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6 Key Things to Help Ease Stress- Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Stress is a serious and common condition in the world. Muslims of course also face these problems in their workplaces and in their private lives.

In this brief post, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives a comprehensive Islamic perspective on easing stress in our lives.

6 key things that ease stress

There are many beneficial resources online and of. Some of them we have listed below. But Islamically speaking, there are 6 key things to consider when faced with stress and seeking a remedy for it.

1. Always renew intentions.
2. Always turn to Allah before, during, and after all projects and tasks.
3. Operationalize this turning through dua, even if brief.
4. Stay on the remembrance of Allah.
5. Uphold the sunnas of consistency. The sunna is a gradual, sustained striving that is made into good routines and habits.
6. Be active in consulting with others.

Commitment is crucial

The underlying commitment to daily spiritual routines and weekly seeking of knowledge is critical, too. Especially given what most of you, being students of knowledge, are engaged in when it comes to serving the deen of Allah and the way of His Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him and his folk.

 

Resources for Seekers

Intention and the Spiritual Dimensions of Travel – Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Habib Umar bin Hafiz relates advice on what one should intend while traveling and the spiritual dimensions thereof, from Habib `Ali al-Habashi, Allah have mercy on them and benefit us through them.

Habib `Ali says: In reality, to travel is to leave behind one’s base nature in order to attain lofty stations in the proximity of Allah.

He then calls us to act on the hadith of the Prophet ﷺ:

سَافِروا تَصِحُّوا سَافِروا تُرْزَقُوا

“Travel and you will be blessed with good health. Travel and you will be provided for.”

5 Intentions for Traveling

1. We should intend by traveling obeying the command of the Messenger of Allah to travel.

2. We should then intend to seek provision. Not merely material provision, but also spiritual provision – knowledge, guidance and light – which distinguishes man from animals.

3. We should seek good health for our bodies. But more importantly we should seek to be healed from attachment to this world and other diseases of the heart.

4. We should also intend to visit the pious in the place to which we are traveling and to seek their blessings (baraka). In every town there is a group of the people of truth who protect that town.

5. We should intend to call people to Allah (da`wa), to benefit people with what knowledge we possess, and to teach the ignorant. Seeking in all of this the pleasure of Allah.

A Traveler’s Prayer

Habib `Ali recommended that on repeat this prayer often, especially when one is traveling:

اللهُمَّ إنِّي في قَبْضَتِكَ حَيْثُما كُنْتُ فَلاحِظْني بِعَيْنِ عِنَايَتِكَ حَيْثُما كُنْتُ

“O Allah, I am in Your complete control wherever I am, so bless me with Your complete care wherever I am.”


This piece was originally published by Muwasala, on January 30, 2016.

What Are the Proper Intentions to Be Made When Teaching?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I am a school teacher and I absolutely love my job. What intentions should I have every time I go into school to maximise the amount of reward I can get while teaching?

Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Jazakum Allah for your question. May Allah reward you for striving to direct your intention at work to something meaningful.

Alhamdulillah, it is always a great blessing to work in a field that one enjoys, as this is not always possible for people. Despite this, every work can be rewarded if the right intentions are made, as the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘Actions are according to intentions’ [al Bukhari, Muslim].

Teaching

Teaching is a particularly rewarding profession but also one that demands a lot of responsibility. As a teacher, it is not only the information that you deliver and pass onto students that matters, but also your persona and state. School teachers often spend more time with children in a weekday than the parents do, and this makes the responsibility and influence of the teacher very substantial. Among the noble sayings of the beloved Prophet ﷺ in regards teaching is,

‘Teach others, make things easy, and do not make things difficult. When one of you is angry, he should remain silent.’ [Musnad Ahmad]

Intention

In teaching, one could make the following intentions:
1. To seek Allah’s Pleasure and reward through teaching

2. To benefit oneself and others through beneficial knowledge

3. To nurture and develop future generations in a wholesome and proper manner

4. To fulfil a communal obligation for the sake of Allah Most High

5. To gain self-sufficiency and earn a halal income

6. To fulfil any duties to one’s dependents through a lawful income

7. To give charity to the poor through earnings

8. To show exemplary character in your behaviour and work so that students and colleagues are positively influenced and have a good opinion of the religion and Muslims in general

9. To use the intellect, skills, and physical ability that Allah has given you to help others for His sake

10. To uphold religious observances while being engaged and struggling with worldly duties

You may also find the following answer beneficial, as it includes other intentions which may be relevant as well as practical considerations:

How Do I Make My Nursing Career as Worship?

