So proceeded after Tashahhud and Surah Fātiḥah:
O ye who believe! follow not the footsteps of Satan, and whoso follows the footsteps of Satanshould know that he surely enjoins immorality and manifest evil. And but for the grace of Allah and His mercy upon you, not one of you would ever be pure, but Allah purifies whom He pleases. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing. (24:22)
Allah, the Exalted, has warned the son of Adam and believers to save themselves from Satan and against treading upon the footsteps of Satan in this and other verses. This directive is given because Satan is disobedient to God, the Exalted, treads against the directives of Allah, the Exalted, rebels against them. It is apparent that one who is disobedient to God, the Exalted, will teach the same to the ones who follow him as he practices himself. Its result will be that Satan who himself is the fuel for the hell, will also make his followers the fuel of the hell. Allah, the Exalted, has clearly said to Satan, I will fill hell with your followers, their abode will be hell. Having explained all this clearly, Allah, the Exalted, says, Do men not understand yet that Satan is their obvious enemy? If so then save yourselves from this enemy.
There are people who neither care about religion, nor do they know what hell is and what paradise is; neither do they have belief in God, the Exalted, nor they understand the matters of religion, nor do they want to understand them. Even if some people read about Islam in these countries, they do so only to gain knowledge or to say that they know about religion and Islam while their knowledge is only superficial and theoretical. Some read the Qur'ān only with an eye for faultfinding and criticism and to gather information about Islam and do not learn any lesson from these teachings and or understand their merits. Neither do they free themselves from the grip of Satan, nor are they searching for God, the Exalted, nor do they have any passion for this search. Such people are followers of Satan.
But also there are such people who, after proclaiming belief, after calling themselves believers, yet they follow Satan, or, by engaging in some actions unconsciously or by not making full effort to come into the lap of God, the Exalted, become, or can become, the followers of the footsteps of Satan. For this reason, Allah, the Exalted, in this verse, warns the believers, and tells them to not to tread upon the footsteps of Satan.
Believers are warned to not think that they have believed, they have accepted Islam, therefore they are worry-free, and that they think that that have become unconcerned from the attacks of Satan and from following Satan. Not at all. Allah, the Exalted, says that yet the danger from Satan is the same.
A believer can also come into the grip of Satan just as a non-believers can. Therefore, it is the duty of every believer that he remembers Allah always to protect himself from the attacks of Satan.
Satan asked for permission from Allah to take son of Adam astray from the path of Allah with this assertion that if he gets permission to deceive people to make them follow himself then he will sit on every path and will deceive them and make them follow himself using different excuses and pretexts. Satan claimed that majority of people will follow him. Today we see all this happening in the world so much so that even those who assert belief follow Satan while Allah, the Exalted, had warned. As an example, Allah, the Exalted, says in the Holy Qur'ān,
And whoso kills a believer intentionally, his reward shall be Hell ... (4:94)
What is happening in the Muslim world today? What is it? By killing each other, they are following Satan. Even collectively, without any justification the terrorists are killing anyone in different attacks. All these are satanic actions that lead towards hell. All this is carried out by coming in the deception of Satan in the name of going to paradise. Satan says to do this to go to paradise while Allah, the Exalted, says that if you will do this you will go to hell and not to paradise because you are following Satan.
Thus, Allah, the Exalted, directs the believers to keep an eye on themselves all the time and observe whether they are following the footsteps of Satan. By ignoring small matters, you are following Satan, or following Satan by engaging in giant sins.
It is not necessary that only the terrorists and murderers are the followers of Satan, as I have given the example, rather when man distances himself from even apparently a minute directive of Allah, the Exalted, he is advancing towards Satan. Therefore, there is need to be very careful. To be a true believer, great care is necessary. When Satan attacks and deceives man, his manner of operation is not such that man grasps it easily.
When Satan deceives humans, tempts them towards evils, steers them towards the disobedience of the directive of Allah, the Exalted, he does not say openly to act so, to disobey, to distance from Allah, engage in these evils, rather in the pretext of goodness steers one to evils.
When Satan steered Adam away from the directive of Allah, the Exalted, he steered him away with the pretext of virtue. The verse that I recited, it is enlightening this matter too as to how evils spreads and how an evil spreading from one place to another envelops a large area into its influence.
