Unfounded doubts and fears of action
By: Ayatullah Shaykh Husain Mazaheri
We have categorised waswasa (repeated, unfounded doubts and fears) into two kinds: waswasa of thought and waswasa of action. We have already dealt with the first category. Today we shall talk about waswasa of action.
Sometimes people get excessive doubts about the tasks they are doing. For example: while doing wudhu (ablution), performing the ritual bath (Ghusl),performing the prayers etc. They get doubts whether they have performed these actions strictly in accordance to the set norms or not. Such doubts are very harmful for homes. A person who nurses repeated doubts about his own actions becomes an outcast from the society. He can no longer feel love for his home. Those in the audience who have the tendency of doubting their own actions should give particular attention to this talk.
We had mentioned earlier that when Satan is able to dominate the thoughts of a person, he becomes a treacherous hypocrite and is subject to many other ills. Sometimes Satan is able to control the heart of person, enslaving him. It is evident from many verses of the Holy Quran that sometimes man comes under the spell of Satan and at other times he bows to the will of Allah. When Satan overwhelms man, he becomes a puppet in the hands of Satan. Then man becomes an idol worshipper, a money worshipper and a slave of his desires. Every action of such a person, the Holy Quran says, reflects his worship of Satan. When Satan overwhelms the thinking process of a man, he creates waswasa of thought and action in him. This places man in a very dangerous situation. He considers fantasies and falsehood to be facts and believes in them. For example: a timid person, under the spell of Satan, imagines seeing jinn when he passes through an isolated place. He imagines that someone is ordering him to run away. When he begins to run, he imagines that a dead man is chasing him in order to catch him. This fear renders him unconscious. In reality, neither was there a jinn, nor was a dead man chasing him, nor did he hear anything. It was his imagination which had affected his hearing and sight. Similarly a person who constantly doubts about ritual purity immediately believes that some drops of najasat (impure substances) must have fallen on his clothes, rendering them impure. In reality, no najasat has touched his clothes. He finds it difficult to believe that things are tahir (pure), but readily believes them to be impure (najis). Satan has overpowered his power of imagination; hence he readily believes in those things which are harmful to him. Such people should consider themselves ill, otherwise they would also readily believe in the purity of things. If one cannot believe in the taharat (purity) of things, he should equally not be able to believe that they are impure (najis). Readily believing that things are najis, and being unable to believe them to be pure indicates that this person is psychologically ill. Psychological illnesses progress very rapidly, and arise because Shaitan is able to dominate their power of thought. Let us now examine the source of this illness. A man, once, came to Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)and began to praise someone saying,, “He is very intelligent, but has a little suspicious nature” The Imam (a.s.),smiled and said, “ What sort of an intelligent person is he, if he is suspicious. Then he added, “Satan has overwhelmed him. His actions are Satanic and not Godly!”The Imam (a.s.)further added, “If you ask the person if his acts are Godlyor Satanic, he will himself tell you that they are Satanic."
We should seriously give thought to the fact that Satan is bent on harming us in this world and the Hereafter! He plans to send everyone to Hell through his stratagems. He lands some people in Hell through adopting prohibited professions, some go to Hell because of fornication, some in their greed for power, some through nursing doubts, accusing others falsely and because of jealousy. Ultimately man becomes the loser in this world and the Hereafter! One incident is very famous. Someone saw Satan in a dream carrying long ropes on his shoulder. He asked Satan, “What are these?” Satan replied, “These are some nets I have prepared to catch the people. I drag them to the Hell ensnared in these nets.” Satan also had a chain in his hands. The man asked him the purpose of the chain. Satan replied, “The chain is for Sayed Razi! I had been to Sayed Razi this night and tied him up thrice with this chain. But he cut away the chain every time. “The man then asked Satan, “Why are you carrying ropes of different colours?” He replied, “I tempt different men with different colours and in different ways!” The man called on Sayed Razi next morning and narrated to him the dream. He learnt that the dream was true. Kulainihas narrated that Satan once went to Prophet Musa (a.s.) attired in colourful dress Prophet Musa (a.s.)asked him why he had worn the colourful dress and Satan replied, “ I don’t tempt my victims in one way. I tackle every person differently to lead him to the Hell. Regarding people of suspicious natures, I create doubts in their minds about cleanliness, correctness of the ablutions performed by them and correctness of the prayers offered by them. As for a person who is careless in matters of Faith I tempt him to become more so! I tempt women to indulge in gossip and backbiting. I tempt some people to indulge in bribery and theft. In a nutshell, I tempt people in different ways to make them earn Hell in the Hereafter!”
There are several verses in the Holy Quran that talk about Satan resolving to tempt and misguide men. He said to Allah that he would make men misguided and helpless.
