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Waswaas (Whispers of Shaitan) – How to Break Free From It

Compiled by: S.L.A

Waswaas is something that everyone will face at some point. But how do we break free from it?

How to get rid of waswaas

1. Seeking refuge with Allah and seeking His help.

2. Remembering Allah and trying to control your thoughts so that you can put a stop to these whispers.

3. Focusing strongly on worship and following the commands of Allah, seeking His pleasure thereby. When you focus completely on worship in a serious and real manner, you will forget about the distraction of these whispers, inshaAllah. Be occupied in the worship of Allah as much as possible.

4. Turning to Allah a great deal and calling upon Him in dua, asking Him to heal you from this problem.

Dua (supplication) is of two types:

1. Dua in the sense of worship. What is meant is that a person worships Allah, may He be exalted, persistently with any kind of worship, in the heart, by physical actions or in financial terms.

2. Dua in the sense of asking, which is asking to be given that which is of benefit or for that which is harmful to be warded off. In other words it is asking Allah, may He be exalted, for that which will benefit one in this world and in the Hereafter, and to ward off that which will harm him in this world and in the Hereafter.[i]

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 Shaitan (Satan); Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaitan (Satan).” (Qur’an 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'.

Besides ignoring and turning away from the compulsive thoughts one should also practice the following deeds, which will help him get rid of them, Insha Allah.

Continue to remember of Allah at all times. Imam Abu Yala narrates from Anas in his book al-Musnad (ra) that the Prophet (pbuh)said: "Satan puts his snout on the heart of the son of Adam (pbuh) 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".

Continuously seek refuge of Allah, from the Satan. Imam Muslim narrates from Uthman Ibn Abul 'As that Uthman came to Allah's Messenger (pbuh) 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 (pbuh) 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.”

Keep reciting Qur'an, particularly the Muawwa Zatain, i.e. the last two chapters of the Qur'an.

Avoid disobedience to Allah and the violation of the rules of Shariah.[ii]

One should know that as long as one repels such whispers, they will not harm him provided that he does not commit any prohibition either in words or action. Repelling such whispers is a sign of goodness in the person.

Abu Hurayrah (ra) narrated that some Companions of the Prophet (pbuh) came to him and asked him, ''We find in our hearts what we consider as a very serious matter and a great sin to talk about." The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Do you really feel this?" They replied, "Yes." He (pbuh) remarked: "That is the essence of correct belief." (Muslim)

The scholars stated that what he meant by ‘that is the essence of correct belief’ is that hating this is the essence of belief, and not the existence of these whispers. Besides, Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) narrated that a man came to the Prophet (pbuh) and said, ''O Prophet of Allah, one of us finds in himself [satanic whispers about Allah] and feels so bad that he would rather burn until he became like charcoal than to reveal what he is thinking about.” Thereupon, the Prophet (pbuh) said: ''Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! Al-Hamdu Lillaah (praise be to Allah) Who limited his plots to whispers only!” [Ahmad and Abu Daawood].[iii]

Dua to recite:

“Waqul rabbi aAAoothu bika min hamazatiashshayateen, WaaAAoothu bika rabbi an yahduroon”

Which means “And say, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils, And I seek refuge in You, my Lord , lest they be present with me." (Qur’an 23:97-98)

Narrated Anas bin Malik: The Prophet pbuh used to say, "O Allah! I seek refuge with You from worry and grief, from incapacity and laziness, from cowardice and miserliness, from being heavily in debt and from being overpowered by (other) men." (Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 75, Hadith 380)

Recommended Reading for those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and suffer from waswaas:

Search Dua Collections

Defeating Depression and Sadness in Islam

Practical Advice for When You Have Waswaas in Prayers

Breaking free from OCD Waswaas - This appears like a forum post, but each item is a link to another post like a book would have a table of contents for chapters.  It is an excellent reference/advice you can use. It reads like a book on the topic.


[i] Islamqa

[ii] Islamweb

[iii] Islamweb

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