The countdown for when Shaytan will be chained has started—but don’t think that he will submit without a fight. So, we ought to be on “red alert” until we safely enter the month of Ramadhan. He is a spoilsport and he may very well spoil Ramadhan for you.
Shaytan’s given name is “Iblis” and his nickname is “Shaytan.” Shaytan comes from the root word, “Shatan” meaning, “deviate or stray from.” It’s perfect because he has indeed strayed (deviated) from Allah’s (SWT) path, commands, obeying Him, repentance and Paradise (Jannah)–from all possible ways to success. So beware of taking on the trait. He was no angel—literally or figuratively—but rather of the Jinn as Allah clearly points out, “So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord” (Qur’an18:50).
Is he indeed an enemy? Yes, he definitely is a self-proclaimed enemy of ours; he picked a fight right from the onset, “And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.” (18:50). He justified this disobedience saying, “: “I am better than him (Adam). You created me from fire, and him You created from clay” (38:75-76). Excuse me, but who said that fire is better than clay, white is better than black, Arab is better than a non-Arab, and the list can go on. You get my drift! Tut tut tut, don’t follow in Shaytan’s footsteps! It was exactly his arrogance made Shaytan ineligible to be a resident of Jannah, and it may make you ineligible too. The Prophet of Allah (saw) said, “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride shall not enter Paradise.” (Muslim)
Shaytan’s disobedience to Allah (swt) made him a “disbeliever.” But he does believe that Allah (swt) is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth and all that’s in them. Mark his words: “You have created me” (38:76); and in another verse he swears by Allah’s (swt) glory “By Your glory” and knows that Allah (swt) controls life and death when he asks Allah (swt) to: “Give me then respite till the Day they (the dead) will be resurrected” (7:14). So how come he is described as someone who has “disbelieved”? Pay attention to this point, it is crucial. Shaytan considered believing in Allah (swt) and obeying His orders as two separate issues—not related in any way. In other words, it is true that Allah (swt) created him but he can wander about in the world as he likes—free to choose what to obey and what not to. But Allah (swt) says, “Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. . . “(7:54). In another verse, Allah (swt) drives the point home and says, “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision” (33:36).
So, mark that Shaytan was not an atheist or misguided for that matter, indeed he was guided but by choice refused to follow. He invalidated Allah’s (swt) command by simply relying on his own lowly opinion. Many of us fall into similar situations.Why can’t we eat pork? I guess, because it is unclean! Well, what if I were to rear it in a clean environment, feed it germ-free food, and sanitize it day in and out, and before I eat it I will place in under a high powered microscope to make sure it clean. That will make it halaal. I don’t need to pray because I have a good heart. Hijab is really cultural and not in any way related to Islam. The examples are exhaustive. The simple clear answer to all of these actions and many more is: Allah (swt) ordered us to do them. That should suffice a believer. When we accepted Islam out of our own freewill, Allah (swt) asked us as He (swt) asked Prophet Ibrahim (as), “. . . submit” and “he [and we Insha Allah will do the same] said, ‘I submit to the Lord of the Worlds’” (2:131). When you accept Islam, Allah (swt) asks you to surrender to His (swt) will, whether you are convinced or not and whether you like it or not. Choosing to be followers of Allah (swt) through obedience is a clear sign that you are not from the party of Shaytan.
Want more proof? Well we were, and are, ordered to bow down just as Shaytan was. Yes, in Salaah (prayer)– the last thing that Holy Prophet Mohammad (saw) emphasized on his deathbed. He also said that it would be the first thing we will have to answer for on the Day of Judgment. In this sense, Salaat the way it has been prescribed (with the ruk’u and sujood) is a declaration that we as Muslims announce exactly the opposite of what Shaytan did, namely that we are: on Allah’s (SWT) path; that we listen to and obey His commands; adhere to the practice of repentance and do so for eternal residence in Paradise. Praying as Allah (swt) has ordered us, and in the same manner as the Prophet of Allah (saw) prayed—is a clear break from the ways of Shaytan. Indeed it was narrated by Abu Kuraib that the Prophet (saw) said “when Satan sees the son of Adam in prostration, he says: ‘Woe unto me, the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated and Paradise was entitled to him; and I was commanded to prostrate, but I refused and am doomed to Hell.'” (Muslim)
Now let’s list some forms of arrogance:
1) Not praying and invoking Allah (swt), “And your Lord said: ‘Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!’” (40:60).
2) Being your own boss—no one else is fit to give you advice. Allah (swt), “And when it is said to him, ‘Fear Allah,’ he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. So enough for him is Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest!” (2:206).
3) Showing off, for Abu Dhar Al-Ghifari narrated that the Messenger (saw) once said, “Three (kinds of people) will neither be spoken to by Allah on the Day of Resurrection, nor looked at, nor purified (from their sins), and shall receive a painful torment.” He repeated that thrice, so Abu Dhar said, “They are failures and losers. Who are they, Messenger of Allah?” The Prophet replied, “Al-musbil (the one dragging his lower garment), the one who is used to reminding people of his generosity towards them, and the one who sells his goods through false swearing” (Muslim).
I am sure you can come up with other forms of arrogance.
So, what is Shaytan’s plan of action? Well, he asked for respite till the Day of Judgment to “. . . sit in and wait against them [human race] on the straight path. . . Then I will come to them from behind them, from their right and left, and You will not find most of them as grateful ones” (7:16). He is saving all his effort for those of us who are on Allah’s (swt) path, and intensifies his effort with the depth and power of our belief. He attempts to makes us ungrateful of Allah’s blessing. Even Allah (swt) confirms that in this particularly Shaytan will be successful, “Few of My servants are thankful” (34:13). Beware of forgetting Allah’s (swt) blessings and graces on you. Shaytan’s ultimate plan is as Allah (swt) warns, “O Adam! Verily, this is an enemy to you and to your wife. So let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you will be distressed. Verily, you have (a promise from Us) that you will never be hungry therein nor naked. And you (will) suffer not from thirst therein nor from the sun’s heat” (20:116-119). Let me just briefly comment on “that you will never be . . . naked”—our father Adam (as) and mother Hawa were never naked, as the supporters of nudists and naturists would have you think. They claim that nakedness comes natural to the human race. We were never abandoned by Allah (swt) after we were created–we were never left to wander naked learning through trial and error. Allah (swt) is the Creator and Sustainer for He (swt) says, “And He taught Adam the names of all things” (2:31). We were taught from day one that nakedness is not the way of Allah (swt) but the way of Shaytan.
Shaytan does not stop at stripping us of your clothes to humiliate us in the name of “fashion,” but “…and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah” (4:119)—plastic surgery, tattooing, piercing, cloning, genetic engineering etc. take your pick. He promises to put the bridle around our mouths and attach the reins, exactly as is done to animals, to lead us to whatever he wants:“ I will surely put the bridle on them and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!” (17:61-62). How rude? He will help himself to a share of our wealth and children (4:118). Basically, it is a full-fledged war, “And befool them gradually, those whom you can among them, with your voice; make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry; share with them wealth and children, and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit” (17:64).
Our religion is one of prevention rather than cure; we have been forewarned by Allah (swt) of all doors to the path of Shaytan. Allah (swt) says to Adam (as) and Hawa to not “. . . approach this tree otherwise you both will be of the unjust and wrong-doers” (7:19) and in another verse Allah (swt) says, “Do not come close to adultery” (18:32). And in another Allah (swt) says, “Do not follow in the footsteps of Shaytan . . .” (2:168). Just consider the footsteps that will lead to illicit relationships, ones that Shaytan will argue are not called “illicit” relationships but “girl-friends” and “boy-friends” he likes to change the names of things as well. Islam nips all of this in the bud, and asks both sexes to dress modestly and lower their gaze—one will not work without the other.
So, what is the solution? It is “Surely, Shaytan is an enemy to you, so take and treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his followers so that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire” (35:6). But don’t worry, Allah (swt) has given you 10 powerful ways to fight back:
1. Seeking refuge with Allah: Allah says, “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower” (7:200).
2. Dhikr (remembrances) of Allah (swt).
3. Reciting the Ma’audhatayn: the last two surahs of the Qur’an.
4. Reciting Ayat-al-Kursi: Prophet Muhammad (saw) says, “When you go to your bed, recite Ayat-al-Kursi, (2:255) for then there will be a guard from Allah who will protect you all night long, and Shaytan will not be able to come near you until dawn” (Bukhari).
5. Reading Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow): The Prophet (saw) says, “Shaytan cannot come near the house whose people read Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow)” (Muslim).
6. Saying “There is no God but Allah, He who has no partner, owns everything, and to Whom we are all thankful. He has the power to create life and death and He is capable of everything.” Prophet Muhammad (saw) says, “Whoever says this 100 times daily is saved from Shaytan” (Bukhari).
7. Lowering one’s gaze: The gaze is a wide entrance for Shaytan.
8. Seeking the company of righteous Muslims.
9. Prayers (salaah): Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says, “If a man performs the Fajr (dawn) prayers and prostrates in worship, Shaytan says, “Woe to you! Man is ordered to prostrate and he did, hence his reward is Paradise. I was ordered to prostrate but I disobeyed, and my punishment is Hell” (Muslim).
10. Repentance: When Shaytan said to Allah, “I swear by Your Glory and Exaltedness to lure them” 38(:82) the Prophet (saw) reported that Allah (swt) responds to: “I shall continue to lead Thy servants astray as long as their spirits are in their bodies.” And God replied: “(Then) I shall continue to pardon them as long as they ask My forgiveness” (Al-Tirmidhi).
If you don’t make use of these tools, then the odds are against you: “And indeed Iblis did prove true his thought about them: and they followed him,” (34:20). So if we let our guards down and follow him we will be attending his final lecture in the hellfire, ““And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided: ‘Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Shaytan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the worldly life). Verily, there is a painful torment for the polytheists and wrong-doers)’ ” (14:22). Insha Allah we won’t be there to listen to it, because we already listened to it in this life and took heed; and may we not be among those who is said to them, “O my slave! Read your book! “Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you: Verily Shaytan is an open enemy unto you” (7:22). Insha Allah we will be the exception, those whom he says he will not be able to lead astray, “all except a group of true believers” (34:20).
For more on Shaytan, listen to Muhammad AlShareef’s “When Wolves Become Shepherds”
For reflections and comments on our past halaqas visit BB4 Muslimas Blog.