Confronting our Worst Enemy – Shaytan


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ

O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely(perfectly) and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed he is to you a clear enemy. [2:208]


In the month of Ramadan,many of us may have heard that Allah Almighty chains up all of the Shayateen and many of us may have felt in the month of Ramadan that in addition to many other reasons, this certainly was a major reason why we felt closer to Allah Almighty , why we had the ability to engage in more worship. And then this brings the question that since the month of Ramadan has ended and that Shaytan and the Shayateen have been unchained and unleashed and again they are being musallat;( are coming upon us) – how is it that we can protect ourselves from Shaytan?.

In the month of Ramadan, Allah Almighty gave us 29 or 30 days of training  as to how we can control and subdue our Nafs. Those of us who spent that month properly  would now be much stronger viz-a-viz our Nafs – now we should think how to make ourselves stronger viz-a-viz Shaytan.  In the Deen of Islam,  the second the month of Ramadan ends, the month of Shawwal begins. From the 1st of Shawwal begins what are known as the “Ash-har-ul Hajj – the months of Hajj. A person can make niyyah and leave their home from the very first of Shawwal and make the journey for Hajj. Originally before the Muslim Ummah was blessed with the invention of Airplanes or airtravel, when people would travel for Hajj they would leave weeks or months in advance. And, one of the ultimate features of Hajj is Rami which means the pelting and stoning of Shaytan and one of the climaxes of Hajj is this repudiation of Shaytan. So, it means that in these months of Hajj, this month of Shawwal, we should think how we should protect ourselves from Shaytan.

Now Shaytan is unseen; the unheard. Normally people don’t like to talk about him; but any good strategist knows that one should know the enemy; one should study the enemy.

And Allah Almighty   has said this in the Nobel Quran,

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا ادْخُلُوا فِي السِّلْمِ كَافَّةً

that O you who believe! you should enter the Deen of Islam entirely

وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ

And you should not follow the whisperings – mechanisms of Shaytan

 إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُبِينٌ

that Indeed his is a clear/open/manifest/die-hard enemy to you!


Shaytan’s Enmity for us

The way we normally explain this to people is that we don’t appreciate and understand how much enmity Shaytan has. Imagine if there is someone who we think is our enemy or somebody who we think is our family’s enemy or perhaps we think that Hitler was the enemy of Jews – infinitely more than any of the enmities that have ever existed between any two human beings; infinitely more than that is Shaytan’s enmity for each and every believer. The enmity that Shaytan has for a believer is more than the enmity that Hitler had for the Jews; more than – had for the Cambodians; more than Slovedon Milošević had for the Bosnian Muslims – more than anyone we think alive on this earth has enmity for the Muslims – infinitely more than any human being can have enmity – Shaytan has enmity for the Believers.

And how long has he had this enmity for?

He has had this hatred and hasad ; enmity and jealousy; spite and malice for millions of years! Now, in this day and age if someone has an [enemy] – they think and talk to their friend to plan some defensive strategy. So why not plan some defensive strategy against the biggest enemy that we have which is Shaytan. So it is important for us to reflect upon – Who is Shaytan? How did he become Shaytan? What exactly is his relationship with us? And how can we protect ourselves and preserve ourselves from Shaytan.

All of us are very familiar of the famous story of how Iblees became Shaytan. I would just highlight a few points of that. Allah Almighty has Mentioned this story in many different places in the Nobel Quran, but most importantly Allah Almighty has Mentioned a lengthy dialogue that takes place between Him and Shaytan in three places in the Qur’an – Surah Suaad, Surah Al-Hijr and Surah A’raaf.

The Story of Shaytan

As all of us know Allah Almighty Created Prophet Adam May Peace and blessings be upon Him, and then He called all of the angels  to witness that act of creation  and prostrate to Adam (May Peace and blessings be upon Him) then Allah Almighty also called one representative from the Jinns whose name was Iblis. He was called so that he could be an ambassador of all the Jinns and also because he had spent so many years prior to this  event in ibadah( in worship) that Allah Almighty  had Let him hang out with the angels. Sometimes he is referred to in Arabic as “Taoos-ul-Malaaika – Companion/Likeness/Comrade of the angels”. And as all of us know Allah Almighty commanded all of those present in that gathering to prostrate to Adam (May Peace and blessings be upon Him).

The angels, because its not in their ability to disobey a direct command – certainly when  Allah Almighty created Adam  (May Peace and blessings be upon Him) the angels  asked that ”O Allah what are you doing? this is some type of creation that is going to create fasaad (mischief) on earth! this is a creation that also has the propensity and potential for evil in it, why would You create such a creation when You have us the angels who have only good! this is a type of creation whom You are Giving and endowing with freewill and the freedom to disbelieve and disobey in You – why would You want to create such a creation when You have us who always believe and obey You” – So certainly they asked these questions but when Allah Almighty’s Direct Order and Command came to prostrate – all of the angels, because that is the way they are, they have the freedom to think and to ask and question but they don’t have the freedom to disobey Allah Almighty – so automatically they obeyed and prostrated.

