Story Night – Whisper (Part 2)

Bayyinah TV Story Night: Whisper. By Nouman Ali Khan

Part 2

So devils were made from fire and it implied that they can cause some type of burning to others. We also fall into this, right? Like being sarcastic or talking to other people that will hurt them and their feelings. When arguing, we find the most hurtful words because at that time, you want to cause the other person the most pain, right? In normal circumstances we don’t do this, except only in anger and that is devils’ character.

In the Qur’an, anger and arrogance are married together. That’s why those who have anger problems, also have arrogance problems. It goes hand in hand. Arrogance does not only mean someone feels better than other people. Arrogance also means someone feels that they are right and cannot be seen as wrong. So we hear people say: “How dare you what to correct me?”

So arrogance has no place in heaven as Allah said in A’raf:13 قَالَ فَٱهۡبِطۡ مِنۡہَا فَمَا يَكُونُ لَكَ أَن تَتَكَبَّرَ فِيہَا ((Allâh) said: “(O Iblîs) get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here). It means come down from heaven. Because at that time we were (along with Iblees) in heaven. Very close proximity to jannah.

But remember that we are created for the earth. This is a different understanding of Christians who think that we were sent down to earth as a punishment. But in reality, we were already meant to live on earth from the beginning. Remember Baqarah:30. However,  initially we were high in proximity to heaven.

So Iblees was  arrogant. The facts were presented to him but he was  so stubborn and arrogant that he couldn’t  change his mind. So here we can understand how Qur’an explain arrogance تَتَكَبَّرَ. He had  already made up his mind and the truth cannot sink in.

Secondly, arrogance also means when you look at what other people got and you think that it is you who should get it. This is like jealousy and wanting what others have, and it also means insecurity. All of that culminated into the meaning of arrogance.

And thirdly, the need to compare. In the mindset of always comparing with other people. Like in social media these days. People presented their life as happy but in reality, it is not. And if we fall into this comparing mode to other people, we are in trouble. And what’s worse, something we are looking and looking but because we are waiting for others to fail. We read the comments to see what other people are saying against those that posted in social media.

This is a sickness. Remember that there are many ways to get in a higher place. One, you do good and get elevated; but if you are not capable of that, then the only way to be better or feel better  is to put somebody down.

So the devil already feels that he’s lower in rank than Adam and he cannot surpass Adam. Therefore he resorted to a second tactic which is to bring Adam down. This is the problem if we keep on comparing with other people. Since we cannot be better than them, we eventually attack them to put them down, right? That’s why Allah said in Nisa:32 وَلاَ تَتَمَنَّوْاْ مَا فَضَّلَ اللّهُ بِهِ بَعْضَكُمْ عَلَى بَعْضٍ (And wish not for the things in which Allâh has made some of you to excel others). So don’t compare looks, money, intellects etc. It’s a sickness and will only damage you.

Therefore Devil got thrown from heaven and Allah said in A’raf:13 فَٱخۡرُجۡ إِنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰغِرِينَ (Get out, for you are of those humiliated and disgraced). The words مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰغِرِينَ means: amongst the small. It not only means small in size but it also means insignificant, worthless, someone who is not respected. So this explains him. And when he feels that way, guess what he wants us to feel? Exactly the same!

So here we learn that the devils are powerless. In akhirah, the Devil will say that he can only whisper, no more than that. Now  we understand  that the most powerful jinn (Iblees) himself says that he has no power over us. He can only whisper. This is told in Ibrahim:22 وَمَا كَانَ لِىَ عَلَيۡكُم مِّن سُلۡطَـٰنٍ إِلَّآ أَن دَعَوۡتُكُمۡ (I had no authority over you except that I called you).

And Allah says in Isra:65 إِنَّ عِبَادِي لَيْسَ لَكَ عَلَيْهِمْ سُلْطَانٌ. (And behold, thou shalt have no power over [such of] My servants). This is because humans have the ruh inside them. Devils can only whisper was-was to them, but can’t control them. If they can control us, then we can blame him, right? Owh, I did this and that because Satan holds the remote control. But that’s not the case, right? The choices were ours. So we can’t blame Satan in akhirah for our wrongdoings.

And since he is small, the devil wants us to believe that he’s big and powerful. So that’s why we hear some people say that the devils are so strong that they cannot break free. This is wrong. And the devil wants you to think that way. Remember that the devils are weak. When we recite istirja’ it should make him weak and they will have to leave.

