Note: Refer to the Original post of the ‘Making of a Deen’ series as the starting point.
In order to create a fledgeling religious following there are characters that are always present to give it an authentic feel. If a religious entrepreneur spends alot of time alone in their room(or a cave) pouring over older religious texts, you are sure to find many staples that are key to any successful religious start-up. Icons such as Adam, Musa, Ibrahim, and Isa are standards for validity. However, there is one that is far more important than any of the seemingly must-have beings. He is even more important than Yahweh/Jehovah/Christ/Allah/Brahman/Krishna for he wields the dual power of bringing people to the faith and keeping them there:
Formal Islamic name: Iblis
Also Known As(A.K.A.): Shaytan, Satan, Devil
Residence: Before you and behind you, to your left and your right, above you and below you. He also stands in the path waiting to cause you to go astray. It is rumored that his throne rests over the waters of the Bermuda Triangle and that is why so much heat emits from that area. He takes his breaks on the horizon after Fajr as the sun rises between his two horns. Permanent home is Hell.
Sabbatical: He’s chained up in jail during Ramadhan but location is unknown.
Competitors: Yajuj and Majuj(Gog and Magog) and Ad-Dajjal(said to be already among us as George W. Bush)
Employees: Shayateen(disobedient jinn)
Favorite Pastimes: Torturing the shit out of souls that are unfortunate to land in his Abode for even a second.
Alter Ego: Logic, Rationale, Thinking, and Thoughts
The creation of Iblis is necessary for a successful venture into religion. Iblis has wielded the power for ages to prey on one of the most primal instincts of human: fear. Tap into the fears of the human psyche and one can tap into a gold-mine of power and control. Trying to use physical fears such as fear of heights or fear of bugs is too complicated and tedious to garner the power needed to control masses of people. But create a fear that delves into the spirit of a person and the effects can be unparalled as history has proven:
“Allah said: Get out from this(Paradise), disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them(mankind) will follow you, then surely, I will fill Hell with you all” Surah 7 verse 18
Iblis’s ability to ruin my life is made apparent right from the start. According to Islam even as a newborn, Iblis begins sinking his fear into the heart of the soul:
“a baby cries after it is born because the shaytan pinches it”
From birth to death, no soul is safe from this cunning bastard and thus, like any ghoul and goblin, he makes the perfect character to get people to believe in any doctrine. However, Iblis has an alter-ego that is condemned to be useless and it is the logical mind. Logic is the thing that keeps us sane and having the ability to question garbage that tries to appear as Truth.
In the role of Islam, Logic is the disease. The disease name of Shaytans’s alter ego is Wis-was or whisperings. This wis-was are those inevitable questions that pop up as logic tries to intervene in the face of foolishness.