And if a false imputation from the Shaitan (Devil) afflict you, seek refuge in Allah; surely He is Hearing, Knowing.(THE NOBLE QUR’AN)
Knowing the blight is more important than knowing the virtue
Islam considers knowing the sin as a more important issue than knowing the virtue. As our first Imam,Ali (As), stated:
to avoid sinning is more important than doing a virtuous action.
If we want to live as a pious human being, it is our duty to know the blights and obstacles in religion. As everybody knows for sure, the devil is one of the greatest and most basic enemies for a pure life and because of that the Quran calls it “the obvious enemy”. First, we should try to know this dangerous enemy, his attacks and the way to repel his attacks and then by victorious attacks against him, try to keep ourselves in the direct path (i.e. life based on God’s rules).
The constant movement of human beings from the world to the infinity
After being born, human beings have a constant and infinite movement from the world to the hereafter and resurrection. So each human is equal to infinity and his movement will never stop. As our first Imam, Ali (As), stated:
you are born immortal not mortal.
The life in the hereafter is more complicated and perfect than this worldly life. All of the beauties and perfection of this world are just an essence of the hereafter. The life of this world compared with the hereafter is like the womb compared with the world. Therefore, a sane and wise man is sure that life in this world is temporal and will arrange all of his plans according to his infinite life. Based on the Quran, people who are stupid, deaf and blind arrange their plans based on this worldly life.
Devil; The Real & External Enemy
God, who is the creator of human beings and is aware of his essence, emphasizes in the Quran that each human being in his path to eternity has a real enemy which has external existence. His name is devil and he will never leave us alone.
We have reviewed the story of the devil’s expulsion for several times. When the devil was expelled before God, he took a vow to ambush in the true path of life and deceives humans. So it is quite clear that every path which leads to Hell is not part of the devil’s aim.
We must be aware of this fact that if we are being deceived by devil, we are in the true path of life. We must repel his attacks intelligently and prevent deviation. At the moment that we are deviated by the devil, we are his slaves and devil’s dream has come true.
As Ayatollah Tabatabaee has stated in his book Almizan:
the devil’s attacks are not palpable. They aim humans’ mind and thoughts.
In the Quran, God divides the devil’s attacks to four groups: right, left, front, back. These will be explained in the following paragraph.
Devil; a gift for human’s transcendence
Devil is created as human’s servant, because without him no growth or movement towards eternity will happen. He is a negative factor whose attacks make us more powerful. Each time we conquer the devil, we grow a lot and our affinity with God is increased.
Without any opposing force, human beings will live like angels and have no priority over them. Whereas human beings are the eminent creatures of God for whom angels bowed down. They are created for eternity and will mirror God’s majesty.
Moving in this eminent path needs a hard and exciting battle between two parts of human; nature and essence. When essence conquers nature, human being transcends and gets similar to God. Just like a surfer who uses the great waves for creating beautiful scenes and showing his art. If the sea is calm, there will be no surfer. If there was no nature to fight against, what would be our difference with angels? Holy men transcend because of their fight against their nature.
Devil’s attacks from the front
1. Make anxiety for the future
Being with God in the eternity is the real happiness for humans. In order to make them forget the eternity, the devil tries to worry them about their future so that they spend all of their life for their worldly needs.
In these attacks, people are always worried about their future, family, career, economy, etc., and have a hopeless outlook towards these worldly issues that do not bother to think about eternity. This matter makes them to forget death which is so close to them. When a person understands this matter, he has already spent all of his time for his spouse, children, etc., and has done nothing for God.
The more a person is trying for his worldly needs and nature, the more he destroys his eternity, because these needs are infinite and will be never satisfied. As a matter of fact, he gets more anxious and will never attain happiness.
The devil tries to increase the importance of the world in order to make him forget his real future and his real essence which is part of God. In the Quran, God warns those that have forgotten him and betrayed themselves that He will forget them too.
2. Anxiety for earning money
Another attack is creating anxiety for earning our daily bread and financial problems. To repel these attacks, the Quran suggest people to trust God because our lives are in the hands of God and He provides everything for His creatures. Being greedy for the future is so futile because it prevents people from paying attention to the hereafter.
Our real savings are equal to the amount our God likes us; otherwise none of what we have saved in our lives can be useful for us.
