The Concealed Traps of Shaytan

The Concealed Traps of Shaytan

Knowledge (ilm) is indeed the ultimate honour in this universe, and how could it not be when it is the evidence [on the existence of its Creator] without which a person goes astray.

From the concealed traps of the Shaytan is when he beautifies for a person the act of worshipping, just to distract him from the best of worship, which is attaining knowledge.

Falling for this trap made some people from previous eras bury their books [of knowledge] and threw them in the sea. This behaviour was reported from some of the pious people but, giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming goodness in them, I interpreted their action to mean that they did so because their books included some of their own opinions that they did not wish to spread among people. Otherwise, should these books contain correct and beneficial knowledge not feared to cause bad consequences; it would be regarded as waste of money (and time) which is unlawful to do.

This devilish trap worked on some of the Sufiyah to the point they forbade their students to carry the ink [used to write knowledge].

Ja’far al-Khuldi said, ‘If Sufi people had not restrained me, I would have narrated for you the numerous chains of narrations. I was writing down the knowledge given by Abu’l-‘Abbas al Duri when a Sufi met me and said to me: ‘Leave the knowledge of papers and seek the knowledge of worn garments.’

And once, a Sufi was seen carrying ink, so another Sufi said to him: ‘Cover your ‘awrah [i.e. he considered seeking knowledge as a shameful act).’

Evidently, this is from the hidden tricks of the Shaytan,

“And Iblis had already confirmed through them his assumption, so they followed him, except for a party of Believers.” [Qur’an 34:20]

The reasons for which Iblis decorated this deviation (of abstaining from seeking knowledge) are because he wants to achieve two goals:

  1. Lead people astray so they walk in the dark.
  2. Keeping them away from knowledge because acquiring more knowledge and exploring the life of the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions every day will reveal to them the unknown, strengthen their belief, solidify their knowledge in Allah, and show them the mistakes of their actions.

For these reasons, Iblis wants to block these ways by his most hidden trap, so he made them believe that the main purpose is the acts of worship per se, and not knowledge (that brings meaning and strength to worship). Those deceived did not know that attaining knowledge itself is an act of worship, and the best act of worship at that [as it is the source whereby they learn what and how to worship].

Having said that, beware of this concealed trick for knowledge is the ultimate light and the greatest principle. Verily, flipping the pages [of religious books] can sometimes be better than [optional] fasting, prayer, hajj and jihad.

There are many who overlooked seeking knowledge. As a consequence suffered the torture of his desires (hawa) while worshipping the Lord, and overlooked the obligatory because of his focus on the optional (nafil). He busied himself with what he deemed the best but forgetting the obligatory (wajib).

Had they a spark from the light of knowledge, they would have been guided. So contemplate on what I have mentioned and you shall be safe, by the will of Allah.

[Captured Thoughts by Ibn Jawzi, p. 253-255]

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