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How to Deal with Doubts and Bad Thoughts?

For those that have doubts, listen carefully to this particular hadith:

Some of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad came to him and they said with deep stress:

“O Messenger of Allah, sometimes we have these thoughts, we hate having these thoughts, we would never dare to speak of them and we just want them to go away.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Are you really facing that?

They said: “Yes.”

He said:

That is clear faith.

Know that Allah will reward you for the way that you feel, the guilt that you feel for even having that whisper, for even having that doubt is actually a sign of Iman in and of itself.

Because Satan is always going to whisper, but the fact that you’re not allowing that whisper to turn itself into action, is a sign of clear and pristine faith.

In another hadith form Mu’adh, some people came to the Prophet and said:

“We have these thoughts, we would rather die than act upon them, we hate thinking about these things, why do we keep thinking like this, why do these doubts creep in?”

And the Prophet said:

All praise is due to Allah who reduced the Satan’s plans to whispers.

Al Hassan Al Basri said that:

“When Satan gives up on leading you astray, then all he’s reduced to is a bunch of whispers. And as long as you let it stay there and you don’t allow it to penetrate your actions, don’t think Allah is going to punish you for your thoughts.”

The Prophet said:

Allah Almighty has forgiven my Ummah for that which they say to themselves, so long as you don’t speak of it or act in accordance with it.

Having doubts and thoughts is ok. Don’t kill yourself because you’re having whispers.

This is normal and everyone would go through it. It’s about how you deal with it. And the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Satan would even take your positive moments and try to spoil them.

So, you’re looking around you and you’re admiring the creation of Allah, and Satan would say, ‘who created this?’ You would say, ‘Allah’, and then Satan would say, ‘Who created Allah?’ So the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

At that moment, seek refuge in Allah from Satan.

He said in another hadith:

When Satan tries to penetrate your thoughts, at that moment say, ‘I believe in Allah,’ you will send Satan running.

Allah will not punish you for the thoughts that you have. In fact, Allah will reward you for the way that you dealt with those thoughts and that is a sign of Iman.

So, remember to say ‘amantu billah’ (I believe in Allah) when Satan tries to penetrate your thoughts, and do not feel bad because Satan is trying to lead you astray because he’s given up hope in your actual being led astray and he’s been reduced to that sense of whispers.

The video.


About Omar Suleiman

Imam Omar Suleiman is the President of the Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research and a professor of Islamic Studies at Southern Methodist University. He’s also the resident scholar of the Valley Ranch Islamic Center and Co-Chair of Faith Forward Dallas at Thanks-Giving Square, a multi-faith alliance for peace and justice.

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