Defeating Our Common Enemy

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Published February 1, 2015

By Saadia Z. Yunus

After the arguing back and forth had ceased, he was looking at the floor, while tears rolled down her face. “Why is this happening?” she asked herself, too scared to say a word. It seemed like a nightmare, but she knew it was too much of a reality. She and her husband had just had the worst fight in all of their six years of marriage. Images of good times kept flooding her mind in those sad, silent moments. “But, wait!” she thought. Something inside of her gave her the strength to speak for the first time after the dead silence: “Shaytan is probably really happy right now. He gets the happiest when a husband and wife fight like this…” She waited a few moments, giving her other half a chance to speak. He remained silent, so she went on: “Why are we fighting each other? We should both be working together to fight Shaytan, because he’s our eternal enemy, not each other.” For a miraculous moment, truth came to light, and they both understood their goal from that moment on—to strive with all of their might to fight their common enemy.

It is imperative that we know what things can harm us.

About this very fact, Allah (SWT) has spoken in many places in the Qur’an: “Indeed, Shaytan is an open and manifest enemy to mankind” (5:12). Our Rabb, the one who nourishes us and sustains us, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has made it clear exactly who our enemy is. Should we not then take Shaytan as our adversary? Knowing who our enemy is makes it easier to oppose him. But, even then, fighting Shaytan is not easy. It is definitely difficult, because, as the Rasul (S) said, “Indeed, Shaytan flows in the son of Adam like blood” (Bukhari, Muslim, and others). Fighting a being that flows through our veins like blood seems a bit impossible, but we know that although it is not easy, it is definitely doable. Knowing our enemy does not only entail having the knowledge of who possesses that title, but knowing our enemy includes striving with all of our capacity to defeat him, no matter what the sacrifices.

Protecting Ourselves from Harm

It is imperative that we know what things can harm us. By being aware of the fact that alcohol is not only harmful, but dangerous if we consume it, it gives us the incentive to completely steer clear of it. Especially as Muslim women, and particularly the mothers of the ummah, we would never give our child a bottle filled with wine to drink. Not only does the commandment of Allah (SWT) hold us back, but our knowledge of the fact that it would harm our child prevents us from placing him or her in harm’s way.
Why, then, do we not treat ourselves in the same protective manner? Shaytan is harmful to us—not only physically, but spiritually as well. And the spiritual harm can most certainly do the worst kind of damage. This damage does not only affect us as individuals, but can most definitely affect our marriages in the worst possible way as well. And this is one of Shaytan’s main goals—to break the marriage bond, the strong bond that Allah (SWT) describes as a binding contract in the Qur’an, a meethaqun ghaleedha, a binding oath, a solemn pledge, something that is firm and difficult to break.

Shaytan Targets Marriage

Shaytan is trying every day to break our marriages. Why is it that he focuses on marriage? Because it is the core of society, the foundation on which society is built. If marriages do not endure, society becomes weak and corrupted. This is why Shaytan makes it his ultimate target. The Prophet (S) said, “Iblees [Shaytan] has placed his throne above the water [sea], and then he sends his detachments. The closest of them to him are those who cause the greatest trial. One of them comes back to him and says, ‘I did such and such.’ Shaytan replies, ‘You have not done anything.’ Then another comes to him and says, ‘I did not leave him alone until I caused division between him and his wife.’” The Prophet (S) said, “So Shaytan brings him closer to himself and says, ‘You did well’” (Muslim).
What makes this hadith so frightening is that it really shows us how dedicated Shaytan is to breaking the union between a husband and his wife. No matter what other evil deed he entices a person to do, whether lying, cheating, backbiting, or stealing, it does not compare to what is a truly “successful” deed to him, which is that of a husband and wife engaging in destructive conflict of any sort. The fact that Shaytan is determined to destroy our marriages puts much fear into our hearts. However, as true Muslims, we must always try to be in a state between the feelings of fear and hope. With that in mind, the hope comes from this very same hadith. Now that we know how determined our eternal enemy Shaytan is to break our marriages, we should be even more determined to defeat him in that endeavor and to never let him succeed.

Become a Solid and Implacable Team

We must make the greatest effort when it comes to our relationships with our life partners to turn tears into smiles, hurtful words into compliments, distance into closeness, silence into communication, and most of all, to turn resentment, anger, and intolerance into forgiveness, self-restraint, and compassion. These are attributes of taqwa, of God-consciousness and virtue for His sake. If husband and wife strive, together, to get through the hard times with patience and a strong will to defeat Shaytan, they will defeat him, insha’Allah. Instead of turning on each other, let’s turn as a solid and implacable team to face our common enemy. The odds are against him. It’s two against one.

Avatar photo Saadia Z. YunusAuthor Saadia Z. Yunus earned her Masters degree from Hofstra University, New York. She is a mother of three minor children.

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