Advice to those afflicted by Waswaas (whisperings) of Shaytaan

A question asked to Shaykh Sulaymaan bin Saleemullaah ar-Ruhaylee:

A man has been afflicted by Waswaas Qahree (compulsive whisperings). So what is your advice? May Allaah preserve you.

It is a way from the ways of Iblees (Shaytaan). And the principle regarding Waswaas is that it is a proof for the righteousness of the servant and the soundness of the heart. For verily, when Shaytaan sees that the servant is righteous and that he (Shaytaan) is not able to defeat him by way of actions, he starts whispering to him. This is why when this (affair of Waswaas) was mentioned to the Prophet -sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam– he said: “All praise is due to Allaah Who has reduced the plot of Shaytaan to al-Waswasah (whispering).

” He (Shaytaan) wasn’t able to overcome us, so he came to us with Waswaas. And he (the Prophet) said: “That is a clear sign of faith.” This is the essence of Waswaas. Meaning: if Waswaas takes place, then that is a proof for this.

But this doesn’t mean that we praise those who are afflicted by Waswaas. For verily, answering to Waswaas is evil. It is obligatory to avoid and stay away from it. And those who are afflicted by Waswaas are of two categories.

The first category: that the Waswaas does not overpower him. Rather it comes to him and goes away. This is cured through making a lot of isti’aadhah (seeking refuge with Allaah). He seeks refuge with Allaah from it and he spits to his left side. And he recites the Qur’aan and the Ahaadeeth.

The second category: that the Waswaas is so much that it overpowers him. And this cannot be cured by any action, because the more actions he does, the more his Waswaas increases. Even if he recites Qur’aan, his Waswaas increases! So how is it cured? The Fuqahaa’ say that it is cured by completely turning away from it. What does this mean?

It means that you do not perform anything because of it or leave off anything because of it. Even if it comes to you, consider it a crazy person speaking from behind you, while you are certain that he does not harm you. And do not perform anything because of it or leave off anything because of it.

Some people, when Waswaas comes to them, they open the Qur’aan to recite it. Then Iblees becomes (even more) eager in (overpowering) him, so he starts whispering to him with regards to the Qur’aan. He gets up and prays, so he (Shaytaan) whispers to him in his prayer.

And do not leave off anything because of it! If you are reading the Qur’aan and Shaytaan comes to you whispering, then do NOT leave off reciting the Qur’aan, rather continue! Leave it whenever YOU want to leave it. As for leaving it because of the Waswaas, then don’t. If you do this and you are patient… KNOW that this issue requires patience, because Iblees comes to the person who is afflicted with Waswaas in the form of an advisor, someone who has pity.

In the prayer (Shaytaan says): “This is the prayer! And the prayer is the connection between the servant and his Lord! And if your prayer is nullified, then what remains for you? Beware! Leave (the prayer) and go perform Wudoo!” (He does this) in order to corrupt his prayer. And he is not an advisor, rather he is Iblees! So this requires patience. Be patient!

If Waswaas comes to you in Wudoo, then perform your Wudoo and leave. If Iblees then comes to you and says: “There remains something!” Then say: “There remains nothing.” Do not pay attention to him! And go pray! By Allaah, it will not harm you! By Allaah, it will not harm you. You are reciting the Qur’aan and Iblees comes to you whispering?

Continue! And leave him (Iblees)! Continue reciting! By Allaah, it will not harm you! In fact, you will be rewarded! Because you are performing Jihaad against Iblees. Then Iblees will becomes hopeless of you and leave this door (of Waswaas), and he will start looking for another door.

So, O brothers, the likes of this brother about whom it is said that he has Waswaas Qahree, meaning: the Waswaas overpowers him, the ONLY cure for him is completely turning away. And the meaning of completely turning away, is that he has CERTAINTY that it does not harm him, and that Allaah is Ever-Merciful, and that it is not possible that Allaah punishes his servants because of this, and that this isn’t from the religion! Allaah says:

“And He has not laid upon you in religion any hardship…” (22:78) How can it be from the religion that a person has to perform Wudoo seventy times?! [unclear] So you should know this and be certain of it, and that’s it! You do what the people do, and you turn away. And you continue in your act and you don’t leave it because of Waswaas. And do not perform anything because of Waswaas. By Allaah, with the permission of Allaah he will be cured. And we know this by experience.

By Allaah, O brothers. A man came to me and Shaytaan used to always whisper to him with regards to his wife, that he is divorcing her. And if he goes with her to her family, and he says to her: “Go to your family,” then Iblees comes to him and says: “You just divorced her.”

Sometimes he used to call me at two o’clock at night and three o’clock at night and say: “O Shaykh, right now she is next to me in bed, is she my wife or have I divorced her?” In the beginning we said to him: “Keep yourself busy with the remembrance of Allaah, until you leave this affair.” So he started keeping himself busy with the remembrance of Allaah, and then Iblees started coming to him; whenever he said “Subhaanallaah”, then Iblees said: “No! You are indirectly saying you have divorced her.” And whenever he said “Allaahu akbar”, then Iblees said: “You are indirectly saying you have divorced her! And this is a matter of honor!” When we saw that the affair became severe, we advised him to turn away (from this Waswaas).

Then he used to turn away for a while and then return (to his state of Waswaas). He sometimes came to my house, and I used to throw him out of my house. Because as long as he knows that there is someone who can give him comfort, then he will continue with his Waswaas. But we gave him the principle. After a while, and to Allaah belongs all praise and blessing, his life became stable and this Waswaas was completely gone from him, because he was firm upon this principle.

And I know many people, one of them had Waswaas for more than twenty years! And he came to us, so we advised him and we were patient with him for a while, and then Allaah cured through this way. So my advice to the brother is that he acts upon what I have mentioned, and Allaah knows best.

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