[By Hafiz Abu’l-Faraj Ibn Jawzi (rahimahullah)]
Know that desires and urges were built into humans in order for them to seek beneficial things. Anger was instilled in them so they would use it to repel harm. And a human’s intellect tames him and orders him to be fair in that which he seeks and avoids.
The devil entices the human to be excessive in general. So a wise person must be cautious of this enemy who has declared his animosity since the time of Adam (alayhissalaam), and has dedicated his life to the corruption of the Adam’s (alayhissalaam) children. Allah (the Mighty and the Majestic) has cautioned from the devil. He said:
“and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. He only orders you to evil and immorality and to say about Allah what you do not know.” [al-Baqarah 2:169]
“Satan threatens you with poverty and orders you to immorality” [Al-Baqarah 2:268]
“and Satan wishes to lead them far astray.” [al-Nisa’ 4:60]
“Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” [al-Ma’idah 5:91]
“Indeed, he is a manifest, misleading enemy.” [al-Qasas 28: 15]
“Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze (Hell-fire).” [Fatir 35:6]
“and be not deceived about Allah by the Deceiver [i.e., Satan].” [Luqman 31:33]
There are numerous warning of this nature in the Qur’an.
Warning from the Trials of lblis and his Deceptions
It must be known that Iblis is occupied with deception, and yet, he was the first to be deceived. He rejected the clear order to prostrate (to Adam alayhissalaam), and he dwelled into who was of better origin (him or Adam).
He said: “You created me from fire and created him from clay [i.e. earth].” [al-A’raf 7: 12]
Then he objected to the King the Most Wise saying:
“Do You see this one whom You have honored above me?” [al-Isra’ 17:62]
The meaning of what he said was: why have You honored him?! The essence of this objection was: what You have done was not wise. Then the devil followed (this objection) with arrogance, he said:
“I am better than him (Adam)” [al-A’raf 7: 12]
Then he refused to prostrate. So he dishonored himself with a curse and punishment; while attempting to do the exact opposite.
When the devil suggests to a human to do something then he must be extremely cautious and should respond saying: “you are pretending to give me advice by ordering me to fulfill my lusts. How could your advice be genuine when you have failed to abide by this advice yourself?! And how can I trust the advice of an enemy. Leave! Your suggestion has no place here.”
Afterwards, the devil will seek the assistance of the nafs (the human self) because he is encouraging (it to fulfill) its lusts. At this point, intellect should be invited to the household of contemplation in order to think about the end result of sinning. Perhaps (Allah’s) assistance will dispatch its soldiers to defeat the army of lusts.
‘Iyad lbn Himar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Allah’s Mes senger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “O people, Allah (the Mighty and the Majestic) commanded me that I should teach you which you do not know and which He has taught me today. (He has instructed thus): The property which I have conferred upon a servant of Mine is lawful for him. I have created My servants as one having a natural inclination to the worship of Allah but it is the devils who turn them away from the right religion, and makes unlawful what has been declared lawful for them. He commands them to ascribe partnership with Me, although he has no justification for that. And verily, Allah (the Mighty and the Majestic) looked towards the people of the world and He showed hatred for the Arabs and the non-Arabs, except for some remnants from the People of the Book.”
Jabir [Ibn Abdullah] (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Iblis places his throne upon water; he then sends detachments (for creating dissension); the nearer to him in rank are those who are most notorious in creating dissension. One of them comes and says: ‘I did such and such.’ And he says: ‘You have done nothing.’ Then one amongst them comes and says: ‘I did not spare so and so until I separated him from his wife.’ Iblis brings him near to him and says: ‘You have done well.‘” [Muslim 4/2166/2812].
Jabir (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Iblis has given up on being worshipped by those who perform prayer. [All lblis can achieve is] to entice conflict among them.” This Hadith was reported by Muslim alone.
In another version of the Hadith: “Iblis has given up on being worshipped by those who perform prayer in the Arabian Peninsula” [Muslim 4/2167/2813].
Anas lbn Malik (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reported that Allah’s Mes senger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “The devil puts his nose and mouth on the heart of the child of Adam. When he mentions Allah, the devil retreats. If he forgets Allah the devil swallows his heart.” Abu Nu’aym in al-hilyah, 6/268
‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said: ‘Once the devil approached a group of men gathered for remembrance (of Allah). He attempted to scatter them but failed. So he approached a different gathering where worldly matters were being discussed. He enticed animosity among them until they began fighting each other. The men from the first group jumped to stop the fighting among the second group, and hence, they were scattered (from their gathering of remembrance)” [Ahmad in al-Zuhd page 196].
Qatadah said: ‘One of Iblis’s devils is called Qubqub. Iblis has ordered him to rest for forty years.’ Whenever a youth enters this path (of righteousness), Iblis tells Qubqub: ‘There he is, I have been preparing you for this type of youth. Deceive and seduce him.’ (lbn Al-Jawzi in Dhamm ai-Hawti, 145.)
