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The seven 'Heavens'
Satan(an understanding based on the teachings of The Quran- By Lale Tuncer)
In The Name of God, The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful.
All Praises and Thanks be to God- Lord of The Worlds!
I seek refuge in God from Satan, the expelled from His Mercy (the outcast, cursed one).
Here are some thoughts I would like to share with you about the knowledge that I have come to know about the common enemy of mankind- Satan.
God invites us to Truth, to everlasting Life. He invites us to better ‘know’ Him through knowledge, wisdom, understanding and love by using our minds and senses to seek Truth and understanding, our hearts to give and receive love, and our bodies to be ‘creative.’ He invites us and promises those who persevere in righteousness for His Cause and trust in Him: Peace, Love, Compassion, Mercy, Forgiveness, Joy, Honour, Respect, Justice, and all that is good and true. He asks that we humble ourselves and be grateful for His Provision by helping those of our fellow human brothers and sisters who are in need with the blessings that He has provided- so that we may be granted access through the Gates of ascension to lofty stations and feel His Presence in the Kingdom of God. This life is a temporary existence, a test, a passing enjoyment where both good times and times of hardship come to an end. It is therefore important that we remain connected to our Creator as much as possible in order to succeed, and listen to and see the signs through His guidance He has sent through His Prophets, Messengers, Revelations and through our own personal experiences of ups and downs through prayer, self-reflection, use of reason, mindfulness and acts of worship. God wants us to enjoy His Provision, trust that He will provide and to Fear Him, Obey His Commandments and to purify ourselves by shunning all that is False. God invites us to Faith in Him, and belief in His Angels, The Unseen, His Revelations, His Prophets and messengers, The Day of Resurrection, and to Willing Surrender to His Divine Will. He invites us to become His helpers in His Cause and to turn to Him in complete submission so that we may become vessels of His Light and Love and break through the difficult paths in order to be protected from our common enemy- Satan.
And who is Satan? ‘Does he even exist?’ – that is what satan wants us to question- He tries his very best to convince us that he doesn’t exist, or that he is in fact our friend and not our enemy. He lies, deceives and betrays in the most outwardly beautiful way by stirring up desires within us in order to distract our attention from God, our Creator. His mission is to try to make mankind change the creation of God into that which is false. He invites to sin and to transgression of the limits set by God. He uses disguise to mask himself from the world while secretly trying to trick us into following his magic and delusion by dressing up all that is falsehood and sin in seemingly beautiful outer garments of worldly pleasures and temporary existence so that we can hide our faces from God ( even though God knows what is in the breasts of man and our outer garments cannot hide us from Him) ..Satan invites us to all that is false and temporary. He tries to cause mankind to forget the commandments of God, turn away from God, to disobey Him, and to follow him and his progeny to Hellfire. He tells us along the way that it is too late to turn back to God, puts seeds of doubt about God’s Mercy and His inclination to forgive. He has many methods, but a big one is division, another is distraction. Another is doubt (in God and ourselves) .. Satan laughs at us when we divide amongst ourselves, and when nation turns against nation, when pairs are divided and families torn apart. Satan wants to weaken the army of ‘Love’ in order to destroy mankind. He wants us to fall, along with him through disobedience and arrogance.
According to The Quran -Satan and his progeny are a creation of God, that are made from a smokeless fire. Before the creation of man from clay (an altered mud) Iblis (Satan) was amongst the High ranks of Angels- who worshipped God out of compulsion. Angels are made from light but Satan is one of the ‘Jinn’ and as you may be aware, the Jinn are a creation of God who like humans have ‘free will.’ When God made made Adam, and asked the angels to prostrate to Adam, the Angels all prostrated, except for Iblis- He refused. He believed himself to be better than man because he was made from fire and man was made from clay. He was ‘arrogant’ and ‘envious’ of Adam and this led to his disobedience to God’s command to prostrate. He became a ‘disbeliever’ – not because he didn’t believe in God existence, but because he was too proud to worship Him through obeying His command. He was henceforth expelled from Paradise and made a pact with God that God gives Him respite until the Day of Resurrection so that Satan may lead astray as many of mankind and jinn as possible from the ways of ascent to God, and so that they may follow him to Hellfire. However Satan is told by God Himself that he will not be able to lead astray those of His servants who follow His Guidance and do not cross the limits set by God to man. So God promises those who surrender to His Will, inclining to Truth and obey His commandments that they will be in a protected space even in this worldly life.
