Muslims, who are the people of faith, are aware that this world is a place of examination. The result of it will be received in the Hereafter. For this reason they are always in a struggle against their nafs (self) and the Satan. This struggle is not easy. It is actually a case of winning or losing an eternal bliss in eternal life.
There are a lot of guidance in the Qur’an and the Hadith that help Muslims in this struggle against the nafs and Satan. The Qur’an gives good news of eternal rewards for those who strives to follow the path of guidance. Muslims are aware of the good results of following Islam. But sometimes, despite all the guidance and good news, we have defeats against the nafs and Satan. What is the reason for this?
The people of faith are repeatedly defeated by the tricks of the party of Satan and as a result do things that have no reward – in other words, commit sins. Despite the existence of abundant means of guidance and uprightness, and despite that in the Qur’an Allah tells human of a sublime reward like Paradise, and a severe punishment like Hell, this happens a lot.
Moreover, in the Qur’an, Allah notifies, warns, reminds, threatens against Hell, and encourages him and awakens his yearning for Paradise. How is it then that Muslims can have ‘indifference’ towards those severe, terrible threats? How can their faith allow it? How can a believer sin against Allah, as a result of having been deceived by Satan’s extremely weak tricks, as pointed in the Qur’an “the guile of Satan is weak”? Why are we always in need of taking refuge in Allah from the evils of the satans?
First of all, evil and misguidance are negative and destructive; they are privative and corruptive. And the goodness and guidance are positive, constructive and repairing. For instance, a building that has been built by twenty men over twenty days can be destroyed by one person in just one day. For example, although the life of a man continues as long as his fundamental organs and vital functions continue, were a tyrant to cut off one of his limbs, it would cause that man’s death. This is, in relation to life, something negative and corruptive. For this reasonاَلتَّخْر۪يبُ اَسْهَلُ “causing destruction is very easy” has become a proverb. It is because of this secret that the nafs and Satan, at times, overcome the believers.
Secondly, the nafs of human always listens to Satan. And through some tricks Satan can throw man into terrible dangers by means of a simple, negative matter. For instance, nafs would like “not to practice Fajr” today. This is a very simple action; you just don’t wake up for Fajr and keep sleeping. And it is a negative action. So, because of this simple, negative deed, Satan leads one to commit that sin. In order not to be defeated by the tricks of the Satan, and in order to decrease the influence of the lower self (nafs) we should have strong “īmān”; we need to attain the sincerity as referred in the Qur’anic verse “Except, among them, your sincere servants.” (Hijr, 15:40) And as Prophet Yūsuf alayhissalam pointed the lower self always commands to evil; we must not let the evil-commanding-self deceive us in order to attain sincerity.
Finally, there are some faculties of human that receive the schemes of Satan. They may always cause one to commit sins easily. This is why two of the Names of Allah, “the Forgiving” and the “Compassionate,” are turned towards the believers. And let’s remember that Allah explains in the Wise Qur’an that His greatest benefaction to the prophets is “forgiveness,” and He invites them to ask forgiveness. That means we are always in need of these two Names. Allah makes clear that His vast mercy that encompasses the cosmos is a refuge for us, and He makes I take refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan a sanctuary for us against Satan. Then, we must always enter in that sanctuary in accordance with the command seek refuge in Allah.