What are the traps (tricks) of Satan?
The Activities of Satan
In various places in the Quran, what kind of activities Satan does and will do are pointed out in the verses. For instance:
When We said to the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam" they prostrated themselves, but not Iblis: he refused. Then We said: "O Adam! Verily, this is an enemy to thee and thy wife: so let him not get you both out of the Garden so that thou art landed in misery. "There is therein (enough provision) for thee not to go hungry nor to go naked" "Nor to suffer from thirst nor from the sun's heat." But Satan whispered evil to him: he said "O Adam! Shall I lead thee to Tree of Eternity and to a kingdom that never decays?" In the result, they both ate of the tree, and so their nakedness appeared to them: they began to sew together, for their covering, leaves from the Garden: thus did Adam disobey his Lord, and allow himself to be seduced. But his Lord chose him (for His Grace): He turned to him, and gave him guidance. (Taha, 116-122)
Behold! We said to the angels: "Bow down unto Adam": they bowed down except Iblis: he said "Shall I bow down to one whom Thou didst create from clay?" He said "Seest Thou? This is the one whom thou hast honored above me! If Thou wilt but respite me to the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway all but a few!" Allah said: "Go thy way; if any of them follow thee, verily Hell will be the recompense of you (all)― an ample recompense. "Lead to destruction those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them. But Satan promises them nothing but deceit. "As for My servants, no authority shalt thou have over them." Enough is thy Lord for a Disposer of affairs. (al-Isra, 61-65)
(Iblis) said: "O my Lord! because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong― "Except Thy servants among them, sincere and purified (by thy grace). (al-Hijr, 39-40)
The Satan threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. (al-Baqara, 268)
(The pagans), leaving Him, call but upon female deities: they call but upon Satan the persistent rebel! Allah did curse him, but he said: "I will take of Thy servants a portion marked off. "I will mislead them and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah." Whoever, forsaking Allah, takes Satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest.
120. Satan makes them promises, and creates in them false desires; but Satan's promises are nothing but deception.(an-Nisa, 117-120)
Now, let us see in detail as an explanation of those verses what Satan does, what kind of tricks and traps he uses to deceive people.
Satan makes sins seem nice
Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes. (an-Naml, 24)
There are various verses that have the same meaning. For instance, al-An’am 43, al-Anfal 48, an-Nahl 63, al-Ankabut 48, al-Hijr 39…
The greatest activity of Satan is to present sins as nice and attractive things to people. For instance, when two people argue, they may fight; such a minor argument may end up in a murder because no mind is present in fury. When fury overwhelms a person, he cannot think reasonably. In the end, one of the parties may go to the grave and the other to prison.
If they think reasonably, they will not suffer such consequences. However, Satan showed them their bad deeds as good deeds and caused such a distressing outcome.
The presentation of sins as good deeds by Satan can be likened to this: Someone puts bad things in good packing and makes people eat them as if they are sweet.
The following is stated in another verse:
Is then one who is on a clear (Path) from his Lord, no better than one to whom the evil of his conduct seems pleasing, and such as follow their own lusts? (Muhammad, 14)
The believer has a ‘bayyina’ from his Lord. Bayyina has meanings like, evidence, proof and sign. An unbeliever does bad deeds. Those bad deeds are decorated by Satan and they seem nice. For instance, Satan deceives him by a trick like, “What is the harm of drinking alcohol; man should take pleasure from the world. “ Such people act in accordance with their desires and pleasures.
The ideology of “hedonism”in the Antique Age philosophy is nothing but acting in accordance with desires and pleasures. The followers of this ideology are plentiful today.
The philosophical school called hedonismsees the world from the point of view of desires and pleasures. Their aim is to satisfy their senses and to take pleasure. Today, many people are affected by this ideology of Satan; they regard all kinds of sins as permissible and virtually cease to be human.
Satan keeps people busy with false desires
I will mislead them and I will create in them false desires… (an-Nisa, 119)
Satan keeps people with false dreams and desires. People who travel in the desert sometimes see a mirage and they think it is real; they run toward it. However, they run toward a dream. Similarly, Satan makes people spend time with false ideologies and dreams. For instance, a wrong ideology emerges and many people follow it. In fact, it will not be useful for them and it will not make them happy. For instance, the ideology of positivism became dominant in the 19th century and it affected the humanity deeply. According to that ideology, one should not believe in things that cannot be proved; since things like spirit, angel, the hereafter that religions mention cannot be proved, they should not be heeded. That ideology puts forward this view: “From now on, temples, churches, mosques, synagogues, etc should be replaced by laboratories; clergymen should be replaced by scientists and the principles of belief should be replaced by the results obtained by science. Ironically, many people all over the world, including the people living in the Islamic world, were influenced by that ideology.
As a matter of fact, not everything consists of matter. Even in man, spirituality is on the foreground more than matter. There are thousands of feelings in man that have no relation with matter. A book does not consists of letters only; it is full of meaning; the universe is full of meaning, too.
I discussed these issues with a philosopher years ago. I said to him, “We make use of philosophy but philosophy is not everything. For instance, philosophy cannot explain how creation took place.” He said,
“I do not use the word ‘creation’. I prefer to use formation, instead.”
I said, “Suppose that you left the classroom and the blackboard was clean; when you returned, there were nice pictures and meaningful sentences on the board; would you regard it as formation or would you say, “who wrote them and who drew them?”
He said, “I believe in science. I accept that science cannot explain this issue but I believe that it will be explained scientifically even if it is hundreds of years later…”
He could not get rid of believing even when he escaped from belief. He did not believe in Allah but he believed in “science”. He did not accept a pre-eternal Allah but he could not get rid of accepting matter as pre-eternal…
Satan makes people believe in such false ideologies and dreams; he prevents people from seeing the truths.
Satan uses demagoguery
Satan knows to make deceitful sentences very well. So to speak, he is a yapper. For instance, he mentions the vastness of the universe, confuses the mind of man and says that one being cannot govern such a vast area alone. On the other hand, he mentions individuals and says that the majesty of Allah does not let Him deal with such unimportant things; for instance, he says, “ why should Allah, with His Majesty, deal with unimportant things like the wing of a fly?”
As a matter of fact, it is wrong to compare Allah to a creature. How can the perfect works of an artist can know the artist? Those works of art cannot make a painting; so how can they say, “An artist cannot make a painting, either?”
On the other hand, it is a clear visible fact that this realm, whose borders we cannot imagine, is governed by one being. Man who is clever and conscious cannot govern even his own body. His liver has more than four hundred functions but he cannot even list four of them. It is ridiculous for man to say,” I govern my body myself.” The one who governs our body also governs the realm.
The fact that Allah deals with the wing of a fly despite His Majesty is a necessity of a limitless power. When the sun rises, its reflection is seen on all of the bright things like a mirror; it illuminates everything at the same time; not one single thing is excluded. Let it not be misunderstood but all of the beings are like mirrors; Allah becomes manifest on all of them at the same time; when He deals with one of them, it does not prevent Him from dealing with others.
Satan keeps people busy with meaningless things and nonsense
…I will order them to slit the ears of cattle... (an-Nisa, 119)
Before Islam, when a she-camel gave birth five times and when the fifth calf (young camel) was male, Jahiliyyah Arabs slit the ear of that animal and they regarded it haram to make use of that camel. Thus, they rendered haram what Allah made halal.
Besides, they sacrificed animals before their idols and slit their ears as an indication that they were vows.
Then, we can understand the content of the verse as, “They will render haram what Allah has made halal; they will commit shirk thinking that they are worshipping.”
Today, many people do wrong things that originate from superstitious traditions as a result of the tricks of Satan. For instance, in some regions of our country, a person becomes a ‘kirve’ for the circumcision ceremony of the boy and from then on, this kirve is regarded as a member of that family. They regard it haram for their children to marry like milk siblings. It is only a tradition; it does not bring about any difference or privilege in terms of privacy and marriage. The religion of Islam does not order the system of being a kirve but it does not refuse it, either. However, Islam does not accept the applications that render haram what is halal and that renders halal what is haram.
