Keep Your Doors Locked: An Introduction to Shaytan and his Avenues

locked door“O you who believe! Enter perfectly in Islam (by obeying all the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion) and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily! He is to you a plain enemy.”(Al-Baqarah 2:208)

Believers are Momineen, a rank higher than Muslimeen. In the above verse, Allah (swt) addresses the believers- the believers who submit to their Lord. Their thoughts, action, speech and silence- are all out of submission to Allah (swt).

Faith is not like a glass of water you can drink. It rises gradually like tiny droplets of rain showering gently. Faith increases with knowledge and application combined. Allah (swt) brings Deen forward to those who are prepared to receive it out of submission. They don’t question why, what, how, where, who, etc.

What prevents people from submitting to Allah (swt) and entering Islam fully?

The Prophet (sa) warned: “The Shaytan (devil) flows in a man like his blood.” (Abu Dawood). He is naturally aware of our weaknesses. Hence, plots against us. He injects evil ideas and makes them seem fair. He beautifies actions of disobedience.  But, our Nafs is more powerful. Shaytan may throw ideas into our mind and heart like a ball. It is up to our Nafs to catch them or let them pass. We need to be vigilant and strict about our fleeting thoughts. But if, our Nafs forms a treaty with the Shaytan, we will belong to the companionship of Shaytan.

The first door through which Shaytan enters is that of desire

He uses this door for majority of the people. The scholars call this entrance ‘Al-Bahimah’ cattle-like. The trial of Adam (as) and Hawa (as) started with food. They were commanded not to go close to a particular tree, and Shaytan tempted Adam (as) to eat of it in order to become immortal. The consequence was that they had to leave Jannah.

Shaytan builds attraction around food, drink and intimate relationships. This is especially relevant to Ramadan, when Allah (swt) forbids indulgence into Halal to train our Nafs against Shaytan. But, Shaytan’s mission is to make us indulge excessively into food and sexual relations.

How can we guard ourselves?

Make Dua to Allah (swt). Eat Halal (permissible) and Tayyab (pure) only. Ask yourself before eating: “Am I really hungry?” Avoid overeating- as it poorly affects our worship, mannerisms, moods, etc. Don’t force-feed a sick person, a guest in the house or a small child. Do not equate food with love.

The second door through which Shaytan enters is that of anger

The scholars call this entrance, ‘Sabaiyah’ like wild animals. An angry person just wants to attack. He carries a burning feeling in his heart.  Anger also leads us to pride and arrogance. Shaytan whispers to people to take revenge, instead of forgiving them.

As a result, we act disgracefully- regretting our actions later. He turns us into a Zalim (oppressor) whom Allah (swt) hates. Instead, Allah (swt) loves Muhsinun (who act beautifully) and suppress their fury.

The third door through which Shaytan enters is the door of Hawa

Shaytan makes some people obey their moods and conveniences. The scholars call this entrance ‘Shaytaniyah’ demonic. They may worship Allah (swt) as much as they like to, in the manner they like to and not be bothered about what Allah’s (swt) commands are. For them their personal choices matter more; hence, they pick and choose. Hawa is like a stubborn child. It will jump into a deep swimming pool simply because it appeals to it.

This attitude is opposite of Taqwa- the state in which you obey Allah (swt) regardless of your own desires and feelings.This sin can be originally seen in Iblees, who used to worship Allah (swt) out of desires because he found pleasure in it. But, when Allah (swt) commanded Iblees to prostrate before Adam (as), Iblees refused.

There is a difference between Shahwah and Hawa. Shahwah is restricted to excess in food, drink, sleep, relations, etc. But Hawa is dangerous, because it prevents a person from entering Islam completely. He embraces some parts and rejects the rest. He is entirely dictated by his moods. He creates innovations.

The cure is to know Allah (swt). Renew our intentions to gain knowledge only to please Allah (swt). And to analyze every action we take.