Table of Contents

The Fourteenth Talk

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ اتَّقَواْ إِذَا مَسَّهُمْ طَائِفٌ مِّنَ الشَّيْطَانِ تَذَكَّرُواْ فَإِذَا هُم مُّبْصِرُونَ

Verily those who guard (themselves against evil) when an evil thought from Satan afflicts them, they become mindful (of God and get awakened) then lo! They see (aright). (Al-Aaraf 7:201)

The second aspect of Isti’adha is Tadhakkur, the remembrance and talk about Allah (S.w.T.). A person who acquires Taqwa or piety becomes free of the domination of Satan. As long as the influence of Satan on the person persists, he remains incapable of effective Isti’adha. Satan keeps going round the hearts of the men of piety to catch a chance of entering therein. But when these pious persons busy themselves in the Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.), then there is a lightning of Allah (S.w.T.)’s Blessing and the net spread by Satan becomes visible to them in the momentary illumination. This puts the pious persons out of harms way.

 Now, let us consider what is Allah (S.w.T.)’s intent about Tadhakkur in the oft-quoted verse during our discussions.

The Thought of Sin and Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.)

In Tafseer al-Burhan commenting 0n this Verse, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) quotes from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) an incident that we are summarizing here. When a mu’min suddenly gets the thought of crime in his mind, Satan and his retainers make their maximum efforts to make the person put his thought to action. But in that moment the pious person remembers Allah (S.w.T.) and he abandons the thought of committing the sin.
There are also stages of Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.) that are different according to the place and the situation. One of those situations is that when the thought of sin comes in the mind of the person, the instigator and prompter is Satan and the opposition of this enemy is necessary. And also the pious person is in oath with Allah (S.w.T.) that he will not follow Satan because the accursed creature is his sworn enemy. He should therefore not break his oath and instead of becoming ‘Abd ar-Rahman (worshipper of Allah (S.w.T.)) become ‘Abd ash-Shaitan (worshipper of Satan). Therefore, it is imperative that he keeps firmly to his oath and he should strive to resist Satan who can only bring destruction and perfidy.

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

Did I not charge you, O children of Adam ! that you should not serve the Shaitan? Surely he is your open enemy. (Sura Ya Sin, 36:60)

وَلَقَدْ أَضَلَّ مِنكُمْ جِبِلًّا كَثِيراً أَفَلَمْ تَكُونُوا تَعْقِلُونَ

And certainly he led astray numerous people from among you. What! Will you not then understand. (Sura Ya Sin, 36:62)

At another place in the Holy Qur’an it is said that Allah (S.w.T.) has decided that those who follow Satan, Satan will push them into the abyss of darkness and take them into the blistering Fires of Hell. When a person adopts satanic thoughts and considers the temptations of Iblis worth pursuing, then Allah (S.w.T.) closes all the avenues of salvation for him and consigns him to the Hell.

Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.) Relieves From Satanic Fears

Whenever satanic fears start getting into the heart, the man of piety busies himself in remembering Allah (S.w.T.). He thinks that if he committed the sin, he will be pushed away from Allah (S.w.T.)’s Blessing. What use will be the wretched life then!
It is quite possible that Satan, in his renewed attempt, puts a thought in the heart of the person that he was depriving himself of the pleasure of sin. The door of repentance was always open for him. The man of piety will then reply to Satan that what is the guarantee that he will get the chance of offering penitence for the sin. Even if he is able to do it, what is the surety that it would be accepted? In the end the Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.) doesn’t allow Satan to gain an upper hand over the man of piety.

Sometimes Satan puts a fear in the heart of the man of Taqwa that he was encouraging him to commit only a minor sin.

But the heart busy in remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.) replies, “Run away! You accursed one! Disobedience Allah (S.w.T.), anyhow, is a major sin.”

Sometimes Iblis the accursed threatens the man of piety that if he didn’t comply with his advice, his end will be very pitiable. Sometimes he gives him false hopes that the results of sins will be good. Satan’s advice influences only those who befriend him (Satan).

