We are currently in a war. And most of us don’t realise it. The Qur’ān has informed us of this war and repeatedly reminded us of the presence of the enemy. In over twenty verses the Shaițān has been introduced to us as an enemy. The Shaițān is other than Iblīss, who is one example of that referred to as the ‘Shaițān’.
Our father Ādam experienced the enmity of the Shaițān before he descended to the earthly plain. This was an experience he needed to undergo in order to be prepared for this world. He needed to realise that his enemy knows no moral standards or decency. Lies, deception, and sweet talk… are all fair play for the enemy in order to reach his aim which is naught but man’s destruction.
‘Then Satan tempted them… and he said, ‘Your Lord has only forbidden you from this tree lest you should become angels, or lest you become immortal’
And he swore to them, ‘I am indeed your well-wisher’
Thus he brought about their fall by deception…’
Do we think that we are an exception to the Sunnahs that govern man’s journey through the world? Do we believe that we will not encounter the same enmity and spite, the same deceitful smiles and sweet words, the same iron fists covered with velvet sleeves?
‘Do people suppose that they will be let off because they say, ‘We have faith,’ and they will not be tested?
Certainly We tested those who were before them. So Allāh shall surely ascertain those who are truthful, and He shall surely ascertain the liars’
There are two kinds of wars. The first is related to man’s physical aspect and that is the war that takes place on the battlefield. Today the world suffers the effects of this kind of war. In the past such wars were fought with spears, arrows and horses. Today they are fought with tanks, drones and missiles. However the damage done by this kind of obvious war is minimal compared to the second. At most, in war the physical body of the human being is damaged or destroyed.
The second kind of war is much more dangerous. One of the reasons for that is that it takes place much more subtly than the first. It takes insight and precision to even perceive it. Yet man’s failure to acquire that necessary insight and precision equates to his destruction. It is this war to which many of us are oblivious. At times we may see its effects but many a time we fail to see the smoke behind the fire.
Unlike the first war which is fought for land, oil, money and resources, the territory over which the second war is fought is infinitely more precious. And should that territory fall into the hands of the Shaițān, there will no longer be a need for him to fight the first war for men will submit all that they possess to the enemy willingly. It is for this very reason that an unbelievable amount of money, effort and research goes into ensuring the victory of this second war. The enemy perceives its importance while many of us remain oblivious of its existence. This is the war fought over the heart and mind of the human being. And losing means the destruction of the most precious possession that man owns: his very self.
‘In a hard war [the first kind], bodies are dragged in dust and blood but souls ascend to Paradise. In a soft war [the second kind], however, if the enemy wins, bodies become fat and remain healthy, but souls descend into the depths of Hell’
Divine leaders have always strived to raise man’s level of consciousness. For their very mission is ‘to relieve them (people) of their burdens and the shackles that were upon them’ (Qur’ān 7:157) and to bring man to the path of eternal perfection in which all of the hidden potential placed within his being is unleashed, elevating him to levels of perfection which imagination is incapable of perceiving.
How do we win this war?
The first and most important step towards being victorious in this battle is gaining the consciousness to understand that it is real. It is not an illusion. Imagine a situation in which an army wishes to take control of a city. When they reach the city entrance, not only do the soldiers find it completely unguarded, but they find its people utterly heedless that there be any news of an enemy army marching towards them! Too busy going about their mundane lives, the very thought of the existence of an enemy is considered comical. How will such a battle end? Calling such a scenario a ‘battle’ is as unreasonable as referring to the invasion of Iraq as a ‘war against terror’.
How do we awaken ourselves to this reality? How do we gain the awareness that ‘he [Iblīss] sees you – him and his hosts – from where you do not see them’? (Qur’ān 7:27) How do we become conscious of the reality that ‘surely, surely [yes, with two emphasises!] the Satans inspire their friends/followers?’ (Qur’ān 6:121) How do we make ourselves understand that these concepts are realities?
It is for this very reason that we have been continuously ordered to remember.
‘So remind (them) for surely reminding benefits the believers’
‘Oh you who believe! Remember Allāh with much remembrance…’
‘Do not be like those who forget Allāh, so He makes them forget their own souls. It is they who are the transgressors’
‘Those who remember Allāh standing, sitting, and lying on their sides…’
‘Those who have faith and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allāh…’
‘…Will you not then remember?!’
