The Secret Beyond Matter

Satan: The Sworn Enemy of Mankind


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Satan's Tactics

As a result of his war against mankind, to last until the Day of Judgment, Satan will drag myriads of people along with him into the fires of Hell. However, there is one group over which Satan cannot prevail: the believers. The reason being, that believers fear Allah, and are His representatives on Earth and are under His protection. Therefore, the temptations of Satan exercise no effect upon them. This fact, as admitted even by Satan himself, is revealed as follows in the Qur'an:

He [Satan] said, "My Lord, because You misled me, I will make things on the Earth seem good to them and I will mislead them all, every one of them, except Your servants among them who are sincere." (Surat al-Hijr, 39-40)

As can be discerned from this verse, Satan's power is impotent to sway the believers. However, none can regard himself "predestined" for Paradise. In order to protect his faith—for, as outlined in the 28th verse of Surat al-Ma`arij, "no one is safe from the punishment of his Lord"—a believer must continually "hold fast to the rope of Allah" (Surah Al `Imran, 103). Because Satan "will lie in ambush for them on their straight path" (Surat al-A`raf, 16) and "cause them to slip" (Surah Al `Imran, 155), the believer must be always on his guard against his tricks and ploys. Otherwise, he risks falling into his snares, though unaware of it, with the eventuality of falling astray from the true religion. Let us now examine, item by item, the tactics employed by Satan in order to cause people to be destined for Hell.

He Foments Doubt

The struggle the believers wage against their greatest of foes is to endure a lifetime. Throughout this war, Satan employs cunning ruses. He never reveals his true aim. He does not come forward declaring straight out, "I am Satan and I want you to burn in Hell." Instead, he subtly conceals his presence, whispering stealthily into people's hearts (Surat an-Nas, 4-5). One who fails to be cognizant of Satan imagines that the temptations issuing from him are merely the products of his own mind. Though, Satan also brings that person to believe those false ideas to be true. In this manner, Satan brings a great many under his complete control without their knowing.

The faithful, however, by way of the Qur'an, are able to neutralize this enemy, who has the ability to whisper into their inner-selves. Essentially, the believer possesses a light with which to identify whether this voice be from his heart or from Satan. After perceiving that approach of Satan, he follows what has been commanded in the Qur'an, by seeking shelter in Allah. As we are told in the Qur'an, the temptations of Satan exercise no effect upon a believer when he remembers Allah. Allah reveals this important secret as follows:

If an evil impulse from Satan provokes you, seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who guard against evil, when they are bothered by visitors from Satan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Surat al-A`raf, 200-201)

Because this world is a stage of trial, one may encounter a great number of varying situations and circumstances. No matter what the conditions may be though, Satan is always waiting in ambush. The slightest weakness shown on the part of a believer is an opportunity for Satan. And, Satan exploits every opportunity. If a believer harbors thoughts he considers disturbing, or is bothered by the situation he finds himself in,—such perceptions usually representing the warnings of his conscience—he must desist immediately and reconsider his predicament. The simplest way to do so is for him or her to try to analyze the situation objectively. In this manner, he may assess it according the following criteria:

  • Is what he is thinking at that moment compatible with the teachings of the Qur'an?
  • Is he being lax in remembering Allah?
  • Is he being too flexible when it comes to keeping within the bounds of the Qur'an and observing its stipulations?
  • Do his plans have any other aim than Allah's good pleasure?
  • Are his personal interests at that moment more important than those of other believers?
  • Does he have any doubts or concerns regarding himself or another believer?
  • Is he failing to put his trust in Allah due to some perceived injustice?
  • Does he wish his personal sacrifice to be recognized by others?
  • Is he merely offering up excuses so as not to give up something dear to him?
  • Does he have an inordinate passion for anything of this world? 
  • Does he fear for the future?
  • Is he unable to bear a warning pronounced to him in the light of the Qur'an?
  • Has he developed a love for or bond with an enemy of Allah?
  • Has he put off reading the Qur'an, praying or performing good deeds for some invalid excuse?

If the problem he faces derives from any such or similar conditions, then he is being assailed by Satan. All of such thoughts, which he otherwise believes to issue from his own self, are actually words whispered into his heart by Satan.

Satan, though, employs different tactics when dealing with different people. Against one who lives in a manner far removed from the teachings of the Qur'an, for instance, he will employ tactics designed to entrench that person further into that particular lifestyle. He will tempt such people to become immersed in the life of this world, distract them with its temporal adornments, and, thus, keep them from the truth of the religion.

When it comes to one who has only newly entered into the religion, he will try to divert him away from it, by causing him to become concerned with shallow and baseless worries, such as being excluded from those around him, the supposed restrictiveness of religion, and being unable to maintain the demands of the religion having once embarked upon it.

Satan is also active against the believers. For example, a believer, who may become angry with another believer, or who finds some trivial excuse to not read the Qur'an, though it had occurred to him he ought to, does so because of the evil influence of Satan. However, Satan is not so overt as to whisper things such as, "do not read the Qur'an," or simply, "do not remember Allah," to the believer. This he knows to be ineffective. Instead, he aims to distract the person through involved and meaningless tasks. If the person falls under the influence of such suggestions being whispered to him, forgets the Hereafter and becomes consumed with the life of this world, then he will, inevitably, by way of such lack of conscientiousness, turn away from that commanded by Allah in the Qur'an. The only way to avoid falling into this trap is to identify the whisperings of Satan in time, and to then seek refuge in Allah.

An accurate recognition of these insinuations can be made if one is well aware of Satan's characteristics, tactics and snares. The only source in which to seek guidance in these matters is the Qur'an. In the pages that follow, we shall examine the methods of deception Satan employs to lead people away from the path of Allah, as they are outlined in the verses of the Qur'an.

He Causes People to Deify Others Besides Allah

This matter is described in the Qur'an as ascribing divinity to anything besides Allah. They imagine that the words "Associating partners with Allah and ascribing divinity to something other than Allah" refer to regarding anything else other than Allah, the Creator, as possessing the ability to create, worshipping idols or adhering to the polytheism of the past. Members of societies where ignorance of religion prevails, being limited by such a perception, are therefore faulted with an erroneous view of reality, a logic contrary to the Qur'an, according to which they excuse themselves by saying, "I believe in Allah, I do nobody any harm, I am useful to other people, I do not think that I will go to Hell." The fact is, however, that regarding anything other than Allah as a protective force, fearing anything other than He, and feeling a particular love for anything other than Allah, is tantamount of associating equals and partners as divine besides Him.

