Thos who protest with a sullen and lifeless demeanor
Another characteristic those under the influence of satan develop is a sullen, stiff appearance with which they make their secret protest. Their purpose is to send various messages to those around them and form a foundation on which to carry on their moral insincerity. They embrace the methods satan has shown them, and even though they are lively, extroverted and basically joyful individuals, they deliberately become unmovable, cold, stiff, introverted, taking pleasure in nothing. They have lost the joy of living. When not under satan's influence, however, they are good companions noted for their agreeable behavior and bring joy to those around them. But falling under the influence of satan, their state of mind suddenly changes; they try to give an impression of monolithic darkness as if it was a part of their nature.
These individuals give some excuses for the coldness they have deliberately assumed under satan's direction. They take refuge in the lie that their good intentions and sincerity were misunderstood, bringing them to their present state. They say that serious discomfort they have suffered has made them introverted and inflexible. They claim that their sorrowful state of mind has worn them out and that, they cannot get their joy back, no matter how hard they try.
But none of these assertions reflects reality. Their every excuse is a deceit put into their minds by satan and their own lower selves. A person with faith immediately detects a truly sincere and well-intentioned individual. Moreover, such a person is naturally well-loved, respected and trusted; he need not behave in any special way or make any effort to be so regarded. It's enough that he lives according to the moral teachings of the Qur'an.
Clearly, even if there were a real case of misunderstanding, a person of faith would never resort to measures that go against the Qur'an to resolve the issue. In the Qur'an, Allah exhorts believers to speak to one another in the "best" possible way. People must express what they want to say to one another not with silent messages and methods of protest, but sincerely and openly.
Like their other assertions, these people's claim that they could not regain their joy even if they wanted to and have not the will to overcome their unhappiness is false. First of all, nothing can rob a faithful person of his joy and pleasure; nothing can make him introverted or anxious. A person with faith knows that Allah has created everything for some good purpose. He continually experiences the joy from knowing that Allah's mercy and compassion are infinite and that He will create a good life on Earth for His faithful servants and the best things in the life to come. He lives happy in the hope of finding favor with Allah and in the glad tidings that he will go to the Garden and live forever amid incomparable blessings.
Besides this, Muslims never say in their conversations that they "do not have the strength or the will." In the Qur'an, Allah has given examples of how hypocrites speak in this way, showing how they use these words as an insincere excuse as to why they don't live according to the moral values of the Qur'an. A Muslim always relies on and trusts in Allah; even in the most trying situations, he is never daunted. Secure in the knowledge that "Allah is with us," he lives content in his trust in Him. This allows him always to be hopeful and to have a strong and determined personality.
All this shows that people under satan's influence are basically on the side of a totally insincere morality under the guise of "good intentions." They deceive themselves and, although they perceive their own insincerity, they ease their consciences with the excuses they put forward.
They maintain that they can give up this kind of behavior any time they want, and deliberately try to make those around them tense and uncomfortable. An aware person who knows the moral teachings of the Qur'an, but deliberately engages in behavior that goes against his conscience, will have his appropriate repayment in Allah's presence. It would make no sense for a person to live an unhappy life and then suffer the pangs of Hell in the next life, just for the sake of a small gain in this Earthly one.
The kind of person who wants to harm sincere individuals under the guise of good intentions can never achieve his aims. Muslims know that every wicked deed will rebound against the perpetrator, both in this world and in the next. Believers know that they will lose nothing, that their responsibility is only to exhort others to embrace goodness and remind them of the rewards they will receive in the next life for what they have done in this one. For this reason, doers of wickedness basically harm only themselves.
They send messages through their dull, stiff facial expressions
One of the most important blessings that Allah has given to human beings is their eyes. Everyone of sound mind uses his facial expressions to express his feelings. But those under satan's influence use their faces for an opposite effect; they use their eyes that Allah has given them to reflect the wickedness that they harbor within themselves. One of these people's most obvious characteristics is their dead look and the dull, expressionless faces that their depression, fatigue and exhaustion give them. With this lifeless look, they seek to send a message to those around them. Sometimes they plan to attract the attention of others to their unhappiness to make them uncomfortable. Sometimes— again under satan's influence, they try to keep expressions of love, respect and other positive emotions from appearing on their faces. And sometimes, their silent language tries to hint at the anger, vindictiveness and jealousy in their hearts.
It must, of course, be very hard for any individual to display such a satanic will, suppress normal human behavior and go steadily for hours with an uncomprehending look on his face.
Since, as we said earlier, all of a person's emotions are naturally reflected in his face, it is difficult for him to hide what is going on inside him. For this reason, any healthy person would have to exert a special effort to hide his reactions and not express his emotions in his eyes. In order to enter such a state, that person would have to behave not according to the high morality of the Qur'an, but according to the will of satan. Otherwise, he would not trouble to make another person uncomfortable, tense and ill at ease. Anyone who would go to such trouble hears the voice of conscience that Allah has inspired in him, but attempts to repress this voice. Such people are determined to listen to satan and carry out what he inspires in them—which is both physically and mentally exhausting.
