Devil on the Doors of Masjids

The devil sits on the doors of Masjids (mosques) and at the places of worship and remembering Allah. He tries to seduce people not to offer Salat, and when the Azan [the Call to Prayer] is pronounced he strives to allure mankind with every lure to divert them from going to Salat. He reminds man of worldly concerns and keeps whispering to him evil insinuations. He frightens him by insinuating that perhaps if he went to Salat he might lose a good bargain or money or benefit, suggesting that work is also an act of worship…etc. till he diverts him from remembering Allah and from Salat. 

There is a story narrated on the authority of Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah be pleased with him) who was known by issuing fatwas (legal rulings) concerning legal problems, thus a man once came to him and said: “I have lost my money, I buried it somewhere in the earth but the torrents poured down and hid the place of the money and removed the rock I have put as a sign to the place and I do not know what to do?”  Imam Abu Hanifah said: “How can I give you a legal opinion concerning this matter?” But the man insisted, so Imam Abu Hanifah said to him: “Go tonight after the ‘Isha’ Prayer [Evening Prayer] and stand before your Lord and spend the night in prayer until the crack of dawn…. and then tell me what has happened.”

At the time of the Fajr [Dawn] Prayer the man came cheerful and said: “I have found my money.” Abu Hanifah asked him: “How?” The man said: “I was just about to stand up for Prayers when I remembered the place of the money and when did the flood pour down and how did it proceed. Thus I measured the distance and estimated it and thus I learned the location of the money.”  So, Abu Hanifah (may Allah be pleased with him) smiled and said: “By Allah I knew that the devil will never leave you spend the night in the company of Your Lord.”
Thus, when the devil learned that this man would spend the night offering Prayers before his Lord he hurried to guide him to the place of the money to prevent him from continuing his prayers and from keeping himself engaged in remembering Allah, and that is one of the meanings of the Ayah saying (what means):

[ قَالَ فَبِمَا أَغْوَيْتَنِي لَأَقْعُدَنَّ لَهُمْ صِرَاطَكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ  ] “[Satan] said, ‘Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path.’” (Al-A‘râf, 7: 16)

And that is what we shall discuss in the next chapter, if Allah wills, when talking in detail about the ways the devil employs in tempting mankind and how he waylays them in the Masjids and places of worship to distract their attention and hinder them from remembering Allah and from performing Salat. 

The Noble Qur’an continue to cite Satan’s words, who said what means:

 ] ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَائِلِهِمْ ۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ ]  “Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” (Al-A‘râf, 7: 17)

On contemplating this glorious Ayah we will find that the devil has specified four directions from which he can come to man: right and left, in front and behind. But directions are six: right and left, in front and behind, above and below (man), so why does the devil come to man from all directions and leaves two directions: from above and below?

The answer is that “above” is towards heaven, the place of the ascent of supplications and good deeds to Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, whereas “below” is the place of prostration and submission to Allah, The Most Exalted and Ever-Majestic, and Satan can never get near both. For Satan can never approach the place of prostration before Allah and submission to Him and also the place of the ascension of prayers and good deeds. For these are the two blessed places of every believer, surrounded by angels and are never approached by devils.

But we must pause before the part of the Ayah saying what means: “And You will not find most of them grateful.”

Who told Satan that most of the people will not be thankful to Allah for His Blessings and Grace upon them? Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, says what means:

 إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَشْكُرُونَ ]  “And Allah is full of bounty to the people, but most of the people do not show gratitude.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 243)

Was Satan given knowledge of the Unseen which made him learn that most of people would not be thankful? Or was he so sure of himself that he said such words?

Satan certainly does not know the Unseen nor was he given of knowledge what made him say that most of the servants of Allah would not be thankful. He also did not have the mastery that made him absolutely confident that this would happen because of his temptation of mankind.

The Noble Qur’an reveals to us how did Satan say such words. Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, says what means:   

وَلَقَدْ صَدَّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِبْلِيسُ ظَنَّهُ فَاتَّبَعُوهُ إِلَّا فَرِيقًا مِّنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ، وَمَا كَانَ لَهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّن سُلْطَانٍ إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَن يُؤْمِنُ بِالْآخِرَةِ مِمَّنْ هُوَ مِنْهَا فِي شَكٍّ ۗ وَرَبُّكَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَفِيظٌ “And Iblees had already confirmed through them his assumption, so they followed him, except for a party of believers. And he had over them no authority except [it was decreed] that We might make evident who believes in the Hereafter from who is thereof in doubt. And your Lord, over all things, is Guardian.” (Saba’, 34: 20-21)

