We advise you not to pay any attention to these whispers, and to ignore them, and to do the opposite of what they are calling you to do. For these whispers (waswaas) come from the Shaytaan to cause grief to those who believe. The best way to deal with them is to remember Allaah a great deal (dhikr), to seek refuge with Allaah from the accursed Shaytaan [by saying: a`udhu billahi mina ash-shaytani ar-rajim; I seek refuge and protection in Allah from Satan, the accursed).]
, to keep away from sins and wrong actions which are the means by which Iblees gains control over the sons of Adam. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Verily, he [the Shaytaan] has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allaah)”
It is worth quoting here what Ibn Hajar al-Haythami (may Allaah have mercy on him) said about dealing with waswasah in his book al-Fataawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra, 1/149. This is what he said:
“He was asked about the problem of waswasah (insinuating whispers from the Shaytaan), and whether there is a remedy for it.
He replied by saying that there is an effective remedy for it, which is to ignore them completely, no matter how frequently they may come to mind. When these whispers are ignored, they do not become established, rather they go away after a short time, as many people have experienced. But for those who pay attention to them and act upon them, they increase until they make him like one who is insane or even worse, as we see among many of those who have suffered from them and paid attention to them and to the devil whose task it is to insinuate these whispers, whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned us against when he said, “Beware the whispers with regard to water (i.e., wudoo’) which is caused by a devil called al-Walhaan” – because that causes a person to go to extremes with regard to doing wudoo’, as was explained in Sharh Mishkaat al-Anwaar.
In al-Saheehayn there is a report which supports what has been mentioned above, which is that whoever suffers from waswaas should seek refuge with Allaah and turn away from the waswaas. So think about this effective remedy which was taught by the one who does not speak of his own whims and desires to his ummah, and understand that whoever is deprived of this is deprived of all goodness, because waswasah comes from the Shaytaan, according to scholarly consensus, and the accursed one (the Shaytaan) has no other desire than to make the believers go astray, make them confused, make their life a misery, cause them distress to the extent that they leave Islam without realizing it.
“Surely, Shaytaan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy”
[Faatir 35:6 – interpretation of the meaning]
According to another hadeeth, the one who suffers from waswasah should say, “Aamantu Billaahi wa bi rusulihi (I believe in Allaah and in His Messengers).” Undoubtedly, whoever thinks of the paths of the Messengers of Allaah, especially our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) will find that his path and his law is easy and clear, with no hardship in it.
“… and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship”
[al-Hajj 22:78 – interpretation of the meaning]
Whoever ponders this and believes in it sincerely, the problem of waswasah and listening to the Shaytaan will go away. In the book of Ibn al-Sunni it is narrated via ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “Whoever suffers from this waswaas, let him say ‘Aamantu Billaahi wa bi rusulihi
(I believe in Allaah and in His Messengers)’, three times, and it will go away from him.”
Al-‘Izz ibn ‘Abd al-Salaam and others mentioned something similar to the above. They said: the treatment for waswasah is to believe that this is an idea from the Shaytaan and that Iblees is the one who is bringing these thoughts to his mind, and he should strive to fight him. Then he will have the reward of the mujaahid, because he is fighting the enemy of Allaah. If he does that, then the Shaytaan will flee from him. This is what mankind has been tested with from the beginning of time, and Allaah has given him (Iblees) some power over man as a test for him, so that Allaah may show the truth to be true and falsehood to be false, even though the disbelievers may hate that.
In Muslim, hadeeth no. 2203, it is narrated that ‘Uthmaan ibn Abi’l-‘Aas said: “The Shaytaan was interfering with my prayer and recitation of Qur’aan. He [the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ] said: ‘That is a devil called Khanzab, so seek refuge with Allaah from him and spit drily to your left three times.’ I did that, and Allaah took him away from me.”
This hadeeth proves the point we are making, which is that waswasah can only overpower the one who is ignorant and confused and does not know what’s what. But the one who has knowledge and understanding will the Sunnah and keep away from bid’ah. The worst of the innovators are those who follow waswaas, hence Maalik (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated that his shaykh al-Rabee’ – who was the imam of the people of his time – was the fastest of the people in relieving himself and doing wudoo’.
Ibn Hurmuz used to be slow in relieving himself and in doing wudoo’, and he used to say “I have a problem, do not follow my example.”
Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that one of the scholars thought it was mustahabb for the one who was affected by waswasah with regard to his wudoo or prayer to say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah
, for when the Shaytaan hears dhikr (remembrance of Allaah) he slinks away, and Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah is the best of dhikr, and the most effective remedy for warding off waswasah is to remember Allaah a great deal.
We ask Allaah to take away the waswasah that you are suffering and to increase us and you in faith, righteousness and piety. Ameen.
And Allaah knows best.
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com