‘Whispers Of Shaytaan’
The Three Sources of Waswaas (Whispers) of Shaytaan
Differentiating between the Whispers
Recurring urge to commit a specific sin is a waswaas that comes from one’s own self. Whereas the waswaas that come from Shaytan are limitless, because Shaytan is not concerned about causing man to commit one particular sin, but what matters to him is that man becomes guilty of disobeying his Lord and it is all the same to him whether the person commits a prohibition or omits an obligation. All of it is sin and disobedience.
The difference between the waswaas that come from the Shaytan and the waswaas that come from the nafs is subtle, as was quoted by Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) from some of the scholars. He said, “Abu Hazim made a comparison between the waswasa caused by the nafs and that caused by the Shaytan, and said, ‘Whatever your nafs hates for your nafs is from the Shaytan, so seek refuge with Allah from it. And whatever your nafs likes for your nafs is from your nafs so forbid it to it.’” [Majmoo al-Fatawa] i.e., the nafs usually whispers concerning things which are connected to its whims and desires, which people usually like.
Note Allah the Most Merciful and Just will not punish us for the whispers and false thoughts unless we commit the sin.
Shaytaan Beautifies Falsehood & makes sins Attractive by calling to it with Beautiful Names
“And whosoever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent, We appoint for him Shaytan to be a Qareen (an intimate companion) to him. And verily, they (Shayateen) hinder them from the Path (of Allah), but they think that they are guided aright!” [(43): 36-37]
This verse determines the task of Qareen;
Hindrance from the true path of Allah cannot be done except by beautifying falsehood and making it look good in one’s eyes; and not letting one realize that the Sharee’ah of Allah is being opposed.
Man spends his whole life with the assumption that his actions are correct until it is too late when he realizes the truth!! On that day, “he says (to his Qareen), ‘Would that between me and you were the distance of the two easts.’ A worst (type of) companion (indeed)!” [Soorah az-Zukhruf (43): 36-37]
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim said in this context, “One of his (Shaytan) plots is that he always bewitches people’s mind until they are deceived. No one is saved from his sorcery except those whom Allah Wills. He (Shaytan) makes attractive to the mind that which will harm it until a person thinks of something as most beneficial, and he (Shaytan) discourages him from that which is the most beneficial, until he thinks that it will harm him. La ilaaha ill Allah, how many people have been tempted by this sorcery!” [Quoted from, ‘Aalam al-Jinn was-Shayateen’]
Shaytan made the idea of eating from the forbidden tree appear attractive to Adam by giving it a beautiful and attractive name. He kept claiming to Adam that the forbidden tree was ‘the tree of eternal life,’ and that eating from it would make him live forever in Paradise, or would make him one of the angels, “Shaytan whispered to him, saying, ‘O Adam! Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away.” [Soorah Ta-Ha (20): 120] and “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of the immortals.” [Soorah al-A’raf (7):20] until Adam obeyed Shaytan, and was subsequently expelled from Paradise.
The Qur’aan relates a number of examples of how Shaytan beautifies falsehood for his enemies and they go along what he intends for them, like Bilqis bint Sharahil, the queen of Saba and her kingdom. The hoopee bird informed Sulaiman about her in the following words, “…I have come to you from Saba with true news. I found a woman ruling over them, she has been given all things, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people worshiping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaytan has made their deeds fair seeming to them to prevent them from the way, so they have no guidance. So they do not prostrate themselves before Allah…” [Soorah an-Naml (27): 22-25]
This trick of Shaytan is very dangerous, because if falsehood is made to appear attractive to a person, how would he strive towards achieving the good and repelling the evil?
Another example of how Shaytan makes evil seem fair is in the story of Thamud, the people of Salih, Allah said, “And We have assigned them (Shayateen) intimate companions (in this world), who have made fair seeming to them what was before them (i.e., Shaytan beautified for them the false notion concerning the future that there is no Resurrection, Paradise or Hell) and what was behind them (i.e., Shaytan beautified for them the false notion concerning the past that the world was very old, and there was no Creator except nature).” [Soorah Fussilat (41): 25] [See, Tafseer al-Kabeer of Rajhi 27/103]
This beautification of the world by convincing the people that there is no Creator of the world and that there is no Resurrection leads to turning away from the Deen. SubhanAllah, is this not what we witness today from the Darwinists?
The people of Thamud were very famous for their intelligence, and Shaytan approached them through the door of giving precedence to one’s thoughts and opinions over Divine Revelation, so they became stubborn and argued and were destroyed.