Despite this, they are determined in their behavior, exerting special strength of will not to show respect or friendship on their faces. They want to suggest the vindictiveness, jealousy and anger in them and protest how others around them are acting. In the same way that they distance themselves from everything good that gives joy and happiness, the joy of others around them—their excitement in their faith and all their blessings—cause these people distress. Their state of mind is exactly the opposite of the lively, joyful, bright-eyed and eager deportment of Muslims. They carry on in their own way, with eyes that seem to be staring at nothing, with gazes that fail to reveal where they're looking.
The silent protest directed against believers carry different messages and meanings. Societies that don't live according to the moral teachings of the Qur'an may not attach much importance to how people look at one another in their daily lives. Some do pay attention to this, of course, but there are some who generally give no thought to the lifeless facial expressions of those around them. Actually, they do not care about it because many of them are in a similar condition. With believers, the situation is different. They use their minds and intellects in the way the Qur'an directs and so they sense the slightest negativity or influence of satan in others. They exhort a lifeless person whose stare has been fixed by satan's influence to practice a morality in accord with the Qur'an. They urge him to think about Allah and the next life and try to show him the error of his ways. They remind him of his responsibility in Allah's presence for his lack of eagerness and that, if he ignores his conscience, he may not be able to account for himself in the Afterlife. They tell him that failing to recognize these blessings among all the others that Allah has created for human beings, adopting an expressionless personality, may constitute ingratitude for Allah's mercy. But because such people deliberately fashion the state they are in, they do not learn from the exhortations that believers give them.
But, as explained above, these individuals are the ones most harmed by their attitude, both spiritually and materially. Expressing emotions in one's facial expressions is natural, but such people expend much energy to repress these expressions. They deprive themselves of many blessings by taking no pleasure in pleasant situations, by pretending not to like something that everyone else does, by looking sad when they could have been joyful. By trying to stifle their natural human feelings of joy, liveliness and exuberance, they are actually harming nobody but themselves. Because of the stress and anxiety that accompany such deportment, these people physically weaken, their constitution suffers and they are prone to many illnesses.
All these qualities are visible at first glance in those who want to reflect negative thoughts. They should be reminded that they will experience anxiety in this world and receive their appropriate reward in the world to come. Life of this world is fleeting and short; in the Afterlife, everyone will receive an eternal reward for what they have done.
They act loveless, uninterested, cold and unconcerned
Generally, people take pleasure in loving, being loved and being cared for. But some people, because of the tactics satan has used against them, deprive themselves by their own will of this blessing. First of all, the messages they send to those around them distances them from loving and being loved. For the sake of following the path that satan has shown, they unknowingly make life difficult for themselves and deprive themselves of all good things.
But this, like all other perverse acts that satan encourages, goes against human creation. The Qur'an tells us that satan ruins human nature and prevents people from living a life of pleasure and happiness:
I will lead them astray and fill them with false hopes. I will command them and they will cut off cattle's ears. I will command them and they will change Allah's creation.' Anyone who takes satan as his protector in place of Allah has clearly lost everything. (Surat an-Nisa': 119)
On the contrary, he draws them into an oppressive situation in which they are bereft of blessings. Love is one of the most wonderful blessings that Allah has created for human beings in this earthly life. But under satan's influence, an individual may be deprived of loving and being loved. Human beings are basically open to love, but satan attempts to persuade them with various reasons why they should not show their love, but repress and even abandon it. With his intimations, he forces them to act coldly and uninterestedly towards those who really have many lovable qualities.
Those who fall into satan's trap live in anxiety because they cannot experience love as they should and are not loved because they are deliberately contrary and cold. Satan's influence blinds them to others' many lovable qualities. The Qur'an reminds us that human beings fashion this situation with their own hands:
Allah does not wrong people in any way; rather it is people who wrong themselves. (Surah Yunus: 44)
Satan's suggestions lead a person into perverse behavior, with some of the thoughts such people form to persuade themselves:
They do not return love but create dissension with their arrogance and pride
One of the most evident characteristics of those who live according to the Qur'an's moral teachings is their humility and gentle temperament. These qualities open many doors of blessings for them and let them take their rightful pleasure from the blessings that Allah has created for human beings in this world. Because of their modest characters, they can enjoy a profound experience of love—one of the most wonderful blessings of the Garden in this world. They can appreciate all the loveable qualities of others; they can show the love in their hearts in all sincerity to other persons and, at the same time, are themselves lovable because of their fine moral character.
However, the most notable characteristics of a person under the influence of satan are his arrogance and pride. Such people see themselves as all-important. This arrogance was the reason why satan was expelled from the Garden, and he wants to debase human beings and deprive them of Allah's mercy and blessings. The growing sense of self-aggrandizement within them prevents them from feeling love for others and appreciation of the goodness and blessings around them. In time, this attitude takes hold of a person and reaches unimaginable dimensions. Allah tells us that they will never achieve the desire in their hearts to make themselves important:
... [They] have nothing in their breasts except for pride which they will never be able to vindicate... (Surah Ghafir: 56)
The Qur'an tells us that arrogance and self-importance are not pleasing to Allah:
When he is told to fear Allah, he is seized by pride which drives him to wrongdoing. Hell will be enough for him! What an evil resting-place! (Surat al-Baqara: 206)
Living with a sense of self-importance that is unattainable, a person loves himself more than everyone and everything else and acts always in his own selfish interests. His love for himself and his lower self are so great that the most important thing for him is getting what he wants. In this regard, he becomes reckless.
