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From Piety to Polytheism: The 8 Step Process of Being Stripped of your Soul: The Tragedy of Barseesah

Step One: Al Kayd: The Plan:

Shaytan is always plotting and scheming for ways to misguide the human being. And the more righteous the human being the more enticing it is for shaytan to mislead him/her. However, the plot of shaytan is ineffective and weak , as Allah says in the Qur’an, “Indeed the plot of shaytan is always weak.” (Al Qur’an 4:76)

The great scholar Abu Hatim Ar Razi commented on this verse saying, “The plot of shaytan is always weak because he doesn’t have the power to harm the human being. His only recourse is to suggest (waswasah) and invite, and if the human being responds to his invitation or suggestion, then, and only then, will he be harmed. The relationship between shaytan and the human being, with respect to his plotting and scheming, is like the relationship between a poor man and a rich one. The poor man can beg the rich man for his money, but he doesn’t have the power to force him to give him anything. Now if the rich man gives him from his wealth, it wasn’t because the poor man forced him to do so, it was due to the naïveté of the rich man to be so inclined.”

Step Two: As Sabeel (The Method):

The method shaytan is going to employ to strip the servant of his religion and ultimately his soul is usually connected to one of his many weaknesses, which Allah has identified in many verses in the Qur’an. For example, Allah highlights nastiness as one of our inherent character flaws when He said, “The human being is created in haste. We will surely show you Our signs so do not be in haste.”

So it is no coincidence that shaytan uses this to his advantage considering the Prophet said about him, “Hastiness is from shaytan, and deliberation is from Allah” (Collected in Sahih Al Bukhari)

Shaytan has the advantage in this bout of spiritual warfare because he can see us from the vantage point of the unseen world, while we cannot see him from our physical world. Allah highlights this in the Qur’an when He says, “Indeed he (shaytan) and his devils watch you from a place where you cannot see them.” (Al Qur’an 7:27)

So it is important that the servant is aware of his/her weaknesses at all times because that is usually the entry point for shaytan. It reached Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz that his son bought a ring for one thousand dirhams, so he wrote him a letter saying, “It reached me that you purchased a ring for one thousand dirhams. Sell the ring and feed one thousand poor people and buy another ring made of metal for one dirham. And while you’re at it, get in engraved on the ring the following piece of advice, “May Allah have mercy on the man who knows his own limitations.”

Thus, any weakness you are heedless of, will be the method shaytan uses to mislead you.

Step Three: Al Alaat (The Tools):

Shaytan, much like anyone who is going to carry out a devious plan, has tools that he will use to fulfill it. The person/people whom he will use is almost always unaware that they are a pawn in his elaborate scheme. In many instances, women are the most trust arrow of shaytan, as men are visual creatures and women are almost always vulnerable enough to be willing participants in his grand scheme.

The Prophet said, “When a woman leaves out of her house, she approaches in the image of shaytan and departs in the image of shaytan.” Scholars explain that shaytan manipulates the image of the woman as she approaches and as she leaves, making her a temptation for me that they can barely resist. The Prophet said, “I have not left a greater trial for me than women.” (Collected in

As a result, great scholars such as Sufyan Ath Thawry said, while he was ninety six years old and could only see out of one eye, “The thing I fear most for myself is women.”

Ibn Abbas narrated that the Prophet said that Iblees asked his Lord, “O my lord, Adam was removed from paradise and you promised him books and messengers. So what are his messengers and books?” So Allah replied, “As for his messengers, they will be angels, and the prophets from amongst them. As for the books, then the Torah, Injeel, Zabur and Furqan (i.e. Al Qur’an)”

So Ibless continues, “So what is my book and who are my messengers?” And Allah said, “Your book is tattoos, your messengers are fortune tellers, your Qur’an is poetry, your food is anything the name of Allah was not mentioned over, your drink is anything that intoxicates, your home is the bathrooms (i.e., places of filth), your tools [to misguide people] are women, your athan is music, your masjid is the market places.”

Women have are the tools of shaytan. All throughout the Qur’an, Allah captures stories of men whose ultimate downfall was women. When you look at the story of Yusuf, Zulaikha was used by shaytan to bring about his downfall. In the story of Prophet Nuh and Lut, their wives contributed to the disruption of their mission.

In the hadeeth of Juraij, it was a woman (i.e. the prostitute) who shaytan used to bring about his downfall. Likewise in the tragedy of Barseesah, his downfall was the sister [of the brothers], who shaytan used a pawn in his diabolical scheme to destroy him. She was a means to an end, and so was Barseesah, when you consider the overall objective. If shaytan could get someone as religious and righteous as Barseesah to fall into some of the greatest sins known to man, then perhaps people would lose hope in faith and spirituality altogether.

Step Four: At Tazayun (Making Evil Fair Seeming):

Shaytan’s number one way to carry out his plan is to beautify what is haram until it becomes fair seeming. By beautifying the situation, shaytan makes what is wrong seem right, so not only do you succumb to it, but you can’t see the wrong in it because you have already justified it in your mind and accepted it in your heart.

