Most of us think that our inspirations, motivations, and desires are generated from the bottom up where the originating source is from ourselves, but more often then not these impulses are generated top down from external influences without us even being aware of it.
This is very much like the plot line of the movie Inception where the objective was to make a person believe that the idea they formulated was from their own volition and not from the manipulation of external sources.
One of the modern day experts in this form of manipulation is the mentalist Derren Brown. Many of his illusions comes from implementing subtle forms of deception to garner a specific outcome from his subjects who were unaware of how their mental process was being hijacked for entertainment.
In one illusion, Derren Brown goes to a pub grabs what appears to be a random patron and asks him to think of a tune. As the unsuspecting volunteer is looking at Derren Brown and asked to hear the song playing in his head, Derren has a band stealthily set up behind the person and start playing the music that the subject was thinking of, at which point the shock on the subjects face falls in awe to how Derren Brown was able to do that. Luckily for us, Derren Brown shows us the endless planning and manipulation he put into making this illusion by following the target for the last 24 hours and playing the song at the office he worked, the convenient store he frequented, and even out on the street as he walked.
In another illusion Derren Brown wanted to do something similar to the advertising experts who are experts in such tactics to show that even they are not insusceptible to such manipulations. In this illusion he picked up two advertising experts to be driven to an office location where Derren Brown was going to ask them to come up with an idea for an advertisement for a theoretical taxidermist business he conjured up. After 30 minutes they presented their idea only to see that Derren Brown already knew the idea they were going to have. Ends up that during the car ride Derren Brown subliminally planted different mechanism to anchor their thinking such that when the task was assigned to them their minds were already conditioned to garner a certain output.
But my probably absolute favorite of just how even after realizing that they have been played the subject is still in disbelief is one illusion Derren Brown did on the actor Simon Pegg. In this illusion Derren brought Simon into a room and wanted to discuss a gif that Simon would want, but before Simon was to disclose this gift Derren spent the next few minutes talking with Simon. Then after his talk he asked Simon what gift was it that he wanted and Simon with no hesitation said “a red BMX bike” and sure enough that was exactly what Derren had for him. Now what makes this illusion so much more profound was that earlier Simon was asked to write what he actually wanted and seal it in an envelope and place it in his wallet. So when Simon opened up the envelope he saw that what he wrote before talking to Derren was “a leather jacket” and despite seeing his own hand writing and knowing that he wrote this he was in denial that he ever wanted a leather jacket and was absolutely certain the whole time he wanted a red BMX bike.
Adam and Eve
These examples show us how susceptible we all are to the power of suggestion, and this is the one power that God allowed to Satan in order to test the human being.
[17:61] When we said to the angels, “Fall prostrate before Adam,” they fell prostrate, except Satan. He said, “Shall I prostrate to one You created from mud?” [17:62] He said, “Since You have honored him over me, if You respite me till the Day of Resurrection, I will possess all his descendants, except a few.” [17:63] He said, “Then go; you and those who follow you will end up in Hell as your requital; an equitable requital. [17:64] “You may entice them with your voice, and mobilize all your forces and all your men against them, and share in their money and children, and promise them. Anything the devil promises is no more than an illusion. [17:65] “As for My servants, you have no power over them.” Your Lord suffices as an advocate.
[7:12] He said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?” He said, “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from mud.” [7:13] He said, “Therefore, you must go down, for you are not to be arrogant here. Get out; you are debased.” [7:14] He said, “Grant me a respite, until the Day of Resurrection.” [7:15] He said, “You are granted a respite.” [7:16] He said, “Since You have willed that I go astray, I will skulk for them on Your straight path. [7:17] “I will come to them from before them, and from behind them, and from their right, and from their left, and You will find that most of them are unappreciative.” [7:18] He said, “Get out therefrom, despised and defeated. Those among them who follow you, I will fill Hell with you all.
And from this we immediately see Satan’s first victim with our parents Adam and Eve.
[7:19] “As for you, Adam, dwell with your wife in Paradise, and eat therefrom as you please, but do not approach this one tree, lest you fall in sin.”
Adam and Eve were not tempted by the tree until they chose to listen to Satan.
[7:20] The devil whispered to them, in order to reveal their bodies, which were invisible to them. He said, “Your Lord did not forbid you from this tree, except to prevent you from becoming angels, and from attaining eternal existence.” [7:21] He swore to them, “I am giving you good advice.” [7:22] He thus duped them with lies. As soon as they tasted the tree, their bodies became visible to them, and they tried to cover themselves with the leaves of Paradise. Their Lord called upon them: “Did I not enjoin you from that tree, and warn you that the devil is your most ardent enemy?”
Children of Israel
We see another example with the Samarian and the Children of Israel. After fleeing Pharoah and his troops and gaining their freedom the Children of Israel saw some people worshiping idols and asked Moses for a god like the one they had.
[7:138] We delivered the Children of Israel across the sea. When they passed by people who were worshiping statues, they said, “O Moses, make a god for us, like the gods they have.” He said, “Indeed, you are ignorant people. [7:139] “These people are committing a blasphemy, for what they are doing is disastrous for them. [7:140] “Shall I seek for you other than GOD to be your god, when He has blessed you more than anyone else in the world?”
This was the priming event for what was to come. After Moses rushed to talk to God, God informed him that the Children of Israel were tested and were led astray.
