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Satanic Whispers: I Cannot Pray or Read the Quran

28 May, 2021
Q I have disturbing thoughts for years when I am trying to pray. I love offering salah, but for example the movie I was watching previously come in my mind during prayer. I made a promise to Allah that next time I will not watch a movie. But again I watched a movie and when I was praying my magrib I felt that my iman has gone and Shaitan said that you make prostration to me, not Allah. I feel my heart is empty. I was 16 years old that time. I opened the Quran and there was written that who breaks a promise Allah will never forgive them. These ayat make me so shocked, nothing was more important then ALLAH for me, so I become depressed. when I offered salah more and more whisperings of Shaitan were coming. I was thinking maybe I’m now a mushrik and ALLAH will never forgive me and put me in jahanam. Then I left too many prayers. I was praying, but not regularly. 2 years ago, I started praying regularly and the whisperings came back. Now even when I pray or when I am not, I continuously suffer from bad whisperings. I am tensed all the time and can not sleep even, and when I sleep, I have bad dreams. I am taking sleeping pills. I am too much disappointed, too much far from Islam. I offer five times prayers but these prayers making me sadder. When I am saying to something to ALLAH or praying to ALLAH, my heart is speaking oppositely. I can not feel peace. I am so afraid of the hellfire. I haven’t gone to any doctor, nor any person who would read Quran on me. I do not discuss these with anyone. I mentioned it only to two teachers of the Quran. They said it's from Shaitan just ignore it and do not discuss it with anybody. The problem is that I am unable to ignore these thoughts which are saying things totally opposite to Islam. I can not enjoy anything. In each and every moment I feel I need ALLAH near to me, but when I feel ALLAH very near to me again, something started to make me feel I do not want ALLAH very near me. It’s hard to explain, but hope you can guide me. Jazakallah!


In this counseling answer:

The counselor suggests to try having an argument with these negative thoughts and questioning them: are they really true? Do I really not love Allah (swt)? Reflecting on Allah’s positive attributes can also help overcome such negative thoughts. The counselor further advises seeking a psychologist’s help if nothing helps.

As-Salaamu ’Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh My dear sister in Islam,

I am sorry to hear that you are plagued with these horrible thoughts that make you feel separated from your Lord and your Love, Allah (swt). It sounds very disturbing and upsetting. Of course, my first instinct is to tell you to just ignore these lies that Shaitan is putting in your head like the imams have already told you to do. But, I don’t think that will help you because it did not help you before. So, I will try to suggest something else.

What if you had an argument with these thoughts? What if you said to yourself: Is this true? Do I really not love Allah (swt)? I think the answer will be „No, it is not true; I do really love Allah (swt). This might take the negative effect out of the lies. Lies are only effective when they are believed. From what I can tell, you love Allah (swt) so much that these lies are very painful for you. So, that is proof that they are lies and not the truth about your true feelings.

I also think it is important for you to focus on the positives about Allah (swt) instead of the negatives. Reflect more on Allah’s names such as All-Forgiving, All-Merciful. Think about His love.

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Allah (swt) created Shaitan for one purpose: to challenge our thinking so that we can think deeply and figure out the truth from his lies. He is lying to you about your faith. You are very faithful and you can defeat his lies by asking yourself: Do I love Allah (swt)? The answer, from what you told us, is a resounding YES! That’s it. Let Shaitan go spin his wheels and you should feel confident that you love Allah (swt) and just go about the business of feeling good in your love for Allah (swt). Don’t believe his lies. I know, it is easier said than done!

I once had a client with a problem very much like yours. I proved to her over and over again that it was her love for Allah (swt) that was the reason that those particular types of thoughts (lies that she did not love Allah) whispered into her head by Shaitan upset her so much! But, she was never able to get it that it was her love for Allah (swt) that made her so upset by those lies about her beliefs. She has to live in an environment where she is taken care of because these thoughts actually cripple her by making her feel so afraid that Allah (swt) is angry with her that she cannot function. I think Allah (swt) loves her, and maybe more than any of us because she is so worried that she is not pleasing Allah (swt)! But, she doesn’t get that!

If you are like her, you may need psychological help beyond what I can offer you on this website. So, if what I have said also does not help you, I recommend highly that you get additional psychological help, on an ongoing basis, so that you can find some peace in your heart and mind, by Allah’s Will, and with the help of someone else who understands the cunning of Shaitan. That may take a Muslim therapist and/or medication to calm your anxiety. I don’t know. A professional therapist or psychiatrist would have to make that call. I just recommend that you find a Muslim one (or a Christian or a Jew if you do not have access to a Muslim therapist) because they will not think you are crazy for believing in Shaitan.

May Allah (swt) make it easy for you!


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

About Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem
Nasira S. Abdul-Aleem, an American, has a BA in English from UC Berkeley and is about to receive an MS degree in counseling psychology (Marriage and Family Therapy - MFT) from the Western Institute for Social Research. For over ten years, Nasira worked as a psychotherapist with the general public and in addiction recovery.For the last few years, she has been a life coach specializing in interpersonal relations. Nasira also consults with her many family members who studied Islam overseas and returned to America to be Imams and teachers of Islam. Muslims often ask Nasira what psychology has to do with Islam. To this, she replies that Islam is the manifestation of a correct understanding of our psychology. Therapists and life coaches help clients figure out how to traverse the path of life as a Believer, i.e., "from darkness into light", based on Islam and given that that path is an obstacle course, according to Allah.