Warmest salams,
[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.

Is It Allowed to Delay the Intention for Hajj?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

I am asking this question on behalf of my aunt. Unfortunately, she has her period and may not be able to make the intention for Hajj before leaving. Is it ok if she arrives in Saudi Arabia and makes the intention?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Being in a state of menstruation does not prevent one from intending the Hajj and entering into a state of ihram. As such, your aunt may either enter ihram from India before she departs or she may enter it when reaching the designated miqat areas in Saudi Arabia.

This is clearly affirmed in the hadith, “When a menstruating women and those experiencing post-natal bleeding come to the miqat, they should perform a ritual-bath (ghusl), enter into ihram, and perform all the rituals of Hajj except circumambulating (tawaf) the Ka`aba.” [Abu Dawud]

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

When Does the Intention to Sin Become Sinful?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I read that a sin is not recorded unless it has been committed but I can’t seem to reconcile it with a hadith I read about two men fighting and both the killed and the killer would go to hell. Does that mean that if one intends to commit a sin and is deterred by circumstance, it is the same as having committed the sin?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

The scholars differentiated between various types of intent.

Accordingly, the mere presence of an inclination is not the same as resolve (‘azm) or being on the verge of doing something (hamm). These latter categories are something a person is taken to task for, contrary to merely passing thoughts (khatir) or self-talk (hadith al-nafs).

The tradition (hadith) in question, “When two Muslims fight each other with their swords, then both the killer and killed are in the Fire” [Bukhari], is understood to be in the context of the aforementioned resolve. Thus, the one killed, too, is liable for his action.

This interpretation complements what we already know about human responsibility with respect to the actions of the heart. For instance, envy, slander and other internal vices are held against us if we don’t repent from them. Similarly, coveting the unlawful is also that which falls under the category of actions we are duty-bound to abstain from.

What this should remind us, then, is of the imperative to purify the heart. Otherwise, believers may leave this world committing major sins (kaba’ir) without even knowing it, as one of the spiritual masters informed us. We ask Allah Most High to forgive us, and purify our inward and outward.

[Qari, al-Mubin al-Mu‘in li Fahm al-Arba‘in (2.263)/Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh al-Mishkat al-Masabih, quoting Ibn Malak; Munawi, Fayd al-Qadir]

Please also see: Do the Angels Wait Before Writing down a Bad Deed? and: A Reader on Sincerity, Intention, and the Purpose of Spiritual Routines and: How Can I Purify My Heart? A Reader

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[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 memorised 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.

The Noble Intention of Parents

From Habib Kadhim Al-Saqqaf – Parenting in the Modern World Raising Pious Children

Translated by Shaykh Ahmed Abdo, during the Australian tour, 2017

The noble intention of mothers, fathers and grandparents has an effect on subsequent generations. That’s why we find great Imams, like Imam Bukhari, Imam Shafi’i, before they were born their parents made noble and pious intentions for their children and look what came of them. It is quite clear that good pious intentions of parents will impact upon their children.

The great Salahudeen Ayoubi, he was the one responsible for the re-opening of Jerusalem al Quds. His father was a little delayed in getting married, however he really loved the scholars and the Awliya and he used to frequently visit the scholars and pious ones. So they used to always say to him “Why don’t you get married?”, and he used to always come up with excuses trying to avoid marriage altogether. They wanted to take him to the various scholars and have explained to him why getting married is good, for you are going to get have children and get lots of rewards. And we have in a hadith that two rakats from a married man is more virtuous than 72 rakat of a man that is single. And he used to say, “I just can’t find the right match”, so the people just left him.

And so one day one of the pious men in the city came to this particular shaykh, and he said look every time someone comes to court my daughter I find that these men are just not good. So this father came with his daughter to the shaykh, in order to have the shaykh persuade the daughter to accept one of these proposals. She was from a poor family, but she was quite knowledgeable, she was quite beautiful, she was intelligent.

When she comes to the shaykh with her dad, he says to her “Why don’t you want to get married? Allah has brought different young men to wed you, however you reject them, you’re intelligent you are understanding, you are beautiful”. And she responds to this shaykh, “I don’t want to get married to any ordinary type of man, the man I want to get married to, I want him to be the father of a child that is not ordinary but is a really pious one that Allah is going to grant victory to the Muslims through.”

