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theshiningpath.peperonity.net

SATAN AND HIS WHISPERING

Who is Satan and why was he created?

The jinn we know as Satan was created from fire. Before his obedience and sincerity were tested through Adam, he had been in the company of angels, acting and worshipping as they did. Unlike angels, however, who cannot rebel against God (66:6), Satan (called Iblis prior to his test) was free to choose his own path of conduct. When God tested him and angels by commanding them to prostrate before Adam, the seeds of his self-conceit and disobedience blossomed and swallowed him. He replied in his vanity: “I am better than him. You created me from fire, whilst him you did create of clay” (38:76).

Satan was created for important purposes. If Satan, who continually tries to seduce us, did not exist, our creation would be meaningless and futile. God has innumerable servants who, like angels, cannot rebel and thus do whatever they are told. In fact, the existence of an absolute Divine Being Who has many beautiful Names and Attributes requires, not because of some external necessity but because of the essential nature of his Names, that His Names be manifest. He manifests all of these Names through humanity.

Since He has free will, He also gave us free will so that we could know good from evil. In addition, God gave us great potentials. It is our development of these potentials and the struggle to choose between good an evil that cause us to experience a constant battle in both our inner and outer worlds. Just as God sends hawks upon sparrows so that the latter will develop their potential to escape, He created Satan and allowed him to tempt us so that our resistance of temptation will raise us spiritually and strengthen our willpower. Just as hunger stimulates human beings and animals to further exertion and discovery of new ways to be satisfied, and fear inspires new defenses, so Satan’s temptations cause us to develop our potentials and guard against sin.

Angels do not rise to the higher spiritual ranks, because Satan cannot tempt them and cause them to deviate. Animals also have fixed stations, and so cannot attain a higher or a lower station. Only human beings can change their station by rising to the highest rank or falling to the lowest rank.

Is the creation of Satan evil?

There is an infinitely long line of spiritual evolution between the ranks of the greatest Prophets and saints down to those of people like Pharaoh and Nimrod. Therefore, it cannot be claimed that the creation of Satan is evil. Although Satan is evil and serves various important purposes, God’s creation involves the whole universe and should be understood in relation to the results, not only with respect to the acts themselves. Whatever God does or creates is good and beautiful in itself or in its effects. For example, rain and fire are very useful. But they also can cause great harm when abused. Therefore, one cannot claim that the creation of water and fire is not totally good. It is the same with the creation of Satan. His main purpose is to cause us to develop our potential, strengthen our willpower by resisting his temptations, and then rise to higher spiritual ranks.

To the argument made by some that Satan leads many people to unbelief and subsequent punishment in Hell, I reply:

First, although Satan was created for many good, universal purposes, many people may be deceived by him. But Satan only whispers and suggests; he cannot force you to indulge in evil and sin. If you are so weak that Satan’s false promises deceive you, and you allow yourself to be dragged down by him, you earn the punishment of Hell by misusing an important God-given faculty that enables you to develop your potential and raise to the highest rank. You must use your free will, which makes you human and gives you the highest position in creation, properly and to further your intellectual and spiritual evolution. Otherwise, you must complain about being honored with free will and therefore about being human.

Second, as quality is much more important than quantity, we should consider qualitative, as opposed to quantitative, values when making our judgment. For example, 100 date seeds are worth only 100 cents as long as they are not planted to grow into palm trees. If only 20 out of 100 seeds grow into trees due to the other 80 being destroyed by too much water, can we argue that it is an evil to plant and water seeds? I think all of us can agree that it is wholly good to have 20 trees in exchange for 20 seeds, since 20 trees will produce 20,000 seeds.

Again, 100 peacock eggs may be worth 500 cents. But if only 20 eggs hatch and the rest to do not, who will say that it is wrong to risk 80 eggs being spoiled in return for 20 peacocks? On the contrary, it is wholly good to have 20 peacocks at the expense of 80 eggs, for those 20 peacocks will lay even more eggs.

It is the same with humanity. By fighting Satan and their evil-commanding self, many “worthless” people have been lost in exchange for hundreds of thousands of Prophets, millions of saints, and billions of men and women of wisdom and knowledge, sincerity and good morals. All of these people are the sun, moon, and stars of the human world.

Evil thoughts, fancies, and ideas that occur to us involuntarily are usually the result of Satan’s whispering. Like a battery’s two poles, there are two central points or poles in the human heart (by “heart” we mean the seat or center of spiritual intellect). One receives angelic inspiration, and the other is vulnerable to Satan’s whispering.