Satan wants to interfere in the nature created by Allah
…I will order them to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah... (an-Nisa, 119)
People intervenein the nature created by Allah through the suggestion of Satan. It may be in the form of changing the form or some characteristics of nature. For instance,
-They will break and deprave the nature of man instead of improving it. For example, they will try to turn women to men and men to women; they will use men instead of omen and women instead of men.
-They will have esthetic operations that do not originate from necessities and obligations.
-Instead of natural and legitimate marriages, they will carry out unnatural and illegitimate marriages; they will abandon what is clean and take what is impure.
-Although they are given serious aims for life, they will abandon serious things and be engaged in entertainment; they will abandon their work and play games.
-Although man’s nature is honorable, they will assume attitudes that are not in compliance with human honor. For instance, they will regard honesty as foolishness and dishonesty as a merit.
- Although man needs religion due to his nature, they will change it and regard religion as a bogey; they will keep away from religion and religious values.
Today, the attempts to make changes in the genes of man and other living beings can be evaluated within the scope of the verse. There are some useful applications but some of them are carried out with malicious intentions; for instance, some special drugs given to man can drive him away from his nature and turns him to a wretched person. There is no doubt that such applications are the acts of Satan.
The pills that the people who see life as a means of satisfying the lust use to this end are interference in nature and craziness of pleasure.
Satan makes people worship invalid gods
Hazrat Sulayman (Solomon) had been given a magnificent sovereignty. Even the birds were under his command. At that time, there was a queen named Balqis in Yemen. The bird called Hudhud went to Yemen and saw that people there abandoned worshipping Allah and started to worship the sun. He informed Hazrat Sulayman about it as follows:
I found her and her people worshipping the sun besides Allah: Satan has made their deeds seem pleasing in their eyes, and has kept them away from the Path― so they receive no guidance―. (an-Naml, 24)
Satan made the people of Saba worship the sun; besides, he tried to present people with invalid gods throughout history.
As the Quran states, those gods are, “nothing but some names.” (Yusuf, 40) That is, there is no proof that they are gods. People gave them the title of god and then started to worship them. For instance, some people replace Allah with nature, which is a divine art. They see the beings that inform about the attributes of Allah like knowledge, will and power as “the works of nature”.
“For We assuredly sent amongst every People a messenger, (with the Command) "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil"…” As the verse above states, the wisdom behind sending prophets is to ensure people to worship one Allah. (an-Nahl, 36)
The word “taghut” mentioned in the verse is derived from the word tughyan, which means “invalid god that is worshipped except Allah”. Everything and everybody that necessitates disobedience to and rebellion against Allah is regarded in the scope of the concept “taghut”.
As the Quran states, the characteristics of those invalid gods are as follows:
- They can create nothing but are themselves created, have no control of hurt or good to themselves; nor can they control death nor life nor resurrection. (al-Furqan, 3)
-They do not hear or see those who worship them. (Maryam, 42)
-They can neither be of any good to them nor do them harm. (al-Anbiya, 66)
-People are slaves like them. (al-A’raf, 194)
-there is no proof that they are gods. (al-Hajj, 71)
As the simile of the Quran states, to expect some benefits from those invalid gods is like to take refuge in the “spider web, which is the flimsiest house. (al-Ankabut, 41) However, the humanity have not been able to get rid of those spider webs throughout history.
Some of those invalid gods are as follows:
1-Satanhas become the god of some people. Acting upon the meaning of worshipping as obeying, we can say that the people who do what Satan wants: worship him, that is, become his servant. In addition, nowadays there are some people who directly worship Satan with some rituals.
2-Evil-commanding-soulis the form of the soul that has not been educated. Desireis the wish of the soul that it tends to and its pleasure. The following verse attracts attention to the fact that desire is an invalid god: “Have you seen the one who takes his vain desire as his god?”. (al-Jathiya, 23) God and those orders are fulfilled. If the evil-commanding soul of man gives some orders and those orders are fulfilled, it becomes clear that the soul and its desires are regarded as an invalid god.
The verse above tells about the state of a person who gives up obeying God and starts obeying his desires. Such a person accepts his desires as god, does not think about god, assumes what his soul wants as god and wants to satisfy his pleasures. He bases his religion on his desires, does not see any evidence and does not heed them.
3-Idols have been present throughout the history of the humanity. Some of them were built by people out of wood, stone, silver, etc. Some of them had faces others did not. There are various forms of idolatry from the totems of the primitive tribe religions to the modern idols of the so-called civilized people of today.
The majority of people accept the existence of Allah but they disagree about His attributes. Jahiliyya Arabs who said, “We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah” (az-Zumar, 3), actually accepted the existence of Allah. However, in his creed, a symbol is necessary because Allah is somewhere far away. Those idols have been symbols and many people have not been able to get rid of worshipping idols. A Hindu who regards the cow as sacred and a Buddhist who prostrates before a Buddha statue probably see them as divine symbols and worship them.
Many people imagine Allah as a creature and want to see him at once. The tribe of Moses who said the following is a good example of it. “O Moses! we shall never believe in thee until we see Allah manifestly”. (al-Baqara, 55)
Hamdi Yazır makes this interesting interpretation about the verse above:
“The people who do not accept anything but what they perceive with their senses, who do not believe or do not want to believe in the things that they do not see are like the blind who walk without sticks. They want to hold and touch their gods. According to them, spiritual things are what they reach through their minds and abstract things are illusions. They seek concrete things to worship. If they cannot find concrete things, they themselves make them; they worship them and ask help from them because worshipping is a natural law in man; they cannot get rid of it. However, when they cannot see the real deity, and when they cannot get any support from their hearts and minds, they ask for support from something that they can see and touch. They look at least for an ox or a calf under an ox...”
The statement of Hamdi Yazır, “They look at least for an ox or a calf under an ox” refer to many things:
During the time of Hazrat Moses, Egyptians regarded the ox as a sacred animal just like the cow for the Hindus of today. The tribe of Moses stayed in Egypt as prisoners for a long time; so they were influenced by that wrong belief. They could not get rid of that belief even if after they adopted the true religion. When Hazrat Moses went to Tur, somebody called Samiri made a calf from jewelry and said, “this is your god”; the tribe of Moses did not hesitate to worship the calf. (Taha, 83-97)
Similarly, in the event that is narrated in the chapter of al-Baqara, God Almighty ordered sons of Israel to slaughter a cow; which contains the message of abolishing cow worshipping. (al-Baqara, 67-74) That is, the ox is not a deity to be worshipped but a bounty from Allah, who is the real God, to people; which can slaughter and eat if they want.
Along with those historical events of idol worshipping, there are also some contemporary events:
A professor from South Africa goes to India to do some researches. While traveling with a Hindu colleague, the train stops somewhere, which is not a train station. They wait for a long time. The South African professor asks why they are waiting.
His Hindu colleague says, “I do not know but I will go and ask why.” When he returns, he says, “There is nothing to worry about. There is a cow lying on the railway. When it gets up, the train will go on.”
Then, the South African professor says, “It is very surprising! People worship cows even in the twentieth century!” The Hindu professor asks,
“Do you not have anything like that?”
When the South African Professor thinks for a while, it dawns on him and says,
“You are right; we have something like that, too. It is even worse for us. Your cow will get up and move after a while. We have such cows that will never get up even if years pass.”
4-People can be idolized in two forms:
1-Despots enslave people.
2-Leaders are accepted as gods in the course of time.
A typical example for the first one is the Pharaoh.
As it is stated in the following verse: “Thus did the Pharaoh make fools of his people and they obeyed him: truly were they a people rebellious (against Allah)”, the Pharaoh despises his people and makes fun of them. (az-Zukhruf 54) He says, “I am your Lord, Most High” and forces them to obey him. (an-Naziat, 24)
The most evident example of idolizing a person in the course of time is Jesus in the eye of Christians. Jesus, who is a slave and messenger of Allah was seen as a part of the divinity by some Christians in the course of time; he was given a share from divinity. However, nobody deserves worshipping except Allah. A stone cannot be a deity; a person cannot be a deity, either. Everything is a creature of Allah.
