophetic Tradition narrated by Huzaifah b. al-Yaman, many fitna appears in Muslim communities especially after the death of Caliph Omar.[1] At a glance, in the light of two cases pertaining fitna above, fitna coaches kind of negative content. Yet what meaning it conveys still remains ambiguous and God willing that is what this article about to explore.

The word fitna which frequenly occurs 34 times in the Quran,[2] is noun form of verb fa-ta-na, which according to Lane in his monumental Arabic-English Lexicon the verb its self has many signification. Some primary of them are to try, to afflict, and to distress; thus if the verb is converted noun form then it turns into trial, affliction and distress; and it’s meaning also posibly can be reduced to burn and burning.[3] In addition, the definition offered by Lane match those suggested by Al-Jurjānī in his Ta’rīfāt as well as Al-Tahānawī in his Kasysyāf. They envisage …(to read more, please click) —>> The Meaning of Fitna in the Quran



[1] Nu’aym b. Ḥammād. Kitāb al-Fitan. (Beirut: Dār Fikr, 1993), 22. See also Ṣahīh Bukhārī no.1435. The prophetic tradition describes that there is a closed door, which protects Muslims society from fitna depicted as surging waves, between Caliph Omar and that fitna. Once the door is broken, it cannot be closed again to the Doomsday. Some asserts that Caliph Omar himself was the closed door.

[2] Muḥammad Fuād ‘Abd al-Bāqī. Al-Mu’jam Al-Mufahras li alfaẓ Al-Qurān Al-Karīm. (Cairo: Dār Kutub Al-Miṣriyyah, 1944), 512.

[3] Edward William Lane. Arabic-English Lexicon. (Beirut: Riad el-Solh Square, 1968).


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