The Qur'an tells us a great deal about Satan and warns us about his wiles. In order to avoid his subtle traps and tricks, we need to analyze this creature.
Satan's Rebellion against God and His Humiliation
After God created Adam, He commanded all of the angels to prostrate before him. And all of them did so except Satan, who claimed that he was superior because he was created from fire while Adam was created from clay:
We created you [Adam], formed you, and then said to the angels: "Prostrate before Adam," and they prostrated—except for Satan. He was not among those who prostrated. We asked: "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?" He replied: "I am better than him. You created me from fire, and You created him from clay." (Qur'an, 7:11-12)
Satan thought that he would be humiliated if he prostrated before Adam. So, due to his pride and arrogance, he refused to obey God's command. Although he knew that God created and directed everything he became arrogant and claimed that he was better than Prophet Adam (pbuh). This claim was extremely disrespectful; on the one hand, he said he believed in God, and yet, on the other hand, he dared to oppose Him.
A panel with the Basmalah (In the name of God, Most Compassionate , Most Merciful) inscribed in the tugra style by Ismail Hakki Altunbezer (from the calligraphy collection of Ekrem Hakki Ayverdi).
In his arrogance, Satan mistakenly thought that he could preserve his pride by refusing to prostrate to Adam. Contrary to what he expected, he was greatly humiliated, embarrassed, and banished. Moreover, throughout human history he would be known as the worst of the worst, a being condemned to the pangs of Hell. And he will always be known as such. The Qur'an describes his banishment from God's presence, as follows:
He said: "Descend from Heaven. It is not for you to be arrogant in it. So get out! You are one of the abased." (Qur'an, 7:13)
He said: "Get out of it, reviled and driven out. As for those of them who follow you, I will fill up Hell with every one of you." (Qur'an, 7:18)
Actually, all arrogant and conceited people fall into this same trap. Satan misleads them into thinking that if they puff themselves up, they will receive respect and honor. But, in fact, they will receive just the opposite. Before all else, in God's sight they will be humiliated because "God does not love anyone vain or boastful" (Qur'an, 4:36). They will also be humiliated among other people, because no one likes an arrogant person. Thus, they have no real friends and are despised by everyone. This humiliation is one of the worst things they experience; but an even greater humiliation will be the pangs of Hell that they will endure along with Satan and his minions.
Satan First Misled Prophet Adam (pbuh) and His Wife
After Satan was driven out of God's presence, he began his struggle that will last until the Day of Judgment. He insinuated himself into people's lives in order to deceive and mislead them. His first big trap was to deceive Prophet Adam (pbuh) and his wife, when they lived in Paradise. The Qur'an tells us of this event, which happened at the beginning of human history:
[God said:] "Adam, live in the Garden, you and your wife, and eat of it wherever you like. But do not go near this tree, lest you become wrongdoers." Then Satan whispered to them, disclosing to them their private parts, which had been concealed from them. He said: "Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree lest you become angels or among those who live forever." He swore to them: "I am one of those who give you good advice." So he enticed them to do it by means of trickery. Then when they tasted the [fruit of the] tree, their private parts were disclosed to them and they started stitching together the leaves of the Garden in order to cover themselves. Their Lord called out to them: "Did I not forbid you this tree and say to you: 'Satan is an outright enemy to you'?" They said: "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves. If you do not forgive us and have mercy on us, we will be among the lost." He said: "Go down from here as enemies to each other! You will have residence on Earth and enjoyment for a time." He said: "On it you will live and on it you will die, and from it you will be brought forth." (Qur'an, 7:19-25)
This was the beginning of human life in this world, and this was Prophet Adam's (pbuh) state. But he repented, and God forgave him. Satan's struggle against human beings, however, has not ended.
Demons May Appear in Human Form
God tells us that demons may appear in the forms of human beings or jinns so that they can influence people with their words or misleading suggestions, and lead them away from the right path:
Say: "I seek refuge with the Lord of humanity, the King of humanity, the God of humanity, from the evil of the insidious whisperer who whispers in people's breasts and comes from the jinns and from humanity." (Qur'an, 114:1-6)
Given this, we must be careful of demons who come in other forms. People cannot see Satan, unless God wills otherwise, and he can only influence their minds by means of evil thoughts, fears, and anti-religious ideas. If people realized that such ideas do not come from themselves, but rather from Satan, they would immediately turn to God and think good and edifying thoughts. If they recited various Qur'anic verses, Satan's evil intimations could have no influence on them.
If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in God. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who guard against evil, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Qur'an,7:200-201)
Sometimes Satan's minions may appear to us as a friend, an intellectual, or an aggressive individual. These demons resemble human beings in every way and try, through their words and actions, to lead people away from God and arouse their passion for this world.
