Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha’Allah.
Question (Q): I have been suffering with waswas for some time for 2-3 years. Now it is worse and it leaves me depressed. I am always thinking about it, especially when I’m praying. It gets very difficult for me and I can’t ignore it because it is intense.
Answer (A): First things first: misgivings (waswasa) are from the devil. They are to be completely ignored and we seek Allah’s assistance in this.
(Q): This deals with what every Muslim has to believe in to become a Muslim. During my prayer my heart wavers every time and it leaves me confused, which is said by scholars as doubting which makes a person a kafir. This makes me upset because I want to be a believer.
(A): This is a perfect example of satanic misgivings. We categorically do not act upon misgivings. We act based on sound knowledge taken from the hearts of scholars (`ulama) of the hereafter.
Your confusion and thinking that your heart is ‘wavering’ is clearly due to your acting on your misgivings. What you describe is not considered ‘doubting’. There is no way you have somehow become a disbeliever (kafir) because of this. There is no need to be upset. Rejoice in the bounty of Allah and His innumerable blessings upon you; from health, family, safety. There is so much to be grateful for. Of the greatest of blessings is that He has made you a believer.
(Q): I am very frustrated and worried, especially when praying, because it takes me a long time to complete al-tahyat as when it comes to recite the phrase which a Muslim must state and believe in – the testimony of faith – i find my heart wavering every time and i have to repeat it lots of times so i feel sincere when i say it. This makes it difficult and i cant carry on. When i finish my pray i always feel guilty and that my prayer is not accepted and that i may be a kafir (a’udhibillah) which i hate and am scared of.
(A): From now on, recite the tashahud of the final sitting once. Do not, in any case, repeat it. Your misgivings and fears are completely unsound. You are not responsible for the thoughts that come to you. However, one is responsible for the way one responds. The operating assumption about acts of worship are that they are valid and sound. Your prayers are valid. Period.
The devil is pleased when he makes the religion seem unbearably difficult for somebody. Seek refuge in Allah from him.
Moreover, realize that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘Verily this religion is ease; and none make this religion difficult except that it overwhelms them.’ [Bukhari]
(Q): On q and a website it says that waswas affects everyone differently. I feel that the reason why i can’t get rid of this easily is because it affects me 5 times a day in my prayer every day, and I am most vulnerable during prayers.
So I struggle with words as my my heart wavers.
I think this happened when i was reading about the essentials of becoming a Muslim. A person is a Muslim ONLY if he says this and believes in the heart with conviction without a single doubt otherwise he is a non Muslim. Reading that scared me.
Now the problem is worse. So how do i know i am a believer? Is my reaction, that i hate it but can’t control it, even thought it is an essential Islamic belief, enough to still make me a Muslim?
(A): You are unquestionably a believer. This is all simply misgivings and misplaced knowledge. I highly recommend taking the following course at SeekersGuidance: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Beliefs & Worship
As mentioned previously, you are not responsible for your thoughts. Your hating them is sufficient proof that there is no ‘doubt’.
(Q): I’m so scared of disbelieving in this phrase and becoming a kafir that the pressure on me becomes intense which i can’t handle. I have read lots of Islamic q and a on waswas and how to deal with it, ie, ignore it its from satan, and that the prophet (pbuh) said that none of my ummah will be punished for evil thoughts until he speaks and acts upon it.
But i feel this does not belong to me as i have gone much astray and am doomed (may Allah make me wrong). Please can you give me a thorough answer. Does Allah not burden us with what we can’t handle? Am I a Muslim? I feel that I can get rid of these thoughts if I know I am still a Muslim and this is normal, and that it’s really from satan.
(A): The religion is mercy and ease. If one does not find this, one is doing something wrong. It is said that misgivings (waswasa) and hardship arise from an ignorance of the sunna of the beloved of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Look at the bigger picture and get on with your life. Ignore the misgivings and seek real Islamic knowledge from real, living, scholars. Allah Most High has informed us, “Allah does not burden souls with more than they can manage.” [2:286] This is a test from Allah which you are more than capable of passing.
Abu Yahya Suhayb ibn Sinan said, “The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, ‘What an extraordinary thing the business of the believer is! All of it is good for him. And that only applies to the believer. If good fortune is his lot, he is grateful and it is good for him. If something harmful happens to him, he is steadfast and that is good for him too.’” [Muslim]
“Say: ’In the bounty of God, and His mercy — in that let them rejoice; it is better than that they amass.” [10:58]
And Allah alone gives success.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani