Bayyinah TV Story Night: Whisper. By Nouman Ali Khan
So what is the Devil’s mode of operation? As mentioned previously in Hijr:28, Allah made human as creatures with their skins not naturally covered, because the word بَشَرً۬ا meaning their skins show. And previously it has already been mentioned that the Devil was being humiliated. And thus the Devil wants to humiliate us and he will use the skins of the humans to humiliate them.
Since our skins show, then from Adam onwards, human beings find honour with being covered with clothes. Animals don’t need this but humans do. This is our dignity. The Devil understood this. He knows that for human beings to be humiliated, it would involve their clothes being taken away.
So what purpose does the Devil did was-wasa to them? لِيُبۡدِىَ لَهُمَا مَا وُ ۥرِىَ عَنۡہُمَا مِن سَوۡءَٲتِهِمَا (in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts). The word سَوۡءَٲتِ means ‘ugliness’. Now, this doesn’t mean that human beings’ bodies are ugly, no. It has already been mentioned earlier that humans are a work of art.
But when human’s clothes are removed without the permission of Allah, that is when it becomes ugly. It’s ugly because it’s an act of disobedience to Allah. Something which is beautiful in the beginning can be spiritually ugly, right? So this is the Devil’s plan: that humans are not clothed and it’s a victory to them when this happens. His eventual goal is to put was-wasa on them, so that in the end, their clothes will be removed from them.
So what happened to Adam and Hawa? The Devil tricked them by telling a lie وَقَالَ مَا نَہَٮٰكُمَا رَبُّكُمَا عَنۡ هَـٰذِهِ ٱلشَّجَرَةِ إِلَّآ أَن تَكُونَا مَلَكَيۡنِ أَوۡ تَكُونَا مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰلِدِينَ (he said: “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save that you should become angels or become of the immortals.”). But why did it mention being angels?
He said: God just doesn’t want you to be here in Jannah. Remember that He told you that you’re going to be put on earth? And earth is not like Jannah, let me tell you that. You’re gonna have so many problems there. Jannah is good but you’re supposed to be in here only temporarily, right? But actually….. the angels got to stay here permanently, you know? So you need to become angels to stay here. It’s like a permanent residence. And to get it, you need to eat from this particular tree.
There’s something subtle here with Satan’s word. Satan doesn’t want Adam and Eve to be happy just being human. He wants them to want to be something else. Whereas it’s already mentioned that they are so perfect that even the angels were in awe of them, remember? So it teaches us that we don’t need to be something else, since we’re already at the top already, get it? We’ve already been honoured. And who doesn’t want to be in Jannah permanently? But the way to be there permanently is by being on earth, leading your life on the straight path so that you are worthy of Jannah and can live there permanently. That’s the only way and there’s no shortcut.
So Adam and Hawwa eat from the tree, but don’t blame them for eating from the tree, and say because of that, we are put on earth. No, that’s the biblical story whereas in the Qur’an, Allah already told Adam that he was supposed to be on earth. Being on earth is not a punishment.
The Devil tricked Adam and Hawa to come closer and closer to that tree and that’s why Allah described it in A’raf:22: فَدَلَّٮٰهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ۬ۚ (So he misled them with deception). And one of the tricks that got them was because the Devil swore to them both in A’raf:21: وَقَاسَمَهُمَآ إِنِّى لَكُمَا لَمِنَ ٱلنَّـٰصِحِينَ (And he (Satan) swore by Allâh to them both (saying): “Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.”) So the Devil’s whisper always sounds like they care for us, that they are looking out for us, for our benefits.
The word فَدَلَّ from دلو means pail or bucket. In some cultures in order to hunt animals, they will put food in a bucket and when the animal sees it and moves towards it, the human would pull the bucket closer and closer. That act of reeling closer and closer is called دَلَّ. And when you put a pail inside the well and pull it back, it’s a slow process, right? So this teaches the Devil didn’t get you right away, but slowly. He tricked you into doing something that seems innocent and at the end, you tell yourself: “how did I get to this?”. That’s how he operates. He didn’t tell you directly to do haram things. Instead, he will engage in the slowly but surely process to get you there.