Adopting guidance other than that of Allah is one of the most common forms of deifying others besides Him. By accepting and following guidance from others than Allah, present-day societies, which are mired in ignorance, are reviving the idol-worship of by-gone centuries. Polytheistic religions have been replaced by atheistic ideologies, and the idols once worshiped have been replaced by statues of the founders of these ideologies. In this way, myriads of people, irrespective of race or nationality, have been prevented from living truly according to the religion of Allah.

Satan, of course, is the worst instigator of this perversion. Because, every step by which a person strays further from Allah represents an advance in which Satan has secured his victory over man. For that reason, Satan dulls the minds of those who ascribe equals to Allah. Ascribing divinity to others besides Allah, an error that comes to pervade the whole of their lives, prevents such people from reasoning properly. They conduct themselves not in the manner commanded by Allah, that is, according to the guidance of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saas), but by the temptations of Satan.

A life lived deifying others besides Allah is so cunning a snare by Satan that those caught in it are unable even to realize the situation they foundered in. Most regard themselves as being on the true path, or, still, as more worthy of Paradise than others. The suffering to be endured by those who deceived themselves, being unaware that they had been deifying others besides Allah, when they learn on the Day of Judgment that they had actually been among the unbelievers is described in verses of the Qur'an as follows:

On the Day We gather them all together, We will say to those who associated others with Allah, "Where are the partner-gods, for whom you made such claims?" Then they will have no recourse except to say, "By Allah, our Lord, We were not idolaters." See how they lie against themselves and how what they invented has forsaken them! (Surat al-An`am, 22-24)

One of the factors that lead to falsely ascribing equals to Allah is the misdirection of love, a sentiment which mankind has possessed since its creation. This emotion, which is a means to draw closer to Allah, becomes an evil passion in societies where ignorance is prevalent, turning people instead away from Allah. Believers direct the love within themselves towards Allah. This form of love is superior to all others. They love other people and things as recognition of their love for Allah. According to the Qur'an, it is impossible for them to feel such love for a human being, or, for instance, one who rebels against or denies Allah. Believers love for the good pleasure of Allah, and love those who act according to His will, disliking those who do not. As a result of their love of human beings representing their love for Allah, it is profound and enduring. In contrast, the so-called love of the idolaters is superficial and fleeting. For idolaters, love is expressed for the numerous false-deities they idolize. Though, they claim to love Allah. And yet, that love is merely verbal. Rather, they devote their energies towards these idols on which they expend their misdirected love. They love, for example, their fathers, sons, spouses, money, position and rank, far more than they do Allah. The love felt by the unbelievers is discussed in the following verse:

Some people set up equals to Allah, loving them as they should love Allah. But those who believe have greater love for Allah. ... (Surat al-Baqara, 165)

Another of the more common manifestations of the idolization of others besides Allah, so prevalent in those societies ignorant of the true religion, is inordinate love of women. If the love felt for a woman surpasses that felt for Allah, then that passion is tantamount of deifying another besides Him. More correctly, love felt for another human is only justified if he or she reflects divine qualities. Since there is no limit of the love that can be felt for the divine, that is, Allah, that love, by one who loves for the sake of Allah, is powerful and lasting.

Allah has revealed that this passion for womankind is another among Satan's snares:

What they call on apart from Him are female idols. What they call on is an arrogant Satan. (Surat an-Nisa´, 117)

Ascribing partners to Allah is a grave sin, and severe ingratitude towards Him. That is why Allah has revealed that, although He forgives all sins, only He will never forgive deifying others besides Him:

Allah does not forgive anything being associated with Him but He forgives whoever He wills for anything other than that. Anyone who associates something with Allah has committed a terrible crime. (Surat an-Nisa´, 48)

Deifying equals to Allah is so subtle a threat that it can even menace those who spend their lives in careful worship to Him. Because, good deeds are nullified for ascribing equals to Allah. For that reason, Satan prepares traps of various kinds to cause believers who have dedicated their lives to Allah to attribute equals to Him. At times he may use women, at others money, or other means. For example, following a victory, Satan will lure the person by suggesting to him, "this was your achievement." In this way, Satan seeks to make the person believe that he somehow possesses power independent from Allah.

Believers must be on their guard against any incitement that will ultimately make all their efforts nil. It is for this reason that a very clear warning has been announced to believers in the Qur'an:

It has been revealed to you and those before you: "If you associate others with Allah, your actions will come to nothing and you will be among the losers." No! Worship Allah and be among the thankful. (Surat az-Zumar, 65-66)


He Hinders Gratitude

Before Satan was expelled from the presence of Allah, he made himself an important promise, one which reveals one of the most insidious tactics employed by Satan against man:

[Satan said,] "Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful." (Surat al-A`raf, 17)

Satan wishes to prevent people from being grateful to Allah. The reason for this is that gratitude is one of the matters most emphasized in the Qur'an. Around 60 verses refer to the importance of gratitude. One of Satan's primary aims is therefore to cause people to neglect this virtue, the importance of which is so repeatedly mentioned by Allah.

In order to render thanks one must first recognize the importance of gratitude itself. One who thanks Allah knows that He is the sole Lord over that which he enjoys, and that it was He Who had bestowed them upon him. He also knows his powerlessness before Allah. The level of awareness of one who ignores the greatness and majesty of Allah, refusing to accept these realities in his heart, will be limited accordingly. The societies foundering in ignorance, which Satan seeks to further corrupt, are far from the recognition of the virtue of being grateful. They only consider gratitude after they have suffered a disaster, but soon forget once the situation has been rectified. They then return to their lives of impiety. In the Qur'an, the example is given of those who pray during some tragedy, but who return to deifying idols once their difficulties have passed:

Say: "Who rescues you from the darkness of the land and sea? You call on Him humbly and secretly: 'If you rescue us from this, we will truly be among the thankful.'" Say: "Allah rescues you from it, and from every plight. Then you associate others with Him." (Surat al-An`am, 63-64)

