In Islamic literature, the devil is called Shaitan. He plays a negative role in the world.
God always commands us to do good and right things in life. So in Islamic terminology, anything good will be obedience.
Shaitan obstructs you from doing acts of obedience. Repel him by realizing that you are in need of these acts of obedience, in order to gather provision from this life for the next life, which will have no ending.
Shaitan commands you to procrastinate in acts of obedience. Repel him by realizing that your appointed time is not in your hands, and that you could die at any moment.
Shaitan commands you to rush in acts of obedience by suggesting to you, “Hurry! In order that you can do so-and-so!” Repel him by realizing that a few acts of obedience done with perfection are better than many done incompletely.
Shaitan whispers arrogance and pride in your heart by saying, “Who is greater and more precise than your obedience?” Repel him by realizing that your acts of obedience are a blessing from God, not from yourself. If it were not for the bounty of God, you would not be able to establish any act of obedience.
Shaitan makes an effort in keeping your obedience secret, saying he will manifest it before the world. Repel him by saying, “If God wills, He will manifest my obedience, and if He wills to keep it concealed, He will keep it concealed. I leave it to Him.”
— Imam Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center
The devil divides
The devil is somewhat of an inflated celebrity in our contemporary religious culture. He/It is often seen as the smooth-talking, cape-wearing, pitchfork-wielding demonic being who lures us into sinful behavior. The devil is imagined as the binary opposite of God, the one who lines up on the other end of the field, hoping to win the game of humanity’s destiny despite being infinitely overpowered.
Some recognize the devil as the personification of evil. To others, the devil is seen as that great source of temptation that overcame those first humans in the garden called Eden. Still others don’t see the devil as an actual being, but rather the source or presence of evil in the world.
However you may view “the devil,” it seems to me that one thing is clear about his/its role in this world: “The devil” divides.
Whether it comes through temptation, hatred, ignorance or selfishness, it seems to me “the devil” exists to divide us from one another and from God. It’s what happened in Eden — humanity was separated from God. Separation was the goal when the devil tempted Christ in the wilderness — separation from God and his will for Jesus.
If we can be separated from one another and from God, then sin has room to flourish, and love is pushed to the margins.
— Chris Thomas, Fairview Heights Northside Baptist Church, Anniston
Have a question to pose to our panel of local faith leaders? Send it to “Religion Roundtable,” Lisa Davis, Features Editor, The Anniston Star, P.O. Box 189, Anniston AL 36202. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.