To achieve his aim, he can disregard those he loves and behave badly toward them in the selfish pursuits of his lower self.
The love that such people feel for themselves is so strong that in their arrogance, they may even show no love for or interest in believers. Even though they know that believers have many fine, lovable qualities, and are trustworthy and can be their closest friends, they do not feel love for them as they ought. But this is a situation into which these people have fallen by their own will. Their consciences inspire in them the necessity of living a good moral life, but they deliberately refuse to show love in order to requite the selfish desires of their hearts. Sometimes they do this as protest, sometimes to express their anger, resentment and jealousy toward someone, and other times simply out of their own arrogance. They do this to conceal what they have done and to send a silent message, thinking that in this way they will obtain what they want.
Of course, we never see this kind of behavior among believers. The only kind of conduct acceptable to them is what conforms to the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Those who wish to achieve their goals by living according to the morality that Allah has revealed will (Allah willing) be successful. Otherwise, the harm from the satanic deeds they have done will embrace them, and they will not be able to go on without being tormented. They will experience this difficulty as a punishment for following satan instead of practicing the morality that pleases Allah.
The obsession of waiting for another person to express love first
Because of arrogance, those who fall under satan's influence always wait for another person to show love first, because they think the love they express should be in proportion to the love shown them by another. If they express a more enthusiastic love than that other person, they fear they'll be humiliated. This kind of situation goes totally against their pride. As in every stage of their lives, they experience love only if it does not harm their lower selves and then only to the extent that this pride allows.
But there is no room for pride in the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Love and pride have nothing in common. Where there is pride, there can be no love, because the proud person loves himself more than anyone and anything. Only toward himself does he behave in the way that true love demands.
For this reason, the only ones able to have the best experience of love are believers who have rescued themselves from the passions of their selfish lower selves. All the love that believers enjoy is based on their love of Allah. For this reason, they do not consider love as dependent on the behavior of another. For a believer, the measure of anyone's love is the extent in which he lives to please Allah. A believer naturally feels love for someone who leads the kind of life pleasing to Allah and who fears Him; he makes no worldly distinctions in his love and expects no return for it. Without keeping any record, he expresses his love from the sincerity of his heart. Even if his love is never reciprocated, he will show sincere love, compassion and interest in the other person.
But for someone under satan's influence, lower self comes before everything. He never tries anything that might be uncomfortable for his lower self. For him, it is most important to be praised and admired. For this reason, he waits for the others to be the first to express love, to offer compliments and praise. When someone shows love toward him, he often makes no response, because showing love is always difficult for his pride.
Because of this, he resorts to an insidious game using the silent language of wickedness. We can give many examples from daily life. When friends meet who love and respect one another, they express in various ways the sincere feelings in their hearts. They ask about each other's health, compliment them and behave pleasantly toward each other. Those under satan's influence make excuses to avoid this behavior, which even a child would know how to exhibit. But characteristically, they do all this to make the other person feel that they acted as they did for a particular reason. For example, they give priority to talk about unrelated matters rather than saying any expressions of love. Or instead of complimenting a person's good qualities, they deliberately praise someone else. Or instead of complimenting someone, they speak of the interior décor, furniture and paintings of the house they are in. But if someone were to compliment this person in question, they would pretend not to hear him, or change the subject, so as to divert the attention to another direction. Sometimes, when another person mentions their good temperament, they look incredulous and try to cover up the impression that they think the same of themselves. If there are forced to join in a conversation, they do so uninterestedly and with an expressionless voice so that other people will know that they do not feel like talking. But, at the same time, they want to send the message with their facial expressions that their feelings are not sincere.
Sometimes, interestingly, these people do things totally contradictory to what's in their hearts. Under satan's inspiration, they are inclined toward wickedness and go against the voice of their conscience. But basically, they know what is right and they can see the many lovable and praiseworthy qualities in other people. In spite of this, they insist on practicing a satanic morality.
The behavior urged on these people by satan is very widespread among those who live their lives far removed from the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Even those who claim that they love one another almost turn their friendship into a battle of pride. But among people with faith, there is no such thing. Believers feel a sincere love toward those who practice the morality of the Qur'an and expect no return for it. They attach no importance to who showed love first, how often it was expressed, or how enthusiastically or reservedly. For believers, love is something that attends a good moral character. The fact that a believer always shows love first, always pays compliments, is generous and enthusiastic all indicate his fear of Allah, his belief in the next life and his faith. For this reason, he never keeps an account of these things. Even if another shows him no love at all, because of his faith, he is secure in the knowledge that he is surely loved by other believers.
