The fourth attack of Shaytan (Satan) is to get us to commit minor sins. Here you get to see how sneaky Shaytan really is. If Shaytan can’t get someone to be a kaafir (disbeliever), and he can’t get someone to do bid`ah (innovation in the religion), and he can’t get someone to commit major sins, then the next step is minor sins. Minor sins are called as-saghaair. An example would be having envy towards someone, or having a problem with someone and not trying to fix it.
Now, someone may be listening right now and thinking, “Well I’m all right; I don’t commit big sins, only minor sins.” This is how Shaytan gets you. The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) gave an example of the saghaair when he said, in an authentic hadith (narration), that there was a group of people who went to the desert where they wanted to make a fire. Each of them found little pieces of wood, which they collected together, and thus they were able to make the fire. The Prophet ﷺ said that this is how minor sins work. They keep throwing the minor sin on the pile until it becomes a major sin. That’s why the scholars said that if someone persists in committing a minor sin it will become a major sin over time.
The fifth attack of Shaytan, if he doesn’t succeed in the other traps, is that he gets people to fall into what is called al-mubaahat, permissible things. For example, chatting online with someone of the same sex. Not with the opposite sex, because when you chat with the opposite sex then this is khalwa (seclusion). According to the scholars you are alone with that person, and one can fall into a relationship very easily. Let me give you a proof of this. Last week, when you went home maybe you were chatting online with someone of the opposite gender. As you were chatting, suddenly your mother or father walked into the room and asked what you are doing. What do you say? “Oh, I’m just checking the score of the last basketball game.” If you don’t think it’s that bad then print out the conversation and let your parents read it.
The Prophet ﷺ defined sin as something that you don’t want people to know about, something that embarrasses you. He said, البر حسن الخلق. Righteousness is good behavior.
How many brothers and sisters pray, fast, and dress properly, but are rude and mean to others? We have to have the complete package, not one or the other. How many sisters who don’t wear hijab have told me that when they come to the masjid the other sisters put them down? She is trying to take a step to get closer to Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) and people look at her like she has a virus. On the other hand, we also can’t say we have good behavior and nothing else.
So, in our example let’s say you are chatting with someone of the same gender, which is permissible. But you’re talking about nothing for five or six hours. Talking is permissible, but in this case it’s a waste of time.
The same is true for video games—as long as it’s not Tomb Raider. For those of you who don’t know, Tomb Raider is a video game where a scantily dressed woman is the main character. But Muslims will play this game and say, “Oh, it’s only a video game.”
Another example is Vice City. I was talking about this video game in the khutbah (sermon). When it came out, I was warning parents about it and the kids were really mad at me. In this game there is a man who is living the life of an ex-convict who is a drug dealer. He takes over the neighborhood by selling his drugs. Along the way (not to offend anyone here) he pulls over and engages in a relationship with a prostitute. But the brothers who were playing the game said, “But you can’t see anything, the car just shakes.” SubhanAllah (glory be to God)! Such behavior is very offensive. Not only is it representative of the completely anti-intellectual climate which is now permeating the United States, but do you realize why most women are forced into prostitution? Poverty and drug addiction.
I was an educator, and I did my practicum in the worst school that I could think of because I wanted to make a difference in society as a university student. There were children there who were the children of prostitutes. Imagine the cognitive disorders they have. Imagine the type of exploitation they are exposed to every night. Imagine the impact left on them from seeing their mothers and fathers committing acts of prostitution. Yet, we’ve made it a game, for fun. The social ramifications of prostitution on people are outstanding. If you want to understand prostitution, look at Fir`oun (Pharoah). Why did Fir`oun say that he would kill the men and let the women live? What were those women going to do? Become prostitutes. This is indicative of what we call a Fir`ounic society. But now it’s become a game, it became fun. It’s like those of us who grew up with Star Wars, playing with lasers and so forth. Because of movies, magazines and books we’re used to seeing guns and lasers blow up things without ever seeing the results; therefore, the war in Iraq right now has no real impact on the American mind. But when people actually see the pictures of the outcome, they’re shocked.
Shaytan tries to get us to waste our time with these kinds of things that have no benefit and no reward, according to the fiqh (jurisprudence). Another example is shopping. Masha’Allah, nowadays our sisters and brothers have a new bid`ah: qiyaam an-nahar (standing in the day). You know in Islam we have qiyyamul layl where we stand in the night and pray. You’ll find them standing in the mall, rushing to 75% off sales. If you went to the same person and suggested that they stand in the night and pray they would say, “Oh, it’s too difficult. I can’t do it.” But for nine or ten hours a day in the mall they don’t mind. Why? Because they see the immediate rewards and benefits of their shopping.
Imam Al Ghazaali mentioned a beautiful poem in which a man says, “I am asleep in the night and I can hear the weak pigeons crying on the weak branch. Am I not stronger than pigeons that I can get up and cry in front of Allah (swt)?” How can the Muslims be the leaders of the world when they can’t even push a 3.5oz blanket off their bodies to stand and ask Allah (swt) for His help and guidance?
I’m sure all of us, myself first, are guilty of wasting time. This is a big trick of Shaytan because if you’re doing something and you’re not getting rewarded or punished, then Shaytan is winning. We take a lesson from this that as Muslims we have to be proactive; we can’t not be in park. We should not be neutral and doing nothing.