Openings for Iblis

“It is a pity,” argued Gai Eaton, “that so few people believe any longer in the shaytan, the devil, if not in a personalised form, at least as an influence or a tendency. We need to be able to identify evil, not only when it manifests itself in genocide or torture, but in its roots and its ramifications. We need also to understand how subtly it can operate behind the scenes, seldom showing its true face … The idea of the devil, in Islam as in Christianity, has been that of a force – an agency – which reverses values, making evil seem good, and good seem evil.”  [Remembering God: Reflections on Islam (Cambridge: The Islamic Texts Society, 2000), 22]

The Quran says:

But the devil made their [foul] deeds seem fair to them.” [Quran 16:63]

Below, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H/1350CE) distils for us the main ways in which Iblis, the Devil, seeks to assault Man; rendering him ungrateful, then forgetful of God. He writes:

“Whoever possesses intelligence knows there is no path for the devil to overcome him, except from three directions:

Firstly, excess and extravagance. Excess refers to whatever is beyond one’s needs: and it is the actual surplus which is the devil’s portion and with which he invades the heart. The path of diligence is to not gratify the ego in all that it wants in terms of food, sleep, pleasure and recreation. Whenever the doors to such [gratification] are shut tight, one obtains safety from the devil entering.

Secondly, heedlessness (ghaflah) of God’s remembrance. For one remembering God is in the fortress of remembrance (dhikr). When he lapses into heedlessness, the doors of the fortress are opened and the Foe enters. Once inside, it is harder and more difficult to expel him.

Thirdly, burdening yourself with things that do not concern you.’ [Al-Fawa’id (Makkah: Dar ‘Alam al-Fawa’id, 2009), 277]

It is hardly surprising if many Muslims – aware of the monoculture’s grotesque greed, extravagance and excesses; and its relentless push to render the people heedless of the Divine Reality; and its seduction of souls, alluring them with all but the Essential – see this bulldozing liberal process as ‘satanic’.

And that which strays so defiantly from God’s purpose is unlikely to escape the Divine Rigour or Wrath for very long:

“How many a city given to wrongdoing did We destroy, after which We raised up another people.” [Quran 21:11]

“And how many a town did We destroy which was thankless for its means of livelihood.” [Quran 28:58]

For believers, all this makes it urgent that we come together to partake in the healing of this ever-growing, decadent monoculture. And God’s help is sought.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email