Let’s get back to the story. Eventually Adam and Hawa tasted from the tree. ذَاقَا ٱلشَّجَرَةَ (they both tasted of the tree). And Satan was successful in tricking both of them. Both of them. Because if he just tricked one of them, then the other would remind the other one. So he tricked both of them together at the same time. And they knew that it was wrong but they didn’t remind each other. Because they have been tricked.
And you need to understand this war. The Devil doesn’t stop, right? For any of you, until you die. The only thing that’s going to stop you from his plan is one of you to remind the others of Allah’s word. Or, if you have the courage to say it to yourself. There’s either one of two that will be inside our heads. It’s either Allah’s word, or Devil’s was-wasa. Allah’s word is not automatically in our heads, whereas the Devil’s was-wasa will always be there because he doesn’t stop, remember? So you need to make an effort to put Allah’s word inside your mind.
So we need to counsel each other to the truth and Allah has reminded us about this in Asr:3 وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلۡحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوۡاْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ (and enjoin upon each other the truth and enjoin upon each other steadfastness.) The Devil’s words are like darkness and Allah’s words are like light. And if you don’t take in light, then darkness will remain and will keep on increasing. It’s happening anyway whether we like it or not. The default is human is already lost إِنَّ ٱلۡإِنسَـٰنَ لَفِى خُسۡرٍ (verily man is in loss.) So if we don’t do anything, we are already lost.
And what is Allah’s words? It’s the Qur’an. The Qur’an is supposed to be in our mind, our hearts. Because the Devils constantly putting thoughts in our hearts ٱلَّذِى يُوَسۡوِسُ فِى صُدُورِ ٱلنَّاسِ (who whispers into the breasts of mankind). An-Nas:4. And only Allah’s words would cleanse from the was-wasa of Satan.
But in our life, sometimes when we want to break free from the Devil, people near us are not ready yet. They are not devils (remember that), but they are also still struggling to break free. You must bring them together lovingly by reminding each other.
Now back to the story. As soon as they tasted from the tree, their clothes were removed بَدَتۡ لَهُمَا سَوۡءَٲتُہُمَا (their shame was discovered to them). They were completely nude and they immediately covered themselves up وَطَفِقَا يَخۡصِفَانِ عَلَيۡہِمَا مِن وَرَقِ ٱلۡجَنَّةِۖ (and the twain began to cover themselves with leaves from the Garden). They desperately ran around to pick up the leaves from the Jannah to cover themselves.
Allah never taught them to cover themselves but it’s the innate nature of human beings to cover themselves. Allah put that into our nature that we are not comfortable when we are exposed. But the Devil wants us to forget that feeling. Devils want us to feel good when we show our beautiful body to other people. He’s saying: “you have a beautiful body, right? Then show it to other people then!”
You know who has no hesitation in showing skin? The animal! And remember we talk about how the Devil wants us to feel that we are no more than animals? No more than mud? That’s his agenda because he wants our light to disappear little by little.
Then Allah asked Adam and Hawwa: وَنَادَٮٰهُمَا رَبُّہُمَآ أَلَمۡ أَنۡہَكُمَا عَن تِلۡكُمَا ٱلشَّجَرَةِ (And their Lord called out to them (saying): “Did I not forbid you that tree?”). Remember, Allah could have stopped them when they made their way to the tree, right? But He did not. Even when they touched the fruit, Allah did not stop them. Only when they tasted from it, then Allah called out to them and asked them, وَأَقُل لَّكُمَآ إِنَّ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنَ لَكُمَا عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ۬ (“and tell you: Verily, Satan is an open enemy unto you?”) Did you forget that he says he will come to you from every side?