The Prophet said, “The halal is clear and the haram is clear and between them are grey matters that most people know nothing about. So whoever avoids the doubtful matters, safeguards his deen and his reputation, but whoever falls into doubtful matters, falls into what is haram. Like Shepard who grazes his sheep around the sanctuary [of someone else], perhaps they are going to eat from it. Indeed in the body there is a lump of flesh, if it sound (and healthy), then the rest of the body will be sound and healthy. And if it is unhealthy, then the rest of the body will be unhealthy. Indeed that lump of flesh is the heart.” (Collected in Sahih Al Bukhari)

Step Five: Despair Al Ya’s:

Once you fall into what is haram, shaytan offers you additional ways to get you out of the haram that he caused you to fall into in the first place. This is how you get lost in the abyss of your sins with no way of finding your way out. All of this is designed to get you to fall into despair. Because once you reach the point of despair, two things will happen:

1. You will harbor evil thoughts about Allah in that you believe He will not forgive you, despite the fact that His mercy has no limits.

2. You will not repent, but continue to wallow in your sin, creating a bigger and bigger gap in your path back to Allah. This is why Allah identifies this quality to be one characteristic of the disbelievers and not the believers. Allah says, “And none despairs over the mercy of Allah except those who are disbelievers.” (Al Qur’an 12:87)

Step Six: Al Mufawadha (The Deal):

Once shaytan gets you so wrapped up in disobedience to Allah and you can’t find a way out, he offers you the ultimate deal which involves the selling of your soul. This offers the servant a chance to rid himself of all his previous bouts with guilt and shame as he plunges hard into the rock bottom of his experience. Rock bottom is where shaytan offers you the ultimate deal in exchange for your soul.

The Prophet said, “Every individual wakes up as a merchant of his/her own soul, either freeing it or further enslaving it.”

What shaytan never explains to you is the consequences of selling your soul. He makes false promises that he cannot and will not keep. In the end, the servant loses in both this life and the next in exchange for temporary relief from a trial that Allah could have easily relieved him of with a simple act of repentance. Allah says, “And from amongst mankind are those who worship Allah on the edge. If some good befalls him, he is content therewith. But if some evil befalls him he turns on his heels forfeiting his dunya and akhirah. And that it is the ultimate loss” (Al Qur’an 22:11)

In the story of Barseesah, shaytan reveals to him that the entire situation was set up by him, from beginning to end. And now that he has done the unthinkable of fornication, bringing a child into the world illegally, and even murder, the only way out of the situation is to make sujood to him. In making sujood to shaytan, Barseesah would be committing the ultimate act of betrayal to Allah, thereby taking shaytan his lord.

Allah warned us, just as he warned Prophet Adam, that there is no negotiating with shaytan. He is our eternal enemy and does not have the best interest of the human being in mind under any circumstance. Any and every deal made with him is solely for his benefit, while any deal made with Allah is solely for our benefit. Allah says,

“O You who believe! Shall I guide you to an exchange that will save you from a painful torment. To believe in Allah and His Messenger, and strive in the cause of Allah with your wealth and your lives. That is best for you, if only you knew. He will forgive your sins, and admit you into gardens under which rivers flow, and house you in splendid homes in gardens of eternity. That is the ultimate triumph. He will also give you˺ another favour that you long for, help from Allah and an imminent victory. So give good news to the believers.” (Al Qur’an 61:10-13)

Step Seven: Al Mukhathala (The Betrayal): Allah describes shaytan as an ever betrayer of man in his time of need. Allah says,

“And the day when the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] and say, “O I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Woe to me! I wish I had never taken so-and-so as a close friend. He indeed led me astray from the reminder (i.e., this Qur’an) after it had come to me. And shaytan (Satan) is ever a betrayer of man in his hour of need.” (Al Qur’an 25:27-29)

So after making all of these false promises and getting the human being to sell every inch of his soul, and there’s nothing more the sell, he abandons him in his time of need. Shaytan negotiated with Barseesah for his soul in exchange to get him out of the situation he created for him. And the moment Barseesah prostrated to him, shaytan retreated leaving him at the mercy of the brothers who hung him as retribution for what he did to their sister and her child.

Allah says, “Like shaytan who says to the human being, “disbelieve”, and when he disbelieves he [shaytan] says, “I am free from you. Indeed I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (Al Qur’an 59:16)

Step 8: Al Mukharabah (Sabatoage):

After shaytan all but makes a mockery of the human spirit, he sabotages any opportunity extended by Allah for the individual to repent, atone for his actions and find his way back to Him. Because after shaytan is done with you, he appoints one of his devils to continue misguiding you and diverting you from the remembrance of Allah so that your soul departs from your body while you are a disbeliever. Allah says, “And whoever turns away from the remembrance of Ar Rahman We appoint to him a shaytan (devil) who will be a close associate and hinder them from the right path while they think they are rightly guided.” (Al Qur’an 43:36-37)

Barseesah is a classic case of someone who woke up a believer and went to sleep a disbeliever. Totally unaware of the step-by-step process shaytan was employing to strip him of his soul.

“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not your enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”— Sun Tzu

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