SHAYTAN: What is Shaytan?
Allah (SWT) created jinn and insaan solely for his Ibaadat (worship). Shaytan belongs to Jinn; a life form created from smokeless fire (like electricity), which existed long before Adam (A.S.). At the time when the whole nation of Jinn became disobedient to Allah (SWT), the Angels were ordered to destroy them completely. As the Angels set about their task, they discovered one particular Jinn who had been engaged in prayer and asked Allah (SWT) for guidance in how to deal with him. In reply, Allah (SWT) ordered the Angels to bring this particular Jinn back with them up to the Kingdom of Malaika (angels). This ‘saved’ Jinn was called Iblis, also known as Angel Makram. Iblis had devoted nearly eighty thousand years to Allah’s (SWT) worship and since he had acquired vast knowledge, Allah (SWT) appointed him as teacher to the Angels.
When Allah (SWT) decided to create Adam (A.S.), certain Angels were ordered to bring some clay from the earth. As one by one, the Angels proceeded to collect the clay, the clay pleaded to them, “For the sake of Allah (SWT) please don’t take me from this earth.” So the Angels returned without the clay. Allah (SWT) then ordered Azra’il to collect this clay. When the clay made the same plea to him, Angel Azra’il replied that it was His order to take the clay back and without hesitation Azra’il took the clay as ordered.
While the Angels were busy collecting the clay from the earth, they were delayed in attending the class of Iblis. Upon their return, Iblis queried the Angels about their late arrival. When Iblis heard the reason for their delay, he became very jealous that Allah (SWT) was creating a new life and that he alone was not enough for worship. Iblis then requested to be taken to the location where Allah (SWT) was creating Adam (A.S.) but was refused by the Angels as they were under strict orders not to take anyone to this location. However, Iblis did eventually discover this location and managed to visit Adam (A.S.). During his visit, Iblis went inside Adam (A.S.) and found out the mechanism to his body. Upon his return, Iblis stated to the Angels that Adam (A.S.) was useless and that they should follow Iblis and not Adam (A.S.). The Angels replied that they only follow Allah (SWT).
After some time had elapsed, and the creation of Adam (A.S.) was complete, Allah (SWT) ordered the Angels to prostrate in front of Adam (A.S.). The Angels obeyed this order of Almighty Allah (SWT), the Creator, and The Most Wise. But when Allah (SWT) gave the same order to Iblis, he refused, introducing logic into his arguments rather than obeying in faith. When Allah (SWT) asked Iblis, “What prevented you from prostrating before that what I created with my own hands?” Iblis replied, “I am better than him. You have created me from fire but him you have created from clay.” (Q7:12, 15:32:33). Allah (SWT) then said, “Get out of here. You are cast out. My curse is on you till the Day of Judgement”.
The Quran says in (Q2:34) “And behold we said to the Angels, bow down to Adam (A.S.), and they all bowed down. Not so Iblis, he was disobedient. He was with those who reject faith.” Allah says, in Surah Saad verses 71 – 85: “When thy Lord said unto the Angels: Lo! I am about to create a mortal out of clay and when I have fashioned him and breathed into him My spirit then fall down before him prostrate. The Angels fell down and prostrated everyone except Iblis; He was scornful and became one of the disbelievers (Kafir). He said: “O Iblis! What prevents you from prostrating before that which I have created with both hands? Art Thou too proud or art thou of the high exalted? He said: I am better than him. Thou created me from fire, whilst him thou created from clay. He said: Go forth from hence, for lo! thou art outcast. And lo! My curse is on thee till the Day of Judgement. He said: My lord! Reprieve me till the day when they are raised. He said: Lo! Thou are of those reprieved until the day of the time appointed. He said: Then, by Thy might, I surely will beguile them everyone. Save thy single-minded shared among them. He said: The truth is, and the truth I speak, that I shall fill Hell with thee and those of them as follow thee, together”.
Iblis asked Allah (SWT), “What are you going to give me in return as there was no place on earth where I did not prostrate to you?” Allah (SWT) replied “Say what do you want?” So Iblis asked for the power to enter into the Adam (A.S.)’s body and into the body of all his descendants (Bani Adam). He asked for the permission and power to enter and leave Bani Adam’s body 70 times within one pulse beat (60 times a second). Allah (SWT) granted him this request. Iblis then said to Allah (SWT), “I will be standing between you and the sons of Adam (A.S.), at the front, at the left, at the back and at the right, and I will be all around him. I will make it difficult for him to find the Siratul Mustaqim (the straight path) to come to you. Allah (SWT) said, “You can do whatever you want, but remember, whoever is my servant, they will find the way to come to Me.” Allah (SWT) then outcast Iblis from His blessings.
