Do you know your enemy?
Do you know that you have an enemy who wants to destroy you physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?
This enemy knows your weaknesses and will use them against you with every opportunity he gets.
He works day and night plotting against you, never taking a rest even for a minute.
He waits, patiently, for the times that you are most vulnerable to take advantage of your emotions.
This enemy is not only your enemy; it is also my enemy, your family’s enemy and every human being’s enemy no matter what religion or race they are. I think you know by now the enemy I’m referring to.
The Shaytan, of course.
Shaytan in the Quran
O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
Chapter 2, verse 168.
In another verse, Allah says:
O you who have believed, enter into Islam completely [and perfectly] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
Chapter 2, verse 208.
And of the grazing livestock are carriers [of burdens] and those [too] small. Eat of what Allah has provided for you and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.
Chapter 6, verse 142.
The verses are too many to list, but here is a final verse where Allah explains the Shaytan’s enmity and ultimate goal for us:
Indeed, Satan is an enemy to you; so take him as an enemy. He only invites his party to be among the companions of the Blaze.
Chapter 35, verse 5.
Understanding our enemy’s tricks and tactics
As you can see, Shaytan has been described in the Quran very well by Allah. Allah warned us that the Shaytan is arrogant, rebellious, filthy, and loves all filthy deeds. Therefore, whatever the Shaytan likes, we need to keep far away from it.
But to stay away from him and his temptations, we must understand the tricks and tactics the Shaytan uses to lure us into his traps and illusions. The Shaytan made a promise to Allah to mislead us from Allah’s path and invite us to every evil and sinful deed.
And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah. And whoever takes Satan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss.”
Chapter 4, verse 119
[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].
Chapter 7, verses 17 – 18.
From these verses we can clearly see that the Shaytan is on a mission; a mission to destroy us and our future in the hereafter.
If we let him, that is.
How much power does our enemy have over us?
Shaytan doesn’t have much power over you unless you give it to him. Allah says about the Shaytan:
Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah, and those who disbelieve fight in the cause of Taghut. So fight against the allies of Satan. Indeed, the plot of Satan has ever been weak.
Chapter 4, verse 76.
Yes, he knows our weaknesses, and he beautifies for us the sinful things our nafs like. But it is up to us to refuse his callings or to accept and commit sin.
His main weapons are just tricks and lies. He whispers evil things once he realizes that you will never accept kufr. So ultimately, it is only these whispers and temptations that we must refuse in order to defeat the Shaytan.
The Shaytan looks for the things we love and corrupts us with it. That’s why it is important you love only that which Allah loves.
With that said, here are ten characteristics the Shaytan loves and Allah hates:
- Loving this world too much: Loving this world and life will make us forget our main purpose in this world—that is, to worship and obey Allah. And once you forget that, well…that’s exactly what the enemy wants.
- Never remembering death: This one is similar to the first one. It is important to think about death. When we remember death, we will realize how temporary this life is. Thinking about it also makes us patient in the hardships of this life. So when a person doesn’t ever think about death, his/her heart becomes hardened and his/her love for this world grows every day, something which will definitely make the shaytan happy.
- Being Stingy: Do you ever get that nagging question in your mind every-time you want to give charity–“can I really afford to pay this much?” Guess who’s planting that question in your head? Yup, definitely that devil! The more you stack-up, the more Allah’s blessing will be removed from your wealth. We all love money and wealth but it is something we must overcome as it also brings the love of Shaytan.
- Having kibr (pride, arrogance, haughtiness, conceit etc.):
Anyone who possesses half a mustard seed of kibr in his heart will not be granted admission to paradise. Sahih Muslim.
This hadith sums up the danger of having kibr. Kibr is the main cause of racism and oppression. Kibr is also one of the main characteristics of Iblees. It was his Kibr which got him cursed and kicked out of heaven. So this is one characteristic we need to clean from our hearts.
- Showing off: Showing off will most certainly earn a person the displeasure of Allah and the love of the shaytan. For this reason we need to always check our intention. Ask yourself, “Am I doing this good deed to be seen as a ‘good person’ or to please Allah?”
- Not accepting the decree of Allah: Being Muslims, we will be tested and tried. This is when many people will ask “why me?” or “Why did I ever have to go through this tragedy or this calamity?” This is dangerous. Because when you ask the question ‘why’ you are not having patience and you are questioning Allah’s decisions. This will only get the Shaytan to control your mind and push you further until you do something crazy.
- Following your desires: Following desires and giving the naf everything it wants will bring many corruptions. If we allow our nafs everything it likes, that means no waking up in the morning for Fajr, watching everything whether it is haraam or not, listening to music, gossiping, backbiting, etc.
- Always thinking negative: Thinking negative brings about unhappiness and ingratitude for what Allah has blessed you with. One of the goals of the Shaytan is to make us ungrateful so this is a trait which is loved by the Shaytan.
- Belittling Sins: This is something we definitely need to be careful about doing. The more we belittle our sins the more the Shaytan becomes our close and intimate companion.
- Arrogance (different from Kibr): Arrogance in thinking one is safe from the punishment of Allah, or going to hell after he or she dies. Shaytan convinces some people that because they’ve done some great deeds, they are the best and will definitely go to paradise. It’s important to never think like that. We never know our ending. We need to make dua every day to have a good ending and to have Allah’s mercy in admitting us to His paradise.
In the next Defeating the Enemy Series, I’ll discuss the top ten things the shaytan hates and Allah loves.
Stay tuned! And thank you for reading.
Sister Um Ibrahim Ali is a regular contributor on Islamic Learning Materials. You can follow Sister Um Ibrahim Ali and her adventures as a Muslim mother on her blog Sweet Mama Loves You.