By Abu Iyad
One of Satan’s favourite tricks is to make people think and say, I will do such-and-such soon, in a little while, maybe tomorrow, or next week and so on. He makes them delay their actions making them feel secure and happy with the present. Some people have named this The Great Obstacle.
A person may place in front of himself a matter such as studying, then he says, when I have finished studying, then I will repent, learn my religion and practice it. When he finishes his studies, he says, when I receive the job, I will repent. He does not. Then he says when I have performed Hajj, when I am married, and so on. He is constantly putting obstacles in front of himself, delaying things, and delighting in his current situation of ease and happiness. He continues in this way until he dies, and yet his real, true life has not even begun (that is, the life of faith and righteous actions).
What Satan really intends is to completely prevent you from pursuing your beneficial activity or at least to delay you from it. For those who are righteous this is a great danger. Satan comes and whispers to one, you are not worthy of studying Islamic knowledge or calling people to the religion. Wait a while until you have studied. Yet, we have been commanded to teach the meaning of even one verse of the Qur’an if that is all we know.
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: How many people of firm intent and resolution are there, whom Satan has delayed by causing them to say soon. And how many strivers has he stopped. Maybe a scholar intends to return to his studies and Satan whispers to him: Relax for an hour. Satan does not cease his attempts to make laziness and inactivity attractive and appealing to a person so that he keeps delaying his actions. He would say to the servant who worships at night: Time does not stop! The night is long! He continuous with theses whispers until the morning arrives and the servant has not even prayed.
So, take lesson from what Abu Abdur-Rahman Al-Maghazili reports: There was a wise woman in Makkah who was much given to worship and her brothers came to her. She wept for a long time and then said, My brothers! You are the pleasure of my eye, so depict the Day of Judgment in your heart’s eyes and relate to yourselves the actions you have sent forth. Whatever you think to be accepted on that day, aspire and hope in your Master for its acceptance and perfect blessings in it. And whatever you expect to be rejected on that day, then attend to correct it today. Do not be unmindful of your own souls.