Ustadh Muhammad alShareef gave a lecture about 5 years ago in Dallas, TX (Banu Ra’d) at an AlMaghrib Institute promotional event. The lecture was entitled “When Wolves become Shepherds: Devil’s Dawah Techniques”. It was recorded and later available for sale from EmanRush Audio (link). Part of the lecture focused on how Shaytaan or Iblees puts people in different levels in order of how to call them to evil. The following article is based on that part of the lecture.Shaytaan’s steps to misguide us are many. Each and everyone of us would fall into certain level with Shaytaan and Shaytaan would take the appropriate steps according to what level a person would fall in to take that person to their destruction. If Iblees were to write a business book he would entitle it something along the lines of, ‘Seven Levels for the Total Annihilation of Humans’, and thus the title of this article – Seven Levels for the Total Annihilation of Humans by Iblees arRajeem.
The Seven Levels for the Total Annihilation of Humans
Level One: Shirk and Kufr (Associating partners with Allah and disbelief)
This is the highest level. When a person reaches the highest level, they actually become part of the army of Iblees. This is for people who have reached this level after turning their backs on the truth in arrogance or heedlessness after knowing it or hearing about it. This can be made analogous to how vampires or werewolves work. When a vampire or werewolf bites someone, the person who is bitten turns over to the other side. When Iblees is able to take a person up to Level One, they themselves become one of the devils, and they live their lives pulling people away from the truth.
Level Two: Bid’a (Innovation)
We would think that the Major Sins would be the second level, but it isn’t, it’s innovation. This is because a person can commit a sin and repent from it but someone who is engaged in innovation they actually think that what they are doing is something that will bring them closer to Allah. They don’t see it as something bad, and they would have no reason to seek Allah’s forgiveness from it and thus they keep engaging in it assuming it to be good.
An example of this is the people of Noah or Nooh (alayhis Salaam). What these people did was they started building idols of their pious, not because they wanted to worship them but because they thought they would be able to give them respect in such a way and that would remind them of their righteousness and piety, so they themselves could become righteous or pious. The people who built the idols themselves didn’t worship them, but once they died, the following generations ended up taking them as an object of veneration and worship.
One of the keys to avoid falling in this level or get out of this level is by being truthful to oneself in what one does, being sincere in following Allah and the Messenger and following the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam). Instead of relying on others or following what others are saying blindly, asking first what does the Quran and Sunnah say and then if it is in agreement then following them?
Level Three: alKabaair (The Major Sins)
This level is for people who fall into the major sins like murder, fornication, etc. Of the people that Shaytaan works on the hardest to commit the major sins are the scholars or the people in the public eye or respect. These people don’t necessarily have to be Muslim, but rather just people that are looked up to by the general public. One example is the evangelical preacher Jimmy Swaggart, even though he falls in Level One, nevertheless his example is a good one in this category. He was preacher, a public figure, and he committed adultery and when people found out, he went on television and told the people that he was sorry and God has forgiven him. And later on he did it again. Think about how many people after seeing this went out themselves and committed zina (unlawful sexual intercourse)? What do you think his followers were thinking? They probably went out committing adultery or fornication thinking, “If someone of such high caliber and a preacher like Jimmy Swaggart can do this what about me?”
Level Four: Minor Sins
If you are Muslim and you’ve protected yourself from all the above levels then you will fall here. There are a total of seven levels and we are at level four. May Allah protect us from all the levels! The Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) once said, “Beware of sins that people belittle. For verily, the example of people who do that, is the example of people who came upon a valley at nighttime and they need to start a fire. So one person goes and gets a small piece of wood and another person does the same until everyone does that and they all gather wood and light a fire and a huge fire goes up and they cook their food.” The Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa Sallam) is comparing this to someone who keeps engaging in minor sins, and he continues, “Whenever the person that engages in minor sins and enjoys them and keeps engaging in them, it will eventually pile up and destroy him.” [Muslim]
These are minor sins, and a point to note is that sins like backbiting and so on are not even Minor Sins, rather they are from the Major Sins, and someone who engages in them would fall in Level three.
