How can you defend yourself?
Satan is humanities sworn enemy, his grudge against us started from the dawn of human creation. When Allah created Adam, Satan felt threatened and believed that he was deprived of his honour and place. He swore he would humiliate Adam and his children. This one reason is why the Qur’an declares him ‘an open and bitter enemy’ to us. Despite this threat, he is actually a relatively weak enemy not formidable as one may think. The Qur’an refers to him as the ‘sneaking whisperer’ who tries to influence us by firstly making the world look more alluring and attractive than we should give it credit for and secondly, because of this, we are made to become forgetful of Allah and his bountiful gifts and blessings upon us. By forgetting, he persuades us not to pay due attention or more worryingly that the success is a result of our own efforts. This leads to us to be ungrateful and unthankful for those great favours that the Lord has bestowed and thereby make us forgetful of him. Eventually, we are led to think that we really have no purpose and that life is meaningless.
Human beings have a weakness, we are forgetful beings, so much so that we quickly forget the favours bestowed upon us. Another trick is that Satan tries to convince us that there is nothing special you have and if we buy into his plan then we will end up disappointed with the Lord and lose our faith in him consequently we will lack self-esteem and honour. What we need to do is to become actively aware and conscious of the great gifts that Allah has given us. In the remembrance of Allah, is the only way to avoid being attacked by the devil.
Thoughts begin in our brains as electrical signals that then give rise to our feelings and emotions. These can be positive or negative. What we observe with our eyes, what we hear with our ears, what we smell with our nose, what we sense with our fingertips and what we taste with our tongue helps us to determine and interpret the world around us. We then give the experience meaning. These thoughts also produce emotions because our thoughts are prolific, screaming from left to right, from up and down, front and back, we are constantly bombarded with data and consequently we are always preoccupied perceiving, feeling and making perceptions and ideas. Over stimulation is not helpful that is why it is so important that we calm our thoughts, control them and not allow the ‘sneaky whisperer’ to have his way.
Eliminating and overcoming Satanic thoughts
Imam Ahmed Raza was a renowned Jurist of the last century. He recommends these methods of eliminating Satanic thoughts:
Turn to Allah
Seek divine protection and say ‘There is no power and no strength except with Allah‘.
Recite Surah An-Naas, proclaiming, ‘I believe in Allah and his Messenger’ and say, ‘He is the first and the last, the manifest and the hidden, the one who knows everything’. Evil thoughts will disappear immediately. In a hadith, a man complained about Satanic thoughts whilst he was in the prayer. The Messenger (peace be upon him) gave him the following advice ‘When you have these thoughts, raise your right hand index finger and smack the left thigh with it and say Bismillah, this will go like a knife through Satan’.
Do not pay attention to evil thoughts
Don’t act on them instead do the opposite. This evil seducer has the habit of increasing his attacks the more he is welcomed. However, as soon as he is opposed he runs away. His temptation is fickle. Abdullah ibn Murra says: “Whoever is impressed by Satan’s temptation becomes his regular target.”Abu Huraraira narrates the Messenger (peace be upon him) said: “When anyone of you is in the Masjid Satan comes to him and caresses him affectionately all over his body just like you caress your horse, if the person does not immediately get rid of him, Satan will control him.” Satan does all kinds of tricks to tempt people. This is why we have to be attentive, aware and know the strategies to defeat him otherwise he will take control.
Reject evil thoughts
Despite all these attempts if Satanic thoughts continue to come and make you doubtful, for example about your Wudu, then simply reject them. You can say, ‘I seek protection from Allah from the rejected Satan‘. Pay no attention to such doubts. Our expert scholars point out that there are two types of Satans. “Thus we have appointed for every Messenger an enemy; the Satans among men and jinn, who inspire one another with vain and varnished falsehoods” (Anam: 112). This verse explains that one is from the Jinns and the other from people (may the curse of Allah be on them both, may they be disgraced forever and may Allah help us against them both).
The Scholars believe that these ‘Satans among men’ are more dangerous than the Jinn Satans. Amongst men, Satans are the false preachers who sow doubts in the minds of Muslims through their works. You can class them as the ‘extremist’. The beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) predicted: “In the last days there will be many liars who will be deceivers. They will bring you news which you will not have heard nor your forefathers, stay away from them and keep them away too, lest they lead you astray and create problems for you” (Muslim).
Overcoming Satanic thoughts is dependent on self-determination and rooting it out. Satan puts doubts in your mind when you think that you have not done a job or task well enough or as perfectly as you would have liked. Your response should be ‘the Shariah has given dispensation and that is sufficient for me, perfection is not demanded of me, I have done what was feasible and within my means! May my Lord accept it and have mercy on me’. Shah Abdul Haq Dehlvi said, “don’t take trouble in fulfilling their thoughts, take advantage of the dispensations given by Shariah. If he says, this activity of yours is incomplete and false and is not acceptable to God, reply to him by saying, Go away! I cannot do anymore my Lord is most merciful and generous and He will accept this”.
Should the evil or undermining thoughts continue then there is only one option. It is akin to the final treatment of the surgeon to cut off a limb that cannot be saved. Amputation is the final treatment. If all above methods fail, just say to Satan: ‘O accursed Satan! It does not matter if my wudu is broken or I have just prayed three rakats, I am happy as it is but I will not obey you! This is a powerful way of uprooting the satanic thoughts. By the divine grace the enemy will be defeated and humiliated.