What is the best way to cure doubts, especially in term of worship such as taharah (purification) and prayer?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Doubts Come from Shaytan
We would like to emphasize that doubts inside the heart of humans is a disease that comes from shaytan and they are a clear enemy for humans. Allah SWT states:
أَلَمۡ أَعۡهَدۡ إِلَيۡكُمۡ يَٰبَنِيٓ ءَادَمَ أَن لَّا تَعۡبُدُواْ ٱلشَّيۡطَٰنَۖ إِنَّهُۥ لَكُمۡ عَدُوّ مُّبِين ٦٠ وَأَنِ ٱعۡبُدُونِيۚ هَٰذَا صِرَٰط مُّسۡتَقِيم ٦١
“Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan - [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy - And that you worship [only] Me? This is a straight path.”
Surah Yasin (60-61)
As our enemy, they would do any means to mislead humans. One of the means they would use is whispering doubts inside humans’ hearts. This is clearly stated by Allah SWT:
ٱلَّذِي يُوَسۡوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ ٱلنَّاسِ
“Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind,”
Surah al-Naas (5)
Al-Imam al-Qurtubi Rahimahullah comments the above verse stating the whispers (doubts) of shaytan is akin to their (shaytan’s) persistent prayers for us to obey them, these whispers would reach the hearts of humans without us even hearing their voices.
Ways to Cure Doubts
Islamic scholars are concerned about the disease of doubt, for it can become chronic and worsen as it is a disease related to the heart. Here, we include some of the ways that can be used in our effort to cure this disease.
- Ignore or disregard: the feeling of doubts. This is stated by al-Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami Rahimahullah as one of the cures of the disease of doubts. He states:
لَهُ دَوَاءٌ نَافِعٌ وَهُوَ الْإِعْرَاضُ عَنْهَا جُمْلَةً كَافِيَةً. وَإِنْ كَانَ فِي النَّفْسِ مِنْ التَّرَدُّدِ مَا كَانَ - فَإِنَّهُ مَتَى لَمْ يَلْتَفِتْ لِذَلِكَ لَمْ يَثْبُتْ بَلْ يَذْهَبُ بَعْدَ زَمَنٍ قَلِيلٍ كَمَا جَرَّبَ ذَلِكَ الْمُوَفَّقُونَ، وَأَمَّا مَنْ أَصْغَى إلَيْهَا وَعَمِلَ بِقَضِيَّتِهَا فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَزَالُ تَزْدَادُ بِهِ حَتَّى تُخْرِجَهُ إلَى حَيِّزِ الْمَجَانِينِ بَلْ وَأَقْبَحَ مِنْهُمْ، كَمَا شَاهَدْنَاهُ فِي كَثِيرِينَ مِمَّنْ اُبْتُلُوا بِهَا وَأَصْغَوْا إلَيْهَا وَإِلَى شَيْطَانِهَا
“As for it (the disease of doubts), the beneficial cure is ignoring or disregarding it completely (the doubts that we have). Even if he has doubts, as long he ignores his doubts, then it would slowly disappear. This is the experience of people who has been guided and has finally be able to cure his doubts. However, if he listens (pay attention to his doubts), then his doubts will only grow until it leads to insanity, as has been reported experienced by people with severe doubts disease.” (See al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra. Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1/149).
- Have patience and never give up: People who are facing the problem of doubts, truthfully are facing a test from Allah SWT to fight against the shaytan. In facing a test, someone should be patient and keep on trying avoiding doubts. Al-Imam Ibn Hajar al-Haitami Rahimahullah cited the words of Sultan al-Ulama’ al-‘Izz bin Abd al-Salam:
دَوَاءُ الْوَسْوَسَةِ أَنْ يَعْتَقِدَ أَنَّ ذَلِكَ خَاطِرٌ شَيْطَانِيٌّ، وَأَنَّ إبْلِيسَ هُوَ الَّذِي أَوْرَدَهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنَّهُ يُقَاتِلُهُ، فَيَكُونُ لَهُ ثَوَابُ الْمُجَاهِدِ؛ لِأَنَّهُ يُحَارِبُ عَدُوَّ اللَّهِ، فَإِذَا اسْتَشْعَرَ ذَلِكَ فَرَّ عَنْهُ
“The cure for doubts is determination and belief that it is nothing more than the whispers of shaytan, for they (shaytan) are the ones that we are fighting against and for him is the rewards of those going to war fighting against the enemies of Allah SWT. If doubts came in his heart, he would avoid it.” (See al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra. Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1/150)
- Learning the correct way of worship: This would help in preventing doubts from entering one’s heart. Someone who has the correct and complete knowledge regarding the rulings of the religion would not be easily influenced by religious trends that are not supported by sound evidence that would confuse himself. Doubts could easily enter the hearts of people who are uncertain about their worship.
Al-Imam Ibn Hjar al-Haitami Rahimahullah also stated:
أَنَّ الْوَسْوَسَةَ لَا تُسَلَّطُ إلَّا عَلَى مَنْ اسْتَحْكَمَ عَلَيْهِ الْجَهْلُ وَالْخَبَلُ وَصَارَ لَا تَمْيِيزَ لَهُ، وَأَمَّا مَنْ كَانَ عَلَى حَقِيقَةِ الْعِلْمِ وَالْعَقْلِ فَإِنَّهُ لَا يَخْرُجُ عَنْ الِاتِّبَاعِ وَلَا يَمِيلُ إلَى الِابْتِدَاعِ
“Indeed, doubts would not influence anyone except the people that do not know or are uncertain or are unable to differentiate (whether it is correct or wrong). Whereas, for those who truly understands and have the knowledge from guidance, they would not be influenced towards bid’ah.” (See al-Fatawa al-Fiqhiyyah al-Kubra. Al-Maktabah al-Islamiyyah, 1/150)
We should make it our routine to attend sermons or religious lessons, especially classes that teach us about our religion and daily worship.
- Seeking Allah SWT’s protection: Shaytan would always whispers doubts in the hearts of humans. Thus, the most important way of fighting against the whispers of shaytan is by asking the protection of Allah SWT. According to a hadith of the Prophet PBUH, one of the companions complains to the Prophet PBUH about how the shaytan intervenes between him and his prayer and his recitation of the Qur'an and confounds him. Thereupon Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said:
ذَاكَ شَيْطَانٌ يُقَالُ لَهُ خِنْزِبٌ فَإِذَا أَحْسَسْتَهُ فَتَعَوَّذْ بِاللَّهِ مِنْهُ وَاتْفِلْ عَلَى يَسَارِكَ ثَلاَثًا
“That is (the doing of a) Satan (devil) who is known as Khinzab, and when you perceive its effect, seek refuge with Allah from it and spit three times to your left.”
Sahih Muslim (2203)
Furthermore, we could also make doa to Allah SWT, the Quran has taught us the following du’a:
وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنۡ هَمَزَٰتِ ٱلشَّيَٰطِينِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحۡضُرُونِ
“And say, "My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils, And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me."
Surah al-Mu’minun (97-98)
And another doa that the Prophet PBUH frequently make is narrated by Saidina Aisyah R.Anha in a hadith:
يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِي عَلَى دِينِكَ وَطَاعَتِكَ
“O Changer of the hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion.”
Sunan Imam Ahmad (26133) in Musnad
Lastly, we hope that the above explanation could help us in perfecting our worship and remove the disease of doubts in our hearts.
Always pray to Allah SWT for guidance and protection so that we could perform our worships peacefully without any disturbances. Ameen.