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(The hypocrites have deceived them) just like Satan, when he says to human... (Al-Hashr 59:16)

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Sūratu’l-Hashr (The Gathering)

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كَمَثَلِ الشَّيْطَانِ إِذْ قَالَ لِلْإِنسَانِ اكْفُرْ فَلَمَّا كَفَرَ قَالَ إِنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّنكَ إِنِّي أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ
(The hypocrites have deceived them) just like Satan, when he says to human, “Disbelieve in God!” Then when he disbelieves, he says (to human): “Surely I am quit of you, for surely I fear God, the Lord of the worlds!” (Al-Hashr 59:16)

One can draw a parallel between hypocrites and Satan. According to this verse, fearing God exists in the nature of Satan. This means that Satan knows God. Nevertheless, he always disobeys and rebels against God despite his knowledge. The exalted words of God warn us against the rebelliousness of Satan in various verses of the Qur’ān. Since Satan’s standing in rebellion and disobedience against his Lord’s commands implies his knowledge of obedience and submission to God, this shows that Satan is aware of both what obedience and submission mean as well as his duty of obedience and submission and that Satan rebels against God knowingly and intentionally.

In fact, God Almighty states in Sūratu’l-Kahf that, “He (Satan) was of the jinn and transgressed against his Lord’s command” (18:50). Thus, Satan is one of the jinn, who have been created from some sort of fire. It is likely that he was apparently in obedience to God until he was commanded to prostrate before Adam along with the angels. Like the angels, Satan, who belongs to the species of the jinn, was in a position to prostrate before Adam. However, in his nature he had an aspect vulnerable to disobedience, rebellion, and deviation. This aspect of his nature showed itself in the face of the command of “Prostrate before Adam!” immediately, and consequently Satan failed the test and has been lost as a result of opposing the command.

To summarize the realities about Satan and his nature, Satan deviated by not obeying God’s command of prostrating before Adam and was utterly defeated by the rebellious aspect of his nature. The same is always possible for human beings. There are such moments or cases when a human being, that noblest and most honorable of creatures, is defeated by their feelings or impulses such as anger, jealousy, hatred, and lusts that have been inserted in their nature as the elements of their trials and perfectibility, enters upon a way opposite to their conscience and almost deviates from humanity or being truly human. For instance, the feeling of jealousy caused many among the People of the Book to reject Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and blinded their eyes to him, for they had been expecting that the Last Prophet would appear from among their own nation. The same or similar sort of attitudes may also dominate us momentarily or—may God forbid—continually.

Truly, there are lots of cases where feelings or emotions lead us to the wrong way in spite of reason and logic and where we find ourselves in a delirium unawares. Like this, Satan incessantly lives full of jealousy, hatred, and anger toward humankind. As Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, declared, Satan has never been able to free himself from thinking and remembering: “Humankind was commanded to prostrate before God, and they did and gained. I was also commanded to prostrate, but I did not and I have been lost.”[1] It is likely that he utters screams of rebellion each time he sees human beings prostrate before God, which is the most explicit sign of their obedience and submission to God, and he finds himself in delirium. When the call to the Prayer is recited and the believers move and advance toward mosques to worship and bow down in prostration, Satan runs around in craziness so as not to hear the call to the Prayer.

Every act of human beings which means their obedience to and reinforces their connection with their Lord increases Satan in jealousy, hatred, anger, and delirium. Just imagine a person who is told that his son has been killed by a gang; this leads him to anger with that gang, and his anger increases when he hears that his wife has been kidnapped, and as a result, that person is full of the feelings of vengeance and can be expected to do everything in his power against the gang. Just like this person’s psychology, Satan feels continuous and increasing anger, hatred, and grudges against humankind, and this will continue until the Last Day.

In consequence, even though Satan has as much knowledge of God as fearing Him, he deviated from the Straight Path, defeated by the rebellious aspect of his nature and has been lost eternally.

The hypocrites and unbelievers who are persistent in unbelief and heresy and whose unbelief has been ingrained in their character are no different from Satan. If the word “God” sometimes comes out from their mouths and if they talk about religion and religious life positively, this is aimed at deception. They act with rancor and enmity toward believers and never keep back from searching for the ways to satisfy their anger and enmity. When they are unable to do evil with and inflict harm on believers, they act hypocritically, trying to conceal their hatred and enmity behind their deceptive smiles and gentleness and championing democracy. But whenever they find an opportunity and are able to do whatever they wish to harm believers, they commit all kinds of wickedness in the name of their unbelief. For them, might is right, and democracy is only a fantasy or is acceptable only as long as it serves their interests.

While putting trust in such people is disrespect for the feeling of trust, being in fear of them is distrust in God. Undeterred by satanic unbelievers and hypocrites, believers should always be open and frank toward everyone and act with love and affection, taking refuge in God from such people and their evils.

O God! I seek refuge in You from any distress and grief, and I seek refuge in You from helplessness and feebleness, and I seek refuge in You from fear and stinginess, and I seek refuge in You from being overpowered by debt and overcome by people.

[1] Muslim, Īmān, 133; Sunan Ibn Mājah, Iqāmah, 70; Musnad Ahmad, 2/443.