As we know from scripture- God’s invites us to the way of ‘Truth’ and ‘Justice’ and the ways of ‘Love’ and ‘Forgiveness’. God wants us to surrender to Him, obey His Commandments, acknowledge the fact that He is the Only Deity, Know His Beautiful Attributes and use them as a guidance for our own lives, seek Truth, while using our blessings (both physical and spiritual) in any way we can to help others along our journeys through good speech and acts of loving kindness, and persevere in worldly struggle for His Cause. It is important for us to know that Satan is our enemy so that we may recognise that he wants us to do the opposite of these things. Satan and his army will do anything they can to make us slip in any way possible and then convince us that it is too late to turn back to God.
Let us not allow Satan to cause us to slip from the ways of ascent to God’s Mercy and from His Kingdom, just like he caused our ancestors to fall.
We must be aware of the methods used by Satan and his followers so that we can avoid them with much avoidance. Satan knows that whatever it was that led to his downfall, is what will lead to our downfall if he can stir up those emotions and feelings within humans. God has allowed him to do this so that man is given the opportunity to confirm his or her belief in God through his or her speech and behaviour. Successful are those whose inner Truth tallies with their outward expression of it. This Life is like a test and a brief pastime..
Satan sees us from where we do not see him. He lies and sits in wait for us to step outside of our ‘protected space’ so that he may get closer to us and stir up desires within us in order to lead us astray. The closer we get to God, the darker the darkness that lies in wait for us outside of our protected space, and the hotter the flame.
So what can keep us in our protected space as much as possible? -It is the remembrance of God- as much as possible. Regular Prayer, fasting, charity, repentance, acts of loving kindness and selflessness/sacrifice/self purification- and being aware of the tactics used by satan so that we may recognise them and seek refuge in God when we do. The more we remember God, while lying, sitting, standing, working, and in every interaction we have with others- these acts become like a continuous ‘prayer’ which keep us in our protected space.
Satan tries to stir up ‘desire’ in man in order to ‘divide’ mankind and weaken the human army against each other so that they fall into sin and disobedience and ignorance and lead astray from the paths to God. I would like to share with you my understanding of what these ‘desires’ are:
Idolatry: This is the worship of anything that is false. A form of idolatry includes praying to something or someone other than God for help, and making them His ‘Partners’ in Creation and believing that they can save us from Hellfire. It includes associating others with God in worship and calling on others to intercede for us. When man falls into sin, satan tries to make us believe that God will not hear our call unto Him, that our prayers will not be answered and that He will not forgive us. He tries to tempt us into associating others with God, ‘as a way of getting closer to God through them.’ Satan tries to break up the pure connection that each human being can have with his or her Creator- the pure direct connection which God wants to have with each and every one of us.
Envy: Just like Satan was envious of man, he wants us to be envious of one another and others of God’s creation. Did Envy not play a part in Satan’s refusal to prostrate to Adam? And in Cain killing his brother Abel? Much of mankind cause corruption and mischief on the earth because of the result of mutual envy. Even after the knowledge has come to man, the wealth of knowledge itself for those who seek it can cause envy within the self. This is what has happened in religion and has led to the division of man into sects and groups- even often after knowledge has come to them. Satan knows that ‘knowing disobedience’ to God (which led to his own downfall) is worse in the eyes of God and less forgivable than disobedience as a result of ignorance. Therefore the more we ‘know’ the more he lies in wait for us, the bigger his army that surrounds us, the stronger his desire to try to make us ‘slip’ and ‘fall.’ The ignorant ones (who willingly choose ignorance) on the other hand naturally tend to incline to cause mischief due to lack of knowledge and wisdom- again falling into the hands of satan so that he can manipulate us with evil desires which lead astray into darkness.
Arrogance: Just like Satan thought himself to be better than Adam because he was made from fire and Adam from clay, Satan laughs when he sees that mankind is arrogant against God. He wants to make us feel as though we are ‘self-sufficient’ and therefore do not ‘need’ God, and he wants us to believe that we are ‘better’ than other people, and others of His Creation because of the blessings that we have been given over them. So how does satan get us to become ‘arrogant?’ -ultimately through ingratitude and ignorance and distraction from Truth with mere temporary play and amusement and mutual boasting.. The more ignorant and ungrateful man becomes, the less he realises that the blessings he has is because of God Himself- the Lord of Provision- and the more he assumes himself to be self-sufficient. When man thinks himself to be self-sufficient- he is more easily distracted by other worldly desires and opens the door for satan and his army even further in order to cover his vision hearing and understanding from the paths of God. Look how man is divided into religious sects and groups- each thinking that they are closer to God, and better than others? Each believes that they are right and others wrong. Each tries to exert this unto others and compel others to follow the path that they choose to follow. By Satan convincing us that the ‘book’ or ‘prophet’ or messenger given to one nation is better than others, we are prevented from seeking further knowledge and learning more about his methods that he uses. We are prevented from learning from our diversities and prevented from making peaceful relationships with our brothers and sisters in Faith and from ‘helping’ each other in seeking God’s pleasure.
