We continue with our topic of the three voices that speak to us and what to do about them. Last week I spoke about the first of them which was Shaytaan. To complete that discussion, Shaytaan misguides and when the person accepts that misguidance, Shaytaan washes his hands of the responsibility. Allahﷻ told us about this and warned us against it.
كَمَثَلِ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنسَـٰنِ ٱكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّى بَرِىٓءٌ مِّنكَ إِنِّىٓ أَخَافُ ٱللَّهَ رَبَّ ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ
Hashr 59: 16 ˹They are˺ like Satan when he lures someone to disbelieve. Then after they have done so, he will say ˹on Judgment Day˺, “I have absolutely nothing to do with you. I truly fear Allah—the Rabb of all the worlds.”
Shaytaan works through fear. The most common form of that is fear of financial loss and poverty. Using this fear Shaytaan urges us to use all kinds of Haraam means to earn and safeguard wealth, like dealing in interest, buying and selling Haraam products, stinginess, and so on. Allahﷻ promised us His Bounty and Forgiveness if we resist Shaytaan’s deviation and stay away from what Allahﷻ prohibited.
ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ يَعِدُكُمُ ٱلْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِٱلْفَحْشَآءِ وَٱللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغْفِرَةً مِّنْهُ وَفَضْلًا وَٱللَّهُ وَٰسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Baqara 2: 268 Shaytaan threatens you with ˹the prospect of˺ poverty and bids you to do shameful deeds while Allah promises you forgiveness and ˹great˺ bounties from Him. And Allah is All-Bountiful, All-Knowing.
About our provision, Allahﷻ assured us clearly many times:
وَفِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ رِزْقُكُمْ وَمَا تُوعَدُونَ
فَوَرَبِّ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ إِنَّهُۥ لَحَقٌّ مِّثْلَ مَآ أَنَّكُمْ تَنطِقُونَ
Zariyaat 51: 22-23 In the heavens is your sustenance and whatever you are promised. Then by the Rabb of heavens and earth! ˹All˺ this is certainly as true as ˹the fact that˺ you can speak!
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّى يَبْسُطُ ٱلرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَقْدِرُ لَهُۥ وَمَآ أَنفَقْتُم مِّن شَىْءٍ فَهُوَ يُخْلِفُهُۥ وَهُوَ خَيْرُ ٱلرَّٰزِقِينَ
Saba 34: 39 Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Surely ˹it is˺ my Rabb ˹Who˺ gives abundant or limited provisions to whoever He wills of His slaves. And whatever you spend in charity, He will compensate ˹you˺ for it. For He is the Best Provider.”
قُلْ إِنَّ رَبِّى يَبْسُطُ ٱلرِّزْقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ وَيَقْدِرُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ
Sabaa 34: 36 Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Surely ˹it is˺ my Rabb ˹Who˺ gives abundant or limited provisions to whoever He wills. But most people do not know.”
On the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas (R) who said: One day I was behind Rasoolullahﷺ [riding on the same mount] and he said, “O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice]: Be mindful of Allahﷻ and Allahﷻ will protect you. Be mindful of Allahﷻ and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, then ask Allahﷻ [alone]; and if you seek help, then seek help from Allahﷻ [alone]. And know that if the nations were to gather to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allahﷻ has already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allahﷻ has already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” It was related by at-Tirmidhi, who said it was a good and sound hadeeth. Another narration, other than that of Tirmidhi, reads: Be mindful of Allahﷻ and you will find Him in front of you. Recognize and acknowledge Allahﷻ in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity. And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease. (Arbayeen Nawawiyya – Nawawi 40 Hadith)
The question to ask ourselves is if we believe Allahﷻ or Shaytaan.
Shaytaan deceives in five ways:
- Shaytaan invites towards Haraam.