He said: Now, because Thou hast sent me astray, verily I shall lurk in ambush for them on the Right Path. Then I shall come upon them from before them and from behind them and from their right hands and from their left hands, and Thou wilt not find most of them beholden (unto Thee). (Sura A'raaf, 7: 16- 17)
Satan says that when he himself had gone astray because of Adam (a.s.),he will definitely tempt and misguide the progeny of Adam. He says that he will create hurdles in the way of their achieving salvation and thus lead them to Hell. He says that he will attack men from all directions – from the front, from the back, from the left, and from in right; he has vowed to surround man from all directions. Explaining this verse, Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) said that when Satan says that he will come upon men from before them, it means that he will present to them a vague and poor picture of the Hereafter. When Satan says that he will come from behind them, it means that he will make men involved in collecting wealth and make them tardy in discharging the obligations of faith. When Satan says that he will come from the right, it means that he will present to them evil in the form of good and thus create doubts in their minds. When he says that he would attack them from their left, it means that he will involve men with luxury and make passions rule over their hearts. Satan misguides careless women through abandoning the hijab or observing incomplete hijab, but he does not approach the pious through this route. Instead he sends them to Hell by creating doubts in their minds.
I fervently appeal to persons who carry doubts in their minds to recite these verses every morning and evening to protect themselves from the machinations of Satan, and imagine Satan standing in front of Allah and saying that he will misguide different people in different ways. He will lead the pious into Hell through the path of taharat (purity), najasat (impurity), wudhu (ablution), ghusl (bath), and worship. Another verse of the Quran also means nearly the same thing, in which Satan has vowed that: …..Surely I will take of Thy bondmen an appointed portion.
And surely I will lead them astray, and surely I will arouse desires in them, and surely I will command them and they will change Allah’s creation. (Sura an-Nisa’, 4: 118-119)
At the very beginning Satan told Allah that he would tempt certain special people and certainly misguide them. He said that he will give them false hopes and teach them to disfigure the ears of animals for the sake of idols and in accordance with his instructions change the face of Allah’s creation. He also said that he would derive maximum advantage from Allah’s creatures and in the bargain tempt and misguide them. He would get them involved in acquiring wealth and fulfilling desires. Satan said that he will bring men to such a pass that they will loose their inborn instinct of good, and thereafter they would never be able to recognise Allah. Once this happens, such people will never be able to realise that one must be humble before Allah. They will never be able to realise that felicity can be earned. If someone totally submits to Satan and makes Satan his protector, he will be in great loss. O' people of doubting nature, Quran says that you are clearly in loss. A third verse which we quote here is also similar to the first two verses. When Satan was thrown out, he said that he would misguide everybody. Allah said: And excite any of them whom thou canst with thy voice, and rally against them your cavalry and infantry, and be a partner in their wealth and children, and promise them. Satan promiseth them only to deceive. (Sura al-’Isra’, 17: 64)
Satan misguides people with his voice. What is this voice? It is all kinds of songs and music. Satan maintains two armies. One of these armies is made up of foot soldiers. They trap the people who do not have much knowledge and are unwise. Such will be sent to Hell because they act on the basis of the doubts in their minds. Another of his armies comprises of horsemen. An example of this is the centres of learning set up by the west to misguide people. Sometime illegitimate riches make a person deserving of Hell. Such a man feeds his children on this ill-gotten money. If a child is conceived, even this child turns out to be bad. We understand from this verse that Satan gives unlawful money to some people, thus corrupting their progeny. He misguides some by inciting them to take bribes; he incites some to charge interest. He misguides some by using his voice. Thus he does not use the same stratagem with everyone. Satan assigns a separate satan to deal with every individual. Common individuals are assigned common satans, but he assigns shrewd and knowledgeable satans for the scholars and the wise people. May Allah bless Shaykh Ghulam Reza Yazdi.He says that one erudite person used to say that: every person has a satan with him, but my satan is one who guides the other satans. He proved his point from the Holy Quran that says: …And rally against them your cavalry and infantry…. (Sura al-’Isra’, 17: 64)
Suratul Falaq and Naas are important to ward off the Satan. You must make your children memorise the four Quls. Whenever the children, or others, stir out of their homes they should recite these verses to shield themselves against Satan, jinn and wicked people. In Sura Falaq and Naas, a point deserves our special attention and it especially deserves the attention of those who doubt. In Sura al Falaq,Allah’s protection is sought from four things: O Allah! I seek your protection from the wickedness Of people (Sura Al-Falaq, 113:1) Definitely one has to seek protection from the wickedness of the strong enemies.
From the evil of the darkness when it is intense. (Sura Al-Falaq, 113:2)
The times when the evil practices of sexual promiscuity prevail, may Allah keep us protected!
And from the evil of malignant witch-craft, (Sura Al-Falaq, 113:4)
We seek Allah’s protection in times when women exhibit their feminine charms. For example, a person is walking on the street and a woman is walking in front of him. Or when a person is busy in his work, a woman comes and starts displaying her feminine charms to him. This verse says that the person should seek Allah’s protection from the evil of such episodes and in such situations.