Ignorance: Satan wants us to either not come to know of, or forget, or break (after knowingly knowing) the Commandments of God so that we may disobey Him just like he himself disobeyed God when he refused to prostrate to Adam. So how does Satan make us want to pursue a path of ignorance? One way is that he tells us that ‘ignorance’ is bliss. He makes us become aware of the fact that the more we know, the more responsibility we have and therefore the best way to avoid responsibility and ‘slip’ and ‘fall’ is to avoid seeking knowledge. Another method he uses is to convince us that knowledge is in fact hugely beneficial, and that knowledge alone will save us- he diverts our attention to the ‘details’ of knowledge- distracting us from the knowledge which will be most useful for us. Also by convincing us into concentrating on the details of religious practice he distracts us from the bigger picture- and causes us to lose our ‘balance’ in our lives by going to extremes in religion or anything else. The more time one spends ‘learning’ from books and meditating, the less time he has to concentrate on acts of loving kindness- which satan himself knows is something which is very pleasing to God. It is important to know that knowledge is not useful or pleasing to God without combining it with understanding or wisdom or acts of true love. Man must be careful not to be fooled into satan convincing us that knowledge itself makes us ‘better’ than someone else- because the facts is that in the eyes of God, the only thing which makes one person better than another is in ‘good deeds which are done purely with the intention to please and worship God.’ Satan uses ‘distraction’ by ‘worldy pleasures and wealth and children’ in order for us to spend less time in ‘reflection’ and contemplation so that we may learn and understand from our past mistakes and the world around us. He wants us not to travel and see the world that God has created- he uses ‘fear’ as a way of getting us to lead static lives. Life force is in constant movement. Anything static, whether up or down or in or out ultimately vanishes from existence. There must be a constant flow and balance and moderation in all that we do in order to remain in existence. If one is compelled to stop worshipping God in one direction (either physically or spiritually), he must look to worship Him in another direction in order to stay alive and for his soul to remain nourished by Life.
Ingratitude: Satan knows that the less grateful man is, the less we will understand that whatever good our hands put forth- is in fact from God Himself- because only God Himself is purely ‘Good.’ This way mankind attributes praise to himself rather than to God for the good that either comes his way or goes from him to others- this dents the soul and closes the gates to further growth and flow of Love. Praise to oneself others rather than to God, can lead to arrogance and distraction from the fact that None has the Right to be worshiped except God. This way satan tries to convince us that we ourselves are like ‘god’ and with this idea and belief man disconnects from his Source of eternal Life. Ingratitude also causes man to ‘forget’ God’s remembrance, stray from humility and weakens the strength of faith in our hearts so that during times of hardship we are not ‘prepared’ and end up in ‘despair’ and then are more likely to indulge in using the tools the short term distractions that satan uses by offering a false temporary relief from the pain that we feel and are not prepared for during these times of affliction and hardship.
Greed: The desire for worldly riches in preference to wisdom and understanding is a huge distraction for many. Greed can be not just for the physical, but for other blessings that others have that we may believe ourselves to be short of. Often greed and envy work together. Satan tries to convince us that worldly possession comes together with ‘power’ to do as one pleases in this worldy life- making us forget that all provision and honour and power belongs to God- and that He Alone possesses the keys to provision. Therefore man inclines to spending time ‘saving’ his possessions and ‘producing’ more and more beyond his own means and ‘collecting’ and ‘hiding’ it from others. He tries to threaten us with future poverty and therefore diverts us from trusting in the Almighty as Source of Provision and as Our One Protecting Friend. So man panicks, loses faith and spend his time working, working, working in order to save more and more, mountains, beyond his needs. This way man is distracted from spending that time doing the thing which pleases God most- acts of loving kindness – and in fact ‘sharing of one’s blessings with others.’ The less one ‘loves’ his fellow human beings, the less likely he is to want to share with others. Therefore ‘hatred’ is another desire that is used in order to distract us from Gods way.