And devil said: قَالَ أَنظِرۡنِىٓ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ ((Iblîs) said: “Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (i.e. the Day of Resurrection).”) And at that time, he was pointing at us, because we were there, remember? ‘They’ in this word means us. So he knows about the day of judgement and we already know about the day of judgement. As khalifah, we can make our choice. But we must remember to make the right choice. If we make right choices continuously and if we slip, then we need to taubat. We will be graded on the day of judgement and if we passed, then we will enter jannah.

So that’s the test for the day of resurrection. And this is the biggest test Allah has ever created. And it is a huge trust because Allah trusted us to be on earth. This is amaanah. And he has given it to us after offering it to someone other than us. This Allah says in Ahzab:72

إِنَّا عَرَضْنَا الْأَمَانَةَ عَلَى السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَالْجِبَالِ فَأَبَيْنَ أَن يَحْمِلْنَهَا وَأَشْفَقْنَ مِنْهَا وَحَمَلَهَا الْإِنسَانُ

(Verily, We did offer the trust [of reason and volition] to the heavens, and the earth, and the mountains: but they refused to bear it because they were afraid of it. Yet man took it up.

They refused to accept it because they know that if they failed, then the consequence is Hell. But humans accepted it and we are equipped with ruuh, a light that is connected to Allah. It’s our superpower. And because of that, we are more than capable to accept the trust and the test compared to others. We have the quality and the ability to pass this test with flying colours.

But is it always those who have the capability, does? No, isn’t it? A smart student for example, may or may not study. It’s a decision he/she has to make. You might have the ability, but you may not do it. So Allah has given all the potentials to humans, but not all would live up to their standards.

Every single human being has been given the test. We might already know what is in store for us if we live in this world. We already know and we know there will be our trials but still we accepted it because we also showed the jannah and we want to pass the test to go into jannah. All of us signed up voluntarily. And that’s why you were born into this world. Otherwise, we will not be born. So don’t say that we didn’t ask to be born. Actually we did… we were given the choice and we have already accepted it, and that’s why we are here.

So Iblees said: أَنظِرۡنِىٓ إِلَىٰ يَوۡمِ يُبۡعَثُونَ which is intended to all human beings. So here we learn that Iblees’s problem is not with one Adam only, but with all mankind. This is because of the insatiable hatred  he has towards humans. You heard about insatiable hunger, right? So this is about Ibless’s insatiable hatred . It’s not enough that Adam must fail, but he wants every single one of us to fail and enter Hell. He targets one by one of us. He wants to steer us away from jannah. He wants to prove to Allah that we are not worthy of Jannah. And Iblees was given the time to do just that. Which is to prove that he’s right.

And this is one of the Devil’s characters. When he is being corrected, he wants to go out of his way to prove he’s right. And some humans have this problem as well, right? The need to be proven right, it’s like a victory to him. He can’t lose an argument. It’s an inability to accept criticism.

And he blamed Allah for that in A’raf:16 قَالَ فَبِمَآ أَغۡوَيۡتَنِى ((Iblîs) said: “Because You have sent me astray,…) He blamed Allah because to him, it was Allah that made him slip. And that was his mistake, blaming Allah. As many people put the blame on others except themselves.

And what will he do to prove  he’s right? He will sit on the straight path لَأَقۡعُدَنَّ لَهُمۡ صِرَٲطَكَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ (surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path). This means that Allah already told everyone about the straight path. It’s the path to jannah. Iblees will sit right on it waiting for the human to cross it and mess with them. And not only that he will sit there, he said: ثُمَّ لَأَتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ وَعَن شَمَآٮِٕلِهِمۡ‌ۖ (Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left). What does these directions even mean?

When he said ثُمَّ لَأَتِيَنَّهُم مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ أَيۡدِيہِمۡ Then I will come to them from before them, it means in front of them. It means that he will stop people from taking the step towards the straight path. You… shall… not… pass….! For example, he will put fear on the human walking towards the straight path. He will put was-wasa: “What’s your family gonna say?”, “Oh, you gonna pray now?”, “You know how crazy you’re going to look?”, “You’re still young!”, “Why you’re looking like that?”, “Who’s gonna hire you?”, “You’re gonna be left alone….”, “You don’t have to take the step now.. you got time……” etc.

So the Devil doesn’t want you to take the step to the straight path and will stop you; or he will stand there and instead of allowing you on the straight path, he will show you all the many options other than the straight path. For every halal, there’s many other haram options, right? And so he will point them at you with all the glitters of the wrong paths.

