Do We Hear Satan?
How does Satan whisper? Have any of us heard Satan?
We have, and we haven’t. We haven’t heard him consciously— that is we haven’t heard his voice while being aware of it— and we don’t know what kind of voice he has or what language he speaks.
But we have heard him, subconsciously. Allah the All-Knowing has said:
Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – (Quran, 114:5)
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He whispers in our sudoor, not in our ears. That is why it is so hard to catch him.
Science and Satan
There is a branch of psychotherapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). The basic idea of this therapy is that our emotions are not the direct result of external occurrences, but how we interpret those occurrences.
External stimulus > Thoughts > Emotions
For example, suppose after a job interview you fail to get the job. There are several ways you can interpret this situation, and each will give rise to a different kind of emotion.
Failed interview—>I am a loser. I can’t do a thing properly.—>sadness
Failed interview—>The interviewer didn’t like Muslims.—>anger
Failed interview—>I wasn’t prepared— next time I’ll do better.—>hope
The fascinating thing about this theory is the fact that these thoughts are automatic, i.e. we’re not usually aware of having them, and we don’t have them intentionally.
They don’t even occur in full sentences or a particular language, rather they just flash past our mind like very rapid visual projections.
Most often we only feel the emotion building within us without even realizing the thought which gave rise to it. Sound familiar? Yes, it is exactly like Satan’s whispers.
How To Detect Satan
How do we then detect these thoughts if they are so difficult to catch? First of all, we need to make lots of dua to Allah to protect us from the evil whispers, and the best dua is the last two surahs, to be recited every morning and evening (after asr).
Also whenever you detect a negative emotion or thought, seek refuge in Allah, as Allah said:
And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing. (Quran, 7:200)
Let us also look at how the psychotherapists treat this. They categorize negative automatic thoughts into ten (sometimes more) categories.
What we have to do is catch these thoughts in action in a thought record sheet, imprison them in paper, and look at them rationally.
Let us first look at the ten categories of negative automatic thoughts with examples, and then we’ll have a look at the thought record sheet.
|Thinking in black and white, either something is perfect or its all wrong.||(after getting a B in test) I am such a bad student.|
|Taking one or two instances and making a general statement on it.||(after husband comes home late) you’re always late!|
|Filtering out all the good things and keeping only negatives.||(in the above situation, forgetting the times when husband comes early)|
|Making the positive things somehow invalid||It doesn’t matter you came early yesterday, because you just wanted to watch your football match.|
|Making negative predictions or reading other people’s minds||I just know I’m going to fail.I know my teacher thinks I’m stupid.|
|Making something out of proportion.||I just can’t finish all these essays (despite having plenty of time).|
|Justifying your thought by your emotion.||Since I am feeling angry at you, it means you must have done something wrong.|
|Imposing rules on yourself or others when there is none imposed by Allah||I must get an A in all exams.|
|Calling names. A subcategory of overgeneralization.||You’re sick.|
|10. Personalization||Assuming things are your fault.||It is my fault my son doesn’t study.|
All these are Satan’s weapons. You will find that some of them apply to you personally more often than others. If you do the thought record sheet regularly, you will find out which ones are your most stringent enemies.
Whenever an unexplainable emotion bothers you, write it down in the sheet, and what thoughts accompany it. Write it all down no matter how illogical it seems. Then identify which of the ten types of negative thoughts it belongs to.
After you have done that, replace the negative thought with a positive rational thought, and observe how your negative emotion is transformed into a warm feeling of relief.
After some practice, you will observe that you become more and more aware of your fleeting negative thoughts, and they come less often.
And once you become more aware of these thoughts, you will find it easier to remember to seek refuge in Allah, in sha Allah.
Republished from Understand Quran.