إِنَّمَا ذَلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءهُ

It is only the Shaitan that causes you to fear from his friends…. (Sura Aal Imran, 3:175)

But the man of piety gets the understanding with Remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.). The disturbing thoughts that come to the mind are only the doubts and fears created by Satan. The man of Taqwa, no doubt, fears only Allah (S.w.T.). Allah (S.w.T.) says at the end of the Verse:

“Fear only Me if you are a believer (mu’min)!”

Being Proud of One’s Prayers and Supplications

Sometimes Satan tricks men into becoming proud of their prayers and the love for the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.). For example, he says, “How nice! You have gone on several pilgrimages to Karbala al-Mu’alla! You must have done innumerable good deeds during the visits to the Holy place. Husayn (a.s.) will certainly intercede on your behalf. Now, no sin can bring retribution to you.”
But the mu’min instead of becoming proud and conceited with such praises, should reply, “If I commit any sins, my intercessors {the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.)} will be upset with me. This sin will become a curtain between me and Imam Husayn (a.s.). Allah (S.w.T.) only knows how far I would be pushed away from my intercessors by committing one sin! Feeling proud of the felicity of the ziyarat of Imam Husayn (a.s.) in itself is a sin that might deprive me of his (the Imam’s) intercession.”

A man of Taqwa can certainly be proud of its spiritual felicity, but the pride can only be manifested as Tashakkur or gratefulness. This expression of gratitude will not require any sermonizing from outside. Sermonizing becomes necessary when the person himself is not aware of his felicity and feels no urge to express his gratefulness to the Creator for that. Hadrat Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s.) says, “Truly felicitous person is one who is the preacher and sermonizer for himself!”

Satanic Fears in a State of Anger

It happens that people sometimes become angry while they have a heated exchange of words. As a result of the altercation one might use abusive language. Satan tempts the other party to reciprocate in the same language and tenor. But if he is a man of Taqwa, he immediately controls himself by Remembering Allah (S.w.T.). His mind suggests to him that if he behaved the same way as the opponent had behaved, then what would be the difference between the two.

The opponent had used uncouth language and had followed the dictates of Satan. If you do likewise, you too will render yourself the follower of Satan. With the beneficence of Dhikr of Allah (S.w.T.) his conscience will guide him to give a befitting reply to the opponent:

وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace. (Sura al-Furqan, 25:63)

It is better because of the Dhikr of Allah (S.w.T.), the person is able to dispel the fear and confusion from his mind. Otherwise, the dispute can become a haranguing contest, each flinging foul-words on the other and might even result in physical assault. If, at the rudimentary stage of the dispute, effort was made to cool down the other party, the matter could have been sorted out without much ado!
Now we can see at length how people get entangled in the web of Satan. Even those who call themselves men of taqwa are not immune from this. If they don’t busy themselves in Tadhakkur, they most likely would fall in the trap sometime or other.
Presence of a moralizer and preacher is absolutely necessary for the heart of every person to keep him warned not to become a victim of false pride and abstain from childish actions. Remember! A real man is one who always keeps the end in view. For example, when one keeps his cool during a heated argument with another person, the matter can be sorted out amicably. If this amicable nature is not there, how many persons would suffer tremendous losses fighting over trivial things with a sense of false pride. In such disputes Satan plays a very crucial role to create rifts and commission of sins by the litigants.
It is necessary for every mu’min to keep the intercession of Tadhakkur in his daily life. In the past there were such Mu’minīn who dug their own graves during their life times and used to recite the Holy Qur’an sitting inside these trenches. They did this to remind themselves of the Hereafter and the interior of the graves was illuminated with the felicity of Tadhakkur.

About Hizqeel

It is narrated that when Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) committed his initial fault, and he went lamenting through hills and dales in penitence, he reached the cave inside which Prophet Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) was busy in supplication.

When Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) heard the moaning of the hills and the beasts, he understood that Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) had come to him. The reason for this was that when Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) recited the Zaboor, the flora, fauna and the stones too joined him in the recitation. Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) reached the entrance of the cave and called, “O Hizqeel (a.s.)! Do you permit me to come up to you?” Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) said, “Please don’t come to me because you are a sinner!” But Allah (S.w.T.) sent a Revelation to him, “Because of Dawood (a.s.)’s first sin, don’t reprimand him. To the contrary pray to Us for his pardon and well being! Whenever we leave anyone to his own scruples, he might commit a mistake!”
Now Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) caught hold of Hadrat Dawood (a.s.)’s hand and guided him inside the cave.

Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) asked Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.), “O Hizqeel (a.s.)! Have you ever thought of committing a sin?”

He replied, “No! Never!”

Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) asked, “Did you ever feel proud?”

He replied, “No! Never!”

Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) asked, “Have you ever been tempted with the worldly pleasures?”

Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) replied, “Yes! I was tempted!”

Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) asked, “Then! What remedy you use against these temptations?”

He replied, “In such circumstances I get into this cave and take pity from what I witness therein.”

Hadrat Dawood (a.s.) then entered into the recesses of the cave with Hadrat Hizqeel (a.s.) He found inside there a plate of steel. On the plate was lying a human skeleton and beside it was a tablet of steel on which was inscribed:

I Arwai Bin Shalam
ruled for a thousand years,
established a thousand cities,
deflowered a thousand virgins.
My condition is this
That my bed is dust
My pillow a stone
My body is the
Dwelling place of
Insects and vermin.
Whoever sets eye on me
Should not be carried away
With worldly attractions!1


A Bed of Two Hands Full of Dust

Imagine a person who was an emperor of great pomp and pageant, was reduced to be put in a desolate cave and his mortal remains were lying on a steel sheet in dust. He had insects and vermin crawling all over his mortal remains. A mu’min must take a lesson from this incident. If he had obeyed Satan and his baser instincts, and ran after the worldly things, how long will the party last? A person who strives too hard for his selfish ends forgets that he has to die inevitably and all the paraphernalia that he accumulates will have to be left behind. He should pray that whatever benefits and blessings he enjoyed, his end should not be like of the mighty king whose story is narrated here.

Our topic of discussion is Tadhakkur. A person who leaves himself uncontrolled and doesn’t remember Allah (S.w.T.), h will he will be nowhere (like a rudder less ship). Man should strive to be like a mountain in his moral behavior. One who is vulnerable to the wave of doubts created by Satan, He should ensure that the glitter of the world doesn’t overwhelm him. This is possible if he keeps in mind the inevitable end that every mortal being is destined to!

Visit the Cemeteries is a Must

It is very necessary that one’s own conscience becomes his warner. In the Islamic Shari’ah it has been very strongly prescribed to visit the graves, particularly those of one's parents. Why this exhortation? This is because one recitation al-Fatiha at the graveside of his parents will result in rewards for them. He should give sadaqa (alms) for the propitiation of their souls. The Prophet (S) has asked people to visit the grave of their parents that it is the place from where prayers made by them will be answered.

The biggest benefit of visiting the graves of the parents is that it will make the person aware of the fact if the parent is not there with him, he too will have to follow suit some time in the future. This will give him the realization that he should not be attracted much to the transient world. He will then learn to dispel the satanic fears and apprehensions. He will start remembering Allah (S.w.T.) and think of the Day of Judgment!

Hadrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.) at the Graveside of Her Grand Uncle

Hadrat Fatima Zahra (a.s.), after the sad demise of her father (S), had to experience very audacious treatment from some persons that she fell ill under the pressure of these happenings. Even then, on every Monday and Thursday, with the permission of her husband (a.s.), she visited the grave of her great-uncle, Hadrat Hamza and other martyrs in Uhud.

Even the Prophet (S) during his last illness, despite severe fever and weakness, used to ask some persons to put their shoulders under his arms and take him to the graveyard.

O Allah (S.w.T.)! Do make us Ahl adh-Dhikr wat-Tadhakkur, in the name of Muhammad (S) and his Holy Progeny (a.s.).

  • 1. Ref: Ain al-Hayat, Page 178