Thabit Al-Bunani said: ‘It was reported to us that once Iblis manifested himself before Prophet Yahya (‘alayhis-salaam).’ On serving that he had numerous ropes on him, Yahya (alayhissalaam) inquired: “O lblis! What are these ropes that I see on you?”
He replied: “These ropes are the various lusts with which I strike on the children of Adam.” Yahya asked: ‘Does there exist a rope for me too?‘ Satan said: ‘Yes.’ When you satiate yourself with food, you experience weightiness and it is for this reason you become disinclined to perform prayers, remembrance and supplications. Hearing this, Yahya (alayhissalaam) vowed: By Allah! Never shall I eat to my fill, ever again. Iblis responded by pledging: And by Allah, never shall I give advice to a Muslim, ever again.’ [Ahmad in al Zuhd page 96].
Al-Harith Ibn Qais said: ‘If the devils comes to you while praying and said: “You are showing off”, then make your prayer longer.’ [Ibn Al-Jawzi in Dhamm al-Hawti, 131].
Wahb Ibn Munabbih (rahimahullah) said: ‘There was a worshipper from the Children of Isra’il who was the most dedicated to worship among people of his generation. During his time, there were three brothers who were called upon to battle. They had only one sister, and she was never married. They did not know under whose care they could leave their sister. Then they agreed to leave her with the worshipper because he was trusted to them. So they went to him and asked him to leave their sister with him until they returned from battle. He refused and sought refuge with Allah from them and from their sister.’ The brothers insisted until they convinced him. He said: ‘place her in a house near my monastery. The brothers then left her there and went to battle.’
For sometime thereafter, the worshipper used to bring her food down from his monastery, leave it at his doorstep and close the door.
Then he would climb back to his monastery and call her to get her food. She would then leave her house to get the food.
The devil told him that it is not appropriate for the girl to leave her house during the day, and that somebody might see her when she is walking out during the day and become attached to her. So the worshiper began walking to her house and leaving the food at her doorstep but without talking to her. This continued to happen for sometime.
Again the devil came to him and convinced him to take the food and leave it inside her room. So he began to do so, and this continued to happen for a while.
Then again, one day the devil told the worshiper: ‘YOU should talk to her and keep her company because she is feeling very lonely.’ So the worshiper began talking to her from the top of his monastery, and continued to do so for sometime.
Then the devil came to him and said: it would be better if you come down from your monastery to talk to her, or to go to her house. This would make her feel even less lonely. So he did, and this continued to happen for a while.
The devil then came to him and convinced him to come nearer to her doorstep so she would not have to sit outside her house talking to him. So he did, and this continued to happen for sometime.
Then the devil came to him and convinced him to enter her house so that nobody sees her at all. So he began visiting her his entire day.
The devil continued to beautify her in the eyes of the worshiper until he touched her thigh and kissed her. Then he had relations with her and got her pregnant, and she delivered a boy.
The devil came to him and said: “When the brothers come back and find out that their sister had a child you will become defamed. You should slaughter the baby. And she will not reveal what hap pened out of fear of her brothers.” So the worshiper did.
Later the devil came to him and said: “Do you think that she will keep the secret after you kill her own child? Take her, kill her and bury her next to her son.” So he killed her, buried her and covered the grave with a big rock. He then returned to his monastery to worship.
Later the brothers came back and inquired about their sister. The worshiper said that she had passed away. They cried and told them she was a great woman and pointed them to her grave. The brothers visited the grave, mourned their sister and asked for her forgiveness. They stayed for a few days at her grave then left.
Then the devil came to the brothers and made them see a dream. In that dream they were told that the worshipper had killed their sister and the proof was that she was buried in a different location (i.e. under the rock inside the house).
When the brothers woke up they started talking to each other and found out that they all had seen the same dream. They thought that there must be some truth in it. So they went and uncovered the grave that the worshiper had pointed to, and found it empty. Then they went inside the house and found the rock as mentioned in the dream. On digging underneath the rock they found their sister’s dead body along with that of the child.
So they went to the worshiper and forced him to disclose the secret of what happened. He went ahead and told them the whole story. The three brothers took him to the king’s court and he was given the punishment of execution.
While the worshiper was being dragged to his execution spot, the devil came to him and said: “Listen! I am the devil and it was me who was in communication with you since this whole thing started and not your inner thoughts. Now I can get you out of this trouble if you want. I am the one who put you in this trouble in the first place and I can get you out of it.” The worshiper asked: “What should I do?” He said: “Prostrate to me and I will save you.”
The worshiper prostrated to the devil and as soon as he did so, the devil ran away and the worshiper was executed.