Satan causes delusions in prayer (salah)
A person who starts to perform prayers asks a scholar, “When I did not use to perform prayers, Satan did not struggle with me; however, after I started to perform prayers, he started to cause delusions. Why?”
The scholar answers, “There is a saying in Turkish: ‘They throw stones at a tree with fruits’; that is, successful or talented people are attacked by others. In the past, you did not have any fruits; so, Satan did not struggle with you; now, you are like a tree with fruits; he is trying to get your fruits. As a matter of fact, pirates attack the ships that have treasures; thieves try to burgle the houses of the rich people.”
Everybody who performs prayers complain that Satan causes delusions during the prayer. To perform prayers is a positive deed; not to perform prayers is inaction. Satan is disturbed when people do positive deeds; therefore, he struggles with people when they worship. If he can, he will prevent people from performing prayers. When he cannot do it, he tries to depreciate and harm prayers. He makes people delay performing prayers or makes people think about unnecessary things while performing prayers.
The Prophet stated the following:
“When the call for the prayer is pronounced, Satan takes to his heels, passing wind with noise, When the call for the prayer is finished, he comes back. And when the Iqama is pronounced, he again takes to his heels, and after its completion, he returns again to interfere between the praying person and his heart, saying to him. 'Remember this or that thing.' till the person forgets how many rakahs he has performed.” (Bukhari, Bad’u’l-Khalq, 11)
As a result of the delusions of Satan and due to ignorance and laziness, some people may have a thought like this: “It is good to perform prayers but to perform them every single day five times is a lot. Since they never end, it becomes wearying.” For instance, with the delusion of Satan, a person who just reached the age of puberty might say, “If I live for seventy years, I will have to pray for the remaining fifty-five years. It will never end.” However, man will perform prayers only five times a day. When he performs one prayer, he does not have to perform any other prayers until time of the next prayer starts.
If a woman to get married suddenly sees the dishes that she will wash in her lifetime in front of her like a mountain, she will probably give up marrying. However, she will wash only a few dishes every day.
God Almighty states the following:
…establish Regular Prayer: for Prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds; and remembrance of Allah is the greatest (thing in life) without doubt. And Allah knows the (deeds) that ye do. (al-Ankabut, 45)
The people who read that verse may get a delusion like this:
“There are some people who pray but they have not been able to get rid of shameful and unjust deeds. Then, how should we understand that verse?”
If a person who performs prayers cannot get rid of shameful and unjust deeds, it means there is a problem with the prayers he performs. If a prayer is performed truly and properly, it will protect him from shameful and unjust deeds.
In addition, the following point is also important:
Are shameful and unjust deeds common among the people who perform prayers or those who do not?
When a person researches it, he will see that the people who perform prayers are free and away from shameful and unjust deeds compared to those who do not perform prayers. For instance, drinking alcohol and fornication are very rare among those who perform prayers regularly; they are common among those who do not perform prayers.
Satan makes people yawn
Yawning is an indication of lethargy and laziness. The Prophet said, “Yawning is of Satan.” (Muslim, Zuhd, 56)
However, a person can yawn due to some reasons like sleeplessness and tiredness. In such cases, it will be better for him to try to prevent yawning. The Prophet stated the following in the second part of the hadith above: “Therefore, when you are about to yawn, try to prevent it as much as you can.”
The Prophet stated the following in another hadith:
Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, 'The night is long, so stay asleep.' When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays, the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise, one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart. (Bukhari, Tahajjud, 12)
Another thing that leads man to laziness is to eat too much. A completely full stomach will disturb the whole body; therefore, there will be no place for knowledge and wisdom in that person. If he speaks, he will speak lazily; if he listens to somebody, he will listen by yawning; if he works, he will work inefficiently. The Prophet never filled his stomach completely and said,
“A believer does not fill his stomach completely.” (Darimi, Wasaya, 1)
To eat a little eliminates laziness, lethargy and too much sleep, which stupefies people. The heedlessness of a person who eats too much will increase. Therefore, the Prophet insistently advised us to eat less:
“Man has not filled a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that will keep him upright will be enough for him. If a person does not find it sufficient to eat a few morsels, he should divide his stomach into three parts; He should allocate one third of it to food, one third to drinks and one third to breathing (that is, one third should be left empty).” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 47)
Satan tries to prevent people from prostrating
Prostration is one of the pillars of prayer. Besides, it is wajib for a person who reads or listens to one of the verses of prostration in the Quran to prostrate.
The following is stated in the Quran: “What then is the matter with them, that they believe not?― And when the Qur'an is read to them, they fall not prostrate?” (al-Inshiqaq, 20-21)
There are fourteen verses of prostration in the Quran. They are as follows:
al-A’raf, 206; Ra’d, 15; an-Nahl, 50; al-Isra, 109; Maryam, 58; al-Hajj, 18; al-Furqan, 60; an-Naml, 25; as-Sajdah, 15; Sad, 24; Fussilat, 37; an-Najm, 62; al-Inshiqaq , 21 and al-Alaq 19.
Satan did not prostrate before Hazrat Adam; therefore, he becomes very disturbed when sons of Adam prostrate before Allah. The Prophet stated the following regarding the issue:
When the son of Adam recites the Ayah of Sajdah (prostration) and then falls down in prostration, Satan goes into seclusion and weeps and says: Alas; and in the narration of Abu Kuraib the words are: 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, Iman, 35)
Satan, who does not prostrate before Allah, wants to prevent people from prostrating. He causes delusions like this in some people who believe in Allah:
“Allah does not need your prostration. Prostration is performed to show respect; you already have respect for Allah. Your heart is pure; that is enough for you…!”
It is a reality that Allah does not need our prostration or other kinds of worshipping. The Creator does not need his creatures. However, man needs worshipping and prostration. This way, man assumes an attitude that fits a slave and he gets rid of bad states like conceit and pride.
In fact, all of the beings are in a state of bowing down:
“Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth― the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees the animals; and a great number among mankind?…” (al-Hajj, 18)
The bowing down in the verse denotes their surrendering and obedience to Allah.
In prostration, the slave is in the nearest state to his Lord. He assumes an existence that never ends in the presence of the Being, who puts the universe under his command.
Satan makes man look from a wrong point of view
Sheikh Said says,
“A person who has the habit of looking for faults sees the feet of the peacock when he looks at it.”
The peacock is one of the most beautiful birds but if one looks at its feet only, it will be seen as an ugly bird. However, if it is seen as a whole, it will be seen as a wonderful bird.
Islam is beautiful like the peacock; however, some people criticize it in terms of slavery, the equality of the witnessing of one man to two women, the permission of marriage up to four women for a man, etc. In fact, all of those issues have reasonable and clear explanations. However, both human and jinn devils are in pursuit of presenting the religion of Islam as something ugly by putting forward those issues. In fact, both those issues and similar issues show the beauty and perfection of Islam let alone being a fault.
On the other hand, if 999 gates of a palace are open and only one gate is closed, it cannot be claimed that it is impossible to enter that palace. However, Satan constantly wants to show and make people see the single closed gate. That those issues are not known by some people does not mean that they have no reasonable explanations. However, Satan and his accomplices attract people’s attention to such issues and want to make people doubt and then deny Islam.
For instance, although there are thousands of even numerous evidences about belief in Allah, Satan makes people look from a weak point and tries to make them deny Allah.
Satan leads people to aberration under the disguise of impartiality
People show objective or subjective attitudes toward things and events. Subjectivity and objectivity are opposite concepts. Objectivity means to see and accept the things and events as they are not as we want them to be. In subjectivity, the judgments that are given and the conclusions that are made are based on the nature of the personality of a person, his desires and values; they are evaluated based on those criteria; they have no relationship with the properties of things.
