The eleventh of the maladies of the heart is “tama’”. Seeking to fulfill worldly pleasures through forbidden means is called “tama’”. The worst kind of “tama’” is expecting things from human beings. Performing supererogatory prayers (nâfila) is tama’ when it causes one to have conceit and pride. Also, performing “mubâhs” is tama’ when it causes one to forget about the next world. The opposite of tama’ is called “tafwîz”, which means striving to obtain permissible and beneficial things and expecting that Allâhu ta’âlâwill let you have them.
The devil tries to deceive human beings by showing hypocrisy as sincerity and tama’ as tafwîz. Allâhu ta’âlâ has appointed an angel for the heart of each human being. This angel inspires good thoughts (ilhâm) to that human being. The devil on the other hand insinuates evil suggestions (waswasa) to a person’s heart. Anyone who consumes permissible (halâl) food stuff can discriminate between good inspirations and evil suggestions. Conversely, anyone who consumes forbidden (harâm) food stuff will not be able to distinguish between the two. A person’s nafs also insinuates evil thoughts or suggestions or desires into his heart. These thoughts or desires are called “hawâ”. Inspirations and evil suggestions are not continuous but the desires (hawâ) are continuous, and they increase as time passes. Evil suggestions diminish and finally disappear as you pray and make (dhikr). The desires of the nafs could only decrease and finally disappear through strong self-fight (mujâhada). The devil is like a dog. It runs away when it is chased but comes back later from another direction. The nafs is like a tiger. Its attacks could only be stopped by moderating it. The devil which gives evil suggestions to human beings is called “hannâs”. If a human being does not follow an evil suggestion of the devil, the devil gives up that suggestion and starts with another one. The nafs always wishes to do destructive and evil things. In order to prevent the accomplishment of a very useful and beneficial deed, the devil will insinuate a person into doing a less useful deed. In order to coax him into a grave sin, it will infuse into him the wish to do a trivial good deed. The trivial good deed which is accomplished upon the suggestion of the devil will taste very sweet to that man and he will wish to do it in a hurry. For this reason, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ said “Hurry is ignited by the devil. Following five things are exceptions to this rule: hurry to marry off one’s daughter, hurry to pay back one’s debt, hurry to make preparation for the burial of the deceased, hurry to feed a guest, and hurry in repentance upon committing a sin.” The following hadîth-i-sherîf which is written in the section which expounds on the atrociousness of postponing a daily prayer (termed namâz) (until its prescribed time is over), of the book Eshi’at ul-lama’ât, reads as follows: “O Alî! Do not postpone the following three things! Perform the ‘salât’ prayer in its early prescribed time! Perform the ‘salât’ prayer for a dead Muslim immediately when the corpse is ready for interment! Marry a girl or widow immediately when someone with proper qualifications proposes to marry them.” The phrase “with proper qualifications” in this hadîth-i-sherîf refers to a man who performs his (five) daily prayers (termed namâz or salât), who doesn’t commit sins and who earns his money by permissible means. The good things that are inspired by an angel must be done with the fear of Allâhu ta’âlâ without rushing, or contemplating the results. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states as follows in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “An inspiration which comes through an angel will be compatible with Islam. The evil suggestions ‘waswasa’ which are insinuated by the devil will cause one to depart from Islam.” One should strive to do the inspired things and fight against one’s nafs and the devil lest one should indulge in the evil suggestions. A person who follows the advice of his nafs also follows the evil suggestions of the devil. Alternately, it becomes very easy to carry out the good thoughts inspired by an angel for those who do not follow the desires of their nafs. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “The devil gives evil suggestions ‘waswasa’ to the heart. When the name of Allah is made dhikr of, (i.e. when Allâhu ta’âlâ is remembered and His Name is mentioned,) the devil runs away. Otherwise, it continues with its suggestions.” [This hadîth-i-sherîf shows us also that it is necessary to make dhikr.] The thing which comes to the heart could be either an evil suggestion of the devil or an inspiration of an angel. Which nature it is of, can be judged by its compatibility with Islam. If this method fails, one should resort to a true religious scholar, asking him whether it is a good inspiration or an evil suggestion. One should never ask sham scholars who trade their religion for money or for worldly ranks. One may also ask a real, devoted “Shaikh” or a perfect spiritual guide (Murshîd al-kâmil) whose teachers are all renowned and devoted perfect spiritual guides themselves and their spiritual link like an unbroken chain reaches to Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’. The friends of Allâhu ta’âlâ who are called “Qutb al-madâr”, even though they are very few in number, will always exist until the time of doomsday. Leader of enlightenment (Qutb al-irshâd) who is an Islamic scholar of Ahl as-sunnat and a perfect spiritual guide does not always exist everywhere. Scholars in this capacity are quite rare, and there is a long interval after each of them. One should not presume that those sham leaders (fake shaikhs) who exist everywhere at all times are like those true perfect spiritual guides. One should be very wary lest one should be misled by one of these sham leaders (fake shaikhs) and lose one’s happiness in this world and in the world to come. Things that come to the heart will taste very bitter to the nafs if they are compatible with Islam or if they are inspired by an angel. Otherwise, if the nafs finds them very sweet and one wants to do them in a hurry, then it should be known that they come from the devil and they are evil suggestions .