When man treads on the footsteps of Satan, when man firms his step from one step to the next, he spreads evils. At the outset, an evil appears very miniscule. Man weighs light the damage the infringement will cause to him or to the society but [its effect becomes apparent] when it spread in a vast area, or people get involved in it in large numbers, or ignore this evil, or fearing the society they are afraid to identify that act as an evil, or they keep quiet under the influence of inferiority complex that a stand against it may not lower them in the eyes of the society, or do not act. There are many matters related to this society that are carried out in the society in the name of freedom, and even the governments accept them though they are evils.
In this society, an example is that of Hijab. Apparently, it is a minute infringement in the eyes of these people that it infringes upon the rights of a woman. A lot is said against Hijab in this society. It is not an evil in their eyes, therefore, they say in this respect that there was no need for such a directive in Sharī'ah. Some girls become lax in observing Hijab under the influence of inferiority complex as to what will people say, or that their friends do not approve of it, or sometimes students or teachers make joke of Hijab. Satan says, it is an insignificant matter; you are not waylaying your sanctity by circumventing this injunction; to avoid the criticism of the society, take off your stole, scarf, veil; nothing will happen as rest of your activities comply with Islam. But a girl or woman taking off her Hijab at that time does not realize that is a an injunction mentioned in the Holy Qur'ān.
Modesty of a woman is her modest dress. Sanctity of a woman is in avoidance of coming in unjustified contact with males. By the grace of Allah, the Exalted, in this society, there are such Ahmadi girls who provide effective rejoinder to any objection from men on their Hijab that it is their action and they are doing as they elect to. [The girls say,] Why are you snatching our freedom by objecting on our Hijab; we also have right that we adopt and don a dress according to our choice. But, there are such who despite being an Ahmadi say that to observe Hijab and to use a scarf in this society is very difficult; we are ashamed. Parents should also inculcate such things in girls from their childhood that they should be ashamed of not acting upon the teachings of Islam and not on obeying a directive of Allah, the Exalted.
Similarly, among boys, due to the free society, there are some ills that enter quietly and when boys get involved in them then other vices also start sneaking in and they become immersed in them.
To be safe from Satan, it is necessary to erect such defenses in homes that not only we are saved from every attack from him but a rejoinder is presented to every attack from him.
Do not take Satan's affection in your lives as love, rather seeking Allah's protection (Istighfār) all the time, every Ahmadi should make an effort to come in the protection of Allah, the Exalted. The greatest refuge from Satan is Allah, the Exalted, Himself. Thus, in this world gone astray, seeking protection from Allah, an effort should be made to come under the protection of Allah, the Exalted. Seeking protection from Allah (Istighfār) is the only way to come under the shelter of Allah.
No human walks into an evil knowingly. This is against nature that a human will engage in an activity knowing it to cause damage. Allah has clearly explained the good and evil to a true believer. By identifying good and evil using the teachings of Allah man should act or abstain accordingly.
Satan knows that until man is in the protection of Allah, the Exalted, is in His castle, he cannot hurt him, therefore, Satan makes man follow him taking man out of this protection, taking him out of this fort where he is safe. To take him out of the protection of Allah, it is apparent that Satan pulls man out by using the temptation of virtue. A believer can only be taken out of the protection of Allah by Satan by giving him the temptation of good deeds.
Sometimes in the name of good, in the name of human sympathy, in the name of helping someone, man and woman get acquainted with each other and end up becoming the bearers of adverse consequences. That is why the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, forbade men going into the homes of women whose husbands are not at home. This directive was supported by the reason that Satan is running in the veins of man like blood. In this same directive, he brought out a basic fundamental principle that men and women do not gather together freely ever other than closely related persons (Na-Mahram, Not Mahram, non-Mahram) because this allows Satan to carry out his work.
Therefore, there is special need for Ahmadis to be careful in this society where, in the name of freedom, meeting of girls and boys freely and in seclusion is not thought to be a matter of shame. Evils are not being initiated only by ignorant boys and girls, rather it is also observed that even among married people, unhindered visitations at homes cause issues and homes disintegrate. Therefore, we, on whom Allah, the Exalted, has bestowed this favor, that he has given us the favor of accepting the Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, who has explained the wisdom of every injunction of Islam, we should act upon every directive of Holy Prophet, my peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and Allah, the Exalted, without any hesitation and reservation.