And he will be pulling you from the behind وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِمۡ. Because usually when people take the step towards the straight path, they are leaving something bad behind them, right? They were doing something bad and they don’t want to do that anymore and start moving toward the straight path. But the devil will pull you back and start reminding you of the bad stuff that you used to do: “isn’t that fun?”, “I wonder what my friends from the past are doing? I’ll just give them a message (for da’wah)”. The emotional attachment is still there, right? So the Devil pulls you back. Or he will remind you of the bad things that you have done and he will say: “who do you think you are? You think Allah will accept you for all the things that you did?”.

On the right وَعَنۡ أَيۡمَـٰنِہِمۡ means when he lets you do good things (he also allows you to do good things, you know) and make you feel better and in a higher position to judge others. You do this and that, doing religious things, start giving classes and you feel a little higher and you find yourself better than other people. This is the scariest thing and the worst test. Self-righteousness is the scariest one.

And the devil picked one good thing about you and made you already saved. Example: “you don’t pray, but you give to charity, right?”, “Yes what you did was wrong, but you do good things too, right? So what’s the big deal? You should be saved, don’t worry about it, you’re still good…”.

And the left وَعَن شَمَآٮِٕلِهِمۡ‌ means when you take bad things and makes is feel that it’s not that bad. He would say: “you’re just human…”, “Everyone makes mistakes… don’t be too hard on yourself…”, it’s not Haram-HARAM, just a little bit, at least you didn’t kill anybody..”, “At least you’re not Hitler…” Here’s something you should know: if you want to compare with somebody worse than you, you’ll find it because they will always be someone worse than you.

And what’s scary is that, the It’s-not-that-bad, it’s-not-that-bad later will turn into: “what’s so bad about it? Why is it bad? I don’t understand it! Can’t I have a life?”

And after all these, he will make a claim: وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكۡثَرَهُمۡ شَـٰكِرِينَ (and You will not find most of them as thankful ones). Now why is this? You’d think that he would say: “O Allah, you’ll know that they are not obedient.” or: “you’ll find most of them will forget.” But why does he want to prove that humans are not grateful? Grateful of what that human did not do?

    • Grateful for the position of the highest honour that Allah gave. They will not honour it.
    • That Allah gave them the greatest test to allow them to enter the greatest reward (Jannah).
    • Grateful that Allah speaks directly to them.

When you’re not grateful, then you will think of yourself as worthless. And if you think that you’re worthless, then whatever that you’ve been given also seems worthless. You can’t see the value of it. For example, if you meet a depressed person and you bring them to a nice dinner, they can’t seem to appreciate and see the value of that gesture. Because they don’t have value for themselves.

Nothing will make them happy. That’s why the Devil puts you down so that you’ll not appreciate yourself and eventually, everything. They will complain and complain about everything. Have you met anyone like this?

And to these, Allah said in A’raf: 18: قَالَ ٱخۡرُجۡ مِنۡہَا مَذۡءُومً۬ا مَّدۡحُورً۬ا‌. ((Allâh) said (to Iblîs) “Get out from this (Paradise) disgraced and expelled.) Get out of here, you have been humiliated. مَّدۡحُورً۬ا‌ means you’re crushed on your own. Like a ball of paper, crushed and crushed. This is about the Devil who has the bad thoughts inside of him and his own thoughts are crushing him constantly. Nobody is doing that to him but he’s doing that to himself.

Now what happened to the devil taubah? You get asked of this sometimes (“what if the Devil repented, ustadz?”) Like he’s gonna do that. He won’t but if, let’s say for the sake of argument, he repented, Allah would accept. But he won’t because Allah already said that he’s مَّدۡحُورً۬ا‌. The hate crushed and keep crushing him till  the day of judgement. So it doesn’t matter that the Qur’an is being read to him, it will not change him at all. Owh he heard the Qur’an alright, that’s why we need to say istirja’ when we read the Qur’an. He listens to it but he’s in his world and no words will change him.

Allah then said something real scary: لَّمَن تَبِعَكَ مِنۡہُمۡ لَأَمۡلَأَنَّ جَهَنَّمَ مِنكُمۡ أَجۡمَعِينَ. (Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you all.) Allah is talking to the Devil and us now. If we follow the Devil, we’ll all be in hell. Together. So Allah has reminded us about hell from the beginning.

Now Allah turned His attention to Adam. يَـٰٓـَٔادَمُ ٱسۡكُنۡ أَنتَ وَزَوۡجُكَ ٱلۡجَنَّةَ. (O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise). Temporarily. When you read the Qur’an, a sukun is a pause, right? So we know that Adam is not meant to stay forever in jannah. Humans were meant to be on  earth. To be in Jannah is just for a short time. But why so? Like giving that opportunity and later to be taken? Why? It’s because Allah wanted the first human being to experience Jannah and to encourage his children to strive to enter jannah. Because he’s been there and knows what it’s like.