The fact is, however, that rendering thanks to Allah is one of the human being's most important responsibilities. Because, everyone's life is replete with countless blessings for which thanks ought to be given. So extensive are these blessings, in fact, as is revealed in the 18th verse of Surat an-Nahl, that any attempt to number them would be futile. In fact, one can give thanks for all one receives. For instance, one who, like the Prophet Ibrahim (as), knows that it is Allah Who provides for him what he eats and drinks (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 79), knows whenever he eats or drinks that it is to Allah that he must give thanks. Giving thanks must not, however, be restricted to what one receives for eating and drinking. All through the day one benefits from numberless blessings, which he may not always be cognizant of or remember to give thanks for, and the value of which he only realizes when he they are no longer available to him. The blessings of "seeing" and "hearing," frequently mentioned in the Qur'an, and described as means of giving thanks, are examples of these. Sight and hearing are not faculties that came about by chance. Allah's creation of people's eyes and ears was intended as a means for them to give thanks to Him, and in order that they may serve Him, as outlined in the following verse:

Allah brought you out of your mothers' wombs knowing nothing at all, and gave you hearing, sight and hearts so that perhaps you would show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl, 78)

Similarly, ships and other forms of transport, even the wind, and the seas, which make up three-quarters of the Earth's surface, are also means for people by which to give thanks. Allah reveals this truth as follows:

It is He Who made the sea subservient to you so that you can eat fresh flesh from it and bring out from it ornaments to wear. And you see the ships cleaving through it so that you can seek His bounty, and so that hopefully you will show thanks. (Surat an-Nahl, 14)

Among His Signs is that He sends the winds bearing good news, to give you a taste of His mercy, and to make the ships run by His command, and to enable you to seek His bounty so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat ar-Rum, 46)

It is Allah Who has made the sea subservient to you so that the ships sail on it at His command, enabling you to seek His bounty, so that hopefully you will be thankful. (Surat al-Jathiya, 12)

A believer's gratitude towards Allah, for the blessings conferred upon him, is a sign showing he is worthy of such blessings. In this way, not only is the blessing appreciated by the believer, but he opens opportunities for him to receive further blessings. In revealing that He will increase the blessings of those of His servants who give Him thanks, Allah threatens the ungrateful, conversely, with suffering:

[Musa said to his people,] "And when your Lord announced: 'If you are grateful, I will certainly give you increase, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe.'" (Surah Ibrahim, 7)

The way the Prophet Sulayman (as), a man endowed with the rank of prophethood, had asked Allah to inspire him to give thanks (Surat an-Naml, 19), serves as an example for all believers. Because, Satan ambushes people from in front, back, and from the right and the left, and seeks to prevent them giving thanks to Allah, by such means as deceptive as inspiring in them to take things for granted or preventing them from recognizing the value of the blessings conferred on them.


He Inspires Fear

Believers' nearness to Allah is like a spiritual shield against Satan. Surrender to Allah, calling on Him by His beautiful names, knowing that everything in the world is under His control, and turning wholeheartedly towards Him, instills believers with spiritual fortitude. Satan tries, by all means, and at all times, to destruct that spiritual strength. One such method is to inspire "fear" other than the fear of Allah.

There is a specific reason why Satan employs this weapon. Fear can limit the expansion of one's awareness, the weakening of conviction in Allah, and the interruption of one's submission to Him. Such a condition is impossible for a true believer. Satan can only influence those who are weak of conscience, who are heedless, and whose minds are for the time being, or totally, shut off from reality. A verse of the Qur'an recalls that Allah is the only power that ought to be feared:

That was only Satan who intimidated his adherents. But do not fear them—fear Me if you are believers. (Surah Al `Imran, 175)

For the believers, the world is a temporary place, the experience through which is governed according to a specific destiny. That only which they must fear is Allah, the Sole Commander of fate and of this world. Those who are not believers, however, assume that the world is an uncontrolled, a haphazard series of events and convergence of people. Satan easily inspires fear into these hearts. For them, everything they encounter is indecipherable, and all outcomes unclear. They adore many idols, instead of Allah, out of their fear of death, of poverty, or of the future.

Satan's inciting "fear" affects those who live amongst the believers, but who are sick at heart. This fear, which completely consumes them whenever they are confronted with some difficulty on the path of Allah, develops in them a lack of conscientiousness. For example, the mental condition of a people taken with fear, during a battle, is described in the Qur'an:

Those who believe say, "If only a sura could be sent down." But when a straightforward sura is sent down and fighting is mentioned in it, you see those with sickness in their hearts looking at you with the look of someone about to faint from fear of death... (Surah Muhammad, 20)

One who has submitted to Allah surrenders to his destiny and fully entrusting himself to Him. He is completely free of fear, and by the awe in him inspired by submission to Allah, he fears no other power but Him.

What must not be forgotten here, however, is that the courage of the believers is different from the unconscious and irrational courage of unbelievers. This disposition is one which derives from complete trust in the reality of fate, and the confidence which comes from submission to Allah. It cannot be imitated by those who do not truly believe. There are several examples in the Qur'an of this courage of the believers.

For instance, when the Prophet Musa (as), and those who followed him, were trapped between Pharaoh's army and the sea, those among them of weak faith were taken with the fear that they were doomed. However, the Prophet Musa (as) advised them "Never! My Lord is with me…" (Surat ash-Shu`ara´, 62), thus expressing his submission to and faith in Allah. The sorcerers who were threatened by Pharaoh with having their arms and legs cut off, because they believed in Allah, exhibited the same fearlessness. The Prophet Ibrahim (as),who was thrown into the fire, felt no fear either. The faith and submission of the believers, referred to in Surat al-Ahzab, increased when they encountered the enemy forces. The reason for this is that Satan's incitement of fear is ineffective against a person who has submitted to Allah. As Allah has revealed in the Qur'an, "He [Satan] has no authority over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord." (Surat an-Nahl, 99)

He Seeks to Damage Relations between Believers

In the Qur'an, believers are commanded to support and help one another, in a spirit of unity, and to watch over one each other. The requisite unison to be fostered among believers is revealed in the following verse:

Allah loves those who fight in His Cause in ranks like well-built walls. (Surat as-Saff, 4)

Thus, Satan seeks to cause believers to ignore this important stipulation, to impede their unity. In this regard, he expends his greatest efforts towards adversely affecting the speech of the believers. By encouraging such disdainful behavior, belonging more properly to members of the societies of the ignorant*, such as speaking harsh words, and making barbed and veiled comments, he seeks to divide the believers. A person of faith may be confronted with this danger at any time, if he drops his guard against Satan. For that reason, believers are warned of this menace in the Qur'an, and are commanded to say what is best to one another, as well as being reminded that Satan is their enemy:

Say to My servants that they should only say that which is best. Satan wants to stir conflict among them. Satan is an outright enemy to man. (Surat al-Isra´, 53)