At this response the shaykh said, “My daughter, this is a good intention, just wait out until that right man comes who is going to be the father of your children, that will allow the victory of the Muslims. And so whilst this young lady was with her father and the shaykh, some of the men came saying that outside is Najmudeen Ayoub the father of Salahudeen, he wants to speak with you. So the shaykh said to the lady and her father, if you could just move to the side a little I’m going to have a discussion with some other people.

Some people came in with Najmudeen (who was the father of the great Salahudeen) saying that they needed some private time with him. So these other men who were with Najmudeen said to the shaykh, “This is one of our generals of the Ummah of the state, Allah has given him wealth power and control and he still doesn’t want to get married.” The shaykh said to Najmudeen “Why don’t you want to get married? Allah has given you all these things.” And so this man says, “Look shaykh, let me let you in on a secret, I can marry the greatest women of the greatest generals of the army of the Muslims, however I don’t want any ordinary girl. I want a women who understands the importance and value of marriage, I want a woman who will be the mother of a general — a leader of the Muslims. And so the man said, “Shaykh, I don’t care if this women is the daughter of some army general of the Muslims or is from a poor family, it doesn’t really matter, just a girl that understands the value of marriage and who wants to be a mother of a child that will be a general a leader of the Muslims.” The shaykh said, “Don’t you worry my son I have this lady here for you with the same intention.

And so we have here a perfect match of intentions of the man and women who want the same thing from their children and they became the mother and father of this great conqueror and general Salahudeen Ayoubi. Therefore the Muslim man and women should make noble intentions before the birth of the child for that piety, this is first, such that we can produce a generation that holds and bears good and benefit for all people and Muslims.

Notes by Ali Chaudhry ~ Parenting in the Modern World Raising Pious Children ~ Habib Kadhim As-Saqqaf ~ Australia Tour 2017

Three Different Role Models With The Same Intention, by Shaykh Faid

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said describes three different role models from amongst the companions of the Prophet Muhammad, who each chose a slightly different path to Allah.

Bismillah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem

Allah Most High taught us in the Qur’an to ask Him for the greatest of achievements, and Him telling us this is a mercy from Allah Most High, as He not only tells you what you need, He even teaches you what to ask for and how to ask for it!

In our human-ness, the one thing that we all avoid is additional demands upon us, but Allah Most High wanted us to ask Him, He wanted us to beg Him, and from the supplications that Allah Most High taught us to ask is that of guidance.

“Guide us to the Straight Path”

Every mu’min (believer), male or female, young or old, pious or sinful, obedient or disobedient, when they stand before Allah Most High in every salah (prayer), they say “Guide us to the Straight Path.” Allah Most High continues by telling us that this very guidance is connected to the Prophets and the Righteous Ones, and following their guidance is essential, and that is why Allah Most High said to the Messenger of Allah, speaking about the Prophets:  “…those are whom Allah has guided, so follow their guidance.” (Surah Al-Anam, 90)

The Only Thing That Matters

From the most guided of Prophets, Allah Most High has raised high the station of Ibrahim, peace be upon him, the father of all the Prophets that came after him. Allah Most High raised his status to such an extent that Allah Most High chose Ibrahim, peace be upon him, as a friend and equated him with an entire nation.  The word “nation” is not defined as we typically may think: Allah Most High describes the birds as a nation, animals as a nation, so if Allah Most High is describing Ibrahim, peace be upon him, as a whole nation it is equivalent to the entire human race; and that equivalency is with regards to his belief, humility, and endless kindness, mercy and love for others.  So Ibrahim, peace be upon him, with this maqam (rank), and as a guide and a teacher, teaches us what we need and what is important for us, as Allah Most High mentions from the supplications of Ibrahim, peace be upon him: “Oh Allah, do not put shame on me on the Day of Resurrection; the Day on which nothing benefits or saves other than a pure heart!”  (Surah Shu’ara, 87-89)

Allah Most High is teaching us through the supplications of Ibrahim, peace be upon him, that the only thing that matters is to come to Him with a pure heart; if you were to do all the righteous acts but do not come with a pure heart, you have achieved nothing!

Excuses upon excuses

That is why the Beloved Messenger, peace be upon him, said: “Indeed the acceptance of any action is according to someone’s intention.” Even if you do something wrong by mistake, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:  “Do not account my ummah for things they may do by mistake, or for things they were forced to do or if they have forgotten their duties.”

