Lecture by Suhaib Webb | Transcribed by Fuseina Mohamad
We go now to the statement of Ibn Abbas radi Allahu `anhu (may Allah be pleased with him). He explains that when Iblees (the Devil) said he will come to you from your front (Qur’an 7:17) this means Iblees will cause you to doubt the hereafter. When Iblees comes to you from the back, he will cause you to have hope in the dunya (worldly life). Dunya comes from the word adnaa which has two meanings: something close and also something debased and low. What philosophy can be used to describe the fact that Iblees is coming to people to make them doubt in the hereafter and also to give them hope in this life? It’s called materialism. Iblees’s goal is to make people absolute materialists.
SubhanAllah (glory be to God), a brother can wait for five months for a new pair of sneakers, but he can’t pray qiyaamul layl (praying during the night) once in five months. We know that during the last third of the night Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala (exalted is he) comes to the lowest heaven and says: “Who is making du`a’ [supplication] so that I can answer? Who’s seeking My forgiveness so I can forgive them? Who is asking so I can give them?” SubhanAllah, which appointment is greater? I remember when I was in Oklahoma and the PS2 came out, some of the youth that I used to teach in the masjid went and camped out. The same guys who went and camped in front of Best Buy were unable to camp out one night for Allah (swt). Are we really soldiers of Allah (swt) if we can stand all night in front of Best Buy to get a PS2 but we can’t stand up in the night and pray in front of Allah (swt)? Absolute materialism. This is the goal of Iblees.
Ibn Abbas continues to say that the attack from the right is to cause people to have doubt in regards to their religion, to make problems in the religion, and to give you a hard time and cause you to question the religion. The way to cure doubts is to ask someone who knows, or read and study.
The last thing that Ibn Abbas mentioned is the attack from the left: falling into sins. Maybe most of us thought that falling into sins would be number one, but it’s the last. The previous three are all sins, but they can lead you to kufr (disbelief). The last one would lead you to ‘asee (disobedience to Allah) and if Iblees can make someone a disbeliever, he has won.
Now, let’s discuss the three doors of Iblees. According to Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, Iblees comes to you from three doors. These three doors are like entrances. This isn’t where Iblees does his dirty work, but this is how he slides in under the radar. The three doors of Iblees are:
1) Babul Ghadab: The door of anger
Subhan’Allah, how many times have I heard as an Imam that a brother knocked the teeth out of his wife’s mouth because he was angry? When you ask him, “What happened to you? Why are you treating your wife like that?” He’ll say, “Oh, subhanAllah, man, I was angry, and she just pushed me to the point where I had to hit her.” Anger is not an excuse. And also on the other hand we have some brothers who become mentally depressed because the wife is always nagging and insulting him. The core element to a lot of marital problems is either misunderstanding of the deen (religion) or anger.
How many of us have stopped talking to a friend on campus because of anger? Maybe a sister thinks, “Oh, that girl thinks she’s better than us now that she has the nice jilbab (dress) from Eygpt.” Or a brother thinks, “Oh, that guy memorized two juz (portions) of the Qur’an—now he won’t talk to us because he thinks he’s so religious.” All of these thoughts come from anger.
And what about how we act with our parents? How many of us just go off on our parents? All of this is attributed to anger.
What is the remedy for anger? In Sahih Muslim the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us how to deal with anger. One time, one of the companions of the Prophet ﷺ got angry. The Prophet ﷺ told him to say something. The man refused to say it and he got even angrier. The Prophet ﷺ said, “I swear by Allah (swt), I know some words that, if he said them, his anger would leave him.”
What were the words? Authoo billahi min as-shaytan ar-rajeem (I seek protection with Allah from Satan, the accursed one). Why is this the first thing the Prophet ﷺ taught us about anger? Because anger is a door of Shaytan.
2) The Door of Desires
What is the greatness of Paradise? In one narration it is reported that Allah (swt) made Paradise and told Jibreel (the angel Gabriel) to fly for three thousand years. So Jibreel took a journey for three thousand years and then he came back. Allah (swt) asked him, “What did you think?” Jibreel responded, “I can’t believe it.” Allah (swt) told Jibreel to go for another three thousand years and then after that another three thousand years. When Jibreel finally came back Allah (swt) told him, “Do you know what you just saw? Part of the paradise of Abu Bakr (ra).”