Of the some of the evils these days are TV and internet. You can observe that in most homes, from the youngest to eldest do not offer the Morning Prayers (Fajr) because they were either watching the TV or were sitting at internet until late and were watching some program and as a result, they did not get up in the morning. Rather, such people's attention is not at getting up for Salat in the morning. Both these things, and similar useless things, are such that these things do not waste your prayer services once or twice, rather the ones who get into this habitat, it is their daily routine that they watch the programs until late in the night, or sit at the internet, and it would be hard for them to get up for the prayer services in the morning, and they will not get up. Rather, some are such that they do not give Salat any importance.
Salat is a fundamental aspect; its performance is necessary in all circumstances, even in war, difficulty and sickness. Whether a person offers Salat sitting, lying down, or in the case of war or travel, offer it in reduced form, but it has to be offered. In ordinary circumstances, men are directed to offer it in congregation and women are also directed to offer it on time. But, Satan diverts a person away from Salat for the sake of a worldly program and internet. Additionally, internet is such a thing that it continues to engage one in the various programs and applications using phone or iPad. At first good programs are watched on them. Its attraction is such that first good programs are watched, then all kind of filthy and damaging immoral program are watched that destroy morality.
There is restlessness in many homes that the rights of wives are not taken care of and children's rights are not discharged because men keep busy watching useless programs on TV and internet during the night. Consequently, the children of these homes are colored in the same hue, and they watch the same. Thus, an Ahmadi house should try to keep clear of all these ills.
How the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was worried about saving the believers from the attacks of the Satan, and how he taught his companions prayers to save them from Satan, and how comprehensive prayers he taught, a companion has narrated it this way that he taught us this prayer:
O Allah create in our hearts love, reform us, and make us tread upon the paths of security, and take us to light saving us from darkness, and save us from overt and covert indecencies, and place blessings for us in our ears, in our eyes, in our hearts, in our wives and in our children, and turn to us with mercy. You are the acceptor of repentance and the one who forgives time and again. Make us the ones who are grateful for your favors and appreciate them and accept them. And, O Allah, perfect Your favors on us.
Thus, this is the prayer to restrain from wrong worldly entertainment and to save from all other kind of useless things and to save from attacks of Satan.
Even today, various improprieties are taking place in the world in the name of entertainment. When man will pray for blessings in in the ears, in the eyes, and will pray for peace and for moving from darkness to light, when he will pray to discharge the rights of wives, when he will pray for the children to be the coolness of eyes, then the attention will automatically be diverted from improprieties and immoralities, and this way the believer will become a source of saving the whole house from Satan.
Thus, in the age we are passing through, it is not the matter with one country, rather it is the condition of the whole world. Media has brought us close to each other but, unfortunately, rather than bringing closer to virtues, has brought closer in following Satan. In such circumstances, An Ahmadi should exceedingly keep an eye on our conditions. Allah, the Exalted, has bestowed on us MTA. Allah, the Exalted, has given us website for spiritual and educational programs of Jamā'at. If we turn most of our attention only then our attention will be to this matter that take us near to God and be the one who are saved from Satan.
If you want to watch other channels for entertainment, then we should take care that the parents themselves are careful and observe children. Watch the programs that are decent. Save yourselves from wherever there is impropriety and filth; they only take towards immorality and unlikable things and generate distance from Allah, the Exalted.
Every Ahmadi home should make it imperative and necessary that all members of the house together at least watch sermon on MTA. Additionally, watch other programs on MTA for at least one hour daily. The homes that are engaged so, there, by the grace of Allah, it is seen that the whole household is inclined towards faith. Children are learning faith and the elders are learning faith. Whoever will do so while will benefit spiritually and will be distanced from Satan, attention will be diverted towards attaining nearness to Allah, the Exalted, and peace in homes will be attained, and there will be blessings as the Holy Prophet taught us in the prayer.
A mother wrote me that her son stayed fine for seventeen years. He offered Salat, etc., took interest in the activities of Majlis, but now that after growing up he attained some freedom, his friends are such that due to them he has gone away from faith. This is true that boys are or can be affected by the environment at an age but if parents have friendly relations with children, they are made aware of good and bad, atmosphere in the house is made faith-oriented, and as I said, Allah has favored us with the same means of entertainment that present sources for training. If all are watching sitting together benefitting from them, and the children have the feeling that they have importance in the house, then they will not venture out, will not fall into improprieties, they will not seek peace outside, rather they will see peace in their homes.
