بِسْمِ ٱللَّٰهِ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Salāmun ʿalaykum, may Allah bless you, your families, and all the communities around the world.
We are going to talk about what leads people away from doing the good deeds that we all try really hard to do. We will discuss some of the tricks that Shayṭān plays because he wants to lead us off the right path. This can be something as simple as what we want to study or become when we grow up. Let’s say you want to become a doctor or an engineer when you grow up. They are both jobs that can make very good money; but if we are doing this job for the money, you must remember that money can lead you to arrogance. Or maybe this job will keep you so busy that you don’t have time for anything else, like going to the masjid or spending time with your family. For some people, having more money can cause them to become stingy, which means they don’t want to use their wealth to help others around them or even to pay their religious dues, like khums. This example is a very basic one, but it is very important to understand this so that we don’t get trapped. We want to make sure our decisions do not lead us into bad habits.
Let us cover two specific things that Shayṭān may do to trick us and keep us from making the right decisions. Shayṭān’s only goal is to lead us astray. Remember what we have discussed in the past speeches, about why we want to make good choices. One way that Shayṭān tries to trick us is by causing us to have bad opinions about others. When we have negative feelings and thoughts for others, we treat them as enemies, which becomes an even bigger problem that sometimes involves our family and even our community. It begins to break the brotherhood and sisterhood that strengthens a community.
Hatred that is based on silly reasons, like thinking bad of someone without any proof, causes people to fight for even the smallest of things. You, as children and young adults, have young hearts that tend to be really good at forgiving. This is a very good trait to have, and one that you should try to maintain. But one of Shayṭān’s tricks is to get rid of this trait and replace it with hatred. Allah (swt) tells us in the Qurʾān:
َإِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ الشَّيْطَانُ أن يُوقِعَ بَيْنَكُمُالْعَدَاوَةَ وَالْبَغْضَاءَ
Shayṭān only wants to cause enmity and hatred between you... (5:91)
This hatred is also mentioned in the ḥadīth of the Ahl al-Bayt (ʿa), “The root of all evil is having this hatred.” If we keep this hatred in our hearts, it leads us to other bad traits, like jealousy, cutting off ties with others, and talking bad about one another. Another ḥadīth says, “The cause of corruption is found in hatred towards others.”
On the day of ʿĀshūrāʾ, when Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa) said, “Don’t you know that I am the grandson of the Prophet?”
The enemies said, “Yes, we know you are.”
The Imām (ʿa) then asked, “Don’t you know that I am the son of Fāṭimah?”
They said, “Yes.”
He kept asking them these kinds of questions so they would realize who he was. Finally, he asked them another question: “Why are you fighting me?”
They replied, “Because we have enmity and hatred towards your father, ʿAlī.” So, you see, because they hated his father, they were okay with fighting Imām Ḥusayn (ʿa), without truly understanding what their bad thoughts were causing them to do.
We can also see examples of people’s enmity in the life of Prophet Yūsuf (ʿa). We learn from the Qurʾān that his brothers were jealous of him, and so they made very bad decisions based on the hatred that was in their hearts. They threw him in a well!
One of the duʿās of the Qurʾān that appears in Sūrah al-Ḥashr is:
وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِ قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا
[O Allah] do not put any hatred towards our brothers and sisters in our hearts. (59:10)
This is a good reminder for us to stay away from this hatred. We need to be careful with how we treat our friends and family members, and avoid causing conflicts that might lead to people hating each other. Even if you fight or have an argument, it’s okay to say sorry first. In fact we have ḥadīth that says, “If you say sorry first, there is a better place for you in Jannah.”
Imām as-Sajjād (ʿa) has told us, “The right of your brother is that his hand is like your hand, his back is like your back, and your respect is like his pride. His strength is your strength.”
Additionally, the Prophet (ṣ) has said, “If two people are not happy with each other or not talking to one another for more than three days, it's as if they have lost their faith.”
