Just imagine. There used to be a beautiful garden with huge shimmering green trees. When you look at the garden, it was just astonishingly gorgeous. Those green vivid color were stunning and had struck in your eyes. But later on, those garden burned down by some people who just passing by. The garden vanished, completely gone. Now it has been several decades since then. After that, all people talked this burned down garden. Over and over. The garden becoming a part of some fairy tales that a mother used to tell to her children before they fall asleep. Can you imagine what garden that is?
That garden is our beloved Islamic civilization. Moslem people kept talking about reviving those epics, we wondered what kind of age we have in our golden utopia. But that’s it. We just stopped by wondering those kinds of nostalgia things. Since those “garden” burned down, we just kept talking, talking and talking for several decades! We have made a habit talked about the problems in our society and the funny thing is that we want that “garden” re-appear instantaneously. Just like those singing contest in our society – raising an instant star!
Moreover, because of the internet, many information could mislead people and thus they became deceived. People disunite, they are battling each other now in our own ranks. All these years, those tireless debates over fiqh, government policies, and even sectarian conflicts. It is just too much.
In the process of analyzing Surah al-Kahf we are led to the conclusion that the world now exists in so-called The Last Age, and that are the dominant actors of the modern age are Dajjal, the false messiah! This is a conclusion of tremendous importance since it confirms that we now live in an age that is deceptive, godless, oppressive and fraught with unprecedented dangers and peril (Hosein, 2007).
THIS is difficult indeed. Simply being said, we conclude that we are living in the time of “FITNA” or “difficult test”.
In this time, your faith may easily be shaking and you may have doubt on your heart regarding your own religion. You want to believe firmly in your faith but the condition is just so devastated. Faith, ﷲ said in the Qur’an, will be tested, no matter when or where you are living. Let’s take a look an ayah from Qur’an as follows.
أَحَسِبَ النَّاسُ أَن يُتْرَكُوا أَن يَقُولُوا آمَنَّا وَهُمْ لَا يُفْتَنُونَ
Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tested? (QS. 29:2)
Nowadays we used the word fitna (ف ت ن) in a negative sense. Fitna referred to difficulty or test and also using it for “attacking”. The Arabs used the word fitna when one tribe want to attack the other tribes. In the other hand, fatanna was used in Arabic when you purify gold. It is extremely difficult and time-consuming process. It requires an extremely high-temperature process so that you can melt the gold and control their carats (purity). Only through that process you can tell how pure that gold is. A way to testing the purity of gold, that’s the origin of the word fitna.
Have you ever wondered how the companions kept their faith firmly through their hardship and difficulties? Can you imagine? Their faith had been tested so that the “gold” inside them can be purified. Their hearts have been purified by those test! The “gold” inside represent our Faith, our “Imaan”.
Thus, fitna can be understood as a way of testing our “al-iman”.
We have to understand the reality now we are living. Fitna in the old days and nowadays is different in many ways but the same in principle. The world we are living obviously different. The only similar thing is that Allah will test “al-iman” regardless when and where we are now living.
Back to the first story. Remember those garden before?
What would have happened if those people planting the seeds instead talking about the garden that had been burned down for decades?
The most important thing now is investing in our own people. Planting the seeds, build the people. Imagine if our society has minimum education in Qur’an study. When you take salah or recite the Qur’an, you are not only read it by your lip, but also understand it. Your mind becomes “literate”. And deep down, your heart shift to a condition of tranquility. Warm and secure. It feels as those ayah written down in your own heart.
As I try to begin to write all of these writing, I firmly hold my intention to comprehensively spread the warning of this so-called Age of Deception. In the end, I try as humble as possible, because of my own limitation for such certain knowledge in Islamic higher learning. Before I am going in depth with the Surah Al-Kahf, hopefully, this introduction can give us the insight to go deeper.
So, I just want to say, “let’s open up our insight and broaden up our mind. Because we are facing the Age of Deception, Age of Fitan as narrated by several scholars of Islam in many hadiths.
Anyway, “Welcome to the Akhiruz-Zaman!”
May Allah guide us against this age!
اَللَّهُـمَّ إِنيِّ أَعوُذُ بِكَ مِنْعَذاَبِ جَهَنَّمَ،وَمِنْ عَذاَبِ الْقَبْرِ وَمِنْ فِتْـنَةِ الْمَحْياَوَالْمَماَتِ وَمِنْ فِتْـنَةِ الْمَسيِحِ الدَّجاَّلِ
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the punishment of the grave, and from the punishment of Hell-fire, and from the trials of life and death, and from the evil of the trial of Dajjal the False Messiah.
Hosein, I. N. (2007). Surah Al-Kahf and The Modern Age. San Fernando: Masjid Jami’ah.