In another authentic hadith (narration from the Prophet ﷺ) we learn about the last person to come out of Hellfire. He will be washed and all of the burns will come off of him. Then Allah (swt) will ask him, “What do you want?” This man will see a nice tree and he will say, “Oh Allah, can you put me under that tree?” Allah (swt) will say, “Yes, but you have to swear you will not ask Me for anything else.” The man will say, “I swear by Allah (swt) I will not ask for anything else,” so Allah (swt) will put him under the tree.
The man will be sitting under the tree and then he will see a tree with a river under it. He’ll say, “Oh Allah, can you put me over there by the river?” Allah (swt) will ask, “Yes, but you have to swear that you won’t ask Me for anything else.” He will swear by Allah (swt) that he will not ask for anything else, and Allah (swt) will put him there.
Then the man will see one of the doors of Paradise. He’ll say, “Oh Allah, can you put me by that door?” Allah (swt) will say, “Yes, but you must swear that you will never ask Me for anything else again.” The man will swear by Allah (swt) that he will not ask for anything else again. Imagine, this man is saying wallahi (I swear by Allah) to Allah (swt) Himself, and he’s lying! So Allah (swt) will put him by that door.
Then the man will see some curtains. He will say, “Oh Allah can you put me by those curtains so that I can look inside and see the people of Paradise?” Allah (swt) will say, “Yes, but you must swear you will never ask Me for anything else after this.” The man will swear. So Allah (swt) will allow him to look through the curtains at Paradise. The man will see Paradise and he will say, “Oh Allah, put me in Paradise!” Allah (swt) will put him in Paradise and then He will come to the man while he is in Paradise and He will ask him, “Are you satisfied? Are you happy? Do you need anything else?”
The man will say, “Wallahi I can’t ask for anything else.”
Allah (swt) will respond, “This is for you and ten times its equal.” This hadith is found at the end of the book Riyaad as-Saleeheen.
The ulema (scholars) ask, why does Allah (swt) allow him to say wallahi (I swear by Allah) even though he’s lying? It’s because Allah (swt) knows that none of us can be patient with Paradise. If you see Paradise you’re going to want it.
As related by Bukhari and Muslim, after Allah (swt) created Paradise He told Jibreel to go and look at it and then asked him what he thought. Jibreel said, “Wallahi anyone who hears about it is going to want to go there.” Then Allah (swt) surrounded Paradise with something and He told Jibreel to go and look at it again. Jibreel came back and told Allah (swt), “I don’t think anyone can make it to Paradise.” Then Allah (swt) made the Hellfire and told Jibreel to go and look at it. Jibreel saw it and came back. Allah (swt) asked him, “What do you think?” Jibreel replied, “Wallahi, anyone that hears about it will not want to go there.” Then Allah (swt) surrounded it with something and told Jibreel to go and look at it. When Jibreel came back and Allah (swt) asked him what he thought, Jibreel said, “Wallahi, no one can escape it.”
What did Allah (swt) surround Paradise with? Hard work. Waking up at 4:30 in the morning, making wudu (ablutions) and praying 2 rak’ah (units of prayer) and giving that sadaqah (charity) from your eye that you owe to Allah (swt). Being nice to your friends and forgiving your brothers and sisters who did wrong to you. Being active in the MSA, attending different programs, involving yourself in anything positive. Speaking out against injustice. Waking up and studying for your finals, not coming in unprepared and hoping Allah (swt) will help you.
What did Allah (swt) surround Hellfire with? Shahawaat (Desires), the Door of Shaytan. Ease, recreation, vacation, chillin’ like a villain. All of this surrounds the Hellfire.
3) The Door of Ghaflah (Negligence)
For people your age (college students) this door of Shaytan is the most dangerous. Shaytan messes with you in areas of negligence. For example, if you go overseas—when does everyone say they’re going to make Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca)? When they’re 70 years old. How does someone know they’re going to reach 70 years? This is negligence. Look at the example of this sahaabi (companion of the Prophet ﷺ). He was sitting with some dates and he asked the Prophet ﷺ, “Oh Prophet of Allah, if I stop eating these dates, join the battle and become a shaheed (martyr) where will I be?” The Prophet ﷺ answered, “Paradise.” The man threw down his dates and he went.
How about us? Are we negligent when it comes to our opportunity to obey Allah (swt)? Or do we say: Oh, I’ll start to pray after I get married. I’ll start to do this when I finish high school.
Do it now. SubhanAllah, with Nike, we “just do it”. But with Islam we take it slowly, step by step.
So these are the three doors that Shaytan uses to get inside you.