When believers deepen their belief and devotion, and if they are scrupulous and delicate in feeling, Satan attacks them from different directions. He does not tempt those who follow him voluntarily and indulge in all that is transitory, but usually seeks out those sincere, devout believers trying to rise to higher spiritual ranks. He whispers new, original ideas to sinful unbelievers, in the name of unbelief, and teaches them how to struggle against true religion and those who follow it.

The meaning of Satan’s coming upon people from different directions

We read in Qur’an 7:17 that when God cursed Satan because of his haughty disobedience, Satan asked for a respite until the Day of Judgment so that he could seduce human beings. God allowed him to do so, as was discussed above, and Satan retorted: “Then I shall came upon them from before and behind, from their right and their left, and You will not find most of them grateful.”

The verse means that Satan does everything he can to seduce us. We are very complex beings, for God has manifested all of His Names on us. This world is an arena of testing, where we are trained so that we can serve as a mirror to God and earn eternal happiness. God has endowed us with innumerable feelings, faculties, and potentials to be trained and developed. If certain feelings and faculties (e.g., intellect, anger, greed, obstinacy, and lust) are not trained and directed to lofty goals, but rather are misused to pursue disagreeable purposes, and if our natural desires and animal appetites are not restricted and satisfied in lawful ways, they have the potential to cause us great harm here and in the Hereafter.

Satan approaches us from the left and tries, working on our animal aspect and our feelings and faculties, to lead us into all sorts of sin and evil. When he approaches us from the front, he causes us to despair of our future, whispers that the Day of Judgment will never come, and that whatever religions say about the Hereafter is mere fiction. He also suggests that religion is outdated and obsolete, and thus of no use for those who are living now or who will live in the future. When he comes upon us from behind, he tries to make us deny Prophethood and other essentials of belief, like God’s existence and Unity, Divine Scriptures and angels. Through his whispers and suggestions, Satan tries to sever completely our contact with religion and lead us into sin.

Satan can only successfully seduce devout, practicing believers by coming upon them from their right and tempting them to ego and pride in their virtues and good deeds. He whispers that they are wonderful believers, and gradually causes them to fall through self-conceit and the desire to be praised for their good deeds. For example, if believers perform supererogatory late-night prayer (tahajjud) and then proclaim it so that others will praise them, and if they attribute their accomplishments and good deeds to themselves and criticize others in secret, they have fallen under Satan’s influence. This is a perilous temptation for believers, and so they must be incessantly alert to Satan’s coming upon them from their right.

Another of Satan’s tricks is to cause unimportant things to appear important, and vice versa. If believers dispute among themselves in the mosque over a secondary matter, such as whether one can use a rosary when glorifying God after the daily prescribed prayers, while their children are being dragged along ways of unbelief and materialism or are drowning in the swamp of immorality, Satan has seduced them.

Satan’s whispering disagreeable thoughts and fancies

This comprises five cures for five wounds of the heart.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate.

O Lord, I take refuge in You from the evil suggestions of the devils, and I take refuge in You, O my Lord, lest they attend me.

If Satan cannot seduce devout believers, he whispers disagreeable thoughts and fancies to them. For example, by associating some ideas with others, he makes believers have some unpleasant conceptions of the Divine Being, or conceive of unbelief or disobedience. If they dwell on such ideas, Satan pesters them until they fall into doubt about their belief or despair of ever leading a virtuous life. Another trick is to cause good, devout believers to suspect the correctness or validity of their religious acts. For example: Did I perform my prayer correctly? Did I wash hands or face completely while performing the ritual ablution? How many times did I washed the parts of my body that must be washed?

O you, who are afflicted with the distress of involuntary evil thoughts and fancies! Do you know what the evil thoughts occurring to you involuntarily resemble? A misfortune! The more you dwell on and attach importance to them, the more they grow. If you attach no importance to them, they dwindle away; if you exaggerate them, they swell; if you belittle them, they die down. If you fear them, they become grave and make you ill; if you do not fear them, they are slight and remain hidden. If you do not know their real nature, they persist and become established; if you recognize their nature, they disappear. So, out of many types or aspects of these pestilential evil thoughts or fancies, I will explain only five, which occur most frequently. I hope that it will be curative for you and for me, for such thoughts and fancies are of a kind that ignorance attracts them and knowledge repulses them. If you do not recognize them they call on you; if you do recognize them they depart.

First aspect

Satan first casts a doubt into the heart. If the heart does not admit it, he passes on to offer blasphemy, and brings back to the mind some unclean memories and pictures and some unmannerly, ugly scenes, which resemble blasphemy, causing the heart to wail ‘Alas!,’ and fall into despair. The person suffering from such evil thoughts supposes that he is acting wrongfully towards his ...
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