From the very nature of fitnah (trial and discord) is that matters become confused, mistakes increase, and minds and intellects begin to swerve. Protection and safety from this, in such times lies in the Jamaa’ah; at the head of which are the scholars. So it is obligatory upon the people – those leading and those being led – to take hold of the sayings of the Scholars and to act upon them. Since the general masses are pre-occupied with issues of fitnah, wherein they begin to express their own opinions, only leads to an increase in the fitnah and further splits the Ummah. So the umoorul-‘aammah (affairs pertaining to public benefit and welfare) – from the matters related to peace, security and fear – should be referred back to those who possess sound knowledge and understanding, as Allah, The Most High has said,
“When there comes to them some matter related to public welfare of security or fear, they make it known amongst the people. If they had referred it back to the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), or to those in authority amongst them, then the proper people would have investigated and evaluated the matter from them. Were it not for the Grace and Mercy of Allah upon you, you would have indeed followed Shaytaan – except for a few of you.” [Soorah an-Nisaa: 83]
Imaam as-Sa’dee (d.1376H) – rahimahullah –said,
“This is the disciplinary admonition from Allah to His Servants with regards to their unbefitting action. And it is a must for them, that when there comes to them some news concerning important issues such as issues connected to public welfare and safety of the Believers, or those that are related to breach of security, or fear of a calamity befalling them, that they should first verify such news and not be hasty in spreading it. Rather, they should refer such issues back to the Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and to the people in authority; those who possess knowledge, understanding, sound advice, intellect, maturity and composure; those who understand the affairs and have knowledge of the associated benefits and harms. If they see that in broadcasting it there is a benefit and a cause of happiness for the Believers, and a means of protection from their enemies, then they should do so. This is why Allah said: “Then the proper people would have investigated and evaluated the matter from them.” Meaning: they would evaluate it with their sound understanding and their firm and correct knowledge. So in this is an evidence for an important principle, which is, if there arises a need to investigate a particular issue, then it is obligatory that it be left to those who are qualified for it, and no one should precede them in this – and this is close to what is correct, and safer from error. And in this is also a prohibition of being hasty and impatient in spreading the news as soon as they hear it. Likewise there is a command to reflect and consider before speaking, so he looks into it to see if there is a benefit in doing so, if so he embarks upon it, and if not, he abstains from it.”
[Tayseerul-Kareemur-Rahmaan (2/54-55). Refer also to Qawaa’id fee Ta’aamul ma’il-‘Ulemaa (p.121)]
Thus, we understand that it is absolutely imperative for us to take recourse in the Book of Allah and theSunnah of His Messenger (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in these times of great fitnah.
We ask Allah to keep our feet firm upon the Straight Path and we seek refuge in Him from ever deviating from it.
Source: The Importance of Returning To The Scholars in Times of Fitnah by Shaykh Muhammad Ramzaan al-Haajiree