History of Satan
The word ‘satan’ is derived from an Arabic word which means ‘the far thing.’ It also implies the meaning of ‘being on fire with hatred’ and ‘worthless.’ Iblis (or Diabolos) leads all satans and satanic activities. The word ‘Iblis’ means ‘to be peevish, despairing of any good or happiness’ and ‘to be desperate and miserably sorry.’
After Allah (swt) created Adam (as), He commanded the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam (as). All angels obeyed Allah (swt) except Iblis, as a result of which he earned Allah’s wrath and was driven away from Allah’s (swt) mercy:
“(Remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘Truly I am going to create a man from clay. So when I have fashioned him and breathed into him (his) soul created by Me, then fall down prostrate to him!’ So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them: except Iblis (Satan): he was proud and was one of the disbelievers. (Allah) said: ‘O Iblis (Satan)! What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with Both My Hands. Are you too proud (to fall prostrate to Adam) or are you one of the high exalted?’” (Sad 38:71-75)
To this, Satan responded with pride that since he was created from fire and the man from clay, it naturally made him a superior being. In truth, however, this was a figment of Satan’s imagination, lacking any reasoning or reality; even worse – he went into a head-on confrontation with the Lord (swt).
Allah (swt) drove Satan away from Paradise. Now, Satan blames human beings for his inevitable end, thus becoming our worst imaginable enemy. Instead of asking for Allah’s (swt) forgiveness, Satan chose heedlessness.
“Allah (swt) said: ‘Then get out from here; for verily you are outcast. And verily My Curse is on you till the Day of Recompense.’ [Iblis (Satan)] said: ‘My Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are resurrected.’ (Allah) said: ‘Verily! You are of those allowed respite. Till the Day of the time appointed.’ [Iblis (Satan)] said: ‘By Your Might, then I will surely mislead them all, except Your chosen slaves amongst them (i.e. faithful, obedient, true believers of Islamic Monotheism).’ (Allah) said: ‘The Truth is – and Truth I say – that I will fill Hell with you [Iblis (Satan)] and those of them (mankind) that follow you, together.’” (Sad 38:77-85)
“For thousands of years now, Satan has been working to achieve his goal. He will continue his stealthy activities until the Day of Judgement, when the life of this universe will come to an end.” (Harun Yahya)
Purpose of Satan’s Creation
Allah (swt) created Satan and his cunning wiles as part of a mechanism by which He (swt) determines those who are faithful to Himself. He tests and trains His (swt) slaves in this earthly life. Allah (swt) has also distinctly defined the difference between truth and falsehood through His Holy Books and His messengers. Our Lord (swt) has not left us unequipped or unaided. He (swt) has clearly stated the consequences of both paths: one leading to eternal damnation and the other to eternal success. Allah (swt) knows that His faithful servants will choose guidance, instead of being misled by Satan. In case they ever fall into his nefarious traps, the guided believers will immediately resort to repentance and revert to Sirat-e-Mustaqeem (the Straight Path).
“’And befool them gradually those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and nay other call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways – usury, or by committing illegal sexual intercourse), and make promises to them.’ But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.” (Al-Isra, 17:64)
In a later verse, Allah (swt) informs Satan: “Verily, My slaves (i.e. the true believers of Islamic Monotheism) – you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian.” (Al-Isra 17:65)
People of faith have little to lose in the face of Satan. However, those who willfully choose to stay away from the remembrance of Allah (swt) and don’t repent are entrusted to Satan’s company. “And whoever turns away blindly from the remembrance of the Most Gracious (Allah) (i.e. this Quran and worship of Allah), We appoint for him Shaitan (Satan – devil) to be a Qarin (a companion) to him. And verily, they (Satans / devils) hinder them from the Path (of Allah), but they think that they are guided aright!” (Az-Zukhruf 43:36-37)
Knowing our enemy
In the Quran, Allah (swt) has revealed various characteristics of Satan and his followers. Their analysis is of pivotal significance if we want to understand our own wayward behaviour and immediately identify whom we are emulating when demonstrating the following qualities.
- Epitomizes Arrogance
Quran reveals in numerous verses that the prime factor that led Iblis to disobey Allah (swt) was his pride and arrogance. He considered a mere human being to be inferior to himself. His insistence that he was a superior creation of Allah (swt) reflected his conceited attitude. He said: “I am better than he. You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.” (Sad 38:76)
Well, the logical explanation to this is that since Allah (swt) is the Creator of the entire universe – including human beings, angels, Jinn and Satan – He simply creates what He wills in the shape and form He chooses. And every creation is bound to honour its Creator with profound respect. It demonstrates inane ungratefulness to refuse to serve the One Who brought us to life from nothing.
