And the devil came call­ing (I)

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In the course of my con­stant pur­suit of the beau­ti­ful in the Word, I chanced upon this story and could not re­sist the urge to share it with you. It is said that one day, a con­gre­ga­tion was gath­ered, as usual, around the Prophet (upon him be peace and bless­ings of the Almighty). In the mid­dle of a won­der­ful dis­course, an ugly voice from the out­side was heard say­ing: “O Mes­sen­ger of the Almighty, would you per­mit me to en­ter? I have busi­ness with you!”. Ev­ery­body looked at the Prophet who said to the ones present: “Do you rec­og­nize the owner of this voice?” The com­pan­ions an­swered: “The Almighty and His Mes­sen­ger know best” The Prophet said: “It is Shay­tan, the Ac­cursed.”

On hear­ing that, Umar b. khat­tab (r.a), who was present, asked the Prophet: “O Prophet, per­mit me to go and cut off his head. Let me smash his skull and free peo­ple from his trou­ble”. But the Prophet re­sponded: “No, Umar, don’t you know that you can­not kill him? He has per­mis­sion to ex­ist un­til Dooms­day”.

There­after the Prophet said: “Open the door and ad­mit him, as he did not come on his own, but on the Almighty’s or­ders. Other­wise, he would not come here. Lis­ten to what he says, and try to un­der­stand”.

The com­pan­ion who re­ported the in­ci­dent said: “Con­se­quently they opened the door and the Devil (Shay­tan) ap­peared in front of us as an old man cross-eyed (or blind in one eye) and scant of beard, with only six or seven long hairs from his chin. He had a very big head, his crossed eyes close to the top of his head, high on his fore­head, with big thick hang­ing lips, like those of a wa­ter buf­falo. He saluted the Prophet and the Com­pan­ions, to which the Prophet re­sponded: ‘O! Ac­cursed, the salaam and sa­lu­ta­tions be­long to Almighty, the Most High”. Then the Prophet said: “I heard you are here on busi­ness. What is it?”

Shay­tan said: “I did not wish to come here, I was forced to. An an­gel came to me from your Lord, who hon­ours whom He wishes, and said, “The Almighty, Most High, or­ders you to Muham­mad, but you will go to him in hu­mil­ity and abase­ment, and be sub­mis­sive and tractable. You will tell him how you se­duce and mis­lead hu­mankind. You are go­ing to an­swer all his ques­tions truth­fully, with­out a sin­gle lie.” And the Almighty said that if I lied to you, He would turn me into ashes and blow me away in the wind, and my en­e­mies would laugh at me. I come with such or­ders, O Muham­mad.”

Then the Prophet asked the Devil: “Tell me, who do you hate most among the crea­tures of the Most High?” The Devil an­swered: “You O Muham­mad! and all the prophets. There is no one in the whole cre­ation that I hate more than you and oth­ers like you.” The Mes­sen­ger of the Almighty con­firmed that the Devil was his (and all the prophets’) great­est foe. Then he asked Shay­tan: “who else do you detest, be­sides me?” Shay­tan said: “The young ones who have given up their plea­sures and them­selves for His sake; the men of knowl­edge who act upon their knowl­edge and who de­cline all that is doubt­ful; the ones who are clean, so clean that they wash thrice that which they wish to cleanse.

The pa­tient poor, who nei­ther ask from oth­ers the things they need, not com­plain­ing; the rich who is thank­ful to his Lord, who give alms law­fully; the knowl­edge­able who act on what they know; the read­ers of the Qur’an who pat­tern them­selves on it; those who call to prayer on time; ad­vi­sors and re­form­ers; ab­stain­ers from un­law­ful food and sex and those who place their trust in the Almighty... bene­fac­tors of the poor...”.

Then, the Prophet asked Shay­tan once again: “What hap­pens to you, O Ac­cursed One, when my peo­ple do their pray­ers?”: Shay­tan re­sponded say­ing: “I shake and trem­ble as if stricken with tremor, be­cause I see your peo­ple raised in bless­ing and power each time they pros­trate...”. Hav­ing heard the an­swers of the ac­cursed Shay­tan, the Prophet thanked the Almighty say­ing: ‘Praised be to the Almighty, who has blessed my peo­ple with such felic­ity and cursed you with such neg­a­tiv­ity un­til that ap­pointed time. “When the Devil heard that, he said, ‘Alas... what felic­ity for your peo­ple? How could you be cer­tain that there is safety for them as long as I ex­ist? I en­ter their very veins, their very flesh, and they can­not even sus­pect, let alone see or feel me. I swear by Him Who has given me time un­til Dooms­day, that I will se­duce them all, the in­tel­li­gent and the sim­ple­minded, the learned as well as the ig­no­rant, the de­vout as well as the sin­ner. None will be safe from me, ex­cept the true ser­vants of the Almighty’.

The above re­sponse from Shay­tan led the Prophet to ask him once again say­ing: “So who are the true ser­vants of the Almighty in your es­ti­ma­tion”. Shay­tan re­sponded: ‘You know very well, O Muham­mad, that who­ever loves his money and his prop­erty, the Most High would not count such a per­son among His ser­vants.

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