Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan
I have been suffering from extreme waswasa ever since I started studying fiqh.
I suffer waswasa when I start praying. No matter how hard I try, the intention never seems to settle. I also have waswasa in regards to how many cycles I’ve prayed and in regards to facing the qibla.
This has caused my family and me extreme distress and has affected my daily life greatly.
What can I do?
May Allah bring ease in all your affairs.
I apologize for my harsh tone, but if you continue entertaining these thoughts of waswasa, you will encounter major problems in your daily life. You must ignore it.
Waswasa comes from Shaytan, and when such doubt enters your mind, block it out and ignore it. One Takbir with an intention suffices. If you start doubting your intention, it’s waswasa coming from shaytan; ignore it. While afflicted with waswasa, the when in doubt rule of calculating the number of raka‘at according to conviction or minimum does not apply – the doubt is waswasa coming from shaytan, block it out. If you feel guilty after prayer, ignore it, as it is waswasa coming from shaytan.
In addition, as far as possible, engage in the remembrance of Allah. Specifically, the recitation of 1. La ilaha illaLlah and 2. Amanna biLlahi wa Rusulih (thrice). Seek often protection in Allah from the accursed shaytan, especially when doubts of waswasa enter your mind.
Initially, you may find guilt by ignoring and blocking out waswasa, but know that your implementation of the above is following the advice of the scholars such as Imam al-Nawawi and ibn Hajar al-Haytami. Scholars that give guidance based on the Quran and Sunna. Waswasa, on the other hand, is from shaytan. Giving in to your guilt and reperforming the actions mentioned in your question over and over again not only complicates your life but effectively means you are following doubts of shaytan over the Quran and Sunna.
May Allah guide us all.
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Shaykh Abdurragmaan received ijazah ‘ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.