They claim that they have not received the love they deserve
No matter how much someone loves them, those under satan's influence are characteristically unhappy and think that this love is not enough. Usually, because their lower selves desire to be important, they demand far more love, attention and interest than they deserve. They always think they deserve more, and this expectation makes them miserable. But they never consider whether or not they are worthy of this love.
Believers act according to the moral teachings of the Qur'an and, for this reason, they treat others with love and compassion, despite their errors and shortcomings, so that they can urge them to live good moral lives. Those under satan's influence cannot recognize a believer's purpose, nor appreciate that the interest and concern that believers show them stem from their superior moral character. They think that they are worthy and deserve this interest. This situation sometimes reaches the point where these people, in their desire to be important, believe they are perfect and want to be loved more than anyone else. They disparage any kind of love that they think is insufficient.
But, again using satan's methods, they want to make others know their ideas and demands. They never openly say, "I am worth more than that," or "I want to be loved more than anyone else, I want people to think that I'm better than everyone." And even if they are questioned, they deny they think such things and protest with all their might. They say that there is definitely no arrogance in their hearts; that they do recognize their many shortcomings and know they have made many mistakes, and so they don't believe they deserve the privilege of being loved. But their defense is not sincere, since in their heart of hearts, they believe just the opposite. With the methods that satan has taught them, they express what they really believe with a secret language. With these denials, they secretly expect that they will make themselves appear sincere, and make others believe their real opinions and desires. Indeed, they confirm what they had denied with the discontent on their faces and their contrary, uninterested, cold, and officious behavior.
Believers are aware of what these people really think, and that they desire to get what they want through these satanic methods. But only a morality based in the Qur'an can counter their behavior. Praising and extolling someone caught up in his own self-importance, behaving toward him as if he had a fine moral character will only feed his arrogance and do him more harm than good. For this reason, instead of approaching such person with undeserved love, believers give him sincere advice and urge him to live by the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Actually, this is one of the greatest demonstrations of love for anyone who sincerely believes in Allah and desires to attain the good life of the Garden. Those under satan's influence cannot appreciate this and they may behave even more negatively, thinking that they have not received the attention they deserve.
Their excuse for not expressing love is that they have not
received any return for the love they gave
One of the games played by those whom satan inspires is to claim that they have not received love even though they once loved deeply—and, for this reason, they are cold and expressionless.
First, we must point out that it is not possible to love a person who adopts satanic morality. This person may have many fine moral qualities and, while waiting for expressions of love from those around him, may regard himself as the model for these qualities. But if a person acts according to satan's dictates, his good qualities are shrouded. For example, no matter how industrious, generous or subtle-minded a person may be, the negative personality he develops under satan's influence, his dull, uncomprehending and stiff facial expression and his cold and officious behavior make others around him doubt his good qualities. The important thing is that a person live a good moral life out of his fear of Allah. If he shows a few good moral qualities in some things, but insists on being contrary on other issues, he cannot be sure that his good qualities come from the fear of Allah. And this prevents anyone from loving him deeply.
Also, it is one of the most important indications of love when believers point out others' errors for the sake of Allah, so that they can beware of wickedness for the sake of their life in the world to come. But when people think in the way that satan thinks, they look for negativity in everything; they cannot understand any warning as a positive thing. Their egotistical self-love makes them unwilling to hear anything about their errors and shortcomings; they just want constant praise. However, believers cannot in good conscience refrain from pointing out another person's mistakes. To win Allah's favor, they warn one another to beware of evil:
The men and women of the believers are friends of one another. They command what is right and forbid what is wrong... (Surat at-Tawba: 71)
Actually, those under satan's influence know that believers are sincere in their warnings and that they are trying to win Allah's favor with their actions. But as the Qur'an says, they pretend not to see this sincerity: "And they repudiated them wrongly and haughtily, in spite of their own certainty about them…" (Surat an-Naml: 14) Instead of heeding the warnings and amending their behavior, they shroud their consciences and respond with another satanic method. According to satan's way of thinking, they claim they actually love others very much. But because they do not have a moral character that makes them lovable, they hold themselves back as a kind of a favor to others.
This is indeed totally insincere, senseless and contrary to the Qur'an. If a person sincerely fears Allah and considers that he may not be loved because of his bad moral character, he will immediately amend that character in order to become more lovable. Surely he knows that believers would never insincerely pretend to love a person with unlovable qualities, would always act according to the morality of the Qur'an and would never respond to such methods. Despite this, such individuals get caught up in these thoughts and act according to them, because they have made themselves the representatives of satan.
They claim that their lack of love and coldness
come from their strength of personality
One thought that satan inspires to get people to adopt a morality contrary to the Qur'an is the idea that a strong personality comes from being serious, cold and officious. But many who practice this kind of morality are well aware of the difference between having a strong character and enjoying sincere love. Having a strong character is compatible with the morality of the Qur'an, so it is not possible for this to be in conflict with other qualities that reflect this morality. No law says that someone with a strong personality must be aloof, or that anyone who behaves in a relaxed manner must be weak. This is simply one of satan's deceptions stemming from the insincerity of those who practice his morality. Having a strong character is possible through being a conscious, aware, sincere and trustworthy person who, more importantly, believes and fears Allah; it has nothing to do with being serious or aloof.
