Shaytan: The Enemy Within

Ancient Chinese warrior and philosopher, Sun Tzu, in his book titled “The Art of War” said to have been written almost two thousand years ago, told his men:
“Know your enemy.”

Today, military generals and infantry men alike take these ancient words of wisdom very seriously and do their utmost to prepare against their foes.

To apply the same principle on an individual level, we might wonder, who is our own greatest enemy? Who is an open enemy of every human being on this planet?

Allaah, the Almighty tells us the answer in the Noble Qur’an:

إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ فَٱتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّاۚ إِنَّمَا يَدۡعُواْ حِزۡبَهُ ۥ لِيَكُونُواْ مِنۡ أَصۡحَـٰبِ ٱلسَّعِيرِ
“Surely, Shaytan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his followers that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.”
[Fatir 35:6]

Allaah tells us that since Shaytan is our open enemy, so we should treat him like one. Not that we start treating him like a friend, listening to his advice and giving him a place in our heart. For if we did that, we would certainly be at loss in this life and also in the next.

Who is Shaytan?

The chief of the shayateen (devils) is known as Iblis, who is one of the jinns. Jinns are beings similar to humans in many ways, the difference being that they have been created from smokeless fire. They can see us but we cannot see them. Just as Adam (a.s.) is the father of all mankind, Iblis is considered to be the father of all jinns. When Allaah created Adam (a.s.) He commanded Iblis to bow before him but he refused. He was too proud and arrogant to bow before a being that had been created from clay. He considered himself to be far superior. Allaah punished Iblis by making hell his final resting place but he asked for some time to prove that mankind is just as corrupt as he is. He wanted to prove that Adam and his children would be equally disobedient to Allaah. That if he tried to mislead them, they will be lead astray from Allaah’s path. Allaah told him to do what he can but he will not be able to affect those who truly believe in Allaah and follow His commands.

To this, Iblis made a promise to drag as many of us as he can with him to hell. He knows his destination is fixed, all he needs now is company.

(Allaah) said: “What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate yourself, when I commanded you?” Iblis said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.” (Allaah) said: “(O Iblis) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced.” (Iblis) said: “Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).” (Allaah) said: “You are of those respited.” (Iblis) said: “Because You have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from the front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them grateful (i.e. they will not be obedient to You).”
[Al-A’raaf 7:12-17]

Attacks of Shaytan

Now that we know that shaytan is an open enemy and that he has sworn to mislead us from Allaah’s path, let’s see how he can attack us.

His first attack is to make us disbelieve in Allaah altogether or to associate partners with Him in worship. That instead of worshipping Allaah alone, we worship Him through someone else. Instead of asking Allaah alone, we ask others who have no power to grant us what we need.

If we fight the shaytan and persist in our belief in Allaah, he tries to make us disobedient to Allaah. He makes us leave our daily prayers, detach ourselves from the Qur’an and do those things that displease Allaah.

If we still persist in being good Muslims, he makes us either too lazy and carefree in our acts of obedience to Allaah, or too self-righteous and a show-off. Either you find yourself delaying or neglecting prayer or you do them on time but show-off about it to others. Both of these are traps of shaytan.

To make it really simple, if you find yourself thinking any of the following thoughts, know that shaytan has you wrapped up nicely in his arms:

• I am still young. I’ll live however I want to right now; I’ve got plenty of time to repent when I am old.
• Everybody’s doing it, why can’t I?
• My intentions are pure from the inside.
• I am only going to do it just this once and then never again. Promise!
• As long as I am good to people, that’s what really matters. I don’t need to pray or fast or do any of the other obligations that Allaah has laid down.
• I am too busy with work, play or studies to practise Islam completely.
• All Muslims will go to jannah anyway, so what’s the point?

The above points are things that shaytan can make us believe ourselves or he can get others to say this to us, in order to make us his permanent companions. Would any of us like that? Do we want shaytan to win in our fight against him?

If the answer is “No”, then the time is now to take action. The next section tells us how we can fight back!

Round One: FIGHT!

Here’s how we take the fight back to shaytan. Allaah tells us that for those who fear Allaah, shaytan will not be able to misguide them.

“When the devil whispers to you any whisper, seek refuge in Allaah; He (Allaah) is the All Hearing, the All Knowing. Those who fear Allaah, whenever the devil approaches them with an evil thought, they remember Allaah, whereupon they see clearly.”
[Al-A’raaf 7:200-201]

So the first step is that whenever we get an impure thought or feel that we are under attack, we recite:

أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم
“Say I seek refuge in Allaah, from Satan the rejected”

Was the shaytan putting excuses in our mind to avoid a religious duty? Was he making us feel arrogant? Or was he tempting us towards something Allaah has forbidden? Whatever the case maybe, thinking about the consequences and remembering Allaah will send shaytan running!

“Whoever withdraws himself from the remembrance of (Allaah) the Most Gracious, We assign to him a shaytan, to be his companion.”
[Az-Zukhruf 43:36]

The Messenger of Allaah (ﷺ) told us that whoever recites the following prayer 100 times during the day, he will be protected from the shaytan till the night:

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ وَحْدَهٗ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهٗ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ وَ لَهُ الْحَمْدُ وَهُوَ عَلٰى كُلِّ شیْ ٍٔ قَدِیْرٌؕ
“(There is) none worthy of worship except Allah. He is only One. (There are) no partners for Him. For Him is the Kingdom. And for Him is the Praise. And He has power over everything.”

Make a habit of reciting this prayer every morning, the benefits are huge and it does not take more than 15 minutes.

At night, to protect yourself from the shaytan, recite any or all of the following before you go to sleep:
• Ayat-al-Kursi (Surah al-Baqarah 2:255). [Bukhari]
• Surah al-Ikhlaas (112), Surah al-Falaq (113) and Surah an-Naas (114). After reciting them, blow into the palms of your hands and rub them on your body. This is a sunnah of our beloved Prophet (ﷺ). [Bukhari]
• Recite the last two ayaat of Surah al-Baqarah i.e. 2:285-286 [Bukhari]

Last but not least, remember to be a good Muslim – the best you can be! Always remember Allaah and be obedient to Him; in-sha’Allaah the shaytan will have no power over you. For Allaah says in the Qur’an:

“(Shaytan) has no authority over those who believe and place trust in their Lord.”
[An-Nahl 16:99]

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