Satan strives to hinder man from recognizing the good

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In the Qur'an, God relates that Satan is ungrateful and rebellious. We also learn from the Qur'an that he will approach man from every angle and that he will resort to any means for the purpose of leading man into all kinds of debauchery. The most common method he employs towards this evil plan is hindering man from seeing the good in the things that happen to him. In this way, he also strives to mislead man into rebellion and ingratitude. People who fail to grasp the beauty of the morality of the Qur'an, those who are far from the teachings of Islam and spend their lives chasing vain pursuits, who are oblivious of the Hereafter, are prone to the snares of Satan.

Satan appeals to man's weaknesses and whispers deceptive ploys to him; he summons him to rebel against God and fate. For instance, one may not find it difficult to remind his neighbour who had been involved in an accident of the fact that it forms part of his destiny. Yet, the same person may fail to adopt the same mature attitude when he or his family is beset with a similar accident. Through the influence of Satan, he finds it easier to adopt a rebellious attitude. Because, one must exercise his conscience in order to strive to see goodness in events, to show submission and to put his trust in God. The failure to exercise one's conscience leads only to an errant attitude.

Satan's efforts to hinder man from seeing the good may be recognized in all kinds of circumstances. His whisperings also prevent some from seeing the good of their own deeds. For instance, Satan strives to instil fear of poverty into someone who is willing to spend of his wealth in the cause of God. This temptation of his is related in the following verse:

 

Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. God promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. God is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara: 268)



However, all such sentiments are vain feelings. These insidious plans of Satan can by no means influence the true believer, since the believer's aim in spending his wealth is not to obtain worldly benefits or his own gratification. His main goal is to earn the good pleasure of God, His mercy and Paradise. For this reason, Satan cannot deceive believers with vain aspirations. That Satan can exert no influence on believers is stated in a verse as follows:

If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in God. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who fear God, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Surat al-A'raf: 200-201)

We should understand that Satan employs two methods to hinder man from engaging in good deeds. First, he strives to prevent a good and beneficial deed and presents the pursuit of worldly benefits as the sole purpose of life. Secondly, he does his utmost to hinder people from seeing the good and purpose of an event. Especially, when a misfortune befalls a man, he presents it as an "evil", and tempts him into assuming a rebellious attitude towards God.

However, so many are the blessings granted to a person that one could never count them. From the moment of his birth, man is bestowed with numerous blessings from his Lord, a bounty that is not interrupted at any moment for the rest of his life. That is why believers, who take their Lord as their sole ally and protector, put their trust in Him, and, when something seemingly adverse happens to them, aware that there exists an ultimate good in it, show patience even if they fail to see an immediate divine purpose. As the Prophet (saas) says, they "take refuge with God from the difficulties of severe calamities," (Bukhari) and no matter what happens to them, they never become rebellious or complain. They always retain in mind that a seemingly adverse incident will ultimately turn out in their favour. And, by the Will of God, that hardship may ultimately prove to be a major milestone in their life that will lead them to eternal salvation.

2009-02-12 16:58:08

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