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The Whisperer

 

 

Bism-illah irahman nirahim

 

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent and Most Merciful

‘Say I seek refuge in the Lord of Mankind, the King of Mankind, the God of Mankind,

From the evil of the sneaking whisperer, who whispered in the hearts of Mankind’ Of the Jinn and of mankind’.        

(Surah 114)

 

 

‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was the convincing the world he didn’t exist’

 

The above line was the caption used in promoting a Hollywood film ‘The Usual Suspects’ some years ago. Upon reflection we begin to understand how true this very interesting statement actually is.

 

Allah (swt) has created all that exists without any exception. There is nothing that has been created and can exist in any shape or form, independent of Allah (swt). As believers we need to always keep this simple fact in mind that all bounties and blessings come from Allah (swt) as well as trials, tribulations and calamities. This is the balance that has been revealed by Allah (swt) in His complete book - Al Qur’an. The laws of mercy and His punishment have been explained and demonstrated by the Almighty in His Qur’an so that we are guided and protected.

 

The lessons of the Qur’an and Sunnah include many descriptions and explanations of the ‘cursed one’, ‘the rejected one’, ‘the outcast’ and the ‘open enemy’, who is Iblis. The devil is called Iblis in the Qur‘an, but he is also commonly called ‘Shaytaan’ and ‘Satan’.

 

As believers how much do we understand about Iblis or the devil, and what effects does he have on our lives? How real is his presence? We need to understand how he aims to harm us and the ways in which he approaches us. This preparation to face an enemy is similar to when a town builds defences and plans a counter strategy against an advancing enemy whose threat is imminent.

 

‘I shall lurk in ambush for them on The Right Path’  (7,16)

 

Allah (swt) has unleashed this enemy unto mankind to test us and to see if we will be lured away from the divine commands and teachings. Throughout the Qur’an, there are descriptive accounts of Iblis and how he dis-obeyed the commands of Allah (swt) and therefore was removed from the heavens. Iblis committed this sin because he is a Jinn, not an angel. A common mis-conception amongst Muslims and Non-Muslims is that Iblis was an angel who erred from the right path but this is incorrect. Angels are created to solely worship and obey Allah (swt) and are without their own free will or choice. The race of Jinns are like Mankind in that they are able to choose their own path and are driven by their own desires and this is why the Jinns will be held accountable like mankind. Iblis is a Jinn and therefore he rejected the command of Allah (swt) to prostrate before Hasrat Adam (as). 

 

And remember when we said to the angels “Prostrate to Adam”. So they prostrated except Iblis. He was one of the Jinns, he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.    (18.50)

 

The origin of Iblis is explained in Ibn Kathir’s classic literature ’Qasas al Ambiya’ - Stories of the Prophets, which refer to the earliest time when the Jinns were created and became rebellious. An army of angels were sent by Allah (swt) to banish them to remote islands and this is where Iblis was seen by the angels and taken upto the heavens. The great scholar Ibn Kathir (Rh), explains that Iblis was the chief of the Jinns and was actually called Azazil and he was the most knowledgeable and this is why he was taken upto the heavens.

Allah (swt) created the first man, Hasrat Adam (as) by using clay from different regions of the world. This is mentioned in authentic hadith (Musnad Ahmad) and explains why the descendants of Hasrat Adam (as) are born with different colours, abilities and traits. Allah (swt) informed the angels that He would breathe life into him and then they would prostrate, this creation of man inspired fear into the angels and Iblis who was also scared would strike this hollow body. The authentic literature Qasas al Ambiya further explains that Iblis even entered the body from the mouth and came out from the posterior then claimed there was no need to fear. Iblis was the first being that ever displayed arrogance and jealousy, which overcame his knowledge and obedience to Allah (swt). Muhammad bin Sarin is quoted in Qasas al Ambiya as observing that ‘Iblis was the first one to deduce a conclusion through reasoning’.

 

Allah (swt) banished Iblis from the heavens due to his arrogance and dis-obedience. Despite Iblis being a learned Jinn who was taken up by the angels due to his knowledge, he went astray. This happened due to the most undesirable trait of all, which is arrogance. In the glorious Qur’an, it is revealed that anyone who has even one atom of arrogance in his heart cannot enter Paradise. Reflecting on the story of Iblis, we find that arrogance led to his downfall that despite his position of knowledge, he still disobeyed Allah (swt). Iblis issued a challenge to Allah (swt) with his own fate sealed, which is to reside in hell, he claimed that he would misguide all of this new creation into the fire of hell. Allah (swt) accepted and gave Iblis respite and open opportunity to try to misguide His finest creation.

Iblis is doomed but he intends to take all of Mankind towards mis-guidance and prove to Allah (swt) that this creation is inferior. This unholy plot began with Hasrat Adam (As) and his wife; Hasrat Hawwa (Ra). In the Qur’an there are numerous verses that explain this in detail;

 

‘We said to the angels ‘Prostrate yourselves to Adam’ they prostrated except Iblis, who refused.

 

Then we said ‘O Adam! Verily, this is an enemy to you and your wife. So let him not get you both out of Paradise, so that you be distressed in misery’.

