Those Unaware Of The Influence Of Satan: Societies Of The Ignorant
Societies founded on ignorance of the true faith do not recognize the power of Satan nor his influence over them. According to them, Satan is merely a symbol of evil, with no actual consequence for their day to day lives. They believe he only encourages the great crimes. Monstrous men who commit atrocities under the influence of Satan are the only ones "doomed to Hell." In their view, others, such as, for example a housewife, or a student not overtly harming anyone else, are not under the influence of Satan. Even if they do not fully observe their religious obligations, such people regard themselves as being of "pure heart." They are people who have no ambitions over others' money or property, and cause no one any visible "wrong" or "harm." Because they do not kill or spend illicit wealth, they believe, they will ultimately be allowed to enter Paradise. Again, according to the ignorant outlook, Satan's legions are composed merely of those who drink blood and sacrifice human beings, devious perverts like those seen only in horror films. These people, who are "bound for Hell," are those who have sold their souls to the Satan. Hell, they believe, exists only for these "evil" people.
This deceptive outlook, so prevalent in societies where ignorance prevails, renders Satan's task a great deal easier. Because they regard themselves as destined for Paradise, because they are not actually harming anyone, such people constitute the largest segment of humanity among which Satan can easily rule by and control. Until the day they will die, and be confined to Hell, they continue to deceive themselves, misled by the suggestions of Satan (Allah knows best). As revealed in the verses of the Qur'an, these people will be faced with their final outcome on the Day of Judgment, though they will be unable to believe it:
Then they will have no recourse except to say, "By Allah, our Lord, We were not idolaters." (Surat al-An`am, 23)
Satan's true aim is to prevent people from living according to what is pleasing to Allah, to keep them from the commands of the Qur'an, and to lead them to overstep the bounds set by Him. It is not necessary that a person to commit murder, drink blood or practice Satan-worship to be among the dupes of Satan. One who fails to perform the observances clearly imposed by Allah, but who still regards himself as being of "clean heart," or who thinks he renders service to others though his professional life, and has therefore fulfilled his requirements, has, nonetheless, fallen into Satan's snare.
According to that revealed in the Qur'an, those duped according to the desires of Satan are in the majority. People of faith, however, are very few in number, though preserved from the influence of Satan:
Iblis was correct in his assessment of them, and they followed him, except for a group of the believers. (Surah Saba´, 20)
With a little careful attention, one will recognize even within his own community he is surrounded by this secret army of Satan. These unadmitted, but nevertheless obedient troops, will show themselves forth through different types of characters. They may include a person's mother, father, brother, spouse, friend, or even oneself. The only way of determining so is to refer to the Qur'an, revealed by Allah, the Creator of both man and Satan. Philosophical arguments based on such premises as, "In my view," "In my opinion" and "The way I see it" are of no weight. The sole criterion is the Qur'an. If one person does not live according to that shown by the Qur'an, in other words, in the manner demanded by Allah, then he lives in the manner desired by Satan. Even if he is unaware of it, or refuses to accept it, the end-result is nevertheless the same; one who does not live in the way stipulated in the Qur'an, that is, in a way commanded by Allah, will be cast into the flames of Hell together with Satan. Those who will be thrown into Hell on the Day of Judgment are described in the Qur'an as follows:
They will be bundled into it head first, they and the misled, and every one of Iblis's regiments. (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 94-95)
Since such people are unaware that they are Satan's prisoners, they are easily misled by him. Acquiescing to, without question, the life desired for them by Satan, they waste the 60 to 70 years of life for nought. Even though the details of their lives may vary depending on their social status, the essential principle remains the same: they work solely for the life of this world, never thinking of Allah and the Hereafter, as if they were never to die.
Many devote years towards attaining an academic degree or professional designation, working day in and day out for a better life, or greater prosperity, only then to one day die, as if none of it had ever been. They are soon forgotten, and are succeeded by others. From the moment of their death, neither the money they had acquired, their social status, the standard of living they achieved, nor the family they left behind, are any longer of any value: the time granted them in this world has come to an end. Still, though, some never think of death, an ultimate truth they will nevertheless have to face. They waste the span of their life without making any preparation for it.
These people literally serve Satan, and Satan uses them to further spread his "religion" (in other words, his philosophy and system). Such people's mouths, eyes and skin all serve Satan. As a consequence, Satan is able to look not merely through one, but through millions of eyes, and hears through millions of ears. When they speak, no manner of reasoning in conformity with the Qur'an is to be detected, but the words of Satan. Satan will use anyone to spread the message of his religion, making no distinction between language, race or nation.