When we look from the point of view of that definition, we can say, “being objective is good and being subjective is bad”. However, Satan influences some people based on the aspect of objectivity. For instance, he may say to a person who does philosophical researches,
“You accepted Islam as a whole. What if Islam is not really the religion of Allah? Why do you not regard it with doubt? Scientific look necessitates doubt! An intellectual like you should not accept things without investigating!”
It is necessary to know the following principles against that delusion of Satan:
- It is excessiveness to doubt clear and obvious issues.
- It is excessiveness to doubt everything, even clearest and most obvious issues; similarly, it is also excessiveness not to doubt anything. Methodical doubt has a special importance in finding out scientific truths. Such a doubt leads man to investigate things and it makes man free from accepting things blindly, without asking any questions.
-Doubt must not be an end in itself; it must be a means of finding the truth and obtaining real information.
-Sometimes, being impartial causes the elimination of a person. If a man says, “This house is mine but it might not be mine” about his own house, he will lose his house. Similarly, if a person doubts the issues that he believes in and says, “It might not be like that”, it will cause him to conclude, “it is not like that” in the course of time.
Satan leads people to imitate others
When they are told to follow the (revelation) that Allah has sent down, they say: "Nay we shall follow the ways that we found our fathers (following)." What! Even if it is Satan beckoning them to the Penalty of the (Blazing) Fire? (Luqman, 21)
Imitation (taqlid) means to accept a word without any evidence. A person who imitates others slavishly is called a“muqallid”. Such imitation is an important weakness of personality and a big obstacle to reach the truth.
Imitation means to try to resemble someone. In general, the attitudes and acts of great people are imitated. To imitate people who are on a good way is a good character. To imitate people who are on a bad way is a great disaster...
The Quran rejects slavish imitation. For instance, let us have a look at this verse:
When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah hath revealed" they say: "Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers." What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance? (al-Baqara, 170)
Hamdi Yazır writes the following while interpreting that verse:
“The reason for following someone or something must not be being old-new or the way of their fathers but compliance with the order of God and the evidence of God. If the fathers obeyed the orders of God and knew what they did, they can be followed. On the other hand, if the fathers did not accept the orders of God and did not know what they did, they cannot be followed.”
The verse that narrates the state of those who scream in hell by stating, “Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great ones and they misled us as to the (right) path...” informs us about the outcome of imitation in the hereafter. (al-Ahzab, 67)
What is essential is searching not imitating. That is, finding out the truth by examining and searching.
A person who imitates slavishly is condemned in our religion.
The verse that condemns those who follow the wrong of their fathers continues as follows:
“The parable of those who reject faith is as if one were to shout like a goat-herd, to things that listen to nothing but calls and cries; deaf, dumb, and blind. They are void of wisdom.” (al-Baqara, 171)
Baydawi interprets it as follows: “Unbelievers who imitate do not pay attention to what is recited to them. They do not heed what is recited. In that case, they are like animals that hear the voice but do not understand the meaning.”
Imitators will be at ease if there is a shepherd that directs them. Otherwise, they are bound to lead a mean life. They cannot decide on their own. They cannot use their own minds.
There must not be slavish imitators among the followers of a religion that rejects imitation. However, especially in places where ignorance prevails, there exists such imitation among Muslims. Approaches like, “The master knows it”, “If my sheikh says so, it is correct”, “If my leader says so, it is correct” causes the cover up of the truths. In Islam, nobody is innocent except prophets. Everybody may make mistakes. The real great people never say that they are infallible. When they make a mistake or it turns out that they are wrong, they repent. They do not keep insisting on making mistakes.
Badiuzzaman said Nursi reminds us the following regarding the issue:
“No mischief-maker says, ‘I am a mischief-maker.’ he seems as if he tells the truth. He regards what is wrong as what is right. Nobody criticizes what he sells. However, do not buy anything before checking. Many vague words are used in trade.”
Satan utters grandiose and flowery words
Satan utters grandiose words to deceive people. It is expressed as follows in the Quran:
“Likewise did We make for every Messenger an enemy,― evil ones men and Jinns, inspiring each other with flowery discourses by way of deception. If thy Lord had so willed, they would not have done it: so leave them and their inventions alone.
To such (deceit) let the hearts of those incline, who have no faith in the Hereafter: let them delight in it and let them earn from it what they may.” (al-An’am 112-113)
While the Prophet calls people to Allah, some human and jinn devils utter some flowery and grandiose words to make people doubt and alienate them from the religion. For instance, they say,
-Why have Muslims been in a terrible situation economically for hundreds of years if Islam is the true religion?
-That person performs prayers but he is immoral. That is, the religion does not make them acquire high ethics.
-Why should alcohol be haram? If Allah created the grapes, should wine, which is produced from them, not be halal?
Such flowery words cause many people doubt the religion of Islam and prevent them from benefiting from Islam. In fact, there are clear answers to those questions. However, when people do not know those answers, they may be deceived by the delusions of Satan.
Satan subverts the criteria of value
The Criteria of the All-Compassionate and Satan are opposite to each other. Therefore, Satan wants to subvert the criteria of value; he calls halal what is haram and he calls haram what is halal.
For instance, it exists in the nature of man to believe in the true religion and to live in accordance with it. However, according to Satan and his accomplices, “Religion is the opium of the people; it numbs people and makes them lazy.”
As a religious judgment, alcohol is “an abomination of Satan's handiwork.” However, according to Satan, alcohol is a part of life. In addition, according to those who are the slaves of Satan, alcohol “is a must for civilization. A person who does not drink alcohol cannot be a modern person.”
As a religious judgment, it is haram and a sin to take bribes. However, according to Satan, it is foolish not to take bribes.
Therefore, the following prayer is one of the most famous of the ummah:
“O Allah! Show us the truth as truth and make us follow it.
Show us the wrong as wrong and make us avoid it.”
Satan drives a wedge between people
Man has a nature that is keen on his own interests. Consequently, people have conflicts of interest among them.
The religion aims to train that keenness on interests in people and make them people that make self-sacrifices for one another. Allah states the following in the Quran:
Say to My servants that they should (only) say those things that are best: for Satan doth sow dissensions among them: for Satan is to man an avowed enemy. (al-Isra, 53)
In fact, all people are the brothers of one another in terms of their ancestor because they are all the grandchildren of Adam. However, Satan makes them forget this relation and cause them to fight one another.
For instance, he maligns racism; he says to some people, “You are the master race; you are a noble nation.” Thus, he makes them invaders.
The religion declares believers to be brothers but he spreads separatist views among them, making believers enemies to one another. This enmity can sometimes cause wars. Or, he magnifies the small problems among them so much that the parties do not show love and respect to one another.
He may even make brothers born of the same parents enemies to one another due to a small question of inheritance.
Satan frightens people
Satan wants to prevent people from doing good deeds by frightening them. There may be different manifestations of it. The verses of the Quran enlighten us regarding the issue. For instance,
1-”Satan threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly.” (al-Baqara, 268)
“To give something away for the sake of Allah” is an important principle in the religion. However, Satan tries to prevent it by saying, “If you give it away, your goods will decrease. Why should you give it away?”
In fact, goods do not decrease when you give them away. They may decrease but Allah makes them abundant. When you draw water from a well, new water comes; if you do not draw water from a well, it becomes still and has a bad smell. If you prune the branches off a tree, it becomes stronger and yields more fruits.
2- “Those of you who turned back on the day the two hosts met,― it was Satan who caused them to fail because of some (evil) they had done. But Allah has blotted out (their fault): for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Forbearing.” (Aal-i-Imran, 155)
The verse is related to the Battle of Uhud. Two tribes wanted to return at the beginning of the battle due to the delusions of Satan.
The battlefield is also a field of struggle against Satan. Before the battle in the field, a battle takes place in the hearts. Satan tries to frighten the believers and intimidate them through the broadcasts he makes from the center called “the Satanic delusion”. He sometimes becomes successful. While the battle continues in the field, the battle in the heart continues, too. The battle in the field ends but the battle in the heart continues severely.
