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Salaam. There are people out there who try to be religous and follow the deen by abstaining from acts that are explicity wrong and sinful. However, sometimes what happens is that satan tries to attack with these people's through the route of their worship and practice of the Islamic laws, satan whispers in their hearts and tries to make them constantly doubt the correctness of many of their acts of worship. Unfortunately many people may become serious victims of these attacks and become someone who is known as "kathirus shak" or a person who doubts a lot. Below is a compilation of highly useful information to fight this issue. This will be a very very very lengthy post but trust me, you will not regret it! This post will inshaAllah cure those who suffer with these waswas issues. You may have seen some of the content, especially around the beginning, but please be patient as there's a good chance you'll find eye-opneing new information. ------------------------ 1) Qur'an 2:185 "The month of Ramadan that wherein the Qur'an was sent down to be a guidance for mankind, and as clear signs of guidance and a criterion (between right and wrong). Therefore, whoever of you is present (at his home) during the month, he shall fast therein and whoever is sick or on a journey, he shall then (fast) the same number of other days; Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire hardship for you; so you should complete the number (of days decreed), and exalt Allah for His having guided you, and that haply you might be grateful (to Him)." 2) The primary evidence is the hadith of Imam as-Sadiq, which is considered sahih and is narrated by Zurarah. He asked Imam as-Sadiq about whether or not a person who doubts if they have slept has to do wudhu again (since sleep invalidates wudhu): لا حتى يستيقن انه قد نام حتى يجئ من ذلك أمر بين و إلا فإنّه على يقين من وضوئه و لا ينقض اليقين أبداً بالشك و لكن ينقضه بيقين آخر No, not until he is absolutely certain that he has slept. This is because he was certain that he was on wudhu, and certainty is never broken by doubt. Certainty is only broken by another certainty. https://www.iqraonline.net/principle-of-istishab-and-its-types/ 3) From office of Ayatollah Sistani: Question: I know that for najasah you need to be sure, but sometimes I'm like 95% sure of a possible occurrence of the past that may have made a particular item najis, ------------------------------------------ (rest of question hidden as it's unimportant) Answer: You should treat and consider everything as clean and pure unless you are hundred percent sure that it is impure. If you have not seen a Hindu or Buddhist touch something with a wet hand, you should not pay attention to the mere possibility that it may have been touched. Consider it as clean. Question: Can Muslim, who rents a fully furnished house in the West, consider everything in it to be ritually pure as long as he does not find any trace of impure things in it, even if the previous occupant was from Ahlul Kitab, I.e., a Christian or a Jew? What if the previous occupant was a Bhuddhist or an atheist who does not believe in God and the Prophets? Answer: Yes, he can consider everything in the house ritually pure as long as he does not know that it has become impure. Just conjecture or doubt about impurity is of no value. https://www.Sistani.org/english/qa/01294/ Question: I am living in India and I have a lot of doubts about things I am using and I eating. What is my duty about such things? Answer: A well known religious law says: "Everything is ritually pure for you unless you come to know that it is ritually impure." This law declares everything to be pure unless one becomes sure a particular item has become impure. And as long as you are not sure that it has become ritually impure (najis), it is to be considered pure and you can apply all the rules of purity to it without any hesitation or doubt. https://www.Sistani.org/english/qa/01268/ 4) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ37v_fXkp0 The above link is a lecture by a very well known Urdu speaking scholar by name of Molana Sadiq Hassan. He mentions a very very interesting story of our past scholars about these najasah doubt issues around the 37th minute. Below, I have summarized it: Story of Imam Ali (عليه السلام) responding to Shaykh Al Mufid and his student Syed Al Murtadha when they got into a debate on whether Syed Al Murtadha’s horse saddle is najis because Shaykh Al Mufid saw a dog urinate on it while Syed Al Murtadha was not there. However, Syed Al Murtadha said that for him it’s pak as the testimonies of two people are required to consider it najis…this case was then taken to Imam Ali (عليه السلام) for help, there are two different reports of how this case was