What Should I Do If I Have Intrusive Thoughts about Islam?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I’m having evil intrusive thoughts about something that I may have given in to if I weren’t Muslim. I’m not sure if I ignored this thought or if it was there all along as an intrusive thought. What should I do, and are any of these circumstances sinful?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray you are well.
Thank you for seeking guidance. You are not alone; intrusive thoughts are very common. These thoughts can be distressing, painful, and repulsive and become a burden to the individual. Think of them as unwanted guests who refuse to leave, and the more attention we give them, the more they resist. What’s interesting about obsessive intrusive thoughts is that they often fixate on areas of great importance to us, such as religion.
Constant Battle Between Good and Evil
The fact that these thoughts are causing you distress is proof of the love of Allah, the iman (faith) in your heart, and your sincerity as a Muslim that you are so disturbed by these thoughts; otherwise, why would they bother you?
Allah, the Most Merciful, is also the All-Knowing; He is fully aware of the state of your heart and knows the distress these thoughts are causing your soul. This duality and struggle of good and evil, right and wrong, fitra (innate nature), and nafs (ego) is a constant battle and feature of our lives as Muslims that is acknowledged in our deen, as mentioned in the following hadith.
Abdullah ibn Masud (Allah be pleased with him) reported, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Verily, Satan has influence with the son of Adam and the angel has influence. As for the influence of Satan, he promises evil and denies the truth. As for the influence of the angel, he promises goodness and affirms the truth. Whoever finds this goodness, let him know that it is from Allah, and let him praise Allah. Whoever finds something else, let him seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan.” Then, the Prophet recited the verse, “Satan threatens you with poverty and commands evil, but Allah promises you forgiveness and grace from Him. (Quran, 2:268)” [Tirmidhi]
Uncarried Out Thoughts
Allah Most High does not take into account thoughts that are not carried out. Please don’t worry.
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported, The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Allah has pardoned my nation for what occurs within themselves, as long as they do not speak of it or act upon it.” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Dua and Religious and Professional Guidance
I advise you to keep making dua to Allah Most High for the cure and ask others too.
“When My servants ask you (O Prophet) about Me: I am truly near. I respond to one’s prayer when they call upon Me. So let them respond (with obedience) to Me and believe in Me, perhaps they will be guided (to the Right Way).” [Quran, 2:186]
Allah Most High has created a cure for every ailment and illness. Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Allah did not send down any disease but that he also sent its cure.” [Ibn Majah]
Seek spiritual advice and guidance from local Imams and reliable scholars. Also, there is no shame in seeking professional support, which could be in the form of talking therapies.
I advise you to continue to pray and seek appropriate help; Allah will reward you for your internal struggle, amin.
A Reader on OCD and Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.