3-“It is only the Evil One that suggests to you the fear of his votaries: be ye not afraid of them, but fear Me, if ye have Fait.” (Aal-i-Imran, 175)
This verse is also related to the Battle of Uhud. Muslims were defeated in Uhud. While leaving the battlefield with his army, Abu Sufyan shouts at the Prophet,
“We took the revenge of Badr. Let us meet in Badr next year.”
The Messenger of Allah says, “Inshaallah”.
When the time that has been determined comes, Abu Sufyan sets off with his army. However, he has a fear in his heart. He wants to return. He meets Nuaym b. Masud on the way. He sends Nuaym to Madinah for intimidating propaganda. Nuaym b. Mas’ud arrives in Madinah and says, “Abu Sufyan is coming with an invincible army. I swear by Allah that not even one of you will survive.”
Against this propaganda, the Messenger of Allah says to the Companions, “I will fight against them even if I am alone”, showing his resoluteness. He goes to Badr together with the Companions. They stays there for eight days do some shopping and return. This expedition is called the Expeditionof Sawiq.
The Quran mentions that expedition as follows:
Men said to them: "A great army is gathering against you, so fear them": but it (only) increased their Faith. They said: "For us Allah sufficeth, and He is the best disposer of affairs.
And they returned with Grace and Bounty from Allah: no harm ever touched them; for they followed the good pleasure of Allah: and Allah is the Lord of bounties unbounded.” (Aal-i-Imran, 173-174)
Satan does not let man confess his mistakes
When Satan was asked why he had opposed to the divine order, he tried to defend his disobedience instead of saying, “I made a mistake; forgive me”. That is, not to confess one’s mistake is a Satanic characteristic; to admit one’s mistake and to ask for forgiveness is a nice act. A person who sees his mistake as a mistake tries to get rid of it; however, a person who does not admit his mistake cannot get rid of it.
In the Quran, Allah repeatedly calls us to repent and ask for forgiveness. He orders His Prophet the following:
“Know, therefore, that there is no god but Allah, and ask forgiveness for the fault, and for the men and women who believe: for Allah knows how ye move about and how ye dwell in your homes.” (Muhammad, 19)
The Prophet himself constantly asked for forgiveness and encouraged his ummah to do so. (Bukhari, Daawat 3)
The Prophet says, “I swear by Allah that I ask Allah for forgiveness more than seventy times a day.” In some other hadiths, it is stated that the Prophet asked for forgiveness a hundred times a day. (Muslim, Dhikr, 41; Abu Dawud, Witr, 26)
Hazrat Abu Hurayra states the following:
“I have not seen a person who asks for forgiveness more than the Prophet.”
As a matter of fact, prophets are innocent. The Prophet asked for forgiveness at least seventy times a day because he wanted to be a good model for his ummah.
There is an ideal form of everything. Even if a person does very good things, he needs to ask for forgiveness for fear that he cannot attain that ideal form. The asking for forgiveness of the Prophet can be seen from this point of view.
Satan leaves people in the lurch
Satan arouses and motivates people but then leaves them in the lurch.
We see an example of it in the Quran when the Battle of Badr is narrated:
Satan, who uses every opportunity to deviate man, is active in the Battle of Bdr, too:
Remember Satan made their (sinful) acts seem alluring to them, and said: "No one among men can overcome you this day, while I am near to you": but when the two forces came in sight of each other he turned on his heels and said: "Lo! I am clear of you; lo! I see what ye see not; lo! I fear Allah; for Allah is strict in punishment.’“ (al-Anfal, 48)
In the explanation of the verse, there are some narrations stating, “Satan was seen under the disguise of Suraka b. Malik before the Battle of Badr and encouraged the people of Makkah to fight in the battle.” It may also mean that Suraka spoke so because he was inspired by Satan.
Besides, it should not be forgotten that Satan does not have be under the disguise of anybody to cause delusions. Therefore, we can regard his deceiving Makkans as deceiving other people, too. Satan encouraged and flattered the polytheists and he was frightened and fled when he saw the army of the angels. There is no difference between Satan making a murderer kill someone or making a thief steal something and flattering polytheists before the battle by saying, “No one can overcome you today...”.
The following is stated in the Quran about Satan leaving people in the lurch:
(Their allies deceived them), like the Evil One, when he says to man "Deny Allah"; but when (man) denies Allah (the Evil One) says "I am free of thee: I do fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. (al-Hashr, 16)
The reason why the verse was sent down is related to the munafiqs of Madinah encouraging Banu Nadir Jews to fight against believers. They said, “If ye are expelled, we too will go out with you and we will never hearken to anyone in your affair; and if ye are attacked (in fight), we will help you." However, when the battle started, they turned their backs. (al-Hashr, 11-12)
That is what Satan does. He encourages man to do bad deeds. While doing it, he acts as if he wants good things for man. However, when he throws man into unbelief, he says he is free of the man and turns his back.
According to most of the scholars, Satan will say he is far away and free of them on the Day of Judgment, which is more appropriate in terms of the apparent meaning of the verse.
Some scholars interpreted Satan as Iblis and the man mentioned in the verse as Abu Jahl. It is certain that Abu Jahl was deceived by Satan but it is also obvious that there is no definite sign indicating that meaning.
In fact, religion is a test. It is necessary to distinguish between lofty spirits like diamond and mean spirits like coal. Satan and his accomplices are necessary for this operation of distinguishing.
Satan encourages people to drink alcohol and to gamble
“Intoxicants and gambling, (dedication of) stones, and (divination by) arrows, are an abomination― of Satan's handiwork: eschew such (abomination), that ye may prosper. Satan's plan is (but) to excite enmity and hatred between you, with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah, and from prayer: will ye not then abstain?” (al-Maida, 90-91)
Alcohol and gambling are harmful diseases that have been seen in almost every community since the first age. Today, they have reached extremely crazy dimensions. Governments, which have to prevent their citizens from harmful things, were deceived – so to speak – by Satan and they established breweries and distilleries and legitimized gambling. In fact, governments, which struggle against narcotics, must struggle against alcohol and gambling, too.
Some of the harms of alcohol and gambling are stated as follows in the verse:
1- They cause enmity and hatred among people.
2- They hinder people from remembrance of Allah.
3- They hinder people from worshipping like prayers.
A drunken man is a man with problems. His mental faculties do not function well. He does not get on well with people. He cannot have a happy family life.
The word translates as “gambling” is mentioned as “maysir” in the verse. This word includes all kinds of haram earnings obtained easily like gambling, lottery, football pools, lotto, etc. What is essential in Islam is to work. Those things that are earned easily make people rich by battening on others.
A person who gambles is always in stress. He is egoistic because he lives based on the losses of others. He actually loses even when he wins because he loses many values like dignity, honor and high ethics while he wins.
There are two more things that are forbidden along with alcohol and gambling in the verse: idols and fortune arrows.
Idols continue to exist today with various kinds.
The prohibition of fortune arrows actually means the prohibition of all kinds of fortune telling. In the Era of Jahiliyyah, Arabs used to draw lots by using arrows and they tried to find out signs about the future. Those who wanted to do some important things like traveling, trade, marriage, etc drew arrows of luck to find out whether they would be good for them. The arrows of luck were in the bag in the hand of the guard of Hubal. Somebody who wanted to draw arrows of luck would go before Hubal give some money to the guard and the guard would draw an arrow from the bag.
People would act in accordance with those arrows. For instance, if the arrow had, “my Lord ordered me to do it” on it, they would do it; if the arrow had, “my Lord prohibited me from doing it” on it, they would not do it.
Satan makes people forget
Forgetting is one of the weaknesses of man. The worst kind of forgetting is to forget Allah and the hereafter and to do deeds that are contrary to the purpose of being sent to the world. It is complete heedlessness.