 

Verily, you have a promise (From Us) that you will never be hungry therein nor naked.

 

And you (will) suffer not from thirst therein nor from the sun’s heat.

 

Then Satan whispered to him saying ‘O Adam Shall I lead you to the tree of eternity and to a kingdom that will never waste away?

 

Then they both ate from the tree and so their private parts appeared to them, and they began to stick on themselves the leaves from Paradise for their covering. Thus did Adam disobey his Lord, so he went astray’.

(20, 116-121)

 

Similar verses explain that Hasrat Adam (as) was led astray by the deception of Iblis and allowed him to complete the first step of his revenge. In other verses throughout Al-Qur’an, there are references to this; (38. 71-82), (34.39), (15, 29-44).

 

Hasrat Adam (as) was forgiven as confirmed in Surah Al-Araaf - (verse 23), after all he was a Prophet of Allah (swt) who was given the knowledge of all things as confirmed in authentic hadith (Bukhari / Muslim). When reflecting on these events we realise that if Hasrat Adam (As) was led astray, then the rest of Mankind have a greater challenge to resist the whispers of Iblis. Allah (swt) has equipped us with the knowledge of Iblis and the details of his intentions.

 

‘Follow not the footsteps of Satan, Surely, he is to you an open enemy’. (6.142)

 

Iblis has been given respite and complete access to very one of us, in order for Allah (swt) to test us and see whether we have the strength of Emaan - faith to obey His commands or whether we will, as Iblis says follow him into hell.

 

Verily! My slaves (the true believers of Islam), you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian’.   (17,65)

 

 

Iblis entices all of Mankind to go astray and disobey the commands of Allah (swt). He sows the seeds of everything that may seem attractive to us, in order for us to leave the path of the Qur’an and Sunnah. We cannot see Iblis but the whispers are always in our ears to distract us and seduce us. He comes to us in every way and he is not alone in his work.

 

‘Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right hands and from their left hands, and Thou wilt not find most of them beholden (unto thee)’  (7,17)

 

Allah (swt) warns us against the helpers of Satan;

 

O Children of Adam! Let not Satan deceive you, as he got your parents (Adam and Eve) out of Paradise, stripping them of their raiments, to show them their private parts,

 

Verily he and Qabiluhu (his soldiers from the Jinns of his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. (7.27)

 

Allah (swt) reveals that Iblis is not alone in his work and that he has an army who we cannot see. These helpers refer to the evil Jinns that live amongst us and even refers to people who are carrying out the work of Iblis. The clarification of this verse can be found in authentic hadith (Sahih Muslim) that refers to the fact that every human is accompanied by a Jinn who is a companion - Qareen. This companion’s aim is to mis-lead us and always test us by appealing to our ‘nafs’. The term ‘nafs’ relates to our innermost desires to do wrong and go towards the forbidden. The workers of Iblis will always appeal to these desires as this will automatically take us away from worship and piety.

 

‘We said to the angels ‘Prostrate unto Adam’ they prostrated except Iblis, he said ‘Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?

Iblis said ‘See? This one whom You have honoured above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending astray) all but a few’

 

Allah said ‘Go, and whosoever of them follows you surely! Hell will be the recompense of you (all) - am ample recompense.

 

‘And Istafziz -  (literally meaning befool them gradually) those whom you can among them with your voice (through call for Allah’s disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways - usury etc, or by committing illegal sexual intercourse) and make promises to them’. But Satan promises them nothing but deceit’. (17. 61-64)

 

Islam teaches us purity and cleanliness and this should always be preserved by believers. When we pray five times a day, this means that we stay clean and pure by doing the Wudu - ablution and this state helps us against the devil. In one narration this wudu is mentioned as being the shield of a believer. To seduce mankind is not difficult for Shaytaan as we are so open to temptation but if we recognise this enemy and begin to understand these vices that are constantly being used to draw us in.

 

‘O you who believe ! Follow not the footsteps of Satan, then, verily he commands Al-Fahsha (to commit indecency eg illegal sexual intercourse etc) and Al-Munkar (disbelief and polytheism eg to do evil and wicked deeds, to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam)             (24.21)

 

 

Satan seeketh only to cast among you enmity and hatred by means of strong drink and games of chance, and to turn you away from remembrance of Allah and from His worship’.  

(5, 91)

 

 

Allah (swt) has promised that He will help all of his faithful followers against this open enemy as long as we follow the Qur’an and Sunnah. Allah (swt) has promised that His true believers will enter the gardens of Paradise as reward for obedience. The whispers have come to every being ever created but it is the ones who stay in remembrance of Allah (swt) that can resist and remain steadfast;

 

 

‘And if a whisper from the devil reach thee (O Muhammad) then seek refuge in Allah’   (41,36)

 

‘O ye who believe, Come all of you into submission (Unto Him) and follow not the footsteps of the devil, He is an open enemy unto you’.  (2,208)

 

In all aspects of life we must stay in remembrance and avoid the influence of Iblis. At the beginning of a meal always recite Bism-illah irahman nirahim, this stops the devil from sharing in our food. There are also authentic duas, which were recited by our Prophet (saw) to protect us from Iblis and his helpers. This is how we stay in remembrance of Allah (swt) and defeat the intentions of Iblis. Even before beginning the recitation of the Qur’an, we should seek refuge from Shaytaan;

 

 

‘When thou recitest the Qur’an, seek refuge in Allah from Satan the outcast’.  (16,98)

 

The knowledge made available to believers, which include recitation of certain surahs and verses from the Qur’an and authentic prayers from the Ahadith of the beloved Prophet (saw) are revealed to protect us from the whispers. However in recitation alone we cannot find refuge as simply having knowledge without action is futile. Iblis himself is an Alim - person of knowledge and this has been proven by the authentic hadith of Prophet Muhammad (saw).