In short, Satan exploits the selfishness of people towards his own ends. To do so, he does not need to enter into their dreams with terrifying visions, as is otherwise believed, or, as depicted in horror films, by managing to make them perform a deed they would otherwise never do. All that is required is that he become for them a bosom friend. In other words, his victim complies of his own volition. That is the reason for the great similarity between them and Satan, a relationship described in the Qur'an as one of "brotherhood":
But as for their brothers [i.e., those among mankind who listen to the devils and obey their orders], the visitors lead them further into error. And they do not stop at that! (Surat al-A`raf, 202)
Satan enters his victim's subconscious, and rules every part of his body. For example, he inhibits the formulation of a sound thought. Satan is now so disposed to offer continual negative inspiration.
Those of his victims, whose souls Satan enters and whose bodies he rules, employ the same methods as their fiendish partner to turn others from the path of Allah, and to prevent them from behaving rightly. Like Satan, they spread the message of his religion by laying a thousand and one traps by which to combat Allah's influence on people, and to cause them to forget that which will aid them to act in a conscientious manner. In this case, it is no longer necessary to refer to Satan himself, and those under his control, as separate entities, because they themselves have become satans. They are then satans in physical form.
In several verses of the Qur'an, believers are warned against the friends of Satan. These issue from differing segments of society. Some may be industrialists, teachers or doctors, while others workers or students. These people, who live according to the religion designed by Satan, may have little in common socially. Yet, they all share one characteristic; they are all far removed from the true religion, the true religion of the Qur'an. We can organize those who are members of the society of ignorance, each of different characteristics but under the control of Satan, under several headings.
Enemies of the Prophets
It has been revealed in the Qur'an that every messenger, sent with the divine religion to guide to the true path, was confronted with the enmity of a group of satans, comprising of humans and jinn. Satans among the jinn whispered into the hearts of men to misdirect their steps. The human component among these satans revealed themselves through their hostility towards the Prophet (saas) and the believers who followed him. By fighting against the Prophet (saas), they joined with others like them, at times engaging in joint action. By such joint action, they incited one another against the believers with high-sounding but deceptive speech. This cooperation is described in the Qur'an as follows:
In this way, We have appointed as enemies to every Prophet satans, from both mankind and from the jinn, who inspire each other with delusions by means of specious words—if your Lord had willed, they would not have done it, so abandon them and all they fabricate—
So that the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter incline towards them and are pleased with them and perpetrate whatever they perpetrate. (Surat al-An`am, 112-113)
As stated in these verses, had Allah so willed, these satans would not have been hostile to the Prophet (saas), and would not have inflicted any difficultly or sought to oppress the believers, nor wage war against them. Only according to the will of Allah can these creatures compose the circumstances by which to test the friends of Allah, by which they may be raised in rank in the Hereafter. By means of these situations, the believers are put to the test, their patience tested, and hearts cleansed. Satan, who cannot act outside the will of Allah, merely complies with the task set out for him by Allah, to help distinguish the believers from the unbelievers.
Unbelievers Incited by Satan
The incitement of Satan is the most important factor behind the excesses of the unbelievers, and their hostility towards the believers. Allah revealed, in the Qur'an:
Do you not see that We send the satans against those who disbelieve to goad them on? (Surah Maryam, 83)
... The satans inspire their friends to dispute with you.... (Surat al-An`am, 121)
Sometimes, Satan encourages idolaters and unbelievers to attack the believers in the cause of "the religion of their ancestors"; other times, out of racism; otherwise still, for worldly benefit. The characteristic common to every unbeliever who has ever opposed the true religion throughout history, is that they acted through the influence of Satan.
Just as these attacks can be verbal, they can also be physical, with the intent to kill. A verse describes the action taken by the unbelievers against Allah's Prophet (saas):
When those who disbelieve were plotting against you to imprison you or kill you or expel you... (Surat al-Anfal, 30)
So effective are suggestions insinuated by Satan into the minds of the unbelievers that they pursue their rebellion against the messenger and the believers, even at the risk of their own lives. A telling example of this is referred to in those verses which describe the wars waged against the believers. Prior to the war, Satan incited the unbelievers against the believers, and portrayed the idea of fighting against them as fair-seeming. Indeed, he so rouses the unbelievers that he makes them believe that there exists no army able to defeat them. When the two armies met, however, Satan abandoned those who believed in him:
When Satan made their actions appear good to them, saying, "No one will overcome you today for I am at your side." But when the two parties came in sight of one another, he turned right round on his heels saying, "I wash my hands of you. I see what you do not see. I fear Allah. Allah is severe in retribution." (Surat al-Anfal, 48)
Satan does not in truth seek what is best for those who believe in him. Thus, he tries to ensure that all, believer or unbeliever, go to Hell. Presenting himself as a trusted friend is a tactic by which he can incite one people against another, and generally cause strife and evil. After achieving his objective, though, he abandons those, whoever they may be, who took him as their friend.
