Fitna, Amanah & Takabbur


Allah knows best.


About a month ago, in November 2015, Turkey gunned down a Russian warplane for the reason that the plane was invading Turkish airspace. After warning the Russian jet for the tenth time of trespass, the Turkish army took the next step which is to shoot down the jet. This then resulted in worldwide awe. Who could be so audacious as to gun down a jet of the former Soviet Union? One of Putin’s planes. Wrong. The real question should be; who would expense his dignity and leave be when trespassers are invading his home? No, takabbur does not apply here. Here, it is self-respect.


Afterwards, Putin responded with an accusation such that the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had the jet gunned down because he (Erdoğan) was discretely purchasing oil from the terrorist group, ISIS. This is fitna. Fitna can be understood as bearing false witness or making accusations without true evidence. Such an act, though is seen more frequently every day is not something petty or to be taken lightly. In fact, one of the signs Muslims are to look out for as a sign of the approaching Armageddon is the fitna of the Dajjal or the anti-Christ.


President Erdoğan then, promptly responded to the slander saying that if Putin could prove the accusation to be true, then he (Erdoğan) would step down as the head of Turkey. Do not mistaken this for takabbur because it is not. As the Malay saying goes, “berani kerana betul, takut kerana salah” which could be roughly translated as “courage by truth, craven by untruth”. Takabbur is illustrated when Russia who is already in the wrong, reacts emotionally by punishing Turkey economically.


Russia still believes that they are in the right, that their bomber was in Syrian airspace and that they received nil warnings from Turkey despite confirmations from U.S. defence officials that Turkey did in fact warn the warplane ten times complete with a recording of the grounds man conveying the warning. Russia further responds by reducing tourism to Turkey (an annual estimation of $4 billion worth of tourism revenue Russian tourists would bring into Turkey), suspending visa-free travel between the two countries, increasing checks of Turkish agricultural products, and stopping new wheat trades with Turkey, Russia being the world’s largest wheat producer and Turkey having been Russia’s best customer.


This is a whole new level of sulking. Meanwhile, Turkey accuses Russia of ethnic cleansing in Syria, stating that the bombings are aimed at local Turks and Sunni Muslims. This was made by the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. The World Post from The Huffington Post reports that Russia is not really bombing who they claim they are i.e. ISIS. The report mentions that 85% of the bombs are instead hitting mosques, schools, refugee camps and civilian homes. This begs the question is Russia truly doing what they claim to be doing in Syria? If the accusations prove to be wrong, then Ahmet Davutoglu would be the one committing fitna. If it proves to be true, then the amanah of Russia would be put to question here.


“And kill them wherever you overtake them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitna is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.” [Al-Baqarah: Verse 191].


Alongside that, Russia is using the banned substance, white phosphorus to ‘eliminate’ ISIS. The usage of white phosphorus is not allowed in densely populated areas because of the toxicity and extremely harmful effects it gives off, burning through skin and bone. It is internationally illegal to do so. It is however, allowed for the purposes of lighting up battlegrounds and providing cover to ground troops. The hyphens earlier is justified by the fact that the white phosphorus or ‘Willie Pete’ were dropped in the city of Raqqa, a civilian area. The amanah of Russia is again put to question.


This is fitna, amanah and takabbur on a large scale, an international scale. Perhaps now it is time to do some self-reflection. What are some of the fitna we have done, either intentionally or unintentionally? Perhaps we witness fitna, so what have we done to bring light to the situation? Takabbur is often done subconsciously, though does not mean we cannot do anything about it.



Amanah is one of the biggest aspects in our lives as long as we still live, we must fulfil our amanah either as a daughter or son, as a husband or wife, as a sister or brother, as a companion, as a student, as a leader, as a follower and above all, as a Muslim. Have you fulfilled your amanah to yourself, your family and your people? Have you fulfilled our responsibilities as an ‘abid (worshipper) and caliph?


“I do not create the Jinn and human except to worship Me”. [Ad-Dzariyat: Verse 56]


“And (remember) when your Lord (Allah) said to the angels: “Verily I am going to place on the earth a vicegerent (Caliph)”, they said: “Will you place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood and we glorify you with praises and sanctify You”?. He said: “Surely I (Allah) know what you do not know”. [Al-Baqarah: Verse 30].



Universiti Malaysia Sabah

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