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The Never-Ending Trials of Life

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Amazing points of Islamic guidance are laid out in this brief study of a beautiful Chapter of the Quran: Soorah al-'Ankaboot, by Shaykh Saalih ibn 'Abdil-'Azeez Aal Shaykh (may Allah preserve him). Translation and notes by Moosaa Richardson.

The topics covered in this book include:
  • The Overall Theme of Soorah al-'Ankaboot
  • Life is But a Series of Trials
  • The Fitnah of Disbelieving Parents
  • The Fitnah of Being in the Minority
  • The Fitnah of Seeing Disbelievers Live Long, Prosperous Lives
  • The Fitnah of Passions and Desires
  • The Fitnah of Disobedience Upon Knowledge
  • The Fitnah of Argumentation
  • The Fitnah of Materialism
  • The Fitnah of Safety and Security
Shaykh Saalih Aal Shaykh said:

...Another kind of fitnah is when the people have knowledge and the society knows what is correct, but they do not act according to their knowledge. An ignorant man can be taught. Yet, when knowledge has spread in a society and people know the legislated limits [of Allah] and they have some insight, and yet they still contradict what they know, is that not a fitnah?!Knowledge has not been a blessing for them, rather it has only been a fitnah. Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, mentions that the tribes of ‘Aad and Thamood were people of knowledge. They knew and had insight. Yet, with all of that, they rebelled and disobeyed. Allah, the Exalted, has said:And [remember the destruction of] ‘Aad and Thamood! That has been made clear to you, from [consideration of] their [ruined] places of residence [how they were destroyed]. The Devil beautified their actions for them and kept them away from the Path, whilst they were people of insight. (29:38)The Devil beautified their actions for them, and then kept them away from the Path, whilst they were people of insight! Were they ignorant? No! Were they deficient in some of their knowledge? No! They had knowledge, but the Devil beautified their actions for them, and thus he kept them away from the Path! All of this while they had good insight and clear vision.This is a tremendous fitnah, that a man has knowledge but he obeys the Devil instead, leaving behind the knowledge that he has received from his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic, and from His Messenger (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace)...

Moosaa Richardson, the translator, adds the following advice in his footnotes to the text:

We suffer from this greatly in the West, and to Allah is our complaint and our plea for help against our own selves! Often, the real problem a person struggles with is not his ignorance of correct Islamic beliefs and practice. The problem is so commonly his lack of application of what he knows. It is perhaps the result of information overload, when knowledge is available in abundance, so much that it overwhelms a person, and then he spends his life collecting and passing on knowledge without practicing it! We need to be reminded that knowledge without practice is like a tree without fruits. It was the way of those who have earned Allah's Anger, and we seek refuge with Allah from this evil path every time we read Soorah al-Faatihah!We need to be reminded that the Quran will be a proof for or against us on the Day of Judgment. (Saheeh Muslim, no.223) It is a proof in our favor when we learn and implement it, yet a proof against us if we contradict what we know of it!

We need to be reminded that our feet will remain in their places on the Day of Judgment, and we shall not budge, until we are asked a number of questions. We will be asked about our knowledge and what we have done with it! (Jaami' at-Tirmidhee, no.2417)

We need to be reminded that our Prophet (may Allah raise his rank and grant him peace) used to seek refuge with Allah from knowledge without benefit! (Saheeh Muslim, no.2722)"
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