These people know this very well. They use this idea only as an excuse to lay the foundation of legitimacy for their satanic way of thinking. As we said in some detail earlier, it is very hard for them to show love for anyone because of their arrogant, self-aggrandizing egos. Or, they deliberately act coldly toward others to protest their behavior, send them a message or to express their own anger or disagreement. And because they know that such behavior is clearly contrary to the Qur'an, they try to express themselves using satan's secret methods and silent language.
As a result, they exhibit a stiff, cold and loveless demeanor in their desire to sway those around them with their secret persuasions. Their basic problem is the insincerity in their hearts. Indeed, they do not fear Allah as they should, do not live according to the faith and morality of the Qur'an and cannot make friends with believers. They know that believers are trustworthy because of their fear of Allah and religious morality, but they can never trust them as they should. As the Qur'an says, they can never be friends or confidants: "Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger and those who believe: those who perform prayer and give the alms, and bow." (Surat al-Ma'ida: 55)
They reflect the sickness in their hearts and thus cannot show love and sincerity as they ought. But, in the Qur'an, Allah reminds us that a person can achieve success only in this way: "As for those who make Allah their friend, and His Messenger and those who believe: it is the party of Allah who are victorious!" (Surat al-Ma'ida: 56) A person who turns his back on this kind of morality will have satan as his friend. And the Qur'an describes this kind of friendship in these words:
… Anyone who takes satan as his protector in place of Allah has clearly lost everything. (Surat an-Nisa': 119)
People act comfortably and naturally around those they trust; they do not feel uneasy that their friends know something about them. For example, even if a mother knows that her child has some shortcomings or makes some mistakes, this does not make either of them uncomfortable. As a kindness to her child, the mother will help him overcome his shortcomings. And the child, knowing his mother's good intentions, will not be embarrassed. No matter what the child's error, his mother will always be loving and generous with her goodness and self-sacrifice. And the child, certain of his mother's unconditional love, will always feel intimate love toward her. The child will never fear that anything will ever get in the way of that love.
This also holds true for believers who seek Allah's favor and who are united with one another in their fear of Him. Believers are one in their determination to be together forever, in this world and the next. As the Qur'an tells us, believers love one another in the intimacy of brotherhood: "Hold fast to the rope of Allah all together, and do not separate. Remember Allah's blessing to you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts together so that you became brothers by His blessing..." (Surah Al 'Imran: 103) They feel constant love for one another, not because of any gain they can get out of it but because of their love for Allah; the measure of their love is Allah's favor. Indeed, as they become more morally good and increase their efforts to win Allah's favor, their bond of love continues to grow deeper.
But those under satan's influence do not understand this. Their ideas are very different from those of sincere believers. Because their bond with Allah and believers is not strong enough, they cannot form a real, intimate friendship with them. For this reason, they deliberately shy away from any one-sided, unreciprocated love.
Of course, as in every case, this behavior harms no one but themselves. They deprive themselves of Allah's greatest blessings—giving and receiving love and the enjoyment of caring intimacy. No matter how many acquaintances they may have, they will live a lonely life in their arrogance. Because their moral behavior is far removed from that of the Qur'an, they will not have any friends in the Afterlife either:
Therefore here today he has no friend ... (Surat al-Haqqa: 35)
They avoid being pleasant, saying kind things and paying compliments
In the Qur'an, Allah reminds us of the importance of saying kind things:
... A good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven? It bears fruit regularly by its Lord's permission. Allah makes metaphors for people so that hopefully they will pay heed. (Surah Ibrahim: 24-25)
Again in another verse, Allah tells people to say the kindest things to one another, or else satan will come among them and ruin their relationships:
Say to My servants that they should only say the best. Satan wants to stir up trouble between them. Satan is an outright enemy to man. (Surat al-Isra': 53)
Believers, wanting to live every moment of their lives in a way that will please Allah, make it their intention always to say the kindest things to one another, as these verses enjoin. But those who order their lives according to the will of satan, adopt a totally different kind of behavior. There are many reasons why they avoid saying kind words, paying compliments and engaging in pleasant conversation.
As in every case, what gets in the way of these individuals' ability to say kind things is their arrogance. The major characteristic of any arrogant individual is that he places his own lower self before everything else. All other things, even the basic aim of winning Allah's favor, come after that.
It's very difficult for such a person to put aside the arrogance so important to him and to speak kindly to those around him. He cannot pay a compliment or enter into pleasant conversation, because he regards himself as the most intelligent human being in the world. This being the case, he cannot willingly praise anyone else. Again, in his own view, he is the most logical person on earth, and it is therefore unbefitting him to listen to what anyone else says. He thinks that he has the finest qualities and so, should never pay compliments; others should compliment him!
Another reason why these people avoid saying kind words is the feelings of resentment or jealousy in their hearts. Allah tells us in the Qur'an that the human lower self is prone to jealousy and selfishness: "... people are prone to selfish greed..." (Surat an-Nisa': 128) Believers who fear Allah take refuge in Him against jealousy, as this verse says, and train their lower selves in this way. They see Allah's wonderful manifestations in everything around them and cannot help speaking enthusiastically about them. They insist on expressing the joy they feel at the good things and successes they receive from Allah and are thankful for the blessings He has given, while naturally reflecting their inner love and enthusiasm.
