Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
My question is in regards to waswasa that I get about having left the fold of Islam. Sometimes all of a sudden I think about something that happened years ago, such as when I was a child and I asked my mom “how can Allah exist without a beginning? There must have been some sort of start?”
Or while taking Sheikh Faraz Rabbani’s absolute essentials class, I learned that Allah is beyond time and space, and therefore we cannot assign a location to him.
I was taught or learned as a child that Allah is in the heavens, and I always thought he was on his throne. This new knowledge again gave me waswasa that I have left the fold of Islam for this erroneous belief. Having said this, I always knew that there is nothing like Allah.
Things like this cause me great distress, and I end up repeating the shahada to make myself feel better. Are any of the aforementioned things worthy of putting someone outside the fold of Islam?
No, you have not left the fold of Islam. Do not worry about that. Such questions are normal and are the very reason we study religion. Scholars have written many works to answer such questions in a way that makes sense.
Sometimes, we stick to something we learned as children because we are comfortable with it, or there is nothing to challenge it. Keep studying and don’t let this put you off learning.
Leaving Islam Is An Active Choice
Erroneous beliefs can be remedied through learning. Being mistaken about something in the past, or not grasping a complex theological point does not take one out of Islam.
One can only really Islam by choosing to do so. This is by actively denying and rejecting the truths one accepts to become a Muslim. You have not done that. [Tahawi, Bayan ‘Aqida Ahl al-Sunna] Only by choosing an incorrect theological point and asserting one’s adoption of it does one leave Islam. This does not apply to you.
It seems you suffer from intrusive thoughts, which is a form of OCD. Sometimes it manifests a great discomfort at something, and not necessarily as a string of words in your head. Don’t be phased by it. It is fuelled by allowing anxiety to take over.
How do you deal with it? You manage the symptom through knowledge. You look at the matter through the lens of sound knowledge. It clearly doesn’t affect your iman so don’t stress about it.
The same applies to people who way excessively about purity. The intentions are good, but giving something an exaggerated consequence in one’s mind makes it very difficult to deal with OCD.
Healing from it requires therapy. Please start with this seminar. It will shed some light on it.
Being Balanced – Emotional and Mental Health – Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Check this reader:
OCD and Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)
May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
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 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.