Allah (SWT) then taught Adam (A.S.) how to pray and seek help from Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) taught Adam (A.S.) not to ask for Allah (SWT)’s help from the front, left, back or right, but to ask for Allah (SWT)’s help from above, as Iblis who is now Shaytan did not request that he would be able to stand between Adam (A.S.) and Allah (SWT) from above. Allah (SWT) made a way through which Shaytan could enter into the body of Adam (A.S.).
There are two entrances into Bani Adam’s body: one is called ‘was-wasa’ whereby Shaytan gives ‘was-wasa’ or bad inspiration. The other entrance known as the ‘mul-him’ is for the sole use of Angles through which they give Ilham or good news. The Ilham could thus emanate directly from Allah (SWT) or from the Bani Adams’ own destiny. Allah (SWT) has placed an Angel to guard the mul-him, and likewise Shaytan has placed one of his agents at the was-wasa. Shaytan’s instrument is bad inspiration, which he uses to deceive Bani Adam.
But, Allah (SWT) has also taught us how to pray and seek help from Him. This is why when in need, we should not go to anybody or anything else except Allah (SWT). No one can get help through his capacity unless Allah (SWT) wishes to help him. If any one asks for help from a worldly thing or anything else (like idol worshippers who seek guidance from wood, stone, fire and other man made articles) other than Allah (SWT), it is as if he is asking help from Shaytan. Allah (SWT) said in Surah Fatihah (Q1:5), “Thee do we worship and Thine aid we seek”. The devil is clever and also positively dangerous for righteous persons. In this Surah, Allah (SWT) is beautifully and tenderly teaching us how to seek help and guidance from Him and seek protection from Shaytan.
In Surah Saffat 162 and 163 Allah (SWT) said, “Can lead (any) into temptation concerning God, (163) except such as one (themselves) going into the blazing fire”. In the Holy Quran (translation and commentary by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, pp 1213:4134) Allah (SWT) said “Evil has no power over faith, truth, and sincerity. Such power as it has over those who deliberately put themselves in the way of destruction. It is their own will that leads them astray. If they were fortified against evil by faith, patience and constancy, evil would have no power to hurt them. God will protect them”. Allah (SWT) said: “Kalimah: ‘La ila ha illal lahu’ is My fortress. Whoever reads this by heart will be inside my fortress, he will have no fear of My punishment and no fear of Shaytan’s deceptions. Shaytan is the source of punishment, who so ever reads the Kalimah and obeys Allah (SWT), he is safe from Shaytan’s deceptions and has saved himself from this world and the world hereafter”. The Prophet (S.A.S.) said whoever reads ‘Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim’ if Shaytan comes like an elephant he will run away like an ant.
We should not try to fight with Shaytan, it means that we are giving him importance and making him happy. Our duty is simply to ask for help from Allah (SWT) and obey Him. Before the Prophet (S.A.S.)’s time, there was a tradition in Arabia, that whenever a traveller entered another territory, he used to ask protection from the leader of Jinn of that particular area. But Allah (SWT) said that whoever seeks protection from anyone but Allah (SWT), is not a believer. We are helpless and lonesome children until and unless we ask protection from Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) alone.
When a child is born, Shaytan thinks of him as an additional enemy. Invisible to the naked eye, Shaytan, therefore, tries to take the child away and kill him using his Jinn agents. Shaytan is like an eagle, spying on his prey like an eagle spying on newly hatched chickens. To prevent Shaytan’s agent from taking the baby, Allah sends 70 Angels to guard the newly born baby – if the baby is of a Mumin, Allah (SWT) doubles this guard i.e. there are 140 Angels guarding and protecting the baby from Shaytan.
Allah (SWT) says “Oh! Mumin (believers), be aware of Shaytan, he is your open enemy – he is very far from me, but is very close to you”. Allah teaches us to say: “A’oothu-billah-him-inash-shaytan-ir-rajim” which is translated as “Oh Allah! I seek refuge in thee from the outcast Shaytan”.
