SATAN, THE VOICE OF MISERY
How Satan Causes People Misgivings
From the day man was created to the present, Satan has been the most
implacable and dangerous enemy of mankind. He deceives and corrupts people
by distancing them from the love and will of Allah and from the Qur'an,
and by provoking them and setting them against one another, in short by
making them as much like himself as possible. Allah warns people that
Satan is a clear and present enemy in the verse,
"Did I not make a contract with you, tribe of Adam, not to worship Satan,
who truly is an outright enemy to you?" (Surah Ya Sin: 60)
Despite being faced with such a dangerous and at the same time cunning
enemy, some people live in complete heedlessness of this reality because
they are unaware of Satan's existence and of just how cunning he really
is. Some people regard Satan as a kind of symbol with no real existence.
These incorrect ideas about Satan cause their failure to notice what serious
trouble and strife he is capable of making people suffer and leave them
defenseless against him. This gives him a simple opportunity of turning
people who are heedless of him against Allah and His religion. There are
millions of people who do not recognize Satan even when they are face
to face with him. This in turn shows what serious danger these people
What makes Satan dangerous is his determination to divert people from
the path of Allah, this is his goal. He has sworn an oath to this effect.
For this purpose he will make whatever effort he can and try every possible
method. Allah tells us about Satan's determination in this matter in the
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." (Surat al-A'raf: 16-17)
Another dangerous aspect of Satan is that he acts with guile while doing
all this. He approaches people differently using a variety of methods
according to their weaknesses and defects. He has a different method,
different tactics for each individual person. He carries out all his activities
with provocations cunningly whispered in people's ears. He plunges them
into doubt, drives them into empty fancies and makes them waste time by
engaging in worthless pursuits. Allah warns us in the Qur'an that Satan
will try to divert and deceive people:
[Satan said,] "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.
He makes promises to them and fills them with false hopes. But what Satan
promises them is nothing but delusion. (Surat an-Nisa': 119-120)
Satan always tries to bring people harm and loss. The source of people's
never ending woes and troubles and the physical damage they suffer from
these are the misgivings and empty fantasies which Satan provokes in them
because he wants them to be unhappy. In the Qur'an, Allah warns that people
who follow Satan are disappearing into an eternal dark cul-de-sac:
Allah is the Protector of those who believe. He brings
them out of the darkness into the light. But those who disbelieve have
false gods [Satans] as protectors. They take them from the light into
the darkness. Those are the Companions of the Fire remaining in it timelessly,
for ever. (Surat al-Baqara: 257)
However, there is another important matter on which we need to spend
some time. A lot of people adopt this psychology within themselves and
accept it as a part of life. They believe their lives will be colorful
and enjoyable if they live in this way. They go on living without considering
the trouble and harm continually being in such a spiritual state will
cause them. This is nothing but Satan's deception. By indicating that
the situation into which he pushes people is pleasant and attractive,
Satan prevents them from using their intelligence and seeing the truth.
Allah tells us of this state into which people can fall in the Qur'an:
… Satan made their actions seem good to them and so debarred
them from the Way, even though they were intelligent people. (Surat al-'Ankabut:
As we can see, Satan assumes a major role in human unhappiness and in
people's living troubled lives. The misgivings produced by Satan deceive
people and get them in trouble. With the misery he brings, he distances
people who follow him from Allah and His scriptures and makes them rebellious
Satan Inspires Hopelessness and Helplessness
As we pointed out in the previous section, Satan tries to use every opportunity
as best he can to divert people from the way of Allah, to distance them
from religion, to have them engage in worthless pursuits and prevent them
from thinking about Allah and the Hereafter. One of the situations in
which Satan finds an opportunity is the moment when a person sinks into
hopelessness or pessimism.
