Tug of War


Tug of War

Once, I had the opportunity to spend time at a park with some young boys. They were students of a Hifz class and were having a picnic —we all require rest, exercise, and some entertainment, but of the Halal kind.

One of the games that these youngsters were playing was “Tug of War”.

After their game, I mentioned that two parties pull a rope in tug of war. Winning is based on the side that pulls stronger. And I said that we should take a lesson from this:

In life, there is always a tug of war. There is the pull of temptation and sins, and there is the pull of Deen and Shari’ah; there is the pull of the Nafs and Shaytan, and the pull of the Ruh (soul).

From our side, we have to suppress and overcome the pull of temptation towards Haraam. We have to resist the Nafs when it demands and commands anything Haraam.

To come out as the victorious party – as the champions – we will have to strengthen our Imaan, Istiqaamah and Yaqeen in Allah Ta’ala. In this way, we will be the dominant and stronger side.

If we do not give any attention to building our spiritual stamina, strength, and prowess, the other side will easily defeat us. Nafs and Shaytan will not have to pull very hard because we will be weak spiritually.

So, to always maintain the upper hand, we draw our strength – and great spiritual strength will be drawn – establishing Salaah, five times a day. For us men, this must be performed in the Masjid, in Jamaat (congregation). Together with this, we need to maintain our identity as Muslims and work towards fulfilling the Commands of Allah Ta’ala – especially, staying away from all those actions which are displeasing to Him.

We should also be selective of the company we keep and seek out friends who are concerned about their Deen and are also trying to be obedient to Allah Ta’ala. If not, then a bad ‘friend’ is no friend. He belongs to the opposite party, with Nafs and Shaytan – and will pull hard to draw us into sin. Then we will be defeated.

If the friend is a good friend, he will assist us and be on our side, overcoming the opposition.

In the game of “Tug of war”, there are occasions and times when there is a balance —or the other side is even stronger.

The weaker side gets the upper hand when there is a slight lapse. In our day-to-day lives, this is what we term ‘accidental’ sins: There is a lapse in our hold of the rope of Taqwa. We lose our grip, and Nafs and Shaytan gain the upper hand. To regain control, there is a need for plenty of remorse and Taubah. In this way, we redeem our position of being the stronger side. 

Of course, we should allow the Nafs Halaal pleasure and entertainment. Having a picnic and playing for a little while is important to keep us refreshed, re-energised and happy. However, we should always be on guard that Nafs and Shaytan don’t get any leeway and pull us away from Allah Ta’ala and Deen.


May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufiq of becoming tough and strong against Nafs and Shaytan, Aameen.