taken to Imam Ali (عليه السلام) (paper with issue written on it was put into zareeh and the next day the answer came or the answer was discovered in a dream…). The saddle was to be considered pak as per the instruction of Amir Ul Momineen (عليه السلام). Lessons to take from this: -the saddle had urine (which is NAJIS) on it 100% as Shaykh Mufid, this pious and great scholar, saw with his own eyes that the dog urinated on it and then told Syed Al Murtadha… -However, despite this, the great Syed Al Murtadha firmly considered it pak for himself… -najasat must be proven, the fact or probability of the impurity truly contaminating another entity was given no value, only the methods to prove an item najis were given value when considering the item najis -In the story, Syed Al Murtadha was very confident and firm on his decision and our MAULA said that the truth is with Syed Al Murtadha…(paraphrased) -Najasaat is relative (based on my understanding) 5) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pz2HGVepaC8 Video on Waswas By Shaikh Zaid Alsalami (he’s involved with Al-Islam.org and info about him can be found there). He quotes ahadtih and talks about stories of big famous scholars regarding these issues. -A must watch 6) Extremely important article: E. Our outlook towards The Najasat What should be our general outlook towards the najasat? This is a question of utmost importance to the Muslims, especially for those who live in a society which is predominantly kafir. Usually we get two types of responses to this question: On the one hand is a group which has adopted a `liberal' view and says that such shari'ah laws are no longer relevant during our time. It is needless to say that this view has no support in the Islamic sources. The essence of Islam is a voluntary submission to the will of God and `liberal' attitude is opposite of that idea. The liberal view results partly from the ignorance about the dynamics and the adoptive nature of the shari'ah, it is the result of confusing the form for the substance; and partly from the influence of western liberal tradition. There is, on the other hand, a group which has adopted the holier-than-thou attitude and says that we must totally abstain from the najasat in all spheres of our lives. This view is based on some misconceived ideas about the shari'ah and the Islamic world-view in general. It ignores or is ignorant of the fact that Islam itself has described its shari'ah as “shari'atu 'n-sahla” or it shari`atu 'n-samha,” a simple shari'ah, a lenient shari `ah. While every informed Muslim recognizes the need to combat the liberal view, it is equally important to fight against the rigidity of the holier-than-thou mentality. The latter group is not without blame in pushing many ordinary Muslims towards the so-called liberal group. Between these two extremes lies the Islamic view, a view which can be named as the straight path-the path of those on whom Allah has showered His blessing, not of those with whom He is angry, nor of those who have gone astray! It is this view which I shall try, with the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala, to explain here. Let me begin by raising the following question: Should we start with the assumption that everything is najis and haram unless we come to know otherwise? OR Should we start with the assumption that everything is tahir and halal unless we come to know otherwise? My answer to this question is that we should start with the assumption that everything is tahir and halal unless we come to know otherwise. Anyone familiar with the principles of the shari'ah cannot but agree with me. However, as all general rules have exceptions, the view I have adopted also has one exception. What I have said is valid at all times except in case of animal products obtained from non-Muslims. As for the animal products obtained from Muslims, we still start with the assumption that it is tahir and halal. It is only in case of the animal products obtained from the kuffar that we must start with the assumption that everything is najis and haram unless we come to know otherwise. This view is supported fully by all the mujtahids of our time, including Ayatullah al-Khu'I and Ayatullah al-Khumayni. Here I wish to just quote Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Kazim at-Tabataba'I al-Yazdi a prominent Shi`a mujtahid of the early present century whose book al- `Urwatu' 1-wuthqa is used by later mujtahids as a text for their ijtihad lectures. Ayatullah al-Yazdi writes: “(1) The utensils of the mushrikin and other kuff”ar are to be considered tahir as long as it is not known that they have touched them with flowing wetness. [This rule is valid] provided the utensils are not made from leather, otherwise they will be considered najis unless it is known that