Shaytaan’s only mission in life is to attack believers on the straight path which he is so devoted to. He promised Allah (SWT) to misguide the believing people and he promised to come to us from the right, left, front, behind, when we are aware and when we are unaware. Shaytaan got nothing else doing than accomplishing this one mission, which is to misguide as many believers as possible who will abide with him in the fire of Jahannam forever. I ask Allah to protect and guide us from his plots.
There are two strong tactics shaytaan uses in deceiving us which we are mostly not aware of. First is when we feel spiritually elevated or high and second is when we feel spiritually low or down.

DURING OUR SPIRITUAL HIGH/ELEVATION

The number one tactic of shaytaan is to create in us the idea of perfection. Religious perfection for that matter. And this is one of the unaware tool shaytaan uses in leading us astray. When you become religious or a practicing person and you feel you are safe from shaytaan’s plots, know he has already won the battle. Remember that the more you try to get closer to Allah, the more you should protect yourself from shaytaan. As an Ummah, we do a great disservice to ourselves when we equate a religious person to be a perfect person. We teach ourselves that to be religious is to be perfect forgetting Allah created us to be humans and not Angels.
Now let’s understand this. As humans we are not perfect and we were not created to be. We commit sin and make mistakes. If Allah wanted to make us sinless, HE would have created us as Angels. We are told from a hadith that, all of the children of Adam will sin but the best of them is those who repent to Allah. When we do not understand this basic principle of life, then we begin to aspire for perfection. When we view ourselves as perfect, we become arrogant. In Arabic that type of arrogance is known as “Ghurrur” which means measuring one’s self differently from what one really is. “Ghurrur” is a form of a disease of the heart.
At the point of spiritual high, we begin to dress appropriately, pray correctly and at the right time, wear hijab, grow beard, engage in good deeds etc. During this moment, shaytaan sorts of make you feel arrogant and you begin to have issues with everyone around you. You become judges of others deeds. And out of arrogance and self-righteousness, you will feel the need to help others because you feel you are perfect and others are not.
In your spiritual high all you need to ask yourself is whether you are being religious for the sake of Allah or yourself.
Remember, the reason you are able to pray and do other good deeds is because Allah has guided and gifted you with that ability to worship HIM. What you need to do is to be grateful and not arrogant. Realize it is a gift which Allah can take away from you at any time. Therefore in your spiritual high, know that it is not by your power and strength that you are able to worship Allah and do good deeds but it is the gift of Allah to you. Again, your spirituality shouldn’t be for your sake but for Allah’s.
What we need to understand is, it isn’t because of our actions we get saved and it isn’t because of our good deeds we will get to Jannah. It is Allah’s generosity that actually saves us and it is what will grant us Jannah.The focus should be on Allah’s generosity and not how good we are.
Being at our spiritual high we should seek Allah more, ask for HIS forgiveness and pray against shaytan’s plots of pride, arrogance, deceit and the feeling of perfection.

DURING OUR SPIRITUAL LOW

Feeling spiritually low stems from the fact that we want to attain perfection in our lives. We make perfection the standard of been religious, therefore when we sin and make mistakes we fall into despair and hopelessness. What we should be doing when we slip is going back to Allah and not avoiding HIM. As discussed earlier, what we need to understand is the design of our creation. That is, knowing it is normal to slip and sin as a human. Then when we sin, we need not lose hope but ask for forgiveness from Allah. Allah is Al-Ghafurur Raheem.
What shaytaan does when we sin is to whisper into us how bad and undeserving of Allah’s mercy we are. Whenever we commit sin we either ask for forgiveness or we continue to commit worse sins. The choice is ours to make. What Shaytan does when we sin is to make us not feel remorseful. He convinces and confuses us that we are of no good and undeserving of Allah’s forgiveness. When we feel hopeless, we go back to commit greater sins because we feel and think Allah’s mercy. can’t be for us. When we feel spiritually distant from Allah, it is normal to feel sad but it is not normal to make our sadness drown us. When we feel low, we must be ready to rise up and know that Allah got us in every situation.
Accept you are human and sinful but know Allah accepts repentance no matter whom and where it is coming from. It is a different story with shaytaan. Shaytaan doesn’t like it when we become remorseful of our sins, so he tries to deceive us when we sin. He wants us to do what he did. After shaytaan and Adam sinned against Allah, Adam felt remorseful and asked Allah for forgiveness but shaytaan did not. Through Adam’s repentance, Allah raised his status and made him a Prophet. Which is to tell us, when we sin we should ask for forgiveness from Allah and HE will take us places we could ever imagine.
Any time we sin, we need to take responsibility of our action. That was the difference between Prophet Adam and Shaytaan. Prophet Adam took responsibility of his sins and repented wholeheartedly to Allah. Even though it was shaytaan who deceived him, Prophet Adam did not blame him but blamed himself for falling weak to sin. Again, we need to realize that we need the forgiveness of Allah, therefore it is important to be humble before HIM (SWT).

HOW TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM SHAYTAAN

  1. Salat

    Salat is actually our oxygen for survival. We need to learn more about our salat and realize it is a means of communicating with Allah. When we prioritize salat, every other thing will fall in place. Let’s try praying at the appropriate time and also immerse ourselves in our prayers as it is a means of meeting and communicating with Allah (SWT).

  2. Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)

    We need to protect ourselves from shaytaan and we can only do that by remembering Allah all the time. Thus, by reciting special Quranic duas at specific times of the day. There are lots of dua Apps on playstore which we can benefit from. The popular one I know of is the Dua and Azkar App. It is easy to use and you will find it useful. There are different categories of duas on the app. The morning and evening azkar among other useful ones. When you download it, after praying fajr open the morning azkar category and recite as many duas you can. And do same for the evening azkar, which is after praying Asr. Remember this has to be consistent.

  3. Dua’s before sleep

    Before we sleep, we should do our best to pray and seek for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy and protection before we sleep.

  4. Qur’an

    Connecting with the Qur’an on a daily basis is actually a strong tool to defeating shaytaan. We need to read, understand, reflect and implement the Qur’an in our lives.
    These points are like armor against shaytaan. But it is important to note that, these actions won’t yield results if we do not make it consistent in our lives.

CONCLUSION

Finding a healthy balance is important in our lives. Healthy balance means yes, shaytaan and all evil exists and their influence is real but let’s remember Allah is Akbar. Allah is Greater than everything that exists. Therefore in as much as shaytaan uses his tricks and plots on us, it is important to know that Allah the Most High is Greater than Shaytaan and all his plots. And when we have Allah (SWT) as our strength in life, every other thing will fall in its rightful place. As humans and more importantly as Muslims, we need to understand that Allah created us as humans who will make mistakes and learn from them and not Angels who will never make mistakes. Allah (SWT) didn’t create us to be perfect. It is rightly normal to feel spiritually high and low. In our high spirituality, we must be aware of Shaytan’s tricks to make us feel perfect and act arrogantly, which alone is a greater sin in the sight of Allah. And when we feel low too, we must understand that Allah’s mercy is available to us and we are deserving of it. Keeping balance is key in our lives. When you feel high, know it’s not perfection and when you feel low know it’s not hopelessness.
SALAAM ALAIKUM WARAHMATULLAH
I ASK ALLAH TO PROTECT US ALL FROM THE PLOTS OF SHAYTAAN
AAMEEN YAA RABBAL ALAMEEN!!!!!!!!!

This write-up is inspired by one of Yasmin Mogahed’s videos, Defeating the tactics of shaytaan. Do find time to search for it on youtube and you will get a better understanding of this article.