15 Nov Satan and Humanity.Part2
It is the same with humanity. By fighting Satan and their evil-commanding selves, many “worthless” people have been lost in exchange for hundreds of thousands of Prophets, millions of saints, and billions of men and women of wisdom and knowledge, sincerity and good morals. All of these people are the sun, moon, and stars of the human world.
How Satan Tries To Seduce Humanity. Involuntay evil thoughts, fancies, and ideas are usually the result of Satan’s whispering. Like a battery’s two poles, the human heart (by “heart” we mean the seat or center of spiritual intellect) has two central points or poles. One receives angelic inspiration, and the other is vulnerable to Satan’s whispering.
When believers deepen their belief and devotion, and if they are scrupulous and delicate in feeling, Satan attacks them from different directions. He does not tempt those who follow him voluntarily and indulge in all that is transitory, but usually seeks out sincere, devout believers trying to rise to higher spiritual ranks. He whispers new, original ideas to sinful unbelievers, in the name of unbelief, and teaches them how to struggle against true religion and its followers.
We read in Qur’an 7:17 that when God cursed Satan because of his haughty disobedience, Satan asked for a respite until the Day of Judgment so he could seduce human beings. God allowed him to do so, as was discussed above, and Satan retorted: “Then I shall came upon them from before and behind, from their right and their left, and You will not find most of them grateful.”
The verse means that Satan does everything he can to seduce us. We are very complex beings, for God has manifested all of His Names on us. This world is an arena of testing, where we are trained so that we can serve as a mirror to God and earn eternal happiness. God has endowed us with innumerable feelings, faculties, and potentials to be trained and developed. If certain feelings and faculties (e.g., intellect, anger, greed, obstinacy, and lust) are not trained and directed to lofty goals but rather are misused, and if our natural desires and animal appetites are not restricted and satisfied in lawful ways, they can cause us great harm here and in the Hereafter.
Satan approaches us from the left and tries, working on our animal aspect and our feelings and faculties, to lead us into sin and evil. When he approaches us from the front, he causes us to despair about the future, whispers that the Day of Judgment will never come, and that whatever religions say about the Hereafter is mere fiction. He also suggests that religion is outdated and obsolete, and thus of no use for anyone living now or in the future. When he comes upon us from behind, he tries to make us deny Prophethood and other essentials of belief, like God’s existence and Unity, Divine Scriptures and angels. Through his whispers and suggestions, Satan tries to sever completely our contact with religion and lead us into sin.
Satan can only seduce devout, practicing believers by coming upon them from their right and tempting them to ego and pride. He whispers that they are wonderful believers, and gradually causes them to fall through self-conceit and the desire to be praised for their good deeds. For example, if believers perform supererogatory late-night prayer (tahajjud) and then proclaim it so that others will praise them, and if they attribute their accomplishments and good deeds to themselves and criticize others in secret, they have fallen under Satan’s influence. This is a perilous temptation for believers, and so they must be incessantly alert to this tactic.
Another of Satan’s tricks is to cause unimportant things to appear important, and vice versa. If believers dispute in the mosque over a secondary matter, such as whether one can use a rosary when glorifying God after the daily prescribed prayers, while their children are being dragged into unbelief and materialism or are drowning in the swamp of immorality, Satan has seduced them.
If Satan cannot seduce devout believers, he whispers disagreeable thoughts and fancies to them. For example, by associating some ideas with others, he makes believers have some unpleasant conceptions of the Divine Being, or conceive of unbelief or disobedience. If they dwell on such ideas, Satan pesters them until they fall into doubt about their belief or despair of ever leading a virtuous life.
Another trick is to cause good, devout believers to suspect the correctness or validity of their religious acts. For example: Did I perform my prayer correctly? Did I wash hands or face completely while performing the ritual ablution? How many times did I wash the parts of my body that must be washed?
Believers who are pestered with such involuntary thoughts, fancies, and doubts should know that they are involuntary and that their hearts have no part in them. Just as pirates attack treasure ships, thieves rob rich people, and strong countries try to control rich countries, Satan uses his evil suggestions to harm them. Believers’ hearts become troubled. This resembles a fever, for when the body’s temperature rises, antibodies are formed in the patient’s blood to inhibit or destroy harmful bacteria or germs. Similarly, those with troubled hearts begin to fight.
This shows that such thoughts and suggestions do not come from, and are not approved of or adopted by, the heart. So, just as the reflection of something foul is not foul and does not make you dirty, and just as a snake’s reflection does not bite, conceiving of unbelief is not the same as unbelief, and imagining yourself cursing is not really cursing. It might even be said that Satan’s evil suggestions are beneficial, for they keep believers always on ready to resist temptation and to continue their struggle against the carnal self and Satan. This causes them to make spiritual progress.
How To Resist Satan. In fact, Qur’an 4:76 tells us that the guile of Satan is ever feeble. It resembles a cobweb that appears while you are walking between two walls. It does not cause you to stop, and you should not give it any importance. He suggests or whispers and presents sinful acts in a “falsely ornamented wrapper,” and so believers must never accept his “gifts.” When he whispers evil thoughts, believers should know that this is his last, and weakest, strategy and treat it accordingly. If they pay attention to such whispering, they might be defeated. Like a commander who, deceived by his own fear, dispatches his army to the two wings and leaves the center exposed, believers exhaust their powers of perseverance and resolve by fighting Satan and their own carnal selves when they concentrate on such whispering. In the end, they cannot withstand the real fight.
To free yourself from such evil suggestions, remove yourself from the attractive fields of Satan and sin. Heedlessness and neglect of worship are invitations to Satan’s “arrows.” The Qur’an declares: Whose sight is dim to the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign unto him a devil who becomes his comrade (43:36). Remembrance of the All-Merciful, noble or sacred phenomena, and a devout religious life protect us from Satan’s attacks. Again, the Qur’an advises: If a suggestion from Satan occurs to you, then seek refuge in God. He is All-Healing, All-Knowing. Those who fear God and ward off (evil), when a passing notion from Satan troubles them, they remember, and behold, they see (7:200-1).
God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, advised: “When you are angry, sit; if you are standing, sit down; lie down or stand up if you are sitting and perform the ritual ablution.” On the way back from a military expedition, the Prophet called a halt at a certain place. They were so tired that they slept through the time for the dawn prayer. When they woke up, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, commanded: “Leave here at once, for Satan rules this place.” The Prophet also says that Satan flees the call to prayer (adhan).
Satan sometimes tries to tempt us through obscene scenes. He causes us to obsess over illicit pleasures. On such occasions, try to persuade yourself that any illicit pleasure will result in fits of remorse and may endanger your afterlife or even your mortal life. Know that the life of this world is but a passing plaything, a comforting illusion, and that the true life is that of the Hereafter. When some of his men hesitated to join the expedition to Tabuk because of the scorching summer heat, God warned them of summer: The heat of Hell is much more intense, if they would but understood (9:81).