Answered by: Maulana Burhaan Rahman
If a Muslim feels sad about sins they made in the past, severe major sins, like uttering kufr words, doing zina, or performing magic upon someone, then after they make tawbah and they truly feel that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) Has Forgiven them but shaitan comes and says, “You don’t deserve to be happy. You committed these major sins. You should be sad and angry with yourself.” Is this shaitani waswasa or Taqwa? And how should they respond to this statement? Because I know from Mufti Tariq Masood Sahab that this type of thinking (that I committed a major sin and I should always feel guilty about it) is a sign of takabbur because you kind of believe that the sin is too big to be Forgiven, meaning you have almost lost hope in Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)’s Mercy.
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
One should not dwell too much on his past sins after repenting and not returning to them as Allah SWT is the most forgiving. One should not let his thoughts and his nafs tell him otherwise.
There are two types of waswas:
1) Waswas from the nafs (mind or a measly thought)
Allah mentions in the Qur’an:
وَلَقَدۡ خَلَقۡنَا الۡاِنۡسَانَ وَنَعۡلَمُ مَا تُوَسۡوِسُ بِهٖ نَفۡسُهٗ وَنَحۡنُ اَقۡرَبُ اِلَيۡهِ مِنۡ حَبۡلِ الۡوَرِيۡدِ
And we have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and we are closer to him than his jugular vein. [Surah Qaaf verse 16]
2) Waswas from shaytan (devil)
Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an regarding shaytan and Adam (AS):
فَوَسۡوَسَ اِلَيۡهِ الشَّيۡطٰنُ قَالَ يٰۤاٰدَمُ هَلۡ اَدُلُّكَ عَلٰى شَجَرَةِ الۡخُلۡدِ وَمُلۡكٍ لَّا يَبۡلٰى
Then Satan whispered to him; he said, “O Adam, shall I direct you to the tree of eternity and possession that will not deteriorate? [Surah Taha verse 120]
So whichever waswas it is, it should not fixate the Muslim mind to be despondent on the mercy of Allah SWT. So I would say that these thoughts that you are having occasionally can be a form of “negative thought” waswas as Allah always reminds us that he showers his mercy on everyone and not to lose hope of the mercy of Allah. Whatever Allah SWT says is the be-all and end-all and we should keep it at that.
Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an:
وَالَّذِيۡنَ عَمِلُوا السَّيِّاٰتِ ثُمَّ تَابُوۡا مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِهَا وَاٰمَنُوۡۤا
As for those who do evil, and later repent and have faith, such shall find their Lord All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate after (they repent and believe)
وَرَحۡمَتِىۡ وَسِعَتۡ كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ
As for My mercy, it encompasses everything. [Surah A’raaf verse 156]
It is a misconception to believe that God’s general rule for ruling His dominion is wrath, which is periodically moderated with pity and benevolence. The normal rule is kindness and benevolence, with wrath being the exception that arises when man’s sin and rebellion reach all reasonable limitations.
Do not lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Allah SWT mentions in the Qur’an:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
“O my servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” [Surah Zumar Verse 53]
May Allah SWT give us firm belief in his mercy and forgiveness.
Only Allah knows best.
Written by Maulana Burhaan Rahman
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham