How can I overcome my fear of falling out of the fold of Islam?


Question Summary

How can I overcome my fear of falling out of the fold of Islam?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is not necessary for you to continuously repeat the testification of faith (shahada).

Iman or faith is in the heart, and once one embraces Islam and has this faith in the heart, they remain in the state of belief until they clearly deny any foundational tenet of faith.

You Are Not Your Thoughts

It is essential that you know and realizes that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts of this sort are introduced to the heart externally. Regarding bad thoughts, it is very likely they are from the whispers of Shaytan.
Pure Faith
Imam Muslim (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions under the chapter heading ‘Clarifying misgivings (waswasa) in faith and what one should say when encountering them’ the following narrations.
Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Some of the companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) came and asked him, ‘We encounter in our selves that which one of us would deem to grave to speak of.’ He said, “Do you indeed encounter that?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “That is clear faith.”
In another narration, the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) was asked about misgivings (i.e., in faith), and He said, “That is pure faith.” [Muslim]
Scholars have understood the above narrations in two main ways.
(1) Shaytan whispers doubts into the hearts of those who he has no hope of deceiving. And it is due to his inability to deceive that he resorts to disturbing one through misgivings. As for the disbeliever, he comes to him as he wishes and not only whispers but toys with them as he wishes. Therefore the reason for the misgivings is pure faith or is a sign of pure faith. Qadi‘ Iyad supported this opinion. [al-Nawawi, Sharh Muslim]
(2) Others have understood from this narration that the companions’ reluctance to tell the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) and the dislike they had for such thoughts are signs of pure faith.
Practical Steps
With that being said, you should not worry about yourself nor become anxious about these thoughts. You are not to blame. These thoughts do not affect your Islam. Rather you should apply the following steps.
(1) Take a basic course in Islamic beliefs. Knowledge of the beliefs of Islam is protection from such doubts and a means of strengthening one’s certainty.
(2) Be careful not to read the books of philosophical discussions or watch them. One should first have a strong foundation in the fundamental beliefs of Islam before delving into matters of theology or philosophy.

(3) Strive to recite the following Qu’ranic supplication abundantly:

رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ

˹They say,˺ “Our Lord! Do not let our hearts deviate after you have guided us. Grant us Your mercy. You are indeed the Giver ˹of all bounties˺. [Qur’an; 3:8]

Hope this helps
And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.