The most common form of this today is pornography. In an article published in January 2023 based on a survey with school children about exposure to pornography, it says, “Most children are exposed to pornography by the age of 12. Of the 44% who said they intentionally watched porn, 71% reported viewing it in the last week and nearly six in 10 said they watched porn once a week or more.” https://www.wlbt.com/2023/01/10/most-children-exposed-porn-by-age-12-study-says/
Pornography destroys married lives, Ibaadah, and hearts and souls. It is an addiction more powerful than many others. It must be fought.
The second biggest threat is drugs. Recreational use of marijuana is now legal in many States. Sad luck to all those hippies in the 60’s and 70’s who were handed jail sentences for exactly the same reason – recreational use of marijuana. Be that as it may, use of any intoxicant of any kind, which includes alcohol, marijuana, and any other drug that exists or may come into existence, is Haraam in Islam. The only exception is if it is medically necessary as a lifesaving drug or for pain control and is administered under strict medical supervision. Legally however, recreational use, which is Haraam in Islam, is permitted and if your child is over 18, you as a parent have no authority to prevent your child from using it. That is the reason you need to work with your children long before they are 18 to ensure that they make the right choices.
If anyone here is thinking, ‘That can’t happen to my child’, I would request you to stop smoking whatever you are smoking and wake up. If you are not taking active steps to protect your children, they will be affected just like anyone else. Ask yourself how much time you give to your children and what happens during that time? One of the most effective steps is to keep them connected to the masjid and its activities; Maktab, Halaqas, classes and so on. Friends and the environment are a huge influence. But remember that parenting is a contact sport. You can’t outsource it to tabs, iPads, Imams, Masjid, Madaaris or schools. All are good and tools. But the responsibility is yours as parents and you will be questioned about it. You need to act now. Tomorrow will be too late.
- Shaytaan makes Haraam look trivial
This is the second big tactic where in the name of fun, humor, social interaction, being friendly, even Da’awa, is to make backbiting (Gheebah and Nameema), lying, inappropriate mixing between men and women and so on, acceptable. So also watching all kinds of Haraam on TV and social media in the name of entertainment. Remember that it begins with the term ‘tolerance’. Then it goes to expectation and then it becomes a right, opposing which becomes criminalized. Remember that it starts with remaining silent and accepting what Allahﷻ prohibited. That opens the door. The rest follows as surely as the sun rises in the East. Zero tolerance for what Allahﷻ and His Messengerﷺ prohibited, is the only solution. Don’t open that door for any reason. Otherwise, you will never shut it.
- Shaytaan invites towards wasting of time
It is a waste of time for you, but it is big money for those who create the means for you to waste your time. It is a multi-billion-dollar industry called Holly/Bolly/Tollywood, Gaming, X-Box, ODI, Superbowl, World Cup, Wimbledon, you-name-it. Playing a sport is good and healthy. Watching it on TV, unless you are doing it as part of your training as a professional player, is a waste of time. What comes with it during the breaks is another story. Everything designed by highly skilled and trained experts, to keep you glued to the screen, spending your most valuable, nonrenewable asset for the benefit of someone else. How we spend our time is one of the questions that we will have to answer on the Day of Judgment.
- Shaytaan advises us to do something of less value
When Shaytaan can’t get us to do something Haraam, he advises us to do something of less value. When he can’t get you to miss Salah, he will suggest to you to pray at home instead of going to the masjid. If you listen to him, you would have missed the reward of going to the masjid and praying in Jama’a, which is 27 times that of praying alone.
Abu Hurayrah (R) said: Rasoolullahﷺ said: “Whoever purifies himself in his house then walks to one of the houses of Allahﷻ in order to perform one of the duties enjoined by Allahﷻ, for every two steps he takes, one will erase a sin and the other will raise him one degree in status.” (Muslim)
Buraydah al-Aslami (R) said that Rasoolullahﷺ said: “Give glad tiding to those who walk to the mosque in darkness, of perfect light on the Day of Resurrection.” (Abu Dawood)
- makes Haraam look virtuous – Bida’at
This is one the most dangerous tactics of Shaytaan where he plays with the good intentions of ignorant people. Islam is based on knowledge. This is the fundamental fact about Islam. That is the reason it is so important to learn our religion. For any action to be acceptable in Islam, it must be done with the right intention and in the right way. Right intention is to please Allahﷻ alone. Right way is the Sunnah of Rasoolullahﷺ. These two are not mutually exclusive. Both are necessary simultaneously for an action to be acceptable before Allahﷻ.