Racists are another example of a type of unbeliever influenced by Satan. Wherever you will find them in the world, racist individuals or societies regard themselves superior to others, for no valid reason at all. A rage has been fomented in them. Generally, through the effectiveness of Satan's inducements, they devote their lives for the sake of something they do not even fully understand. Attention is drawn in the Qur'an to the anger incited in racists:
Those who disbelieve filled their hearts with fanatical rage—the fanatical rage of the Time of Ignorance—and Allah sent down serenity to His Messenger and to the believers, and bound them to the expression of heedfulness which they had most right to and were most entitled to. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat al-Fath, 26)
The way racists harbor a hatred for others, by regarding themselves superior, brings to mind another feature of Satan which we have already mentioned. Here, the mentality of Satan, who hated the Prophet Adam (as) because he regarded himself superior to him, can be recognized as the essential philosophy of the racists. At the source of the perverted basis by which racist societies regard themselves as superior, lies the delusion of the superiority of their physical attributes, history, ancestry and lineage. Upon more careful examination, we may note that claiming one is superior to others on the basis of one's lineage is parallel to the errant logic of Satan according to which fire is superior to clay.
Those to Whom Satan Portrays Their Perversions As Attractive
Unbelievers and idolaters become passionately devoted to the superstitions they prefer over the true religion. Whatever the ideology or idea, those who believe in these superstitions have actually embarked on the road to Hell, which Satan had embellished for them.
This embellishment made by Satan has become so attractive to the unbelievers that, when duped by it, they come to believe themselves on the true path, and become obstinately committed to their perversions. The influence on people of the attractiveness effected by Satan for a particular religion, in the time of the Prophet Sulayman (as), has been revealed as follows in the Qur'an:
[The hoopoe said,] "I found both her [Queen of Sheba] and her people prostrating to the sun instead of Allah. Satan has made their actions seem good to them and debarred them from the Way so they are not guided." (Surat an-Naml, 24)
This verse refers to a community of Sun-worshippers, and it has been revealed that it was Satan who had made this perversion appear attractive to them. Even if some in the modern world do not worship the Sun, they nevertheless are still followers of whichever false system or ideology they are blindly devoted to. The similarity between the Sun-worshipers of the time of the Prophet Sulayman (as), and those who abandon Islam in the present time and turn towards man-made ideologies, is the fact that it was Satan who portrayed these choices as attractive to them.
Those Who Ignorantly Debate Over Allah
There is a technique often employed by prominent members of the society of the ignorant. They make unfounded comments about the true religion, to justify their own corruption and win supporters. One such group, who frequently resort to this tactic, regard themselves as "elites."
They consider themselves superior to common people. So high is their regard for themselves that they are entirely unable to believe that Allah will ever punish them. Not only do they flee from the religion of Allah, they prevent others from adhering to it (Surat al-An`am, 26). They esteem those who are religious as ignorant, naïve and contemptible. They interpret the religion according to their own inclinations. With these interpretations they propagandize their false religion. They are ungrateful to Allah, the Lord of all, Who created human beings to serve Him, and rebel against Him in a way that is grossly ignorant. Reference is made to such people in the Qur'an, in the following example:
Among people there is one who argues about Allah without knowledge or guidance or any light-giving Book,
turning away arrogantly, to misguide people from the Way of Allah. He will be disgraced in this world and on the Day of Rising We will make him taste the punishment of the Burning. (Surat al-Hajj, 8-9)
Whether a wealthy industrialist, politician or ordinary citizen, these people have fallen into the grasp of Satan, one as unscrupulous and untrustworthy as they are. Such people, who use the religion as a tool with which to justify their own belief-systems or ideologies in no way compatible with the Qur'an, and who have appeared in every period of history, all follow in the footsteps of Satan. They are described in the following terms in the Qur'an:
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)
Those Who Imagine Satan Interfered with the Revelation of the Qur'an
Although very few in number, these corrupt individuals have suggested, in order to spread confusion and turn the ignorant away from Islam, that the words of jinn and Satan became mixed up in the revelation of the Qur'an.
