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Satan – our avowed enemy

Publishing Date : 13 April, 2015

Iqbal Ebrahim

‘Verily Satan is an avowed enemy to you; so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become companions of the blazing fire.’ (Quran 35: 6)

In virtually every religion there is the belief, the basis and the concept of good and evil; what is good is Godly and Heavenly; what is evil belongs to Satan and leads one onto the path to Hell.

Evil began many eons ago, in Islam the Quran says of the time when Allah created Adam and commanded the Angels to prostrate themselves before him, they all did except Iblis (Satan): ‘It is We who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels bow down to Adam, and they bowed down; not so Iblis (Satan); he refused to be of those who bowed down. Allah said: what prevented you from bowing down when I commanded you? He said: I am better than he, You created me from fire and him from clay’ (Quran 7: 11-12)

Following this misguided pride, Iblis (Satan) was cursed. Satan’s response was to ask Allah for reprieve till the day of resurrection. He appealed to Allah to give him a chance to mislead those who will follow in his (Satan’s) path: ‘Give me respite till the day they are raised up,…..lo! I will lie in wait for them on Your Straight Way: I will assault them from before them and from behind them’ (Quran 7:16-17).

Thereafter Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Quran relates that Adam and Even were given freedom to enjoy the good things in the Garden, except forbidden to eat of a certain tree. It is at this point that Satan whispered suggestions to them that; ‘Your Lord forbade you to eat from this tree, lest you should become Angels or such beings as live forever’. (Quran 7:20). Having succumbed to the evil temptations of Satan, they broke God’s command, thus Adam and Eve were banished to this earth.

Therefore it is clear from Satan’s promise that he sets his trap for us and assails us from every angle to divert us from the path of righteousness by leading us astray, and those who follow his ‘whisperings’ are doomed. Most of us are aware of the menace of Satan that is ceaselessly trying to derail us from the path of righteousness, thus we should be ever watchful and take steps to protect ourselves from being deceived by him.

But whilst we do so, there is unfortunately the other enemy we should guard against, that enemy is within ourselves. If we are not aware of this evil side of our soul we can become a slave to our passions. This is the big challenge and struggle for us because it is from within the mind, soul, emotion, and wishes that instigates us with many of these evil thoughts. We entertain many vain passions and desires of this world so much so that some of us are completely seduced getting carried away and provoked in spending our lives chasing those dreams.

‘The Evil one threatens you with poverty and bids you to conduct unseemly. Allah promises you His forgiveness and bounties. And Allah cares for all and He knows all things’. (Quran 2: 268)

For example, there is nothing wrong in working towards improving our living standards or working towards making our lives more comfortable by improving our financial status and thereby securing our future - However this seduction should not become an obsession.    

In the process of improving our worldly life many people dream of a posh home, a fancy car, the latest mobile apparatus, the fanciest television, wearing the best designer clothes and living a lavish lifestyle, but in pursuit of these desires we can become so obsessed that we can do anything to obtain them. Some of us will be willing to ‘break the bank’ as it were. ‘Men’s souls are swayed by greed…. But if you do good and practice self-restraint, Allah is well acquainted with all that you do’.  (Quran 4:128)

Most of those earthly dreams and desires can only be satisfied by having more money, this unfortunately can become a driving force in amassing more money and wealth in order to gain a ‘higher’ status in life; we start throwing out self-restraint and that is when insatiable greed can set in. Unless we check ourselves it can become an obsession and this can lead to us onto the road of cheating, lying, deception and doing all sorts of other illegal things including stealing to achieve those dreams.

Once we reach a certain status level we can start breeding the elements and attitudes of selfishness, jealousy, arrogance and evil within the realm of that greed – usually it then becomes a game of arrogance. But once arrogance sets in, apart from chasing the glitter of this world we easily get side-lined and involved in many activities that are in direct conflict with our religious beliefs and dictates.       

We can become pompous and begin to show off our new found status of having gone up the ladder. We begin to feel that we are above others and walk around on a cloud of superiority thinking that we are the special ones because of our status, hence worthy of broad respect. We tend to forget that respect is earned and is not a given.   

 ‘You all know that the life of this world is but play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting and multiplying in rivalry among yourselves, riches and children……but what is the life of this world but goods and chattels of deception?’ (Quran 57: 20)

This is the time for us to step back and ponder on the two sides of our souls; the good and the evil. We are not born evil it is only when we allow our evil side to overcome the good that we fall into the downward spiral of evil. Almighty Allah reminds us in the Quran: By the soul and Him who perfected it in proportion and inspired it to understand what is right and wrong for it. Truly he succeeds that purifies it. And he that fails that corrupts it’. (Quran 91: 7-10).

Believers should always be aware of the machinations of Satan, and should therefore train their minds to resist the evil and the corrupt onslaught of our avowed enemy. We should remember and turn to our Lord in prayer: ‘Verily, those who are pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember Allah, and indeed they then see aright’. (Quran 7: 201).



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