The Devil is a trickster. Deceit is his profession, and he has been in business for as long as humans have existed. He knows our psychological makeup very, very well. He is cunning and crafty, and he works very hard to achieve his goals. He has many tactics, at the top of the list being baseless misgivings (waswasa) and creating doubts in our minds and hearts. He wants us to become confused, obsessed, and compulsive to the extent that it destroys us.
The tactic of baseless misgivings [waswasa] is so important for us to be aware of, that Allah Most High placed the Surah dealing with it at the very end of His book, sealing the Qur’an with timeless counsel for the human being. Yet the very name of that Surah – al-Nas (humanity) – reflects Allah’s limitless generosity and care for His creation. He reminds us that He is Rabb al-Nas, Malik al-Nas, Ilah al-Nas (The Caretaker of humanity, the King of humanity, the Lord of humanity). He is Caretaker, King, and Lord of all of creation, yet he singles humanity out to honor us and to show His immense love and concern for us.
And what is the context of His mentioning these Divine attributes? Our seeking His protection: “Say: I seek refuge in…”
This, then, is the key to combating the Devil – turning to Allah in a state of weakness, expressing our utter need for His help and protection against this cunning enemy. The remembrance of Allah (dhikr) is a stalwart asylum that blocks out the Devil’s whisperings, which are in reality of no power or consequence. As Ibn Ata’illah states, “If the Devil is not heedless of you, then do not you be heedless of the One in Whose Hand is your forelock.” Allah is in full control. Allah created the Devil to spur us forward in our journey to Him Most High.
Learn sacred knowledge so you know the reality of the Sacred Law and its limits, and then turn to Allah with hope, confidence, gratitude, love, contentment, and trust in Him. Express your need of Allah’s help, and then let Him take care of it. Relax and give no weight whatsoever to the Devil’s whisperings. The most frustrating thing for him is that we ignore his insinuations, and focus on Allah and His remembrance. The Devil hates when we are full of hope and reliance in Allah. He hates when we are grateful and sincere. He hates when we give no weight to him, but rather turn to Allah with love.
Our Beloved Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
Verily the religion is ease, and no one shall make the religion hard except that it will destroy him. So be balanced, do your best, and rejoice! And seek help in the morning, the early evening, and something of the night.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Relax, and as our Prophet taught, rejoice. Be happy and content with Allah.