‘…maintain the prayer for My remembrance’
‘…And the remembrance of Allāh is surely greater’
Indeed the Qur’ān introduces its very self as a remembrance:
‘Surely We have sent down the Reminder…’ (Qur’ān 15:9)
The very being of the Beloved of Allāh is a remembrance:
‘…Yet he is just a Reminder for the worlds’ (Qur’ān 68:52)
The blessed household are called the people of remembrance:
‘…So ask the People of Remembrance should you not know’ (Qur’ān 16:43)
Remembering means being conscious of that which we already now. For knowledge of realities has already been placed within man’s being. That is why the Qur’ān does not continuously order man to learn, but rather orders him to remember. The problem is that – for much of humanity – that innate knowledge has been covered by veils of forgetfulness which settle like layers of dust upon the mirror of man’s heart. But should man tear those veils aside, he will arrive at true consciousness and shall witness the realities of existence just as they are. He will no longer remain asleep, heedless to the existence of an enemy. Rather his alertness will not allow him to lower his guard, even for a moment. And therefore he will succeed in protecting the kingdom of his being from the penetration of the enemy.
‘And illuminate the visions of our hearts with the Light of witnessing You
Until the visions of our hearts tear apart the curtains of light
And arrive at the Threshold of Magnificence…’
(Al-Munājāt Al-Sha`bāniyyah, Mafātīhul Jinān)
A person who has saved himself from the enemy’s intrusion, recognised the various guises in which the enemy attacks, and acquired a condition of complete vigilance… such a person is able to free others from the sleep of heedlessness. Such a person is able to awaken others to the threat of the kniving enemy. And it is such that we must strive to be.
The name of that condition of vigilance and remembrance in Islāmic terminology is Al-Taqwā. The Qur’ān repeatedly orders man to attain this condition. Man is created to worship. And worship is for the sake of acquiring Taqwā.
‘I did not create the jinn and the humans except that they may worship Me’
‘O mankind! Worship your Lord, who created you and those who were before you, so that you may acquire Al-Taqwā’
The very acquisition of this condition is our shield against the enemy. This state of consciousness and alertness is what will ensure our victory in both the Hard and Soft wars.
Al-Taqwā has levels. And man’s journey towards perfection is one of traversing those levels. The first of these levels is avoiding sins. And one level leads to the next, like the stairs of a ladder. That is why the Masters of this path emphasise the abandonment of sins more than anything else. Because without completing the first level, reaching the next is impossible. Yet if one completes the first level, the next step will undoubtedly be shown to him.
‘Those who strive in Us, We shall certainly, certainly guide them to our paths’
‘…Have Taqwā of Allāh and Allāh will teach you…’ (Qur’ān 2:282)
‘O you who have faith! If you are wary of Allah, He shall appoint a criterion for you…’ (Qur’ān 8:29)
The term ‘Soft War’ is simply a modern phrase for a reality of which the Qur’ān has already made us aware. The emphasis of the Leadership on being vigilant and distrusting the enemy is naught but an echo of the Qur’ān which calls us to know our enemy and warns us against falling prey to his trickery. The state of vigilance necessary to win this war is none other than the Taqwā to which mankind has been ordered.
What the Leadership has succeded in doing is applying the Qur’ān to today’s world. His words are a resonation of the Qur’ān revealed upon Muhammad (ص) in the deserts of Arabia, but spoken in the language of the modern world. It is no surprise, therefore, that a thousand doubts, invalid reasonings and downright lies surround this very personality, while such guile, abuse and insult is unheard of when it comes to learned men who don’t apply the Qur’ān to today’s world, teaching instead a version of Islām which has little or no relevance to today; a religion which has nothing to do with building the thoughts and hearts of human beings and working to change the current world order and bringing that immaculate, promised vision of the world into existence.
This too, is part of the enemy’s Soft War. The enemy understands that should a nation or Ummah accept the guidance of such a teacher, the promise of God will be realised and the door of victory will be opened on the faithful.
‘Do not weaken or grieve: you shall have the upper hand, should you be faithful’
Therefore no effort is spared in order to ensure that the words of the Leader do not enter into minds and hearts, leaving them vacant for the entrance of the enemy’s propaganda.