THE CHARACTER OF SATAN
Satan is man's greatest foe, to be encountered by every person, thousands
of times during his or her lifetime. He is man's enemy because, according
to him, it was due to man that he lost his status in the presence of Allah.
The only reason for his time on Earth is the permission he has been granted
by from Allah within which he is to ensnare humans. During that time allotted,
he will use every means at his disposal, and until the Last Day, to lure
people into the fires of Hell. To that end, he is ever keeping his watch
over mankind, (Surat al-A`raf, 27) preparing the plots and ruses by which
to assault them.
Many are not even aware at all that Satan poses them danger. According
to them, Satan is an obscure, or even imaginary notion. In their view,
only those who commit really terrible acts, that is, savage or even monstrous
people, follow Satan. They regard themselves and others like them as pure
of heart, and over whom Satan has no influence. They do, however, occasionally
acknowledge being "tempted by the Satan," though only with regards to
the most minor errors.
Falling into such ignorance, however, is one of the gravest errors one
can commit. Because, with a small number of believers being the exception,
Satan has brought the great majority of humanity completely under his
control. Without even realizing it, they are leading just the sort of
lives Satan wishes them to, thus following him to Hell. What such people
ought to do, however, is inform themselves appropriately of Satan, and
regard him as their enemy. Allah has commanded this in Surah Fatir:
Satan is your enemy so treat him as an enemy. He summons his followers
that they will be among the people of the Searing Blaze. (Surah Fatir,
Being cognizant of Satan, and understanding the nature of his animosity,
is part of the first steps towards salvation. That being the case, one
must first come to know Satan's characteristics, and the tactics he employs.
These traits, referred to in some detail throughout the many verses of
the Qur'an, are developed under the several following headings:
He Is Devious and a Liar
First and foremost, Satan conceals the truth in order to lead people
away from the path of salvation. The best way of doing so is by imparting
devious falsehoods to people. He attempts to attract them to his ranks
by means of lies and empty promises. For example, he will promise heightened
prestige, increased wealth, more sex, a life of ease, or even higher status
in the Hereafter. However, as he himself will admit in the Hereafter,
he has lied and made false promises:
When the affair is decided Satan will say, "Allah made you a promise,
a promise of truth, and I made you a promise but broke my promise. I had
no authority over you, except that I called you and you responded to me.
Do not, therefore, blame me but blame yourselves. I cannot come to your
aid nor you to mine. I reject the way you associated me with Allah before."
The wrongdoers will have a painful punishment. (Surah Ibrahim, 22)
However, his admission will only be made known beyond the life of this
world, when he and his followers will be called forward on the Day of
Judgment. Then learning the truth of this matter will, of course, ultimately
avail Satan's followers of nothing. They will all be cast into Hell, with
all those who, throughout the course of history, have followed in the
footsteps of Satan.
He Is Defiant, Impudent and Ungrateful
Satan is terribly ungrateful towards Allah, Who created him from nothing,
and imparted him all of the traits he possesses. (Surat al-Isra´, 27)
It was due to this ingratitude and lack of awareness that he rebelled
and defied Allah.
He Is Rebellious
Another feature of Satan, as mentioned in the Qur'an, is that he is rebellious
(Surat al-Hajj, 3;Surat an-Nisa´, 117).
His Influence Is Without Effect Upon the Believers
At first glance, Satan's snares and other deceptive measures, which he
prepares for the believers, may seem powerful. But that is not necessarily
the case. Because, Satan's deceptive wiles are, in actual fact, quite
feeble, and ultimately doomed to failure.
Those who believe fight in the Way of Allah. Those who disbelieve fight
in the way of false gods. So fight the friends of Satan! Satan's scheming
is always feeble. (Surat an-Nisa´, 76)
His Power Is Only Sufficient to Tempt
Satan has no power to compel human beings. All he is able to do is impart
insinuations. It is the individual himself who chooses to obey or not.
In other words, when one is guilty of doing something wrong, he cannot
blame Satan. What is to be condemned is the decision to comply with his
insinuations. Satan will make this fact evident to the unbelievers in
the Hereafter, who would seek to blame him for their short-comings.
… I had no authority over you, except that I called you and you responded
to me. Do not, therefore, blame me but blame yourselves… (Surah Ibrahim,
He Is Man's Enemy
The fact that Satan is mankind's worst enemy is revealed in a number
of verses (Surah al-An`am, 142; Surat al-Kahf; 50, Surah Ya Sin, 60).
The reason for this emphasis is because the harm which Satan seeks to
inflict on man is far more of a concern than any other threat to man in
this world. Satan wishes men to suffer in Hell for all eternity. That
is why he is to be considered mankind's greatest foe. This matter is discussed
in the following verses:
Mankind! Eat what is good and lawful on the Earth. And
do not follow in the footsteps of Satan. He truly is an outright enemy
to you. (Surat al-Baqara, 168)
… Satan is a clear-cut enemy to man. (Surah Yusuf, 5)
He Is Stain on Human Beings
Satan's effect on mankind is described as "taint" in the Qur'an:
And when He overcame you with sleep, making you feel secure, and sent
you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of Satan
from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm. (Surat al-Anfal,
He Has Been Expelled from the Presence of Allah
Satan was humiliatingly driven from the presence of Allah, because of
his disobedience and ingratitude. The very word "Satan" confers the meaning
of expulsion. This facet of Satan's history is revealed in the 25th verse
of Surat at-Takwir and 17th verse of Surat al-Hijr.