Once a Wali Allah dreamt that Shaytan was advancing towards him and the Wali Allah, in his dream, was trying to beat off the Shaytan with his staff. The Wali Allah then heard a voice saying that Shaytan cannot be beaten with a staff. Upon hearing this voice, the Wali Allah stood back and after a few moments asked Shaytan to come towards him. In reply Shaytan asked, “What have you got for me to come to you?” The Wali Allah said, “What do you want?” The Shaytan said “I want the world but you haven’t got it, so what is the use of me coming to you?”
Allah (SWT) created Shaytan’s wife from his left thigh, in the similar manner as Adam (A.S)’s wife was created from the rib. When Shaytan’s wife was pregnant, she laid twenty one eggs from which Shaytan’s children were hatched. These children spread themselves all over the world across jungles, mountains, rivers, seas, trees etc. Once our Prophet (S.A.S) said “There is nobody without a Shaytan with him”. After hearing this one of the Sahaba asked our Prophet (S.A.S) “Is there any with you?” Our Prophet (S.A.S) replied, “Yes, but Allah (SWT) has made this Shaytan Musalma’an, and he is always giving me good inspirations”.
Once Abu Bakr (R.A.), Umar (R.A.), Uthman (R.A.), Ali (K.A.), Salman Farsi (R.A.) and Amer Ibn Yasar (R.A.) found our Prophet (S.A.S) coming back from somewhere and he was sweating. The Prophet wiped the sweat from his forehead and said, “May Allah (SWT) cast the cursed Shaytan”. He then looked down. Ali (K.A) said to him “Whom are you casting upon?” Our Prophet (S.A.S) replied “The enemy of Allah (SWT), the outcasted Shaytan, he just put his tail in the cave and laid seven eggs from which seven Shaytans were born. Their duty is to deceive the sons of Adam (A.S.).”
The prophet (S.A.S) then proceeded to name these seven Shaytans stating that the first one is called Mudhas and his duty is to inspire, attract and tempt the Alim. The second one is Hodish and his duty is to distract people from their prayer and offer distractive attractions and amusements. Hodish makes people sleepy during their prayer, sometimes they go to sleep and when they awaken they continue their prayer without wudu and falsely believe that they never went to sleep and, therefore, do not require fresh wudu. The third Shaytan is Zal Banun who is on duty in the market place so that the traders would not weigh and measure honestly or care for the quality of their goods. These traders would show off unjustly, and praise their low quality goods. The Zal Banun also enables people to walk wondrously around the market place and encourage them to spend their money unwisely. The fourth Shaytan is Bothar whose duty is to make people restless by attacking their patience. The fifth’s name is Manshoot who draws people towards lying and backbiting. The sixth Shaytan is called Dasham who destroys people’s sense of justice. The seventh Shaytan, Auoawar, inspires people to steal and become thieves in the belief that this way their needs will be met, and that they could always ask for forgiveness later from Allah (SWT) and will surely be excused. Our Prophet (S.A.S) also said “There is a Shaytan called Dal-han. He always deceives people when they are making wudu.” Our Prophet (S.A.S) advised Mumin to be aware of him and ask help from Allah (SWT) against this Shaytan. There is another Shaytan called Khanzub, who always deceives people during prayer. Besides the above mentioned. there are other Shaytans who always stay with you when you are bathing and whether you are inside or outside the house. They are always there because this is their place of stay.
Once our Prophet (S.A.S) met Shaytan, he said to him “Why are you an enemy of Allah (SWT)? Don’t you realise that you will be punished for your activities?” Shaytan replied “I know a Dua (prayer), that will enter me into the heaven” (you can say that it is a key for the door of heaven). Jibril (A.S.) appeared at that moment and said to our Prophet (S.A.S): “Shaytan does know the Dua which will enable him to enter into paradise, but forty days before his death Allah (SWT) The Almighty, All Powerful, and All Knowing, will take this Dua away from Shaytan’s memory.” Jibril (A.S.) then unveiled this Dua to our Prophet (S.A.S).
The Prophet (S.A.S) said that Magrib (sunset) is the play time for the Shaytans so children should come inside the house behind closed doors so that the Shaytans cannot enter. In another Hadith, Prophet (S.A.S) told us that everyone should always wear pairs of shoes and should never wear unpaired shoes as it is the Shaytans who hide them away. From my experiences, this can lead to unnecessary arguments and stress in the home.