Imagine how shocked Adam and Eve were. They were already embarrassed because their clothes had been taken, right? So this is what we humans will face in our lives, until judgement day. There will be times when we’re gonna mess up and that time, and hopefully we’re gonna hear the word of Allah at that time. Because unlike Adam and Hawwa who heard Allah speak to them directly, we are going to hear the word of Allah from the Qur’an ourselves. We need to open and read it ourselves.
What was their response? قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَآ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِينَ (They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.”) This is the famous dua that we need to remember. Lost what? Lost the truth that You have given us.
When they both made this dua, they were still in heaven. They have made a mistake and Allah called them out and they apologised. They were not sent to earth yet. Allah teaches us that when humans genuinely ask for forgiveness, Allah will immediately forgive. So even before Adam and Eve have already been sent to earth, He has already forgiven them. That means that they were not sent to earth as a punishment, right? Because they have already been forgiven even before they were sent to the earth.
So why put them in Jannah in the first place, and later put them on earth? It was as a test for us. Because in Jannah, there are so many halal things and only one haram thing. Because a test usually is easy in the beginning, right? And even then the Devil managed to trick our father and mother. Now Allah is sending them to earth and there’s more haraam material than halal things. This world is the real test.
There’s more things that Satan can use to trick us here. So we cannot feel safe from Satan. Never feel safe. Don’t say that Satan is nothing, Satan will never trick you, that you’re so strong, because he’s here and he’s gonna do his work. Remember that our father and mother are strong themselves, and they didn’t get the advice from any speaker but from Allah Himself. But even they were tricked. They know who the angels are, who Satan is and even sees him with their own eyes. But still they got tricked, right?
Even they forgot. So forgetfulness is what Satan used to trick us. Forgetfulness and not replacing Satan’s word with Allah’s word is the way that the Devil will destroy humans. The remedy is there already and if you don’t take it, he will wreck you, he will destroy you.
So the simple test which is the tree is a training exercise only. That’s all it was. It’s to prepare Adam and his progeny on earth. Our parents were given the rehearsal to prepare them and us. And what they and we learn is how easy it is to fall into the plan of the Devil. Was he powerful in the story so far? No, he’s not. But is he consistent ? You bet. And you can only fight consistency with consistency. That’s what we should take from this story.
Allah then after accepting their forgiveness, said قَالَ ٱهۡبِطُواْ بَعۡضُكُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ عَدُوٌّ۬ۖ وَلَكُمۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ مُسۡتَقَرٌّ۬ وَمَتَـٰعٌ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ۬ (Allâh) said: “Get down, one of you is an enemy to the other [i.e. Adam, Hawwa (Eve), and Shaitân (Satan),]. On earth will be a dwelling-place for you and an enjoyment, – for a time.” Who is addressed in this verse? We all are. There are many tafseer for this particular verse, but one of it is Adam becomes enemy to Hawwa and vice versa. Why? Because not reminding the word of Allah to each other. Sometimes the Devil trick is for you to say evil things, but sometimes his trick is so that you don’t say the right thing (keeping quiet when you should say something).
And we will live temporarily only on earth to fulfil our destiny. قَالَ فِيہَا تَحۡيَوۡنَ وَفِيهَا تَمُوتُونَ وَمِنۡہَا تُخۡرَجُونَ He said: “Therein you shall live, and therein you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (i.e.resurrected).”
And Adam has been sent to the earth. The story hasn’t stopped yet. And now Allah talked to us. Where? Still in Jannah. Most think that the scene is over, but it’s not because we’re still there, remember? We’re not yet sent to earth at that time. يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ قَدۡ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكُمۡ لِبَاسً۬ا يُوَٲرِى سَوۡءَٲتِكُمۡ وَرِيشً۬اۖ وَلِبَاسُ ٱلتَّقۡوَىٰ ذَٲلِكَ خَيۡرٌ۬ۚ O Children of Adam! We have bestowed cloth upon you to cover yourselves (screen your private parts) and as an adornment, and the raiment of righteousness, that is better. Here Allah reminded us about clothes. And teaching us that there are two types of clothing; one is made from materials such as cotton and silk; but there are another clothes that are supposed to cover you with Allah’s awareness, it’s taqwa and that is the word of Allah.
