بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By Zahra Anjum
We often forget that Shaitan is our opponent, and fall prey to his whisperings. The fact that he is our worst and foremost enemy goes at the back of our minds. Allah (swt) reminds us repeatedly in the Quran about our relationship with Shaitan. He (swt) says:
“…follow not the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy.”(Surah Baqarah 2: 168)
“Surely, Shaitan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy…”(Surah Fatir 35:6)
We can take concrete protective measures against a visible adversary, but what to do against this enemy running through our veins – someone whom we cannot even see or feel? The Prophet (sa) said: “Satan circulates in the human body as blood does.”(Bukhari and Muslim)
A Resilient Shelter: Remembering Allah
Ibn Katheer writes in his Tafseer of Surah an-Naas: “The Messenger of Allah (sa) said, ‘Don’t say: Perish Satan! When you do, Satan becomes larger and says: By my power I have defeated him! But if you say: Bismillah (in the name of Allah) – Satan becomes smaller and smaller until he is like a fly.’ (Reported by Ahmad with a strong chain)
This Hadith proves that when the heart remembers Allah, it makes Satan smaller and smaller, while if Allah is not mentioned, Satan overcomes him and he becomes stronger.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Juzz Amma)
Ibn Abbas said: “The devil is squatting (perched) upon the heart of the son of Adam. When he becomes absentminded and heedless, Shaitan whispers, and when he remembers Allah Shaitan withdraws.” (Tafseer Ibn Katheer, Juzz Amma)
Allah (swt) has explained this in the Quran: “And whoever is blinded from remembrance of the Most Merciful – We appoint for him a devil, and he is to him a companion.” (Surah Zukhruf 43:36)
This shows us that if we want to keep ourselves safe from the whisperings of Shaitan, we must take refuge in the remembrance of Allah.
Remembering to Remember: Handy Tips
At times, we start obeying Shaitan without realizing it. An important precautionary measure is to keep our thoughts and tongue occupied by the remembrance of Allah. Following are some ways through which we can remember to remember Allah:
1. Learn a new phrase of remembrance every month: Get an authentic book of supplications, and learn a new dhikr (phrase of remembrance) each month, incorporating it in your daily routine. This way, our remembrance will remain fresh, and will not turn into a clockwork action. Also read, memorize, and try to understand the meaning of the respective phrase.
2. Set a target for every day: Setting goals helps us attain the tasks that we otherwise overlook. Set a daily target for at least one phrase of remembrance, and repeat it the number of times encouraged by the Prophet (sa). This can be done as you cook, do the laundry, etc.; this is essentially the time that was going to be spent in useless day dreaming otherwise.
3. The duas (supplications) of morning and evening: Books of duas usually have a separate section for morning and evening prayers. It comprises the duas made by the Prophet (sa) in the morning after Fajr, and in the evenings after Asr. We can adopt the same habit; these are two slots in the day that will remind us about our loyalty to Allah. Many of these duas specially mention seeking refuge from the evil of Shaitan. For e.g. “O Allah, Knower of the unseen and the seen, Creator of the heavens and the Earth, Lord and Sovereign of all things, I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped except You. I take refuge in You from the evil of my soul, and from the evil and shirk of the devil, and from committing wrong against my soul or bringing such upon another Muslim.” (at-Tirmidhi; reliable)
4. Recite duas with consciousness: Most of us already know the duas for eating, getting on a vehicle, sleeping etc. However, we mostly recite them habitually, not paying attention to the words that we are uttering. Try to recite these duas with a presence of mind, and think about their meaning. Reading them consciously will make us aware of Allah’s presence, and save us from Shaitan.
5. Perseverance: One of the meanings of Sabr (patience) mentioned by scholars is ‘to overcome the uneasiness of the heart and the fidgeting during worship’. Shaitan makes us neglectful and lazy, making us think that our mood is just not right for remembrance. Sometimes, we may feel like skipping our routine adhkar (plural of dhikr), due to laziness or just because we don’t want to make the effort. However, do not give up, no matter how hard the desire to do so is. Stay patient and persistent. Prophet Muhammad (sa) said: “The most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and consistent even though it were little.” (Bukhari and Muslim). Soon, keeping the tongue wet with the remembrance of Allah will transform into a cherished habit.
May Allah save us from Shaitan and his whisperings, and grant us the ability to remember Him always. Ameen!
[Zahra Anjum is a freelance writer, editor, translator, and homeschooling mother based in Islamabad, Pakistan.]
© IIPH 2014