About Niyyah, we have the famous Hadith of Rasoolullahﷺ:
On the authority of Amir al-Mu’minin, Abu Hafs ‘Umar bin al-Khattab (R), who said: I heard Rasoolullahﷺ say, “(Rewards for) Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allahﷻ and His Messengerﷺ , his migration will be for the sake of Allahﷻ and his Messengerﷺ. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
And the Hadith of the Thalaas (Three):
On the authority of Abu Hurairah (R), who said: I heard Rasoolullahﷺ say: The first of people against whom judgment will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought, and Allahﷻ will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. Heﷻ will say: You lied – you fought so that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so, it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire. [Another] will be a man who studied [religious] knowledge and taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought, and Allahﷻ will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it, and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake. Heﷻ will say: You lied – you studied [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so, it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire. [Another] will be a man whom Allahﷻ had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought, and Allahﷻ will make known to him His favors and he will recognize them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. Heﷻ will say: You lied – you did this so that it might be said [of you]: He is generous. And so, it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hellfire. (Muslim, Tirmidhi Nasa’i).
Both these Ahadith and Sura Ma’aoon show the importance of having the right intention to please Allahﷻ alone in all actions. Niyyah must be pure and must be kept pure for which we need to check our Niyyah frequently. Shaytaan corrupts the Niyyah by distracting us with wealth and fame that may come with our actions. Ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawziyya (RA) said that if we check our Niyyah from time to time and it is the same at the end of the deed as it was when we began, then Allahﷻ will forgive whatever happened in between. If not, we must seek forgiveness. Niyyah is critical.
Having said that, Niyyah alone is not enough. Actions must be according to the Qur’an and Sunnah. If an action is done with the best Niyyah but is in itself Haraam, then it will not be acceptable with Allahﷻ and will attract punishment. This is the basis of all Shirk and Bida’at, which are all done with the best of intentions, but are Haraam and punishable. We hear this Hadith in practically every Jumu’ah all over the world:
Jabir ibn Abdullah (R) reported: Rasoolullahﷺ would praise Allahﷻ in his Khutba, as He deserves to be praised, and then he would say, “Whomever Allahﷻ guides, no one can lead him astray. Whomever Allahﷻ leaves to go astray, no one can guide him. The truest word is the Book of Allahﷻ and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammadﷺ. The most evil of matters are those that are newly invented (Bida’at). Every newly invented matter is an innovation (Bida’a). Every innovation (Bida’a) is misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Hellfire. (Nasai)
قُلْ هَلْ نُنَبِّئُكُم بِٱلْأَخْسَرِينَ أَعْمَـٰلًا
ٱلَّذِينَ ضَلَّ سَعْيُهُمْ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَهُمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّهُمْ يُحْسِنُونَ صُنْعًا
Kahf 18: 103-104 Say, ˹O Prophet,˺ “Shall we inform you of those who will lose the most deeds? ˹They are˺ those whose efforts are in vain in this worldly life, while they think they are doing good!
As they say, ‘The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ As I said before, Islam is a religion based on a book, the Book of Allahﷻ, Al Qur’an Al Kareem and its teaching, explanation and demonstration, the Sunnah of Muhammadﷺ. The life of Rasoolullahﷺ is the Tafsir of the Qur’an. That is the reason it is so critically important to learn Islam systematically. Not through WhatsApp forwards and YouTube shorts. We must take our religion seriously because it is not simply a life and death issue but a Jannah or Jahannam issue. To learn Islam, to practice it in our lives and to teach it to others, is the purpose of our creation about the fulfilment of which we will be questioned. May Allahﷻ have mercy on us all.