It also is the duty of parents that they attach children to the mosque; have them participate in the activities of auxiliaries. Here I will also advise the auxiliaries and to the system of the Jamā'at, rather to auxiliaries in particular because they have to take care of the members of the auxiliary. They can take of its particular section more conveniently. Khuddām have to take care of Khuddām. Lajna has to take care of Lajna. Especially it is necessary to take care of Aṭfāl and young Khuddām. It is necessary to take care of Nāṣirāt and young Lajna. This is a great responsibility of auxiliaries that they attach them strongly with Jamā'at. Khuddām make teams of such Khuddām who attach Khuddām of diverse attitudes with them.
But, most of the complaints are from young girls. They join the organization of Lajna after they are 15 years old. It is the same organization with elderly women. The attitude they, and especially the office bearers, have towards the girls does not push the girls away from faith. They do not distance them from the programs of Majlis. Thus the office-bearers keep their attitudes such that they attach the young ones to faith with love, attach them to mosque, attach them to their Majlis, attach them with Jamā'at, otherwise the Satan is on the look for the ones who are weak, ones who have a complaint against an office-bearer, to attack and bring them to his clutches.
We have accepted the Promised Messiah for the reason that there is the last battle with Satan in this age through him. But, if through our actions we are providing chance to Satan that he, due to the attitudes of the office-bearers, overpower them showing his sympathy then such office-bearers, whether they are men or women, are not helpers of the Promised Messiah hut are helpers of Satan. Thus, every office-bearer has to make an effort especially that he has to save himself from the attacks of Satan and has to save the members of the Jamā'at. Thus, as Allah has bestowed this grace, it is necessary to understand it. There is need to attain the pleasure of Allah. This way, all conscientious, understanding Ahmadi young boys and girls should keep in their minds that having mercy on them, Allah, the Exalted, has had favor on them and gave them the opportunity to accept Aḥmadiyyat, or have them born in an Ahmadi household, provided them the opportunity to accept the Promised Messiah, the glad tidings of whose coming was given by the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who is to defeat Satan in this age. For this reason, due to the attitude of some so-known elder sage, or office bearer, he is not to take himself away from faith; rather he has to defeat Satan ad has to become a helper of the Promised Messiah, and has to pray to Allah for this.
Allah, the Exalted says, I am Samī' and 'Alīm, that is, I hear and I have knowledge. I know how much fear there is in you of the attacks of Satan. I know that you are making an effort and praying to save yourselves from him. Therefore, I will listen to your prayers. You pray, stay protected from such environment that generates such thoughts sometimes, along with prayers, save yourself from the environment too due to which man is deceived by utterings of Satan, and pray that you are saved from the attacks of Satan always. Allah says that an effort conducted with good intention will be accepted with Allah and you will be saved from Satan.
Similarly, especially those who are entrusted with work of the faith, guidance of members of Jamā'at and their training, must try to mold their word and action in concordance to the pleasure of Allah, and pray to Allah sincerely that may Allah not let anyone go into the lap of Satan due to them; rather in anyway there be no member of Jamā'at following Satan. Allah says that prayers sincerely offered will be listen to and he will guide you and those whom Satan attacks so that you may be saved from these attacks. Otherwise, without the help of Allah and without bowing before him, it is not possible for you to be safe from the attack of Satan. Thus, seek help from Allah, the Exalted.
As I said, Satan said to Allah, the Exalted, If You do not restrain me by force, and give me respite, I will deceive people and will make utmost effort in this cause. How far does Satan go in this effort? Let alone an ordinary believer, Satan tries to overpower until the end even the close friends of Allah, the Exalted. It is his effort that even in the last moments they take some action that may bring them under his power.
