Wednesday

THE WEAPONS OF THE BELIEVER IN HIS WAR AGAINST SHAYTAN – part 8

Adhering to the Straight Path means adhering to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah in words and deeds is the greatest means of protection against Shaytan. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal recorded that Abdullah bin Mas’ood said, “The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wassallam drew a line with his hand (in the sand) and said, ‘This is Allah’s Path, leading straight.’ He then drew lines to the right and left of that line and said, ‘These are the other paths, on each path there is a Shaytan who calls to it.’ He then recited, ‘And verily, this is My straight path, so follow it, and follow not (other) paths, for they will separate you away from His path.’” [Soorah al-An’am (6): 153]

1. Caution and care: This evil enemy of the human is always anxious to mislead mankind. He does this through a number of means, many of which we have discussed in the previous emails. One must beware of this enemy. One must be aware of his goals and his stratagem in order to be victorious over him. If man is heedless about these affairs, then Satan can attack him through any means that he pleases.

2. Sticking to the Book and the Sunnah: The greatest thing that can be used as a defense against the devils is sticking to the Book and the Sunnah, by one’s knowledge and by one’s actions.

3. Taking refuge and shelter in Allah : The best way to take shelter from Satan and his soldiers is to seek refuge and aid in Allah from the accursed Satan. Allah has power over Satan. If the slave seeks refuge in Him, how can Satan get to him? Allah has instructed us to seek refuge with Allah from the Shaytan and his evils in the Qur’an, “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytan, then seek refuge with Allah.” Surah al-A’raf 7:200. Indeed, only Allah is able to prevent the evil of Shaytan from touching the son of Adam. Allah required us to seek refuge with Him from the evil of Shaytan because he neither accepts bribe nor does kindness affect him because he is pure evil. Thus, only He, Who created Shaytan, is ableto stop his evil.”

4. Being busy with the remembrance of Allah - Remembrance of Allah is one of the greatest acts that will save the person from Shaytan. The person does not protect himself from his enemy except through the remembrance of Allah. Satan does not enter unless one becomes neglectful and falls into his ambush. But if he remembers Allah again, Satan will be defeated, humiliated and made small like a small sparrow or a small fly. The Qareen of a believer, who keeps his tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah, is very lean, weak and hungry because the more the believer remembers his Lord, the more Shaytan suffers and is tormented. Whereas the Shaytan accompanying an evil doer who does not remember his Lord, rests in peace and is therefore strong and powerful and thus more capable of overcoming him. Narrated Abu Hurayrah , “the Shaytan of a believer met the Shaytan of a disbeliever. The latter was fat and well clothed, while the former was weak, lean, disheveled, dust colored (covered with dust), hungry and naked. The Shaytan of the disbelievers asked the Shaytan of the believer, ‘Why are you so lean?’ The Shaytan replied, ‘I am accompanying a man who, when he eats, mentions Allah’s Name, so I remain hungry. When he drinks, he mentions Allah, so I remain thirsty. When he wears his clothes, he mentions Allah’s Name, so I remain naked. When he puts oil in his hair, he mentions Allah’s Name and I remain disheveled.’ Then the Shaytan of the disbeliever said, ‘But I am accompanying a man who never does any of the deeds which you mentioned and I share with him his food, his drink, his clothing, etc.”

5. Dispelling the Shaytan any time of the day or night - The Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “Whoever says in the morning, “None has the right to be worshiped except Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belongs the Dominion, to Him belongs all praise and He is over all things Omnipotent.” ...has indeed gained the reward of freeing ten slaves from the children of Isma’eel and ten of his sins are wiped away and he is raised ten degrees and he has found a safe retreat from the Shaytan until evening. Similarly, if he says in the evening, he will be protected until the morning.” [Saheeh Ibn Majah]


6. Dispelling Shaytan from the house - Abu Hurayrah reports that Allah’s Messenger said, “Do not turn your houses into graves. Indeed, Shaytan flees from a house in which Soorah al-Baqarah is recited.” [Saheeh Muslim]

7. Dispelling Shaytan at the time of anger - Sulayman ibn Sard said, “I was sitting with Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihe wassallam and two men were abusing each other. The face of one of them became red (out of anger) and his veins had become inflated. Allah’s Messenger said, “I know a word which, if he was to say, his anger would leave him. If he said, “I seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan - the Accursed,” his anger would leave him.” [Agreed upon]