the animal [from which the leather originated] had been slaughtered Islamically or that it had been in possession of a Muslim [before coming into the kafir's possession]. “(2) Similarly other things that need to be slaughtered Islamically (e.g., meat and fat), if found in the bad personsession of the kuff'ar must be considered najis unless it is known that the animal has been slaughtered Islamically or that it had been in possession of a Muslim [before coming to the kafir's possession]. “(3) However, a thing that does not need slaughtering is to be considered tahir unless you have knowledge that it is najis. And the conjecture that the kuff”ar may have touched it with wetness is not sufficient [to consider such a thing najis]. “(4) An item about which one is not sure whether or not it is from animal's .skin, flesh or fat is to be considered as a non-animal product and tahir, even if it is obtained from a kafir.” 1618 All the mujtahids of our time have annotated the al-`Urwatu 'l-wuthqa and all of them have agreed with the above views of Ayatullah al-Yazdi. Although the above quotation is sufficient, but for the sake of clarity I would like to quote Ayatullah al-Khu'I. In the first volume of Minhaju 's-Salihiyn, under the section of najasat, he writes: “What is obtained from the hands of the kafirs -like bread, oil, honey and other similar things, whether they are liquid or solid- is tahir unless you come to know that they have touched it with flowing wetness. The same applies to their clothes and utensils. And conjecture about najasat [in such cases] should not be taken into account.” 1719 But while discussing the rules of food and drinks, in the second volume of Minhaj, he writes: “The skin, flesh and fat that is obtained from the hands of a kafir is to be considered najis even if he informs you that it has been slaughtered Islamically.” 1820 What our mujtahids have said that you can assume everything --except the animal products obtained from a kafir- as tahir and halal unless you come to know otherwise is based on the clear guide-lines provided by our Imams (عليه السلام). Fuzayl bin Yasar, Zurarah bin A'yan and Muhammad bin Muslim, the three highly respected companions of the fifth and sixth Imams, asked Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (عليه السلام) about buying meat from the markets while they do not know what the butchers do when slaughtering the animals. The Imam said, “Eat if it is from a Muslim market and do not question about it.” 1921 Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi 'n-Nasr asked Imam 'Ali ar-Riza (عليه السلام) about the [leather] shoes which have come in the [Muslim] market and a person buys a shoe while he does not know whether it [originated from an animal that] had been slaughtered Islamically or not. What do you say about praying in such a shoe while the person does not know [whether it is from a slaughtered animal]? Can he pray in it? The Imam said, “Yes; I also buy the shoes from the market, and it is made for me and I pray in it. You do not have to ask [whether it is from an Islamically slaughtered animal or not].”' 2022 al-Hasan ibn al-Jahm asked Imam 'Ali ar-Riza (عليه السلام) a similar question about leather shoes and upon hearing the same answer, he said, “I am more restrained than this (in dealing with najasat).” Imam 'Ali ar-Riza (عليه السلام) said, “Do you dislike what Abu '1-Hasan [I.e. Imam Musa al-Kazim] used to do?!” 2123 'Ali bin Abi Hamzah heard a person asking Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (عليه السلام) about a man who was praying while he was carrying a sword-can he pray with it? The Imam said, “Yes.” Then the person asked, even if its sheathe was made of leather from an animal which might have or might not have been slaughtered Islamically? The Imam said, “If you know that it is from an un-Islamically slaughtered animal, then do not pray in it.” 2224 An interesting incident is narrated by Mu'awiyah bin `Amman, one the famous companions of the sixth Imam. Mu'awiyah asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (عليه السلام) about the dress which is made by the Magi who are unclean, who drink intoxicants and their women are also of the same type: “Can I wear such a dress without washing it and pray in it?” The Imam said, “Yes.” Thereafter, Mu'awiyah cut a shirt for the Imam from the cloth obtained from a Maji, designed it, and also prepared a waist-band and a robe from it. Then on a Friday, just before the noon time, he sent the dress to the Imam. He wanted to see whether or not the Imam puts it on without washing it. In Mu'awiyah's own words, “It seemed the Imam had understood my intentions, and came out with that same dress for the Friday prayer.” 