Level Five: Busying with Mubahaat (Permissible things)
If Shaytaan fails to make a person fall into one of the above four levels then he will try to get them to busy their time with all the permissible things. An example of this is football. Whether it is in the USA or UK, it’s still football. It might be a different game but it’s still the same idea. So a person who enjoys football, he is so into it, he watches every game, he gets the season tickets, he reads the newspaper in the morning about what they said about the game, and after he comes out the masjid (mosque) he is still concerned about what the score is, or who won, he looks on his cell phone and goes home on the internet looking up scores and points etc. And when Ramadhaan time comes and he prays taraweeh (Night prayer during Ramdhaan) and Laytul Qadr (Night of power during Ramdhaan)he is making dua asking Allah, “Ya Rabbi! Let the Dallas Cowboys win the Super Bowl! Ya Rahman! Ya Raheem!” And some people might hear this and laugh, but this is what is happening and it happens all the time. People might spend 20 years of their life sleeping and another 20 years engaging in the permissible things that don’t bring any benefit to them.
A good example that Muhammad alShareef gave about his community in Canada was the masjid encouraging the people to play basketball. People would say lets play basketball, and encourage it because it will lead people to Islam and Allah and the Messenger. He decided that he was going to go memorize the Qur’an instead at a Dar ulUloom school, it took him two years and he finished it. And when he came back and saw the people at the masjid, they were still playing basketball. They were really good, and they almost got into the university teams in their respective school. They then finished their university studies and got married. On Sundays at the masjid they can still manage to play a pretty good game of hoops. But they knew no Qur’an. If you ask them to lead the prayer, they cant, do they know even 5 Surahs, they don’t, and do they know Arabic, they don’t. If you ask them what they have done with their lives, they say they played basketball.
Level Six: Faadil wa Mafdool (Engaging in the less virtuous things, when more virtuous things can easily be done)
An amazing example can be given, it almost always happens, never fails. During Ramadhaan you often see people sitting by the wall. People come in and see these people, and ask what they are doing. They ask them why they come to the masjid during taraweeh and they are sitting in the back not praying. They don’t want to be embarrassed, so they open up the Quran and start following it. Do they ever open the Qur’an outside of Ramdhaan, probably not. This is a classic trick of Shaytaan where he tells you to engage in something good when something better can be done at the same time or with a similar effort. And most of the time another person comes and sits by this person with the Qur’an open and says lets go outside for a little bit. And he says “I’m trying to follow the Imam, shhhh!” Then the other person says, “Let us go for a little bit, there are donuts outside.” Then the person decides he’ll go outside for only 2 minutes, and he’s gone. He ends up talking to people and playing basketball outside the entire time.
Those people that are very concerned and focused on the Halaal/Dhabeehah meat issue would fall in here. Someone will have a girlfriend, they are engaged in riba(interest/usury), or do all kinds of evil, but they eat dhabeehah (ritually slaughtered) meat, then they think everything is alright.
Level Seven: Shaytaan’s Army of Humans and Devils
A person who is protected from all the levels, they would fall into this category. One of the people that would fall into this category is Umar (radiAllahu anhu). The Prophet (salAllahu ‘alayhiw a Sallam) said “If Umar would take a path to walk, then Shaytaan would take another path.” If Shaytaan can’t get to someone or get them to one of the other levels, then he will raise hell from his army of men and jinn in order to cause harm and destroy that person. Shaytaan succeeded in this plan with Umar (radiAllahu anhu) because he was killed by Abu Lu’lu’ alMajoosee. Abu Lu’lu’ was a fire-worshipper, he hid in the masjid before Fajr salaah (Dawn Prayer) with a poisoned dagger waiting for Umar (radiAllahu anhu). When Umar (radiAllahu anhu) came to lead the salaah for Fajr, he came out and attacked Umar (radiAllahu anhu) while he was praying. Shaytaan was at level seven with Umar (radiAllahu anhu) and if you can get to that level then you will be tested like you’ve never been tested before.
May Allah protect us from Shaytaan, the accursed one! May Allah protect us from evil of others and ourselves, give us the ability to do good deeds, have mercy on us, and forgive our sins!