by Maram Behairy

My family and I went out for pizza last week. We decided to sit outside for extra Covid precautions. It was a beautiful day, lovely weather after Asr. There was one problem, the fly. As soon as the food came, the fly joined us for dinner. The kids were swinging pizza slices left and right and whining about the pesky fly.

I finally told them, “Your only job is to focus on your slice of pizza right in front of you. As long as the fly doesn’t land on that, you are fine. Don’t worry if he lands on the table or flies around us. Just focus on your own plate.”

Then, it hit me. This is Shaytan. This is how Shaytan operates. He tries to make us focus on what’s not important and lose focus on what is the most important.

So my kids and I had a conversation that I would like to share with you. I told them my thought and my little one was so confused. He thought I was saying Shaytan can become a fly. 

I asked them, “What is most valuable to you?” They all answered, “Family” and a couple jokes about the car. Their answer was beautiful, but not entirely accurate. This is what I told them.

  1. The first most valuable to you is your relationship with Allah SWT. If you lose this, you lose everything. And this is precisely the goal of Shaytan. Just like the flies, he shows up where there is food, our eman (faith). If there is nothing to take, he won’t bother you.
  2. The second most valuable to you is your relationship with yourself. The easiest way for Shaytan to get you to make mistakes, hurt people, or lose your zeal for life is for you to think poorly of yourself. Whatever inaccurate and negative thing you believe about yourself, you will live your life either fighting it or surrendering to it. Either extreme is not good. Either extreme takes you away from Allah SWT. So be mindful of that negative voice in your own head.
  3. The third most valuable to you is your relationship with your family. Within the family unit, there are priorities. For those married, it is your spouse. Sometimes parents will prioritize children and forget the foundational relationship of the family unit. Shaytan knows this. This is why causing a rift in the marriage is fastest way to create turbulence in the family unit. And turbulent families means distracted people who are emotionally raw, who won’t do their best work in the world, and who will be easily swayed away from Allah SWT.

Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Satan places his throne over the water and he sends out his troops. The closest to him in rank are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Satan says: You have done nothing. Another one says: I did not leave this man alone until I separated him from his wife. Satan embraces him and he says: You have done well.”

Source: Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2813

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Muslim

عَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِنَّ إِبْلِيسَ يَضَعُ عَرْشَهُ عَلَى الْمَاءِ ثُمَّ يَبْعَثُ سَرَايَاهُ فَأَدْنَاهُمْ مِنْهُ مَنْزِلَةً أَعْظَمُهُمْ فِتْنَةً يَجِيءُ أَحَدُهُمْ فَيَقُولُ فَعَلْتُ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَيَقُولُ مَا صَنَعْتَ شَيْئًا قَالَ ثُمَّ يَجِيءُ أَحَدُهُمْ فَيَقُولُ مَا تَرَكْتُهُ حَتَّى فَرَّقْتُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَ امْرَأَتِهِ قَالَ فَيُدْنِيهِ مِنْهُ وَيَقُولُ نِعْمَ أَنْتَ

2813 صحيح مسلم كتاب صفة القيامة والجنة والنار باب تحريش الشيطان وبعثه سراياه لفتنة الناس وأن مع كل إنسان قرينا

So when Shaytan is buzzing…

First, notice.

Then, ask yourself, “What is most valuable to me?”

Finally, focus your protective and loving energy there.


About the Author:

Maram Behairy is a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction and heads the writers’ group of South Florida Muslim Federation

‘I like to understand the bigger picture, deeper reasons, and nuanced connections. I have always been more interested in the roots under the ground than the fruit above. I complicate and explore in order to find the simple, deep truths. I live those with conviction. My dream is to use my gift for words to inspire and guide others to live with purpose and greater ease. So as I experiment on myself, I will share what I learn along the way. My roles in life (by default my areas of exploration) include being a Muslim, woman, wife, mother, writer, and youth mentor.’  

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Maram Behairy
Author: Maram Behairy