Satanic Tactics: The Enemy

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 first in a series of articles on Satanic Tricks: Seven Tricks of the Devil

It is important to know who Satan is specifically, what are his purposes, what are his goals, and his objectives. The spiritual journey to Allah is a type of war. The battlefield on which this war is fought is the heart of the human being. On that journey to Allah, there are going to be great obstacles. These are going back to Satan’s goal. 

The battle is between the soul of the human and these lower base desires that the human also has, the nafs. Human beings have these two faculties within them, naturally. 

The side of the soul is supported and fortified by the angels and by Allah’s divine grace whereas the side of the ego and the base desires are fortified and strengthened by Satan and the delusion of this worldly life.

If you want any one side to win the battle over the other, then you have to do two things. You have to strengthen the side you want to win and weaken the side you want to lose.

Strengthen Your Army

To strengthen the side that you want to win, you have to strengthen your soul. That involves remembering Allah, acts of worship, seeking sacred knowledge, and applying it in your life. 

Weakening the side of Satan is also very important. Many of the aspects of our religion have these two purposes involved. For instance, Ramadan is a strengthening of the soul by reciting extra Quran, extra prayers and fasting. There is also a weakening of that based human desire by not eating or drinking for long periods. Both of those are found in the fasting.

The strategy of the war is just as important as well. Knowing how the enemy is going to attack, knowing how Satan gets us to, or how he convinces us to do what he wants us to do, and how he attacks us. 

What strategies does he use? How exactly does he get to us? We ought to know this so that we can defend ourselves. One should be well-versed in knowing about one’s opponent.

Our Three Enemies

The human being has three enemies. Firstly, their nafs, and according to the prophetic narration, it is the worst of all of your enemies. The second is Satan and the third is the illusory nature of this world. 

The more we know, the better we can understand the realities. Allah tells the whole story in the Quran quite often. The story of Adam and Satan. The angels prostrated to Adam but Satan refused. 

 The first mention of this story is in Sura al-Baqara. Allah says:

وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ إِنِّى جَاعِلٌۭ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةًۭ ۖ

“And remind them when your Lord said to the angels: ‘I shall place a noble reigning deputy on earth.’” [Quran, 2:30; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

The angels, not objecting, sought more information and clarity.

قَالُوۤا۟ أَتَجۡعَلُ فِیهَا مَن یُفۡسِدُ فِیهَا وَیَسۡفِكُ ٱلدِّمَاۤءَ وَنَحۡنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمۡدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَۖ  

“They said, ‘Will You place in it one who will wreak corruption in it again and again, and spill much innocent blood; While we extoll Your infinite glory in praise, and Your exalted pure perfection?’” [Quran, 2:30; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

Allah replied:

قَالَ إِنِّیۤ أَعۡلَمُ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ

“He said, ‘Verily I well know what you know not.’” [Quran, 2:30; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

One of the questions that the scholars of Quranic exegesis asked was, “How did the angels know that the humans would cause corruption and shed blood in the land?” There are many different opinions.

Some said that because they are privy to some knowledges that are on the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh al-Mahfudh). Others said that Allah had already told them. Some said because they assumed that those before them who lived on the earth caused corruption and shed blood, that those who would come after would as well. 

When Jinn Ruled the Earth

Those who lived before the humans were the jinn. The jinn lived on the land before humans. Satan saw Adam’s lifeless body because the soul was not there yet. Then Satan walked around and he looked at him and he examined him. Hen then arrogantly said, “I am definitely going to have authority over him and if he is given authority over me, then I will be able to overtake him.” 

He made that claim early but, it did not manifest until Allah ordered the angels, as well as those who were in the company of the angels like Satan, to prostrate. Allah says: 

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ ٱسْجُدُوا۟ لِـَٔادَمَ فَسَجَدُوٓا۟ إِلَّآ إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ ٱلْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِۦٓ ۗ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُۥ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُۥٓ أَوْلِيَآءَ مِن دُونِى وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّۢ ۚ بِئْسَ لِلظَّـٰلِمِينَ بَدَلًۭا

“And remind them when We told the angels, ‘Fall down prostrate to Adam,’ so they all bowed down but Satan; He was of the jinn so he flouted the command of his Lord: So can you actually take him and his offspring as protectors instead of Me, when they are your mortal foes? And how evil an exchange for wrongdoers!” [Quran, 18:50; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

These stories mentioned in the Quran are not merely for the entertainment of our children, but also for our reflection. And the verse of the Quran, that, 

فَسَجَدَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰۤىِٕكَةُ كُلُّهُمۡ أَجۡمَعُونَ

“So all the angels bowed down to him together.” [Quran 15:30; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

It is not most of the angels but, all of them. It was not that some did it now, some did it a little bit later, rather, all of them at one moment prostrated before Adam, except for Iblis. Ibis is not from the angels, but, because he was amongst those who are high in their worship and status, and he was with the angels, he was included in the command without specific mention.