Hatred: What makes one person ‘hate’ another? Is it the lack of ‘love’ or is it the desire for justice? Is it ok to hate that which displeases God and only love that which pleases Him? For who are we to love that which angers Him (Although He is slow to anger)? Does man not hate that his freedom be taken from him? Is freedom to Believe or not to Believe not a given right to all people from God? Did God not create us so that we can eat and drink as we please in the garden of Eden? How do we feel when another person or group of people try to take away our ‘freedom’ to express ourselves and be true to ourselves? Satan tries to get us to change the natural state that God created us in- the natural constitution of man, the state of natural purity and innocence that we are born into this world with. Satan invites us to sin and shame through ‘knowing disobedience’. He sparks up the desire of the want to ‘control’ another in order to ‘benefit’ from them as a way of making us feel ‘oppressed’ and this then allows a way in for satan to stir up feelings of ‘hatred’ against others. The feeling of hatred is very destructive to both ourselves and others. It itself traps us and prevents us from ‘surrendering’ to the Will of God and negatively affects our connection to Him. It makes us live in the ‘past’ and therefore reduces our ability and potential to serve God to our maximum potentials in the present moment. It destroys relationships and leads to war, revenge, breakup of families, ties of kinship, and causes division and loss. Satan tries to convince us that fighting fire with fire is better than fighting fire with water, and that ‘eye for an eye’ is better than forgiveness and pardoning of sins. Satan knows that when evil is repaid with good, and if hatred is repaid with love, and that if falsehood is repaid with Truth, that the former delusion is destroyed and annihilated by the latter which is in fact the only thing which really ‘exists’ in truth and eternity. Hatred leads to mockery and disrespect- which then leads to man breaking God’s commands.
Distraction and delusion: Satan and his army use whatever method they can in order to distract us from remembering God so that we are more likely to break His commandments. Some of his tools include gambling, and intoxicants, addictive substances, and so it is wise to avoid these as much as possible in order to become successful. The feeling of being ‘in love’ (a selfish desire to possess another- a bit like picking a flower rather than letting it ‘grow) can also be a huge distraction and lead people into idol worship by causing us to worship a person who we believe they are ‘in love’ with, instead of worshiping our Creator. Our properties and children are the worldly pleasures of this life that satan uses to distract from the remembrance of God, from our prayers, from going the extra mile and ‘migrating’ and ‘striving’ to please God. Satan tries to convince us that we should live our lives for our children- but in fact God wants us to put Him even before our love for our children- and he wants us to put God before the love of our parents- God wants us to raise our children in a way that they know that they should put God before their parents, and not just blindly follow the path of their fathers and fore-fathers without seeking Truth for themselves. Satan wants us to forget as much as possible that this world is but a delusion and only temporary. The more we forget this, the more likely we are not to take responsibility, turn to God, repent and mend our ways. He doesn’t want us to remember death, or darkness because the more we are reminding of death, and darkness the more we come to realise that good times don’t last, and that bad times don’t last, and that what really matters is God- The eternal, to Whom we belong and to Whom we return. In the same way he doesn’t want us to remember anything associated with ‘darkness’ because he knows that in fact darkness can be beneficial to man if used in the right way. It is in the night after sundown or just before dawn that souls are more inclined to remembering God. It is often through our darkest moments that man feels most humbled and inclined to turning to God. It is through our suffering and hardship that man has most potential to open his heart to the Lord of the Worlds and realise truth and repent and be saved. Satan doesn’t want us to do this- so he tends to approach us as much as possible in our darkest hour when we are alone, and the only way to keep away from the evil of the darkness when it approaches is to seek refuge in God. So Satan uses his tactics to distract us during times of ‘ease’ so that we become less prepared and grateful and humble and ‘able’ to turn to God during times of hardship. This is why it is so important to be grateful during all times, both of ease and hardship, and to keep our faith in Him as much as possible by being constant in prayer during both hours of light and darkness. The more we follow the paths of satan, the more our vision, hearing and hearts become hardened, clouded, the light obscured, and the more we enter into darkness upon darkness and further astray ( even if it is apparently daylight). The more we knowingly disobey, the easier it is for us to be deluded into believing that we are in fact rightly guided when we are not.
Deceit: Satan promises us delusion. He promises us, and after he has convinced us- in our moment of desperation when we need help- he flees. He lies, he uses deceit and deception. His followers also do this. It comes from the fact that he is untrustworthy and ‘false.’ He wants us to do the same in our relationships with one another. It is a good way of recognising who is our enemy and who is our ally. He whispers into our hearts that it is safer to be the one that hurts another than to get hurt yourself, and frightens us into hiding our vulnerabilities from one another by stinging before we are stung. Satan knows that trustworthiness and seeking Truth and pursuing this path takes commitment. Satan does not want us to stay committed to God, and wants us to diobey God, just like he disobeyed God. So he uses whatever way he can to convince us that God does not want what is best for us, and that in fact satan is our friend. Satan is not our friend. He does a very good job of convincing much of mankind however that he is. Just like he convinced man in the beginning to believe that what he was saying was truth. He does a very good job in this world of deceiving us into believing this- and this is why I wanted to share some of my thoughts with you so that we can become more aware of his methods and what to look out for. Satan tries to make enemies out of allies. In order to divide us. But for those of knowledge, who are not led by envy or greed or arrogance against the verses of God- they will recognise the signs. This is where it is very important to seek knowledge from God’s revelations. Those who follow God’s guidance and obey His commandments will be protected and blessed and satan and his followers will not cause them any fear or grievance.