Allah (swt) states in the Quran of such arrogant behaviour: “…there is nothing else in their breasts except pride [to accept you, Muhammad (sa), as a Messenger of Allah and to obey you].” (Ghafir 40:56)
- Comprehends Human Nature
Satan’s greatest success is his understanding of human nature. He has sincerely taken the mankind to be his enemy and makes conscious efforts to destroy it regardless of age, status, culture, race, etc. Satan understands our ideologies and points of view. He is particularly well-acquainted with the desires and weaknesses of humans.
Human beings, in their nonchalance, seldom think meaningfully about his existence, let alone prepare to overcome him. We all know what happens to a warrior who defies his commander and goes to war unprepared. So it should not come as a shock to witness the sinful heedlessness around us today. Satan is getting the better of us.
- Fakes Independence
Harun Yahya explains: “One of the most common errors people make about Satan is assuming that Satan is a power wholly independent of Allah and that he is in a struggle with him. (Surely Allah is beyond that!) This is also one of the Satanist’s greatest errors: thinking that Satan is a separate power; and so they regard his rebellion and disobedience as an example for them to follow. When they in turn rebel against order and virtue, they believe that they are supporting Satan in his own struggle.”
In fact, Satan is a creation of Allah (swt) and subordinate to Him. His rebellion against Allah (swt) was pre-determined in his destiny by Allah (swt). Moreover, Satan does believe in Allah (swt) and fears Him deeply. He knows that the time allotted to him is only until the Day of Judgement, and after that, he will have to pay the penalty for his deeds.
- Strikes upon Weaknesses
Satan lures to sleep all those who feel that they are not morning persons, thus making them miss their Fajr prayer. He coaxes all those who fancy their looks into displaying and flaunting themselves. Satan leads all spendthrifts into wasting their money and resources.
After having done all that, he will not rest in peace. And if any one of the above starts to feel even a bit remorseful, Satan will come back to prompt things like: “Just do it!” “Don’t worry, be happy,” “You deserve it,” “You live only once,” “You are too weak to give it up.”
Satan appeals to the lower self (Nafs): “…Shaitan (Satan) made fair-seeming to them that which they used to do.” (Al-Anam 6:43)
- Implants Hopelessness
The weapon Satan thrives on is his triumph in leading mankind from one sin to another. Once a person stumbles and starts adopting the evil ways of life, he subconsciously knows that his connection with Allah (swt) gets weaker. Some hypocrites even manage to offer religious rituals for satisfying their ego, but do not give up sinning. This is when Satan persuades them that since they have disobeyed Allah (swt) for so long, there is no U-turn any more. So they might as well proceed on the highway of disobedience.
Conversely, Allah (swt) states: “Except those who repent and do righteous deeds, and openly declare (the truth which they concealed). These, I will accept their repentance. And I am the One Who accepts repentance, the Most Merciful.” (Al-Baqarah 2:160)
The doors of repentance are open for all, till the angel of death appears before them, after which repentance is not accepted. People who have wronged themselves should never despair and seize the first opportunity to repent, lest it’s too late. Don’t hold yourself back!
Allah (swt) has distinctly informed us about the doomed end of all those who wish to follow Satan, make pacts with him, take his counsel, take him as a deity or live according to his incitements. “…and they invoke nothing but Shaitan (Satan)” (An-Nisa, 4:117)
“Did I not command you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is a plain enemy to you.” (Yasin 36:60)
“Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.” (Al-Araf, 7:18)
The greatest danger for the humankind is their indifference to the existence of Satan. They do not realize that he prompts them into doing evil, influences them and draws them towards the worst possible end. Such people do not comprehend the purpose of creation of this universe and their significant part in it. They lead empty lives and depart.
Through the Quran and the Sunnah, Allah (swt) has revealed the purpose of His creation, the proper ways of worship and the moral behavior that pleases Him. Nobody will escape death and accountability before his Lord (swt). A person’s thoughts and actions in this world will determine where he will spend eternity.
Let us recognize our true enemy and prepare against him today – the enemy that will try to prevent us from salvation and a profitable end. Let us defeat him with Allah’s (swt) chalked-out strategy for us. A true believer has nothing to fear or lose, for Allah (swt) is always leading the way.