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How to Deal With Bad Thoughts About God During Prayer?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am facing a big issue of having very compulsive and evil thoughts. Sometimes they are of the doubting nature, so if I get them while praying I feel like my prayer does not count as I have doubted God, so I redo my prayer. Accompanied with these thoughts are images, which I know are 100% false as the human eye can never perceive Allah.

What can I do?

Answer:Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah khayr for your question.

Faith is a simple matter and no one should feel over burdened with doubts about their faith. The Prophet ﷺ informed us that, ‘Verily the religion is ease, and no one shall make the religion hard except that it will destroy him. So be balanced, do your best, and rejoice! And seek help in the morning, the early evening, and something of the night.’ [al Bukhari]

A person is not accountable for the thoughts that come into their mind inadvertently. The fact that you resent them is a sign of your faith. However, you must ignore these thoughts and not let them play out. Realise they are from the devil, who revels in distracting one from the worship of God.

Steps to Take

Supplications: Say the following supplications often,

Al Ta’awudh: Recite often, أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم (I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed Satan) often, and before praying.

عُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ الْتَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ

I seek refuge in the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created

حسبي اللهِ ونعم الوکيل

Allah is my sufficiency, and how perfect a benefactor (Abu Dawud). This invocation can be is best repeated 3 times or more in odd counts.

Prayers: pray your sunna prayers before and after your obligatory as these will help you focus more during the obligatory prayer. Also, try to wake up a little before Fajr to pray and supplicate to God. Ask him to remove these thoughts and grant you strength.

Qur’an: Read a daily amount of Qur’an, even if little. Use a translation if needed, and reflect on the words.

Knowledge: Take some time to study your religion. I would suggest you look at SeekersHub course page and take a course in Islamic Belief.

Get on with the task at hand: By continuing and just getting on with the worship (or whatever else you do when the thoughts come), the door will be shut and the whisperings will stop. When the thoughts come, the ruling is you should just continue. So just follow this and don’t give the thoughts a moment of your time. Sooner or later it will stop.

Further Reading

Please also refer to these answers for further advice:

How can I battle bad thoughts during worship?
Waswasa Archives
What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?

I wish you all the very best,

Warmest salams,
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.