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How to React to Sexual Thoughts?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am experiencing difficulty in my acts of worship that require wudu because of irritating sexual thoughts. Sometimes, the thought would be so disturbing that I feel like I may release madhi (but I wouldn’t be certain) and then I would have thoughts of whether I am pure or not. Should I listen to such thoughts about checking my purity?

Also, I have an inflamed left joint of my jaw, so if I put pressure on my self and stress out when I get a sexual thought, it causes pain in my jaw.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

Thank you for your questions.

Be comfortable.

Experiencing a difficulty such as the one you are going through right now can be very disheartening, but you should realise that what you are experiencing is the best thing for you at this time. Allah tells us in sura al-Ḥadīd that no problem occurring on earth or in ourselves happens except that it has been documented in the preserved tablet before being created (al-Ḥadīd,22). The word used in the verse for ‘creating’ is نبرأ (nabraʾ) which means to create something without a flaw. What we can understand from this is that each trial we face is perfectly suited to us for that stage of our lives.

The upshot is that you should try to be comfortable with what you are going through. Allah wanted this for you as a means of purification and elevation. Patience and trust in Him at this time will bring you much more that what you would have got had you not had these issues and then performed many acts of worship. Ask Allah for help, saying that you would not choose such thoughts if you could control them, and be happy knowing that you are in good hands.

Dealing with misgivings

You are not obliged with constantly checking if something has been released due to your intrusive thoughts. If something has undeniably come out then simply wash the affected area if it equal to the diameter of a £2 coin and move on with your day. If it is less than that then your prayer will still be perfectly valid if you do not remove it, but doing so is superior if it does not cause you more problems.

The best course is to ignore ‘feelings’ of being impure, or that something has not been washed enough etc, as the Devil usually steps in and manipulates the situation, leaving you feeling guilty or ashamed for something you have no control over, and which is overlooked in the Shariʿa.

Seek Help

The first step is to turn to Allah and ask Him for help and healing: without this nothing will work. You should seek help through some form of therapy, as thought and feelings you have described can arise from the subconscious mind due to emotional trauma from one’s past. These symptoms are usually defence mechanisms to prevent you from the situations which gave you the emotional pain, so it is essential to see it as a means of removing the trauma which causes the symptoms so there is no need for the symptom. Wanting to get rid of the symptom alone will lead to resistance, which is counter-productive.

There are many effective forms of therapy, and EFT is easy and effective. Find an experienced practitioner and take it from there. You should be aware, however, that an issue which took years to develop, may not disappear overnight. Take the means, trust in Allah, and be happy because Allah has given glad tidings to the believers and promised us great good in this life and the next.

May Allah give you a speedy release from your difficulties.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.