THE STORY OF SHAYTAN (Satan)
As told to the Prophet
(May the blessing and peace of Allah be upon him)
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
Praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; and blessing and peace be upon our master Muhammad, the righteous Prophet, upon his family, the pure ones, and upon his companions.
As reported by Mu'adh ibn Jabal (r.a.). Abd-Allah the son of `Abbas (r.a.) said: "We were sitting together in a group with the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) in the house of one of the Ansar, when someone called out 'O people of the house! Will you permit me to enter? I have a task to fulfill for you'. "
"Do you know who the caller is?" asked the Apostle of Allah (PBUH). "Allah and His Apostle knows best." They said. So the Apostle of Allah (PBUH) told them: "This is Satan, the Cursed One whom Allah has dammed."
"Let me kill him, O Apostle of Allah !(PBUH)" said Umar ibn al Khattab (r.a.), but the Prophet (PBUH) said: "Gently, Umar. Do you not realize that he is among those granted respite until the Appointed Day? Instead, open the door for him, for he is under command. Understand what he says and listen to what he has to tell you."
Abd-Allah son of `Abbas (r.a.) continued: "So the door was opened for him and he entered to join them. He was an old man, blind in one eye and with only very thin hair growing on his face. His beard consisted of seven hairs like those of the horse, and his eyes were set vertically. His head was like that of a great elephant, his eye-teeth protruded like the tusks of a boar, and his lips were like those of a bull."
"Peace be upon you, Muhammad." He said, "and peace be upon you, O gathering of Muslims." "Peace is of Allah (SWT), Cursed One," said the Prophet (PBUH). "I have heard. What is your desire?" "Muhammad," he said to him, "I did not come to you of my own accord, but rather because I was forced to do so." "And what is that, that forced you, Cursed One?" asked the Prophet (PBUH).
Satan replied, "An angel came to me from the Exalted Lord and told me, 'Allah Most High orders you to come to Muhammad (PBUH). Be humble, abject and unpretentious; tell him how you deceive and mislead the sons of Adam (AS), and answer truthfully any question he asks you.
By my might and glory, if you tell him a single lie or fail to be truthful with him, I will turn you into ashes for the winds to blow away, and your enemies will gloat at your misfortune.' So I have come to you as I was ordered, Muhammad. Ask me anything you want, for if I do not respond truthfully to what you ask me my enemies will gloat at my misfortune, and nothing is there more unbearable than the gloating of one's enemies."
"If you be sincere," said the Apostle of Allah (PBUH), "then tell me - who among men do you most hate?" "You Muhammad," replied Satan, "and those like you are to me the most hated of Allah's (SWT) Creatures." "What else do you hate?" the Prophet (PBUH) asked. "The devoted youth who dedicates his soul to Allah Almighty." "And then who?"
"A pious learned man I know to be patient." "And then who?" "He who remains pure through three prayers." "And then who?" "A patient pauper, if he speaks of his poverty to no one and does not complain of his plight." "And how do you know him to be patient?" "Muhammad, if he complained of his plight to another, created as he is, for three consecutive days, Allah (SWT) would not record for him the merit allotted to the patient." "And then who?"
"The rich man who is thankful." "And how do you know him to be thankful?" asked the Prophet (PBUH). "When I see him take the right thing and put it in the right place."
"Then the Prophet (PBUH) asked, "What happens to you when my people rise for prayer?" "Muhammad," he replied, "I am afflicted by fever and trembling." "Why Cursed One?" "Because when the worshiper prostrates himself before Allah (SWT), Allah (SWT) raises him a step."
"And when they fast?" "I am fettered until they lapse." "And when they make the pilgrimage?" "I become insane." "And when they read the Qur`an?"
"I melt, as lead melts over the fire." "And when they give alms?" "It is as if the almsgiver had taken a saw and cut me in two."
"And why is that, Abu Murra?"1 asked the Prophet (PBUH). "In almsgiving there are four benefits," he said; "and they are that Allah Almighty sends down blessing on all his possessions, endears him to His Creation, makes his offering a screen between him and the Fire, and through it defends him from infirmities and disasters."
[What do you say of Abu Bakr Siddiq? * omitted *] "He did not submit to me in the days of ignorance, Muhammad, so how could he do so under Islam?" "And what say you of `Umar ibn al-Khattab?" "By Allah (SWT), I never encountered him without fleeing from him."
"And what say you of `Uthman ibn Affan?" "I feel ashamed before one whom the angels of the Merciful feel ashamed."
"And what say you of `Ali ibn Abi Talibi?" "Would Allah (SWT) that I were secure from him head for head; he would leave me alone and I would leave him alone. But that he has never done." "Praise be to Allah (SWT), who has made my community felicitous and you wretched until the Appointed Day," said the Apostle of Allah (PBUH).
But Satan, the Cursed One, said to him, "Alas, how wrong you are! Where is the felicity of your community while I live and die not until the Appointed Day?" How can you be pleased with your community while I enter them through the bloodstream and flesh and they recognize me not?
By He who created me and granted me respite until the day when they are called forth, I shall tempt them all, ignorant and learned, illiterate and literate, blasphemer and worshiper, except for the sincerely devoted worshipers of Allah (SWT)."
"And who, according to you, are the sincerely devoted ones?" "Do you not know, Muhammad, that he who cherishes the dirham and dinar is not sincerely devoted to Allah Almighty?
When I see a man who loves neither dirham nor dinar, nor flattery nor praise, I know that he is sincerely devoted to Allah Almighty and so leave him alone. But as long as the worshiper cherishes wealth and flattery, and his heart is preoccupied with worldly desires, he will be more submissive than I could possibly describe to you.
Do you not know that the love of wealth is one of the most heinous sins of all, Muhammad; and that the lust for power is one of the most heinous sins of all; and that pride is one of the most heinous sins of all? Do you not know, Muhammad, that I have 70,000 sons, each of whom has 70,000 devils?
Among these are those I assign to the learned men, those I assign to young men, those I assign to old men, those I assign to old women - as for the young men, there is no disagreement between us and them; and as for the boys, the [devils] play with them as they choose - those I assign to worshipers, and those I assign to ascetics.
They enter among them and drive them out from station to station and gate to gate until they beguile them by one means or another; they deprive them of sincerity, so they worship Allah Almighty insincerely and yet do not realize it."
"Do you not know, Muhammad, that the monk Barisa devoted seventy sincere years to Allah (SWT), to the point that he could cure by his invocation anyone who was ill; yet I did not abandon him until he had fornicated, murdered and apostatized.
He is the one to whom Allah Almighty referred in His Glorious Book when He said: 'Like Satan, when he said to Man, "Disbelieve;" then, when he disbelieved, he said, "Surely I fear Allah (SWT), the Lord of the Worlds.'"2