So, you see, having peace amongst brothers and sisters is something very important in Islam. We have to continually work on ourselves, even if the other person made a mistake or did something wrong, we have to be forgiving. We have to remember that we should not stay angry at others for a long period of time. In fact, Imām ʿAlī (ʿa) has said, “You have to be careful of these types of sins, because they cause us to become weaker and weaker. Sometimes, they may even cause our death to come closer.” In other ḥadīth, we learn that if we give ṣadaqah, our life is lengthened, but sins like cutting off ties with others will actually reduce your life.
We want to live long and healthy lives so that we can gather as much thawāb and blessings by doing good deeds. One of the ways of doing this is by keeping good ties with our family. We have many ḥadīth that remind us of this.
Sometimes we may have some family members who are not so easy to get along with; they may not be very religious or they may have made very bad choices in the past. You don’t have to make them your best friends, but it is important to keep the connection. For all you know, you may end up helping them see the best in Islam with your good deeds! You always want to make sure that you don’t make them feel bad — everyone wants to change for the better. But also make sure that you are not influenced by their bad choices. Basically, you should surround yourself with people who have good habits and make good choices, but when family and friends want to change for the better, you should make sure you are there for them.
Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa) has said, “In Qiyāmah, some people will come to the plains and the grounds, and they will have a very good place in Jannah. They will get lots and lots of blessings. People will be told that these people are the mutabahi. They will ask, ‘Who are these people?’ and the answer will be given, ‘These are people from this world who chose to be around people who reminded them of their Lord.’”
So, you see, you will even get a special place in Jannah just for making good friends — for finding people who do good, and who encourage you to be good as well! Look for those types of people who will remind you of Allah (swt) and want to keep you safe from the evils of Shayṭān and his tricks.
Let me tell you a short story. There was a man named Dawud Sadaraqi. Dawud had a cousin who had stopped talking to him. His cousin wasn’t very religious — he didn’t even believe in the Imām (ʿa) — but it was important to Dawud that he help his cousin see the right path. One day he went to visit Imām aṣ-Ṣādiq (ʿa), but on his way, he stopped to see his cousin and took a gift for him. There are many ḥadīth that say gifts can make hearts grow closer. So Dawud gave his cousin the gift and then continued to the Imām’s home. As soon as he reached the door, the Imām (ʿa) greeted him with a huge smile and a big hug. The man was so stunned. He asked, “O my Imām what has happened? Why have I received such a warm welcome?” The Imām (ʿa) replied, “I am so happy because I saw in your record of deeds that you went to see your cousin and that you made a connection even after he had disconnected from you.”
So, there are two very clear points we can take away from this story. One is that our Imām (ʿa) showed us the benefits we can receive from keeping good ties with our relatives. Secondly, we learn that the Imāms (ʿa) also see our deeds.
There is a ḥadīth that says that Imām Mahdī (ʿaj) receives our record of deeds every Monday and Thursday. So, we should make sure that he is happy when he sees our deeds.
The last thing we need to remember is that Shayṭān does his best to make ugly things look pretty; this is another of his tricks we need to be aware of and avoid.
You may hear certain whispers from Shayṭān like, “Oh, you are only going to be at the party for a little while;” or “It’s not all ḥarām, so it’s okay;” or “Music (the ḥarām type) isn’t really that bad;” and many more lies like that, where he makes things appear as they are not. Allah (swt) tells us in the Qurʾān what to do in certain cases. He says:
وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
If Shayṭān tries to disturb you with a whisper, then ask Allah for protection (7:200)
And in another Sūrah, Allah (swt) tells us we can ask for protection by saying:
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَٰتِ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينِ
Say, ‘My Lord! I seek Your protection from the whispers of Shayṭān (23:97)
Finally, we have to pay attention to what Allah (swt) has asked us to do. He has sent us the Qurʾān, the Prophets, and our Imāms to keep us safe and away from Shayṭān’s evil ideas and whispers. As long as we remain careful in following the laws of Allah (swt), inshāʾAllāh it will be more difficult for Shayṭān to trick us.
Authored under the guidance of Moulana Nabi R. Mir (Abidi)
Download the related Muḥarram Project Booklet with lessons and crafts.
View the Kisa Kids Crafts for this lesson (on Kisa Kids YouTube Channel)