8. Dispelling Shaytan before food, drink and entering the house - Jabir said, “I heard the Prophet say, “When a man enters his house and remembers Allah, the Exalted, upon entering and before eating, Shaytan says, ‘There is no place for you to spend the night and there is no supper for you.’ When he enters the house and does not remember Allah, Shaytan says, ‘You have found a place to spend the night’ and when he does not remember Allah upon eating his food, Shaytan says, ‘You have found a place to stay and some supper.’” [Saheeh Muslim]

9. Dispelling Shaytan before going to bed - The Prophet said, “When you are about to sleep recite ayat alkursi (Soorah 2: 255) till the end of the verse for there will remain over you a protection from Allah and no Shaytan will draw near to you until morning.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee]
Narrated Aisha (radhi allahu anha), “When the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam went to bed every night, he would cup his palms together and blow in them after reciting the last three chapters of the Qur’aan (Soorah al-Ikhlas, Soorah al-Falaq and Soorah al-Nas) and then wipe over his entire body as much as possible with his hands, beginning with his head and face and front part of his body. He used to do this three times.” [Saheeh al-Bukharee] and he also advised Uqbah ibn Amir to recite these after each obligatory prayer.” [An-Nisaee]

10. Dispelling Shaytan when approaching one’s wife - Ibn Abbas reports that the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “If one of you says, when approaching his wife (for intercourse), “In the Name of Allah. O Allah! Make us distant from Shaytan and make Shaytan distant from what you bestow upon us.” …then if it is decreed that they should have a child as a result of that, the Shaytan will never be able to harm it (i.e. the offspring).” [Agreed upon]

11. Opposing the Shaytan - when we know that doing something or doing it in a specific way is from the characteristics of the Shaytan, we should oppose him by doing it differently and follow the Sunnah. For example, the Prophet said, “When any one of you eats, let him eat with his right hand and when he drinks, let him drink with his right hand, for Shaytan eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” [Saheeh Muslim] and, “Take a midday nap because the Shayateen do not take a nap.” [Saheeh al-Jamee (4/147)]

12. Repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness - When, “Shaytan said to the Lord of Glory, ‘By Your Glory, O Lord, I will keep trying to misguide Your slaves so long as their souls are in their bodies.’ The Lord said, ‘By My Glory and Majesty, I will continue to forgive them so long as they ask My forgiveness.’” [Saheeh al-Jamee (2/32)] Thus, prompt repentance and turning to Allah whenever one falls into one of Shaytan’s enticements is sure to destroy the plan of Shaytan.

I would like to end this topic with a hadith which shows that remembering Allah in every affair will make Satan despised, belittled, disparaged and defeated. Imam Ahmad related that Tameema heard from one of the companions of the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam who related that he was riding behind the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wassallam and the Prophet’s donkey stumbled. The companion said, Perish Satan! The Prophet said, ‘Do not say, Perish Satan, for in that case you give him some honor and he said, By my strength it fell down. If you said, In the name of Allah, Satan would have been belittled until he became like a fly.’”

A MISCONCEPTION

Some people say, ‘We seek refuge in Allah but we still feel Shaytan coming to us and urging us to evil or preoccupying us while we are in the prayers.’ The reply to this is that seeking refuge in Allah is like a sword that is in the hands of a warrior. If his arm is strong, he is able to penetrate and kill his enemy. If his arm is weak, he may leave no mark at all on his opponent, even if it is a very sharp sword. The same is the case with seeking refuge from Shaytan. If one is pious and God-frearing, this invocation becomes like a fire that burns Shaytan. If the person is of weak faith, one whose faith is mixed with evil, then this weapon hardly harms Satan whatsoever. Therefore, the Muslim who wants safety in Allah from Satan and his plots must work to increase his faith and he must turn to Allah for help and security. And there is no power or strength except Allah.

Wishing you the best,

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani

Sunday

You can defeat shaytan – PART 7

Shaytan is given power over the believers because of their sins for example Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihe wassallam said about a Judge, “Allah is with the Qadhi so long as he is not unfair. If he judges unfairly, then He forsakes him and lets the Shaytan be with him.”

If a person is strong in his faith and observes the limits of Allah, he can defeat Shaytan. Allah’s Messenger sallallahu alaihe wassallam said, “The believer can seize the forelock of his Shaytan as one of you seizes the forelock of his camel whilst traveling.” Ahmad

Imam Ibn Katheer explained, “What is meant by seizing his forelock is defeating him and overwhelming him, as one does with a camel when it runs away, then you seize it and overpower it.”