The same perverse suggestion is to be found in the society of the ignorant at the time of our Prophet (saas). Indeed, idolaters of the time accused even our Prophet (saas) of soothsaying and madness (Surat at-Tur, 29). Because, it was believed that soothsayers received information from jinn and Satan, and that they were under their influence. Others, of similar mentality, accused the Prophet Muhammad (saas) of madness (possession by jinns). The best way to answer all such perverted insinuations is provided in the Qur'an:
Nor is it [the Qur'an] the word of an accursed Satan. (Surat at-Takwir, 25)
The satans did not bring it [the Qur'an] down.
It does not befit them and they are not capable of it. (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 210-211)
In that which follows these verses, it has been revealed that the satans have been prohibited and prevented from listening to the revelation of Allah:
They are debarred from hearing it. (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 212)
The limits of the sky is protected from the satans, those who try to listen stealthily are punished by flame at that moment. (Surat al-Hijr, 17-18)
As we know, Satan is a jinn, and strict precautions have been implemented to prevent jinn from listening to the divine revelation. These measures were referred by the mouths of the jinns themselves in Surat al-Jinn:
"We tried, as usual, to travel to heaven in search of news but found it filled with fierce guards and meteors.
We used to sit there on special seats to listen in. But anyone listening now finds a fiery meteor in wait for him." (Surat al-Jinn, 8-9)
Satan Descends on Every Evil Liar
"Satan" refers to all those on whom Satan descends and who he brings under his influence. The defining characteristic of such people has been revealed to be their propensity towards sin and deceit. Whether consciously or not, they hearken to Satan, and act in compliance to his commands. The Qur'an conveys the following on the subject:
Shall I tell you upon whom the satans descend?
They descend on every evil liar.
They give them a hearing and most of them are liars.(Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 221-223)
It is important to note that, immediately after these verses, reference was made to the poets from the period of the revelation of the Qur'an:
And as for poets, it is the misled who follow them.
Do you not see how they ramble on in every style and say things which they do not do. (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 224-226)
In Mecca, during the period of our Prophet (saas), poets were those charged with the task of directing and influencing society, as well as formulating agendas. Since the verses they wrote were passed on orally, they served as a kind of source of traditional lore. Most of these poets, however, employed their talents against Islam, and sought to turn people from the true path.
It would appear from these verses that one of the methods they used to deceive the public was to make empty promises. Remembering that making empty promises is one of the primary methods employed by Satan (Surat an-Nisa´, 120, Surah Ibrahim, 22), the link between these poets and Satan is again elucidated.
Despite the passage of years, there has been no change in this situation, apart from a few minor details. The poets have been replaced by centers of power against religion. Methods such as empty promises, distracting the public, deception, and portraying the facts as other than they actually are the means most frequently employed by these circles. The facts are completely misrepresented by mendacious reports, and propaganda in the promotion of all manner of sin is being widely disseminated, to an extent never before seen in the history of the world. Efforts to slander and blacken the good name of Muslims, and to ultimately defeat Islam, are all undertaken under the influence of Satan.
The Religion of Their Ancestors
The Qur'an is the primary source for learning about Islam. For that reason, Satan keeps as many away from it as he can, directing them instead towards traditional beliefs and superstition inherited from past generations.
Those who fall into this trap, abide not by Allah's revelation, but according to superstitions that have been accreted to one another over the centuries. Worst of all, these people become obstinately devoted to their superstitions. Satan has so closed their minds that they persist in their ignorance even when called to the true religion revealed by Allah:
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, 21)
For instance, in this religion, based on tradition and superstition, women are regarded as second-class citizens. Their adherents insist on the supremacy of men, and debase women. However, there is no gender-based supremacy in the Qur'an. It has been revealed in the Qur'an that those who are superior are those who are foremost in godliness. The persistence of such superstitions is among the most definite proofs that, though coming under the name of Islam, certain circles are still living by the traditions handed down from their ancestors.
Those who abide by the religion of their ancestors are stubborn and closed-minded. No amount of reasoning can lead them abandon the religion they have inherited by way of their ancestors. According to the Qur'an, these people cannot be brought to their senses. The following verse reveals:
When they are told, "Follow what Allah has sent down to you," They say, "We are following what we found our fathers doing." What, even though their fathers did not understand a thing and were not guided!
The likeness of those who disbelieve is that of the beast which, call out to it as one may, can hear nothing but a shout and a cry. Deaf–dumb–blind. They do not use their intellect. (Surat al-Baqara, 170-171)