The Satan’s Trap or Bait
By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Abdul Husayn Dastghaib Shirazi
And say: O my Lord! I seek refuge in Thee from the evil suggestions of the Shaitans. (Sura al-Muminun, 23:97)
To summarize the last talk, believers must give importance to Isti’adha and, in accordance with the Nass al-Qur’ani (the categorical Qur’anic Injunction), in all conditions, seek Allah (S.w.T.)’s Protection from the machinations of Satan. Satan, and his ilk, has never left man to his own scruples, nor will they ever do it. They always strive to prevent man from doing any good deed. Whenever man tries to do good, they create impediments in his efforts.
In certain circumstances the efforts of the satanic forces are redoubled. These situations are when one delivers justice, when one is alone with a young strange woman and at the moment when a person is in a rage of anger. As illustrated in the previous talk, Satan tries all forms of deceptions to destroy the human being.
The Satan’s Trap or Bait
This evening we shall consider three good deeds of men that Satan makes the best efforts to nullify. They are:
Ahad: Promises or resolutions
Nadhr: Or offerings
Sadaqa: Or charity
When a person resolves to Allah (S.w.T.) for performing a certain act and to give a nadhr (offering) after its fulfillment in accordance with the norms of fiqh, Satan tries all the deceptions at his command to prevent him from offering the promised nadhr!
Similarly when one wants to give a sadaqa in Allah (S.w.T.)’s way, Satan tries his level best to prevent the person from giving it. It has been oft recorded that when a person puts his hand in his pocket then Satan, and his numerous retainers, cling to the person’s hand and put all sorts of fears in his mind. As the Holy Qur’an warns: Shaitan threatens you with poverty and enjoins on you lewdness. (Sura al-Baqara, 2:268)
They will put a fear in the mind of the person that after doing the charity he will be left with nothing and render him penurious. Sometimes they put a fear in the mind of the person that after doing the charity if he gets some urgent need for personal expense, then from where he will get help! Therefore they persuade the person to refrain from giving charity in the way of Allah (S.w.T.).
Don’t brag after giving charity
And, despite everything, after one has given in charity, then Satan tries his level best to render the good deed null and void and thus the person doesn’t qualify to get reward for the good turn. To achieve this end, Satan would use all his skills to persuade the person to publicly brag about his charitable act. For example, Satan will put in the mind of the person to tell to the beneficiary of the charity, ‘It was I who came to your rescue in time of need! None else would have helped you!’ Or Satan would make him belittle the receiver of the charity by saying, ‘Take this money now. But please don’t come to me for help again!”
Therefore, Allah (S.w.T.) categorically says in the Holy Qur’an: Do not make your charity worthless by reproach and injury. (Sura al-Baqara, 2:264)
In a nutshell, Satan is a mortal enemy of men and always schemes to make their good turns go in vain. Therefore, they too have to render Satan’s mean efforts ineffective!
Satan sets his sight on the hearts of people
In all commentaries, and particularly in Majma al-Bayan, it is narrated from the Holy Prophet (S) that Satan always has an eye on the heart of a believer. When he finds the person busy in prayer, he flees. The Prophet (S) has said, ‘Satan has put a halter on the hearts of men. But when man remembers Allah (S.w.T.), Satan escapes from him. When a person ignores remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.), Satan would swallow his heart.’ ‘Satan plans to swallow the heart of a believer. But when the believer remembers Allah (S.w.T.), Satan runs away from him.’
Satan chases a person till the end. This subject has received great importance in the Holy Book. Allah (S.w.T.) takes an oath from man that he will not become a follower of Satan. In clear terms Allah (S.w.T.) has described Satan as the sworn enemy of man: Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! that you should not serve the Shaitan? Surely he is your open enemy. (Sura Ya Sin, 36:60)
Allah (S.w.T.) has thus forbidden man not to befriend, Satan, his enemy since creation and warned from becoming his follower.