Unlike human nature and law, where you cannot forget your duties, the law of Allah Most High is very different – if you forget to do something, Allah Most High will not hold you accountable for that; and if you do something by mistake, Allah Most High will not hold you accountable; and if you are forced to do something, Allah Most High will not account you for that either!

This emphasizes the importance of intention.

Neither Your Appearance Nor Your Form

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, tells us in a very clear Hadith: “Indeed Allah Most High does not look at your appearance or forms, rather Allah Most High looks at your heart!” (Sahih Muslim 2564)

In this era of forms and measurement of achievement by quantity, it is very important to look carefully at our intention.

Syedina Hasan

In reflecting upon this, we look back at the “Guided Ones.” Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, used to wear the best clothing he could buy, but some people asked him how he, the son of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, could wear such beautiful clothing. They asked where the zuhd (abstention from the life of this world to attain nearness to Allah) in this is. Their understanding of the norm for him was different. Syedina Hasan, may Allah be pleased with him, responded:

I wear these clothes in order to tell people how much Allah Most High has given me and because of which I am not in need of anyone, and also because I am only in need from Allah Most High and not people!

Look at the intention of Syedina Hasan, may Allah bless him: he is teaching us that zuhd is not contained in wearing tattered clothing or wearing the best of them. What matters to Allah Most High is your state, not what you wear!

Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq

Similarly, Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq, may Allah bless him, who used to wear the best clothes, was also challenged by people: “Oh son of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, what are these fancy clothes you wear?” (For background, the people at that time used to wear both an inner garment and an outer garment) Imam Ja’far, may Allah bless him, took the person’s hand and made him touch his inner garment, and to his dismay it was wool! At that time, woolen garments were only worn by the poorest of the community.

Syedina Ja’far, may Allah bless him, said that the woolen garment you touched is what he wears for Allah Most High and himself, and the outer garment is for people, to show that he is not in the need of people, as Allah Most High is taking care of him.

Like his grandfather, Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq, may Allah bless him, had great understanding, and they are teaching us that it is not about what you wear, it is about your intention in what you are wearing and the state of your heart.

Syedina Uwais al Qarni

Almost to the contrary, we see the example of Syedina Uwais al Qarni, may Allah be pleased with him. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, told Syedina Ali and Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, that if they see Uwais al Qarni, to ask him for prayers!  

Subhanallah! Why would the direct companions of the Prophet of Allah, peace be upon him and them, ask someone else to make dua for them? The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, is teaching his companions that some people are closer to Allah Most High in ways we do not see.

After hearing the Messenger of Allah’s description of Syedina Uwais, Syedina Ali and Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with them all, were looking forward to seeing him. One year during Hajj, Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, addressed the people and said he only wanted to see the people of Yemen, who then stood up. Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, then proceeded to ask if there were any people from the tribe of Qarn, and those who were then remained standing; he then asked if there were any people from the sub-tribe of Murad, and finally oneman remained standing.

Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked this man if there was anyone named Uwais among his people, to which the man replied he was not sure, but did say there is a disturbed young man who they told to stay back and care for the animals.

Syedina Ali and Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with them, went running, as this was who they were looking for. They saw a young man in old clothing. Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked him if he was Uwais, the son of Amr, to which he replied in the affirmative; he then asked if he was from the tribe of Murad-Qarn, which the young man also affirmed this. Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, then asked if he was affected by illness, but was subsequently cured by Allah Most High with a remnant of the illness in the shape of a small circle, the young man confirmed. Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, then asked if he had a mother, which the young man confirmed. Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, then said that he had heard the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, saying that Uwais the son of Amr will come to you with the people of Yemen from Murad-Qarn (branch-tribe), and that he would be tested with illness that would be cured except for a small mark (the shape of a coin); that he was obedient to his mother, and if he were to swear and ask Allah Most High – He would grant him what he asked; and that if we are able to see him we should ask him to seek forgiveness for us, and that Allah Most High will forgive us. And so Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, asked Syedina Uwais, may Allah be pleased with him, to ask for their forgiveness, and he did.

Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, then asked where Syedina Uwais, may Allah be pleased with him, was going, to which he told Syedina Omar, may Allah be pleased with him, that he would be traveling to Kufa.

Syedina Omar, may Allah bless him: Shall I write a letter to the governor of Kufa in order that he may look after you?

Syedina Uwais, may Allah bless him: No. I would like to be part of the people so that nobody notices me.

