Sister suffers from complex thoughts (Waswas)
Fatwa No: 83401

Question

I have a sister who has a problem with complex thoughts (Waswas). Sometimes she goes outside and sees a dog and then claims the dog has touched her, so she goes home and washes all the clothes and has a bath. Sometimes she sees a snack wrapper that isn't Halal and thinks the wrapper came in contact with her and goes home to clean herself. She's has all types of Waswas. She's been to see many scholars and all have adviced of Dua's and things to do, but they haven't worked. We also adviced her not to go along with it, as it is only Shaitan whispering to her but she wouldn't listen. Therefore, it's getting worse and worse. Is there anything more we can do to help her? Your advice will be truly appreciated.

Answer

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the World; and blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all his Family and Companions.

Compulsive thoughts are from the handiwork of Satan who endeavours always to disturb the religion and prayers of the Muslim. The exact cure of compulsive thoughts is to ignore them, not pay any attention to them and not to act according to them. This is the consensus of Muslim scholars. Imam Ibn Taymiyah said: 'Compulsive thoughts happen to everyone who worships Allah. Therefore, such person should go on performing prayers, supplications and indulging himself in the remembrance of Allah. One should not feel uneasiness from those satanic insinuations because they will end when a person keeps on doing those good deeds'. Allah Says (interpretation of meaning): {…So fight you against the friends of Shaitân (Satan); Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaitân (Satan). }[4:76]. Whenever a person sincerely intends to turn towards Allah, insinuations interrupt his prayers and his other forms of worship to Allah since Satan does everything he can to stop him. Whenever a person wants to pursue the way of Allah Satan spares no efforts to cut his way'.
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami said: 'The useful remedy for insinuations is to just turn away from them even if there is hesitation regarding some matters. When a person totally turns away from the compulsive thoughts then automatically they end after a while as experienced by many lucky blessed people. However, if a person takes them into consideration they increase gradually and drive him almost to the rank of insane people, sometimes even worse than insane people. We have seen that very often those who were afflicted with compulsive thoughts and who acted according to them became like insane people'.
Izz Ibn Abdussalam wrote: 'the remedy of compulsive thoughts is to believe strongly that they are satanic insinuations and only Iblees (Satan) brings them to one's mind. Therefore, the person should strongly fight against them, surely Allah will reward him in his fight since it is against the enemy of Allah. Whenever a person perceives this fact, surely his enemy will flee from him'.
Besides ignoring and turning away from the compulsive thoughts one should also practise the following deeds, which will help him get rid of them, Insha Allah.
1. Continue to remember of Allah at all times. Imam Abu Yala narrates from Anas in his book al-Musnad ( may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him) that the Prophet said: "Satan puts his snout on the heart of the son of Adam ( sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )) whenever he remembers Allah the Satan snubs his snout and whenever he forgets supplicating Allah the Satan swallows his heart. This Satan is called "Khannas".
2. Continuously seek refuge of Allah from the Satan. Imam Muslim narrates from Uthman Ibn Abul 'As that Uthman came to Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) and said: Allah's Messenger, the Satan intervenes between me and my prayer and my reciting of the Qur'an and he confounds me. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said: That is (the doing of the Satan) who is known as Khinzab, and when you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allah from it and spit three times to your left. I did that and Allah dispelled that from me.
3. Keep reciting Qur'an, particularly the Muawwa Zatain, i.e. the last two chapters of the Qur'an.
4. Make Dua' and turn towards Allah for His Protection from all problems.
5. Be occupied in the worship of Allah as much as possible.
6. Avoid disobedience to Allah and the violation of the rules of Shariah.
Allah knows best.

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