What is Satan? Why he has been Created?
Two topics have always been the subjects of discussion- what is Satan and what is the purpose of his creation? Also, what could be the strategy to save oneself from his machinations and to dispel the fears that Satan creates in the hearts of human beings. These topics need discussion at length, the dissertations on the topics are neither comprehensible for the layman nor are necessary for him. Therefore, they are dealt here in brief to give the basic understanding to the common man.
What is the use of knowing about Satan
Researchers are of opinion that if there is fear of a housebreak in a neighborhood, then the person with good commonsense would look for as many persons as possible to confront the brigands. He will also ensure that the doors and windows are securely locked from inside the house. He will place suitable hurdles on the way by which the burglars might access the house. But, to the contrary, if the person spends lot of time in investigating about the brigands about their numbers instead of fortifying his place, it might become too late to meet their assault.
Therefore, what is necessary for you is to find the ways of guarding against Satan. Trying to find out about his creation, his ways of creating fears in the human beings would be a purposeless exercise. The duty of a person is to guard against Satan in all events.
Now that the Mukhbir as-Sadiq (the Truthful Messenger) has informed that Satan is the sworn enemy of the humans since creation of man, you should not waste time in futile talk and, instead, search for ways of warding him away.
However, since these questions about Satan are oft repeated, the matter is dealt here in brief:
Satan has been created with fire and he is a rare creature
Although man is made of the four elements - fire, water, soil and air - but the content of soil is prominent in his make-up. This gives volume and weight to the human body. Therefore the power of comprehension and action in a human being are limited.
Contrary to this, Satan is made of fire, with the fire and air being predominant components in his make-up. Therefore Satan is absolutely subtle (latif) and light and, therefore, has a very wide range of actions and mobility in his control.
Man thinks that he has great faculties at his command but Satan has such incredible capabilities that he can become so small as to easily pass through a tiny crevice. He can also become so huge as to entirely encompass a vast place! The distances that a man can travel over a month with difficulty, Satan can traverse in the time taken to blink the eyes once! The heavy weights that man is incapable of lifting, Satan can lift effortlessly!
In Sura an-Naml Allah (S.w.T.) has made a reference towards this fact while narrating the story of Hadrat Sulaiman (a.s.) the throne of Bilqees: One audacious among the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it. (Sura an-Naml, 27:39)
Satan can see us
There is an objection that if Satan exists, then why men are unable to see him? This is an invalid objection. Human eyes cannot see rare things. They can only visualize things that have volume. Can we see the air that is absolutely rare? Can we see the waves of the wind, although we feel them blowing. The human eye is made of soil and it can only see the voluminous things. Therefore the Holy Qur’an says: he (shaitan) surely sees you, he as well as his host, from whence you cannot see them. (Sura al-A’raaf, 7:27)
Yes! At certain times the satans can make themselves visible to people. Many prophets such as Hadrat Nuh (a.s.), Hadrat Yahya (a.s.), Hadrat Muhammad (a.s.) and many men of high piety have seen Satan and even now some pious persons must be there who have this experience.
The creation of Satan and the felicity of Man
As far as the purpose for Satan’s creation, the Omnipotent Allah (S.w.T.) creates whatever He desires to. The raison d’être (hikmat) for creation of Satan requires a detailed discussion that will be out of place here. But, in a nutshell, the creation of Satan (and his ilk) is to test the felicity of the human beings. When men ward away the deceptions of Satan, they ear a place in the Heaven and those who are misled by him, will be Hell bound!
Allah (S.w.T.) has ordered men to do charity. Satan asked people not to do charity lest their horde of wealth diminishes! Those who have wisdom and strong faith snub Satan and tell him,’ Allah (S.w.T.) says: And whatever thing you spend, He exceeds it in reward, and He is the best of Sustainers. (Sura Saba, 34:39)
If you are steadfast in determination and patience like a mountain, then wisdom and knowledge will take you to such a place that it becomes evident if you were irresolute, the Satanic fears would sway your feet! It is the existence of Satan that proves the felicity of men of piety and wisdom who are steadfast despite all the stratagems of the accursed one!