How many intelligent people have been fooled by Shaytan today, and from their false thoughts are communism and secularism. This is because Shaytan has beautified the falsehood for them. This has been the way of Shaytan with every nation as Allah says, “By Allah, We indeed sent (Messengers) to the nations before you (O Muhammad), but Shaytan made their deeds fair-seeming to them. So he (Shaytan) is their Wali (helper) today (i.e. in this world), and theirs will be a painful torment.” [ Soorah an-Nahl (16): 63]
Imam Ibn Katheer writes in the Tafseer of this verse, “So he (Shaytan) is their Wali (helper) today,” meaning they will be suffering punishment while Shaytan is their only helper, and he cannot save them, so they have no one to answer their calls for help, “and theirs is a painful punishment.” [end quote]
With this trick, Shaytan befools mankind into deceiving their own selves and making the prohibitions of Allah lawful for themselves. An interesting story is mentioned in the Qur’aan about the people of Sabbath among the Jews, whom Allah forbade to fish on Saturday (Sabbath) as a trial. “And ask them (O Muhammad) about the town that was by the sea, when they transgressed in the matter of the Sabbath: when their fish came to them openly on the Sabbath day, and did not come to them on the day they had no Sabbath. Thus We made a trial of them for they used to rebel.” [Soorah al-A’raf (7): 163]
So, “they began using deceitful means to avoid honoring the Sabbath by placing nets, ropes and artificial pools of water for the purpose of fishing before the Sabbath (i.e., on Friday). When the fish came in abundance on Saturday as usual, they were caught in the ropes and nets for the rest of Saturday and the Jews collected the fish after the Sabbath ended, during the night. When they did that, Allah changed them from humans into monkeys, the animals having the form closest to humans. Their evil deeds and deceit appeared lawful on the surface, but they were in reality wicked. This is why their punishment was compatible with their crime…Imam Abu Abdullah bin Battah reported that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Do not commit what the Jews committed, breaching what Allah has forbidden, by resorting to the lowest types of deceit.’” [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer]
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim writes, “From him (Shaytan), his followers learned the method of calling haram things by names which people find attractive. So they called wine – the mother of joy, and they called intoxicants – morsels of delight, and they called Riba (usury) business dealing…” (end quote from Wabil as-Sayyib)
The Messenger of Allah said, “A group of my Ummah will make intoxicants lawful, giving it a name from themselves.”
In another narration it says, “they will name it by other than its proper name.” [See, Ibn Majah (3385) and Musnad Ahmad (4/237, 5/318)] Today singing, dancing, acting, making statues are all called, ‘art’ but with such devious behavior man can only fool himself and none can deceive Allah, the All-Wise.
Shaytaan may Beautify a Sinful action between Man & Woman
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Men are not tempted by anything more than women.” [Agreed upon] For this reason, women are commanded to cover their bodies and men are commanded to lower their gaze. He forbade being alone with a non-mahram woman and said that no man is ever alone with a non-mahram woman but Shaytan is the third one. This is because Shaytan may beautify a sinful action for them and thus, we must try to subdue Shaytan and drive away his deception and act in accordance with the guidelines of Allah’s Messenger , who according to a Hadeeth in Sahi Muslim said, if one is tempted towards a women he likes he should go back to his wife and that will get rid of what is in him.
Shaytaan corrupts the People’s hearts & Souls by Music
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) writes in Igaathat al-Lahfaan (1/242), “Among the plots and traps of the enemy of Allah, with which he seeks to trap those who posses little knowledge, reasoning and religious commitment and trap the ignorant is the listening to whistling and clapping of hands and singing accompanied by forbidden musical instruments, which closes people’s hearts to the Qur’aan and makes them devoted to immorality and sin. This is the ‘qur’an’ of the Shaytan, an impenetrable barrier which blocks them from the Most Merciful. This is the means that leads to sodomy and fornication, by means of which the Shaytan ensnares the hearts of those who follow falsehood and makes it appear attractive to them by way of deceit and trickery. He inspires them by means of specious arguments to regard it as something good, so they accept this idea, and for the sake of singing they forsake the Qur’aan…”
Shaytaan attempts to make people either Negligent or Exaggerate in the Religion
Imam Ibnul-Qayyim writes, “There is nothing that Allah has enjoined except that Shaytan has ways of dealing with it, either by inclining (people) towards falling short and being negligent or being excessive and to exaggerate. He does not care which of these two mistakes a person makes. He may come to a person’s heart and if he finds that he is lazy, negligent and looking for concessions, then he goes along with that. He holds him back and stops him from doing things. He makes him lazy, indifferent and negligent, and encourages him to seek alternative interpretations and hope for forgiveness (from Allah for his shortcomings) etc., until a person may give up doing all things that have been enjoined.”
Ibn Jawzi (rahimahullah) explains how Shaytan makes one procrastinate and how one can put off his whispers, “…he makes a sinner put off repenting and he keeps him indulging in his desires, telling him that one day he can repent… Perhaps, a faqeeh intends to revise some topic but he says, ‘Rest for a while,’ or he sees a worshiper waking up at night to pray, and he tells him, ‘You have plenty of time.’ He keeps on making people lazy or delaying good deeds, and he deceives them by telling them that they have plenty of time and a lot of hope.