God says that Satan's army has been trying, since humanity first appeared, to alienate people from the right path. But those who persevere on God's path will be victorious. Satan and his army, on the other hand, will have their reward in Hell:
They will be bundled into it head first, they and the misled, and every one of Satan's regiments. (Qur'an, 26:94-95)
Satan Tries to Make Earthly Life Seem Attractive
After he was driven out of God's presence, Satan blamed human beings for his fallen state and decided to show his resentment by misleading them. But in reality, he was punished for his own amorality, insolence, arrogance, and disobedience. Blinded by his own arrogance, however, Satan did not accept this truth and swore the following oath:
He [Satan] said: "Grant me a reprieve until the day they are raised up." He [God] said: "You are one of the reprieved." He [Satan] said: "By Your misguidance of me, I will lie in ambush for them on your straight path. Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful." (Qur'an, 7:14-17)
One of Satan's main tactics is to use people's own weaknesses to deceive them. For example, Prophet Adam (pbuh) and his wife were deceived with the promise of eternal life. Satan attempts to mislead people by strengthening their attachment to this earthly life, making it seem attractive, desirable, and eternal. The following verse informs us that:
He [Satan] said: "My Lord, because You misled me, I will make things on the Earth seem good to them and I will mislead them all, every one of them." (Qur'an, 15:39)
For example, Satan may put suggestions into a businessman's mind that bind him passionately to his work and lead him to place material gain and financial considerations above everything else. Because of these intimations, the businessman will renounce all moral and spiritual values, reject religion, and deny the Hereafter. So, by exploiting this person's weak points, Satan will alienate him from religion.
God tells us that this is how Satan misled the people of Saba:
[The hoopoe said:] "I found a woman ruling over them who has been given everything. She possesses a mighty throne. I found both her and her people prostrating to the Sun instead of God. Satan has made their actions seem good to them and debarred them from the Way, so they are not guided and do not prostrate to God, Who brings out what is hidden in the heavens and Earth, and knows what you conceal and what you divulge. God—there is no god but Him—the Lord of the Mighty Throne." (Qur'an, 27:23-26)
But we must remember that Satan's tricks and tactics are actually quite weak and that he has no influence over sincere believers who act according to their conscience and keep God and the Qur'an in mind.
Satan Cannot Influence Believers
Satan's sneaky tactics and insinuations cannot influence a believer. All of those with strong belief, as in the case of Prophet Solomon (pbuh), can defeat all of Satan's plans and render him totally ineffective. For believers who always remember God, see the goodness and beauty in His creation, turn toward Him, and look to the Qur'an in everything they think and do, Satan's wiles have no power, since:
He [Satan] has no authority over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. He only has authority over those who take him as a friend and associate others with God. (Qur'an, 16:99-100)
A panel written in the jali-thuluth script by Mehmet Tahir: May God be your help. The border is illuminated with gold.
In another verse, God says that Satan has no coercive power. However, he was given his influence in order to separate the good from the evil:
Satan was correct in his assessment of them and they followed him, except for a group of the believers. He had no authority over them, except to enable Us to know those who believe in the Hereafter from those who are in doubt about it. Your Lord is the Preserver of all things. (Qur'an, 34:20-21)
Satan is not an autonomous creature; he does what he does with God's knowledge. So, He separates those who follow Satan and those godly believers who do not fall into his traps.
Some of Satan's Qualities
He is sneaky and a liar. (Qur'an, 14:22)
He is rebellious. (Qur'an, 22:3)
He only has power to call. (Qur'an, 14:22)
He is arrogant. (Qur'an, 4:117)
His influence on people is filthy. (Qur'an, 8:11)<
He wants to prevent people from giving thanks to God. (Qur'an:7:17)<
He tries to intimidate people. (Qur'an, 3:175)
He tries to destroy relationships between believers. (Qur'an, 17:53; 5:91)
He tries to persuade people that he gives them good advice. (Qur'an, 7:20-21)
He uses the name of God in the attempt to delude people. (Qur'an, 35:5-6)
He wants believers to become faint-hearted over time. (Qur'an, 3:155)
He breaks his promises. (Qur'an, 14:22)>
He tries to make people fall into apprehension and doubt. (Qur'an, 4:119-20)
He shows deviant practices as attractive and desirable. (Qur'an, 27:24)
He tries to threaten people with poverty. (Qur'an, 2:268)
He tries to make people arrogant. (Qur'an, 38:74-75)
He urges people to make a show of praying. (Qur'an, 4:38)
He tries to alienate people from the Qur'an. (Qur'an, 43:36-37)
He makes people forgetful and oblivious. (Qur'an, 58:19; 6:68; 18:63)
He tempts people into emotionalism. (Qur'an, 17:64; 60:1-3)
He makes people get caught up in details. (Qur'an, 2:67-71)
He urges people to be extravagant. (Qur'an, 17:26-27)
The above verses reveal Satan to be a creature who dared to oppose God, is extremely rebellious and harbors great enmity toward human beings, and spares no effort to mislead people from the true path. That Prophet Solomon (pbuh) controlled demons and used them for the advantage of true religion is certainly an indication that he was one of God's greatest servants.