But those who follow satan cannot take pleasure from their blessings nor live a contented life. In such a state, they are drawn into jealousy and anger when they see sincere believers taking pleasure from their blessings and being happy, content and joyful. However, they too can enjoy the same good life that has been promised to everyone who believes in Allah, does good works and lives a good and moral life. Because they, by their own will, have adopted the morality of satan, they are doomed to lead an unhappy life; and they become jealous of believers who do enjoy these blessings.
They avoid speaking openly of the grudges and jealousy that grow in their hearts by the intimations of satan, but resort to his silent language. In the face of the good things, blessings and successes that they see around them, they prefer to keep silent. If possible, they try to let them pass without mentioning them. In their anger, they resort to the method of silent protest, expressing their negative thoughts and discontentment with a determined silence.
By their refusal to say kind words and establish an atmosphere of lively conversation, these people hope to make it clear that they have little respect for the people they are speaking with—not because they see no value in others, but because of their jealousy and arrogance that comes from their offended lower selves. But as with all the instances of secret wickedness we have examined, these people deliberately behave so that they will not be discovered and be revealed in their true colors. If everyone around them is speaking kind words, and they realize that remaining silent will reveal the wickedness inside them, they resort to different methods.
Sometimes they stammer as if unable to find the right words, or pretend they find it difficult to explain what they mean. Or, if they are compelled to say something, they do it with insincerity. Sometimes they complain that they couldn't express themselves in the way they wanted, displaying their coldness and disinterest in hidden language. Or they'll first pretend to speak kind words or pay a compliment and then try to retract it by adding a further, stealthily designed sentence. Being under satan's influence, their lower selves find it difficult to say anything good about anything. Even if they like something very much, they refer to it in words that give no sense of its real value. For example, instead of saying "Very nice," they're quick to give a non-committal "Not bad." They use many other such methods that express their insincerity, and each of them is the insidious work of satan.
It must be understood that with their insidious behavior and message-laden words, they are only causing themselves anxiety. None of their words has any harmful influence on believers. On the contrary, they actually help believers to recognize people with insincere hearts and to see the games satan plays with human beings.
They try to make themselves seem mysterious to attract attention
Another silent method that those under satan's influence use to attract the attention of others is to make themselves seem mysterious. To this end, as stated earlier, they assume a stiff, silent and lifeless pose to make themselves seem different from what they are. They make sure that their assumed character leaves an even more negative impression than their true character. It is difficult to know what they gain from this. No one wants to be known as a difficult person. If he has several good qualities, he will not want to stress his negative ones. On the contrary, he will always want to be seen as more intelligent than he really is, more good-humored, more trustworthy, with a distinctive personality. That anyone exerts the energy to be perceived as negative surely comes from satan's efforts to confuse him and divert him from the true path.
As in all his other methods, this insidious tactic of satan has nothing to do with the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Anyone who knows what faith is would never knowingly present himself as mysterious. On the contrary, he'd do everything to make it clear that he was honest and trustworthy open and sincere. It is the mark of a hypocrite to behave mysteriously, make himself appear different from how he really is and to engage in secret conversations. Many verses of the Qur'an relates how, when prophets introduced themselves to the people to whom they were sent, they first stated that they were trustworthy individuals. Noah introduced himself in this way:
When their brother Nuh said to them, "Will you not guard against evil? I am a faithful Messenger to you. So fear Allah and obey me." (Surat ash-Shu'ara': 106-108)
Devout believers take this moral behavior of the prophets as a model. Those who follow satan know this truth very well. But because their minds are clouded and their consciences shrouded, they determinedly embrace his methods. They believe that by seeming opaque and inscrutable, individuals whose thoughts and feelings cannot be read, they will rise to important positions. To make others take an interest in them, they try to make themselves appear inscrutable and secretive, of unknown intentions. They do not mind being persistent. Yet even attracting other people's attention gives them no solace. They themselves aren't even aware of what they hope to gain from appearing mysterious. They know only that they want to attract interest and do not consider whether they will earn their acquaintances' love or hatred. Satan makes them forget this important aspect. Only when they realize that their satanic behavior leads them to a dead end will they begin to consider it.
If they were asked scores of questions, no answers they gave would let anyone figure them out. They would give misleading answers so that the questioner would have to ask what they meant. In this way, they think to become the main focus of attention of those around them. They take this as a sign that others respect them greatly and would go to any difficulty to win them over. And they think that other people, witnessing the interest being taken in them, will respect them too, elevate them in their esteem and regard them as important individuals. Attaining such a result from this perverse behavior is possible only for someone who does not act according to the moral teachings of the Qur'an, who doesn't consider that the only measure of superiority is piety and closeness to Allah. Those with faith know that such behavior is not in accordance with the Qur'an.
