People must understand that any bad and evil thought, any sinful idea that may cross a person`s mind is the work of Shaytan (Satan, iblis, devil). Both psychology and Islam confirm this, and psychology can be used as a tool, as a scientific proof that evil thoughts are the work of Shaytan.
Dr. Steven Philipson describes OCD (Intrusive Thoughts) as following: “Since becoming a specialist in the treatment of OCD, I have taken a particular interest in the chronic losing battle between the rational self (as represented by an individual’s futile attempts at using reason to combat the disorder) and the brain’s capacity to create unreasonable automatic thoughts accompanied by uncontrolled emotional upheaval. This dichotomy within the sufferer’s mind is best exemplified by examining the frequently reported experience of remaining cognitively aware of the absurdity of the disorder while still feeling (emotionally) that the threat is totally legitimate.”
If one thinks about the thoughts a person describes as mental illness, one can see that it is intended to cause pain, agitation and despair, lack of concentration on important matters, depression, and other self-destructive feelings. If one thinks of it, this is the work of an enemy. It is as if an enemy wants people to live in hardship and pain. Since all the ideas people with mental illnesses suffer from are not good and destructive, the notion that oneself is doing this is preposterous. Thus, there is a need to find this enemy that wants people to suffer from these ideas that come into their heads.
The ideas that compose evil thoughts, intrusive thoughts are from Shaytan, and are divided in three main categories:
1. Ideas of Harm: Ideas telling them to hurt themselves (suicide, for example) and to hurt others (insults, transgression, etc.)
2. Ideas of Lust: Ideas telling them perverted sexual acts (homosexuality, incest, pedophilia, sex with animals, etc.) and creating mental scenarios where the person is committing sexual acts.
3. Ideas of saying about God what they do not have knowledge of: for example blasphemy, associating partners with God, giving God sons, wives, and daughters, insulting ideas towards Allah, Prophet Muhammad, and such.
Those ideas are the same ideas which Allah said in the Holy Quran that Shaytan induces us to commit:
“O people eat from what Allah Almighty has made lawful to you from what the earth brings and do not follow the steps of Satan. Verily, He is an open enemy for you. Shaytan commands you only what is evil, fahsha (immorality) and to say about Allah what you know not.” (2: 168- 169)
Here Shaytan commands us to three main kinds of sins: first is the evil, harmful, what can be described as the first kind of thoughts, violence thoughts, aggression, and such. The second kind of sin is immorality, in this case, sexual thoughts, perverted sexual thoughts, in case, sexual obsessions. And the third kind of sin is to say about Allah what we don`t know, in case, blasphemous thoughts.
So you can see that any bad thoughts are the work of Shaytan, and what this brother is suffering, as he said he does not want to be gay, alhamdulillah, is merely whispers of Shaytan. But the problem is that he is not aware of this; he does not understand how Shaytan tempts people, and he thinks he is the one who is having these thoughts willingly.
This is the first step Shaytan takes to make people commit a sin. He makes us think on sinning, but if the person is too weak, which is not the case of this brother, those thoughts will develop further until they become an action from which the person will be punished. However, merely thinking haram things, merely having sinful thoughts that cross the mind, the person will not be punished by Allah for this, because Allah is the most merciful and the most beneficent.
Even if the case was of a person who suffers from evil desires (sexual desires towards another male), this is a sickness; yes, very grave; however, it is not impossible to cure, and the cure needs spiritual treatment and needs a person turn his heart to Allah, love Allah truly, and make this love to Allah grow bigger than love for anyone else. Such sickness is Islamically known as “passionate love and infatuation”.
Even considering a person who committed homosexual acts, he can be forgiven by Allah; he can change, be straight, and have a normal life. Allah accepts the repentance of any sinner regardless the sin. Allah even sent prophet Lut to his people to tell them to give up the sin of homosexuality. Allah opened the door to repentance; however, the people of Lut did not want to repent.
But, by the grace of Allah, this brother is only suffering from passing thoughts, evil whispers of Shaytan, nothing too grave. Shaykh Ibn Qayim (may Allah have mercy on him), the doctor of the hearts and one of the Most Knowledgeable people of Allah, was a psychologist at his time, a Shaykh, a philosopher, astronomer, chemist. He said: “Ward off passing thoughts, for if you do not, they will become ideas. Ward off ideas, for if you do not, they will become desires. Fight them, for if you do not, they will become resolve and determination, and if you do not ward them off, they will become actions. If you do not resist them with their opposite, they will become habits, and it will be difficult for you to get rid of them.” (Al-Fawaa’id by Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 33) So, we are only punished if we act on haram things, or if we at least create a firm determination on committing a sin.
