KNOW YOUR ENEMY: SATAN
All praise is due to Allah Who warned us against the accursed Satan, the enemy of mankind.
إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ فَاتَّخِذُوهُ عَدُوًّا ۚ إِنَّمَا يَدْعُو حِزْبَهُ لِيَكُونُوا مِنْ أَصْحَابِ السَّعِيرِ
Surely Satan is an enemy to you, so take him as an enemy. He only invites his followers to become inmates of the Blaze.
Jihad ash-Shaytaan (Struggle against Satan) is an individual duty upon the Muslims. We must recognize our enemy to effectively fight him. The struggle begins with knowing the enemy. Shaytaan is the greatest deceiver who wants us to turn away from God and away from guidance. He makes evil deeds seem good and good deeds seem evil. The whispers of Shaytaan are such that one believes them to be his own thoughts, but they are in fact from Shaytaan; they must therefore be actively recognized. They include doubts in the religion, doubts in your deeds, doubts in yourself, evil thoughts about others, and anything encouraging laziness, cowardice or weakness, or sowing enmity between the believers, which he seeks to corrupt the Muslim with.
The Muslim should not feel safe from the attacks of Shaytaan, because he himself says:
ثُمَّ لَآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَائِلِهِمْ ۖ وَلَا تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ
"Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful"
The Shaytaan seeks to distract humanity from God's path through trivial games and diversions, and through wealth and children, and through all manners of temptations. Unfortunately we see that most of humanity has fallen for his false promises.
Taking Satan as an enemy does not mean fearing him, rather it means fearing Allah. Satan has no power or authority over the world, his whispers (waswasa) are his only weapon. Satan does not directly tell a believer to commit sin, rather he moves in small steps toward greater and greater misdeeds, hoping to turn the believers into disbelievers. Satan knows the weaknesses of human beings and exploits them for his evil goals. Among these weaknesses is anger, which Satan exploits to make a person do things he will regret later, and grief, for Satan constantly seeks to bring grief and sadness to the Muslims.
How do we fight Satan and his whispers?
The Muslim should seek refuge with Allah the moment he encounters Satan's whispers. Saying "أعوذُ بِٱللَّهِ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنِ ٱلرَّجِيمِ" "audhu billahi min ash-shaytaani r-rajeem" This is the first and most important way for a believer to remove Satan's whispers.
Further, Jihad ash-Shaytaan is twofold:
The first way is through certainty in our faith. We strive against all doubts and suspicions concerning our religion and establish strong, firm faith in our hearts. The second way is through patience. The believer patiently endures all temptations and desires Satan seeks to distract him with. Therefore Jihad ash-Shaytaan concerns of certainty and patience. This is the way of salvation from this greatest enemy to mankind.
We seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Shaytaan. May his work be fruitless.