For this reason, Muslims have an honest character. Their motives are transparent. There is no moral flaw in their behavior, and nothing they do arouses suspicion. They act according to the morality of the Qur'an; therefore, by Allah's will, their words and deeds leave a positive impression on others around them. No one wonders "Why did she say such a thing?" or "Did he imply something?; and no one doubts the intention of their words. They carefully avoid giving any impression of mystery. The Qur'an tells us that Allah leads believers on the true path and shows them satan's wicked morality:
... However, Allah has given you love of faith and made it pleasing to your hearts, and has made disbelief, deviance and disobedience hateful to you. People such as these are rightly guided. (Surat al-Hujurat: 7)
But because they act with satan's calculating insidiousness, those who live apart from the morality of the Qur'an think that being mysterious will make them more attractive and interesting to others. The desire to be different from others presses heavily on them, giving them a suspicious, disquieting and inscrutable look. They appear to be one whose secret plans cannot be fathomed. Then they expect Muslims to figure them out and understand their aspirations.
However, Muslims wish to see good morality flourish in the whole world and undertake important responsibilities toward this end. But these others who want to vaunt their own importance lay aside everything else in hopes that people will take an interest in them. By exalting their own importance, they expect that others will regard them in the same way.
In this, they resort to satan's insidious games. They subject other people to examinations to determine how much others value them and how well they think of them. They use this insidious, senseless method to see if people really love and trust them. With a simple change of intention, they could rid themselves of their perverse behavior, but they are determined not to do so until they succeed in attracting attention. According to their distorted way of thinking, attention is the measure of how much they are loved; if others really love and value them, then they will demonstrate their interest and concern.
Of course, none of this accords with the moral teachings of the Qur'an. Because it rests on satanic ideas, all efforts to attain the desired results will be in vain. If these people do not give up these satanic efforts, silent insinuations and insidious games, they will suffer distress. Gradually, satanic morality will take them over completely and, because they have made friends with satan, they will begin to regard sincere Muslims as their enemies. They judge everything they say and do by their satanic way of thinking and use it to further increase the wickedness in their hearts. They keep these insidious and insincere inferences in their minds as if memorized, and keep them deep in their hearts where they become the source of anger and resentment. And if they encounter a situation that conflicts with their ego, this resentment comes to the surface; and all that information they have collected to use against a person flows out.
In the Qur'an, Allah warns such people who "plot evil actions" against the pangs of punishment:
Do those who plot evil actions feel secure that Allah will not cause the Earth to swallow them up or that a punishment will not come upon them from where they least expect? (Surat an-Nahl: 45)
Now we see that the reasons for these people's inscrutable mysteriousness, stiffness and of the excuses they proffer are all groundless. Indeed, no matter how they try to hide the deep anger in their hearts, Allah sees it:
Allah knows what you keep secret and what you make public. (Surat an-Nahl: 19)
They want to send secret messages with their lethargy and laziness
By assuming a stiff, silent character, some people's intention is to appear lethargic, burdened and distracted. In this way they use their silent language to make others feel their lack of excitement and determination and their dissatisfaction with certain things. Compared to others, these individuals are noticeable by their heavily burdened appearance; this influences the way they walk, sit and stand, the way they eat and clean their houses. In short, it controls everything they do.
Also, they are noticeably distracted. When everyone is talking, these people stand in the distance looking on. They remove themselves from conversations and then from time to time, try again to make connections with others. The interesting thing is that, although they give quite a realistic impression, they are just imitating it. As with all their other forms of their perverse behavior, they want to keep alive their wicked moral qualities. But as with all their other deliberate actions, this is very difficult. Assuming the determination of joyful, active and extroverted individuals, they make themselves heavy, stiff, silent, inactive and lethargic for twenty-four hours a day. And they do this for not only one or two days, but for almost all their lives.
To deprive these people of a good life, satan makes this method appear attractive. But at the same time, he is employing such a great stratagem that when they finally realize that they have fallen into his trap, satan has already achieved his goal. It's as if satan has hypnotized them and taken them under his control. He always urges them to display this kind of behavior so that finally it may become their natural personality. Then, if they so desire, they can behave in a way that keeps them from finding a way out of their heavy lethargy. They may not be able to experience joy, liveliness and activity in their inner lives.
As a result of their struggle against faith, those under satan's influence may become as tired and distracted mentally as they are worn out physically. Because of this tiring struggle, their minds and bodies give out. They become inattentive aware people while they were once attentive; likewise they become lifeless while they were once lively. They become weak and susceptible to illnesses; their digestive and nervous systems become weak. The results quickly show themselves in their physical constitutions, as signs of this struggle begin to appear on their skin, in their eyes and on their bodies. They become old very quickly. Their muscles weaken. Deep lines form on their faces. Their eyes become dark and hollow. Their hair and nails lose their resilience. They can become ill with the slightest change in the weather. The stress on their nerves is evident in forgetfulness, mental weariness, lost of consistency in speech, and tendency to bouts of weeping.
