This is a nice reminder from As-Sunnah Newsletter.
Shaytaan attempts to make people negligent or exaggerate in the religion;
and causes them to be lazy and delay performing good deeds
Shaytaan attempts to either make people negligent or exaggerate in their religion:
Ibnul-Qayyim said, ‘There is nothing that Allah has enjoined, but Shaytan has ways of dealing with it, either by inclining (people) towards falling short and being negligence or excessive and exaggeration. He does not care which of these two mistakes a person makes. So he may come to a person’s heart and check it out, and if he finds that he is lazy, negligent and looking for concessions, then he goes along with that. He holds him back and stops him from doing things; he makes him lazy, indifferent and negligent, and encourages him to seek alternative interpretations and hope for forgiveness etc., until a person may give up doing all things that have been enjoined.
However, if he finds that a person is cautious and serious, and that he is enthusiastic and capable, he despairs of succeeding with him on that front. So he urges him to strive to excess, and makes him think that this is not sufficient and that he has higher ambitions than that, and that he has to do more than others do. So he tells them, do not go to sleep, when they go to sleep; do not break your fast when they break their fast; do not flag when they flag; if one of them washes his hands and face three times, then you should wash them seven times; if he does Wudhu for every prayer then you should do ghusl for it, and other kinds of exaggeration and excess.
He makes him go to extremes and go beyond the straight path, just like he makes the first person fall short and not come anywhere near it. His aim in both cases is to steer both of them away from the straight path, one by not letting him approach it or come anywhere near it, and the other by making him go too far and overstep the mark. In this way, most people have been tempted and nothing can save a person from that except deeply rooted knowledge, faith and power to resist him (Shaytan) and adherence to the middle course. And Allah is the One Whose Help we seek.’ [al-Wabil as-Sayyib, p.19]
Shaytaan causes people to procrastinate, be lazy and delay performing good deeds:
One of the ways in which Shaytan does this is mentioned in the hadeeth recorded in Saheeh al-Bukharee from Abu Hurayrah (radhi allahu anhu), who said that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa-sallam) said,
‘Shaytan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.’ [Saheeh al-Bukharee (21/243)]
Shaytan causes people to forget the truth and the Commands of Allah. ‘Shaytan has overtaken them. So he has made them forget the remembrance of Allah. They are the party of Shaytan…’ [Soorah al-Mujadilah (58): 19] But as soon as we remember, we should strive to leave that which distracted us from the remembrance of Allah and His Commands as the Qur’aan commands us, ‘If Shaytan causes you to forget, then do not sit after the remembrance in the company of the wrong-doers.’ [Soorah al-An’am (6): 68]
Ibn Jawzi (rahimahullah) mentions how Shaytan makes one procrastinate and lazy, ‘…he makes sinner put off repenting, and he keeps him indulging in his desires, telling him that one day he could repent… Perhaps, a faqeeh intends to revise some topic, but he says, ‘Rest for a while,’ or he sees a worshipper waking up at night to pray, and he tells him, ‘You have plenty of time.’ He keeps on making people like being lazy, or put off doing good deeds, and he deceives them by telling them that they have plenty of time and a lot of hope.
So the one who wants to do some good deed should carry out his action with determination and resolve. Resolve means not wasting time and not delaying things. He should forget about the idea of having plenty of time because the one who has been warned (of the punishment of Allah) should not be assured. What you miss, you cannot make up for it. The reason for every shortcoming or inclination of evil is the belief that there is plenty of time and a lot of hope, because man keeps thinking of giving up evil and turning towards good, but delays. No doubt, whoever thinks that he has the whole day ahead of him will take his time, and whoever has the hope that he will still be there in the morning will do very little during the night, but the one who thinks of death as imminent will strive harder.’ [Talbees Iblees, p.458]