The devil has many tricks. Ten of them are famous:
First: The devil says to a person that Allâhu ta’âlâ does not need their worships. One should remember the sixty-second âyat of sûra Baqara of the Qur’ân al-kerîm which purports, “… And any who believe in Allâhu ta’âlâ and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward…” (2-62)
Second: The devil says to a person that Allâhu ta’âlâ is Compassionate and Gracious and that therefore He will forgive you and let you enter Paradise. One should remember the thirty-third âyat of Sûra Loqman of the Qur’ân al-kerîm, which states, “Do not be swayed by the Graciousness of Allah,” and the sixty-third âyat of the Sûra Maryam of the Qur’ân al-kerîm which states, “We will allow into Paradise only those who have the fear of Allah in their hearts.”
Third: The devil tells you that “your worships or deeds are all defective and smeared with hypocrisy and therefore you cannot be a person who fears Allah. Allâhu ta’âlâ in Sûra Mâida of the Qur’ân al-kerîm says, ‘Allah only accepts the worships of the people who have the fear of Allah in their hearts.’ So, your worships will not be accepted and you are doing all these for nothing and you are suffering like an animal which is flogged by its owner for nothing.” You should respond to the devil by saying that you are doing your worships in order to avoid the punishments and in order to obey the commandments of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and that your duty is to comply with what you are commanded, and that whether the performed worships will be accepted or not is the business of Allâhu ta’âlâ, and that it is guaranteed that the worships which are carried out by observing its rules and its “fards” will be accepted. Not performing obligatory duties is a grave sin. One should perform obligatory duties in order not to commit the grave sin. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Anyone who has any intelligence will not indulge in the desires of his nafs and will perform worships. Idiots, however, will yield to the desires of their nafs and then expect mercy of Allâhu ta’âlâ.” The things that are necessary for the next world should be prepared in this transitory world.
Fourth: The devil tries to stop a person from performing worships by saying to him that he should use his young energy for earning money now, and that later, after obtaining a comfortable living standard for himself he can perform the acts of worship. One should answer the devil by saying that no one knows when they will pass away. Everyone’s time of death was determined by Allâhu ta’âlâ in eternal past. One’s death may be very near; therefore, one must perform the worships immediately within their prescribed times. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Halakal-musawwifun”, which means that those who leave today’s work to tomorrow are losers.
Fifth: When the devil cannot stop a person from performing his worships, it will say to him, “Hurry up! Don’t delay the salât prayer!”, or “Don’t be late!” By doing so, it tries to prevent him from performing his worships properly and with due strictness regarding their precepts. One should answer the devil by saying that there are only a few obligatory prayers. Therefore, one should perform them by observing all of its proper conditions. One should go further and tell the devil that a relatively small number of nâfila (supererogatory) prayers performed in a manner suitable with their precepts is better than a much greater number of those not so properly performed.
Sixth: The devil tries to make one commit hypocrisy by suggesting to him that he should perform his prayers in such a beautiful way that everyone should admire their beauty. One should answer these suggestions by saying that “no one is capable of doing any goodness or harm to one’s self. Since this is the case, doing any goodness or harm to others is out of the question. It would be ridiculous, therefore, to expect something from creatures, who are so powerless. Only Allâhu ta’âlâ, alone, can give goodness or harm to people. Consequently, Allah’s seeing a person’s prayers is good enough for him.”
Seventh: When the devil realizes that it can’t stop a person from performing his worships, it will suggest self-admiration of his worships. The devil will tell him how smart and alert he is as well as tell him that while everyone is unaware of the reality, he is performing worships. He should answer it by saying that the intelligence, alertness and awareness are not coming from himself but they are a favor of Allâhu ta’âlâ. If Allâhu ta’âlâdid not favor him with these, he wouldn’t be able to perform any prayers.
