I seek refuge in Allah from satan the accursed.
In the name of Allah Most Compassionate Most Merciful.
Satan is tricky, conniving, and most unfortunate for us, forever persistent in his pursuit of our spiritual demise. There are many routes he can take to get us going on the path towards eternal doom, and all of them usually involve some sort of deception and trickery. The following are the three types of tricks he tries on us (based on my own life experiences).
Trick 1: sinful acts
The first and easiest way to get us in trouble, is to get us to try out and get us addicted to sinful acts, such as drinking, gambling, fornication, adultery, slander, or any other sin that any person of pretty much any faith would consider immoral or indecent. But the problem is that the above mentioned sins have greatly become normalized and even expected forms of life choices for an increasing number of people. Satan has done his job right by getting people to turn them into “good” things and then getting people to perpetuate their normalcy through educational institutions, media, and thus constantly shifting social norms. The acts I mentioned seem wrong because of the names I gave them. But the other way they have been incorporated into mainstream society is by the use of alternate titles, descriptions, or expectations attached to the sins, for example:
- drinking is known as hanging out with friends at the bar,
- gambling is normalized through state-run lotto tickets and casinos,
- fornication is encouraged “as long as you love each other” or to “gain experience”
- adultery is often okayed as a means of escape from an unhappy or volatile marriage, and
- slander is seen as simply exposing the real person behind a fake one
If not stopped immediately, a person will become habituated to them, and therefore they will become addictions and thus a necessary part of one’s life. The best way to keep away from such acts is to be around the kinds of people who are doing a good job of staying on the straight path and who will become a support system to keep us on track. Regardless of whether acts are moral or immoral, they become a part of our lives if those around us are constantly doing them.
Trick 2: Looking down on people engaged in immoral behavior
If you are determined to stay away from sinful acts, and through your prayers and self-control are able to steer clear of such behavior for the most part, then you can be attacked by satan in another way. Remember that all satan wants, is for you to end up in hellfire, and he will go into every avenue to get you to fall on your face. If he does not have much success getting you to succumb to the usual temptations that lurk in society, then he will bring your moral feats to your attention. He will insist that you look at your moral accomplishments in life and then congratulate you for not being like the majority of disgusting and misguided people out there. In this way, you fall in the trap of a sin even greater than drinking or gambling, and that is arrogance. You will turn your nose up at the people who make bad choices in life and pat yourself on the back for making sure you are on the right path. However, the correct way to handle one’s successes in relation to others’ failures would be to feel gratitude and humility towards Allah SWT, followed by fear and plea to God Almighty to always protect you from evil and harm. Nothing is guaranteed permanent in life, even good morals, and so one must not feel falsely secure about anything.
Trick 3: challenging satan
Usually at the same time as getting you to look down on others, satan will start working on making you feel like you have such a strong level of faith in God, that you can challenge anyone about anything and remain untouchable by fear and confusion. He will probably suggest that you engage in controversial or taboo topics displayed by any person regardless of their religious affiliation or agenda. The truth could indeed be that you do have a strong level of faith in God, but satan will use this against you by challenging you to prove him wrong and to confirm your steadfastness by reading and watching discussions about topics by people who may either be misguided or intentionally trying to confuse believers. At first, you may feel emboldened by your research into the unknown, but at some point you will probably come across a discussion or words that will send you into a spiral of confusion. This will in turn weaken your faith because you will feel extremely uncomfortable not knowing the right way to approach some subjects, and will probably start scrambling to find something to falsify this new and conflicting information to regain the strong foothold over your faith. If you do end up in this situation, know that you will fall flat on your face and it will take you some time to regain your same level of faith. But God willing, if you are patient and determined, Allah SWT will keep you on the straight path and strengthen your faith in Him. If anything, such an experience will teach you a good lesson on staying humble and to view your faith as a any other blessing of God, such as your health, family, and finances.