And enter it with your spouse because heaven is not a heaven without marriage. Because we humans don’t want to be alone. Even beautiful things would not look so beautiful without a partner, right? Joy isn’t joy if you’re alone. You want someone to share your pleasure with. Here Allah is teaching us that the first taste of heaven is a wholesome companionship. It’s the first glimpse of heaven.

And Allah gives this to us too in the world. Companionship gives you peace and tranquillity and the devil does not want any of this. He wants misery for you. So the first thing that he’s going to attack is the marriage institution. He’s gonna make something that’s supposed to be a piece of heaven, become a piece of hell.

First he would push us to have a relationship outside of marriage. And if they do get married, he’ll make sure that it’s gonna be hellish. But Allah has already given a formula for a beautiful marriage. It’s a 3 step formula: Allah said in Rum: 21

وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً

And among His wonders is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind. So that you might incline towards them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you. 

So the steps are: لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا, then مَّوَدَّةً, then رَحْمَةً. Peace – love – care. Unfortunately in many relationships, love comes first and from love, there’s care. When you love, you care. But peace is missing. And over time, one of them will say something that takes away the peace. Fighting ensued and the peace cracked bit by bit. Later it broke into  sarcasm, harsh words, and insults. Something that takes away the peace and the love, and care would shake. Then you don’t feel the love anymore and care will be gone.

Life is chaotic. And your spouse is supposed to be your peace. You can’t wait to talk to them, be with them, see them, comfort them. I mean, you love your kids, but your kids are not your peace. Let’s be honest. When the peace is maintained, the love stays and when the love stays, the care stays. The main purpose of marriage is actually peace, not love. Love and care are emotions and it comes and goes. But peace is a state of being and when you have that lifestyle, then the other two remain stable.

So we are seeing the same root word here from س ك ن for uskun (stay) and sakinah (peace). And He says: فَكُلَا مِنۡ حَيۡثُ شِئۡتُمَا (and eat thereof as you both wish.) Enjoy yourself free reign. But it comes with reminder: وَلَا تَقۡرَبَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةَ فَتَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ. (but approach not this tree otherwise you both will be of the Dzolimoon (unjust and wrong-doers)).

So this is their only syariah in Jannah. No elaborate reminder yet to them. Just these two words (eat whatever you want; don’t come near this tree). In our world, haram options are many and halal options are few; but in this story, it’s the opposite (all halal things available except just this one). Just don’t go near the tree. Easy isn’t it? Yes, except there’s Satan lurking around.

The devil started to create was-wasa to them. فَوَسۡوَسَ لَهُمَا ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ. (Then Satan whispered suggestions to them both.) Meaning he whispered  then gone, whispered  then  gone. How did  he do that, some may ask? Because Allah gives the ability to the Devil to whisper to them. And thus Allah gives the devils access to people. They can infiltrate our minds. He doesn’t have to be sitting next to you because he can have access to a human’s mind. Exactly how, we don’t know. It’s like a wi-fi signal that can reach us even though  it’s far away. Or the radio signal from the radio tower.

What does he whisper to them? To eat from the tree. Allah already told not to come near. Allah did not say: don’t eat from it. Though that’s the main thing both of them can’t do. Allah directly said, ‘Don’t even come near it’. Because the Devil will whisper to come near and nearer. And so the Devil does not tell you directly to do haram. You will go against it. But he will push you to come nearer to it. Not yet doing it, but to take the small steps leading to it. So people say: “I didn’t do anything wrong, I just want to look at it a little, nothing wrong in that, right?”. And with that, Satan brings you closer to destruction.

That’s why it’s hard to answer some questions and give fatwas to certain acts. Because it’s not yet clearly haram. But it’s already moving towards haraam. The devils teach the steps to humans. Devils are experts in this matter. And so humans become immune to his whispers. Because people are usually unaware of how the Devil is playing  games on us and tricking us into doing haraam things. It’s the small steps that matter and remember that.

Was-wasa does not only means ‘whisper’. Because if it’s just whispering, then it’s hamasa. But was-wasa means to whisper and then disappear. And he comes again to whisper and disappear. Why is this important? Because if he disappears, you don’t think that the whisper is from syaitan, but it’s from you. Because you look around and there’s nobody there, right? So it must be from our own mind, isn’t it? No, it’s from the whisper from the Devil. He’s just not around anymore for you to blame them.

Continue to Part 3

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Blog mentafsir Quran berdasarkan fahaman Sunnah dan salafussoleh.

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