Some people pretend to be believers although they do not believe. God Almighty states the following about those munafiqs:
“The Evil One has got the better of them: So he has made them lose the remembrance of Allah. They are the Party of the Evil One. Truly, it is the Party of the Evil One that will perish!” (al-Mujadila, 19)
One of the most important weaknesses of the soul is to forget. Hazrat Adam, the first man, was ordered not to approach the forbidden tree but he forgot about that order, approached the tree and ate the fruit of the tree.
That characteristic of Adam is present in all of the children of Adam. That is, man is a forgetful being.
For instance, he forgets what he ate yesterday; he forgets the promise he made to his friend; he forgets his appointments…
However, the most terrifying of them is to forget Allah, not to keep his promise he made to Him and to forget the orders and prohibitions of Allah. Such forgetfulness is complete heedlessness. Allah states the following about such heedless people:
And be ye not like those who forgot Allah; and He made them forget themselves souls! such are the rebellious transgressors. (al-Hashr, 19)
They no longer look at their own souls; they keep themselves busy with others. For instance, they never notice their own faults but they always see the faults of others. They regard themselves as free from mistakes. They never remember that they will die one day. They daydream as if they will live in the world eternally.
The verses: “The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things), until ye visit the graves.” mention the state of such people. (at-Takathur, 1-2) while they say, “my property, my wealth, my rank”, life ends suddenly and those heedless people find themselves in the grave.
That is, the punishment of forgetting Allah is to forget the soul. A person who forgets his soul cannot deal with it and cannot educate it.
Satan proceeds to the target step by step
O ye who believe! Follow not Satan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan he will (but) command what is indecent and wrong... (an-Nur, 21; al-Baqara, 168, 208; al-An’am, 142)
In the verse, following the way of Satan is likened to following the footsteps of someone. Those who follow his footsteps cannot get rid of being his slaves. In the verse above and in verse 169 of the chapter al-Baqara, the following is stated: “Satan commands what is indecent and wrong.” The word “commands” indicates that those who follow him are his civil servants.
Satan has a road map about everybody. Satan knows how to approach a person. For instance, he will not say to a person who performs prayers regularly five times a day, “That is enough. Do not perform prayers any more!” Instead, he will persuade him to perform the morning prayer at home instead of the mosque; he will say, “The weather is cold; it is also your duty to take care of your health. Perform the prayer at home today.” In another phase, he will try to make him perform all his prayers at home. In the next phase, he will cause him not to wake up for the morning prayer. If he can, he will make him abandon prayers completely.
Satan does not start by saying, “come on, drink some raqi!” First, he makes man drink something light like beer. Then, he makes him be curious about other kinds of alcoholic drinks. Then, he says, “you have tried all of them; taste this gin, too”. Thus, Satan destroys him.
He does not suggest illegitimate intercourse to a young man and woman who know about haram at once. He starts a clean friendship at first. In the course of time, he makes them have an illegitimate sexual intercourse.
Satan strives against prophets, too
Hazrat Adam was the first man and the first prophet; as it was mentioned earlier, Satan strived against him, too. He also strived against other prophets.
For instance, let us have a look at the case of Hazrat Ibrahim and his son, Hazrat Ismail. The event of Hazrat Ibrahim sacrificing his son, Ismail, is narrated in the Quran.
Then when (the son) reached (the age of) (serious) work with him, he said: "O my son! I see in vision that I offer thee in sacrifice: now see what is thy view!" (The son) said: "O my father! do as thou art commanded: thou will find me if Allah so wills one practicing Patience and Constancy. (as-Saaffat, 102)
The dreams of prophets are like revelation. Therefore, Hazrat Ibrahim told his son about his dream. His son, Ismail, surrendered to that judgment. The divine aim was to test the father and the son and to inform people about the sacrifice as a form of worshipping.
Satan suggested delusions to both Hazrat Hagar and Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ismail. However, none of them heeded what he said.
Satan said to Hazrat Hagar, “Your husband will sacrifice Ismail.” Hazrat Hagar did not listen to Satan. He said to Hazrat Ibrahim, “Can a man act upon a dream?” Satan suggested delusions to Hazrat Ismail, in three places saying, “Your father will slaughter you.” However, they all threw stones at him and did not heed what he said.
Today, the places where Satan is stoned in Mina during Hajj, are the places where Hazrat Ismail chased away and stoned Satan and where he agreed being sacrificed willingly by obeying the order of Allah.
We see another example of the issue regarding Jesus: Satan opposed to Jesus and said
“Since death and everything is based on the predestination of Allah, jump down from a high place and you will see that you will die.”
“God Almighty tests His slaves and says: ‘If you do this, I will do that; do it and see what happens.’ However, the slave has no right to test god Almighty and say, ‘If I do this, will you do that?’”
Satan deceives scholars, too
Knowledge is among the values that elevate man. However, knowledge without deeds is not enough. Some people may rise to the rank of scholars but they may deviate despite their knowledge and be ridiculed by Satan. The following verse describes very effectively the low level of those who fall into deviation despite their knowledge:
Relate to them the story of the man to whom We sent our signs, but he passed them by: so Satan followed him up, and he went astray. If it had been Our will, We should have elevated him with our signs; but he inclined to the earth, and followed his own vain desires. His similitude is that of a dog: if you attack him, he lolls out his tongue or if you leave him alone, he (still) lolls out his tongue. That is the similitude of those who reject Our signs (al-A’raf, 175-176)
The verse describes the state of the bad scholar who acts contrarily to his knowledge. His fall into deviation originates from his knowledge not from his ignorance. He prefers unbelief to belief deliberately.
The word “insilakh” is used in the verse in order to express exiting belief in such a way as not to return. Insilakh is used in the sense of shedding the skin for an animal. It is significant that the statement, “Satan followed him up is used, not “he followed Satan”. That expression shows that Satan hunted him.
The dog is the dirtiest animal; its value is low and it has the meanest soul. What it thinks is only its stomach. It has a strong greed. It gives consent to the lowest things. It regards carcass to be better than fresh meat. If a dog finds a carcass, even if it is enough for one hundred dogs, it will not share it with anyone and will snarl at the ones that will approach. One of the unpleasant states of the dog is lolling out its tongue; people who follow Satan are likened to a dog like that.
There are various narrations about the identity of the person described in the verse as one of the scholars from the children of Israel, Umayya b. Abi Salt or Bal’am b. Baura. Umayya b. Abi Salt learned from the heavenly books that Allah would send a prophet but he expected that he himself was going to be the prophet. When the Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as the prophet, he denied the prophet due to his envy. The Prophet said, “His poetry believes but his heart is an unbeliever” about him.
Bal’am was a person who had some knowledge about divine books. However, as Hamdi Yazır points out, what is aimed by this narration is not the description of that person but understanding the state of such a scholar. It is possible to see people like the one described in the verse in each period.
Satan leads people to wrong conclusions by acting upon some truths
One important trick of Satan is to draw wrong conclusions by acting upon some truths. If he bases his tricks on wrong things, it will be noticed. However, the fact that he sometimes uses the truths makes him more dangerous.
We see the first example of such a situation in the case of Satan avoiding prostration before Adam:
“(Allah) said: "what prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay."” (al-A’raf, 12)
In the sentence of Satan: “I am better than he: thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay”, there is one correct and one incorrect judgment. This part is correct: “thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay”. However, it is wrong to say, “I am better than he is”, acting upon the first correct judgment.
Sometimes, Satan can cause a delusion like this:
-Was not everything determined by qadar?
-Yes, that is right.
-Then, you are a prisoner of qadar. Your qadar condemned you to commit those sins!”
However, it is wrong to draw such a conclusion acting upon the fact that everything was determined by qadar because we were given the will by qadar, too. The divine qadar program that put the sun to a certain orbit forced us to choose one of the various alternatives. “To be bound to choose something does not eliminate the will.” Or, we can express it in another way: “Man is bound to be free.”
