Islamic literature defines fitna as "hard
times," such as civil strife, war, or riots,
during which evil forces attempt to weaken
and even eradicate people's faith.
One hadith, which reveals that the believers'
faith will weaken in the End Times, also
provides information about the developments
that will lead to this:
Briefly, the following events will take
place before the End Times and the Mahdi's
1- Death: As a consequence of anarchy
and mass murder, people will not be safe
and will be greatly concerned about dying.
2- Hunger: The struggle to make a living
will increase, because the cost of living
will rise. Natural disasters and catastrophes
will lead to starvation and hunger.
3- Fitna: Such troubles will spread and
encourage unlawful and immoral acts among
all people, both in public and in private.
4- Innovation (bid`at): Adoption of some
rituals or innovations on the grounds that
they are essential components of Islam,
although they violate the teachings of the
Qur'an and the Sunnah.
5- Disappearance of an environment that
allows the communication of God's message:
Believers will be hindered from enjoining
the good and forbidding the evil, and a
spiritual decline will occur as a result.
Such fitna will lead to a stronger faith,
an increase in patience and rewards in the
Hereafter for the believers' having a solid
faith, while weakening further the faith
of those with weak faith. The latter group
might even lose their faith completely.
The Mahdi will appear when such fitna
Other hadiths and Islamic scholars state
that the Mahdi will appear when a particular
type of fitna has become worldwide.