The purpose to create Satan is to put Man to test
We all talk of Allah (S.w.T.) and the Day of Judgment. But do we really have a strong faith is a moot question! It is only Satan (and his ilk) that is a touchstone for testing the humans.
If you take Allah (S.w.T.)’s name with implicit faith, then why you don’t have confidence in His promises. If, unfortunately, you have accepted the fears that Satan has put in you mind, then you will be rendered a mu’min only in the namesake. If you have a strong belief in the existence of the Heaven, then why you don’t make a sincere effort to earn a place in it! Why don’t you try to avoid going to the Hell as Retribution for the evil deeds committed under the spell of Satan!
And he has no authority over them, but that We may distinguish him who believes in the hereafter from him who is in doubt concerning it; and your Lord is the Preserver of all things. (Sura Saba, 34:21)
You see that a particular lady has claims of piety. Satan approaches her in the garb of a human being and says, ‘Madam! You have become old-fashioned and retrograde! You have covered yourself in such a clumsy chadar (shawl)’. When you happen to see the lady a second time, she will not look much different from gentlemen! Satan creates such doubts, fears and changes in the human beings.
Definitely, the purpose of the creation of Satan is to test the human beings as to their determination to be steadfast on the right path. Those who are fickle minded and susceptible to be led astray by Satan are also tested by Satan! Thus Allah (S.w.T.) gets a proof of who is mu’min (believer) and who is fajir (immoral).
Allah (S.w.T.)’s promise and Satan’s promise
It is a human failing that man gives more credence to Satan’s promises. Satan prevents him from spending in the way of Allah (S.w.T.) by creating unfounded fears in his heart. The thought is generated in the man’s mind that what he would do if a more important need for expenditure arises soon and he would be without the money that he was giving for the good cause now.
But man forgets Allah (S.w.T.)’s promise and goes back on spending on good causes. He remains in the service of Satan and is carried away, spending huge amounts for name and fame, hearing his name mentioned on the radio, television and the newspapers!
When Allah (S.w.T.) exhorts people to be kind to their poor neighbors, needy relatives and to help them monetarily, they make an excuse that their financial status doesn’t permit doing any such charity. But when Satan dictates about expense on worldly activities, they spend without giving a second thought!
Allah (S.w.T.)’s call and the call of Satan
Satan has been created with the sole purpose of testing the human beings. He encourages opening of cinema houses and trains satanic men and entangles the two- legged animals in his bait.
Doesn’t the call of ‘Hayya ‘alal falaah’ (come for the good act) emanate from the mosque in the vicinity of cinema halls at the time of Maghrib Prayer? These two situations are in the immediate neighborhood of each other to test the people as to who are righteous and who are going astray!
Who knows The Day of Reckoning might be tomorrow! For that Day the right to get Reward and Retribution is being earned by men today!
Satan never thrusts his will on people forcibly
Satan can never force anyone to do misdeeds. He has no such faculties. He can only operate through creating doubts in the minds of persons and tempting them to go astray with his deceptions. Satan says: And I had no authority over you… (Sura Ibrahim, 14:22)
Satan’s job is only to create doubts and fears in the human mind. If a person goes to the mosque, it is with his own conviction and decision. When he goes to the cinema theatre, it is his own choice and decision. It is the fault of the man who is tempted by Satan to make decisions that make him a sinner. On the Day of Judgment when people surround Satan and blame him for leading them astray, he will give a simple and clear reply that he did not drag them into the Hell. They had themselves decided to act the way they did! Satan would then ask men to curse themselves rather than cursing him!
And I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you obeyed me, therefore do not blame me but blame yourselves. (Sura Ibrahim, 14:22)