Satan wants to stir enmity and hatred among you by means of wine and gambling, and to debar you from remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then give them up? (Surat al-Ma´ida, 91)

He Makes People Believe He Is Sincere Counsel to Them

Satan wishes to wreak destruction continuously upon man, whom he considers his principal enemy, while never disclosing his enmity towards him. On the contrary, he approaches him in the guise of a helper, who wishes to offer advice. After having made a person believe his intentions are good, he then brings him under his control. And, recognizing a person's weaknesses, he presents temptations to exploit those vulnerabilities. That same cunning led the Prophet Adam (as) to commit the mistake that caused him to be expelled from Paradise. Satan approached the Prophet Adam (as) and his wife in the guise of a friend, and swore to them that he was offering them sound advice:

Then Satan whispered to them, disclosing to them their private parts that had been concealed from them. He said, "Your Lord has only forbidden you this tree lest you become angels or among those who live for ever." He swore to them, "I am one of those who give you good advice." (Araf Suresi, 20-21)

Satan brought about the expulsion of the Prophet Adam (as) and his wife from Paradise by deception. The Prophet Adam (as) was able only to return to the true path by repentance, and seeking forgiveness from Allah.

The way the Prophet Adam (as), who had been warned by Allah that Satan was his enemy, but was nevertheless deceived by Satan, demonstrates to what extent Satan is deceptive and cunning.That suggested to the Prophet Adam (as) by Iblis, chief among all the satans, that he was one giving sincere advice, is repeated to others by the other deceptive satans. Pharaoh, who had told his own people "I only show you what I see myself and I only guide you to the path of rectitude." (Surah Ghafir, 29) in an attempt to prevent them from following the path of Allah, is one such example.

Similar insinuations can be encountered frequently in societies of the present-day that have veered from the true faith. The suggestion made to one who wishes to live according to the religion, such as, "you are still young, enjoy life, you can perform your religious observances when you are older," is one such example. And, the one offering such a suggestion maintains that he is doing so for the person's own good. The fact is, though, that the road he is calling him to is the one that leads to Hell. In order to follow through with his strategy of "giving good advice," Satan will employ others already under his control. The Qur'an refers, for example, to those who are marked out by Satan, who, after having turned to faith, strayed from the true path, due to the negative influence of Satan.

The verse in which this tactic is mentioned is as follows:

Say: "Are we to call on something besides Allah which can neither help nor harm us, and to turn on our heels after Allah has guided us, like someone the satans have lured away in the Earth, leaving him confused and stupefied, despite the fact that he has companions calling him to guidance, saying, 'Come with us!'?" Say: "Allah's guidance, that is true guidance. We are commanded to submit as Muslims to the Lord of all the worlds." (Surat al-An`am, 71)

All must take extreme caution with regard to this foe. But, only he who has wholly submitted himself to Allah, and frequently praises His name, is aware to do so. Such a person will easily identify Satan as the source of perverse suggestions, to then suppress them. One not so disposed, however, will imagine these to be from himself, and be influenced by them.

He Leads People Astray from the True Path by Employing the Name of Allah

One of the most cunning and deceptive tactics exploited by Satan is for him to approach people while making reference to Allah. In this way, he seeks to encourage, under the pretence of being in the name of Allah and His religion, acts actually disapproved by Allah. These acts he wishes to be conducted under the guise of religious observance. One taken in by such a ruse uses the blessings given to him by Allah to fight in His cause only to satisfy his own personal desires.  

For example, when such a person finds himself somewhere where there are a lot of unbelievers, and where there is plenty in the way of material benefits, though he attempts to fulfill his obligation of relating the morality of the true religion, he interprets the manner in which he ought to do so according to his own desires. While it may be perfectly legitimate at times to enjoy certain material blessings, his manner of doing so is improper. In his case, an action he had initiated for the benefit of Islam, deviates from its original aim, and instead it is these material blessings that become the objects of his desires. He may appear outwardly to be acting within the bounds set by Allah, but in his heart is a desire to satisfy his base passions, not pleasing Allah. In this case, not only will he receive no reward for his deeds, but his faith will weaken (Allah knows best). In our example, Satan has approached the person by making reference to Allah, and caused him to lose the Hereafter by tempting him instead with the deceptive allurements of this world:

Mankind! Allah's promise is true. Do not let the life of this world delude you and do not let the Deluder delude you about Allah. Satan is your enemy so treat him as an enemy. He summons his party so they will be among the people of the Searing Blaze. (Surah Fatir, 5-6)

Such people, whose faith is weakened by their seeking after the mundane and transient pleasures of this world, and who, in addition, hide behind the name of Allah, that they may disguise their deviant intentions, fall into the category of hypocrites, as mentioned in the Qur'an:

They [hypocrites] will call out to them [believers], "Were we not with you?" They will reply, "Indeed you were. But you made trouble for yourselves and lagged behind the others and doubted; false hopes deluded you until Allah's command arrived. The Deluder deluded you about Allah." (Surat al-Hadid, 14)

This tactic is both subtle and very deceptive. Because, on this occasion Satan has prepared a snare by laying himself directly across the person's straight path (Surat al-A`raf, 16). However, people who fear Allah as required will not fall into Satan's trap. Allah gives people who fear Him the clarity of understanding to allow them to reach the true path and to distinguish between good and evil:

You who believe! If you fear Allah, He will impart you with the faculty of discernment, and erase your bad actions from you and forgive you. Allah's favor is indeed immense. (Surat al-Anfal, 29)

Another method by which Satan deceives people, by employing the name of Allah, is to encourage them to sin while referring to Allah's capacity to forgive. Of course, Allah is great in compassion, and will forgive the sins of any of His servants who repent sincerely. However, if one excuses himself by saying, "anyway, Allah will forgive me," only then to commit a sin, he is headed on a most perilous path. Due to this rationalization, his heart may harden, and he may become insensitive, and ultimately lose his fear of Allah. Referring to those who sin knowingly, saying, "We will soon be forgiven," (Surat al-A`raf, 169) the Qur'an reveals an example of Satan deception by way of the name of Allah.