Moreover, Shaytan is afraid of and flees from the strong believers. For example, the Prophet said about Umar Ibn Khattab radiallahu anhu, “the Shaytan is certainly afraid of you, O Umar.” He also said, “I can see the Shayateen among the jinn and mankind running away from Umar.”

So, although Shaytan has no power over the strong believers, he is able to gain control over those who accept his ideas and follow him willingly. Allah said to Iblees when he avowed to mislead the children of Adam, “Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghaawoon (those who go astray; criminals, polytheist and evildoers).” [Soorah al-Hijr (15): 39-42]

And it is mentioned in Soorah an-Nahl, “Verily! He (Shaytan) has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah). His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Shaytan), and those who join partners with Him (Allah).”

Shaytan can thus, do no more than call people to misguidance and make it look attractive to them. He has no power over them to force them into doing what he wants. People who respond to his call do so because it suits their whims and desires. So blame is attached only to those who respond to him.
Fate of Shaytan and those who follow him will be the worst and most horrible. Allah tells us that His Curse is upon Shaytan until the Day of Resurrection, and that He will fill Hell with him and his followers.

Adhering to the Straight Path in words and deeds is the greatest means of protection against Shaytan. In the next email we will insha Allah learn the means prescribed in the Qur’an and Sunnah to dispel Shaytan.

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani

Thursday

Meet Your Enemy - Part 6

“He (Shaytan) makes promises to them (i.e., mankind), and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan's promises are nothing but deceptions. The dwelling of such (people) is Hell, and they will find no way of escape from it” [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 120]

The story of Shaytan's false promises and his deceit is narrated from the People of the Book and is reported by Ibn Jareer in the Tafseer of Soorah al-Hashr. We quote it here to learn some lessons from it and to show the way of Shaytan in his attempt to mislead mankind. The story warns us about Shaytan’s “sincere advice.” We must oppose the thing that Shaytan is calling to.

There was a pious worshipper of the tribe of Israel. He was the most pious person of his time. During his time, there were three brothers who had a sister. She was a virgin. And they had no sister other than her. They were all about to leave the town to go to war. They did not know with whom to leave their sister and who they could trust to look after her. They all agreed to leave her with that pious person. They all trusted him. They went to him and asked if they could leave her with him. She would be in the building next to him until they return from the fighting. He refused their request and sought refuge in Allah from them and their sister. They persisted until he finally acquiesced. He said, “Put her in the house next to my place of worship.” So they put her in that house and they left, leaving her there. She remained living next to that pious person for some time. He would put food for her in front of his building of worship. Then he would lock the door and return to his place of worship. He would then tell her to come out of her house and take the food.

Then Satan approached him softly. He encouraged him to treat her kindly. He told him that it was not good to make the woman come out of her house during the day as someone may come upon her. If he took the food directly to her door that would mean a greater reward for him, He continued for some time to go to her door and place the food at the front of her door without speaking to her.

Then Iblees came again and encouraged him to do good and get more reward. He said, “If you took her the food and placed it in the house for her, you would get a greater reward.” He continued to encourage him. So he started to take the food into her house. He continued like that for some time.

Then Iblees came again and again encouraged him to do good. He said, “If you talk to her for a while she will be put to ease by your conversation as she is in a state of fear and she is all alone.” He then started talking to her from atop his place of worship.

Then Iblees came again. He said, “If you were to come down and talk to her while she sits at her door and talks to you, that would be even more comforting for her.” He continued to encourage him until he came down and sat at his door and would talk to her. The girl would come out of
her building and sit at her door and they would talk for a while.

Then Iblees came again and encouraged him to get great rewards for treating her well. He said, “If you were to go from the door of your place of worship and sit close to her door, that would be even more comforting for her.” He continued exhorting him until he did so. He continued that act for a while. Then Iblees came again. This time he said, “If you enter her house and talk to her, and not make her show her face in public it would be even better for you. He continued exhorting him until he entered her house and spent the whole day talking to her.

Then when night fell, he returned to his place of worship. Then Iblees came to him after that and continued to make her more appealing to him. Until the worshipper got upon her and kissed her. And Iblees continued to make her look nice in his eyes and desire her until he finally fulfilled his desires
with her. She got pregnant and gave birth to a boy.

