STRIFE: al-Mujahadah


Part I: Against One’s Own Self and Desires

By Safaa Alshiraida

A muslim should strive in this life in order to keep himself/herself on the Straight Path that will finally lead , with Allah’s leave, to the gates of Paradise (Jannah). The main enemies a muslim strives against are his/her own self, desires and lusts and the the Satan.

A. Strife Against One’s Own Soul:

Allah (SWT) says in the Holy Qur’an:

    “And by the soul and Him Who perfected it in proportion. Then He inspired it (with knowledge of) what is wrong for it and what is right for it. Indeed he succeeds who purifies it (his own soul). And indeed he fails who corrupts it.” (Surat Ash-shams 91:7-11)

    “Whatever evil befalls you, is from yourself” (Surat An-nisa’ 4:79)

    “Verily the soul is inclined to evil except when my Lord bestows His Mercy (upon whom He will)” (Surat Yusuf 12:53)

So Allah (SWT) has shown the soul the right to follow and the wrong to avoid. A human being should then force himself to follow the right and avoid the wrong.

In order to win in the strife against one’s own self, the proper means of strife are to be used:

  1. Knowing Oneself and One’s Lord:

The human soul has its inclinations, aspirations and needs; and the Creator (SWT), the All-Wise, is the One who knows best what is good for His creatures.

    “Should He not know what He created?” (Surat Tabarak 47:14)

Allah (SWT) is well acquainted with all the secrets of that soul; and no human being whatsoever could claim that knowledge. It is, therefore, intuitively evident that whatever Allah commands people to do or avoid, it is for their own good. It is also self-evident that no human whatsoever can devise a way of life that fulfils all the needs of the human soul.

In addition, one should give some thought as to the countless bounties that Allah (SWT) has bestowed on him, and realize that if it were not for Allah’s Mercy and Providence, he would not have been able to survive even for one moment. The result of this recognition is that the love to The Creator is inculcated into one’s heart and, of course, it is much easier for one to obey Whom one loves and does one’s best to please Him.

  1. Purifying Oneself with Worship:

Purification of the soul and ridding it of its evils cannot be achieved without acquiring knowledge of Islam, doing good deeds and practicing the prescribed, and voluntary, acts of worship, particularly prayer (Salah). Allah (SWT) says:

    “Verily Salah prevents from sinful and illegal deeds” (Surat Al-ankabut 29:45)

It was reported by Bukhari and Muslim that Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) offered Salah at night until his feet swelled. I said to him `O Messenger of Allah! Why do you do that? Hasn’t Allah forgiven you your previous sins and those to follow?. He answered “Shouldn’t I then be a thankful servant?”. If this is what the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) did, what do you think we, sinners, should do?

  1. Knowing the Effects of Good and Bad Deeds:

Allah (SWT) says what could be translated as:

    “If you do good, you do good for your ownselves; and if you do evil, you do it against yourselves” (Surat Al-isra’ 17:7)

A scholar said: “A good deed produces light in the heart, strength in the body, light on the face, increase in provision and love in the hearts of others; while a bad deed brings about darkness in the heart, darkness on the face, decrease in provision and hatred in the heart of others”. Allah also said:

    “Each individual is in pledge for that which he has earned” ( Surat al-muddath-thir 52:21)

Once one has realized the effect of both Hassanah (good deed) and Sayyi’ah (bad deed), a reasonable and sincere person, of course, will choose to do the former and avoid the latter in order to gain the pleasure of Allah and enter Jannah and avoid His wrath.

B. Strife Against Lust and Desires:

Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:

    “Have you seen him who has taken as his god his own desire? Would you then be a guardian over him? Or do you think that most of them listen or understand? They are only like cattle; nay, they are even farther astray from the Path” (Surat Al-furqan 25:43-44)

In the sight of Allah (SWT), those who follow their desires irrespective of His commands are inferior to cattle. Ibn Al Qayyem describes such a person saying: “When he loves, hates, gives or takes, it is exclusively out of desires and lusts; desire is his leader, ignorance his guide and earthly concerns his only goal; when he is invited to the Path of Allah and happiness in the Hereafter, he does not listen, but follows Satan. To befriend such a dead-hearted person makes one subject to contracting his disease.”

The following is some means that help one strive against his lusts and desires:

  1. Reciting the Qur’an with Contemplation:

The glorious Qur’an is the Divine Light, Mercy and Guidance for mankind. When a believer recites the Qur’an and ponders upon its meaning, it offers him great help in overcoming his desires. The Qur’an clearly shows the truth which should be followed and the falsehood which should be avoided; Allah (SWT) has called `Al Furqan’ (The Criterion) that should be used to assess truth and falsehood; He also called it `Shifa” (Healing) since it cures the disease of the heart of a believer when he recites it. It is therefore the Qur’an that should be one’s first and most effective weapon to use against one’s desires.

  1. Studying the Sunnah:

The Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is the practical example to follow in order to implement Islam in our lives. Allah (SWT) says:

    “Say (O Muhammad!), If you love Allah, follow me. Allah will (then) love you and forgive you your sins” (Surat Al Imran 3:31)

He also said:

    “And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path” (Surat Ash-shura 42:52

  1. Reading The Stories Of Those Who Followed Their Desires:

    Allah (SWT) says:

    “And relate to them the story of him to whom We gave Our Signs, but he threw them away, so Satan followed him up, and he became of those went astray. And had We willed, We would have elevated him therewith but he clung to the earth and followed his own vain desires. So his similitude is the similitude of a dog, if you drive him away, he pants with his tongue out or if you leave him alone, he (still) pants with his tongue out. Such is the similitude of the people who rejected Our Signs. So relate the stories perhaps they may reflect” (Surat Al-A’raf 7:175-6)

Some scholars say that the above verses talk about Umayyah ibn Abis-Salt of Quraysh, though it puts general rules for anyone who rejects Allah’s Signs. It was reported that Umayyah knew from some Christian scholars that a prophet would be sent in Arabia; so he lived with the dream that he would be that prophet. The when Allah (SWT) sent to Muhammad (peace be upon him), Ummayah’s heart became filled with hatred toward Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said “Umayyah ibn Abis-Salt almost became a Muslim”
(Bukhari). He knew the truth but was hindered from following it by his desires and his hatred to him who was given that great honor from Allah. One day Umayyah said to Abu Sufian: “It is the truth, follow it!” meaning Islam. Abu Sufian asked: “Why don’t you follow him?”, he answered: “What prevent me from doing so is that I used to tell the women of Thaqif that I was the awaited prophet, and I would feel very shameful if they saw me follow that young man from Abd Manaf (the sub-tribe of the Prophet). Finally Umayyah decided to follow his own desires and died as a Kafir.

In Part II of this article we will, inshaAllah, discuss another important strife which is the strife against the Satan.


Part II: Against the Satan

By Safaa Alshiraida

A muslim should strive in this life in order to keep himself/herself on the Straight Path that will finally lead , with Allah’s leave, to the gates of Paradise (Jannah). The main enemies a muslim strives against are his/her own self, desires and lusts and the the Satan.

We mentioned in part I the tools of strife against the soul and the lusts and desires which are:

  1. Knowing Oneself and One’s Lord.
  2. Purifying Oneself with Worship.
  3. Knowing the Effects of Good and Bad Deeds.
  4. Reciting the Qur’an with Contemplation.
  5. Studying the Sunnah.
  6. Reading The Stories Of Those Who Followed Their Desires.

In this article; Part II, we discuss another important strife which is the strife against the Satan.

Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an:

    “Verily, Satan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire” (Surat Fatir 35:6)

Allah (SWT) also told us about Satan’s firm intention to mislead the children of Adam:

    “(Iblis) said: `Because you have sent me astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones'” (Surat Al-A’raf 7:16-7)

So when one is aware of the Satan’s hatred to mankind, one should do one’s best to disobey whatever Satan whispers, since, definitely, what your enemy tries to persuade you to do achieves his, and not your, goals.

    Satan tries to deceive one’s mind until one falls in his trap; he covers falsehood with the best-looking veil, truth with the ugliest veil. He convinced people that it is for their own good to worship idols, sever their ties of kinship, bury their daughters and marry their own mothers. He made people forsake the duty of enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong, out of politeness and keenness to keep good relationships with others, misinterpreting the verse:

“O you who believe! Take care of your own souls, if you follow right guidance,

no hurt can come to you from those who are in error” (Surat Al-ma-ida 5:105).

Satan accompanied Adam (peace be upon him) and his wife until they were expelled from Jannah; he accompanied Adam’s son until he killed his own brother; he kept on seducing Nuh’s people until they were flooded, Aad until destroyed by the wind, Thamud and Median until annihilated by the blast; he misguided Pharaoh and his followers until they were drowned, and accompanied the Quraysh, telling them to disobey the Prophet (peace be upon him) until Allah granted him victory over them. He then followed every misguided human being with the hope of leading him to the gates of Hell.

The following are some means for struggling against Satan’s whispering and temptations:

  1. Seeking Refuge in Allah:

Allah (SWT) says in Surat An-nas:

    “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men, from the mischief of the slinking whisperer, who whispers (evil) in the hearts of men, from among jinn and men” (Surat An-nas 114)

Refuge is sought in the Lord, Sovereign and God of mankind from the insidious whisperer, jinn or human, who prompts evil idea’s in people’s minds. Allah instructs us to seek His protection against this sneaking evil which locates itself in our hearts. For, without the aid of Allah, we cannot rid ourselves of such an evil which creeps into our hearts surreptitiously and imperceptibly.

This enemy is described as the `slinking whisperer’; he whispers evil in the hearts of people.. The word `slinking’ is an approximate translation of `Khannaas’ which means that this enemy whispers and then retreats, then whispers again, and then retreats, and so on. Some scholars say, explaining the meaning of `Khannaas’, that Satan whispers evil in the heart of a person; then if that person remembers Allah, Satan retreats and hides. And from the verse “who whispers in the hearts of men” one can see how close Satan is to him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Satan flows in the body of a man the same way as blood flows (in his veins)”.
Allah (SWT) has willed that Satan be so close to human beings; and since there is no way to protect oneself against such enemy other than to keep remembering Allah and seeking refuge in Him (SWT), the result is that one should always be in a state of mindfulness of Allah and determination to rid oneself of that sneaking enemy.

    “And those who strive in Our Cause, We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right” (Surat Al-ankabut 29:69)

The Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) has taught us some means of protection against Satan; among those means is what was mentioned in the Hadith: “Do not let your homes be like graves; Satan flies away from a home in which Surat-ul-Baqarah is recited”. Another weapon to fight Satan with is to say, as the prophet instructed: “La Ilaha Illa Allah, Wahdahu La Shareeka Lah, Lahul-Mulku Wa Lahul-Hamdu, Wahuwa Ala Kulli Shay’en Qadeer”, which means “There is no god but Allah, no partners are there with Him, to Him belongs the Dominion (of everything), to Him is all Praise, and He is the Omnipotent”.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that whoever says this Du’a a hundred times,will be protected against Satan for the whole day, besides being rewarded an enormous reward.

  1. Avoiding Unnecessary Gaze and Speech:

Unnecessary gaze and speech are the origin of most iniquities; they are also the two major paths through which Satan breaks into one’s heart. Unlike the desire to eat or drink, the desire to gaze and speak are never satisfied; if the latter are left uncontrolled, they never stop, in which case they will make one commit more and more sins.

Abu Hurairah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: “A part of adultery is man’s portion which he achieves anyhow. The adultery of the eyes is looking at that which is forbidden; the adultery of the ears is listening to that which is forbidden; the adultery of the tongue is uttering that which is forbidden; the adultery of the hand is grasping that which is forbidden; the adultery of the feet is walking to that which is forbidden; and the heart yearns and desires and the genitals confirm it or give it the lie” (Bukhari & Muslim). He also said to Mu’adh: “Will people not be thrown face down into hell only on account of the harvest of the tongue?”





One comment on “STRIFE: al-Mujahadah

  1. […] : The Quran Blog – Enlighten Yourself Etiketler: alMujahadah, STRIFE Bu yazı Cumartesi, 26 Haziran 2010, 03:08 tarihinde English […]

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