We should learn to work and seek our daily bread modestly so that the devil cannot make us greedy. Greed makes people work for an unknown future and forget their soul, essence and true being.
We should do business intelligently. Our prophet stated that business is full of blessings but it should not involve us too much so that we forget our soul.
God never deprives his creatures of their daily bread. It is actually part of human’s mistake that seeks his daily bread in a way which is so far from God.
3. Creating fake mental obsessions
Sometimes the devil, by creating fake obsessions in life, occupies the people’s mind so that they will not have enough time their human growth. These obsessions occupy the minds of people so much that they will not have enough time to say their prayer with complete attention.
In these attacks, the natural aspects of human being are emphasized and his essence is underestimated or destroyed.
4. Not enjoying the present time
In this attack, the devil does not allow people to enjoy the present time. They are either worried about their future or thinking about the behavior of people and interpret it in a negative way. To repel this attack, we should be vigilant and without being proud, confess to our sins. Allame Jafari stated:
if you do not make yourself (that is your nature) busy, it will make you busy and whispers so much to make you sad and not be able to enjoy God’s mercies and blessings. In this situation, you cannot grow successfully towards God.
If we cannot use the mercies of this world, which are the symbols of the other world’s mercies, we cannot use the mercies of the hereafter. We should have a calm and strong spirit to be able to use Heaven’s mercies. If we do not fight with the devil and do not prepare ourselves, we will have a terrible death.
The devil’s attacks from the back
1. Reminding the sinful past and destroying the motivation for growth
In this attack, the devil reminds people about their sinful past, destroys most of their religious believes like the belief in accepting penitence or compensating the past, makes people think they cannot start a new life and finally people think they are unable to grow in their lives.
In this situation people spend so much time thinking about their sins that do not have enough time for changing themselves and become deprived of spiritual pleasures. Their movement is slowed down or stopped or even they move backward.
Sometimes the devil disguises himself as a preacher and makes us believe in his words. After a while we consider ourselves so sinful that do not dare to pray and get further from God until we are completely separated from Him. In these situations, the devil looks at people and mocks them.
We should remember that our movement toward happiness is mixed with effort and offence. Making mistakes and falling down is not a sin, but remaining sinful and not compensating the past is a sin. This is a rule of thumb; those who live courageously are happier.
We should try not to be afraid of the future and doing good actions. We should avoid negativity, even if we do not attain whatever we want. Moving forward and growing is better than negativity and inertia.
If in your relations with God or other people you start having evil thoughts, you should not allow these thoughts prevent us from returning to God and repenting. God states: when a human being repents, I will forget his sinful past and turn it into good acts.
To lead us to the true path, God has paid a great price such as the torment of his prophets, the martyrdom of the innocent Imams and the affliction of the great knowledgeable men, so we should learn to value them.
2. Creating suspicion and fake aversion
In this attack, the devil always reminds us about our unhappy relations with others and creates suspension. The result of this suspicion is a fake aversion. The devil also sometimes reminds us about our past aversions and hatred and exaggerates them in order to prevent the human’s movement toward happiness.
Suspicion creates instability and hesitance. A suspicious man cannot interpret other people’s actions in a positive way. Besides, suspicion is one of the deadly sins which prevent humans from going to Heaven which is the land of health and safety. People in Heaven do not humiliate, ridicule, break people’s hearts, say nonsense, have evil thoughts, etc. Heaven is a place for people who forgive, like and forget people’s weaknesses.
A Muslim is a person who does not bother people with his hand, tongue or even thoughts and has the power to overcome his spiritual weaknesses. To be a real Muslim we should learn to avoid negative thoughts and it will be possible through improving ourselves. We should know the rules and ways of spiritual purification and follow them against our nature.
Remember that God will be more severe toward those people who cannot forgive others easily.
Devil’s attacks from the left
All of the temptations and thoughts which lead humans toward committing sin are part of these attacks. For every person there is a different kind of attack. The kind of attack depends on the sins that a person has its grounds in his nature. For example, when a person destroys the grounds of stealing in his nature, the devil cannot force him to do it. However, the devil can make him to commit other sins such as backbiting whose grounds is still in the nature of the person.
Therefore, every sin is a sign of defeat from the devil attack from the left and this sign shows our weakness. In this way, we can know our weaknesses and try to omit them.
