Satan: The Secret Leader of Those Who Do Not Heed The Qur'an
The first part of this book explained, in the light of some Qur'anic verses, the reasons people do not heed the Qur'an and run away from the truth. In addition to these reasons, there are certain people who encourage others to hide from, and reject, the truth of the Qur'an, turning them in the wrong direction and trying their utmost to keep them from the Qur'an. These are people who act as spokesmen for Satan's deceptions, and who are frequently leaders in their community. They attempt to spread atheism, and to prevent the adoption of the Qur'an's moral code.
There do not need to be a large number of such people. It is enough for them to be people who are materially and morally influential in the community, who have economic power in their hands, and who possess the means to direct society's thinking. In this way they can easily communicate their ideas to the masses, thus directing them. Because of their means, they succeed in making the majority of people think, speak and organise their lives in the godless way they impose upon them.
In general, many people follow unquestioningly community leaders like those described above. Such followers are those who have surrendered themselves to the race of life; they tag along on the leader's path without really being aware of their ultimate aims, and without realising what kind of life they have embarked upon. They agree to the leaders' every word, obey it scrupulously, and so are caught up living their lives according to this misguided direction.
History is full of such evil leaders. In recent times bloody-handed leaders like Stalin, Hitler, Franco, Mussolini and Mao have headed the unbelievers. During their periods in power, these people placed the lives of their subjects entirely under their own control and directed their daily and social lives. They used all means of communication according to their own ideas, provided education of the type they wanted, permitted to be read only those books they thought should be read, and committed mass murders of those opposed to them. They did not even tolerate the existence of different ideas and viciously destroyed those who held them. They tried everything to spread atheism, destroying churches and mosques, and abolishing religious education. As the Qur'an says, what they did was to "summon people to the fire." In Surat al-Qasas, Allah tells us about these types of people:
We made them leaders, summoning to the Fire, and on the day of rising they will not be helped. We pursued them with a curse in this world and on the day of rising they will be hideous and spurned. (Surat al-Qasas: 41-42)
Because of the powerful persuasion of these faithless leaders, as mentioned here in the Qur'an, people have emerged who are unable to think, see, speak or reason. The latter ignore the fact that it was Allah Who created them and gave them life, and obey the orders of their leaders: in fact they are afraid to behave in ways that might displease their leaders.
The unbelievers are so attached to their leaders that they will also battle opposing ideas. So, unless their leader gives permission, it is impossible for these unbelievers to listen to the words of those who call them to Allah, to read books on the topic, or even to believe in Allah. This is not a new situation, as we mentioned in the first part of the book, every prophet has faced leaders who try to prevent people from listening to, or following, the prophet. For example, when the Prophet Musa (peace be upon him) invited the people of Pharaoh to believe in Allah's verses, they were powerless against the Pharaoh, accepted his leadership and followed his orders for good or ill without reflection. However, the Qur'an points out that the Pharaoh was a leader summoning his people to the fire:
We sent Musa with Our Signs and clear authority to Pharaoh and his ruling circle. They followed Pharaoh's command but Pharaoh's command was not rightly guided. He will go ahead of his people on the day of rising and lead them down into the Fire... (Surah Hud: 96-98)
Just as they control how their people live their lives, absolute leaders also determine how they think. Recall how the Pharaoh resisted Musa (peace be upon him) despite every proof offered, and how his resistance also drove his subjects into the same deviation. The Qur'an's example of Pharaoh thus indicates clearly the pressure leaders of the unbelievers can exert on their societies and its beliefs:
He said, "Have you believed in him before I authorised you? He is your chief who taught you magic. But you will soon know! I will cut off your alternate hands and feet and I will crucify every one of you." (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 49)
This verse highlights that one of the main characteristics of absolutist leaders, who try to prevent their subjects from believing in religion, is their use of fear to control the community. They use slanders, threats of arrest, public ridicule and death, as ways to prevent their subjects from believing in Allah. However, such leaders forget that true believers fear nothing and nobody except Allah: because believers know that a person is responsible only to Allah and that they live only to earn Allah's approval. In fact, we see in the story of Pharaoh, that the magicians, who believed in the clear proofs brought by the Prophet Musa, set no store by Pharaoh's threats, because they sincerely believed in Allah, a belief which they expressed:
The magicians threw themselves down in prostration. They said, "We believe in the Lord of all the worlds, the Lord of Musa and Harun." Pharaoh said, "Have you believed in him before I authorised you to do so? This is just some plot you have concocted in the city to drive its people from it. I will cut off your alternate hands and feet and then I will crucify every one of you." They said, "We are returning to our Lord. You are only avenging yourself on us because we have believed in our Lord's Signs when they came to us. Our Lord, pour down steadfastness upon us and take us back to You as Muslims." (Surat al-A'raf: 120-126)
In another verse, Allah tells us of the brave decision taken by the faithful magicians in defiance of the Pharaoh:
They said, "We will never prefer you to the Clear Signs which have come to us nor to Him who brought us into being. Decide on any judgment you like. Your jurisdiction only covers the life of this world. (Surah Ta Ha: 72)
History is replete with examples of those who, like Pharaoh's people, fail to listen to their own consciences and use their own reason and only believe what their ruler gives them permission to. Even today, there are those who reject the Qur'an for similar reasons. Sadly, because they pay no attention to Allah's existence and are unaware that nothing and nobody has any independent power apart from Him, these people do not realise that their fear of their leaders is irrational. In reality, those they fear, and under whose orders they consequently place themselves, are impotent people like themselves, who have no real power of their own, living subject to the fate Allah has created for them. For example, the Pharaoh was a leader who, while he was alive, placed his people under great pressure, treated them cruelly, and was regarded as all powerful. But as the Qur'anic verses tell us, his "jurisdiction only covers the life of this world." Neither the wealth he owned, nor the kingdoms he established could protect him against death. Like everybody, his death at the end of a brief life was inevitable. After he died, he had no more control over his people.
In fact, when they are summoned to the presence of Allah, people will not be able to give as an excuse, that they disbelieved because their rulers persuaded and pressured them. None of the leaders whom they feared and whose orders they obeyed will be at their side to help or protect them. Everybody will give an individual accounting to Allah, and will be confronted with every single thing they have done. So, the image of the power, wealth, magnificence and potency on earth of the blasphemous leaders is a deceit. Allah warns that the power of such leaders will not be enough even to save their own souls:
Say: "Who will protect you night and day from the All-Merciful?" Yet they turn away from the remembrance of their Lord. Or do they have gods besides Us who will protect them? They cannot even help themselves! They will not be safe from Us. No indeed! We have given these people enjoyment, as We did their fathers, until life seemed long and good to them. Do they not see how We come to the land eroding it from its extremities? Or are they the victors? Say: "I can only warn you through the Revelation." But the deaf cannot hear the call when they are warned. (Surat al-Anbiya': 42-45)
Believing that any creatures other than Allah have power, submitting to their rule, allowing their every thought, belief and moral value to be a guiding principle and so destroying one's own beliefs and ideas is heedlessness and mindlessness. In fact this situation arises from the psychology of being controlled and managed in weak communities which do not think or exercise their free will. People in this situation prefer not to think or investigate for themselves, seeing it as too difficult; they prefer to follow received ideas, the "tried and true" and avoid the responsibility that comes with independent thought. They even follow people who are no longer alive, contenting themselves to adopt a viewpoint through reading a single book. They do not consider if the author had been sound in his thinking, or had been prejudiced or partial. That Marx, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler, Darwin and a great many other such atheist leaders of thought or politics still have so much influence on people's ideas is a very significant example of this.
But it is as dangerous as it is wrong to follow atheist leaders like those mentioned. A person may not heed calls to believe in Allah because of ignorance, because of failure to listen sufficiently to the voice of conscience or for other reasons, but once the truth has been perceived it is most intelligent to accept it. Continuing to insist on what is wrong, resisting the truth and failing to do what is right shows a great lack of reason. Doing what is right is a fine virtue, but regarding this as a weakness and calculating what people will think and trying to retain respect by doing so will cause a person real loss both in this world and the next. However, making a decision to conform unconditionally to the rules of the Qur'an and our Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is honest, sincere, civilised and courageous. At the same time, a person who does so has proved what a strong, honest and sound character he or she has. The real weakness is remaining silent in the face of Satan's cajolery and thus obeying Satan.
Being A Member of Satan's Faction…
As mentioned in the first part of this book, prophets and those sincere Muslims urging people to follow the prophets who have come to enlighten them, have always met with this kind of rejection. Leaders who try and turn people away from the prophets and from following the true religion have always used the same methods and put forward the same excuses. What can explain this symmetry? Is there a book such leaders follow? Or do they themselves follow a leader, the same one since the dawn of humanity?