They begin to suffer serious problems of perception. Although their senses are healthy, they may not hear what is said to them, and may not perceive the smell of a burning meal. Their sensitivity to sound and smell and their awareness of danger may be weakened. Later, this deliberate stiffness begins to harm them. When doing basic repairs with cutting tools, for example, they expose themselves and others to danger. Some who live this kind of moral life become physically exhausted because of their intense struggle with their consciences. Gradually their motor abilities lessen and they begin to slow down. They cannot perform any rapid movement. The slowness and lethargy they exhibit make others uncomfortable. They take every opportunity to be alone, withdraw from the company of others and find a place apart to lie down or sleep—more than a normal body needs to. Yet this has no invigorating effect on them; they just want to rest and sleep more. Because of their bodies' intense stress, they themselves notice the overall weak state of their constitutions and their proneness to illness. No matter how industrious and active they were before, their insidious traps make them stiff, slow and exhausted. The same slowness of motion can be seen when such a person brushes his hair. He will not lift his arms and move his head from side to side as a normal person does. He uses extremely slow and interrupted movements. Eating a meal or completing any assignment takes a very long time. He takes a book and lies down to read, but falls asleep after the first page or two. He does not hear a knock at the door; if someone near him gets into danger, he does not notice and do anything to help.
Besides, he'll maintain that the physical and mental problems he experiences are the same normal discomforts that other people endure and pretends not to be aware of the condition he's in. The fact is however, because he makes cosmetic changes but makes no effort to give up the moral wickedness he has chosen or conceals the evil inside himself, he receives such a repayment.
We can see that those who try to obtain what they want by insidiousness and insincerity fall into their own trap. While assuming they can gain something by cooperating with satan, they lose out by becoming his toys. They think they can wield their stiffness, slowness and coldness as a ploy, but all these things encompass them like an illness. However, we must keep in mind that anyone who sincerely wants to escape from this condition can, by the will of Allah, break satan's influence if he stops cooperating with him and submits to Allah and the Qur'an. He will then gain a moral character that will prove a blessing both to him and those around him.
They display a character that seems to have
given up everything and is waiting for death
A human being cannot long endure the pangs of conscience and the pressures from an unseemly moral character. A person who fears Allah and has a clear conscience cannot endure pangs of conscience for long and will soon take refuge in Allah and submit to Him. Everyone with a normal level of intelligence senses that this pressure is doing serious physical harm and that even a healthy body will give out if it has to endure such pressure for any length of time.
Pangs of conscience thrust a person into great physical and mental anxiety. The Qur'an tells us the pangs of conscience a person suffers when he refuses to support our Prophet (saas) although he realizes that it is the right thing to do:
And [He turned] also towards the three who were left behind, so that when the Earth became narrow for them, for all its great breadth, and their own selves became constricted for them and they realized that there was no refuge from Allah except in Him, He turned to them so that they might turn to Him. Allah is the Ever-Returning, the Most Merciful. (Surat at-Tawba: 118)
As in this example, everyone who does not act according to the moral teachings of the Qur'an will experience similar pangs of conscience. This is a mercy from Allah to humanity; a situation that He has specially created for us to see the right path. But those who have taken satan as their guide pretend not to be aware of their situation and persist in ignoring the voice of their conscience. Instead, they prefer to experience anxiety and waste their lives without tasting Allah's wonderful blessings. As the Qur'an says, they are caught up in despair because they grow farther and farther away from faith and the contentment and happiness it gives:
No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who are unbelievers. (Surah Yusuf: 87)
These people have no other friend but satan, and the life they lead is unhappy and miserable. Nevertheless, they persistently refuse to take advice. Allah describes their condition in the Qur'an:
He who has fear will be reminded; but the most miserable will shun it. (Surat al-A'la: 10-11)
However, Allah has shown people a way to be happy and save themselves from such anxieties. The Qur'an tells us that this can come about only if they follow this true path that Allah has shown them:
... All those who follow My guidance will not go astray and will not be miserable. (Surah Ta Ha: 123)
This stubborn attitude arises from their refusal to accept that the morality of the Qur'an is their only solution. They do not listen to the advice given to them so that they can be happy in this world and the next; and make no effort to improve their moral character. They do not use their intelligence, awareness and determination in support of their consciences.
However, Muslims do use their determination to change themselves. They are very attentive to advice they are given because out of their faith in the Lord, they know that if they change themselves only to win His favor, He will increase the blessings He gives them. The Qur'an reveals this truth in these words:
That is because Allah would never change a blessing He has conferred on a people until they had changed what was in themselves... (Surat al-Anfal: 53)
And when your Lord announced: "If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe." (Surah Ibrahim: 7)
A person of faith never experiences an irresolvable situation. Even in the most complex, difficult and seemingly impossible situations, believers know that Allah in His mercy sends them help and lifts them out of darkness into light. Because of their unwavering trust in Allah, by His will, they can surmount all their difficulties. Those who have suffered great harm as a result of satan's influence need to show this kind of moral behavior when they realize the situation they are in. Such people should never forget Allah's great mercy and assistance and that, as the Qur'an says, the Lord is their most trustworthy friend and helper.
... Allah suffices as a Protector; Allah suffices as a Helper. (Surat an-Nisa': 45)