Naseeha - Advice
9th April 2023
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh
I am muslim born in a western country, son of Arab Muslim Immigrants, and praise be to Allah my parents taught me our religion and also with your website's Articles and Books, I learned a lot of Islam and became a better muslim, and each day I learn more from you, and I try to follow and obey Allah and His Messenger on the best of my abilities. I love Allah and His Messenger, I love Islam, I love our Ummah.
I am not writing this letter for the sake of you issuing me a fatwa, no, I just need to hear some words of counseling (naseeha) for the sake of reassuring my heart.
I will try to summarize this message and be as concise as I can, because I know you receive thousands of messages to answer. I am not hasty for an answer, so, take your time.
I have a good life, praise be to Allah, a wonderful wife, a beautiful daughter, a nice family, Allah blessed me, I work from home (in the technology field), I am also engaged on many dawah activities on the internet, but sometimes I suffer some financial problems, like anyone on this world. I am reaching my 40's now. But I have a problem which disturbs me since my teenage years, the whispers of the shaytan (al waswaas al qahri).
This is a real problem, a real mental sickness, it is not something nonsense. Western Psychologists recognize this mental disorder:
"...A losing battle between the rational self (as represented by an individualâ€™s futile attempts at using reason to combat the disorder) and the brainâ€™s capacity to create unreasonable automatic thoughts accompanied by uncontrolled emotional upheaval..."
But, since they are kuffar, they failed to recognize the reason, but we, as muslims, know that the reason is Shaytan (may Allah curse him).
I diagnosed myself (by searching and reading many books about psychology) with Purely Obsessional Compulsive Disorder, which is a variation of the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but it does not have the repetitive physical actions, just the thoughts.
I have read ALL articles and answers on your site about this problem, and I even read all books you recommend for one who suffers from this problem, like Talbis Iblees by Ibn Jawzi, and other Islamic Books from Shaykh Ibn Qayim, Ibn Taymiyah, and many others Scholars of our blessed Ummah. Indeed, reading these books across many years (I began reading these islamic books in 2010, reading some hours by day), I learned a lot about how to deal with whispers of the shaytan (mainly by ignoring them and making duas and dhikr, seeking refuge in Allah and so on), to such an extent that today I have much more control over these thoughts than some years ago.
And reading these books did not only help me to deal with this problem, but helped me to get closer to Allah, to increase my faith. I began to do a lot of acts of worship which I never have done before, like fasting on mondays and thursdays, praying Quyiam Lail, praying Salat Duha, reciting the Holy Quran, listening to the Holy Quran in a daily basis, giving charity, and many other acts of worship (I got closer to Allah).
But dealing with this problem alone (no one knows I have this problem, and I do not want anyone to know about it, because I feel ashamed of having this sickness) sometimes becomes very exhausting, so I need to unburden this to someone whom I trust that will not discriminate me, neither think bad of me, rather, will give me a friendly hand and listen to me.
Even though I can say that now I have this problem under control, praise be to Allah, but sometimes, in some situations, I kinda "lose this control" of my thoughts and alongside these obsessions (repeated thoughts), I feel too much distress and anxiety.