And He continues that reminder with ذَٲلِكَ مِنۡ ءَايَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَذَّكَّرُونَ Such are among the Ayât (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) of Allâh, that they may remember. Hopefully we still remember this reminder from Allah that was delivered to us in the realm of arwaah. Because the matter of the clothing is very important, Allah told us there and then. Allah is telling us that as He sent revelation from heaven, the clothing is also sent from heaven, so take it seriously. Guard your modesty.
He’s not done with us yet. يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ لَا يَفۡتِنَنَّڪُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ كَمَآ أَخۡرَجَ أَبَوَيۡكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنۡہُمَا لِبَاسَہُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوۡءَٲتِہِمَآۗ O Children of Adam! Let not Shaitân (Satan) deceive you, as he got your parents [Adam and Hawwa (Eve)] out of Paradise, stripping them of their clothes, to show them their private parts. Please be cautious with the Devil and his minions. The Devil has managed to trick our father and mother and they will try to do the same with us. And since he managed to trick our father and mother, that means that it’s the biggest threat. And the Devil will attack us using this method, every – single – day.
While we’re living on this earth, Allah gave us a lot of laws, right? About zakat, about money, ibaadah, dietary and many others. But which law that he emphasises over everything else, that the Devil will use to trick us? It’s the clothing, right? So we need to pay attention to that because the Devil wants humanity’s cloth to be off. And we now live in a society with social media, where lewdness is easily accessible in all forms of devices. The statistics of what the kids are exposed to, even in elementary school, is shocking and disturbing.
The remember that the Devil is always watching us إِنَّهُ ۥ يَرَٮٰكُمۡ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ ۥ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا تَرَوۡنَہُمۡۗ Verily, he and Qabîluhu (his soldiers from the jinn or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. They are always looking for opportunities to deceive us and whisper was-wasa in our hearts and minds. And there are those that falls to the succumbs and the deceit of the Devil إِنَّا جَعَلۡنَا ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينَ أَوۡلِيَآءَ لِلَّذِينَ لَا يُؤۡمِنُونَ Verily, We made the Shayâtin (devils) Auliyâ’ (protectors and helpers) for those who believe not. These are the people that don’t mind taking the clothes off and showing their bodies to other people.
And the Devils are easily winning this war that we are fighting with them. The only way is to replace his words with Allah’s words. To fight darkness with light. We should ask ourselves: how much of the Qur’an is part of our life?
And then Allah talks about other civilizations that have passed so that we can learn from their mistakes. وَإِذَا فَعَلُواْ فَـٰحِشَةً۬ قَالُواْ وَجَدۡنَا عَلَيۡہَآ ءَابَآءَنَا وَٱللَّهُ أَمَرَنَا بِہَاۗ And when they commit a Fâhishah (evil deed), they say: “We found our fathers doing it, and Allâh has commanded it on us.” They claimed that what they were doing was already in their culture, that it’s normal and that’s what their ancestors have been doing all along and for a very long time. And they say that of course it’s what Allah wants, because it’s what everybody does. It’s the natural way of doing things, right?
But whose ancestors are you following? Because your ancestor is actually Adam, remember? Oh you said you’re following your culture? No, actually your culture is Adam as well. Tradition? Again, your tradition is supposed to be Adam. The verses we just studied is where Allah opens up to us our actual heritage, history, culture and tradition.
And you can’t used the name Allah to do bad things قُلۡ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَأۡمُرُ بِٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِۖ say: “Nay, Allah never commands what is shameful. Are you lying in the name Allah on things that you know nothing about? أَتَقُولُونَ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ Do you say of Allâh what you know not? No, don’t do that!
And it’s interesting when Allah later says يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ خُذُواْ زِينَتَكُمۡ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسۡجِدٍ۬ O Children of Adam! take your adornment at every worship; So we need to dress beautifully when we are praying.