Syedina Omar, may Allah bless him: Shall I buy you new clothes?

Syedina Uwais, may Allah bless him: Ya Ameer! Will I live long enough to see these clothes disintegrate?

Syedina Omar, may Allah bless him: Shall I give you some money?

Syedina Uwais, may Allah bless him: Ya Ameer! I have four dinars; will I live long enough to spend them?

Syedina Uwais, may Allah be pleased with him, lived until the time of Syedina Ali, may Allah bless him, and  attained martyrdom in the Battle of Siffin.

Syedina Uwais, may Allah be pleased with him, was not intending to wear old clothes or sleep in rough conditions in it of itself, but all he wanted was to be connected to Allah Most High!

Although the three “Guided Ones” were different in their appearance, they were similar in their himma (aspiration) and purity of their hearts! We beg Allah Most High to purify our hearts, to perfect our akhlaq (the practice of virtue, morality and manners), to remove the love of dunya and pain from our hearts.

Allahumma salli alaa Syedina Muhammad wa alaa Ahli Syedina Muhammad, fi kulli lamhatin wa nafasin ‘adada maa wa see-a-hu ‘il-muLLAH

[cwa id=’cta’]

What Should a Muslim’s Intentions Be in Voting? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What should a Muslim’s intentions be in voting?

Answer:  Wa’leykum Salam,

Here is a video answer by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani to this question:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani is a scholar and researcher of Islamic law and Executive Director of SeekersHub Global After ten years overseas, Shaykh Faraz returned to Canada in the Summer of 2007. In May 2008 he founded SeekersHub Global to deal with the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge—both online and on the ground—in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He has been repeatedly listed as one of the world’s 500 most influential Muslims (The Muslim500).

Photo: Tom Arthur

How to Deal With Temptations in the Workplace?

Answered by Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Question: Assalam aleykum

I am a doctor from Britain. And I know that this occupation should be a means for me to draw nearer to Allah. But I find difficulties on a daily basis at work, due to various causes. What should I keep in mind in the course of my work? And is there anything I should hold fast to in this regard, before beginning work?

Answer: [Assalam alaykum]

Intentions Behind One’s Work

This doctor should recognize that his work is indeed important, being a form of service to humanity. So let him seek the reward in this work. And let him also expand his intention to be a manifestation of the realities of Islam in the course of his occupation and interactions with people, and a caller to Allah, Blessed and Most High, through his deeds and speech.

Struggling Against Satan, the Ego, and Caprice

And let him also be on his guard against the entryways of Satan in regard to his eyes and heart. And when he encounters that which is at odds with his lofty goals and the Sacred Law, he should respond to it in accordance to the Sacred Law, itself – for it is the cure. Then he must struggle against his ego and whims to the extent of his ability to bring himself into conformity with that.

Seeking Fortitude in the Remembrance of Allah

And let him seek help in all of this by not leaving his house for work before performing two rakaats, reciting the Verse of the Throne (Ayat al Kursi), and the Prophetic supplications for leaving one’s home. Then he engages in prayer, upon his return, if the time for prayer has entered. And by Allah is success.
Translated by Fazil Ahmed Munir

Habib Umar bin Hafiz  is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

Link to the original answer

يجب على هذا الطبيب أن يعرف أنها مهمة تتعلق بخدمة الإنسان وفي ذلك ثواب فليكن قاصداً له، ويوسع نيته بأن يكون من خلال مهنته أيضاً عارضاً لحقائق الإسلام في عمله ومعاملته، وداعياً إلى الله تبارك وتعالى بفعله وقوله، فيكون على حذر واحتراس من مداخل الشيطان فيما يتعلق بالبصر والقلب، وكل ما يواجهه مما يراه مخالفاً لأمر مقصده السامي وشريعته العظيمة يقابله بدواء الشريعة نفسها بمجاهدته نفسه وهواه وبذله المستطاع في سبيل ذلك.
وليستعن على ذلك بأن لا يخرج إلى مكان عمله حتى يصلي ركعتين وأن يكون عند خروجه قارئاً لآية الكرسي ولأذكار الخروج من المنزل، ثم يباشر عند عودته أيضاً شيئاً من الصلوات إن حضر وقت صلاة. وبالله التوفيق.

Does the Intention to Break the Prayer Break the Prayer? [Shafi’i]

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].

DUA

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.

Warmest salams,
[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.