When our intentions are pure, the divine assistance/nusrat of Allah ﷻ will guide our every move, but once sincerity leaves the heart, this divine assistance leaves with it. Imam Ghazali رحمة الله عليه gives an example of the gravity of this nusrat. He mentions the incident of a person who was not an aalim but he was an aabid. An aabid means a great worshipper. So this aabid, He spent most of his time engrossed in worship. Though now, our shariah forbids staying aloof and obliges us to interact with others and give dawah, in the previous nations, secluding oneself for the sake of worship was permissible.
So this aabid, he did exactly that, he remained secluded. But one day, he came across the news that people were worshipping a certain tree. Infuriated over this, he decided to chop the tree down. He grabbed his axe and went on his way until suddenly; shaytan came and stopped him, disguised as an elderly man. “Where are you going?” Shaytan asked.
“I’m going to chop the tree down” replied the aabid. Shaytan tried to stop him. First, he tried verbally. He said that why are you worried about people? You’d rather pray at home! Don’t worry…this is not your job! The aabid further explained himself. The aabid said that chopping the tree is also an act of ibaadah for the pleasure of Allah ﷻ. Seeing his determination, shaytan then tried to physically stop him. They got into a scuffle and the aabid won. Again, the aabid advanced towards the tree. Another scuffle began and the aabid defeated shaytan again. So shaytan said that fine, I’ll propose a settlement.
The abid decided to give shaytan a hearing. This was his biggest mistake, which often happens to be our biggest mistake too! We mustn’t even *listen* to Shaytan’s whispers…don’t ever give him a hearing. So shaytan continued, saying that look, I know you’re poor. You must really desire to help people, but it must be difficult. So if you don’t chop the tree, I’ll give you three gold coins/dinaars every day. You’ll find it under your pillow and with this you can attend your own needs, and help others too. Cutting the tree will only be one virtue, once it’s done people will only go and worship another.
Do you see shaytans plot here? Nowadays shaytan still uses this same plot. We know we shouldn’t watch TV, let alone go on it! But what do people say? Well, if you don’t go on TV, someone else will…so I’d rather you go and preach on TV. So the abid contemplated over Shaytan’s settlement and eventually he gave in. He left the tree and walked away. The next 2 days, he saw two dirhams under his pillow just like shaytan promised. But on the third day, there was no dirham so he got angry. Once again he took his axe, and headed toward the tree to chop it down.
On the way shaytan met him, once again, disguised as an old man. Shaytan asked the abid that where are you going? “I’m going to chop the tree” he replied. Shaytan did not allow him and once again, they got into a scuffle. But this time, it was different. Because this time, shaytan overpowered. Shaytan won. The abid then asked him, “who are you?” Shaytan replied, “I’m iblees”.
Now I just want to digress for a second (to discuss what just happened). The old man reveals himself as shaytan, but not just any shaytan, this is ibless. The big shaytan. Yet, the abid managed to wrestle him to the ground two times. Did the abid need an amil? A taweez? Water that had been prayed upon? No, he didn’t! He just wrestled him twice. So then why can’t we wrestle the small shayateen? Why do we think we need an amil and a taweez around the neck?
Make Ibadah *properly*. Clean your heart. Keep a connection with Allah ﷻ. Read ayatul Kursi and the Duas Allah prescribed….and you wouldn’t need anything else. We read the same surahs as the Sahaaba رضي الله عنهم. The knots of black magic would open as Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم would recite! So it’s not the prescriptions that are faulty, it’s us. We do not read with yaqeen and ikhlaas, our actions are not right. So how will we benefit? A bullet can be the most powerful in the world, but without a firearm to put it in, the bullet will not have the desired effect. Likewise, without sincerity, our deeds won’t have the desired effect.
(Now the abid has just realised, this elderly man was actually shaytan all along.) So he said that tell me something, how is it that 2 times I was able to wrestle you to ground, you had to plead mercy…yet this time, you defeated me?! So this abid received this reply and this is very important.
Shaytan informed him that initially, your anger was for Allah ﷻ, so you overpowered and defeated me. Now just for a few dinaars, your niyyah changed. Your niyyah became contaminated, so Allah’s nusrat left and that’s why you can’t overpower me now!
That too, is our condition. This abid sold his amal for three dinaars, thereby depriving himself of the nusrat of Allah ﷻ. And as for us? Well, we must question ourselves…what are we doing wrong, due to which we can’t see the nusrat/divine help of Allah ﷻ in our lives?
May Allah ﷻ grant us sincerity and His nusrat, Aameen.
(The above is an extract from a bayan delivered by Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله. To listen to the full audio, please click here.)