An Insight into the Traps of Shaytan – Part 1

Zainab ran… She ran faster as she tried to get away from her mistake, her sin. How did it get so bad? How did she fall? Zainab was still running as the rain began to fall. Each raindrop fell harshly on her face, and her tears synced with them. Her heart felt heavy, the feeing in her stomach weighed her down, and in the distance she heard him shout. Muhammad was calling her. She stopped by the side of the road, looked back, met his eyes and muttered under breath, “Oh my Lord, please forgive me…”

Meet Zainab

Zainab was in her early-twenties, she was one of those sisters you looked up to. She was involved in the ISoc, helping out regularly, it was her way of giving back and she loved it. She had worked hard to be so strong in her faith, and falling in the disobedience of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) didn’t seem like a reality. She thought out of all people it wouldn’t happen to her. And then, when she thought she was safe, she fell, hard.

In college she was known as the ‘strict’ sister, and the brothers respectfully kept away, knowing she disliked unnecessary conversations. She would spend her time in His remembrance, away from the mixed social gatherings, restraining her gaze from what was forbidden. She prayed openly, and reminded others to do the same, she was excelling, happy, and content.

Time went by, and she started University, once again she remained firm and kept her guard up, but unlike College she was surrounded by a group of practising brothers and sisters. Finally, she had some likeminded company! Zainab still kept her guard up, but she was interesting, she always had a story to tell. Everything worked well for a while; but before she knew it, Satan had gotten the best of her; she slowly began let down her guard, and as she did, Muhammad entered into her life.

She would see him at the ISoc meetings, and fearfully remember Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) words: “He sees the betrayal of the eyes, and what the hearts conceal.” And she’d force herself to focus, and Muhammad on his end did the same, he would glance at her, and then turn away. Muhammad was great, just what she envisioned in a good practising brother, someone like her, trying.

This worked well until they were asked to work together during Islam Awareness Week, and this is where it went all wrong. It went wrong, because they were so alike; they were young, still learning, and not as mature as they made out.

After some time they started working together, this led them to the emails at first, then the text messages and eventually the phone calls. They would spend more hours together on the phone chatting, emailing, and then eventually meeting up. At first it was about Islam Awareness Week and then slowly delving into everything about each other. He found out she had a troubled past, she found out he had a previous relationship, they kept talking — until one day, they stayed longer than usual at the coffee shop. Muhammad offered to drop her off home; she accepted knowing it was wrong, temptation ignited, all hell broke loose and here was Zainab out alone in the rain, crying…

You may be Zainab, or maybe you’re not, perhaps you’re headed in her direction or you’ve surpassed this phase. Everyone is affected by one thing or another, which causes them to distress and eventually leads to disgust, the feeling of failure and guilt. It happens to the best and worst of people, and when it does, it seems like there is no going back.


Shaytan is on a mission and all those months he has been working on you, and working on you hard. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has immortalised his words in the Qur’an; ” …Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit and wait for them on your straight path, 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 to you.” [1. Qur’an, Al-A’raf: 16-17]

Shaytan made a promise to mess you up, his mission started a long time ago, his vendetta was with Adam 'alayhi'l-salām (peace be upon him), your father, it’s never ended. He’s as motivated as ever, and when he leads you astray, IF he is successful, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has already warned us what Shaytan will say:

“And Shaytan (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: ‘Verily, Allah promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, and you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allah (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrongdoers).’” [2. Qur’an, Ibraheem: 22]

There are times in your life when everything is going great for you, your eman (faith) is on a high, and hence you’re excelling in your actions and help others too. This is painful for Shaytan, so he will use everything against you to lead you astray; one by one he will try and destroy you with your own principles. He will break you down until you look into the mirror and hate your own reflection. This isn’t a game for him, this is war. You’re in a battlefield and there will only be one winner. It has to be you.

The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Satan sat, waiting for the son of Adam in all his pathways. He sat for him on the path of Islam and he said do you become a Muslim and leave the religion of your fathers and grand fathers? And after this temptation to become a disbeliever, there are different ways where he takes the sons of Adam into innovation, desires and doubts”. [3. Imam An-Nisaa’i and Ahmad]

The Seven Traps of Shaytan

This leads me on to share these seven traps of Shaytan with you. According to Ibn Qayyim, Shaytan uses seven strategies to wipe you out, and they are ranked according to your ability to defend yourself. They are:

  1. To make someone a disbeliever (someone who is given the message and he rejects it).
  2. To make someone commit al bid’ah (innovation).
  3. To make someone commit major sins.
  4. To make someone commit minor sins.
  5. Wasting time doing things that are permissible.
  6. To choose to do the lesser of two good deeds.
  7. An all out attack.

Be aware, be careful and stay protected. Shaytan will come to you in different ways, don’t let down your guard, you may not fall at such an extreme level, but when you’re heart is no longer pure; it opens the doorway to fall into further traps. Now, let’s see what happened to Zainab.

As Zainab stood there crying in the cold, the rain hitting her face, Muhammad came running up to her. He stopped soaked in the rain, looked at her and said; “I’m so sorry Zainab…” In her guilt she looked down, unable to raise her head, silent. Eventually after 10 minutes of waiting, Muhammad unable to get a response started to walk away regretfully, looking back several times. It was cold, he didn’t want to leave her own her own, but he had no choice, she was resilient and he knew she was upset, guilty.

Life wouldn’t be the same again, he knew that for sure. If only he’d been careful of the commandments of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) perhaps something good would have come out of this after all, this was what he had hoped.

For now it was time to reflect, and repent from the trap of Shaytan they’d fell into.

This is a reminder to be aware that Shaytan has a strategy to lead you astray, and to be wary. In the next few articles we’ll delve deeper into the traps of Shaytan, insha Allah.

The Author

Alima Ashfaq is the founder of I am Alima and hopes to transform it into the forefront of assisting women come closer to Allah (swt). She is the author of a number of publications, most notably Du’as of the Superstars.

4 Responses

  1. Thasneem Zuhail November 7, 2012 / 7:24 am

    Asalamualaikum……its so true sister Alima i hav battled this…… being in a non Muslim environment or in a place where practicing muslims are very less in where i had to do my higher studies has been really challenging and Alhamdulilah so far with Allah(swt)’s guidance i hav been able to overcome those traps…..:) Jazakallahukhayr for reminding me that once again!!!!! and i would like to say that its important to hav good friends to help you get through these situations my best friend she has been a great support for me…….:)

  2. Alima November 7, 2012 / 1:14 pm

    wa ‘alaykumassalaaam wa rahmatullah Thasneem,

    I think we underestimate that women go through these problems as much as anyone else, and we need to be careful, aware and on a constant battle to save ourselves. And yeah, probably as dramatic as that lol.

    Jazakillahu khayrun for sharing the extra piece of advice, if you have learnt any other lessons, please share :)

  3. Humaira November 15, 2012 / 9:08 am

    This was beautiful and eye-opening, maa sha Allah. Jazaakillahu khayrun Alima. Eagerly waiting for the next part in sha Allaah.

  4. Sara November 15, 2013 / 11:09 pm

    This is an adaptation of the article Battling temptation part 1

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