The word shaytan comes from “shatan” meaning rope, which is the rope used to control one’s animal. This points to the chief desire of Shaytan: to control people. In contrast, Allah wants us to be liberated, hence the goal of the Sacred Law to eradicate intoxicants and usury.
‘Shatana’ also means ‘to be far from,’ i.e. to be far from the mercy of Allah. One notes that the Prophetic way is to be near. Near to family, near to community, not to cut oneself off. Shaytan loves break away movements, because it makes his job easier when one is a lone sheep.
Allah tells us that Shaytan wants us to be in constant fear. But what is the difference between this fear and taqwa, the fear of Allah. Taqwa is more akin to a warning; a fear of a known thing, the protection from which is in our control. Sdna Ubayy b Kab said, “It as if saying there are thorns on the road so walk carefully.” It’s known and it’s in your control. However satanic scare tactics are from unknown things that are not in your control, so you are completely paralyzed and can’t change it. He wants you to turn to him for help.
Lastly, if dhikr of Allah expels Shaytan then how can worshippers who make dhikr every day be misguided? Two reasons. One, there is a certain shaytan assigned to all of us who is immune to dhikr. Second, there are Shayateen al-Ins, human beings who have embodied all of these satanic ways and can influence the unlearned worshipper. Hence the value of knowledge. Knowledge protects us from misguidance, while worship purifies us and raises our heavenly ranks. Both are essential.
We ask Allah protection from the human and non human shayateen.
Sh. Mohammad Elshinawy