But as the brother said that he never wanted to be gay, alhamdulillah, so there was absolutely no need for him to worry, in sha’ Allah. Now, the solution to his problem, in resume, is whenever a bad thought crosses his mind, to seek refuge in Allah, recite some verses of the Quran related to Shaytan, as a way to remind himself all the time that Shaytan is the one who brings those thoughts to his mind, say astaghfarullah, call upon Allah and his beautiful name. There are so many adhkars (remembrance of Allah) he can recite.
So now, why he is having this kind of thoughts whereas other people don`t have? There are many factors of it. He might be exposed to images of gays in TV, in school, in the newspaper, which is very common nowadays; the soldiers of Shaytan are spreading immorality around the globe. Maybe, because he has the need to satisfy his desires but he can`t get married, Shaytan uses this as a weak point on this brother. Maybe this brother fears he will never be able to satisfy his future wife, so Shaytan uses this to play with his mind telling that he is not a man, and such.
But regardless the whys, we must focus on the solutions, on the remedy he needs to “drink”. He must try as much as he can to occupy his mind with beneficial things; he should go to mosques, attend Islamic classes, walk with righteous Muslim brothers and friends.
He must marry; it will help him a lot, in sha’ Allah, because he will be distracted with his wife, so he won`t have too much time to think on this problem. He must train himself to let those thoughts flow in and out of his mind without paying attention to them, reminding himself that those are merely whispers of shaytan and nothing more. He must learn a lot of adhkaars and du’aa’s to recite.
Who am I? How I know about this? Simply because I am a Muslim brother who suffered too many years with whispers of Shaytan, in psychology is known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I suffered too much that many times I thought about committing suicide, but, alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah, I decided not to give myself to Shaytan. I began to study OCD, about the whispers of Shaytan; I have read almost ALL Islamic books about jinns, shaytan, devil, and also I have read millions of psychological articles about OCD. Therefore I know what I am talking about. I decided to defeat Shaytan; I suffered from a lot years, I suffered from all kinds of evil thoughts, both sexual thoughts, homosexuality, pedophilia, incest, blasphemous thoughts, violence thoughts, doubts about Allah to the extent that I thought Shaytan was taking me out from the pales of Islam. I was feeling lost in darkness because I was not a good Muslim; I did not pray, I used to go out with girls, I committed zinah with one girl, I used to drink, I used to watch pornography all days, I was polluted, my heart and my mind.
As I was not a handsome guy in my teenage years, the girls did not want to give me attention, so the guys in school used to do bullying on me, saying like: “oh, you are gay! The girls don`t like you” and such. I think this trauma has made me suffer from this thought: “Am I gay?” This thought used to bring other thoughts, images, and such always alongside with other kinds of evil thoughts. So, what made me commit zinah is that I was trying to proof to myself that I was not gay, but I did not understand that shaytan have fooled and deceived me. I could only understand what happened after I committed zinah, I came back to my reality. I realized that I committed the gravest of ALL sins. I have wronged myself, I have let Shaytan deceive me and make me commit zinah. Alhamdulillah, I truly repented to Allah, I amended myself, I changed a lot, and I decided to study Shaytan, Islam, learn everything I could until I reformed myself. Now, I am married alhamdullilah; I have a wonderful wife, and we have a baby.
I have a healthy marital life with my wife, alhamdullilah. I satisfy her and she satisfies me. I love her, and she loves me. Until today, sometimes, I have those evil, sexual, blasphemous thoughts that cross my mind. However, I have learned not to pay attention to them and always seek refuge in Allah from them. My wife does not know about this mental sickness I had, and I think there is no need to expose myself, but I know I am a good Muslim man who just suffers from whispers of Shaytan.
Raise up your head my dear brother, don`t let Shaytan deceive you like he deceived me. Be patient, try to get married, and go on with your life. Just keep doing good deeds for the sake of Allah and learn to always occupy your mind with good thoughts and ward off bad thoughts. You must from now on pray a lot of voluntary prayers, read Quran every day after Fajr prayer, make a lot of du`aa’s to Allah, and ask Him to purify your mind and heart.
One VERY IMPORTANT thing at the end: you should fast on every Monday and Thursday. You can`t imagine how great is the reward of Allah to the one who fasts voluntary (not only in the month of Ramadan), and it will help you to develop yourself better, in sha’ Allah.
Never despair from the Mercy of Allah my dear brother. He cures all the sickness and ward off all the evil, just turn to Him in sincere repentance and humbleness and be sure that after a period of distress, there comes a period of relief.
Here follows some links that may help you:
I recommend you download this book, Al Fawaid; read it all, from the beginning to the end as it will help you reform yourself like it helped me to reform mine: http://www.kalamullah.com/Books/Al-FAWAID.pdf
NEVER GIVE UP; you are a good Muslim man, just Shaytan is doing this to you.
May Allah cure you, in sha’ Allah,
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