And from the evil of the envier when he envieth (Sura Al-Falaq, 113:5)
People must seek protection of Allah against the envy of the adversaries.
These are four very important things for which protection is sought in this Sura. But in Sura al Naas protection is sought thrice.
Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind.
The King of mankind The God of mankind (Sura Al-Naas, 114:1-3)
Here King of mankind and God of mankindhave a qualitative aspect, but actually the supplicant is seeking the refuge in his Lord. From what is he seeking refuge?
From the evil of the sneaking whisperer,( Sura Al-Naas, 114:4)
He seeks protection from the evil of Satan who creates waswasa (repeated, unfounded doubts and suspicions), and particularly from the evil of the Satan who creates waswasa with istidlal (proof). Khannasis a Satan who is an expert at creating waswasa in men. He knows how to involve the scholars and the careful people in waswasa. He knows the method of involving ordinary men and women in waswasa. Khannas and waswasa are both superlative degrees. Thus, khannas creates a very high degree of doubt and suspicion, and backs them up with (unsound) evidences. People who doubt are also just like this. They usually have very peculiar notions about their affairs. They get such ideas in their minds that even their Marjae Taqleeddoesn’t get these ideas at the time of giving an edict (fatwa).They should not think that these are realistic arguments. The Holy Quran says about such doubting persons that they get inspired from Satan. Satan inspires and teaches them to speak contrary to what is told to them. If someone says that a thing is pure, Satan inspires them to insist that it is impure, and even presents proof of it being impure! When a knowledgeable person says that the way he performed the ablution and the ghusl (bath of purification) is correct, he challenges the opinion! Sura an Naas says: O Lord, I seek refuge in you from the khannas. I request my audience to regularly recite the four Qulsto ward away waswaas and khannas before they create any problems for them. Do not allow the Satan to dominate you. As soon as Satan tries to mislead you, start reciting these Suras.
One should recite this Sura,and think of the meanings of its words. The meanings are: I seek Your protection, seek Your protection, seek Your protection from the Waswaas and Khannaswho create doubts and embellish these doubts with arguments. They plan to, thus, push me into Hell!”
The summary of discussion today is that a psychologically ill person, in the view of Islam, is one whose thought-processes have been overwhelmed by Satan. According to the verses of the Quran a doubting person is one who has befriended Satan. His end will beloss in this world and the Hereafter! This loss will certainly be a total loss!
We have understood that Satan takes every person to Hell through a different route. He will take the Revolutionaries on one route, the enemies of the Revolution on another! The men of piety he handles in one way and the men of the bazaar in another. He has his own methods for a careless woman and a very different method for the pious woman who is attached to Allah, the Prophet (s) and the Infallibles! Satan knows very well how to handle a woman who is miles away from prayer and fasting! The doubting persons are Satan’s easy targets. They are in a very dangerous situation. Some psychologists are of opinion that this disease is incurable. I don’t remember the name, but one highly qualified psychologist once called on me. He had heard from people that I have been curing those inflicted with the disease of waswasa. He was much surprised. If the psychologists consider this situation beyond cure, it goes to show how dangerous this condition is. But I have cured many people of this disease. How have I done it? The treatment is very simple. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq (a.s.)has said that when Satan tries to involve people in waswasa, they should not give any importance to Satan’s inspirations. When you do not pay any attention to him for some months, when you disregard his arguments and evidences, Satan will leave you alone. For example, the doubting wife should accept everything her husband says. The doubting husband should accept everything that his wife says. If one is involved in waswasa regarding wudhu, ghusl, salah etc, he should observe how others do wudhu, ghusl, or recite salah and copy them. But this condition cannot be treated in a couple of months; one has to work at it for atleast five to six months. If a person suffering from this ailment doesn’t follow the regime suggested by me, then his ailment will become worse day by day. Ultimately it will destroy his world and his home. It will make him depressed. This person will become useless for the society. He would end up creating hell on earth, for himself and for his family. He should also remember that Hell is ready for him in the Hereafter too! If you follow my advice, you will be able to get rid of this condition in six months, and you will be able to uproot it altogether.
I would like to make a point in conclusion. Those who don’t have doubting natures should give ear to what I am saying. If your wife is of a doubting nature, she cannot be corrected by shouting, beating or bad-mouthing her. She is ill, and ill persons should not be handled with sternness. Similarly if a husband, son or daughter is of a doubting disposition, they cannot be corrected by shouting or beating them. If you do this they will become more stubborn. These people are ill. They should be handled with politeness and patience. Slowly, they will all be able to overcome the ailment. You have to look after these people, and bear the necessary expenses. Request the persons with doubting natures to follow the regime suggested by me. Those who are not of doubting natures should not talk sternly or bad-mouth others who suffer from this ailment. They should maintain a friendly and helpful attitude with such persons, just like they would with any other ill person.
O Allah! For the sake of Fatima Zahra (a.s.) cure all the diseased persons, and specially those who suffer from waswasa of thoughts and waswasa of actions.