Iblis being Jinn had that freedom to disobey and he chose to exercise that freedom and he didn’t prostrate in front of Prophet Adam (May Peace and blessings be upon Him). How did Allah Almighty express this act of Iblis not prostrating, He Almighty said in Qur’an:

أَبَى وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

(He refused and was arrogant and became of the Disbelievers)[2:34]

أَبَى the first word means: he rejected; he denied; he refused the commandment of Allah Almighty.

 وَاسْتَكْبَرَ And then he had takabbur on top of that – very important – many times people think that Shaytan refused the commandment because he had takkabur. No.- Shaytan refused the command because he had hasad; he had envy for Prophet Adam (May Peace and blessings be upon Him)- After refusing, Allah Almighty mentions that he had takabbur – this is a particular type of takabbur and this is that type of takabbur that when a person disobeys Allah Almighty, they feel justified in doing so; they feel they have a valid reason and excuse in doing so and therefore they feel absolutely no shame; remorse or regret whatsoever in that act of disobedience.- If someone were to ask them that why are you doing this when Allah Almighty wants you to do it otherwise? Why are you doing this when the Quran and the Sunnah say otherwise? They give their reasons and they feel justified in doing so! this is a particular type of takabbur.

First lesson derived from this verse:

– Many times the most common lesson that people mention in this ayah is that Shaytan was worshipping for millions of years and those millions of years of ibadat didn’t help him at all and that doesn’t make such an impact on our hearts because we are not people who worship millions of years anyway! so if that is the lesson to be learnt that if we have a lot of ibadah even that wouldn’t help us – most of the young men and women would think that oh i don’t even have lots of ibadah anyway 

– The Second Lesson:

What is going to happen to us if we choose to reject and deny the commandments of Allah Almighty and we feel justified and remorseless in doing so. That is the  real link that Shaytan is trying to make; Shaytan wants that human beings should become like him – that means that not only should they become disobedient and distant from Allah Almighty, they should feel justified and proud in doing so. Whether they do so in the name of Modernism; they do so in the name of Reformism/Secularism/Liberalism/Nationalism/Marxism, they go all the way and do so in the name of Agnosticism and Atheism – but they should feel absolutely content and proud and firm on their disobedience! They should have a deep, intellectual philosophical grounding for their disobedience – which makes them absolutely disobey Allah Almighty without any hesitation and without any regret – thats what Shaytan wants because that is his Satanic Attribute.

So, Allah Almighty Says in the ayah that: أَبَى  that he denied and rejected the commandment of Allah Almighty,  وَاسْتَكْبَرَ And he had takabbur. So, what was the result of that?  وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

And, interestingly Shaytan does not disbelieve in Allah Almighty at this moment. Its not that he becomes an Atheist; he is looking at Allah Almighty, he cannot be in a state of Atheism or agnosticism because he is in the ro’iyyat, deedaar of Allah Almighty but he is called among the kafireen because knowing Allah Almighty exists and disobeying Him is the ultimate type of Kufr – its even more ultimate than Atheism and Agnosticim! This is the kind of Kufr that Shaytan wants the mo’min to fall into. Because the mo’min believes that Allah Almighty Exists, just like Shaytan knew Allah Almighty Exists!

So, the Shaytanic Kufr is to know Allah Almighty Exists, but to disobey Him. And that is what Allah Almighty Mentions in this Ayah: وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ  that he became eternally, permanently amongst the Kafirs. Then, lets look at these different conversations and dialogues that take place between Allah swt and Shaytan

Dialogues between Allah swt & Shaytan

So, first in Surah Suad, Allah swt Asks Iblis:

أَسْتَكْبَرْتَ أَمْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الْعَالِينَ

[38:75] Is it that you have adopted takabbur or are you amongst the people who view themselves to be higher and exalted – a’ali

So, Shaytan responds:

 أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ

that I am better than him [38:76]

i.e. He gives a justification. What we say in Urdu, “thak jawab deina” . Now can one imagine, Allah Almighty ko thak jawab deina? Shaytan did it with his words, me and you do it with our lives. – Allah Almighty has the Muazzin call out, ‘الصلوة خير من النوم hum thak jawab deitey hain, we keep sleeping!

– Allah Almighty Says in Qur’an,

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ

[33:21]that you have in the Prophet  صلى الله عليه وسلم  a beautiful example.

Hum thak jawab deitey hain – we like to adopt a different type of lifestyle. We have our own views as to what is beautiful; we have our own dictates and mandates of Fashion, culture and society. Atleast Shaytan was honest about it; atleast Shaytan verbally said it.

