Fitna is an Arabic word, derived from the Arabic past tense verb, " fatana. " With very few exceptions, all words in the Arabic language are derived from their respective past tense verbs, made of only three corresponding alphabet letters which make the past tense verb. In other words, the ROOTS of every word in the Arabic language is its respective past tense verb which must be made of only three Arabic alphabets. To make this point clearer, the English word, " ate, " is an excellent choice to comprehend what has already been said about the ROOTS of the Arabic words. Just for the sake of simplicity, let us assume all English words have their ROOTS exactly as in Arabic and the English word, " ate, " fits beautifully for serving our purpose, here:
~ Because " ate " is a past tense verb in the English language.
~ Because " ate " is made only of three English alphabets: a, t and e.
Now, let see what can be derived from this word, " ate " as the real ROOT for all English words that can be derived from " ate "
* Eatery: is a derivative of " ate " as long as it is assumed that the language rules in English and Arabic are the same.
* Eats: like in, " he eats " is a derivative of "ate " as long as it is assumed that the language rules in English and Arabic are the same.
* Eating: like in, " he is eating " is a derivative of " ate " as long as it is assumed that the language rules in English and Arabic are the same. Of course they are not.
Since we know now the " ROOT " of the word, " fitna, " let us try to define it:
Most people, in the know, would define "fitna " as a " civil war, " especially among groups of Muslims. I have no disagreement with such a definition because it is a civil war. However, I prefer to dig in the Arabic-Arabic Dictionary and find out what " fitna " really means. And I have found the meaning of " fitna " in the AL-MUNJID which is a huge Arabic-Arabic Dictionary. According to AL-MUNJID, "fitna " means the following:
FITNA: " Ekhtilaf Elnas Fi Al-Ara'e Wama Yaqa'o Bynahom Min Al-Qital. "
FITNA: " Difference/disagreement in opinions among people and what results among them in fighting/killing."
In other words, when people allow their disagreements/differences in opinions overwhelm their common senses and rationality and become passionately and emotionally captives to their opinions, whether such opinions right or wrong, people get involved in fighting and killing, which really means a civil war, when such disagreements and differences take place among people who follow the same religion or belong to the same ethnicity or citizens of the same country. Examples:
* When Aisha's forces and Ali's forces fought near the city of Basra, Iraq and what had/has been known in history book as the Battle of the Camel, after Ali ibn Abi-talib was declared the Fourth Caliph and Aisha bint Abi Bukr Elsidiq and widow of the Prophet Muhammad did not like the idea of Ali becoming a Caliph.. That was a bloody battle which Ali won and gracefully took good care of Aisha after he defeated her forces soundly. Muslims fighting Muslims was truly a FITNA.
* The Shii-Sunni split in Islam is profoundly a FITNA, since both Shi'a and Sunna practice the same five pillars of Islam and follow fundamentally the same tenets of Islam, but have originally political disagreements, as to who should have been the Caliph after the Prophet Muhammad's death.
* In the 21st century, what have been going on in fighting, in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen are horrible three FITNAS, in three Muslim Arab countries. All three FITNAS seem to be instigated by a regional and international geopolitical struggles for hegemony, some of it has been instigated regionally and some of it has been instigated by big powers competitions to make sure such big powers' interests are protected and served in a region rich in natural resources.
* The American Civil War in which the citizens of the same country fought each other with profound passion for what they believed in. As a result of that war, there were more than six hundred thousand dead, ( 600,000 ), and perhaps as many wounded. That is the largest number in human lives loss America has suffered in all its wars, including the First and Second World Wars..
As it may be seen, FITNA is a terrible and horrible thing, for any country or a group of people, to endure.