Hence, what Satan said was only a conjecture for he certainly did not possess any knowledge of the Unseen nor knew what would happen in the future. Then came the Verdict of The Truth, all praise and glory is to Him, on Satan and those who follow him, as says the Lord of Honor and Sovereignty in His Noble Book what means:
قَالَ اخْرُجْ مِنْهَا مَذْءُومًا مَّدْحُورًا ۖ لَّمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنْهُمْ لَأَمْلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكُمْ أَجْمَعِينَ      

 “[Allah] said, ‘Get out of it, reproached and expelled. Whoever follows you among them – I will surely fill Hell with you, all together.’” (Al-A‘râf, 7: 18)

Thus, Satan was expelled from Allah’s Mercy and from paradise or from any place where he can be near Allah. He became humiliated and accursed. Not only him but also whoever follows him from jinn and mankind. The destiny of them all would be eternity in Hellfire. Allah, The Most Exalted and Ever-Majestic, has prepared for each of His servant, from mankind and jinn, a place in Paradise and another in Hellfire. So that if all creatures disobeyed Hellfire would contain them all and if all creatures obeyed Paradise would be spacious enough for them all. On Resurrection Day the righteous people would inherit – above what Allah has prepared for them in Paradise – the places that were allotted to those upon whom Allah has passed the sentence of torment in Hellfire on Resurrection Day, we seek refuge with Allah from such an end.

After Allah has reprieved Satan till Resurrection Day, He wanted to fortify Adam and make him aware of the trial he was about to face. To show him how Satan is his foe and how he would lure him into sin, and how his promises are false and how he would never honor a promise. The Truth, Blessed and Exalted is He, willed to realize this through a practical experience that Adam and Eve (peace and blessings be upon them) would undergo, so that when they descend on the earth this experience would serve to immunize them against diabolic misleading and temptation. Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, says what means:

[ وَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ اسْكُنْ أَنتَ وَزَوْجُكَ الْجَنَّةَ وَكُلَا مِنْهَا رَغَدًا حَيْثُ شِئْتُمَا وَلَا تَقْرَبَا هَـٰذِهِ       الشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ]   “And We said, ‘O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in paradise and eat therefrom in [ease and] abundance from wherever you will. But do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.’” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 35)

 Thus, Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, has prepared the place of trial to Adam and Eve in a garden provided with all means of comfortable living, without fatigue or toil. He gave them abundant food from various kinds of fruits and abundant drink, and opened before them all the blessings they might wish for. Allah allowed them all the fruits of that garden except one tree, which He forbade them to come near.

It was a comfortable life rich with endless lawful blessings and the forbidden was the least of all, only one forbidden tree. Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, warned Adam and Eve against their enemy Satan and asked them not to listen to him because he only wishes them evil and never wishes them any goodness. Allah warned them saying what means:

[فَقُلْنَا يَا آدَمُ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا عَدُوٌّ لَّكَ وَلِزَوْجِكَ فَلَا يُخْرِجَنَّكُمَا مِنَ الْجَنَّةِ فَتَشْقَىٰ  But what happened? In spite of all warnings and although the lawful things are many and the forbidden is only one tree, Satan succeeded by his temptation to cause Adam and Eve to fall into sin.

Some interpreters say that Eve was the one who first fell into sin then led Adam into it. That she was the reason behind Adam’s departure from the garden, is that true? Was Eve the one who bore the first sin that led to Adam’s departure from the garden, or is it false? What is the truth? And what did truly happen?

Before answering these questions we sum up what we have discussed in this chapter: Satan was blown up with pride and his conceited self made him reject the Command of Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, and he said: “You created me from fire, and You created him from clay.” (Sâd, 38: 76) by which he wanted to alter the Command of Allah, thus Allah cursed him and cast him out of His Mercy and made him one of the dwellers of Hellfire together with all who follow him. But Satan pursued a doorway to tempt Adam and his offspring. His doorway is that Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, is All-Mighty, All-Rich, beyond need of all His creatures, neither those who stray into wrong harm Him nor those who believe benefit Him.

Through that inlet Satan crept in to tempt the Children of Adam. Allah, all praise and glory is to Him, made worldly life an abode of trial therefore temptation is a must so that Allah tests true faith and they become witnesses over themselves on Resurrection Day.

Allah willed that Adam should pass through a practical experience of satanic temptation and misguidance to warn him and teach him what he would confront in worldly life…so how did this experience go on?
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
From the book:
Mankind And Satan
By Muhammad Mitwaly Ash-Sha‘râwy

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