Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
Does the intention to break the prayer break the prayer?
Whenever I pray I have these thoughts that tell to break my prayer. I know this is waswasa but I often ends up breaking my prayer. I have also these thoughts when performing wudu or ghusl and I end up starting them again and again.
What can I do?
Answer: In the Name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate
Dear brother, as you have mentioned yourself, the problem here is waswasa, and this is what needs to be managed and resolved.
In regards to intentions:
1. Intending to break the prayer, or wavering whether to break the prayer or not, nullifies the prayer. However, if these thoughts come about due to excessive waswasa, then it does not break your prayer. Excessive waswasa can be described as involuntary thoughts which frequently overtake a person, and which cannot be prevented.
‘[and among the conditions of the prayer is] That the person does not intend leaving his prayer or wavers about leaving it … and similar to wavering whether to leave the prayer or not is vacillating upon whether to continue the prayer or not … [but] there is no consequence to compelling whisperings and scruples (waswasa), which are [those thoughts] that come upon the mind without any choice in it.’ [Bushra al Karim]
2. This ruling does not apply to wudu or ghusl, therefore even if one intended to stop making wudu or ghusl, and even if they left it and came back some time later, they can resume from where they left off.
Given the above rulings, whatever thoughts that come into your head, put them aside and carry on with your prayer.
WASWASA (Baseless Misgivings)
One of the devils wretched names is al Khanas, the one who whispers and draws away. Allah Most High tells us this in Surah al Nas, when He orders us to seek refuge ‘From the mischief of the Whisperer (of Evil), who withdraws (after his whisper). (The same) who whispers into the hearts of Mankind, Among Jinns and among men.’ [114:4-6]’. Therefore, recognise that this is what is happening, and do not give him an inch.
There are quite a few answers on SeekersHub in regards to Waswasa and ways to deal with it. I would advise you to search under waswasa and have a read. Below are a few things to keep in mind which should be beneficial to you.
BUILDING YOUR DEFENSE AGAINST THE DEVIL:
Get on with the task at hand: By continuing and just getting on with the worship (or whatever else he causes doubt in), the door will be shut and the whispering will stop. When the thoughts come, the ruling is you should just continue. So just follow this and don’t give the thoughts a moment of your time. Sooner or later it will stop because he will see it no longer makes a difference to you.
Qur’an, dhikr and worship: Read a set amount of Quran each day and set amount of dhikr as the benefits are innumerable, but among them is that they keep devils away, fortify one’s home, and most importantly bring peace to one’s heart. Allah most high tells us, ‘Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction’ [13:28].
Often, the devil gets a foot in the door and is allowed to whisper because there was an open gap for him to do so in the first place. Fortify yourself through observing your obligatory worship and what you can of the supererogatory acts, especially dhikr, and avoid sins or continuing in any sin.
Al Ta’awudh: Recite often, أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم (I seek refuge in Allah from the cursed Satan) often. It is Sunnah to say it before each recitation of the Fatiha in every prayer.
Learn you religion: Take some time to study your religion. I would suggest you take a course in Shafi’i fiqh. Knowledge obliterates ignorance and closes the door to doubt. The Prophet is reported to have said, ‘One Faqih (knowledgeable person) is more formidable against Satan than one thousand devoted worshippers.’ [Ibn Majah].
You may find the following supplications useful. Perhaps try reciting them after each prayer, or any other convenient time.
Seeking refuge in Allah from evil
أَعُوْذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ الْتَّامَّاتِ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ
I seek refuge in the Perfect Words of Allah from the evil of what He has created
Seeking protection from the devils and jinn
أَعُوذُ بكَلِمَاتِ اللهِ التَّامَّاتِ الَّتِي لَا يُجَاوِزُهُنَّ بَرٌّ ولَا فَاجرٌ مِنْ شّرِّ مَا خَلقَ، وبَرَأَ وذَرَأَ، ومِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَنْزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وِمنْ شَرِّ مَا يَعْرُجُ فيهَا، ومِن شَرِّ مَا ذَرَأَ في الأَرْضِ ومِنْ شَرِّ مَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا، وِمنْ شَرِّ فِتَنِ اللَّيْلِ والنَّهارِ، ومِنْ شَرِّ كُلِّ طارِقٍ
إِلَّا طَارِقاً يَطْرُقُ بخَيْرٍ يَا رَحْمَنُ
I take refuge within Allah’s perfect words which no righteous or unrighteous person can transgress, from all the evil that He has created, made and originated. (I take refuge) from the evil that descends from the sky and the evil that rises up to it. (I take refuge) from the evil that is spread on Earth and the evil that springs from her, and I take refuge from the evil of the tribulations of night and day, and the evil of one who visits at night except the one who brings good, O Merciful One.
When feeling helpless regarding matter:
حسبي اللهِ ونعم الوکيل
Allah is my sufficiency, and how perfect a benefactor (Abu Dawud). This invocation can be is best repeated 3 times or more in odd counts.
You should also ensure that you are saying the supplications before going to the bathroom, as bathrooms are spaces where devils are more likely to cause mischief:
Entering the bathroom:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْخُبُثِ وَالْخَبَائِثِ
O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.
I wish you all the best.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.