23 A somewhat similar question was put in writing to Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) about praying in a dress made by a Maji without washing. Imam Mahdi (عليه السلام) replied, “There is no problem in praying in it.” 2426 `Abdullah bin Sanari narrates that my father asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (عليه السلام), “I loaned my dress to a dhimmi kafir whom I know that he drinks intoxicants and eats pork, and then he returns it to me-do I have to wash that dress before praying in it?” The Imam said, “Pray in that dress and do not wash it for that particular reason because when you loaned it to him, it was tahir and now you are not sure about its becoming najis.” 2527 The first four ahadith make it clear that whatever you get from a Muslim or a Muslim market -whether a non-animal product or an animal product- you can assume that it is tahir and halal, you do not even have to inquire about it. The last three ahadith make it quite clear that whatever non-animal products you get from a kafir is to be considered tahir and halalunless you come to know for sure that it is najis and haram. The restrictions of a Muslim or Muslim market found in the first three ahadith clearly indicates that animal products can be assumed as tahirand halal provided they are from the Muslim market. It automatically follows that animal products from non-Muslim sources cannot be considered tahir and halal unless we come to know otherwise. Here I will just quote two more hadith on this specific issue: Husayn bin al-Mundhir said to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a. s.): We are a people who frequently go to the mountains and the distance is great between us and the mountains. We therefore buy animals in large number for food, and we ask the herdsmen about their religion and they reply that they are Christians. “So what do you say about the slaughtering of animals by the Jews and the Christians?” The Imam said, “O Husayn! The Islamic slaughtering can be done with Allah's name only and no one can be trusted with that except the people of tawhid (I.e., Muslims).” 2628 Once Ibn Abi Ya'fur and Mu'alla bin Khunays were travelling on the Nile and disagreed with each other about eating the meat slaughtered by the Jews. Mu'alla ate that meat while Ibn Abi Ya'fur refrained. Finally, they came to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (عليه السلام) and informed him about their disagreement. The Imam approved the decision of Ibn Abi Ya'fur and disapproved Mu'alla's decision to eat that meat. 2729 I would like to end this section with an interesting comment by Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Abi 'n-Nasr al-Bizanti on the holier-than-thou attitude. Ahmad al Bizanti was a very trustworthy and educated companion of Imam Riza (عليه السلام) and Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (عليه السلام). Ahmad bin Muhammad bin `Isa asked Ahmad al-Bizanti about a person who buys a leather robe while he does not know whether it is from an animal that was slaughtered Islamically or not--can he pray in it? It is obvious that the question is about buying such a thing in a Muslim society. Ahmad al-Bizanti answered, “Yes, and you do not have to question about it. Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (عليه السلام) used to say, `The Khawarij had put much restrictions upon themselves out of ignorance, whereas the religion is broader [in its outlook] than that.”' The statement about the Khawarij has also been narrated from Imam Musa al-Kazim by Shaykh as-Saduq. 2830 It is on these shari'ah principles that our mujtahids have based their opinions about assuming everything -except the animal products obtained from a kafir to be tahir and halal unless we come to know otherwise. Islam does not expect us to totally abstain from najasat, it only wants us to be free from najasat in our food and drink, and during the salat. 7) https://www.facebook.com/Mizan.Institute1/videos/712329195829459/ Watch the last third of the video above. Also, this shaykh in this series of videos conveys the following: According to our scholars, the solution to this excessive doubts issue is to a simply IGNORE ALL DOUBTS until you’re cured. You do not need to act on the special rules for doubts like a like normal person may have to when in doubt about certain actions, you MUST SIMPLY IGNORE ALL YOUR DOUBTS and that’s the end of it. If you are doubting if about if you’re a normal person again then you should still consider yourself a doubtful person and continue ignoring all your doubts…It may take years and years but that’s fine, keep ignoring your doubts. This is according to our scholars. 