Answered by Wasim Shiliwala
Question: Assalamu alaikum. I have been a Muslim for about 18 years and have been having problems with a whisper that constantly says to me “you are a devil.” This making me very withdrawn from my Muslim friends and family. I try my best to fulfill all of my Islamic obligations and make extra effort with wird, Quran recitation. What else can i do to rid this? Thank you.
Answer: Walaikum As-salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. Before I begin answering this question, I want to first mention that by simply asking this question, you have proven these whispers wrong. You have shown concern in the status of your faith and your heart, and that in itself is one of the signs of a true believer. Now, here are some points of advice:
Seek Allah’s Aid and Increase in Worship
Allah the Exalted has warned us in the Qur’an that Shaytan is a clear enemy (2:168). In fact, Allah dedicated the last chapter of the Qur’an (Al-Nas – 114) as a warning of the destructive nature of Shaytan’s whispering. Shaytan is an active enemy, and he frequently returns whenever he has the chance to continue his evil work, which is why we must be vigilant in our defense against him.
However, Allah also taught us how to ward off Shaytan and his activities. He tells us in the Qur’an: “… seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan the accursed / Verily he has no power over those who believe and rely on their Lord” (16:98-99). In other words, the only way to find refuge from Shaytan is to seek Allah’s help. There are a number of ways one can do this, but here are some important ones:
1. Say the ta’awwudh whenever you hear these thoughts: a’udhu billahi min al-shaytan ir-rajim (“I seek refuge with Allah from Shaytan the accursed”).
2. Recite Surat al-Nas (114): this chapter is itself a powerful dua against the evil whispers of Shaytan
3. Make dua and have trust in Allah: sincerely ask Allah for help against Shaytan, and sincerely trust that He will answer your prayer. Do not have any doubt in this, as Allah the Exalted has promised: “And when My servants ask concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me.” (2:186)
4. Increase in acts of obedience: you have mentioned that you have increased in Qur’an, adhkar, and prayer, and alhamdulillah, that is also a great and important step. Make sure you pray your 5 prayers on time, and try to do so in the masjid. Also make it a point to recite Ayat al-Kursi (2:255) and the last 3 chapters of the Qur’an every morning and evening. Send frequent salutations on the Prophet (peace be upon him).
5. Busy yourself with remembrance of Allah: drown out the Shaytanic whispers with dhikr of Allah, and remind yourself of the immense blessing and mercy that comes with such remembrance, and insha’Allah you’ll find yourself much happier and positive. It is only when your mind is free that the Shaytan fills it with his filth, so be quick to replace that filth with the beauty of remembering Allah.
Of course, doing all this is but the first step in this process. The next, which is also crucial, is that you have to ignore the whispers altogether.
Ignore Satanic Whispers
In addition to seeking refuge with Allah the Exalted, you must also resolve to ignore these whispers altogether. In other words, reject them outright and don’t give them a second thought.
The more you dwell on these thoughts, the more convinced Shaytan becomes that he’s having an effect on you, and the more he’ll increase his whispering. Remember that Shaytan has been fighting humanity for thousands of years, and that all he wants is to distract you from Allah. Therefore, the only way to defeat him is to leave him and flee to Allah: don’t give the whisper a second thought, don’t even try to respond or refute them, don’t do anything except say the ta’wwudh and go about your day.
If it helps, think of these whispers as being similar to the crying of babies on a long flight: there’s nothing you can do to stop them, and dwelling upon them will only make things worse, so the only solution is to ignore them and go about your business, and eventually they’ll fade into the background.
Most importantly, never for a second think these thoughts are true. If you are a person who reads the Qur’an, prays their prayers, and believes in Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him), then you can certainly scoff at these thoughts and move on, knowing that you are better than them and that your time is better spent thinking about better things. Shaytan will try to step in whenever you make a mistake, but stop this by immediately returning to Allah in repentance and realizing that mistakes are natural – rather, the main difference between believers and disbelievers is that the believer returns to Allah after committing a sin.
As one scholar of spirituality said: “Only listen to the thought that tells you that you are a wali (close friend of Allah), then work to fulfill your destiny.”
Maintain Good Company
I must also stress that you should not withdraw from friends and family. If anything, you should increase your time with them – provided that they give you positive and halal company. It could very well be the case that Shaytan is trying to push you away from those close to you in an effort to decrease your iman. Indeed, his tactics are more effective when people are isolated from positive influences.
Rather, I encourage you to spend more time with others in positive Islamic environments. Make friends at your local mosque, volunteer at a local Islamic school, take more classes on Islam, attend halaqas – surround yourself with positive Islamic role models. If you can’t do that, listen to Islamic lectures, Qur’anic recitation, and SeekersGuidance classes in your spare time, and share this experience with close relatives and friends.
Keep in mind that gatherings held for the sake of Allah are visited by the angels, and that maintaining close relationships with friends and family is an important sunnah.
Increase in Knowledge, for Knowledge Builds Firm Faith
The last piece of advice I have for you is to spend your time seeking religious knowledge. Learn the basics of law (fiqh), belief (aqida), and spirituality (tasawwuf), and strive to implement these sciences in your heart. Knowledge of this religion is a shield for your soul, and the sunnah is our path to salvation. Studying the sunnah illuminates the path, and the one who walks on an illuminated path cannot be easily led astray.
So long as you cling to the way of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and do your best to fulfill it, while also understanding that mistakes and slip-ups are natural (and even to be expected), then you can be confident that you are counted among the believers. Any whispers saying that you are less than a believer are merely Shaytan’s feeble attempts to confuse you, and they should be quickly rejected. And Allah knows best.
May Allah protect you from these whispers, and give you the tawfiq to become a better Muslim and believer.
*Someone asked a similar question regarding whisperings related to doubts in Allah, and Shaykh Faraz Khan provided an excellent answer that contains some of these points: Dealing With Devilish Insinuations Regarding the Existence of God
Here is another related answer that might be of help: I Have Doubts That Make Me Question Whether I’m Muslim
Baarak Allahu Fikum,