BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
I am increasingly aware of shaytaan's long-term machinations; how he has pretty much got us surrounded. I am going to list a couple of those things, because the more we are aware of those devilish schemes, the more we can guard and fight against them.
Lately I've been thinking of how we follow our lusts. In fact, when we manage to control ourselves regarding one lust, we pursue another to congratulate ourselves. Of course, this is all succumbing to shaytaan's suggestions, as he will work from every angle imaginable to put us in a state of loss. Tell me if you can in some way relate to any of these scenarios.
- After having the will-power to control your eating, you celebrate by "treating yourself" to something frivolous or luxurious that you don't need.
- After having the will-power to control the urge to shop, you "treat yourself" and binge on chocolate, chips, or some other unhealthy food.
- After studying hard for a test or meeting a deadline, you "treat yourself" to a few hours of relaxation watching the latest movie or surfing the latest celebrity gossip.
We don't struggle to conquer our lusts, we struggle to conquer one lust and then replace it with another -.perhaps one we consider the lesser evil. If we conquer the lust for one Islamically undesirable thing, we succumb to the lust for another. Just think about it: entertainment, consumerism, socialization, and over-indulgence - one lust after another. If we try to categorize our lusts and excesses to see which category shaytaan is working his sneaky plans, for the most part we will find that he gets us from most, if not all, of them.
Now just think of this amazing Internet. We all know that there is a great deal of haram and fitna to be found on it. We also know that there is a wealth of information, beneficial knowledge, and a way of maintaining the ties of family and ummah. However, even with removal of images and muting the sound to avoid music, in the name of da'wah and beneficial communication, we cannot avoid every image and often end up wasting valuable time. We easily get sidetracked. In searching for information, we easily get sucked into conversations. The time required to respond to e-mail, keep up with news (even if limited to Islamic matters), is notable. I have numerous friends who tell me about the fitna of Facebook, wasting time on inane details of others' lives - things of no benefit, or even worse, of harm. Is it the best use of our time? Is it even decent use of our time? Is it all worshiping Allah? Is Allah pleased with our activity or not?
When I think of the Internet, I remember the ayah of Quran in Surah Al Baqarah revealed about alcohol and gambling.
"They ask you (O Muhammad ) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefits for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit.'' (2:219)
The Internet is another sneaky, circular plan of shaytaans, because it is essential for normal life and information as we know it and yet, it holds traps from the time we open up the browser.
These are just three little examples of shaytaan's long-term machinations. That rotten devil doesn't just whizz around whispering for us to make a bad decision or do a wrong thing. He has been working on communities, societies, countries, and the world since the time he was cast out, rejected by Allah. He's had literally thousands of years to develop his plans, which leave us encircled.
Oh, I know this sounds terribly depressing and rather hopeless...but it is not. Awareness is part of the solution and so is caution. When we can see those plans in action throughout society, we also build up awareness of the very real fact that shaytaan never sleeps. He is always trying to sabotage our good end. Seeking a way out through dua' is another. May Allah increase our taqwa, our wisdom, repel us from what He hates, and what leads to what He hates. May Allah show us how to worship Him in all situations, and strengthen us against shaytaan's sneaky plans - ameen.