In the following two verses, we can see how people draw wrong conclusions due to the delusions of Satan:
1-”The worshippers of false gods say: "If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him― neither we nor our fathers― nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His.’” (an-Nahl, 35)
2- “they say "If it had been the will of (Allah), Most Gracious, We should not have worshipped such (deities)!" Of that they have no knowledge! They do nothing but lie.” (az-Zukhruf, 20)
The expressions: “If Allah had so willed, we should not have worshipped aught but Him― neither we nor our fathers― nor should we have prescribed prohibitions other than His” in the first verse are actually true. However, the point that they are wrong is the fact that Allah let them free regarding the issue.
The expressions: “If it had been the will of (Allah), Most Gracious, We should not have worshipped such (deities)” in the second verse are also true. However, the point that they overlook is the fact that Allah leaves people free to use their own will regarding those issues. Otherwise, there would be no testing and it would be impossible to talk about the good deeds of the good people and the bad deeds of the bad people. A person is not free to choose being male or female but he is completely free to choose belief or unbelief.
Satan leads people to the precipice
Say: "Shall we indeed call on others besides Allah― things that can do us neither good nor harm― and turn on our heels after receiving guidance from Allah― like one whom the evil ones have made into a fool, wandering bewildered through the earth, his friends calling `Come to us' (vainly) guiding him to the Path."…(al-An’am, 71)
The verse describes the situation of a person who deviates from the way of Islam by following the footsteps of Satan. Muslims call him but he does not heed them. According to the belief of Arabs in the Era of Jahiliyyah, when a person proceeds in the desert, a jinni or ghost appears and shouts to him, “Come this way” and leads him to the precipice.
We can explain the example in detail as follows: One person remains behind the caravan and is lost. He does not know where to go. He looks around in a puzzled way and walks here and there unconsciously. His friends start to seek him and see him in the distance. Meanwhile, the devils step in and shout at him, “Come this way!” The direction that they call is the precipice. If he goes toward the place where the devils call, he will be destroyed. When his friends see that he is doing toward destruction, they shout as loudly as they can, “come toward us!”, calling him to the right path.
There are some people who are lost in the human caravan that proceeds in the desert of the body and that is a candidate for the endless bliss. The devils and devilish people resort to all kinds of ways to drag those puzzled people into the pit of Hell. The people on the true path want to save those people and call them to the guided way.
The nonsense of Satanic Verses
“Did Satan and jinn bring anything to the Prophet as they brought some things to soothsayers and mediums? That is, did they intervene in the revelation in any way?” This issue has been on the agenda from time to time since the beginning of Islam. A similar approach is present in the claims of Makkan polytheists about the Prophet stating that he was a soothsayer or mad. That is, they say, “Satan sometimes whispers to him those things.”
This verse of the Quran is an answer than can silence them:
“No evil ones have brought down this (Revelation): It would neither suit them nor would they be able (to produce it). Indeed they have been removed far from even (a chance of) hearing it..” (ash-Shuara, 210-212)
That is, to bring something like that is contrary to the nature of Satan. Satans have mischief and aberration in their nature; they will never state things that order what is good that prohibit what is bad and that guide people to the right way. Suppose that they wanted to do so, they would be dismissed from the sky by angels and heavenly catapults.
There exists a fine point in the fact that they were prevented from listening to the Quran when it was revealed:
If Satans could have listened to it, they would have informed the soothsayers about it. Then, they would have said, “What was sent to Muhammad was sent to such and such a soothsayer” and trust in the revelation would have been unsettled. However, as it is stated by this verse: “"He (alone) knows the Unseen, nor does He make any one acquainted with His Mysteries― "Except an messenger whom He has chosen: and then He makes a band of watchers march before him and behind him,”, guarding angels watched when the message was sent down to the Prophet. (al-Jinn, 26-27)
One of the wisdoms behind the fact that the angels observed is to prevent Satan from trying to seem to the Prophet in the form of an angel.
One of the issues that devilish people who want to make people doubt the divine revelation bring forward through “the revelation” they take from their own Satans is the trash of “Satanic verses” or “the event of Gharaniq.
They try to support their ideas through the following verses:
“Never did We send an messenger or a prophet before thee but when he framed a desire, Satan threw some (vanity) into his desire: but Allah will cancel anything (vain) that Satan throws in, and Allah will confirm (and establish) His Signs: for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom:
That He may make the suggestions thrown in by Satan, but a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and who are hardened of heart: verily the wrongdoers are in a schism far (from the Truth):
And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Qur'an) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe to the Straight Way.” (al-Hajj, 52-54)
Zamakhshari, an interpreter (mufassir), mentions the following narration while explaining those verses:
The tribe of Hazrat Prophet had turned away from him; his relatives had not supported him; they had opposed him. The Messenger of Allah had been disturbed by their turning away from him and desired them to become Muslims. Therefore, he did not want anything that would drive them away from him to be revealed so that they would tend to become Muslims and give up their obstinacy. When he was together with people from his tribe and he was in such a state, the chapter of an-Najm was sent down. He started to recite:
When he was reading the verses “Have ye seen Lat an Uzza? And another, the third (goddess) Manat?” (an-Najm, 19-20), Satan intervened his thoughts causing him delusion. The Prophet said, “These are the exalted Gharaniq, whose intercession is hoped for” by mistake. The Messenger of Allah did not notice that he said so. Then, he noticed it thanks to his attribute of innocence. (There is also a narration stating that Jibril warned him). Or according to another narration, Satan uttered that couplet. People heard that couplet. When the Prophet prostrated at the end of the chapter, the polytheists who were there prostrated complacently.
The narration that led the enemies of the religion to the claim of “satanic verses” and that became known as “Gharaniq” is what is explained above.
Now, let us deal with the content of this narration in various aspects:
1. It is a clear contradiction for those who reject the divine revelation to try to use the Quran as evidence.
2. That Zamakhshari quotes this narration does not mean that he accepts it. It is possible that he quoted it as a piece of information.
3. This narration was not accepted as true by most interpreters.
4. The information that the chapter of an-Najm was recited and that the polytheists prostrated together with the Muslims at the end of the chapter exist in hadith collections but the sentence about Gharaniq does not exist.
For instance, the following is reported in the Sahih of Bukhari from Ibn Mas’ud:
“The first chapter in which a verse of prostration was sent is the chapter of an-Najm. When this chapter was sent down, the Messenger of Allah prostrated. The people who were there prostrated, too. However, I saw a man take a handful of soil from the ground and prostrate on it.” (Bukhari, Tafsir, 53/4)
5. In one of the narrations reported by Zamakhshari, it is stated that Satan uttered that statement. Even if there were something like the event of Gharaniq, it was an intervention in order to sabotage the recital of the Prophet. As a matter of fact, today when a person makes a speech, his opponents can shout slogans.
6. When Yaqut al-Hamawi describes Uzza in his book, Mu’jamu’l-Buldan, he quotes the poem mentioning Gharaniq and say polytheists recited that poem when they circumambulated the Kaaba. Then, this statement does not belong to the Prophet; it is Satanic delusion belonging to polytheists.
7. The beginning of this chapter indicates clearly that this narration is wrong:
Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him. (an-Najm, 3-4)
As it is understood from the views quoted above, there is no indication showing that Satan intervened in the revelation in the narration that is tried to be made famous as “the Event of Gharaniq”. However, the religion is a testing. It is stated in the verse that it was a mischief (fitnah). (al-Hajj, 53) Fitnah lexically means to put metals like gold and silver into fire to understand whether they are fake or not. As a result of this testing, people with diamond spirits like Abu Bakr will be distinguished from people with coal spirits like Abu Jahl.
Is it regarded unbelief to dream unbelief?
The most important and dangerous delusion of Satan is related to the issues of belief. He carries it out by making people confuse dream and reality.
A person can sometimes dream unbelief and polytheism. For instance,
“What would happen if there were more than one god?”
“what if everything ends with death? What if there is no hereafter?”
“What if qadar binds us?…”
To dream those things does not mean to accept them.
