Ibn ul Qayyim rahimahullah is reported to have said “Your heart is a fortress surrounded by the army of shaitaan and the doors to the fortress are your senses.”
The traps of shaitaan are many but the doors by which we become vulnerable to them are few. The main door by which the army of shaitaan enters the hearts of men is through the eyes. Failing to lower your gaze allows the whispering of shaitaan to enter your heart. It raises the sceptre of false desires and calls a person to haraam.
Furthermore one of the big sources of evil in the world is coveting that which others have. Our eyes view what others have and our hearts seek to gain these things. This is true whether its cars, houses or any other worldly item.
Controlling our gaze and being aware of how our minds process what we experience is crucial to gaining control. There are two main factors to controlling ourselves.
- Controlling what stimulus we allow into our mind
- Deciding consciously how we process this stimulus
Controlling the stimulus is impacted by factors such as what company we keep, what we watch on television and the internet, the conversations that we choose to partake in.
The Messenger of Allah salallahu alaihi wasalam said that “you are upon the religion of your companions.” In the modern era in business psychology we are told that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. The fact of the matter is that whether it relates to your deen or your dunya the companionship that you keep is crucial to your success. If you want to change your own psychology then change your company.
In the modern era we are exposed to evil and harm at unprecedented levels. Never in the history of mankind have human beings been exposed to so many sources of harm and evil. Whether it is social media posts, television programmes, roadside adverts or the news we are constantly bombarded with haram. We seem to sleep walk into these evils and then complain about issues relating everything from lack of emaan to pornography addiction. Control the stimulus that goes into your senses and you can achieve your goals in both deen and dunya more easily.
It is inevitable in the world that we live in that some negative stimulus will break through our defences. The issue here is how conscious we are and how we then process it. One of the tragedies of our times is that seeing that which is harmful to us has become normal and we have unfortunately become desensitised.
The Messenger of Allah salallahu alaihi wasalam said that “If you see an evil then stop it with your hand, if you cannot then stop it with your tongue, and if you cannot then hate it in your heart..”
We must consciously hate the evil that gets through to us despite our defences. We must not share it on social media so that other people can become exposed to it. If we are in company where a conversation is going in a direction that is not conducive to our goals in this life and the next then we must either stop it verbally or step away from it.
In conclusion, we must monitor the state of our heart and the defences of our fortress. When there is a gap in our defence we must plug it for our eternal life depends upon it. Build your fortress high and strong upon a strong foundation of taqwa and emaan for surely “He (shaitaan) has no authority over those who believe and rely on their Lord”(16:99).