In Sahih Bukhari, the companion of the Prophet (saw) by the name of Hasrat Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that he was guarding food as ordered by the Prophet (saw). Someone came and tried to take the food but was caught by Hasrat Abu Hurayrah (ra) but was released as he began to plead, vowing not to return. Abu Harayrah told the Prophet (saw) in the following morning and the Prophet (saw) informed him that ‘this person lied and he would return’. The following night, this person returned and once again was caught and released after convincing Abu Hurayrah (ra) of being poor with many dependants. Once again Abu Hurayrah (ra) told the Prophet (saw) of this incident and received the same reply from the Prophet (saw) that this person was a liar and would come back. On the third night when this person returned to steal the food, once again he was caught and this time Hasrat Abu Hurayrah (ra) confirmed he would take him to the Prophet (saw). This person pleaded to be released again and said in return he would give the blessed companion some advice. This person told Abu Hurayrah (ra);

 

‘Whenever you go to bed recite Ayat-ul Kursee from beginning to end.  A guardian from Allah will protect you from Satan until the morning’.  

 

Abu Hurayrah (ra) released this person and the following morning confirmed what he had been told to the Prophet (saw).

 

The beloved Prophet (saw) upon hearing this told Abu Harayrah (ra) ‘Surely he has told the truth although he is a compulsive liar, do you know who this person is who has been coming to you for the past three nights, this was the devil’.

 

Ayat ul Kursi can be found in Surah Baqarah (Verse 255).

 

‘Allah, none has the right to be worshipped but Him, the Ever living, the Sustainer,

Neither slumber nor sleep overtake Him, To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on earth,

Who is he that can intercede with Him except with His permission? He knows what happens to them in this world and what will happen to them in the Hereafter

They will never encompass anything of his knowledge except that which He wills,

His Kursi - Seat extends over the heavens and the earth and He feels no fatigue in guarding and preserving them. He is the most High, the most Great’. 

 

The deception of Iblis is such that even if we recite the sacred words and verses they may have no effect. This is because the dedication and love of the Qur’an and Sunnah is missing from our hearts so that we do not feel compelled to follow the right path. In today’s day, we find that satisfaction comes far too easily in even little dedication. Even if we fail to pray five times a day, we are not concerned and abandoning the Prophet’s (saw) Sunnah has become common practice. This is why we are so open to the plot of Iblis. He makes us believe that what we are doing is enough and therefore keeps us away from sincerity and true practice.

 

‘By Allah, We verily sent Messengers unto the nations before thee, but the devil made their deeds seem fair-seeming unto them. So, he is their patron this day, and theirs will be a painful doom’.    (16, 63)

 

‘Satan has made their deeds fairseeming to them’.  (27.24)

 

 

In the time of the Prophet (saw) the blessed companions (Ra) would weep in fear that their deeds would not suffice for them and they would always be in remembrance of the commands revealed to them. They would recite the Qur’an with humility and submission and this is why they benefited from the sacred verses. They would preserve every Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw) from his every action and deed to the very words used in his prayers. Some references confirm that the blessed companions had the Qur’an and Sunnah so firmly grounded in their heart that they could stamp their foot, recite Allah ho Akbar - Allah is Great and stop tremors in the ground. This is Islam and the only way that we can seek protection from the enemy who will try to lead us all to the hell fire.

Allah (swt) even confirms that Iblis is actually weak and if we become mis-guided then we become weaker than him.

 

‘Ever feeble is the plot of Satan’. (4,76)

                   

This is the truth behind the stories, fantasies and films. The devil exists but he can be defeated by any one of us as soon as we begin to truly believe in the commands of Allah (swt) and begin to preserve the way - sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (saw). The open enemy has already been vanquished, ever since the day when he refused to obey Allah (swt) but many of us will fall with him unless we take the words of  Adh Dhahabee (Rh) who said ’If you become cowardly then run away from him, otherwise wrestle him down, sit on his chest with your knee and read Ayaat ul Kursi, and strangle him’.  

  

And if an evil whisper comes to you from Satan, they remember (Allah), and indeed they then see (aright)

Verily those who are pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember (Allah), and indeed they then see aright’. (7.200,201)

Zulfiqar Raja
 

References;

 

The Noble Qur’an (English Language)  Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan

Qasas al Ambiya - Stories of the Prophets  Ibn Kathir (Rh)

The Fundamentals of Tawheed  Dr Abu Ameenah Bilal Philips

 

Also inspired from the words of wisdom from my dear friend Mansoor bhai.