“[The hypocrites are] like the example of Satan when he says to man, ‘Disbelieve.’ But when he disbelieves, he says, ‘Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.”‘ [al-Hashr (59):16] Ibn Al-Jawzi in Dhamm al-Hawd, 134.
Wahb lbn Munabbih (rahimahullah) reported that a monk went to seclusion in his monastery during the time of al-Masih [Prophet ‘Eesa (‘alayhis-salaam)]. Iblis attempted to seduce him in every way, but was unable. Finally, Iblis came to him in the form of al Masih and called on him: O monk! Come to me I wish to talk to you. The monk replied: go away. I am not going to gain back what I have lost from my life (I have no time for you). Iblis responded: ‘Come to me, I am al-Masih.’ The monk said: ‘If you were truly al-Masih then I have nothing to do with you.‘ al-Masih ordered us to worship, and promised us that there will be a Judgment Day. So go away I have no need for you. So the cursed-one left. [Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah, 4/44].
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said: While on the Ark, [Prophet] Nuh (‘alayhissalam) noticed an old man whom he did not recognise. Nuh (alayhissalaam) inquired: ‘What brought you here?’ He replied: ‘I came to strike the hearts of your followers, so their hearts become with me, while their bodies with you.’ Nuh alayhissalaam responded: ‘Leave O enemy of Allah.’ Iblis said: ‘There are five things that cause people to become destroyed (deviated).’ I will inform you of three and not of the other two. It was revealed to Nuh (alayhissalaam) that he needed not know the three, but that he should enquire about the two.’ Iblis said: ‘The two that are certain to work are: envy: I was cursed because of my envy, and became a stoned devil. And the second is eagerness (to have more): The entire paradise was made permissible to Adam (‘alay his-salaam). I got what I wanted from him because of his eagerness.’ [Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shaytan, 65/ 44].
Sa’id lbn Al-Musayyab said: ‘Iblis never gave up to seduce every Prophet that Allah has sent; by using women.‘ [Ibn AbI al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shaytan, 62/ 42].
Al-Fudhayl Ibn ‘Iyad said: ‘Some of our elders said that once while [Prophet] Musa (‘alayhis-sakim) was supplicating to his Lord, Iblis came to him.’ An angel told Iblis: ‘Woe to you! What are you hoping to get out of him while he is in this condition (prayer)?’ He replied: ‘I am hoping to get from him
what I got from his father Adam when he was in paradise.’
[Ibn AbI al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shytan, 72/ 48].
‘Abdul-Rahman Ibn Ziyad Ibn An’um said: ‘While [Prophet] Musa (‘alayhissalaam) was in a gathering Iblis came wearing a hooded cape that changed in colors. When the devil came nearer he took off the cap and set it down and came to Musa saying: ‘Peace be upon you. Musa replied: ‘Who are you?’ He said: ‘I am Iblis.’ Musa responded: ‘No greetings from Allah to you, what brought you here?’ The devil said: ‘I came to greet you because of your high godly status.’ Musa said: ‘What have I seen you wearing?’ Iblis replied: ‘I use it (the cap) to capture the hearts of the sons of Adam.’ Musa asked: ‘What is it that if a human does will enable you to take him over?’ He replied: ‘If he becomes fond of himself, and considered his (good) deeds plentiful.’ I warn you from three things: First, never be alone with a woman that is not lawful to you. Be cause whenever someone does so, I personally accompany him and use her to seduce him. Second, never promise Allah something except that you fulfill your promise. Whenever someone promises Allah something I personally accompany him to prevent him from fulfilling his promise. And never take an amount of money to give charity except that you make sure you give it to that charity. Whenever someone takes an amount of money to give to charity, I personally accompany him to persuade him not to give it. Then Iblis walked away saying: ‘Woe to me, thrice, I have taught [Prophet] Musa from what to warn the sons of Adam.’ [Ibn AbI al-Dunya in Maka’d al-Shaytan, 11/47]
Hasan Ibn Salih said: ‘I heard that the devil said addressing The Woman: ‘You are half of my army, you are my arrow with which I never miss, you are the one I entrust with my secrets, and you are my messengers.’ [Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shayatin, 59 /37].
Wahb Ibn Munabbih said: ‘A monk asked the devil when he had appeared to him: Which of human manners are most helpful for you to over take humans.’ He replied: ‘Hot temperedness.’ When a servant is hot tempered we play with (manipulate) him just as kids play with a ball.‘ [lbn AbI al-Dunya in Maka’d al-Shayatin, 59/38].