He Seeks to Demoralize the Believers

Satan hopes that, in time, the believer will weaken, waiting patiently for him to drop his guard. Minor concessions, which gradually lead the person away from higher spirituality, soon results in a shell developing around his heart, his reason to become clouded, thus allowing him to be further enticed by other temptations and doubts inspired by Satan. In a verse of the Qur'an, a group of believers, whom Satan had sought to lead astray, because of some blame they had earned, are referred to as follows:

Those of you who turned their backs on the day the two armies clashed—it was Satan who made them slip for what they had done. ... (Surah Al `Imran, 155)

He Makes False Promises

Satan resorts to another tactic which is common to all frauds. He makes false promises. Unbelievers are often duped by these promises. However, they are but a ruse, and one which can cause a person to lose the Hereafter. Common to these promises is that they make reference to that which is transient in this life. At times, Satan promises amusement, sex, prosperity, or prestige. He whispers to people "specious words" (Surat al-An`am, 112). Whatever the object, however, the fate of those who are deceived by Satan is always the same: Hell, an eternal torment. This truth is revealed in the Qur'an as follows:

He [Satan] makes promises to them and fills them with false hopes. But what Satan promises them is nothing but delusion. (Surat an-Nisa´, 120)

When the affair is decided Satan will say, "Allah made you a promise, a promise of truth, and I made you a promise but broke my promise. ... (Surah Ibrahim, 22)

A believer, who seeks to gain the pleasure, love, mercy and Paradise of Allah, will not, of course, be deluded by any promise with regards to the transient things of this world. Because, no degree of repute he may attain in this world, property he may acquire, or any blessing he might enjoy, are to him of any true importance. These, he knows, will exist but only for a brief time, and no longer be of any significance beyond his death.

He Inspires People to Harbor False Hopes and Unfounded Concerns

Another method employed by Satan is to inspire people with unsound concerns. He over exaggerates for them the significance of unimportant events. Those who suffer from a sickness in their hearts, and are weak in character, are easily influenced by these insinuations. They regard every adverse outcome as part of a plot designed against them. (Surat al-Munafiqun, 4) They will go as far as to imagine that they were deceived even by the messenger. They are habitually restless, anxious and indecisive. They are consumed with concerns that would never even occur to a conscientious person:

[Satan said,] "I will lead them astray and fill them with false hopes. ... (Surat an-Nisa´, 119)

He [Satan] makes promises to them and fills them with false hopes. But what Satan promises them is delusion. (Surat an-Nisa´, 120)

Since a believer is Satan's greatest enemy, he cannot consider himself immune from him as a danger. Because, the slightest concession he may make will create an opportunity for Satan to make an attack, by way of such tactics as fomenting doubts. However, a believer who has absolute faith in the Hereafter, who turns wholeheartedly to Allah, will remain uninfected by such false concerns.

He Portrays Deviance As Attractive

For those people who have succumbed to his influence, Satan creates the impression that the perversion in which they engage is acceptable behavior. Such people thus become entrenched even further into their perversity:

... Satan has made their actions seem good to them and debarred them from the Way so they are not guided. (Surat an-Naml, 24)

... However, their hearts were hard and Satan made what they were doing seem attractive to them. (Surat al-An`am, 43)

Those whose hearts have grown hard lose the ability to distinguish between good and evil, Satan having portrayed to them their evil as being proper. Those who fall under Satan's influence, on account of this hardening of their hearts, become obstinately devoted to their perversions, which they have falsely deemed wholesome. This type of devotion can at times be discerned among adherents of false religions, which have become corrupted over time, referred to as "the religion of the forefathers" in the Qur'an, and among hypocrites and unbelievers, who rebelled against the messengers of Allah and fought against them. Satan's influence over these people is described in a verse of the Qur'an as follows:

When Satan made their actions appear good to them, saying, "No one will overcome you today for I am at your side."... (Surat al-Anfal, 48)

He Instigates Fear of Poverty

Satan offers the life of this world at the expense of that of the Hereafter. For that reason, those who fall under his influence strive for that which is of this world, as if they were never to die, failing to make an effort to attain the Hereafter. Satan has been exploiting this same trap for thousands of years. Up to the present day, billions have worked so hard, acquired property and wealth, only to die in the end, leaving all they strove for behind them. Those now living have learned nothing from the example of those who came before them, who ignorantly stored up goods and wealth as if they would never die.

Satan also seeks to corrupt believers by portraying to them the life of this world as something of greater value than it is and as being enduring. In non-believers, and those weak in faith, he instills fear of poverty. He inspires in them miserliness, thus wallowing in a shallow existence. Satan's endeavors are described as follows in one verse of the Qur'an:

Satan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara, 268)

Setting for humanity traps by inspiring in them the desire for wealth and property, is a very ancient method of Satan. In fact, as revealed in a verse of the Qur'an, Satan told the Prophet Adam (as) the lie that, "shall I show you the way to the Tree of Everlasting Life and to an imperishable kingdom?" (Surah Ta Ha, 120), promising him material property. For that reason, Allah issued several warnings to the believers, against the inordinate love of material wealth. This is revealed as follows in a verse of the Qur'an:

Here you are then: people who are called upon to spend in the Way of Allah and then some of you are tight-fisted! But whoever is tight-fisted is only tight-fisted to himself. Allah is Rich and you are poor. If you turn away, He will replace you with a people other than yourselves and they will not be like you. (Surah Muhammad, 38)

Whoever he or she may be, whether a rich businessman or a beggar, every penny a person fails to spend in a manner compatible with Allah's good pleasure has, though he be unaware of it, one with whom he shares the ownership of his property. Allah has made Satan the co-owner of the property of the unbelievers. This shared-ownership is referred to in the Qur'an in the following way:

"Stir up any of them you can with your voice and rally against them your cavalry and your infantry, and share with them in their children and their wealth, and make them promises! The promise of Satan is nothing but delusion." (Surat al-Isra´, 64)

He Fosters Pride

Pride is Satan's primary vice. It was for his pride and disobedience that he was expelled from the presence of Allah:

Except for Iblis who was arrogant and was one of the unbelievers. He said, "Iblis, what prevented you prostrating to what I created with My own Hands? Were you overcome by arrogance or are you one of the exalted?" (Surah Sad, 74-75)

This ailment in Satan also poses a serious threat to human beings. Because, Satan's primary purpose is to infect this same ailment on others, to render them the more like him. For anyone who contracts this sickness, his reason will become clouded, and his conscience thwarted. It is on account of this menace that believers are warned in the Qur'an to remain humble:

Do not strut arrogantly about the Earth. You will certainly never split the Earth apart nor will you ever rival the mountains in height. (Surat al-Isra´, 37)

Do not avert your face from people out of haughtiness, and do not strut about arrogantly on the Earth. Allah does not love anyone who is vain or boastful. [Luqman said to his son,] "Be moderate in your tread and lower your voice. The most hateful of voices is the donkey's bray." (Surah Luqman, 18-19)

The believer must expend the greatest care to avoid pride, Satan's ultimate vice. Otherwise, he will lose the reward for his deeds, and incur a grave affliction on his faith.