How is he better? he said:

خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَار that You Made me from fire  وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ and You Made him from the elements of the earth –

You made me from the elements of Fire – thermal energy; and he’s made up of the elements of earth – Calcium in his bones and iron in his blood and magnesium and zinc and copper and all of that – So, I’m better

قَالَ  then, Allah Almighty Responded   فَاخْرُجْ مِنْهَا  that Exit from My Company! Leave My Presence! Leave My Auspicious Court! فَإِنَّكَ رَجِيمٌ  Indeed you are repudiated!

Then, Allah Almighty added:

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ لَعْنَتِي  that Indeed upon you is My Curse – means that I Pick you up and Put you outside the reach of My Mercy! Never ever will My Mercy Ever Focus itself upon you again

 إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ Until the End of Time; until the Day of Judgment

Then, Shaytan responded:

قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنْظِرْنِي إِلَى يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ  that O my Rabb! Give me some respite until that Day in which You will Resurrect all of humanity [38:76-79]

The Mufassiroon write that since at that moment Shaytan used the word, “رَبِّ” – my Rabb – that is why his dua was accepted. He made dua the same way the Ambiya made dua – with the word “rabb” and saying Rabbi, My Rabb. A lot of duas of the Ambiya-e-karaam have been mentioned in the Qur’an-e-Karim and they all called upon Allah Almighty with this word ‘Rabb”. So, this is such a word that even Iblis, when he uses it, Allah Almighty Grants his dua – this is also a lesson for us – the mo’mineen – that Ya Allah Almighty, we too call upon you with the name of Rabb. If iblees called upon you by the name Rabb at the exact moment when he disobeyed you, you granted even Him respite, then if we after sin call upon you with the name Rabb, forgive us too. This is the power of the word Rabb!

Iblis called upon Allah Almighty with this word Rabb and Allah Almighty  Said:

قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنْظَرِينَ  you are amongst the people who have  been given respite; stay – you will not be touched – until the Day of Judgment

 إِلَى يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ  (until that Day whose time has been appointed and known to Allah Almighty) (38:80-81)

But, Iblis was Iblis – almost like a spoiled child when they get what they want from their parents they go back to their naughtiness! So, he called upon Allah Almighty with this Dua; he got what he wanted; Allah Almighty said okay you have been given respite.

Then, Shaytan said:

قَالَ فَبِعِزَّتِكَ  He swore by the Izzat of Allah Almighty! Allahu akbar – this is the most level of Kufr that you can imagine! we could never dream like this  – that we would disobey Allah Almighty and then looking at Allah Almighty, invoke Allah Almighty’s Izzat – the Honour and Sanctity and Maqam of Allah Almighty. Iblis looks at Allah Almighty and says  فَبِعِزَّتِكَ  لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ I will distract and destroy and despoil all of humanity!

So, if we want to understand how much of any enemy he is, this is his moment of declaring his enmity for us! Looking at Allah Almighty, and swearing by the izzat of Allah Almighty!

Then, Shaytan even said, a strange thing:

إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ

Except those who are  عِبَادَكَ Your Ibaad, who are Your worshipful servants  مِنْهُمُ from all of that humanity الْمُخْلَصِينَ those who have Ikhlaas [38:82-23]

Even he knew, at that ultimate moment of enmity that he won’t be able to distract and lead astray those people who have two characteristics – Ibadat and Ikhlaas. Anybody who has that, even Shaytan felt that he wouldn’t be able to distract them.

Another Conversation between Allah Almighty & Shaytan

In another conversation, very similar to this, Allah Almighty Mentions in Surat-ul-Hijr. I will just mention  the extra part of this conversation, most of the conversation is the same. Here, after Shaytan mentions this, the same thing:

لَأُغْوِيَنَّهُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ إِلَّا عِبَادَكَ مِنْهُمُ الْمُخْلَصِينَ (that I will distract all of them, except those among them who are your worshipful servants and those who are people of Ikhlaas).

The exact same words. One ayah later, Allah Almighty Responds to him:

إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ إِلَّا مَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ


إِنَّ عِبَادِي (that, Know Shaytan that) Indeed! My servants  لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ that you will not have any ability or power over them إِلَّا Except from those human beings;مَنِ اتَّبَعَكَ those who will follow you  مِنَ الْغَاوِينَ from those who are distracted and astray and deluded.

…to be continued, inshaAllah


1 Comment

  1. Samiah Khan says:

    A more-than moving horrific scene, one that we cannot even imagine but after reading this article we re-instate our own state now. We all do know that this shaytaan streams into our lives in one way or another, even if for the very blessed people, (although they themselves are protected) they have it in their vision right before them in presence of those around them, as it streams into their lives too but at that distance blessed. JazakAlllah khair & Alhamdulillah hai Rabbil aalameen, With the words in this lesson that you dear shaykh have given, you have brought us into the state of being more Allah Ta’aala-Fearing than we were before we read it.

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