Devil’s attack from the right
This is one of the worst and most dangerous attacks. In this attack the devil abuses religion against itself for a religious person.
When a person avoids whatever that is taboo (Haram), the devil starts misusing the sacred ideas and images for misleading a person. The devil toke a vow to mislead every person either through committing sin or through their religion.
When a person resist devil’s temptation, the devil starts changing his plans and uses religion for misleading a person. Since these attacks are disguised as religious actions, their recognition is harder than other attacks. These attacks are so effective. Sometimes when a person thinks he is so close to happiness, he already recognize the real nature of his actions. Generally the devil let people do their religious actions and even creates the suitable situation for these them. After a while he starts using these religious actions against the person and convinces him to commit sin making him sure of his sacred past. This kind of person looks down on the people who do not do as much religious actions as he does and turns into a conceited proud man.
We should remember that in these attacks, the devil never prevents us from religious actions. Instead, he turns the fights between nature and essence into a futile action which causes no growth.
Our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated:
even if you do not commit sin, I am afraid of something worse for you and that is becoming proud because of your religious actions. Sometimes God makes people commit sin to prevent them from self-admiration.
When humans get conceited because of their religious actions the disaster happens. They turn into expecting creatures who have forgotten their God’s favors to themselves.
Every person should know that the most sinful human being on the earth is himself. Pride, whether for a sacred person or for a pagan, is a calamity and God does not like proud people. The goal of creation is serving God and we should learn to be God’s true servants.
Whenever we want to pray, we should be aware of not remembering our religious actions.
Examples of devil’s attacks from the right
Misusing sacred factors can disturb Islam more than anything else. Whenever the enemy attacks with illicit and taboo factors, he will be defeated easily. But when he uses hypocrisy, he is always successful.
Imam Ali (As) , the glorious and victorious hero of Islam, was always struck by those who pretended to be religious. Talheh and Zobayr were companions of our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and had a religious past record, but their prayers did not help them. Greed, jealousy and pride made them deviated and the enemies of their Imam and Islam.
Imam Hasan (As) and Imam Hossain (As) were martyred by those who were superficially religious. For instance, Ibn Saad hold a public prayer in Karbala. When he threw the arrow ha said: confess in the resurrection day that I was the first person who threw the arrow.
After Imam Khomeini passed away, lots of people showed their grudge. Our society was disturbed mostly by those people who were superficially religious.
Imam Ali (As) stated:
the truth is accompanied with tranquility. Be careful not to consider a person as your criteria in recognizing the truth.
Neither being a religious leader nor a holy position brings sacredness. They even can be used against God. You should be able to recognize the truth.
Obsession is the distortion of measurements. It starts with the common issues and then distorts one’s morality and believes. Being obsessive is equal with being the devil’s slave. Because one starts neglecting the limitations and measurements that God has established for him and obeys those of devil. Obsession is an insult toward God and is equal with cruelty.
The one who avoids God’s measurements is cruel to himself.
The aim of ablution is to get close to God, but the devil attempts to change the rules of ablution and changes it into something which he likes.
Obsession is one of the factors that make people dislike religion. After a while, obsessive people will get tired of religious duties and this is exactly what the devil wants. Obsession is not just about religious duties or casual issues. Mysticism and religious jurisprudence are scientific subjects but they are intrinsic. If obsession penetrates into the casual issues, it can also penetrate into our soul, morality and believes.
Resale (the reference book in Islam) is written to prevent hesitation or obsession in religious issues. We should know that those religious issues which hurt people’s character are not actually religious.
Some examples of distortion in God’s measurements
Sometimes the devil impose doing Mostahabat (those good actions which are not obligatory) on us and keep us away from Vajebat (those good actions which are obligatory). In this case Mostahabat are harmful and they are considered as illicit or Haram; however people think they are showing their respect and love to God. Pay attention to the following examples.
1. Although he knows fasting is harmful for him, he does it.
2. Based on Islamic rules, if your clothes are not clean (najes) and you cannot change it, you should pray with it. However, some people prefer not to say their prayers and say “I do not like it in this way” and this is part of the devil’s inculcations.
3. When he should wash something once, he washes it twice.
4. While saying his prayer, he lengthens some part so that he cannot keep up with the Imam and his prayer is not accepted.
