Dear brothers and sisters, we need to identify the biggest enemy for each and every one of us is Satan as he has specifically set out with a single objective to deter us from the straight path and the path of Allah SWT.
The imam mentioned the following ayats from Sura Al-Araf which are translated to say:[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand that this an enemy that operates in stealth. This is an enemy that will carry out his role using the most underhand tactics and the most manipulative forms.
Allah SWT warns us of his actions in Sura An-Nas in which the following ayats are translated to say:
From the evil of the retreating whisperer. Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind.
If we ponder over these verses of the Quran, we can get an insight into the methods used by the enemy. There is no loud and brash approach to sending us astray. It is subtle in it’s nature, a retreating whisper to each and every one of us. It is something which spans over time as he is patient with each and every one of us, sending us astray – one step at a time.
Not only is there subtle pushes towards things that are no good for us, there is the more sinister approach of having doubt over the things we are meant to be doing. He is relentless in providing doubt over our salah, our charity, our zikr and our good deeds.
Not only that, he employs the tactics of putting doubt in the minds of those performing the good deeds. Things such as how many rakats have I just prayed or how many times have I just done this step of ablution.
Some employ the tactic of over-doing each action, washing the hands 5 or 6 times for example. This act of over-exaggeration in deeds is also something we need to be mindful of.
There is a hadith in relation to this which was mentioned by the imam. It is translated to say:
“A Bedouin came to the Prophet (ﷺ) to ask him about Wudu’, so he showed him how to perform Wudu’, washing each part three times, then he said: ‘This is Wudu’. Whoever does more than that has done badly, done to extremes and done wrong.’
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand that this isn’t a light matter. He is attacking our psyche, our behaviour and our deeds all throughout the day, from the moment we wake to the last thought before sleep overtakes us each night.
It is worth pointing out that doubt without action is not held against us. The whisperings that we are warned of equate to that doubt in our heads. However, if we do not act upon it then it is not held against us.The following hadith confirms this as it says:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah has accepted my invocation to forgive what whispers in the hearts of my followers, unless they put it to action or utter it.”
Dear brothers and sisters, we are being told that Shaytan is set to send us astray by placing doubt within us. However, we are able to take practical steps in alleviating this doubt and remaining steadfast to our faith.
This reminder concludes with 4 things we can all do to help with this.
- Remind ourselves that we are returning to Allah SWT and thus the real purpose of this life. Each and every one of us should be aware that life is short. Each day is a blessing and we are returning to Allah SWT soon. This realisation is enough to keep ourselves from falling victim to the whisperings of Shaytan.
- Don’t pursue doubt or points that lead to confusion. Dear brothers and sisters, we may be Muslims but we are not qualified in every facet of our faith. For example, by being Muslim we may not be able to answer the in-depth argument presented by an atheist on evolution. We ought to stick to the topics that we are able to answer and point others in the direction of experts on topics that we have only general knowledge of.
A point worth mentioning is the philosophical question “If Allah SWT created everything then who created Allah?” This question is inherently self-contradictory and illogical. If, for sake of argument, we were to say that someone created Allah SWT then their next question would be “Who created that individual?” and so on as there is infinite questions thus rendering it irrational.
As Muslims, we are taught through the Prophet SAWS how to answer this question. We say simply that we believe in Allah SWT. The hadith itself is translated to say:
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “People will keep on asking questions until someone will say, ‘Allaah created the universe, but who created Allaah?’ Whoever encounters anything like that, let him say, ‘Amantu Billaah (I believe in Allaah).’”
- We ought to keep Allah SWT in our consciousness. Whether this is through supplications or through Quran recitation, we need to understand that these acts perform the role of a shield that protects us from whisperings and from doubt.
- We ought to think about the creation of Allah SWT. If we ever have a moment of doubt then this is a great method to employ as the creation of Allah SWT is a miracle we often overlook in our day to day lives. Whether it is the flower that blooms or the birds that sing or the clouds full of water, these are all things that if we ponder over them, we can see the majesty of Allah SWT in each and every one of them. We can see how even the most hardened of atheists are in awe of the perfection of each and every one of the creations of Allah SWT. They may not attribute it to Allah SWT but they are at a loss to explain how these things come by chance. We ought to use the creations of Allah SWT to remind ourselves of His majesty, His perfection in design and ultimately His sovereignty over all things.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to recognise that this is a test we are living. If we are not feeling that then maybe we are already being led astray. We need to keep our senses about us so that we can be those who fall into the category of those who are grateful to Allah SWT.