Then Iblees came and told the worshipper, “Do you not realize what the brothers of the girl will do to you when they see she has given birth to your son? You will not be safe if your matter becomes clear. You should go to the boy and kill it and bury it, that way you can conceal your affair and they will not do anything to you for what you did to her.” Then he said to him, “Do you think she will conceal from her brothers what you did to her and your killing of her son. Take her, kill her and bury her with her son.” He continued spurring him on until he killed her and threw her in the ditch with her son. Then he put a large rock over them and leveled it. Then he returned to his place of worship and worshipped therein. He stayed in that state for as long as Allah willed until the brothers came back from the fighting.

They came to him and asked him about their sister. He mourned her loss and started to cry. He said, “She was the best of women and that is her grave. The brothers came to the grave and cried over their sister and asked Allah to have mercy on her. They stayed at her grave for a few days and then went to their families.

When the night overtook them and they went to their beds, Satan came to them in their sleep in the form of a traveler. He started with the eldest and asked him about their sister. The brother told him what the pious man had stated and how they were shown her grave. Satan told him that the pious man had lied. He said, He did not tell you the truth about your sister. He got her pregnant and she had his son and then he killed and buried her out of fear of you. Then he threw them in a ditch he dug behind the door of the house she was staying in, to the right of the entrance. Go and enter the house in which she stayed and on the right of the entrance you will find everything I told you about.” Then he went to the middle brother and did the same. Then he went to the youngest brother and did the same. When they woke, they were all surprised at what they had seen. When they met each other, they all said, I saw an amazing thing last night, and they informed each other of what they had seen.

The eldest said, “That dream has nothing to it so just ignore it. The youngest said, I will not leave it until I go and look at that place.” They all went until they reached the door of the place where there sister stayed. They opened the door and looked for the place that was described to them in their dreams. They found their sister and her son buried in a ditch, as they were told. They asked the worshipper about it and he confirmed what Iblees had told them. They then took him and were about to crucify him. When they had him on the wooden cross, Satan said to him, “You know that I am your companion who tempted you by the woman until you got her pregnant and you killed her and her son. If you obey me today and deny Allah, who formed and shaped you, I will rescue you
from your predicament.” The worshipper then belied Allah. When he belied Allah, Satan left from being between him and the others and they were able to crucify him.’

From this story we can note one of the methods that Satan uses to mislead mankind. He takes the human step by step, not all at one time, to misguidance. He neither over does it nor does he bore the person. Every time the person is pleased by a step, he takes the human to a greater act of disobedience. This continues until he can take him to the greatest sin and the person’s destruction. This is Allah’s pattern with respect to His slaves. If they deviate from Allah’s path, He allows Satan to gain control over them.

“So when they went astray, Allah sent their hearts astray” al-Saff 5.

I ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound, and protect us from all evils.

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani

Tuesday

DOORWAYS OF SHAYTAN INTO A MAN’S HEART – PART 5

Shaytan does not come to the human and say, ‘Leave this good deed and do this evil deed in order to make your life in this world and the next a miserable one.’ If he behaved in that manner no one would follow him. Instead, he uses many ways to deceive the slaves of Allah, including:

1. Making evil look good – He makes the false appear in the form of truth. And he makes what is true appearing like falsehood. He always bewitches the mind until he can deceive the person. No one is safe from his bewitching except whomsoever Allah wills. He makes good looking to him what harms him the most, until he imagines that it is the most beneficial act for himself. And he makes him flee from the most beneficial act until he thinks it is something harmful to him.

2. Going to extremes – Allah never orders anything except that Shaytan takes two contradictory stance towards it; either shortcoming and negligence or overzealousness and exaggeration. It does not matter [to him] by which of these two mistakes he becomes victorious over the slave. He comes to the heart of the slave and examines it. If he finds in it listlessness and looking for loopholes, he deals with him from that vantage. He strikes him with laziness, listlessness and lethargy. He opens for him the door to reinterpretations hopes and so forth until the slave may not fulfill anything of what he is commanded. If he finds in the slave’s heart alertness, seriousness, desire to work and potential, Satan despairs from attacking him through the above means. Instead, he orders him to strive even harder. He convinces him that what he is doing is not sufficient for him. His ambition is to be greater than that. He must work more than the other workers. He should not sleep when they sleep. He should not break his fast when they break their fasts. He should not rest when they rest. If one of them washes his hands and face three times, he should wash them seven times. If one makes wudu for prayer, he must make ghusl. [He orders him to] similar other acts of exaggeration and extremism. He makes him go to extremes and beyond the limits. He makes him stray from the straight path in the same way that he makes the first person fall short of the straight path and not approach it. Satans intention for both is to keep them from the straight path: the first by making him not come close or near to it and the second by making him pass it and go beyond it. Many of creation are misled by these two strategies. There is no escape from them except deep knowledge, faith and the strength to fight Satan and stay along the middle path.’

