Allāh has made many promises and Shayṭān has made many promises. These are covered in the verses of the Holy Qur’an. In Sūrat al-Aʿrāf, we learn that Shayṭān made a promise to Allāh. Shayṭān said to Allāh that ‘I shall surely sit on the straight path before them, and then I will surely come to them from in front of them, from behind them, from their left hand side, from their right hand side. And then you will surely find most of them being ungrateful.’

Shayṭān made these promises to Allāh. 

Our whole life is about promises and expectations. What are these promises and hopes that Shayṭān feeds us? The love of dunya and wealth. The belief that we are only for this world leading to attachment to this world. He gives us false promises of riches and wealth. The promises are not just just riches and wealth but false promises of peace, joy and happiness and tranquility. These are all things that we seek. Shayṭān gives us the false hope that we will discover this joy, felicity and happiness in many different things such as food, drink, relationships, goods, wealth, assets, fame, prestige and so on. Regardless of where and when Shayṭān promises these things to us, it is a deception. 

Allāh says: 

He promises them and feeds them hope. And Shayṭān does not promise them anything except deception. [Sūrat al-Nisāʾ4:120]

Shayṭān does not just promise us but he threatens us with poverty and loss. This is what drives our desires, greed and anger. We are not content with food, drink and shelter for today and tomorrow. We are filled with this fear that at some given point in the future, we will be lacking these things and lose them. To thwart that loss, we wish to fill our coffers right now with enough that we would be left with enough possessions to compensate for that loss. It is that fear of poverty that drives us to do the things we do which are clearly selfish, thoughtless actions for worldly gain.

[This short excerpt is based on the talk, ‘The Lure of Shaytan & the Promise of Allah’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 3rd February 2017]