Issue 69 / May - June 2009
Satan and His Contemporary Followers
M. Fethullah Gulen
Satan is a miserable and accursed one, who has fallen away from Godâ€™s Mercy, whose task is to go astray and to lead astray, who continues his existence around the axis of sedition, incitement, hypocrisy, and discord. All his pursuits are devilish and he constantly pursues evil. Thus, he triggers evil feelings in people; by drawing them away from kindness, goodness, and virtue, he virtually makes them resemble himself and become his followers. Rebelling against divine commands, doing the opposite of what God and the Prophet said, tempting people to the ways of transgression and leading them to bohemianism are the points he focuses on most. He always urges recognizing no law or rule to those who enter his territory. He arouses the passions of such people, incites their carnal desires, and constantly shows them the ways of misappropriation, entices them with pleasures and entertainment, and turns them into devils like himself.
Nothing compares to him at abusing certain feelings ingrained in human nature for particular intentions and purposes, which are beneficial for us if used properly. Likewise, he is highly skilled at making beauty seem ugly, and ugliness seem beautiful to those who have been afflicted with the misfortune of entering his dirty atmosphere. He makes his unfortunate prey slaves to physicality with his enticement and propaganda to such a degree that it almost becomes impossible for those poor beings to turn toward the horizon of being true humans afterwards.
Even though humanity recognized this evil creature for the first time on its refusal to prostrate before Adam, the history of this wicked one-God knows-may extend further back into the past in connection with its inner problems and conflicts. Satan is the meanest creature with the potential for jealousy, inclination to deceive, feeling of ego-centrism, spirit of rebellion, and weakness for renown in his nature-his willpower being the trigger-who keeps foaming with a rebellious code of conduct and who is fixed on malice. He keeps whispering the same thing to everyone who enters his orbit, be they human or jinn, since evil feelings keep boiling within the essential elements which constitute his inner world and character. He tries particularly hard to make people with character defects resemble himself, constantly blows devilish considerations into them, and travels through their blood and vessels, always inculcating negative things in those unfortunate ones. These poor beings consider the negativities of the words and expressions formed in their inner worlds or of the way of thinking they put on paper as their own, but it is obvious that there are devilish inculcations behind all of these negativities. In this respect, there are seditious organizations and followers of Satan who hold a grudge against people-particularly against believers-and try to lead them astray. They sometimes trigger the animal feelings in some weak ones and lead them to bohemianism, they attack those who do not think like themselves, sometimes raise a fuss, make the atmosphere tense and make different groups oppose one another, always pursuing hypocrisy and discord. These are the ones-as the Qurâ€™an states-who pretend to have faith while near believers and reveal their true thoughts when they are back near the radical lords of unbelief. These organizations and followers of Satan are also metaphorically regarded as satans; these are the human satans described in the Qurâ€™an as â€śsatans from humankind and the jinnâ€ť (Anâ€™am 6:112).
Just like Satan who chose rebellion by rejecting the order to prostrate before Adam and went even further by daring to engage in dialectics and argue against God, the modern Mephistos of our time in his footsteps always rebel against good, try to make people forget God and His Prophet, and pave the way for the flourishing of devilish considerations. As Goethe expresses in Faust, the struggle between Satan and man, the controversy between unbelief and faith, has never ceased and will never cease. During this struggle, occasionally circumstances were made suitable for unbelief and apostasy, apostates became completely insolent, at other times believers were intimidated through brute force, sometimes certain spoiled souls adopted the despotism of not letting anyone else but themselves live, and at times they committed or had others commit terrible cruelties-whose many examples appall us today. These tyrants did not even think about the existence of an Omnipotent Power, mightier than themselves. They just ignored the fact that the oppressed has the Almighty to take refuge in, that those who make people suffer today will moan in misery tomorrow. What is worse, the unfortunate ones who led their lives under the hegemony of oppressors and despots understood nothing of what was going on, and they kept serving the goals of the tyrants over them. They failed to realize the situation they had got into and what mean deals they were being pushed toward. The poet NamĂ˝k Kemal described them thus:
Helpers of the oppressors in this world are only rogues,
Those who enjoy serving merciless hunters are naught but dogs.
In fact, the ends of such people have always been grim. A proverb says, â€śThe company of Satan lasts to the gallows.â€ť This is how they end up; as they do not enjoy the life of this world, they have never been confident about their future. They could not be, since human and jinn devils have caused their souls to deviate. One more time, they have fallen for the stealthy trick of Mephisto. They have been deceived by enemies disguised as friends, and by alienated souls whom they considered their fellows.
The apostates, unbelievers, bohemians, dealers in lust, tyrants who do not recognize any right or justice nowadays are doing to the unfortunate masses what the satans have not been able to. This reaches such a degree that these networks of evil, whose thoughts are as filthy as can be, who are foul-mouthed, and whose insides boil with grudge and hatred, keep attacking those who do not think like themselves, besmirch everyone, laud those they favor, and easily defame those they do not. The poet Mehmed Akif criticized these strayers thus: â€śOur literary men are swearing at one another, / Published in different namesÂ¬, a paper always in print, / Disseminating seeds of discord all over!â€ť This was the case the day before yesterday, it was so yesterday, and it is still the same now.
God called us to keep away from Satan as stated in the command, â€śDo not follow in the footsteps of Satan; indeed he is a manifest enemy to you. He only commands you to evil and indecencyâ€ť (Baqara 2:168â€“169).
The Almighty reminds us of the grudge of that accursed one to alert us: â€śOf Your servants I will surely take a share to be assigned to me (by their following me). I will surely lead them astray and surely engross them in vain desiresâ€ť (Nisa 4:118â€“119). God invites us to be sensible and wary of the Satanic grudge and hatred as revealed in â€śâ€¦now that You have allowed me to rebel and go astray, I will surely lie in wait for them on Your Straight Path (to lure them from it). Then I will come upon them from before them and from behind them, and from their right and from their leftâ€ť (Aâ€™raf 7:16â€“17).
If only we could understand all this!