Someone mentioned a dream in the company of the Promised Messiah. After listening to the dream, the Promised Messiah said, This dream has ended on a strange note, Satan wants to deceive man through diverse parables but it appears that your end is very good as this dream ends at a good point. Someone was relating dream where it appears that he was attacked by Satan but at the end he was saved from Satan. Then the Promised Messiah says that it happens often that if man tries to avoid the attacks of Satan, he is saved only through the grace of Allah. Then he said, the story of a close friend of Allah is related that when he died his last words were, Not yet, Not yet. When that close friend of Allah was about to die then what was on his tongue? They were these words, Not yet, Not yet. Hearing this, one of the follower of the deceased sage became much perturbed and started praying day and night crying after his death as to what was this matter that the sage continued to say, Not yet, Not yet. One day he met the sage in a dream. He asked him about his last words, Why did you say, Not yet, Not yet. The sage replied, Satan attacks everyone at the time of their death so that he may snatch their light of faith at the last moment. He came to me too in the same routine and tried to make me recant my faith and turn me away from faith. When I did not let any of his attacks succeed, he said to me, You have escaped from my hand. On that, I said, Not yet, Not yet, that I am not confident that I am saved from you until I die. You are deceiving and I am escaping but you will continue to deceive until there is life in me, therefore, until I die I cannot say that I am saved from you. Thus, this the standard of that sages have established before us. It is the effort of Satan that somehow he may make the ends of even the sages bad and have them thrown in hell. Thus, for an ordinary believer it is a state of great fear. Any moment of carelessness can throw him in the clutches of Satan. One should always repent and seek forgiveness for this purpose.
The Promised Messiah says at another place relating to the efforts of Satan to attack, Satan is on the look at all times to take man astray and to malign his actions so much so that he wants to mislead him even in his good works and plans to create some kind of trouble. How? For example, if he offers Prayers, he wants to malign them and mix a portion of show in it. A person is offering Prayers but Satan want to add some aspect of show in his heart to create trouble so that Salat is not sincere anymore. He wants to engage someone who is leading Prayers in similar trial. Thus, one should never be fearless of his attacks. His attacks are obvious on the sinful and wanton. Ones who are sinful and wanton, who have gone astray, there are overt attacks on them. They are his prey. However, he does not hesitate from attacks on the devout. He does not abstain from attacking the good people either. Finding an opportunity, he attacks them. Ones who are under the grace of Allah, and are aware of the subtle machinations of Satan, they pray to Allah to stay safe. One who are yet novice and weak, they sometimes fall for them. Thus a believer should always pray and seek refuge in Allah that may he save us from every mischief of Satan.
The Promised Messiah, may peace be upon him, bringing to our attention the seeking of Allah's protection says, Allah has required seeking Allah's protection forever, that man seek protection with respect to every sin, whether overt or covert, whether he has its knowledge or not, with respect to hands, feet, tongue, eye, ears; and from every kind of sin. These days the prayer of Adam should be recited,
… 'Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves; and if Thou forgive us not and have not mercy on us, we shall surely be of the lost.' (7:24)
Then, giving us advice, he said at one place,
Dear ones, do not look at the directive of God with ungratefulness, the poison of contemporary philosophy may not affect you. Walk under his directives like a child. Offer Salat, offer Salat, as it is the key to all might. And, when you stand for Salat, do not carry it out like a formality. As you wash yourself outer self before Salat, wash your inner self in the same way and wash your limbs off the thought of other than God. Apparently you wash your limbs with water, wash your heart, your limbs of the thought of other than God. Then you stand with both cleansings and pray greatly and make crying and showing humility your habit so that you be shown mercy. Adopt truthfulness, adopt truthfulness because He is seeing you. Adopt truthfulness in every matter always. May it be so. Allah is watching us, how our hearts are. He is watching how your hearts are. Can man deceive Him? Can cleverness work before him. An unfortunate person takes his wayward activities to a level as there is no God then he is destroyed soon and Allah does not care about him at all. Dear ones, lame Logic of this world is a Satan, and the empty philosophy of this world is an Iblis. Logic, arguments, excuses, all are satanic matters. You will have to search for God beyond them. They diminish the light of faith greatly. If you will tread only on logic and philosophy then your light of faith will diminish. And it sprouts audacity. And take one close to atheism. So save yourselves from it. And create a heart that is humble and meek and be the ones accepting directives without excuses. Be the ones who accept Allah's injunctions without excuses. As a child obeys the directives of its mother. The teachings of Islam want to elevate to a high level of righteousness. Put ears to them. And align yourselves with them.
May Allah do so that we are the ones who save themselves from walking on the steps of Satan. Bowing before Allah asking for his help, be the followers of his directives. Be the compliers with the teachings of Holy Qur'ān. And, be grateful for that Allah provided us the opportunity to believe in the one He sent who is to defeat Satan. May Allah do so that we discharge the obligation upon us made by us in the pledge of allegiance to the Promised Messiah and join those who make every attack of Satan fail. May Allah give us the opportunity to do so.