Shield From Being Deceived
One of the aspects that characterizes human nature is that often people’s souls are submerged in feelings of guilt. This then triggers feelings of regret and remorse for many things believed to have been done wrong in life. Among these things is one main aspect that stands out. It is the fact of being Deceived. Indeed, it hurts deeply the soul, because the deceived ones see their good intentions and good deeds were being sanctioned with cunning, evil and a premeditated will to hurt. But it is very strange, however, to see that these deceived ones never learn the lesson, they keep subjecting themselves to deception and then grief, remorse and hurt, over and over again. It is also very strange to see that, not only are individuals being deceived, but also millions of people are being deceived, all at once!
One should then wonder why humans continue to deliberately accept being deceived. The answer is quite bewildering and incomprehensible at first. It is said that it is simply because humans are "easy to be tricked.” If one takes a moment to reflect, he/she realizes how much truth resides in that statement. The ability to be tricked is not, in fact, due to a mental incapacity or extreme naivety. It is due to the natural disposition of human innocence, which blindly trusts appearances, coupled with the force of emotions, which stir one’s actions and positions.
One would be amazed to realize that the first ever to be deceived were the father and mother of humanity, Adam and Eve (pbut). They were deceived by the chief of the deceivers, Iblis. “But Satan whispered to them to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, 'Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal.' And he swore to them both, 'I am truly your sincere advisor.' So he misled them with deception.” (7:20-22). Such a story mentioned in the Quran is to be an alert and an instruction on how important such an element is within the life of a human being. In fact, one’s success or loss upon the journey of life relies upon this element. Throughout history, those who lost themselves are those who were deliberately deceived. One example is that of the people of Fir’aun (Pharaoh): “So he (Fir'aun) fooled his people, and they obeyed him. Indeed, they were [themselves] a people defiantly disobedient [of Allah]” (43:54).
In the modern era, like Pharaoh in the past, there were Hitler in Nazi Germany and Stalin in Bolshevik Russia. Many others exist in today’s world. One wonders how a whole population can be deliberately deceived. Adding to what was mentioned above, when the feeling of deprivation suffocates people; when long sought after dreams become impossible to achieve; when basic rights fought after to be restored are realized to never see the light, people then drown in fear and anger, becoming vulnerable to any option which might get them out of their “misery.” Whoever then stands for their cause and promises to make their dreams come true becomes the savior, when in reality he/she/it is the deceiver, except whom Allah (swt) bestows Mercy upon!
The believer who sincerely strives to not fall into the trap of deception should know, as it has been described above, that the reason to be deceived is to let one’s self be tricked. The first step in this journey of striving is to first know the true deceivers. The second step is to work on building a shield to protect one’s self from them.
Know that the mother of all the deceit is the attachment to this worldly life and the elusive belief that the ultimate happiness resides within it. As for the chief of deceivers, it is with no doubt Iblis, the cursed one. “O, mankind! Verily, the Promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah. Verily, Satan is an enemy to you, so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents, that they may become Companions of the Blazing Fire” (35:5-6). In order to protect one’s self from deceit and the cunning of the deceivers, one must know these following three elements:
Reflect on the following Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh). Abu Huraira has narrated: “I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying, 'My example and the example of the people is that of a man who made a fire, and when it lit up what was around it, moths and other insects started falling into the fire. The man tried (his best) to prevent them, (from falling in the fire) but they overpowered him and rushed into the fire.' The Prophet (pbuh) added: 'Now similarly, I take hold of the knots at your waist (belts) to prevent you from falling into the Fire, but you insist on falling into it.'" One, then, must hold fast to the footsteps of the Prophet (pbuh) if he/she sincerely seeks to not be deceived, before it comes the Day of ultimate regret. “And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, 'Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Ah! Woe to me! Would that I had never taken So-and-so as a friend! He did lead me astray from the Message (of Allah) after it had come to me!' And ever is Satan, to humankind, a deserter" (25:27-29).
Know that Satan has zero power over any of the servants of Allah. Therefore, too, no excuses will be accepted. “And Satan will say when the matter has been concluded, 'Indeed, Allah had promised you the promise of truth. And I promised you, but I betrayed you. But I had no authority over you except that I invited you, and you responded to me. So do not blame me, but do blame yourselves. I cannot be called to your aid, nor can you be called to my aid. Indeed, I deny your previous association of me [with Allah, in loyalty]. Indeed, for the wrongdoers is a painful punishment.'" (14:22).
Know that Allah is always near and loves to embrace whoever seeks His pardon, with His mercy. After Adam (pbuh) was deceived, bearing afterwards the bitter consequences of it, Allah (swt) bestowed upon him and upon his offspring the greatest gift, the gift of repentance. It is the golden opportunity for a way back to redemption, mercy and eternal bliss. “Then Adam received from his Lord words. And his Lord pardoned him (accepted his repentance). Verily, He is the One Who forgives (accepts repentance), the Most Merciful” (2:37)
Article by Sh Jamel Ben Ameur PhD