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Article appeared Friday, January 15th, 2016 in The News Today, Bangladesh

The Revelation (410)

yousuf mahbubul Islam, PhD

You may have come across the English idiom, look before you leap. What could this idiom or
phrase possibly mean? The website, Freedictionary.com {1} gives the following explanations,
think carefully about what you are about to do, before you do it and think of the
consequences before you act. So, for the thoughts that we have is it important to think carefully
and work out the consequences before acting?
The golden rule given in the idiom not only applies to our moment to moment activities, it also
applies to activities like sports and games. It is only when players think of the consequences of
each move that they become better and excel in their game. For example, would a chess player
think of the consequences of the move that he is about to make? He knows that the objective of
the opponent is to trap and defeat him. So, what does he do? He places himself in the position
of the opponent and analyzes the best moves against himself and in particular, the best
response to the immediate move. The more moves ahead and the more opposing options that
can be worked out, the better the player becomes. The good player selects the move that would
lead to the best opponent being trapped and defeated.
In our daily life, thinking of consequences carefully simply involves our own individual thoughts.
So, in our daily and individual thoughts, do we have a thought opponent? The Quran, as do
other Holy Scriptures, warn of the whispers or thoughts that Satan or Iblis puts into our hearts
or emotions.
From the evil of the retreating Whisperer. Who whispers (evil) into the hearts of
mankind. [114.4 114.5]
Chapter 114 asks us to seek refuge in the Creator from the whispers injected into our thoughts
by Satan! Why should one seek refuge and how? Is Satan very clever? A clue is in the word
retreating. A synonym used by various other translations of the Quran is withdraw. What
could the purpose of retreating or withdrawing immediately after injecting a thought be? In his
website {2}, The Deceptions of Satan the Devil, Ernest L. Martin sheds light on how Satan
operates;
To put the matter in a single phrase, the greatest deception of Satan is to prompt you,
me and everyone in the world to believe that he is not Satan. He manipulates us to
accept something quite opposite. Satan wants people to believe that he is a righteous
spirit being who has nothing but your interest (and the interest of all human beings on
earth) as his chief desire and that his ultimate goal is to promote your welfare and
prosperity. {2}
The effort of Satan is to hide in two ways; first, he does not appear physically or visually in our
thoughts. Second, that the thought given by him benefits the person directly, i.e., the person is
misled into thinking that the thought is his or her own as it is for his/her immediate benefit! Lets
look at how Satan managed to deceive Adam and Eve.
Then Satan whispered to him; he said, "O Adam! Shall I direct you to the tree of eternity
and to a kingdom that never decays?" [20.120]
So, the benefit promised by Satan was promise of eternal life. Both Adam and Eve listened to
this thought and,
And they (i.e., Adam and his wife) ate of it, and their private parts became apparent to
them, and they began to sew together for their covering leaves from the Garden: thus
did Adam disobey His Lord and allow himself to be seduced. [2.121]

Adam subsequently regretted that he had disobeyed his Creator. The question that is being
asked is however, was there anyway the consequence could have been avoided? Could Adam
have analyzed the thoughts injected by Satan, i.e., could he have looked before he and Eve
leaped?
The thought of personal benefit led both Adam and Eve to disobey. One way to avoid the
consequence was to question each thought, i.e., the command given by the Creator verses the
thought of personal benefit. Possible questions could be; why did the Creator ask them not to
eat of the tree? Do I know better or is my Creator likely to know better? Is the Creator likely to
give a commandment that would not benefit me? Having created me, would He not have my
best interests in mind?
It is by logically questioning each of our thoughts that we can recognize thoughts that may lead
to trouble. In this sense, humans have the ability to question and challenge thoughts of personal
benefit. This analytical ability makes humans intellectually superior to Satans capacity and
ability. The existence of Satan and his whispers helps to test the human intellectual potential
and individual free will and thus prove this superiority.
With the creation of the first human being, the Creator demonstrated the purpose of the new
creation by the following commandment,
When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit
(created soul), then fall down to him in prostration." [15.29]
So, the angels, who are designed to follow orders (much like a computer) prostrated.
So the angels prostrated themselves all of them together: [15.30]
However, Iblis, who was also present, exercised his free will and refused to obey.

15.31 Not so Iblis; he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves.


Iblis could not bear to accept the fact that a creation better than his breed was in the making
he therefore became arrogant and disobeyed the Creator. By accepting the command, he would
become subservient to the new creation, therefore prostrating would not do.

15.32 (Allah) said, "O Iblis! What is your reason for not being among those who
prostrated themselves?"
15.33 (Iblis) said, "I am not one to prostrate myself to a human whom You
created from sounding clay from altered black mud."
Iblis was not in a position to understand the intellectual superiority of the new creation.
15.34 (Allah) said: "Then get out from here, for you are rejected, accursed.
He was ousted as he had refused to obey the command of the Creator and also accept the
superiority of the new creation. Just like he disobeyed the command and wisdom of the Creator,
we should be wary of the thoughts of personal benefit. Who knows the benefit best of all?
----------{Notes}:
{1} http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/Look+before+you+leap
{2} http://www.askelm.com/doctrine/d950201.htm