Satan's influence can take many forms. For example, one may have performed extraordinary service for the sake of Islam. This service is a blessing granted him by Allah, for it is He Who makes it possible. Since one cannot act outside the control of Allah, there is no question of who should be praised for this service. Accordingly, a sincere believer devotes his service to Allah, not expecting anything in return, except His good pleasure. The Qur'an severely threatens those who expect praise for the service they render. In one verse it is revealed that:

Those who exult in what they have done and love to be praised for what they have not done should not suppose that they have escaped the punishment. They will have a painful punishment. (Surah Al `Imran, 188)

Indeed, Allah inflicted severe punishment on Qarun, a man who had regarded his wealth as a product of some personal quality, saying, "I have only been given it because of knowledge I have." (Surat al-Qasas, 78)

Satan also seeks to disrupt the peace that exists between believers by inciting in them pride. Because, pride in believers is a vice, and one fraught with such a failing makes other believers exceedingly uncomfortable.

It must also be kept in mind that Satan ambushes people very cunningly, and without making his influence known. Satan is in no hurry. He inspires people to regard themselves superior to others, but can effect this idea slowly, and over time. Unless one is on his or her guard against this form of deception, its influence gathers strength. For instance, Satan will inevitably seize the opportunity to make such a suggestion following some minor success. If a person fails to recognize in his heart that this success was achieved by him, solely according to the will of Allah, then he will be deluded by the suggestions made by Satan effecting in him pride.

Satan will also employ other tactics to this end. For instance, when a believer commits a mistake, then, the task of other believers is to reproach the believer in question sympathetically, not forgetting that the offender is merely a powerless servant like themselves, because Satan will encourage feelings of anger or contempt towards him. Anyone who despises a believer for having committed an error, or for any other reason, is beginning to fall under the influence of Satan's desire to make him think himself superior.

If that errant perception persists, the person will eventually become arrogant, while any feelings of affection and compassion towards other believers will diminish. The end result is one who is unto himself, refuses to accept others' advice before acting, and who regards himself as superior in intelligence to other believers. Then, the insinuations that he ought to regard himself as superior increase, further confirming for him his false sense of superiority. Severe detriment can be caused to the faith of one who succumbs to such a state of mind. At some later time, as revealed in the Qur'an, his heart will shut itself off to the signs of Allah:

The people who truly do believe in Our Signs are those who fall to the ground prostrating when they are reminded of them, and glorify their Lord with praise, and are not arrogant. (Surat as-Sajda, 15)

As we should learn from this verse, only those who are humble can acknowledge the signs of Allah. It is impossible for one who is arrogant, presuming himself superior to others, to grasp the significance of these signs.

He Encourages Religious Observance Merely for Show

One of the most subtle vices in this world is people's desire for recognition from others. The manner of seeking recognition usually depends on the circumstances of the person. Where money is valued, then it is wealth that will be boasted of; where prestige is esteemed, then social status will be most prized. Satan seeks to exploit this desire when believers set out to fulfill their religious obligations. For those without true faith in their hearts, religious duties are things performed, not to gain the good pleasure of Allah, but to acquire prestige in the religious community. Such people are referred to in the Qur'an in the following terms:

So woe to those who perform prayer, and are forgetful of their prayer, those who show off. (Surat al-Ma`un, 4-6)

A very important religious observance that Satan will divert from its true intent, and misuse as a means of showing off is "giving," the spending of one's wealth in the cause of Allah. Those who look for acclaim from others, rather than the good pleasure of Allah in fulfilling this obligation, have instead become the friends of Satan:

And [We have prepared a humiliating punishment] also for those who spend their wealth to show off to people, not believing in Allah and the Last Day. Anyone who has made Satan his comrade, what an evil comrade he is! (Surat an-Nisa´, 38)

Giving in the cause of Allah is one of the most important opportunities by which a believer may purify himself and seek to attain the Hereafter. If showing off, one of Satan's more vile habits, is confused with such an important observance, then this purification fails to develop, and a major opportunity to attain the Hereafter is wasted. For that reason, a believer must be on his guard against Satan as he spends in the cause of Allah, and, as with every other religious observance, perform it with pure intent, and seek only the good pleasure of Allah. Believers are warned of this pitfall in the Qur'an:

You who believe! Do not nullify your charity by demands for gratitude or insulting words, like him who spends his wealth, showing off to people and not believing in Allah and the Last Day. ... (Surat al-Baqara, 264)

He Seeks to Turn People Away from the Verses of Allah

Being committed to conforming to Allah's book is a significant undertaking. The penalty for ignoring this responsibility is commensurately severe. As we know, Satan's foremost aim is that man suffer such a punishment.

One who turns away from the Qur'an, under the influence of Satan, also turns away from Allah. Because, the Qur'an is the word of Allah, and a source of light for the believer, throughout the course of his life.

Withdrawing from the teachings of the Qur'an is a grave pitfall to be avoided by believers. Because idolaters and unbelievers are already neglectful of the Qur'an, as they are blind to its truths, it is impossible for them to draw any further away from it. However, if believers, that is, those who have faith in the verses of the Qur'an, live in the manner set out according to them, distance themselves from the teachings of the Qur'an, they are then vulnerable to a terrible menace, Satan. Though, because they will remain unaware of this impending threat, they will continue to believe themselves to be on the true path, and ther rby fall completely under Satan's control. This condition is described in the Qur'an as Satan becoming the bosom friend of his victim:

If someone shuts his eyes to the remembrance of the All-Merciful, We assign him a Satan who becomes his bosom friend.

