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How Can I Deal With Waswas Regarding the Prayer? (Shafi’i)

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

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 me and my family extreme distress and has affected my daily life greatly.

What can I do?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

Maya Allah bring ease in all your affairs.

I apologize for my harsh tone, but if you continue entertaining these thoughts of waswasah you going to encounter major problems in your daily life. You must ignore it.

Waswasah 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 regarding your intention, it’s waswasah coming from shaytan, ignore it. While afflicted with waswasah, the when in doubt rule of calculating the number of raka’at according to conviction or minimum does not apply – the doubt is waswasah coming from shaytan, block it out. If you feel guilty after prayer, ignore it, as it is waswasah 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 waswasah enters your mind.

Initially, you may find guilt by ignoring and blocking out waswasah, 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 Sunnah. Waswasah 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 following doubts of shaytan over the Quran and Sunnah.

May Allah guide us all

Wassalam
[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.

What Can I Do About Misgivings Regarding Filth?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I’m in a serious predicament. I have fallen into extreme waswas. It’s takes me up to an hour to pray one prayer. I am completely lost about whether filth has affected me or not, especially in the washroom. What should I do?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Try to get to the local mosque, and make your ritual washing (wudu) and prayer there. Do nothing more and nothing less than everybody else.

And remember that this is a psychological problem, not a religious one, so you need to find a counsellor or specialist who can help you recover from this.

Also, I’d suggest reading The OCD Workbook, by Bruce Hyman, and particularly the section on Scrupulosity.

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: Key Principles Relating to Certainty, Doubt, and Baseless Misgivings (waswasa) and: Struggling to Have Children: Ten Key Etiquettes of Du’a

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.

How Can I Battle Bad Thoughts During Worship? (Video)

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

How can I battle bad thoughts during worship?

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).

What Is the Difference Between Waswasa and Ego? [Video]

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is the difference between waswasa and ego?

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).

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.

What Should I Do About My Extreme Anxiety in Matters of Religion?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

What should I do about my extrem anxiety in matters of religion?

I know I must ignore waswasa but sometimes it takes me almost 1 hour to perform a prayer.

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

You should read: The OCD Workbook, by Bruce Hyman, and work through it with a close friend or loved one. This should be supplemented with visits to a therapist so that you can be cured from this mental unbalance by the Grace of Allah Most High.

Try to pray with others, if reasonably possible, and under no circumstances should you leave the prayer altogether. Ask Allah Most High for facilitation and success, and with sincerity and steadfastness, you will get through this. Don’t lose hope.

Allah Most High says, “Say, ‘[God says], My servants who have harmed yourselves by your own excess, do not despair of God’s mercy. God forgives all sins: He is truly the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” [39.53]

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? and: Satanic Whisperings (Waswasa) as a Trial from Allah: Punishment or Blessing?

And Allah Most High alone 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 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.

How Deep Should I Watch My Ear During the Ritual Bath (Ghusl)?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

1. How deep should I watch my ear in ghusl?

2. I often think that sperm has exited my private parts after perforing a ghusl despite knowing that, in fact, it didn’t happen. Are my prayers valid?

Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

1. During the ritual bath (ghusl), you are expected to wash the outer ear, including the opening of the ear canal- namely, the same place you reach during the ritual washing (wudu) by inserting the tip of your little finger. You do not wash inside the ear canal as this is obviously harmful.

2. No, your prayer is unaffected. These misgivings are to be fought with, by supplication and correct application of the Sacred Law, and removed from your psyche altogether, by reading: The OCD Workbook by Bruce Hyman.

[Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: The Ritual Bath (ghusl): Obligatory, Recommended, and Disliked Acts

[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.

Am I a Disbeliever for Being Unable to Anwser Waswas Regarding My Belief in Allah?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaikum

I have sudden doubts about Allah and His Essence. I end up responding each time I’m facing these insinuating whispers until I become confused with my own belief. I am saddened by this problem. Am I a disbeliever?

Answer:Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

What you are describing is true faith. Rejoice, and don’t let the devil fool you.

Please see the following: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud? and: How Do I Combat Thoughts of Disbelief That Enter My Mind? and: Tormented by Thoughts of Disbelief

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

How Can I Avoid to Spend Too Much Time in Cleaning My Clothes and Performing a Ritual Bath?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaikum

I am Maliki, and I suffer great distress from the ruling of my school that mani (sperm) and wadi (post urinal liquid) are impure, as it leads me to obsessive lengths in cleaning my clothes and body and bedding from it. I also usually spend hours doing and repeating my Ghusl (Ritual bath). May I follow as dispensation the position of the Shafi’i school that these are pure?

Answer:Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

With modern day bathing facilities, a complete ritual bath (ghusl) can be performed in under one minute. If this appears impossible, it is very likely that you are suffering from some degree of neurotic misgivings (waswasa). As such, you need to ignore the thoughts that you are having, identifying them as from the devil, and then ask Allah Most High to remove them from you. Having done that, take a bath as per the sunna, and don’t do anything extra.

Next, the way to remove impurity is to simply wash it away, if visible, or to wash it thrice if otherwise; thereafter, you can consider the item purified. Note that if you aren’t intending to pray on your bed covers, nor will the filth get onto your person, you need not worry about the matter religiously. Rather, simply wash it when you plan to use the washing machine next.

I’d advise reading The OCD Workbook.

And see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings)

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.

Does Uttering Waswas (Baseless Misgivings) About Allah Make Me a Disbeliever?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Assalam alaykum

I recently went to a restaurant and in the washroom there was something written about Jesus. I didn’t stop my mum from using it. I later realized my mistake, asked for forgiveness, said my shahada and scrapped off the writing. I also said something that was blasphemous but I didn’t mean it. I have asked for forgiveness but I feel like Allah will never forgive me.

Am I a still a muslim?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah,

Yes, you are still Muslim, and what you are expressing is a strong sense of belief (iman). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The one who repents from a sin is like the one who never sinned.” [Ibn Majah] So rejoice in Allah Most High’s Mercy and Grace, and have a good opinion of Him. You are not your thoughts and whisperings, nor are you responsible for their presence in your mind. Busy yourself with the good, and pay no attention to the whispers.

Please also see: A Reader on Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) and: What is the Ruling For Someone Who Has Thoughts of Disbelief Without Saying Them Aloud?

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

Wassalam,
[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.