During his life a person is faced with a large number of events, some
which seem positive, some negative, and he does not know where, when or
under what conditions he will be faced with these events. At any time
he may contract a fatal disease, lose all his property due to a natural
disaster, be thrown out of work, be forced to live on a restricted income
for a long period or encounter other such major or minor events which
are regarded as negative. People who do not consider that the world has
been created as a test and do not believe that Allah has created everything
on the basis of His wisdom become depressed when faced with such occurrences
and lose hope. This arises from their lack of trust in Allah.
In fact nothing a person encounters in life is accidental, empty or meaningless.
As Allah tells us in the verse, "... And no fruit
emerges from its husk, nor does any female get pregnant or give birth,
without His knowledge..." (Surah Fussilat: 47) Everything that
happens takes place with His knowledge, at His wish and under His control.
Nothing, therefore, is accidental or meaningless. On the contrary, everything
contains meaning and divine wisdom. If, instead of seeing this truth,
a person evaluates events through such superstitious concepts as "blind
chance" or "coincidence," this will create in him discontent, worry and
hopelessness. Of course, this is a situation which makes Satan's task
easier because through the misgivings he causes people who live their
lives unaware of this secret, he lures them from Allah and religion and
even makes them Their enemy. And, of course, the person's descent into
pessimism and hopelessness at such a moment and the harm he does himself
as a result shows at the same time that Satan has achieved another of
his aims. Allah explains in the Qur'an the reason for the troubles and
difficulties people face and describes their erroneous reaction to these:
We sent Messengers to nations before you, and afflicted
those nations with hardship and distress so that hopefully they would
humble themselves. If only they had humbled themselves when Our violent
force came upon them! However, their hearts were hard and Satan made what
they were doing seem attractive to them. (Surat al-An'am: 42-43)
Allah gives people trouble and difficulties so that they may realize
that there is no power other than His in which to take refuge and so that
they may find the true path. However, Satan prevents people from seeing
this divine wisdom and damages them by leaving their hearts bereft of
sensitivity. In fact, the troubles people face are blessings of Allah.
In such circumstances, a person should act in a way which Allah will approve,
remember Him right away, ask for His help and remain patient in the face
of the trouble. Allah has told us that He will come to the aid of those
who take refuge in Him.
When the Prophet Muhammed (saws) and his companions hid in a cave to
conceal themselves from disbelievers who were pursuing them, our Prophet's
(saws) behavior provided an outstanding example for everybody in this
regard. In the Qur'an Allah describes the behavior of the Prophet (saws)
If you do not help him, Allah did help him when those
who disbelieved drove him out and there were two of them in the Cave.
He said to his companion, "Do not be despondent, Allah is with us." Then
Allah sent down His serenity upon him and reinforced him with troops you
could not see. He made the word of those who disbelieved undermost. It
is the word of Allah which is uppermost. Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.
(Surat at-Tawba: 40)
The Prophet Muhammed (saws) understood that what had happened to him
was one of Allah's tests and showed his submission and devotion to Allah
in the best possible way. Even at the most dangerous moment he never lost
hope of rescue but instead reminded his companions of Allah's mercy and
His aid. In return for this superior behavior, Allah put peace and security
in the heart of our Prophet (saws) and saved him.
On this subject, another striking example is the submissive behavior
of the Prophet Musa (as) when he was pursued by Pharaoh's army:
And when the two hosts came into sight of one another
Musa's companions said, "We will surely be overtaken!" He [Musa] said,
"Never! My Lord is with me and He will guide me." So We revealed to Musa,
"Strike the sea with your staff." And it split in two, each part like
a towering cliff. And We brought the others right up to it. We rescued
Musa and all those who were with him. Then We drowned the rest. There
is certainly a Sign in that yet most of them are not believers. (Surat
As we can see from these verses, some of the people at the Prophet Musa's
(as) side gave up hope right away in this situation and said, "We're trapped."
However, Prophet Musa (as) demonstrated exemplary devotion and loyalty
to Allah and told those around him that Allah would definitely help them.
Immediately after this display of submission and sincerity, Allah sent
a great miracle which rescued them from Pharaoh.