They [satans] debar them from the path, yet they still think they are guided.(Surat az-Zukhruf, 36-37)

Such carelessness can only affect one who has abandoned hope in the Hereafter, turns to worldly aspirations, and follows his own base desires. Such a person, by following in Satan's footsteps, in seeking after his own pleasure instead of that of Allah, has degraded himself to the level of an animal. Because, animals also subsist merely on the pursuit of basic physical needs (such as eating and drinking). What should make man superior, though, is his conscience in serving to his Creator, Allah. It is for that reason that the Qur'an offers the following analogy, to describe those who pursue their desires, while distancing themselves from its verses, which they had once believed in:

Recite to them the tale of him to whom We gave Our Signs [i.e., verses], but who then cast them to one side and Satan caught up with him. He was one of those lured into error. If We had wanted to, We would have raised him up by them. But he gravitated towards the Earth and pursued his whims and base desires. His metaphor is that of a dog: if you chase it away, it lolls out its tongue and pants, and if you leave it alone, it lolls out its tongue and pants. That is the metaphor of those who deny Our Signs. So tell the story so that hopefully they will reflect.(Surat al-A`raf, 175-176)

Though a believer may have read the Qur'an many times over, it will not make him immune from the ploys of Satan. Indeed, Satan adopts numerous approaches by which to assault the believer. Since Satan knows that a believer will never deny the truth of the Qur'an outright, he employs various strategies to distance him from the way of life commanded in it.

It is revealed in the Qur'an, for instance, that every moment of time falls within a fate preordained. Becoming troubled and angered under adverse circumstances, despite knowledge of this fate, is tantamount to ignoring the verses of Allah. The heart of the one who has succumbed for too long to such a state of mind, corrupts the purity fostered by the Qur'an, and instead becomes darkened. Eventually, he will become completely insensitive, and unmoved by the message of the Qur'an. All who seek to lead a life as commanded in the Qur'an is vulnerable to this danger. Whoever he may be, one who fails to properly fulfill his responsibilities, after having read the content of the book, is prone to having his heart grow hardened. The state of such people who had previously been observant, but who then failed to live up to their responsibilities, is described in the Qur'an as follows:

Has the time not arrived for the hearts of those who believe to yield to the remembrance Allah and to the truth He has sent down, so they are not like those who were given the Book before for whom the time seemed over long so that their hearts became hard? Many of them are deviators. (Surat al-Hadid, 16)

Allah commands the faithful to cling firmly to the Qur'an, in order not to fall into Satan's snares. Because, the Qur'an is to be a guide for the believer throughout his life. Furthermore, believers are charged not just with reading the verses on a regular basis, but also with bearing them in mind at all times, reflecting upon them, and apprehending every situation according to the dictate of the Qur'an:

And remember the Signs of Allah and the wise words which are recited in your rooms. Allah is All-Pervading, All-Aware. (Surat al-Ahzab, 34)

Those to whom We have given the Book, who recite it in the way it should be recited, such people believe in it. ... (Surat al-Baqara, 121)

He Causes Forgetfulness and Absent-Mindedness

Causing forgetfulness in people is a method which Satan frequently employs, though most people fail to realize it. Satan employs this trick on people in varying situations, and according to different tactics.

For example, the forgetfulness and absent-mindedness he inspires in those who live a life far removed from the teachings of the true religion is not like forgetfulness, in the common sense of the term, or a momentary lapse in concentration. Those in whom Satan inspires forgetfulness in the sense meant here are those who spend the 60 to 70 years of their lives in shallow and pointless pursuits, totally disregarding Allah and the truth of the Hereafter. They are unable to comprehend the wisdom and warnings submitted by Allah to remind them of the Hereafter. The question of how and why they were created is of no relevance to them. Satan causes them to be neglectful of Allah, He Who created them, to call upon Him, and to acknowledge that everything is under our Lord's dominion. He ever inhibits them from considering the inevitability of death, or the verity of fate and the Hereafter. Similarly, because the hypocrites are continually surrounded by Satan, they also forget the existence of Allah, and therefore to call upon Him. This state of neglect they find themselves in is described here in the Qur'an:

Satan has gained mastery over them and made them forget the remembrance of Allah. Such people are the party of Satan. No indeed! It is the party of Satan who are the losers. (Surat al-Mujadala, 19)

Another group in whom Satan seeks to inspire forgetfulness is the believers. However, this type of forgetfulness is different from that which he inspires in the idolaters and hypocrites. Satan seeks to make believers forgetful with regards to every aspect in which they have a responsibility. Because, everyone is being tested, throughout every moment of his life, with regards to his devotion to the commandments of the Qur'an. For that reason, one must remain continually vigilant, always seeking the good pleasure of Allah, at every moment of his life.

When you see people engrossed in mockery of Our Signs, turn from them until they start to talk of other things. And if Satan should ever cause you to forget, once you remember, do not stay sitting with the wrongdoers. (Surat al-An`am, 68)

Another stipulation recalls that it is only possible to do something if Allah has so ordained it:

Never say about anything, "I am doing that tomorrow," without adding "If Allah wills." Remember your Lord when you forget, and say, "Hopefully my Lord will guide me to something closer to right guidance than this." (Surat al-Kahf, 23-24)

Another example is provided with the story of the Prophet Musa (as). The verse describes that Satan had been the instigator when a young assistant who traveled with the Prophet Musa (as) forgot a fish they were supposed to bring along with them:

He [Musa's servant] said, "Do you see what has happened? When we went to find shelter at the rock, I forgot the fish. No one made me forget to remember it except Satan. It found its way into the sea in an amazing way." (Surat al-Kahf, 63)

Believers must be on their guard against forgetfulness and the factors which give rise to it. There is no place in the thought of a believer for absent-mindedness, hypothetical scenarios that distract needlessly, or daydreaming of trivialities. Because, one distracted by these tendencies cannot then expend the appropriate effort in the cause of Allah. Caught up in the distractions of his day-to-day existence, such a person forgets his ultimate duty, and the only true reason for his existence, that is, to serve Allah:

You who believe! Fear Allah and let each self look to what it has sent forward for Tomorrow. Fear Allah. Allah is aware of what you do.

Do not be like those who forgot Allah so He made them forget themselves. Such people are the deviators. (Surat al-Hashr, 18-19)

As a precaution against a forgetfulness and absent-mindedness, believers must never forget to have Allah in mind, fear Him and aim for His good pleasure, and not be deluded by the transient allurements of this world. Unless a person constantly bears these truths in mind, he will become defenseless against Satan.

He Encourages Sentimentality

Sentimentality is the instance of a person's emotions becoming carried to a level beyond that prescribed in the Qur'an, to the point of being ruled by one's emotions instead of his reason.

One who behaves emotionally is not rational. All that he does results from his particular state of mind at that moment. His level of patience, or fairness, the decisions he takes, and the responses he has, are all entirely dictated by his emotions. Ill-conceived and conflicting decisions invariably result when Satan intervenes. The taking of such decisions are then followed by regret. The lives of those who tend to act emotionally are full of regret.