Thabit [al-Bunani] said: ‘When the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) became a Prophet, Iblis began sending his devils to tempt the Prophet’s Companions (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). The devils would return after achieving nothing. So Iblis inquired: What is with you?! Why are you unable to get anything out of them? They replied: ‘We have never seen people like these before (such were our Sahaabah (alayhim ar ridhwan), Iblis responded: ‘Wait until worldly bounties open up for them, then you would be able to get what you want from them.’ [lbn AbI al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shayatin, 60/39]
Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (radhiyallahu anhu) said: ‘Every morning, Iblis dispatches his soldiers saying: ‘Whoever of you misguides a Muslim then I will make him wear the crown.’ One devil responds: ‘I continued to persuade so and so until he divorced his wife.‘ Iblis replies: ‘(this is not significant) He will eventually remarry.’ Another devil says: ‘I continued to persuade so and so until he disobeyed his parents.’ Iblis replies: ‘He will eventually become dutiful to his parents.’ A third devil says: ‘I continued to persuade so and so until he fornicated.’ Iblis says: ‘ You are the one.’ Another devil says: ‘I continued to persuade so and so until he committed murder.‘ Iblis says: ‘You are the one, you are the one.’ (Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shaytin, 59 /38).
Al-Hasan [al-Basri] said: ‘There used to be a tree that was being worshipped instead of Allah.’ A man went to the tree with the intention of cutting it down. The devil came to him in human form and asked: ‘What are you aiming to do?‘ The man replied: ‘I wish to cut down this tree that is being worshipped in place of Allah.’ The devil said: ‘You are not worshipping it.’ So what harms if others are worshiping it? The man responded: I will cut it down. The devil said: ‘Let me suggest something better for you.’ Do not cut it down and you shall find two dinars every morning under your pillow. The man replied: ‘Who would guarantee me this?’ The devil said: ‘I would.’ On the following day the man saw two dinars under his pillow. But on the following day, he did not see the money again as expected, so he again went to cut down the tree. The devil came to him in his (true) shape and asked him: ‘What do you wish to do?‘ He replied: ‘I want to cut down that tree because it is being worshiped in place of Allah.’ The devil responded: ‘You lie. You have no power to do so.’ The man continued walking but the devil threw him down and began choking him and said: ‘do you know who I am? I am the devil.’ Initially you were angry for Allah’s sake, so I had no power over you. I deceived you with the two dinar promise. Later you became angry for the sake of the two dinars, so I was able to over power you. ( Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shaytin, 79 /60.)
Mujahid said: ‘Iblis has five sons’ He appointed each of them on one of his affairs. Their names are: Thabr, Al A’war, Musawwat, Dasim and Zulunbur. As for Thabr, he is responsible for calamities. He orders people to rip their clothes, slap their cheeks and make the call of ignorance when stricken by calamity. Al-A’war is responsible for fornication. He beautifies it and orders others to commit it. As for Musawwat, he is responsible for lies. He hears the news and transfers it to someone else, who in turn, goes to a gathering of people and tells them: I met a person whose face I know but I do not know his name. He told me such and such. Dasim shows a wife’s faults to her husband and makes him angry with them. And Zulunbur is responsible for the market place. He sticks his flag therein. (Ibn Abi al-Dunya in Maka’ d al-Shayatin, 54 /35)
Makhlad Ibn al-Husayn said: ‘Whenever Allah ordains an order to His servants, Iblis intersects trying to achieve one of two things, he does not care which of the two he achieves. The first is to fulfill this order excessively, and the second is to fulfill this order deficiently. (Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah, 8/266) ‘
‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) said: ‘Iblis is chained in the lower levels of earth. Whenever he moves then his motion results in every form of conflict between two or more persons.’ (Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah, 1/288).
The devil has many methods of deception that I appropriately mentioned throughout this article. It is difficult to be safe from the devil’s deceptions because they are many, and they cling to the heart. Calling humans to do something that is consistent with their nature is just like pushing a ship that is already going down hill. Just imagine how fast it would go then. Even Harut and Mariit were unable to remain well composed after desire was instilled in them. In fact, when angels see that a believer has died in the state of iman they become amazed.
Abd Al ‘Aziz Ibn Rufi’ said: ‘When the soul of a believer is risen to the heavens, angels wonder: Glory be to the One who saved this servant from the devil. Woe to him, how he was saved.’ (Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah, 1/288).
A’ishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) said: ‘One time Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) left my (apartment) during the night and I felt jealous. Then he (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) came and saw (in what agitated state of mind) I was. He (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “A’ishah, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous?” I replied: ‘How can a woman like me not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you?’ Allah’s Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: “Has your devil overtaken you?” I replied: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, is there along with me a devil?’ He said: ‘Yes!’ I said: ‘Is a devil attached to everyone?’ He said: ‘Yes. A’ishah (radhoyallahu anhu) again said: ‘O Allah’s Messenger, is one with you also?’ He said: “Yes, but my Lord (the Mighty and the Majestic) has helped me and made him Muslim.”‘ [Only Muslim reported this Hadith (Muslim 4/2168/2815)].
May Allah Ta’ala save us from the deceptions and tricks of Iblis and Make us alert at every step of this enemy, Aameen!.