Indeed, the fundamental reason underlying people's attempts to reject the prophets' call is that people who are remote from religious morality take their orders from the same place and heed the words of the same leader. This leader, who prevents people from praying to Allah, following the words of the prophets and finding the right path is Satan. Satan is the one who inspires the eminent ones among people, who may be economically or spiritually influential, as mentioned in the beginning of this part, to encourage their followers to reject the true path of religion.
Allah warns us that by distancing themselves from what is good, people are following the path of Satan, when He says in the Qur'an, "… What they call on is an arrogant Satan." (Surat an-Nisa': 117).
Satan, as the real leader of these people, is deluding them with all manner of promises.With a variety of methods and devices, Satan diverts them from the true faith of Allah, just as they themselves are doing with their own people. In fact by making Satan their friend and guardian, people are walking a path which will end in very great torment because, as the Qur'an tells us: "… Anyone who has made Satan his comrade, what an evil comrade he is!" (Surat an-Nisa': 38)
When a person accepts Satan as a friend, he begins to operate on the basis of his advice, inspiration and instructions. Before starting a task, before speaking, before making any decision, he is advised by this false friend. He consults Satan on every act and they plan together. In a Qur'anic verse, Allah gives this warning:
Among people there is one who argues about Allah without knowledge, and follows every rebellious Satan. It is written of him that if anyone takes him as a friend, he will mislead him and guide him to the punishment of the Searing Blaze. (Surat al-Hajj: 3-4)
This verse indicates that the friends of Satan are those who make him their protector, battle against the religion of Allah, enter into violent arguments and deviate from the true path. These people take Satan's side in the war he is waging against the religion of Allah, and become his foot soldiers. They are prone to becoming Satan's workers, because, as we are told in a verse of the Qur'an, "… The disbeliever is ever, againsthis Lord, an assistant to [Satan]." (Surat al-Furqan: 55)
The first task of Satan is to make his followers forget the existence of Allah. Through the prophets and the holy books, Allah promises everybody who He has created a wonderful eternal life if they accept Him and follow Him. Thus, He reminds them that they are responsible to Him and they are held responsible for observing the limits conveyed in the Qur'an. By contrast Satan deceives his own faction with lies such as that they have no responsibility to anybody, that there will be no accounting for what they do or say, and that there is no problem with their living how they wish, even any form of depravity and perversion. Thus Satan's promises about worldly life are easily accepted by people who have no faith and do not accept the Qur'an as their guide. Allah refers to the situation of those who turn away from the Qur'an in one of its verses:
Recite to them the tale of him to whom We gave Our Signs, but who then cast them to one side and Satan caught up with him. He was one of those lured into error. (Surat al-A'raf: 175)
As delineated in the first part of this book, those who allow themselves to become ensnared by Satan's traps live heedlessly and without a care, as though they will never die and life will never end. They hope to lead a happy life without recognizing religious morality and the limitations set by Allah. They make a great effort to avoid, overlook, or suppress any reality that might contradict their decision. But the calculations they make will not come out as Satan has promised them. On the contrary, every minute they spend in ignorance of the Qur'an will certainly bring with it great pain and trouble: a person who calculates with the thought that they are not responsible to anyone nor accountable for their behaviour, easily engages in any form of immorality and unconscionable behaviour. It is for this reason that the rejecters do not for the most part stop at lack of faith but exhibit aggressive behaviour towards Allah's prophets and believers, unable to endure their message.
The behaviour of people who reject religion in every period of history has an exact resemblance because what is directing them is the same Satanic power. The Qur'an describes it like this:
... The satans inspire their friends to dispute with you… (Surat al-An'am: 121)
Those in every society who conduct their endless struggle against Allah's message in their ignorance of the supreme truth that the Qur'an will prove to be superior under all circumstances, are proceeding down the path of Satan and obeying the orders he has given without consulting their own wisdom or consciences. But these secret calls of Satan will certainly bring them to a fiercely burning fire. Allah informs us about the position of these people in the Qur'an:
... Yet there are people who argue about Allah without knowledge or guidance or any illuminating Book. When they are told: "Follow what Allah has sent down," they say, "No, we will follow what we found our fathers doing." What! Even if Satan is calling them to the punishment of the Blazing Fire? (Surah Luqman: 20-21)