Eighth: The devil wants to promote secret hypocrisy in a person by suggesting to him that he should perform his prayers secretly so that Allâhu ta’âlâ will place his love and honor into the hearts of others. A person who receives these suggestions should answer the devil by saying, “I am a slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ and He is my Owner. He may either accept my prayers or reject them. It is not my business whether or not He places my love into the hearts of others.”
Ninth: The devil suggests to a person by saying, “Why should one perform the prayers? It is already determined in eternal past whether a person will be a happy person (sa’îd) who will be delivered to Paradise or an unfortunate person (shaqî) who will be delivered to Hell. Hence, whoever is a happy person, his wrongdoings will be forgiven when he commits sins, by not performing the worships, and he will still go to Paradise. A person who is predetermined as an unfortunate person in eternal past will surely go to Hell regardless of how much worship he performs. Thus, do not tire yourself needlessly! Be comfortable!” One who receives these types of suggestions should answer by saying, “I am a slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ and the duty of a slave is to carry out the orders of his owner.” If the devil counters by saying, “If there is a fear of punishment for not performing the worships, in that case, it becomes a necessity for a person to perform the worships. But there is no fear of punishment for the happy person.” One should answer by saying, “My Lord knows everything and He does whatever He wishes. He either gives goodness or troubles to whomever He chooses. No one has any right to ask Him why He does this or that.” The devil showed himself to Jesus (Îsâ) ‘alaihis-salâm’ and said to him, “Are you saying that those things that are determined in eternal past will come to pass?” Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ replied, “Yes, certainly that is the case.” The devil then said, “If that is the case, go jump from the top of the mountain if it is determined in eternal past that you will not be harmed, no harm will come to you!” Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’ replied, “O you, accursed one! Allâhu ta’âlâ tests His slaves. A slave has no right to test his Owner.” One should say the following to oneself in order to guard oneself against these types of suggestions: “If it is determined in eternal past that I am one of the happy ones then it is necessary for me to perform the worships in order to increase rewards and degrees. If I am one of the unfortunate ones, I will perform the worships in order to avoid punishment for them.” One should further say to oneself, “Performing worships do not bring any harm to me. Allâhu ta’âlâ is absolutely Wise (Hakîm). Therefore, it would not befit His Wisdom to punish a person who performs worships for His sake. Even though not performing the worships would not harm a happy person, it will not give any benefit to him, either. Hence, how could a happy person ever prefer not to perform the worships? Anyone who has reasoning will perform worships that are beneficial and abstain from those things that are harmful. If it was determined in eternal past that I would be one of the unfortunate ones, I would still prefer being an obedient slave who has been sent to Hell to being one who has been sent there because of his disobedience to Allâhu ta’âlâ. Moreover, Allâhu ta’âlâ promises that He will place those who perform worships into Paradise and punish, in Hell, those who do not perform worships. Allâhu ta’âlâ certainly will keep His promise. It is reported by previous scholars with unanimity that He will not renege on His promise.”
Allâhu ta’âlâ creates everything through causes. This is His ’Âdat-i-ilâhiyya (Divine law of causation). He suspends His law of causation only in special cases such as mu’jizât and karâmât. He informs us that He has assigned worships as a vehicle for entering Paradise. In other words, He created the blessings of Paradise as a reward for worships. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “No one can enter Paradise owing to his performed worships.”
Something which is given as a reward should not be mistaken for something deserved owing to one’s efforts.
Tenth: The devil says to a person, “If it is determined in eternal past that a person will perform worships, then, that person will perform worships. The Decree of Allâhu ta’âlâ does not change. Human beings are forced to accept the Decree of Allâhu ta’âlâ, so that they either perform the worships or don’t perform the worships, depending on the eternal Decree of Allâhu ta’âlâ.” These suggestions of the devil are similar to the previous suggestions. Accordingly, the ones who are determined as happy ones in eternal past will be able to perform worships, and it will be necessary for those who are determined as unfortunate ones in the eternal past not to perform the worships. One should reply to the deceits of the devil by saying: Even though Allâhu ta’âlâ creates everything including the good and evil actions of human beings, He gave small amounts of will power (irâda al-juz’iyya) to human beings and animals. This type of will power is exercised by human beings, but this exercise of will power cannot be explained with the statement that human beings created something, for will power does not exist in the external universe (things other than human beings). It exists inside the hearts of human beings. Creation takes place when something comes into being in the external universe. By contrast, the Omnipotent Will of Allâhu ta’âlâ, (which is termed Irâda-i-kulliya,) exists as a self-standing entity. Allâhu ta’âlâ has made man’s limited will power a means for creating his actions. Allâhu ta’âlâ could create even without man’s will power but it is His Divine Habit to create things through man’s will power. An oft-seen exception, however, is that He has suspended this Habit of His for the sake of His beloved prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawât-u-wa-t-taslîmât’ and His (darling slaves called) Awliyâ ‘qaddas-Allâhu ta’âlâ asrârahum-ul-’azîz’, creating through those blessed people extraordinary events quite unattached to His law of causation. These events are termed miracles.
