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Satan is Clever… Here is One of His Tricks

Editor’s note: The following text is not strictly verbatim transcript of the video. Some editorial modifications were made to make the text publishable as an article.

The twenty-second verse of Surat Al-A`raf is a long one, but in this brief reminder, I want to share with you the first part of the expression that is used in it, that has just an incredible amount of wisdom in it for life in our dealings with Satan.

Allah Almighty is describing how Satan got our parents, Adam and Hawwa (Peace be upon them), to make the mistake that they made.

What was his strategy to get them to listen to him? Not just what he said to them, we all know that he whispered to them, we all know that he offered them eternity and that they could stay in Jannah. We know that, but how did he do it? What method did he use?

That method is important to understand, and it is captured in the first expression of the verse, (Fadallahuma Bighurur). The verb dalla is used when you draw a bucket, which is called dalw in Arabic. Another related verb is adla, which means to drop a bucket down and pull it right back up. You know in the old times there is a well and you kind of crank up the water? You know, and you pull the bucket back up, this is adla.

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But Dalla is to slowly lower the bucket, or to put a bucket, you know, for a very primitive way of hunting an animal. You have some food, like a carrot or something, you put it inside the bucket and it is tied to a rope, and the animal comes and you sort of pull it little, by little, by little towards yourself, and the animal follows it. This is actually called dalla and that is exactly how Satan works.

Satan didn’t go out and say, “Disobey Allah!” He offered it, just a small little bit of compromise, and they listened. And then he offered just a little bit more.

He may have whispered to them, “It’s harmless, what I’m saying isn’t haram, I’m just saying, take it a little bit easy, you know? You don’t have to eat from this tree. I’m not saying you should eat from the tree, I’m just saying at least check it out. It’s a beautiful tree, there’s no harm in looking at it, is there?”

Now look, Allah’s commandment was {Do not go near this tree} (Al-A`raf 7:19). So, Satan may have started with them saying, “Look, at least you are not touching it, okay? Just go near it, what’s the big deal?”

And when they go near, “You know what, it is not like you are not supposed to climb it, you are just not supposed to eat from it. Just have a little climb, it is not big deal.”

It’s not just one time. The word dalla also implies that these suggestions came a day, then another day, then another day, like this was a process for Satan. It was not like he whispered to Adam (peace be upon him) and immediately he went and he ate from the tree; rather, there was actually an entire, strategic plan; little, by little, by little winning over the argument.

And that is what he does to us till this day. This is the reason it is mentioned in the Qur’an. That he drew them out using deception.

In other words, there are things that are clearly wrong. You and I know that, there are things that are clearly, clearly wrong. But there are a lot of small, not as clearly wrong steps that are there, that you should have the sense to know that if I take this one tiny step, tomorrow I will be taking another tiny step, and then another, and then another, and before I know it, I will end up in the wrong.

So you have to put protective measures in place. And when you put those protective measures in place, it keeps you from falling into trouble. Now Satan comes, and he does not attack directly; he does not tell you to make the haram into the halal. That’s too direct, and the Muslim will say, “No, it’s obviously haram, I’m not going to do that.”

Rather, he comes and says, “Listen, this one little step I am asking you to take, it is clearly not haram, that is not wrong, you can do that much. There is nobody that can blame you for that.”

Then people come and say to the scholar, “Hey, so I know that drinking is wrong, but can I hang out with friends who drink? I am not going to the bar or anything, but they sometimes drink in my office, can I just be with them? Because you know, they are my friends. Can I at least do that? Is it absolutely haram for me to do that?”

And the scholar will say something like, “I advise you not to do that, it is not a good idea, it is bad company.”

“But is it haram? Is it absolutely haram?”

“Well I don’t know if I can say it is absolutely.”

“Okay thanks, I got my answer. It is not absolutely haram, which means I can do it.” And that is how Satan gets you to first hang out with them.

Then they will say, “Hey, we’re going to the bar, want to come along?” Then you go to the bar and you are just having a coke or whatever, and they are drinking their beer.

Eventually one late night, it’s just a little bit, “can you just slip some in?” You know? Somebody gave it to you, or they slipped it into your drink, and you did not realize it, and you are like, “Well I didn’t intend to do it.”

It’s just one thing after another, after another, after another subhan Allah.

So, Satan will not come at you directly calling you to do the wrong thing. Satan will try to make you just compromise, or just get on the road to the wrong. And by the way, when you are on that road, until you do the wrong, nobody can come out and directly tell you, “Listen, what you are doing is wrong.” Because it is not wrong, it is on the road to it. If you don’t recognize that you are being pulled slowly, but surely towards it, then you only have yourself to blame.

This is why Allah’s commandment to Adam (peace be upon him) wasn’t just do not eat from this tree, the advice was do not go near it. There is a big difference between those two things, and, therefore, you and I have to recognize that there are somethings that are clearly haram, but there is a road that leads to them. We have to watch out and not go on that track that Satan is trying to reel us into.