Allah reveals the purpose behind the life of this world in verse 2 of Surat al-Mulk, “He Who created death and life to test which of you is best in action. He is the Almighty, the Ever-Forgiving.” Without exception, therefore, all people are subjected to a test. A great many people, however, forget that the purpose behind their presence in this world is to be tested by Allah. People who busy themselves with the superficial affairs of the life of this world and who make possessions, wealth and transitory pleasures of the world their whole aim in life, rather than using them to earn Allah’s approval, complete their short lives without ever grasping the truths Allah reveals in the Qur’an and die in a state of ignorance. The fact is, however, that “real life” is our eternal life in the Hereafter. The life of this world is somewhere we are tested for a short space of time. Allah reveals in several verses of the Qur’an how most people ignore this truth and turn away from the path to which He summons them:
“If you obeyed most of those on earth, they would misguide you from Allah’s Way. They follow nothing but conjecture. They are only guessing.” (Surat al-An’am, 116)
Unless people use their free will and conscience, they may fall into the error of thinking “I must do whatever the majority do.” This is one of the methods satan uses to divert people away from Allah’s path. When he was being expelled from Paradise for his pride and excess, satan asked Allah for a period of time in which to mislead people and swore that he would deceive a great many of them. The following verses of the Qur’an describe this:
“He said, ‘Get out from here, you are accursed. The curse will be on you till the Day of Reckoning.’ He said, ‘My Lord, grant me a reprieve until the Day they are raised again.’ He said, ‘You are among the reprieved until the Day whose time is known.’ He said, ‘My Lord, because You misled me, I will make things on the earth seem good to them and I will mislead them all, every one of them, except Your slaves among them who are sincere’.” (Surat al-Hijr, 34-40)
As revealed in these verses, satan’s true aim is to mislead all people. Satan, who has Allah’s permission to try to achieve this vile aim, is actually an entity under Allah’s control and does everything he does by His will. Allah has created satan as a negative force in order to test people. Satan’s task is to be instrumental in people created for Hell ending up where they belong. In response to this, Allah has given human beings a conscience that commands goodness and beauty, and has at all time shown people the true path through Holy Scriptures and the prophets.
Satan may assume various guises as he invites people to the fires of Hell. He may appear to one person as a supposed friend and invite him to do things that contravene the Qur’an or come up with pretexts for him to display poor moral values. Remaining unaffected by these calls and to choose the good manner, ‘even if the majority go along with them,’ is a sign of wisdom and faith. Allah uses satan to test people at all partings of the ways, and they are all tests in people’s own individual destinies. The way that believers, aware of the ruses satan employs to deceive people, never depart from the true path, is described as follows in the Qur’an:
“Say: ‘Are we to call on something besides Allah which can neither help nor harm us, and to turn on our heels after Allah has guided us, like someone the satans have lured away in the earth, leaving him confused and stupefied, despite the fact that he has companions calling him to guidance, saying, “Come with us!”?’ Say: ‘Allah's guidance, that is true guidance. We are commanded to submit as Muslims to the Lord of all the worlds,” (Surat al-An’am, 71)
As set out in the verse, when a person appears in the guise of a friend and issues the ugly invitation “come to us, the true path“ one is actually being tempted into a trap intended to enable satan to achieve his aims. This is set out as follows in verse 38 of Surat an-Nisa, “Anyone who has made satan his Comrade, what an evil Comrade he is.” Believers must scrupulously avoid falling into these cunning snares of satan’s and know that all calls are issued by Allah. Since believers act in the knowledge that all calls come from Allah and see great goodness and beauty in this, they realize they are being tested at that moment and choose the path compatible with the Qur’an. In the same way that one does not knowingly jump into a hole in the road or walk into raging flames, so one must never heed the whisperings of satan and never knowingly walk down the road to Hell to which he would invite one.
By making no concessions with regard to abiding by the manifest truths Allah reveals in the Qur’an, believers are aware that the various means by which Satan attempts to approach them are a test created by Allah and immediately adopt the excellent form of behavior compatible with the Qur’an. They know that the only way to be a good servant is to abide by the Qur’an and our Prophet (saas), and always behave well in order to be deserving of Paradise.