People who do not have faith in Allah from the heart
are in the habit of giving way to despair. Because they do not live according
to the guidance of the Qur'an, they also display a forgetful and ungrateful
character. Allah points to the ingratitude of such people in the verse,
"If We let man taste mercy from Us, and then take it away from him, he
is despairing, ungrateful." (Surah Hud: 9)
Allah declares, "... Do not despair of solace from
Allah. No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who are
disbelievers." (Surah Yusuf: 87) With this verse Allah warns people
that they should definitely not lose their hopes of Him. Allah created
everything in the world for people and offered them everything as a blessing.
Humanity is indebted to Allah for everything. He tells us that He is the
One Who gives and withholds sustenance in the verse, "Do
they not see that Allah expands provision for whoever He wills and also
restricts it? There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe."
(Surat ar-Rum: 37)
What people are required to do is to trust
Allah under any circumstances whatsoever and pray sincerely to Him in
awareness of the verse, "He Who responds to the oppressed when they call
on Him and removes their distress…" (Surat an-Naml: 62) Allah has
promised that He will rescue believers who show this attitude when confronted
with troubles. Allah also advises people not to lose hope of His mercy
in this verse, "... but you hope for something from
Allah which they cannot hope for." (Surat an-Nisa': 104)
The constancy of hopefulness depends on its source. Ignorant people lack
a sound foundation which can constantly give them hope. They may fall
into despair at any moment because of this. The believers, however, nourish
a powerful hope in their hearts even at the most difficult moments because
of their trust in our Lord. A person who can always remain hopeful is
also protected from the stress and troubles caused by hopelessness and
pessimism and the health problems and physical damage which these can
bring. Such people manage to avoid a weary and defeated state of mind
and have a fresh and lively appearance. This fresh and lively spiritual
state also reflects itself in their actions and gains them a cheerful,
easy, normal and balanced personality.
A person whose source of hope is the Almighty Allah never, by Allah's
will, loses hope or the peace and good cheer he feels because of it.
Satan Inspires Emotionalism
Another influence which makes people unhappy comes from a source from
which nobody expects it, the person's own emotions. How can these feelings
which are regarded as harmless become harmful instead?
In communities which are far from religion, it is very difficult for
people to know what is true and what is false because all concepts are
in conflict with one another. A person does whatever he regards as logical
and correct and in this behaves with great will and determination. A large
number of wrong ideas receive approval and are admired while in contrast
correct ones are regarded as wrong, criticized and violently opposed.
Emotionalism is at the head of the list of these confused concepts. Emotionalism
may be defined generally as the evaluation of everything on the basis
of one's emotions and the shaping of one's life accordingly. Someone who
lives like this needs always to be directed by his emotions towards virtue
and the truth in order to lead an intelligent, comfortable and tranquil
life. However, this is nearly impossible because an emotional person usually
has difficulty in evaluating events correctly. This is because he acts
on the basis of his emotions rather than intelligence and logic. Because
he acts with his emotions when making decisions he has difficulty in seeing
the true face of events and people. Or, completely to the contrary, in
a situation where it is necessary to avoid anger he may be unable to control
himself and may easily harm both himself and others. Just as he can suddenly
change a minor difference of opinion into a major row, a song he is listening
to can make him burst into tears while he appears to be cheerfully and
happily enjoying himself with friends. In some people emotionalism also
manifests itself in such different forms as introversion and irritability.
Obviously far more examples like this can be given. But if you notice,
they all have one point in common-loss of a person's ability to use his
intelligence and the suppression of that intelligence. This is just what
Satan, who is determined to pervert people, wants and is waiting for.
By using this secret weapon well, Satan prevents people from using their
intelligence and from seeing the truth without their realizing it. He
drives people away from Allah's scriptures and their superior morality.
It is as though he draws a veil across a person's intelligence.
To protect himself from such a situation a person needs to know Satan
well. To be able to make a judgment on any subject from a correct point
of view, he needs to possess correct and sound information. Only in this
way can he know what is right and what is wrong, what is beneficial and
what is harmful. A person can find the type of information and intelligence
that he will need throughout his life in the Qur'an, which is sent down
by Allah to guide people and thereby can acquire real intelligence. The
clear intelligence which Allah describes in the Qur'an as a characteristic
of believers is a powerful weapon which protects them against Satan's
guile. By contrast, if a person acts according to his desires and emotions,
he will be unhappy.
In the verse, "... Say: 'I do not follow your whims
and desires. If I did I would go astray and not be among the guided.'"
(Surat al-An'am: 56) Allah tells us that living according to the
emotions of the lower self diverts people from His path. The inescapable
result of this is that people suffer disappointment, long term depression,
trouble and stress. In this world, this brings nothing but misery.
Satan's Deception Is Weak
In previous sections we examined the effects of Satan on people who are
distanced from religion and consequently distanced throughout their lives
from the knowledge brought by faith in Allah and how people are driven
to sorrow by this means. However, in the face of these deceptions, traps
and provocations of Satan, there is an important point which people should
not forget. This is the degree to which Satan can have a formative effect
on people. In the first place, Satan is not a power independent of Allah.
Satan is also created by Allah and he is the enemy of humanity only because
Allah wills it so. He can have no independent power over people unless
Allah wills it. Allah created Satan as a test for people. Those who follow
him will stray from the true path while those who listen to their consciences
and act according to Allah's wishes will achieve salvation.
In addition to this, the effect of Satan on people is closely connected
with their closeness to Allah and their devotion to Him, in short, with
the sincerity of their faith. Satan can have no effect on Allah's sincere
servants. His effect is only on people who resist Allah and ascribe partners
to Him. In order to understand this better, we need to know why Allah
created Satan. As we are told in the verse, "...
to enable Us to know those who believe in the Hereafter from those who
are in doubt about it..." (Surah Saba: 21) Allah created Satan
to separate the believers from the unbelievers. On this point, it emerges
clearly which people Satan will have a more powerful influence on and
which he will be able to divert from the path of Allah.
Allah tells us that Satan is the open enemy of humanity and that people
should make Satan their enemy in the verse, "Satan
is your enemy so treat him as an enemy. He summons his party so they will
be among the people of the Searing Blaze." (Surah Fatir: 6) A person's
ability to succeed against an enemy and defeat him is connected to his
knowledge of the enemy and of the methods and tactics he employs. In short,
a person should know his enemy very well. Because of the Qur'an which
Allah Himself sent down, believers know Satan very well and they know
very well how to fight him. This is an indication of how weak and ineffective
Satan's influence on believers is. Satan will try to corrupt sincere believers
as he tries to corrupt all of humanity, but he will never be successful.
Because believers base their lives on the facts communicated by Allah
in the Qur'an which He sent down, they can see the traps of Satan and
the best ways to avoid them. Allah describes this committed and sincere
behavior of believers in the Qur'an:
If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge
in Allah. 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. (Surat al-'Araf: 200-201)
As Allah points out in the verse, "... Satan's
scheming is always feeble" (Surat an-Nisa': 76), the scheming of
Satan over believers is very weak, but the same is not true of those who
set their faces against the Qur'an and live in heedlessness of Allah.
Allah tells us in Surat ash-Shu'ara': 233 that, "They give them [Satans]
a hearing." Because they do not listen to the voice of their consciences,
they do exactly what Satan tells them. These people have forgotten the
power of Allah and fallen completely under the control of Satan. To put
it another way, they have made Satan a deity. For this reason it is very
easy for Satan to draw these people to his path and make them live completely
disconnected from Allah and the Qur'an. Allah tells us that Satan perversely
influences people who adopt him as their friend and guardian but that
he has no compulsive power over the faithful:
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 Allah. (Surat an-Nahl: 99-100)