[20:83] “Why did you rush away from your people, O Moses?” [20:84] He said, “They are close behind me. I have rushed to You my Lord, that You may be pleased.” [20:85] He said, “We have put your people to the test after you left, but the Samarian misled them.”
When Moses returned to his people he confronted the Children of Israel about this they failed to realize the connection to the previous community they saw worshipping idols.
[20:86] Moses returned to his people, angry and disappointed, saying, “O my people, did your Lord not promise you a good promise? Could you not wait? Did you want to incur wrath from your Lord? Is this why you broke your agreement with me?” [20:87] They said, “We did not break our agreement with you on purpose. But we were loaded down with jewelry, and decided to throw our loads in. This is what the Samarian suggested.” [20:88] He produced for them a sculpted calf, complete with a calf’s sound. They said, “This is your god, and the god of Moses.” Thus, he forgot.
Even when the Samarian was asked about this he not only didn’t mention the previous community but thought he originated the idea rather than realizing that he was being manipulated by Satan.
[20:95] He said, “What is the matter with you, O Samarian?” [20:96] He said, “I saw what they could not see. I grabbed a fistful (of dust) from the place where the messenger stood, and used it (to mix into the golden calf). This is what my mind inspired me to do.”
Adam’s Two Sons
Satan cannot only manipulate our desires, he can even manipulate what we hate. In the Quran God provides us the example of Adam’s two sons. While their names are not specified in the Quran, the Bible refers to these two as Cain and Able.
[5:27] Recite for them the true history of Adam’s two sons. They made an offering, and it was accepted from one of them, but not from the other. He said, “I will surely kill you.” He said, “GOD accepts only from the righteous. [5:28] “If you extend your hand to kill me, I am not extending my hand to kill you. For I reverence GOD, Lord of the universe. [5:29] “I want you, not me, to bear my sin and your sin, then you end up with the dwellers of Hell. Such is the requital for the transgressors.” [5:30] His ego provoked him into killing his brother. He killed him, and ended up with the losers. [5:31] GOD then sent a raven to scratch the soil, to teach him how to bury his brother’s corpse. He said, “Woe to me; I failed to be as intelligent as this raven, and bury my brother’s corpse.” He became ridden with remorse.
Would Cain been filled with such rage if he did not have God’s response to Able’s offering to compare against? Satan made Cain believe that God’s favor was a zero sum event, that because God showed favor to Able that it was taking away from God’s grace towards Cain. Except God possess infinite grace.
[2:105] Neither the disbelievers among the followers of the scripture, nor the idol worshipers, wish to see any blessings come down to you from your Lord. However, GOD showers His blessings upon whomever He chooses. GOD possesses infinite grace.
It was this kind of faulty logic led Cain to commit a sin that there was no turning back from.
There is a concept that is known as the Overton window which is the range of policies politically acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. It is also known as the window of discourse to distinguish which ideas are tolerable and which ideas are not. The term is named after American policy analyst Joseph P. Overton, who stated that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within this range, rather than on politicians’ individual preferences.
Today we are being bombarded by Satan’s manipulations. This is blatantly obvious by the abundance of sinful conduct that is now considered not only acceptable but celebrated by the masses. Consider that this month the United States as a whole is celebrating “pride month”. Did they forget that pride is one of the seven deadly sins, and as if that isn’t absurd enough they are literally celebrating sexual immorality and perversion. But despite this we see many government buildings, storefronts, corporations, and even churches fly the rainbow flag in celebration.
But you will never hear it discussed this way, instead Satan will inspire people to use fancy words and twist the meanings to make people think that if you are out in the streets cheering for LGBTQ…. then you are “discriminating” you are a “bigot” or some other term that makes people not want to rock the boat and to fall in line with this horrendous sinful conduct.
Just the other day in Los Angeles a video came out of a person who was at a spa and saw that their was a man in the locker room exposing his male anatomy to the women and even children in the locker room, but when the women goes to complain about the incident she was told that the person “identifies” as a women and that she was discriminating and being a bigot for complaining.
And at least in the past this event was targeted only towards adults, but now they are indoctrinating kids with this ideology. Nickelodeon, Blue’s Clues, and public libraries across the country are promoting drag queen culture towards kids with even shows for kids to perform as drag queens.
While just a few years ago this kind of behavior would have been repulsive to most people it is now being commonly accepted by the masses.
To Be Protected From Satan’s Manipulations
[14:22] And the devil will say, after the judgment had been issued, “GOD has promised you the truthful promise, and I promised you, but I broke my promise. I had no power over you; I simply invited you, and you accepted my invitation. Therefore, do not blame me, and blame only yourselves. My complaining cannot help you, nor can your complaining help me. I have disbelieved in your idolizing me. The transgressors have incurred a painful retribution.”
This is the reason that it is so important that when we read the Quran we also seek refuge in God alone so that we are able to access the unfiltered truth of the Quran and not the twisted understandings of the devil.
[16:98] When you read the Quran, you shall seek refuge in GOD from Satan the rejected. Footnote [16:99] He has no power over those who believe and trust in their Lord. [16:100] His power is limited to those who choose him as their master; those who choose him as their god.
And as well as perpetually throughout the day we should seek refuge in God from Satan the rejected to make sure that the ideas, inspirations we have are righteous and not manipulations from the devil.
[23:97] Say, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the whispers of the devils.
وَقُلْ رَبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ
[23:98] And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they come near me.
وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