The one who wants to do good deeds should carry out his actions with determination and resolve. Resolve means not wasting time and not delaying things. He should forget about the idea of having plenty of time because the one who has been warned should not be assured. What you miss, you cannot make up for. Because man keeps thinking of giving up evil and turning towards good but delays. No doubt, whoever thinks that he has the whole day ahead of him will take his time and whoever has the hope that he will still be there in the morning will do very little during the night, but the one who thinks of death as imminent will strive harder.” [Talbees Iblees, p.458]
Ibnul-Qayyim further explained how Shaytan causes one to exaggerate in his religious affairs, “…if he finds that a person is cautious and serious, and that he is enthusiastic and capable, he despairs of succeeding with him on that front. So he urges him to strive to excess, and makes him think that this is not sufficient and that he has higher ambitions than that, and that he has to do more than others do.
So he tells them do not go to sleep when they go to sleep; do not break your fast when they break their fast and do not tire when they tire. If one of them washes his hands and face three times, Shaytan tells him that he should wash seven times. If he performs Wudhu for every prayer the Shaytan tells him that he should
perform ghusl for it, and other kinds of exaggeration and excess. He makes him go to extremes and go beyond the straight path, just like he makes the first person fall short and not come anywhere near it.
Shaytan’s aim in both cases is to steer both of them away from the straight path, one by not letting him approach it or come anywhere near it, and the other by making him go too far and overstep the mark.
In this way, most people have been tempted and nothing can save a person from that except deeply rooted knowledge, faith and power to resist him (Shaytan) and adherence to the middle course. And Allah is the One Whose Help we seek.” [al-Wabil as-Sayyib, p.19.]
Shaytaan makes you argue and delve too much into the commands of Allah
Shaytan argued and opposed Allah’s Wisdom out of pride. Allah says, “He was proud and he was of the disbelievers.” [Soorah Saad (38): 74] and Allah says in Soorah Ghafir, “Verily, those who dispute about the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allah, without any authority having come to them,” How many times have we heard from people around us that they try to compare the commands of Allah with their limited knowledge or logic. Do they say that they know more than the One who Created them and everything else in the Heavens and the Earth.
Shaytaan Makes False Promises & arouses high hopes
“He (Shaytan) makes promises to them (i.e., mankind), and arouses in them false desires; and Shaytan’s promises are nothing but deceptions. The dwelling of such (people) is Hell, and they will find no way of escape from it” [Soorah an-Nisa (4): 120]
On the Day of the battle of Badr, Shaytan came to the disbelievers in the form of Suraqah ibn Malik and promised them victory, power, glory and dominion. He started with planting pride in their hearts by telling them that they were the most powerful and they will be victorious over the Muslims, who were less in number.
He beautified their strength for them and gave them the hope of victory and promised to fight the Muslims alongside them, “And (remember) when Shaytan made their (evil) deeds seem fair to them and said, ‘No one of mankind can overcome you this day (of the battle of Badr)’ [Soorah al-Anfal (8): 48]
The Mushrikeen thus, set out to fight the Muslims with pride in their hearts and reliance upon Shaytan. “But when the two forces came in sight of each other, he ran away and said, ‘Verily, I have nothing to do with you. Verily! I see what you see not. Verily! I fear Allah for Allah is Severe in punishment.” [Soorah Anfal (8): 48]
Another story of Shaytan’s false promises and his deceit is narrated from the People of the Book and is reported by Ibn Jareer in the Tafseer of Soorah al-Hashr. We quote it here to learn some lessons from it.
There was a worshiper among the Children of Israel, who worshiped Allah for sixty years. Shaytan tried his best to mislead this man but he could not. He tried his trick on one woman and made her mad. He then advised her brothers to take her to the priest for a possible cure. The brothers agreed and by Allah’s Permission, the priest was able to cure the woman’s madness.
One day while the priest was with her, Shaytan beautified and adorned this woman in his eyes, and prompted evil thoughts in the mind of the priest, which lead to his committing adultery with her. The woman became pregnant, and out of fear, he killed her (this again was due to Shaytan’s advice). When the brothers came to know this, they decided to kill him. At that moment Shaytan appeared to the priest and told him that he was the one, who had plotted against him, and nobody could rescue him from it except him. He told him that if the priest prostrated to him just once, he would rescue him. Then when the priest prostrated, Shaytan freed himself from him and ran away. The priest was killed and died in a state of disbelief due to prostrating to other than Allah. This is just as we have been informed about Shaytan in Soorah al-Hashr (59): 16, “Like Shaytan, when he says to man, ‘Disbelieve in Allah.’ But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Shaytan says, ‘I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!’”
On the Day of Judgment, after Shaytan will have betrayed his promises, he will drag his followers to Hell and reveal unto them the truth that the Qur’aan had warned them against. He will address them and declare his deceptive promises, “And Shaytan will say when the matter has been decided, ‘Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me as a partner with Allah (by obeying me).” [Soorah Ibraheem (14): 22]
Shaytaan makes us forget the Command of Allah
“Shaytan has overtaken them. So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaytan…” [Soorah al- Mujadilah (58): 19]
But as soon as we remember, we should abandon that which distracted us, as the Qur’aan commands us, “If Shaytan causes you to forget, then do not sit after the remembrance in the company of the wrong-doers.’ [Soorah al-An’am (6): 68]
May Allah make us steadfast on the way He is pleased with!
Link to Urdu Lecture by Sheikh Abubakar Mukhtar
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