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IOK Ramadan Reflections Series: #8

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IOK Ramadan Reflections Series: Iblis/Shaytan

Transcript: When Allah commanded the angels and Iblis to prostrate in respect and reverence to the new creation of Allah, Adam and the human being, all the angels prostrated with the exception of Iblis. In this moment, Iblis made a clear promise to Allah and all of humanity that he will continue to hassle, heckle, and dog humanity with the sole purpose of dragging them to hellfire, out of resentment, envy, and hate towards this new creation of Allah, which he perceived to have dethroned him from his reputation and his prestige. Allah quotes Iblis as saying “[Iblees] said, “My Lord, because You have put me in error, I will surely make [disobedience] attractive to them on earth, and I will mislead them all” [5:39]. He also says “[Iblees] said, “Do You see this one whom You have honored above me? If You delay me until the Day of Resurrection, I will surely destroy his descendants, except for a few” (17:62]. He also said, “I will surely take from among Your servants a specific portion. And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them [sinful] desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah.” [4:118-119]

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Despite his threats, Iblis understood that there remains an all powerful Lord, and that he can only succeed with people who Allah allows him to do these things to; who Allah has left. Iblis also knew that Allah will not simply leave and forsake humanity. Rather, those who are sincere and have attached their hearts to Allah will be protected by Allah. Therefore, Iblis makes an exception “Except, among them, Your chosen servants” [15:40] while Allah, throughout the Quran, warns us of our enemy. Allah further announces that He will not leave humanity to be preyed on by Iblis. If Iblis sends his devils to attack them then Allah will send His angels to protect them. There will be angels surrounding each human to protect them from each devil. They will whisper good in their hearts as Iblis whispers evil. Allah promises that anyone who asks for forgiveness will be forgiven. The doors of repentance will remain open until a person dies. So just as Iblis will continue to attack the human until he/she dies, Allah’s doors of forgiveness and repentance will remain open until he/she dies.

Allah is showing us who is in the best interest of humanity; how each one, Allah and Iblis, are express in their relationship with humanity. Allah wants good for humans while Iblis wants evil. So where is our allegiance? It is easy to say “with Allah,” however, in surah al A’raf, Allah talks about the story of Adam and our mother, Hawaa’, and what happened to them. They were deceived and the shaytaan went after them. Their story indicates that Iblis’s promises and threats are real, while showing us the consequences of being vulnerable and falling into the deception of Iblis. Oh humanity, be careful. You have an enemy, and that enemy is coming after you. Allah has exposed the plots and the plans of Iblis, and told us that Iblis seeks to disrobe us and to cause us to eat from that which is haram. Allah says “Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts.” [7:20] Iblis succeeded in exposing their private parts by getting them to eat from that which is haram.

From this we see that Iblis’s attack against humanity revolves around these two things: consuming that which is haram and exposing our private parts. Look at civilizations throughout human history and modern times. The more society is willing to expose their body and consume haram the more shaytaan has grasp over that society. Conversely, the more a society is modest in their clothing, male and female, and moderate in their food consumption and habits, the less grasp shaytaan has over them.

Surah al A’raf communicates to the reader that Allah is here to help us by warning us of Iblis’s plots and plans while also indicating that with every step Iblis takes, Allah sends us things to protect us and to counter his plans. Allah says “O children of Adam, We have bestowed upon you clothing to conceal your private parts and as adornment. But the clothing of righteousness – that is best. That is from the signs of Allah that perhaps they will remember.” [7:26] This verse is telling us that Allah has beautified clothing in our eyes and made fashion something attractive to us to make it easier for humans to cover him/herself and be modest. What a beautiful, excellent, and merciful God. On top of this, there is the clothing of taqwah which is even more beautiful than external garments because it helps a person behave and speak beautifully.

Allah then says “O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts. Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them. Indeed, We have made the devils allies to those who do not believe.” [7:27] In other words, the devils are constantly coming after you and so constantly be aware. And in response to this, Allah is constantly sending and surrounding the human with angels who make dua for him/her and whispers good into their hearts. Allah sends these angels to protect the human who is also responsible for being alert and listening to the good whispers of the angels.

Allah then says “O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [7:31]. This is yet another way Allah is protecting us from the shaytaan. This is a place where the devils cannot come close to due to the strong remembrance of Allah and where adhan is called. Further, Allah is telling us to eat and drink to indicate that there is a large variety of food which are halal for us to enjoy making sure that we have more than enough to satisfy our natural human desire for food. So that when Iblis attempts to attract a person to haram food, such as pork and alcohol, the person finds plenty of alternatives to appease their taste buds. 

Finally, Allah says “O children of Adam, if there come to you messengers from among you relating to you My verses then whoever fears Allah and reforms – there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.” [7:35] Here, Allah is pointing to yet another way He is assisting humanity – the Prophets. These are individuals who Allah has given the most beautiful of character and the most eloquent of speech to allow them to be more attractive to individuals and to follow as role models.

Allah has given us all of the above so that we are protected and safe from our enemy. “Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” [55:60] Should we not be sincere to this Lord who has done this for us; who cares about us; who protects us? Should we not have a relationship with Allah who is beautiful and kind with us? It is the month of Ramadan, building iman, excelling and strengthening our relationship with Allah. After hearing these verses, should we not do more to show where our allegiance lies? Or shall we continue to neglect and make our religious duties secondary to where our allegiance begins to lean more towards the devils? The answer is obvious.

Tonight’s Ramadan Reflections Series talk was brought to you by the IOK Seminary Faculty. Catch up on previous videos or catch the next videos on the IOK Ramadan Reflections Series page.

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Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

IOK Seminary Faculty train highly motivated and dedicated Muslim men and women in classical Islam and contemporary scholarship, giving them the tools to grow as individuals, effectively serve those around them, and preserve the Islamic tradition in the West.

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