Salamu alaikum. I know that it is normal for muslims to have doubts and that hating these doubts is evidence of faith itself. I also know that if we get these doubts, we will not be punished as long as we don’t speak of them or act on them – and I have been implementing this for many years. However, recently I did something that I don’t normally do, and I am worried that I’ve committed kufr because of it. I got a doubtful thought about islam and then i dwelled on that thought and considered it. And i started having serious doubts like ‘what if?’. I started feeling extremely stressed by this and sought to put my doubts at ease by reminding myself about the signs of Allah, the miracles of Quran, etc. But i have this feeling in my heart like i did something very wrong. I try to tell myself that i only did what Ibrahim AS did by trying to assure myself with the signs but now i just feel like i’m of those who have no certainty in their faith and i feel doomed. I feel empty. I’m worried that because i dwelled on these doubts and tried to clarify the signs of Allah (by watching videos on the miracles of Quran or reading articles etc) that i have essentially ‘acted’ on these doubts and now left islam because of it. I don’t know what to do…
Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,
The devils mission and objective is to lead people astray. He casts doubts in a person’s heart and make him feel perturbed and uneasy, so that the person loses the interest of carrying out any good deed.
As you have stated in your query, we should just ignore these doubts and thoughts. It is absolutely normal to get evil thoughts. The Sahabah (companions) also got such thoughts. In a narration of Sahih Muslim, Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
جاء ناس من أصحاب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فسألوه إنا نجد في أنفسنا ما يتعاظم أحدنا أن يتكلم به قال وقد وجدتموه قالوا نعم قال ذاك صريح الإيمان (أخرجه مسلم – (1/ 119)
“Once a group of people came to the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and submitted: We experience such evil thoughts that it we are too scared to even bring them on our lips.” The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied: “Do you really experience these thoughts? Yes, they replied. The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) replied: “That’s a clear signs of faith.” (Sahih Muslim, 1/119)
In another narration, Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said,
جاء رجل إلى النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم- فقال يا رسول الله إن أحدنا يجد فى نفسه يعرض بالشىء – لأن يكون حممة أحب إليه من أن يتكلم به فقال « الله أكبر الله أكبر الله أكبر الحمد لله الذى رد كيده إلى الوسوسة ». قال ابن قدامة « رد أمره ». مكان « رد كيده». (أخرجه أبو داود في سننه )4/ 490)
A Companion came to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him give him peace) and asked: “Sometimes I experience such thoughts that I would rather be reduced to charcoal than get them on my lips” (meaning that to speak of these thoughts was worse than burning in fire). The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest! All praise is to Allah who restricted the devil’s designs to mere evil promptings.” (Sunan Abi Dawud, 4/490)
Therefore, don’t stress yourself out with these evil thoughts. The fact that you are not comfortable with them is a clear proof on your Iman. When the thoughts linger, you become more agitated. That clearly denotes that you are not happy with these thoughts, and hence you are still a Muslim.
If the thoughts continue in your mind, just say the following:
Ta’awudh (a’udhu billahi min ash-Shaytaan ir rajeem)
Hawqala (Laa Hawla wa laa quwwata illa billah)
Aamantu billah (I believe in Allah)
عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم * لا يزال الناس يتساءلون حتى يقال هذا خلق الله الخلق فمن خلق الله فمن وجد من ذلك شيئا فليقل آمنت بالله (أخرجه مسلم في صحيحه – (1/119)
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him &; give him peace) said: “The devil (shaytan) comes to one of you and says: “Who created this? Who created that? Until he says: “Who created your Lord?” When one experiences this, one should seek Allah’s refuge and stop the matter there”. (Sahih Muslim, 1/119).
Insha Allah, by saying the above, it will not affect your beliefs, even if the thoughts linger and are intense. Furthermore, merely researching and seeking clarification will not cast one out of the fold of Islam. In future, however, you should be a little careful. It can happen that in trying to clarify certain thoughts, you come across articles of the misguided, and then you get even more doubts. Remember, Islam is all about Iman bil Ghayb (believing the unseen). Just verbally tell yourself that you believe in Allah, and ask Allah to protect you from the devil. If the thoughts still make you feel ‘doomed’ and ’empty’ then rather ask a scholar, rather than making your own research.
And Allaah Ta’aala knows best
Ismail Moosa (Mufti)