Man’s (limited will-power called) irâda-i-juz’iyya is not the sole factor effective in the materialization of his actions. In other words, not everything that man wishes, comes into being. Nor is it a customary method of Allâhu ta’âlâ to create only as He wills. For this reason, human beings are not forced in their actions in any way. Human beings use their will power for something they want to do. If Allâhu ta’âlâ also decrees it, that action materializes. The devil tries to deceive human beings by saying, “A human being performs worships if Allâhu ta’âlâ wills it, and he does not do the worships if Allâhu ta’âlâ does not will it. So, man is forced to do or not to do his actions. It does not matter whether a human being works or not. The Decree ‘qada and qadar’ which is given in eternal past will materialize.” It is true that actions of human beings materialize according to the Decree given in eternal past but, for them to materialize, human beings use their will power. In other words, a human being uses his option of selection and selects and wants to do something or chooses not to do something. The meaning of the eternal Decree is that Allâhu ta’âlâ knew with His infinite knowledge and wisdom how a person would use his limited will power and decreed accordingly and wrote these into (a special book called) the Lawh-il-mahfûz. Since this is clearly the case, there is no problem of being forced to do anything. If someone knows what another person will do during a given day and decrees that he should perform those actions and write all his knowledge on a piece of paper, the person who will perform those actions cannot claim that he is forced to do those actions. He cannot complain by saying, “You knew what I was going to do. You wanted me to do those actions. You even wrote them on a piece of paper. Therefore, you caused all the actions I performed!” For, he has done all the actions by using his own will power, not because the other person knew them and wanted him to perform them and wrote them on a piece of paper. Similarly, Allâhu ta’âlâ’s Knowledge and Decree and His writing them in the Lawh-il-mahfûz does not constitute coercion over His creatures. Allâhu ta’âlâ knew in eternal past that a certain person would do a certain action and therefore decreed that he should do those actions and wrote them in the Lawh-il-mahfûz. His knowledge in eternal past depends on the actions that are carried out by the person using his limited will power. So, the person’s actions materialize through His Knowledge, Will and creation. If a person did not use his will power, Allâhu ta’âlâ would have known in eternal past that he would not use his will power and thus He would not decree and would not create, which means to say that the knowledge depends on the known things. If human beings did not have their will power and if their actions were only created by the will of Allâhu ta’âlâ, then one could say that human beings were forced in their actions. According to the (only true Islamic school of credal teachings called the) Madhhab of Ahl as-sunnat, actions of human beings are created through a process of two overlapping stages: the (limited) power (of option) exercised by human beings; and the (infinite) power (of creation) possessed by Allâhu ta’âlâ.
[The spiritual heart (qalb) of a human being is not made of matter. It is like electric or magnetic waves. It does not occupy a space. But, its power and effect are produced on the material heart which is located on the left side of the chest of a human being. ’Aql (wisdom), nafs, and rûh (soul), also, are separate entities like the spiritual heart (qalb). These three entities are connected to the spiritual heart. Sense organs of a human being such as eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin, sense colors, sound, smell, taste and coldness or warmth, and transmit these impressions into the brain through the nerve system. Brain transmits these into the spiritual heart as soon as it receives them. The wishes and desires of wisdom, the nafs, the soul, and devil are also transmitted to the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart uses its will power and makes a choice from among them, and makes a decision. It either rejects and eliminates the alternatives suggested, or accepts them and relates its acceptance to the brain, and the brain transmits these through action nerves to the organs. The organs, in turn, will move and perform the decided actions if Allâhu ta’âlâ also wills and gives the power to these organs. Thus, the actions which are chosen or decided by the spiritual heart materialize.]