If you feel that you are being affected by this waswaas, say, “Aamantu Billaahi wa Rasoolihi (I believe in Allaah and His Messenger).”
Try to stop thinking about that waswas as much as possible, and keep busy with things that will distract you from it.

Keep on turning to Allah in all situations, and ask Him for help, and beseech Him, and ask Him to make you steadfast until death, and cause you to die doing righteous deeds.

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani

Saturday

SHAYTAN ENTERS A PERSON’S HEART THROUGH HIS WEAKNESSES – PART 4

We know that Shaytan gradually misguides mankind through waswaas (whisperings to commit acts of disobedience to Allah) but he does not use the same approach for everyone. People differ in their nature, personality and ways of thinking; what appeals to one, may not appeal to another. So Shaytan may seek to conquer someone by exploiting his love for money, while he may subdue another by his lust for fame, or might delude another by emotion. Shaytan has different ways to enter a man’s soul and misguide it; these doorways to a person’s heart are referred to as, ‘weakness.’

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim said, “The Shaytan flows through the son of Adam like blood, until it is as if he becomes part of him, so he finds out what he likes and prefers; once he knows that, he uses it against a person and enters into him through this door. He also passes this information on to his brothers and allies among mankind, so that when they want to achieve their wicked aims against one another they do so through means of that which people love and desire. Whoever tries to enter through this door will gain entry, and whoever tries to enter through any other way will find that the door is barred to him and he will not get what he wants.”

It is thus not the way of Shaytan to openly call one to disobedience. He will encourage negligence in prayers by whispering to the person to complete his worldly work before he leaves for prayers. After he has completed his work, Shaytan will remind him of food, and after that he will remind him of something else until the time of prayer has perished.

Similarly, if a person runs a business, Shaytan whispers to him that if he goes for prayer, he might miss some customers. However, if Shaytan finds man to be zealous in performing Salaat, he comes to him through different means in which he is weak. He whispers to him concerning his wealth and encourages him to unlawfully usurp the wealth of others and forbids him from paying Zakaat while telling him that this will bring him poverty and so on.

Ignorance, Ingratitude, Argumentativeness, Overstepping the limits, Carelessness, Pride, Doubt, Suspicion, Despair, Hopelessness, Recklessness, Haste, Inappropriate joy, Self-admiration, Wrong-doings, Oppression, Negligence, Miserliness, Covetousness, Extreme hostility in cases of dispute, Panic, Fear, Rebellion, Tyranny, Love of wealth are DOORWAYS OF SHAYTAN INTO A MAN’S HEART.

I ask Allaah to protect us and increase us in faith, righteousness and piety.

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani

Thursday

STRATEGY OF SHAYTAN – PART 3

In order to ease the path of hell for the people, Shaytan tempts mankind little by little; beginning with a few steps and eventually leading them to the final downfall.

Shaytan had persuaded Adam and Hawa into eating the forbidden fruit. Allah commanded, “O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the Dhalimoon (wrong-doers).” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 35]

It is worth pondering that Allah did not say, ‘Do not eat the fruit of this tree,’ rather He commanded them to stay away from the tree itself saying “but come not near this tree.” If they strolled near the tree or sat in its shade there was a greater possibility of them being tempted into eating its fruit. So Allah commanded them to keep away from the tree absolutely!

This is the Sunnah of Allah in all matters. He closes all doors that lead to evil by forbidding the means that can lead His slaves into committing greater sin or evil.

Knowing that Allah prohibited Adam and Hawa from approaching the forbidden tree; Shaytan first enticed them to come near the tree. He then beautified for them its fruits, their color and fragrance, and finally caused Adam and Hawa to eat from it. So, Shaytan enticed them into disobeying Allah in a gradual way.

Shaytan uses the same ploy with the children of Adam and this necessitates extra precaution on our part. We not only have to refrain from committing sins but it is also necessary to keep away from every path that may lead to disobeying Allah, including visiting places and gatherings where the limits of Allah are not respected, keeping bad company or participating in innovated celebrations etc.

May Allah protect us from the traps of Shaytan.

Wassalam
-Zakia Usmani
http://www.facebook.com/zakiaaftabusmani