Lessons from a Hadith of Imam al-Baqir (as)
Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (as) has been reported as saying that:
[Prophet Nuh (as) had preached among his people for many years but most of them rejected him and had declined to follow his teachings. Not only this, but they also caused a lot of trouble for Prophet Nuh (as) and harmed him physically. Eventually, Prophet Nuh (as) invoked Allah (SWT) against them and a severe flood destroyed them all. After the flood, Iblees (Shaytan) came to Prophet Nuh (as) and said, “O Nuh! You have done a great favour to me. Now I want to reward you for it”. Nuh (as) said, “By Allah! I hate to do favours to you – what was it?” Iblees said, “You invoked Allah against your people and He drowned them all. Thus, no one has remained for me to delude him. I am now at rest till Allah creates another generation and then I will delude them”. Prophet Nuh (as) asked, “(O Iblees!) What is the reward you want to offer me for this?”. Iblees said, “I will let you know of a secret. There are three situations when I am extremely close to the servants of Allah and very easily prompt them to evil”. ]
What are those three situations?
Firstly, when a person is in state of Anger. Imam Ali (as) says: “Beware of Anger for it is a great army from among the armies of Iblees”.
Dhul-Kifl was one of the Prophets of Allah. He (as) came after Prophet Yasa’ (as). His real name was ‘Uwaydiya ibn Ooreem but the Holy Quran has mentioned him as Dhul-Kifl. Quran says: “And Isma’eel, Idrees and Dhul-Kifl – each of them was among the patient”. (21:85) Why was this Prophet (as) known as Dhul-Kifl and what does this mean? In Arabic, Dhul-Kifl means ‘ a guarantor’ or ‘one who gives surety’. When Prophet Yasa’ was going to die, he (as) asked the people: “Who among you is willing to become my successor with three conditions? He will always fast during the day; He will pray during the night and he will never become Angry”. Dhul-Kifl stood up to volunteer. Prophet Yasa’ repeated his conditions and once again Dhul-Kifl volunteered himself for this great task. After the death of Prophet Yasa’ (as), Dhul-Kifl became his successor and was steadfast on the conditions till his death hence he (as) became known as Dhul-Kifl ‘the guarantor’.
Shaytan once gathered his army and asked, “Who amongst you will make Dhul-Kifl break his pledge?” A Shaytan whose name is Abyadh said that he would do this work and therefore he was despatched. Dhul-Kifl used to stay awake during nights in prayers and during the day he (as) would fast and also attend to his work of guiding people. He (as) had allocated a certain time for himself during the day to sleep and rest. One day, he (as) completed his work and returned home to sleep. As he (as) was fast asleep, Abyadh came and began screaming, saying: “Someone has done injustice to me”. Dhul-Kifl woke up and asked him to go and bring the person who had done injustice to him. But the Shaytan said that the person would not believe him. Thereupon, Dhul-Kifl gave him his ring and asked him to show it to the person and this way he would believe and come. Shaytan took the ring and left but Dhul-Kifl thereafter could not feel asleep.
Second day, Shaytan came back and started screaming again at the same time when Dhul-Kifl was fast asleep. The caretaker told him to go away but Shaytan refused and said that the ring had not worked and he demanded justice. The caretaker informed Dhul-Kifl about this and he (as) got up and gave him a letter to give it to the person who had been unjust to him asking him to avail himself. Shaytan left and Dhul-Kifl again could not sleep. On the third day, once again Shaytan came to disrupt Dhul-Kifl’s sleep and claimed that the letter too had no effect on the person. This time Dhul-Kifl got up and holding the hand of Shaytan started walking with him. Realizing that his plot had failed, the Shaytan left the hand of Dhul-Kifl and disappeared and it was here that Dhul-Kifl realized that the whole episode was nothing but instigation from Shaytan to break his pledge.]
The second situation when Shaytan is very close to man is when a person is judging between two persons. Among the things that actually prevent us to be ‘Just & Fair’ when judging between two persons is ‘Our Relationship’ with either of them. For instance: If a dispute arises between two people – one is close to you and the other is not; and they come to you for judgement – it is common that:
You will either rule in favour of a person whom you have a relation with; or show leniency towards him in your judgement. If both are unknown to you than you shall not bother! According to Islam this is NOT fairness!
And the third instance when Shaytan is very close to man is when he is alone with a Na-Mahram woman – in such a place that they are not seen by anyone. Allah (SWT) has created man and woman in such a way that they are bound to be physically attracted to each other. One, who is physically healthy and in sound mind and claims that he is NOT attracted to the opposite gender is either lying OR he is seriously abnormal. Islam is a practical religion. It is aware of such realities hence it has either completely shut the doors of ways that mislead a person OR has warned of its dire consequences. For instance: Consumption of Alcohol. The kind of society we are living in is such that man can easily be tempted into consumption of Alcohol. Hence we will find that Islam has shut many doors, which lures us to it. It is not only Haraam to drink Alcohol but all those things associated with Alcohol are also Haraam. Adultery & Fornication. It is a free and liberal society. One can easily fall into these vices. Therefore, not only are they Haraam but anything that leads / or can lead to them is also Haraam. You cannot mix with the opposite sex freely; Bashfulness has to be maintained; you cannot shake hands with the opposite gender and so on.
We must learn from this Hadith to safeguard ourselves from the traps of Shaytan. And the way to do this is to resort to Al-Isti’adha. “And say: My Lord! I seek Your protection from the promptings of devils; and I seek Your protection, my Lord, from their presence near me”. (23:97-98) The way to do this is to recite: A’OODHU BILLAHI MINASH-SHAYTAANIR-RAJEEM (I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytan)
Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff