Isolation during the time of fitna

Some scholars are using the Hadith in Bukhaari that says when Fitnah spreads then the person should leave everyone and go to the mountains with his sheep and stay there even if he has to eat from the roots of trees. Therefore some scholars have gone to the mountains (farms) isolating themselves with their families, using this Hadith as evidence which is also Mutawaatir.

  • Is this the time of Fitna mentioned in the Hadith?
  • Is it valid to isolate oneself like this?
  • What would be the best option from Quraan and Hadith?
  • All those who have not isolated themselves in this manner, are they guilty of a sin?
  • And what is the correct explanation regarding this Hadith?

Please provide evidence from the Quraan and Sunnah.

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu ‘alaykum wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakatuh

Firstly, this narration is not mutawatir as you have claimed. All the sanads revolve around ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abd ar-Rahman bin Abi Sa’sa’ah al-Ansaari. The only alternate sanad is the one narrated in Musnad Ar-Rabi’ (1/49) on the authority of Abu ‘Ubaidah who narrates from Jabir bin Zaid.

Nevertheless, coming to your queries, scholars mention two possible meanings for the word ‘fitna’ mentioned in the narration. The first is the trials that will take place close to Qiyaamah. The second meaning refers to those trials which takes place in a person’s life; like trials in his wealth, family etc.

If we assume the first meaning (i.e. those trials which will take place towards Qiyaamah), then undoubtedly we have still not reached that time. The proof of this is the millions of Masajid we see around the world, the many Islamic institutes, people are allowed to practice on Sunnah etc. Thus, while living amongst people, we still have ease in practicing our religion.

Based on this, it is not compulsory for people to go in seclusion in our present age. Rather, the ruling would depend upon an individual and differ accordingly. There are some people for whom seclusion will be better, since they will be able to save themselves from sins (backbiting, harming others etc) and spend their time in worship.

However, there are many people who, if they go in seclusion, they will not be able to carry out the many good that they carry out while being with people. They might become lazy and even omit their prayers and waste all their time. While mixing with people they command towards good, forbid evil, visit the sick and tolerate the harms of others. It is with regards to these people Nabi s.a.w. said,

“A Muslim who mixes with people and tolerates their harm is better than a Muslim who does not mix with people and tolerate their harm.”

[At-Tirmidhi 4/662 and Ibn Maajah 2/1338]

If we take the second meaning, then again it will depend upon a person and his circumstances. There were many Sahabah who went into seclusion after the martyrdom of ‘Uthman (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with him). Likewise, Zubair bin ‘Awwam and Abu Darda (May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with them both) encouraged people remain in their homes at that time of the fitna.

References :

  1. At-Tamhid lima fi al-Muwatta min al-Ma’ani wal asanid 19/220
  2. Syarh Sahih Al-Bukhaari 1/71
  3. Al-Muntaqa Syarh al-Muwatta 4/414
  4. Faid al-Qadiir 6/332
  5. Syarh al-Zarqaani 3/11
  6. ‘Umdat al-Qaari Syarh Sahih al-Bukhaari 1/437
  7. Fath al-Baari li Ibn Rejab 1/98
  8. Mirqat al-Mafaatih syarh Misykat al-Masobih 11/437,438

And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best

Wassalamu ‘alaykum

Mufti Ismail Moosa
Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Ifta, Madrasah In’aamiyyah

Source :


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