These evil thoughts which cross my mind sometimes they are about all kinds of evil actions you can imagine, just like said Allah in the Holy Quran:
ÙŠÙŽØ§ Ø£ÙŽÙŠÙ‘ÙÙ‡ÙŽØ§ Ø§Ù„Ù†Ù‘ÙŽØ§Ø³Ù ÙƒÙÙ„ÙÙˆØ§ Ù…ÙÙ…Ù‘ÙŽØ§ ÙÙÙŠ Ø§Ù„Ø£ÙŽØ±Ù’Ø¶Ù ØÙŽÙ„Ø§Ù„Ø§Ù‹ Ø·ÙŽÙŠÙ‘ÙØ¨Ø§Ù‹ ÙˆÙŽÙ„Ø§ÙŽ ØªÙŽØªÙ‘ÙŽØ¨ÙØ¹ÙÙˆØ§ Ø®ÙØ·ÙÙˆÙŽØ§ØªÙ Ø§Ù„Ø´Ù‘ÙŽÙŠÙ’Ø·ÙŽØ§Ù†Ù Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽÙ‡Ù Ù„ÙŽÙƒÙÙ…Ù’ Ø¹ÙŽØ¯ÙÙˆÙ‘ÙŒ Ù…Ù‘ÙØ¨ÙÙŠÙ†ÙŒ (168)
Ø¥ÙÙ†Ù‘ÙŽÙ…ÙŽØ§ ÙŠÙŽØ£Ù’Ù…ÙØ±ÙÙƒÙÙ… Ø¨ÙØ§Ù„Ø³Ù‘ÙÙˆØ¡Ù ÙˆÙŽØ§Ù„Ù’ÙÙŽØÙ’Ø´ÙŽØ§Ø¡Ù ÙˆÙŽØ£ÙŽÙ† ØªÙŽÙ‚ÙÙˆÙ„ÙÙˆØ§ Ø¹ÙŽÙ„ÙŽÙ‰ Ø§Ù„Ù„Ù‘ÙŽÙ‡Ù Ù…ÙŽØ§ Ù„Ø§ÙŽ ØªÙŽØ¹Ù’Ù„ÙŽÙ…ÙÙˆÙ†ÙŽ
These thoughts disturb me a lot, make me feel upset and distressed simply because they do not represent my will. I will never commit these actions which shaytan incited me to do. I know that, as Prophet Muhammad, sali Allah walaihi wasalem, said, Allah forgives any kind of thought that crosses a person's mind so long as these thoughts are not followed by action, intention or speech. And, praise be to Allah I always rejected these thoughts and never acted upon them, however, even then, the distress and anxiety I feel due these thoughts sometimes is paralyzing.
I will try to describe some of these thoughts and situations which happen to me. I truly feel ashamed that a man of 40 years old like me has these kinds of thoughts, but, Allah knows, this is beyond my control, and this sickness has afflicted me since I was a teenager. I think that the environment which I lived all my life, this western country (non islamic society), is one of the reasons because here we are bombarded constantly with images of kufor, naked women, and other kind of immoralities and evil situations (which are contrary to Islamic Teachings).
Sometimes I am playing with my daughter and then, suddenly, shaytan comes to me with thoughts of pedophilia, mental images on which I am commiting immoral actions against my little daughter. I immediately seek refuge in Allah and try to ignore these thoughts, but I feel distressed, upset and nervous. Sometimes I feel dread and fear, I feel like I am going to lose control of myself and will end up committing these actions. As a result, I discreetly tell my daughter that I am tired and at another time we can play again. I stop playing with her until these feelings and thoughts go away. But I try my best to not expose myself, because I have a great fear that my family may think I am an evil person, a pervert (Allah forbid) because of these thoughts.
Always in my duas during all these years battling against Shaytan, I ask Allah to cure me from this sickness, forgive me for these evil thoughts that cross my mind, also to preserve and conceal me, so no one will ever know about this problem. I think that Allah is answering me, because until now no one knows about this.
Another situation is whenever I am alone in the kitchen, at night. Since I work remotely on my computer, I stay awake overnight working, whenever all my family is sleeping. Sometimes when I go to the kitchen to drink a coup of water, for example, shaytan comes to me with thoughts of suicide, mental images on which I am getting a knife and killing myself. Now that I am writing this letter, these thoughts may seem very childish and stupid, but whenever the situation happens, as I said, I feel dread and fear, panic, anxiety, because these thoughts seem to be very real, in the moment they are coming to me. Again, I seek refuge in Allah, make dhikrs, istighfar, duaas. Sometimes I even pray 2 rakats of voluntary prayer just to calm myself down, to talk with Allah, seek His help and forgiveness, ask Him to cure me, and so on. This always works, praise be to Allah.
