Satanic Tactics: Understanding Our Thoughts 2

Walking the path to Allah is a type of war and its battlefield is the heart. To win, we must strengthen our army – our soul, and weaken the enemy – our lower-self and the devil. This is the ninth in a series of articles on Satanic Tricks: Seven Tricks of the Devil.

The selfish inspiration relates to our desires and whims, our desires are the things we want. They are something that you strongly incline towards. It could be related to one’s physical appetites or desire for status and prestige. 

Sometimes it is just a whim. “Why not?” Very often the whim is more dangerous than the desire. People may spend hours watching something they do not like and their reason for doing so is, “Just because.” This also relates to people surfing the internet, for example.

Many people experience much of this. They are not able to do a lot of the things they normally want to do, they are not able to do, so they waste time. Much of that is whimsical, and they end up stumbling into harm. 

A characteristic of selfish inspirations is that they are not connected to consideration of good or benefit, whether worldly or religious.

Furthermore, an inspiration could initially be selfish, but it can become angelic when connected with good intentions. For example, someone gets the thought, “I need to eat.” One should train oneself to think, “How do I seek the pleasure of Allah  through this?”

Follow the Sunna

The best of food is that which more hands partake from. So do not just go eat on your own, rather, eat with someone else who is at home. Also, think about gratitude to Allah in the eating. Eat following the Sunna.

Even though the initial urge was selfish, through consideration, it becomes an angelic one. You are cultivating meanings of faith through it so it facilitates Divine Inspirations in that, of the meanings of consciousness of Allah.

The key characteristic of selfish inclinations is that the act itself is not in itself pleasing to Allah, or it is an act pleasing to Allah but one is not doing it with consideration of consequence or intention. 

For example, if a person gets a thought, “Let me wear a turban” Wearing a turban is something good. It is a Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).  But, it can be a selfish inspiration if one does not consider the consequences.  

If one is not careful, it could cause one to be proud, conceited, and to look down on others. What is your intention behind it? This is why, if one is not careful, many apparently religious acts can actually be selfish.

If the matter is worldly and it is something not harmful or sinful, it is not harmful, then, elevate it through good intentions. 

For example, one gets a thought, “I haven’t had fried chicken for a while.” Rather than trying to hide it from family, one should look at taking some for the whole family. You may have good intentions in it so this becomes an angelic act, not just a selfish act. 

Devilish Inspirations

The most obvious of these are calls to sin and oppression. This requires an understanding of religion. In the circumstances or challenges you are in, do you know what is pleasing and displeasing to Allah?

As for desires, you inclined them. A whim arose from you. But as for devilish inspirations, they just show up. A person may be busy thinking about work when suddenly, an attractive person passes by. A thought comes, “Who was that?” This initial thought is a Satanic Misgving (Waswasa). 

It was not something you were consciously seeking out. It was not a conscious inclination from you. It just popped into your consciousness. Such a question (“Who was that?”) may sound very innocent, but pause for a second. It was not a male and why exactly would you turn around? 

That is why it is more tricky, whereas one’s desires may be more evident to identify.

The most obvious of these inspirations are for sinful things. However, Satanic Misgivings also come in other forms. The same framework applies. Consider the action itself, what are its likely consequences, and what is your intention in doing so? 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave us a governing principle that actions are by their intentions. Consider the action itself and consider its consequence and driving intent. If those three things are not clear, you are on shaky ground. 

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) reportedly said Circumspection is from Allah and haste is from the Devil.

Circumspection is thinking things through. As for haste, you do not think about what you are doing. What are its consequences? Why are you doing it? 

Safe from Harm

There is a beautiful saying that many of the early Muslims used to say. It was said in similar ways by Ruaym ibn Ahmad and Dhu al-Nun al-Masri, and it is also ascribed to our master Ali bin Abi Talib, “Whoever is careful of consequences remains safe from harms.” 

Think things through. We do not try to control outcomes. But, be responsible. Reflect before acting. If it seems good, do not just rush into it. Pause and make high intentions. Anything that you can do, you can do with sincerity for Allah. This could be getting fried chicken or just relaxing. 

Make a high intention for Allah. That is from the beauty of our religion. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) tells us that truly your body has rights over you. Rest for the sake of Allah, out of gratitude that you can rest. 

One of the comprehensive intentions in all worldly matters is gratitude. Say Alhamdulillah for having shelter, heating, water, and much more. Act with high intentions, meaning, “I am doing this for the sake of Allah.” 

Even the purely permitted, do it for the sake of Allah, with gratitude, with appreciation of the blessings, and to connect it to meanings of good. Reach out to some friends whilst you are relaxing and call them for the sake of Allah. That is meaningful, it is pleasing to Allah. 

Let what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how you are doing it all be good. Then, sustain benefit within the action and remain purposeful within it. People lose purpose and this arises from people losing sense of why they are doing this action. 

Protect Yourself

Try to sustain purposeful intentions. One of the things that helps with that is remaining in remembrance of Allah. That is part of the wisdoms of there being remembrance of Allah before we do things.

Negative thoughts do not only happen before we act, but our actions are a succession of choices. Whether our ego, selfish thoughts or Satan comes in, you have to remain on guard lest you spoil the act, whether spiritually or in relationships. 

For instance, if a husband says something to annoy his wife, do not just respond with a selfish or devilish thought but try to respond with good, or pause for a moment and let the Divine Inspiration come. Pausing is one of the best things to do.

As for after the actions, seek forgiveness from Allah. If it is a good deed, ask for acceptance. After we pray, the first thing we do is to say Astaghfirullah three times. Did you sin during prayer, typically? No. But, you realize that Allah deserves better. It is from His generosity that He will cover over your shortcomings. 

When coming out of the toilet we say “Your complete forgiveness O Lord” (Ghufranak). Why do we seek Allah’s forgiveness when coming out of the toilet? We have a sense of shortcomings before Allah. We also know that He is merciful and He covers over. Resolve to do better. 

If there is anything good, you ask Allah for acceptance. “O Lord, accept from us.” This safeguards one’s actions from conceit. It safeguards the creeping of selfish or devilish thoughts after the action. You protect yourself before the action, during the action, and after the action.