When do we dress up? On special occasions like graduation, formal events, award ceremonies, right? Meaning, when you are about to be recognized, you’ll dress up. And remember that human beings were recognized by sajdah when Allah told the angels to prostrate to Adam?
So every time we do sajdah, we are supposed to dress up. Because that sajdah should remind us of the recognition that we received from Allah. It’s a special occasion and we are supposed to dress up. That sajdah to Adam happened in heaven and the subject of clothing was revealed in heaven. Now two heavenly things come together when we do sajdah. So beautiful!
The Christian and also the Jewish view of life in this world is as a punishment. But we have presented that Allah did not intend that at all. He already decided that humans will live on earth (even before we were created), and not because of the mistake of Adam and Hawwa. Allah said in the previous verses that He gave stability to us in this world.
But, do we have stability? You might say that our parents struggle, your family struggle, you and many others that you know struggle in this life. Our country does not have stability, the Islamic nations and that and that nation as well. So what stability is Allah talking about? Hasn’t chaos been the history of the world over and over again?
Remember this and this is the summary of the whole story. There are two worlds: outside of you and inside you. The world outside is the most difficult test that Allah has created for you. That’s why you can see so many instabilities all around you, all over the world. That’s why the most beloved to Allah that is the Prophets, they experienced so many instabilities and trials throughout their lives.
But the people who are on this path of Allah, Allah put something inside them ie: the ruh and also His Word which is the wahy and the light. There might be earthquakes around them, but they will have stability inside them. Everything else is shaking but there’s calmness within them. And people wonder why these kinds of people are so calm with whatever is happening around the world. This is what Allah mentions in Ahzab:22 وَلَمَّا رَأَى الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الْأَحْزَابَ قَالُوا هَذَا مَا وَعَدَنَا اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَصَدَقَ اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَمَا زَادَهُمْ إِلَّا إِيمَانًا وَتَسْلِيمًا And [so,] when the believers saw the Confederates [advancing against them], they said, “This is what God and His Apostle have promised us!”- and, “Truly spoke God and His Apostle!“ and all this but increased their faith and their readiness to surrender themselves unto God. Here Allah tells the story of the group of sahabas who were facing the militaries of the kuffar and they were possibilities that they will be crushed, by multitude of armies who are many times more than them, but they believed in Allah and Rasulullah and thus have the most calming effect on them.
A scholar once said that when someone decided to be on the path of Allah, the Devil and his armies got alerted. And they will try to make that person’s life be miserable and those that are closest to him. This has always been their way, the way of the Devil. And we who decided to be on this path of Allah, need to find the deep calm inside ourselves. And find the reliance of Allah. Because if you look for that calm from someone else other than Allah, you will keep falling and disappointed. Instead, you have to find solace in Allah’s word and let it speak to you.
Remember that you are not a loser. You don’t inherit the bad traits of your family. Yes you can inherit their looks, but you don’t inherit their traits. It’s not in your blood. Every ruh was created even before the blood has been created. Every ruh is a unique marvel of Allah. You are not to be judged based on the merit of someone else. The battle is between you, the Devil and the word of Allah, and that’s all. The most that we can do with each other is help each other.
But eventually we will face Allah alone وَلَقَدۡ جِئۡتُمُونَا فُرَٲدَىٰ كَمَا خَلَقۡنَـٰكُمۡ أَوَّلَ مَرَّةٍ۬ And behold! ye come to Us bare and alone as We created you for the first time (An’am:94). So we have to walk the path on our own and no one will walk it for us.
So this is the story of Adam and the Devil, and you can see that it might be different from what you understand before and have been told. Now we know what is the game of the Devil and our relation to him. And this story gives us hope that we can have a deep relationship with the word of Allah and it will steer us to the right path. The Devil wants to put inside our mind that we are beyond hope and beyond redemption and please know that it is not true. Even the Pharaoh had his chance until he died and so do us.