Fear. Satan wants us to feel ‘fear’ so that we ‘fear’ him and his followers and others of mankind and jinn and His creation more than we ‘fear’ God Himself. God fear is very important. God wants us to ‘Fear’ Him alone, so that we are more likely to obey Him. He wants us to obey Him because He bears witness that none has the right to be worshipped except Him and that there is no Deity other than Him. Satan wants the opposite of this so that we may fall from the kingdom of God and be led by fear to the depths of Hell. Through fear of anything other than God, man puts up weapons and walls which further divide people. Let us remember that satan wants to ‘divide’ us whereas God wants us to unite in truth, and acts of loving kindness. The more we fear, the less likely we become to break through the difficult paths of ascent to God. Fear of poverty, fear of rejection, fear of betrayal, fear of failure, fear of losing the respect of others, fear of disapproval of man, fear of anything other than God. A way we can overcome our fear of anything other than God is by self-purification and love and remembering Him in all we do and remembering that He is All Mighty, All Powerful and sufficient as a Helper and Protector. When we love God with our hearts minds and souls and love others, that love is what gives us the courage to break through the difficult path that fear often prevents us from crossing.
Lust: Satan stirs up feelings of lust within our hearts by using his voice and perfume of the sweet flower which eventually whithers and dies- in order to distract and delude. He tries to convince us to seek god within other humans and others of His Creation by using the magic of ‘falling in love’ like a spell that feels like a medicine but is brief and temporary. Through lust he convinces us to deceive one another, in order to break the ties of kinship and tear families apart. It is a poison. A deadly poison- And those who are under the influence of intoxicants are more likely to fall into his trap.
Divining arrows, black magic, witchcraft- all are evil ways. No-one knows the future except God. God protects his servants if He wills from the evil of those who practice these things. Satan tries to make us fear the power of magic and witchcraft more than God, but those who remember Him often and seek help in patience and prayer have nothing to fear, for anything that He allows to happen to his servants, even though it may appear bad, will in fact be good for them.
Gossiping, backbiting, slandering: all cause division and enmity between us. These are methods used by Satan and His progeny to divide mankind and cause arguments, incite hatred and breakdown relationships. Let's avoid them in order to be successful.
The way to break through the difficult paths is through surrendering to God, obedience, acts of loving kindness and selflessness. Let us not allow Satan to distract us from any of that which God invites us to- or to convince us of his false non-existence. Let us not divide due to mutual enmity and envy and greed and disrespect- let none of us assume that he or she is better than another due to our various backgrounds, religions, languages, positions, levels of physical wealth and children, labels, sexes, outer appearances- let us take responsibility of our thoughts, speech and behaviour, free ourselves by the Will of God and His Mercy from fearing any other than Him and strive with our wealth and our lives to Please God, while inviting others to do the same so that we may purify ourselves and shun evil in order to succeed- together, as One entity in the Name of The Most Compassionate, The Most Merciful. Let us ponder, seek Truth, together. Let us strive to wanting the success of one another to be the success of our own. Let us not pass negative judgement on one another, but always strive to thinking the best of one another and pray for each other. For that truly is the only success that is everlasting.
I invite us all to join together and help one another to wage war against Satan- our common enemy- not by using physical weapons, but by extinguishing his smokeless flame with the water of life which gushes forth from the springs within our hearts when we love God and love one another, and flows into the rivers of paradise in Peace. The more we unite in Faith in God that is confirmed with our good speech and works, the bigger will be the protected space from which satan and the darkness which surround him is banished from. Even better- is that we all get to share this protected space together, in the original disposition that God wants for us. Let us establish regular prayer, and involve ourselves to the best of our abilities in true kind speech, acts of charity and kindness while seeking refuge in God from Satan and seeking Knowledge and Wisdom and Understanding. Let us devote all that we say and do to God as a sacrifice or offering in worship of Him- For He Alone has the right to be worshipped.
The above reflections are based upon my understanding from scripture including the Quran. May God increase us in Knowledge and Wisdom and Understanding and forgive us our sins.
May He guide us all, shower His Light and Mercy upon us, and remove the clouding from our senses and help us to overcome satan, the cursed one. Amen.
Peace and Blessings be with you and your families