“إِنَّمَا ذَلِكُمْ الشَّيْطَان يُخَوِّف أَوْلِيَاءَهُ”
This part of a verse [3:175] came down as a conclusion to an incident that happened at the time of Muhammad (pbuh) right after the battle of Uhud ( you can read more about the incident here). But in summary the Meccan invaders wanted to come back and finish their job by killing Muhammad and all the Muslims and hence get rid of Islam once and forever. The Prophet (pbuh) went out with his companions to stop them, although tired and injured from the battle of Uhud. The Meccan leader sent a few people to them to threaten them saying that the Meccans came to you with a huge army and weapons. Their response was “Allah will suffice us and he is the best to rely on.” They insisted to defend themselves, their city, their prophet, and their religion. The result was interesting. NOTHING happened to them. The invaders were afraid to attack them and they went back to Mecca.
Among the verses that came to describe and comment on the incident was this very important conclusion: fear is just what the Devil tries to instill in truthful people’s heart so they won’t be able to stand for the truth. The evil and its people are just the followers of the Devil who deliberately want to convince everyone that his followers are strong and impossible to overcome.
Growing up in Egypt under the oppressive regime of Mubarak where a lot of fear was put in our hearts. The regime used every possible way to convince us that it is impossible to overcome. We used to hear about the number of police soldiers (1.5 million soldiers), the torture that takes place in prisons, the misery that you will be subject to if you dare to oppose, and the intelligence that knows every ant that walks on the soil of Egypt. When a few dozens go down to demonstrate, hundreds of armed soldiers go down to “show off,” and it won’t hurt to injure one or two, kill one of two, or arrest a few. Fear was there. Many claimed courage but many more were afraid. Media played a big role to convince us of this fear. Terms such as “go behind the sun,” make parents feel that if their kids become active, they will disappear. “Behind the sun” is where activists are taken to their unknown fate. Movies played a big role. Even schools and families taught us that people should “walk next to the wall” as opposed to the middle of the streets. I was wondering why people of the past such as Pharaoh and other tyrant kings used sorcery with people. It was for the very same reason, instill fear in the hearts.
After what I saw happening the Middle East, I realized that this was all illusion. This huge army of police soldiers was very fragile. These weapons failed to stop the people. Those police monsters turned into rats in front of the revolts. It was a completely fake image those oppressors wanted us to believe. It is us who believed it under the pressure and the whispering of the Devil, who wanted us to fear his followers. It happened in the past and it is happening to us and will happen in the future. The Devil will always try to instill fear in our hearts so we won’t be able to stand for the truth and struggle to bring justice.
It looks like fear is an illusion and it is something within us not external. Courage is also a quality of our hearts not anyone else’s. The most important point I would like to make writing this post is how we can drive this fear away and replace it with courage that will enable us to overcome the toughest oppression (or what we believe toughest). Here are a few points that I learned from the few verses I am referring to, a couple of other verses, and of course the real demonstration by the revolutions happening the Middle East.
- Fill your heart with one kind of fear; that is the fear of Allah. Allah said, “It is the devil that makes you fear his followers; do not fear them and fear Me if you are believers.” Those who fear Allah will fear no one else.
- “Isn’t Allah sufficient?” is a rhetorical question that Allah is asking His Messenger; “Isn’t Allah sufficient for his servant? And they make you afraid from those other than Him …” Those who rely on Allah will have no fear. Recalling the story above; when Muhammad and his companions were approached by this wave of scaring, they said, (hasbuna Allah wa ne’ma alwakeel,) “For us Allah suffices and He is the best to rely on.” This very sentence is what was said by Abraham when he was thrown in fire and Allah saved him.
- Stay away from sins. When you sin you make yourself susceptible to these illusions of the Devil. In the battle of Uhud when many of the prophet’s companions run away from the battle field, Allah makes a comment about them saying “Those who run away when the two crowds met are deceived by the Devil using some of what they possessed …” The Devil probably told them (making it up myself) “You? You defend the Prophet? You defend Islam? You are not worth it. Remember the many mistakes you have made? What if you die now? Are you ready to meet Allah? Run! Run before it is too late!” And you run …
- What are you afraid of? What is the worst thing that can happen to you? Death! We are all afraid of death. But think about your life. Are you living an honorable life, a life that pleases Allah. Those revolts who went down to the streets of Egypt thought that it is important for them to change this oppression even if the price is to lose their lives. Those heroes in Libya valued freedom over a humiliating life. An honorable life is what one should be looking for. As Muslims, we know that this life is just a very short period anyway and the real life is what comes after. One will die anyway after a few years; isn’t it worth dying for a cause like this? When the sorcerers that Pharaoh had brought to defeat Moses believed in Moses, he threatened them with torture and death. They responded “Finish what you want to finish; you only finish this life …“
- Be next to people of courage. I have attended lectures about courage. I have read a lot about it. I have been always wanting to be courageous. I never felt courageous more than I am when I saw videos of these revolts standing firm in front of an army of police soldiers with sticks, guns, tanks, and tear gas rifles. I did not feel more courageous than I am when I saw the Egyptian man challenging a tank with his bear body. I did not feel courageous more than I am when I saw those heroes carrying one another when they get injured, go for a little treatment, and come back to defend their demonstration from the barbaric attacks of the regime. We need to live next to people who show courage. I recall a word by Ali Ibn Abi Taleb when he said, when the battle becomes tough, we take shield by the Prophet (pbuh). I recall the description when the whole army is running away and the Prophet and a few of his companions are running towards the countless enemy saying “I am the Messenger of Allah; come join me o servants of Allah!”
- Always remember! It is the devil who makes you fear his followers, do not fear them and fear Allah if you are a believer … These are not worthy to fear them. They are weak. You are strong. It is just an illusion.
I am sure there are many tips to defeat this illusional fear, these are some, share yours and do not be afraid! It is just the devil that makes you fear his followers, do not fear them and fear Allah ….