How to Address Waswasa, Thoughts of Apostasy, and Pure Faith?
Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
I have bad thoughts that keep coming over to me these last few days. It was really hard, and I tried my best every time not to entertain these bad thoughts. I have bad thoughts about like “leave Islam,” or something like “Apostate, I’m an apostate” and such.
For the last few days, I didn’t entertain this thought but today, when I was studying, thoughts like “Get out of Islam, you’re not a Muslim” come to my mind. I made a mistake; I deliberately utter the word “Get out from Islam,” and then part of myself said, “Who?” I’m unsure if I said, “I want to get out from Islam” or “Get out from Islam.” It’s like the word “I” is only in my mind and heart but utter the words “Get out from Islam.”
I have no intention of getting out of Islam. Although I’m not a good Muslim, I still want to die in Islam, and I still want to be a Muslim. What should I do? Does doing this makes me a disbeliever? Should I just ignore these thoughts? I have retaken my shahadah.
You are still a Muslim, by the Grace of Allah.
Faith is something deeply rooted in the heart. It isn’t something that leaves by mistake because its entailment is clearly belying Allah and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, and that takes conviction. This is why Imam Tahawi stated in his Creed that a person leaves the faith only by rejecting “that which brought him into it.”
What you are experiencing is some form of unhealthy misgivings (waswasa). This is something that even the Companions (sahaba) dealt with, and the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, remarked to them that they were from “pure faith.” (Muslim) That is to say, deeming them to be odious and abominable statements is a mark of true faith.
Busy yourself with righteous actions and company, recite regular remembrances (adhkar), send many blessings upon the Blessed Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, and continue supplicating to Allah Most High to relieve you from this difficult situation. If you continue to struggle with these matters, I suggest that you get in touch with a mental health professional, ideally somebody from a Muslim background, so they can assist you more ably.
Please also see A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings).
And Allah Most High knows best.
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Tabraze Azam holds a BSc in Computer Science from the University of Leicester, where he also served as the President of the Islamic Society. He memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown of Ipswich at the tender age of sixteen, and has since studied the Islamic Sciences in traditional settings in the UK, Jordan, and Turkey. He is currently pursuing advanced studies in Jordan, where he is presently based with his family.