5. On Thursday night, he stays up to read different prayers such as Komeil, but he cannot wake up for the Morning Prayer.
6. Based on Islamic rules, if you do not have enough time for performing ablution with water, you should do it with the soil. The devil tries to convince you that the soil is not appropriate for performing ablution.
7. There are certain punishments for different sins such as incest, murder, etc. But the devil makes us believe that these punishments are inhuman. These lame excuses are used for other religious rules too.
Is the devil more merciful toward human beings than God? If a doctor has to amputate an organ, should we consider him a cruel person?
Temperance prevents such diseases in human beings. We should not be more catholic than pope. Otherwise we will be deviated. Religion is about following the rules and limitations.
The aim of the measurements
In Islam recognizing the measurements and limitations has been emphasized. This knowledge acts like math equations and helps people accommodate their lifestyle with the rules of the hereafter. In fact, people should try to use this worldly life and make themselves ready for the life in the hereafter.
We should learn to live base on the rules of the Heaven so that after death we can use the beauties of the Heaven. The punishments and tortures of the Hell are because of the lack of conformity between our essence and heaven.
The aim of religious rules is to help us neglect our nature. Our religious actions should help us to be a better person and get closer to God. Our prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) stated: in the resurrection day my nation will be in the form of ten kinds of animals, because their religious actions did not make them a better person.
Whenever we obey God’s rules, we will become more similar to Him.
Lazy people are proud and self-centered and want to be left alone. Laziness is part of our nature whereas our essence seeks movement. In the struggles between our nature and our essence, we can understand whether our movement is toward God or not.
Teaching the measurements
Teaching religion is equal with teaching the measurements, so learning them and teaching them are so important. We should learn to recognize the boundaries and in do not transgress them.
If we do not respect our parents, we will not go to the Heaven, even if we have a religious past record.
This world is based on God’s decree and destiny. Every action that we do has its own reflections. The Quran is the leading light, but if we do not live base on its rules, not only does it not lead us, but also we can be misleaded. So we must arrange all of our plans such as marriage, education, career, etc. based on our movement toward the Heaven.
The devil as thought producer
In the Quran God states: Definitely devil’s deception is weak.
The devil produces different thoughts and he does not have any control over human beings. As God states in the Quran, devil’s deception is so weak.
These evil thoughts act like a virus in the mind and when we are encountered with a problem, they make us anxious and weak. We should know that we will be defeated by our weakness in different aspects such as faith, believes, morality, etc. because we are not strong enough to repel the attack. In this case, we cannot be self-reserved and start transferring our anxiety to others.
Strong faith makes our heart strong and calm and helps us repel the devil’s attacks quit easily. We should just take refuge in God.
If the devil seduces you, you should take refuge in Allah. He is undoubtedly listening and seeing (He is all knowing).
Knowing the devil from Imam Ali’s point of view
Imam Ali (As) makes us familiar with the psychology of our obvious enemy. God tested the angels and the devil with the creation of human beings who were superficially lower than them, but essentially superior. When the angels learned about the superior essence of human being bowed down, but the devil considered himself as the superior and neglected God’s command.
God could have created human beings with an awesome body so that everyone would bow down, but this was a test for the angels and the devil. The angels obeyed God’s command immediately; because they knew He is the all-knowing creator and never commands to futile actions. But the devil was obsessed with his delusive character.
Do not forget
The story of the angels who bowed down for human beings still continues. Pride is part of our nature. There are always two angels with us. One of them invites us to obey God’s rules and the other one tries to prevent us from obeying. This is a test for us to prove whether we believe in nature or essence.
We are always being tested in our lives. Sometimes we should be humble enough to negate our nature and prove ourselves and get similar to God. But unfortunately our wrong interpretations and delusions get us further from God.
God is testing his creatures based on the rules and the origin of these rules is unknown to us. When you trust God and without knowing the origin of the rules obey them, they become so sweet. Khoms, Zakat, the rights of men and women, jihad, fasting, etc. are the test which can wipe out our pride and conceit. If the resistance of logic and bias is over, we will get similar to God so soon.
The devil’s ornaments
The devil tries to trap people with the ornaments in which they are interested. If we increase our feeling for these ornaments, the devil will trap us more easily. Everybody tends to like the thing which is according to his inclinations such as social status, wealth, knowledge, policy, mental ornaments, etc. sometimes the devil decorates the sins so much that avoiding them gets impossible. People get so involved with their desires that forget the real aim of their lives.
Sometimes the devil produces thoughts that are 95 percent spiritual and 5 percent evil. These thoughts not only must be divine, but also should follow a spiritual purpose.
The devil uses a lot of spiritual ways to deviate people and make them do a wrong action, such as the people who prayed a lot and did some services for Islam, but finally they supported Moaviyeh.
We must obey God’s advices, because our reason is not enough for leading us. To repel all of the devil’s attack, we must obey God’s rules and our fourteen innocent leaders.
The devil’s suggestions
The word devil with the meaning of hopelessness is repeated 15 times in the Quran. God cast out the devil and then the devil tried to disappoint God’s creatures that is why he is called the devil (hopeless). Another meaning for the word devil is the one who is cast out.
We should not refer all of our thoughts to ourselves because the devil affects our thoughts too. Thoughts like fear, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, suspicion, laziness, etc. are related to the devil and prevent us from getting close to God. Whereas thoughts like brevity, happiness, optimism, diligence, tranquility and kindness are related to the angels and are necessary in our movement toward God.
Hopelessness : remember that hopelessness is a deadly sin and is equal with atheism. If a person does not have strong religious believes, he will consider God smaller than his sins and do not dare to return to God. If we commit a sin, we should repent and after that all of our past sins will be changed into good deeds.
Fear: exaggerating the problems and creating fear is another suggestion by the devil. To repel fear we should know that God is the cause of everything in the world and if we trust in God he will solve every problem. If you fear something, ask God for help and then you will understand that the fear was the creation of your own mind. Do not be afraid of defeats because they make you brave and are good experiences. Remember that self-confidence by itself creates atheism. We must know that all powers belong to God and we must only trust in Him.
Laziness: this is one of the most dangerous suggestions. The devil tries to convince people that they do not have skill, time, facility, etc. and creates inertia. A religious person is active in his worldly actions and also the actions that relate to his life after death. Laziness destroys the life in the hereafter. Although some people have the necessary skill, facility or time, they delay doing the action.
That is why sport is so important in Islam. Imam Hossain (peace be upon him) stated: always exercise for your health. Imam Khomeini also said:
athletes understand religious concepts better than others because they learned to curb their nature and overcome laziness.
Sadness: the strongest attack by the devil is creating sadness. The devil makes people hopeless and sad and continues his attacks until they are unable to do anything even his worldly duties. A sad person cannot be a good spouse, mother, colleague, friend, etc. and cannot do his duties well. Nothing worths that much to make a person sad. People make mistakes, but these mistakes should not unable them to organize their life or make a decision.
Every day there is a new chance for a new life and getting close to God. We should grab these chances.
The devil encourages arguing
Half of the character of a wise person is tolerance and the other half is to be easy-going. Tolerance is an important element in our relationship with those who have an important role in our lives such as father, mother, and teacher. We should neglect lots of behaviors; otherwise the devil tries to make us enemies.
Sometimes talking is not a good way to solve the problems. It also can deteriorate the situation. Some people think that they can achieve their desires by creating quarrel, but this is not true. It also can cause other harms. Remember that tolerance means not getting sad or angry not only in words but also in face.
Our prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stated:
I guarantee three houses in the Heaven for the person who avoid argument.
He also stated that argument is a deadly sin and I will not save them from the Hell (shefaat). A person who is always arguing has a lot of pressure in his nature which will cause a lot of pressure in the grave too.
God’s memory is the best remedy
The final word
The most soothing moment in the life is when a person prays to God and trusts in Him. In these moments, the devil will get mad and leaves us alone with our dear God who is the origin of beauty and tranquility. If we believe in the supporting power of prayer, trust, alms and asking help from our innocent leaders, we will never be afraid of anything or never destroy our lives with laziness.
The truth is that when we delay our actions because of our laziness, we create anxiety. Remember that God is the only thing that can save us from this anxiety.
By the way, dear Allah
We learned that leaving without you is equal with leaving with the devil who always tries to mislead us. You are our only shelter.
We have escaped from our own nature. Would you please save us?
Author: Mohammad Shojaee
Translated By: Reyhaneh Sadat Shadpour
Tanks to http://promisedsavior.com/