Shaytaan Is A Strong External Reason Which Causes Iman To Decrease
He is held to be a strong external reason, which causes Iman to decrease. Shaytaan is a vehement enemy of the believers. He awaits calamities to afflict them. He has no desire or goal other than to jolt the Iman in the hearts of the believers and to weaken and corrupt it. Whoever submits to the whisperings of Shaytaan, complies with his notions, and does not retreat to Allah for refuge from him, his iman weakens and decreases. Indeed, it may disappear in its entirety depending on the Muslim’s response to such whisperings and notions.
It is for this reason that Allah has warned us of Shaytaan in the sternest sense and He has clarified his dangers, the detrimental consequences of following him as well as the fact that he is an enemy to the believers. Allah ordered the believers to take him as an enemy and therefore deliver themselves from him and his whisperings.
Allaah says: “O you who believe! Do not follow the footsteps of Shaytaan, and whosoever follows the footsteps of Shaytaan, then, verily he (i.e., Shaytaan) commands Fahshaa’ (i.e., to commit indecency and lewdness, etc.) and al-Munkar (i.e., disbelief, shirk, to do evil and wicked deeds, to speak or to do what is forbidden in Islam, etc.)…” [Soorah an-Noor (24):21]
Allah also says: “Surely, Shaytaan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.” [Soorah Faatir (35):6]
Allah says: “Verily! Shaytaan is to man an open enemy!” [Soorah Yoosuf (12):5]
Allah also says: “Shaytaan has taken hold of them. So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaytaan. Verily, it is the party of Shaytaan that will be the losers!” [Soorah al-Mujaadilah (58): 19]
Ibn al-Jawzee says: “Hence it is an obligation upon the sane person to be on his guard against this enemy, who has manifested his enmity since the time of Adam. He has sacrificed his life and self in corrupting the circumstances of the children of Adam and Allah has ordered one to be cautious of him…” He then mentioned a number of such texts and then said: “The like of this in the Qur’an is abundant.” [Talbees Iblees, pg. 23]
Aboo Muhammad al-Maqdasee says in the introduction of his book Dhamm al-Waswaas: “To proceed, Allah has indeed made Shaytaan an enemy to man. He sits in wait against him along the straight path and comes to him from every direction and way, as Allah has related from him that he said: “Surely I will sit in wait against them on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as being grateful ones (i.e., they will not be dutiful to You).” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7):16-17]
Further, Allah has warned us against following him and commanded us to possess animosity towards him and to oppose him, He said: “Verily! Shaytaan is to man an open enemy!” [Soorah Yoosuf (12):5]
He also said: “O Children of Adam! Do not let Shaytaan deceive you, as when he brought your parents (i.e., Aadam and Hawwaa’) out of Paradise…” [Soorah al-A’raaf (7):27]
Allah informed us of what he did with our parents as a way of cautioning us from obeying him and also to cut short any excuse for having followed him and Allah commanded us to follow the straight path …” [Dhamm al-Waswaas, pg.46. Also refer to Ibn al-Qayyim’s introduction of his own book Ighaathah al-Lahfaan, 1/10]
Thus, Shaytaan is an enemy of man. His desire is to corrupt the beliefs and to wreak havoc on one’s Iman. Whoever does not fortify himself from him through remembrance of Allah, resorting back to Allah and seeking refuge with Him, will become a breeding ground for Shaytaan, who will lure him to actions of disobedience, entice him to perpetrate prohibited matters, and push him to embark upon lewd sins. What a parish of his religion and what a corruption of his Iman will it be if man submits to him!
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, says: “Beware of enabling Shaytaan to establish himself in the very home of your thoughts and intentions, as he will corrupt them in such a manner that will make difficult its correction thereafter. He will cast all sorts of whisperings and harmful thoughts at you and he will prevent you from thinking about what may benefit you and it is you who have aided him against yourself by empowering him over your heart and thoughts and he then placed you in the possession of such thoughts.” [Al-Fawaa’id, pg. 309]
He, may Allah have mercy upon him, put forward an excellent similitude in this regard, which lies in total agreement. He says in another excerpt from his book:
“If you would like a consistent example for this, then his parable is that of a dog that is extremely famished; between you and the dog is a piece of meat or bread. He looks attentively at you and sees you not opposing him and he is so close to you. You drive him away and yell out at him and yet the dog refuses but to hover around you in circles and to try to deceive you with regard to what you possess in your hand.” [At-Tibyaan fee Aqsaam al-Qur’aan, pg. 419]
His intention, may Allah have mercy upon him, behind this parable is to demonstrate the scope of Shaytaan’s danger to a man if he does not seek refuge with Allah from him and fails to retreat back to Allah for refuge from his evil, through beneficial words of supplication and blessed forms of remembrance.
However, whoever turns away and is instead averse to that, Shaytaan will cling to him in this way in which he will tempt and dictate to him until he eradicates his Iman. Allah says:
“And whosoever turns away (blinds himself) from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent (i.e., this Qur’an and worship of Allah), We appoint for him a shaytaan to be a Qareen (i.e., an intimate companion) to him. And verily, they (i.e., shaytaans) hinder them from the Path (of Allah), whilst they think that they are guided aright! Till, when (such a) one comes to Us, he says (to his qareen), ‘Would that between me and you were the distance of the two Easts (or the East and West), a worst (type of) companion (you are indeed)!”[Soorah az-Zukhruf (43):36-38]
Posted from the Book: Causes Behind the Increase and Decrease of Eemaan, by Shaykh ‘Abdur-Razzaak al-‘Abbaad. Translated by Abu Safwan Farid ibn Abdulwahid Haibatan