Another situation is whenever I am having intercourse with my wife. I know about the etiquette of intercourse, of saying bismillah, saying the dua'a "allahumma jannibna shaitan wa jaanib al shaytan ma razaqtana" and so on. But even then, sometimes in intercourse, shaytan comes to me with evil thoughts, mainly sexual thoughts (in psychology they call this as sexual obsessions), like whenever having sex with my wife the image of another random woman comes to my mind (not a specific person). I ignore this and continue the intercourse with my wife. But I feel that feeling of regret, distress and anxiety. So after the intercourse I make ghusl, pray to Allah asking him to forgive me for this and then I continue on with my life.
One more situation is whenever praying, many times whenever I pray any salah, shaytan comes to me with thoughts of kufor, atheism, disbelief, but, as you may know, these thoughts are mere illusions of Shaytan, because I do believe in Tawheed, I have the firm establishment of Islamic Monotheism in my heart, I have read many Islamic Books, I have studied the Sunnah, the Sira of our Prophet. I do not have any drop of doubts regarding the Religion of Islam, I testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Another situation which triggers these thoughts of kufor is whenever I accidentally see or hear some atheist comments anywhere. These thoughts of kufor have no logic, but, even then, they distress me.
Just the last situation I will relate, since there is no need to relate all these situations, this is very embarrassing for me, but I think that you can at least understand my problem and give me counseling.
Sometimes when I am talking with friends of mine, in person, thoughts of immoral actions (homossexuality) come to my mind. I can say that this situation is the worst and most distressing for me. I feel almost like a panic attack, my heart beat increases, I feel nervousness, and tension through all my body, I feel the fear of losing control of the situation, fear and dread that this action, homossexuality (fear of becoming homossexual), may happen, even though these are just illusions from shaytan. But praise be to Allah, I am able to not let anyone perceive this, because immediately I make up an excuse and get away from my friends (tell them I need to do some work, and the like).
I never had sexual attraction to other men (Allah forbid), rather, I used to engage with girls in my teenage, something which I sincerely repent to Allah. But praise be to Allah I never committed zina, my wife is my first and only sexual relationship I had in my life.
I constantly ask forgiveness to Allah for these kinds of thoughts, but Allah knows, these thoughts, sometimes, go beyond my control.
Again, this country where I live is full of evil. The people here in general are not against Islam, rather, they respect our culture, our religion, my wife is respected, she wears hijab and never was harassed by anyone. But, even though the people here are friendly, this does not erase their horrible moral values. Like here there is too much perversion, zinnah, homossexuality, violence, robbery, drinking of alcohol, and so on. However, my work of dawah on the internet even helped many of these people to enter Islam, and I am happy with this, to help these people to get out from the darkness of kufor to the light of Islam! I just commented about the environment because I think that this can also be another "source" of these thoughts, since, specially in the mainstream media here, we are bombarded by these images of immorality and evil things.
Sometimes I blame myself like "How can I, a practicising muslim, a person who works with dawah, to experience thougths of kufor and atheism?", "How can I, a married muslim man experience thoughts of zinnah, pedophilia and homossexuality?", and so on.
Summing it up, I am not a kaafir, neither a pedophile, neither homossexual, neither a crazy person, I am nothing of what these whispers of shaytan insinuate about me, but, even knowing that these thoughts make no-sense, still, they disturb me a lot, some times.
So I just would like to hear some words of counselling, since I have this problem over control, and for what I have been searching, waswas al-qahri is a chronic disease, and as a chronic disease, this does not have a cure, except by the will and decree of Allah, the all-Mighty. But the best way for me to control this situation is by keeping my mind focused, especially on my job and on my dawah activities. This works, praise be to Allah.
Inside my heart I feel that I am on the right path, praise be to Allah. Even recently, one of my dawa projects got a worldwide recognition and coverage by some of the most important news channel on the whole Arabic and Islamic World (and even many newspaper in America and Europe), and this is an answer to my dua'as, because I made a lot of duas for Allah to make this project successful and it reached the success I wanted and asked to Allah (even more than I ever imagined).
Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatu.
Your brother in Islam.