The mind of a believer, however, is balanced and his reason unclouded. His every action is governed by Allah's commands. One who behaves rationally makes his choices keeping in mind that he will be called to account in the presence of Allah on the Day of Judgment. Whatever the situation, he acts in light of the Qur'an, with no compromise.

Satan will at times seek to tempt the believers by encouraging sentimentality. Every action contrary to the Qur'an, such as harboring love for unbelievers, or allowing oneself to become upset under adverse circumstances, are indications of Satan's attempt to inspire sentimentality subconsciously. These sentiments can be neutralized only through wholehearted commitment to implementing the stipulations outlined in the Qur'an, and seeking the good pleasure of Allah.

It has been revealed in several verses of the Qur'an that there is no place for sentimentality in the mindset of the believers. No believer, for instance, ought to feel love for the enemies of Allah:

You will not find people who believe in Allah and the Last Day having love for anyone who opposes Allah and His Messenger, though they be their fathers, their sons, their brothers or their clan... (Surat al-Mujadala, 22)

In another verse, it has been revealed that if a believer loves an enemy of Allah it will divert him from the true path:

You who believe! Do not take My enemy and your enemy as friends, showing love for them when they have rejected the truth that has come to you, driving out the Messenger and yourselves simply because you believe in Allah your Lord. If you go out to strive in My Way and seeking My pleasure, keeping secret the love you have for them, I know best what you conceal and what you make known. Any of you who do that have strayed from the right way. (Surat al-Mumtahana, 1)

As can be gleaned from these verses, for any believer, faith is the sole criterion in love. Outside of that, neither family ties, nor community, are of any consequence. As long as he refuses to believe, an enemy of Allah cannot be the friend of or close to a believer. This distinction is referred to in the Qur'an through the words of the Prophet Ibrahim (as):

You have an excellent example in Ibrahim and those with him, when they said to their people, "We wash our hands of you and all that you worship apart from Allah, and we reject you. Between us and you there will be enmity and hatred for ever unless and until you believe in Allah alone."... (Surat al-Mumtahana, 4)

This matter is again referred to in other stories of the prophets. For example, the way in which the Prophet Ibrahim (as) absolved himself from his father, when he learned that he had chosen to become an enemy of Allah, is described as exemplary behavior (Surat at-Tawba, 114). Another example is found in the story of the Prophet Nuh (as). Due to the fact that his son was an unbeliever, Allah called to him, "… Nuh, he is definitely not of your family…" (Surah Hud, 46). Because, the true family of a believer is other believers. Those who seek friends elsewhere eventually find that their only friend is Satan.

He Influences People to Fixate on Details

A believer must select the most proper and correct means to earn the good pleasure of Allah. He must not waste time in trivialities. In accordance to the verse, "So when you have finished, work on..." (Surat al-Inshirah, 7), when he has fulfilled a good action, immediately he undertakes the next.

However, if he performs his actions without seeking the good pleasure of Allah, then he may become vulnerable to another little recognized ploy of Satan. One who falls into this trap becomes confused, fixated on thousands of details, totally removed from what ought to be his true aim, and, even, unable to remember what that aim is.

Allah provides an example of this condition in a story about the Prophet Musa (as). The Prophet Musa (as) told his people, that is, the Children of Israel, that Allah commanded them to sacrifice a cow. In response, his people asked a great many unnecessary questions about the details of the sacrifice to be performed. And, when they were informed of these details, they answered "… Now you have brought the truth… " However, the extent to which that ritual had been distanced from its true aim, or that the Israelites had nearly failed to comply by Allah's command, is referred to in the following verse "… So they sacrificed it—but they almost did not do it." (Surat al-Baqara, 71)

The insolence of their words, "… Are you making a mockery of us?…" (Surat al-Baqara, 67), which the Children of Israel addressed to the Prophet Musa (as) reveal how in that instance they had been closer to denial, in other words, to Satan, than to faith.

Underlying their errant logic was a deception provided by Satan. Satan, who made such a simple task as the sacrificing of a cow seem difficult, by burdening it with details, nearly succeeded in preventing the rite from being performed. The way certain societies have come to understand the meaning of religion has been shaped according to this same influence of Satan's. Many are suffocated by details, under the guise of piety to Allah, though, in truth, representing a manner of a religion far removed from the true teachings of the Qur'an.

He Encourages Extravagance

Extravagance is a characteristic of the societies where ignorance of religion prevails. Unrestricted spending, and the boasting of it, is regarded as a means to prestige by an unbeliever:

He says, "I have consumed vast quantities of wealth."

Does he imagine that no one has seen him? (Surat al-Balad, 6-7)

The fact is, however, that wasteful spending is despicable, and categorically prohibited by Allah. In a verse of the Qur'an, those responsible of such deviance are actually described as "the brothers of Satan." That being the case, believers, who are Satan's principal enemy, need to be very especially careful in this matter. In the following verses, Allah has revealed:

... Do not squander what you have. Squanderers are brothers to the satans, and Satan was ungrateful to his Lord. (Surat al-Isra´, 26-27)

There is a point which believers must pay particular attention to, in order to protect themselves from this danger. A believer must never forget that he is selling both his self and his wealth, in return for Paradise (Surat at-Tawba, 111). After having accepted such a trade, he must not squander any portion of his assets on an aim not within the cause of Allah.

The believer must work for the Hereafter with all he possesses. Everything he owns offers an opportunity to acquire further reward. Rejecting that opportunity is equal to opting for the life of this world, at the sake of the Hereafter. While He encourages believers to enjoy the blessings conferred upon them that are lawful, Allah also warns them against extravagance:

... Do not be profligate. He does not love the profligate. (Surat al-An`am, 141)

Children of Adam! Wear fine clothing in every mosque and eat and drink but do not be profligate. He does not love the profligate. (Surat al-A`raf, 31)

The Means Employed by Satan to Turn People from the True Path

The Qur'an warns believers against certain bad habits specifically employed by Satan. Wine, gambling and fortune-telling are all vehicles by which Satan seeks to distract people:

You who believe! Wine and gambling, stone altars and divining arrows are filth from the handiwork of Satan. Avoid them completely so that hopefully you will be successful. (Surat al-Ma´ida, 90)

The important point here, however, is the end sought by Satan through these means. That aim is referred to in the following verse—it is, to prevent people from remembering Allah and observing their five daily prayers:

Satan wants to stir up enmity and hatred between you by means of wine and gambling, and to debar you from remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then give them up? (Surat al-Ma´ida, 91)

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