Islamic scholars have determined this criterion: “to dream unbelief is not unbelief.” When man dreams to eat something, his stomach is not filled; when he dreams to have a fortune, he does not become rich; similarly, when he dreams unbelief, he does not become an unbeliever.
The dirt seen on the mirror is not dirt; the image of a snake on the mirror will not bite; the image of the fire on the mirror will not burn. Similarly, the dirty memories related to unbelief that come from outside without based on a person’s will do not harm a person.
When the Prophet was asked about the delusion caused by Satan, he said,
Does a thief enter a house in which there is nothing? That is what belief is. (Muslim, Iman, 211)
The answer of the Prophet mentions a principle that relieves the people who suffer delusions. That is, the delusions that come to the heart and that disturb the heart do not harm belief; on the contrary, they prove belief because the heart of the person who is exposed to delusions is disturbed by them; that is, he does not accept those delusions. It shows the belief existing in him.
Satan approaches from four directions
When Satan did not prostrate, he was dismissed from divine mercy. Since he was punished because of man, he wanted authority from Allah in order to disturb and deviate him. When he was given the authority, Satan said:
He said: "Because thou hast thrown me out of the Way, lo! I will lie in wait for them on Thy straight Way. "Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: nor wilt Thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for Thy mercies). (al-A’raf, 16-17)
What is first understood from those sentences of Satan is that he tries to do his best in order to make man deviate from the way to Allah. Satan is very ambitious and determined regarding the issue. Satan is the greatest obstacle on the way to Allah.
Satan sits on the way of Islam for man and says to him,“Will you abandon the religion of your ancestors?” He does not heed what Satan says and becomes a Muslim. Then Satan sits on the way of migration and says to man, “If you leave your country, wou will be lonely.” He does not heed what Satan says and migrates. Then, he sits on the way of jihad and says to him, “If you go to the war, you will be killed; your property will be shared by others; your wife will marry someone else.” He overcomes this last obstacle, too. Then, he proceeds. (Nasai, Jihad, 19)
Fakhraddin Razi reports the following in his tafsir:
The angels felt pity for man when they saw the resoluteness of Satan and said, “How can man get rid of Satan when he has surrounded him from four directions?”
God Almighty said to them,
“There are two more directions as down and up. If man opens his hands upward and asks from me in modesty? Or if he prostrates in awe? I will forgive his sins of seventy years.”
The approaching of Satan from the front, back, right and left can be understood in different ways.
For instance, there is the Doomsday and the hereafter in front of man; Satan makes him deny them. There is the world behind him; Satan makes him turn toward the world. When he approaches from the right, he tries to prevent man from doing good deeds and charities.
For instance, when man wants to give sadaqah, he tries to prevent him by saying, “In fact, you need this and that; why do you give money to that beggar?” Or, he acts upon the principle of the lesser of the two evils; he keeps man busy with small charities to prevent him from doing big charities. He acts as if he wants the goodness of man but prevents him from doing charities. For instance, he persuades a man who can do big charities and serve believers to lead his own life and prevents others from benefitting from him.
When Satan approaches from the left, he makes man see bad deeds as good deeds by decorating them; he wants to make man spiritually dirty through the stains of sins.
From another point of view, the four directions can be understood as follows: the front as dream and imagination, the back as delusion and groundless fear, the right as lust and the left as wrath.
Satan keeps the imagination of man busy with wrong and superstitious things. As it is known, man first imagines and then he does things. For instance, before a thief burgles a house, he burgles it imaginatively many times; then, he burgles it in reality. Every sin starts with imagination.
Satan used delusion and groundless fear to prevent good deeds and charities. For instance, when a person wants to give an important portion of his property away as charity, Satan steps in and says to him, “what if you lose your work and become needy in the future? What if this or that happens?...”, causing him to make calculations; thus, he may prevent good deeds and charities.
Lust is related to the desires of man. Satan deceives man regarding ranks, fame, satisfying pleasures, etc.
Wrath is related to the fury of man. There is a saying, “There is no mind in the fury.” When fury is active in man, the mind becomes deactivated; that person becomes ready to do any madness due to the encouragement of Satan. For instance, when the cow of a person enters his neighbor’s garden and eats one or two tomatoes, his neighbor utters such bad words that a reasonable mind will not approve them; or, he acts so foolishly that even a child does not behave like that. Sometimes, it may continue until one of them kills the other. One of them goes to the grave and the other to prison; he lives regretfully until the end of his life.
Shaqiq Balhi, a great saint, says the following, which can be regarded as the interpretation of the verse above:
“I am attacked by Satan from four directions every morning. When he comes from the front, he says, “Do whatever you want. Allah is the Forgiver and the All*Compassionate.” I answer him uttering this verse:
Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful; And that My Penalty will be indeed the most grievous Penalty. (al-Hijr, 49-50)
When he approaches from behind, he frightens me mentioning the possibility of the risk of poverty for me and my family. Then, I read him the following verse:
There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance depends on Allah... (Hud, 6)
When he approaches from the right, he tries to praise and elevate me mentioning my good deeds; he says, “There is no one who worships like you in the world.” I silence him by reading the following verse:
...So persevere patiently: for the End is for those who are righteous. (Hud, 49)
(That is, it is necessary to see the end of it, not today. When a person sets out to go somewhere, he is not regarded to be successful until re reaches his destination. For instance, if a person who drives to Ankara from Istanbul has an accident in the last kilometer, he cannot reach his destination.)
When he approaches from the left, he shows me the beauties and the lustful pleasures of the world; he tries to arouse my pleasures. Then, I remind him the following divine statement:
…And between them and their desires, is placed a barrier ―. (Saba’, 54)
(That is, the people of Hell are terrified when they are exposed to the torture of Hell; there will be no desires left for them. For instance, when the most beautiful meals are put before a person who undergoes torture, he will not desire them.)
When I recite them, Satan returns without obtaining anything.”
Satan tries to steal man’s belief
Satan is a thief; he tries to steal the most valuable jewel of man in his heart, that is, his belief. Today, the doubts that are seen almost everywhere regarding belief prove that Satan works very hard to this end. For 70 years, a delusion like, “Religion is the opium of the people” was one of the fundamental principles of a state that was based on communism. In that system, a war had been declared against “what is sacred”. Nowadays, religion is in a more respectable state worldwide. However, the delusions of Satan regarding the issue are not over.
Satan insists on stealing the belief of man. He insists until the last minute. Even in football, there may be surprises in the last minute; similarly, Satan works hard to steal even the belief of people who have taqwa through his delusions in their deathbed and to send them from this world as deniers.
Theoretically, it is possible for Satan to steal the belief of a person but people who have strong belief get ready for the last minute throughout their life; therefore, their belief is under protection; even if Satans come with their armies, they will not be able to do anything to them. Their belief is not in their mind only; it is in the depths of their hearts; Satans cannot penetrate into those depths.
Satan leads people to fire
The one who was created out of fire will end up in fire. However, he does not want to be alone in fire; he wants to have many people, who were sent to the earth as vicegerents, with him in fire!
If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one to be an intimate companion to him. Such (evil ones) really hinder them from the Path but they think that they are being guided aright! At length when (such a one) comes to Us, he says (to his evil companion): "Would that between me and thee were the distance of East and West!" Ah! Evil is the companion (indeed)! When ye have done wrong, it will avail you nothing, that day, that ye shall be partners in punishment!. (az-Zukhruf, 36-39)
It is understood that the bodies of those who follow Satan will burn in fire and their spirits will burn in repentance. However, this last repentance will not be of any use; they will not be able to be saved from fire.
It is necessary to be protected from Satan so as not to suffer such a disastrous end. First, it is necessary to know the ways of protection from Satan and then to apply them. In the next chapter, the way of protection from Satan will be explained. To apply them is up to the volitional resoluteness of the individual. A person who does not use the medicine he has cannot be cured. If one does not apply the means of protection from Satan, they will not be of any use.