8) Advice from Imam Khomeini: https://www.al-Islam.org/forty-hadith-an-exposition-second-edition-Imam-Khomeini/twenty-fifth-hadith-satanic-insinuation Twenty-Fifth Hadith: Satanic Insinuation Through my continuous chain of transmitters reaching up to the shaykh of the traditionists and the best of them, Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Kulayni (M) who reports from Muhammad ibn Yahya, from Ahmad ibn Muhammad, from Ibn Mahbub, from ‘Abd Allah ibn Sinan, who said: I mentioned to Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) a man who was troubled by waswas in his wudu, and salat, adding that he is a man of intelligence. Thereupon Abu ‘Abd Allah (A) said, “What kind of intelligence has he when he obeys Satan?” I said, “How does he obey Satan?” The Imam replied, “Ask him regarding its cause and he will tell you that it is a work of Satan.”1 Exposition You should know that waswasah (or waswas, pl. wasawis; means satanic insinuations, obsessions and suggestions), doubt, lapse of faith, shirk and the like pertain to satanic insinuation and devilish promptings, which Satan puts into the hearts of people. So also, certainty, conviction, tranquility, steadiness, and sincerity of the heart and the like are caused by divine inspiration (ifadat al-rahmaniyyah) and angelic suggestions (ilqa’at al-malakiyyah). To explain this with brevity, the human heart is a subtle reality that is interjacent to the realms of mulk and malakut, the realms of the world (dunya) and the Hereafter. One of its aspects faces the realm of mulk and the (mundane) world, and it is with this aspect that it pursues the corporeal aspect of life. The other aspect faces the realm of Hereafter, malakut and ghayb, and with that it pursues its spiritual (malakuti) life. Hence, the heart is like a two-faced mirror. One of its sides is turned toward the world of ghayb, and in it the ghaybi forms are reflected. The other side faces the world of shahadah, and in it the mulki and worldly (mundane) forms are reflected. The mundane forms find their reflection in the outward senses and some of the inner cognitive faculties such as khayal and wahm (imagination). The hereafterly forms find their reflection in the inward intellect and the inner core (sirr) of the heart. Should the worldly aspect of the heart preponderate and its attention be wholly absorbed by the pursuit of the mundane, becoming its sole concern, the hidden side of khayal becomes attuned to the realm of lower malakut (malakut al-sufla) which is the dark reflected image of the world of mulk and corporeal nature (in the realm of malakut)-the realm of the jinn, devils and evil spirits. The suggestions induced in it due to this attunement (with the realm of lower malakut) are satanic insinuations, which are the source of baseless thoughts and unwholesome imaginings. The soul develops an eagerness for these unfounded fancies due to its absorption with the mundane, and its will and faculty of decision-making, also, become subject to them. As a result, all one’s spiritual and bodily conduct becomes satanic in character, as is the case with waswas, doubt, uncertainty, unfounded thoughts, and hallucinations. As the will in its bodily activity becomes attuned to them, bodily actions too assume the character of the inward forms; for one’s acts are the image of one’s will, which in turn is the image of one’s thoughts, which are a reflection of the heart’s orientation. Hence, when the heart be oriented toward the satanic realm, the suggestions it receives are of a satanic character, involving compound ignorance. As a result, waswas, doubt, shirk and ambiguities emerge from the inner core of one’s being and pervade to the domain of the body. In accordance with the same analogy, if the heart be oriented toward the pursuit of the Hereafter and the higher truths, its attention is directed towards the world of ghayb and it acquires an attunement with the higher malakut, the realm of the angels and blessed and pure spirits, which is a luminous image of the world of nature. The knowledge imparted to it, then, is of a divine and angelic character, as constituted by true doctrine, and its thoughts are induced by divine inspiration, being free from the contamination of doubt and shirk. As a result, a state of stability and bliss is created within the soul. Its desires and inclinations fall into conformity with that knowledge, and its will into conformity with those inclinations, and, as a result, its inward and outward, spiritual and bodily conduct takes shape in accordance with the criteria of reason and wisdom. There are certain stages and stations associated with these satanic, angelic, and divine suggestions whose description is not suitable here. Some of the noble traditions, like the following one reported in Majma’ al-bayan from al-’Ayyashi, bear out the validity of what has been said: Al-Ayyashi reports with his chain of transmission from Aban ibn Taghlib from Ja’far ibn Muhammad (S) that he said: The Messenger of Allah (S) said, “There is no believer whose heart does not have two ears: an angel whispers into one of them and into the other the Slinking Whisperer (al-waswas al-khannas). God confirms the believer with the means of the angel and that is what is meant by this statement of His, subhanahu: And He confirms them with a spirit from Him (58:22).”2 This is another tradition from Majma’ al-bahrayn: He (I.e. the Prophet) said, “Satan lays his snout, which is like the snout of a pig, on the heart of the son of Adam, and instigates him to turn towards the world (dunya) and that which God has not made lawful. But when he remembers God, Satan slinks away.”3 There are other traditions of this kind. A Simpler Explanation Of The Character Of Waswas Having known through the teachings of the urafa’ that waswas is the work of Satan, as mentioned in the noble tradition being expounded here and other traditions of the kind, we are compelled to explain this matter in a way that is closer to the minds of ordinary people and more appropriate for them. Although the above description is in accordance with the rational and philosophical criteria as well as in conformity with the mystical experience of the urafa’, ‘the people of the heart’, as it is based on certain principles whose discussion lies outside the scope of these pages, we shall abstain from pursuing it any further. That wasawis and acts resulting from them are a handiwork of Satan, insinuated by that accursed creature, and that there is therein no religious or pious motive involved-although the person afflicted may mistakenly believe that he possesses it-is borne out by their being contrary to the laws of the Shari’ah and the traditions of the pure and infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt. For instance, it has been mentioned in mutawatir traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (A) that the wudu’ of the Messenger of God (S) consisted of single washings (of the face and the forearms). It is an established fact in fiqhthat it is sufficient to wash the face, the right, and the left hand each with—a single ghurfah (handful) of water. There is however disagreement among the legists concerning the permissibility of using a second ghurfah. It may even be inferred from the statements of the author of al-Wasa’il that he believed in its impermissibility or at least doubted its permissibility. Although some have held a contrary opinion, the permissibility of two washings is not open to doubt. There is a heavy preponderance of legal opinion in its favor and many traditions indicate its istihbab. However, it is not improbable that a single washing that thoroughly wets the parts washed is preferable. But there is no doubt that three washings-that is, washing the parts each time in such a way that the parts are thoroughly moistened with water-is haram and a bid’ah that invalidates the wudu’ when the moisture remaining from it is used for mash. It is mentioned in the traditions of the Ahl al-Bayt (A)that a third washing in wudu’ is bid’ah and that every bid’ah is in Fire. In this case, the ignorant man afflicted with waswas washes the parts ten times during wudu’, every time drawing water over the whole part washed most meticulously, or rather he first wets the whole part so well that water spreads thoroughly and a valid washing is achieved, and then repeats this action again and again. On what criterion is his action based? To which tradition and to what fatwa of a jurist does it conform? Such a wretch may offer invalid salat with such a wudu’ for twenty years and consider himself to have appeared to be most pious and pure in the eyes of the people. While Satan goes on playing with him, and his carnal self goes on deceiving him, he finds fault with others and considers himself to be in the right. Should something that is opposed to mutawatir explicit dicta (nass) and consensus of the ulama be considered as perfect personal purity and piety or a work of Satan? If it is something that is inspired by utmost God-fearing and caution in religion, why is it that most of those obsessed by waswas and given to ignorant sanctimony do not exercise caution in matters where caution is necessary or preferable? Have you seen any waswasi who has waswas in dubious matters of a financial character? Has anyone ever come across someone affected with waswas who pays khums five times instead of once, or goes to Hajj several times instead of once? Or one who refrains from food of a doubtful character? Why is it that the rule of asalat al-hilliyyah4 applies in such cases whereas the rule of asalat al-taharah5 does not hold good even in a matter related to taharah itself? That, although in regard to things that are lawful there is greater reason to exercise abstinence in a doubtful matter as indicated by some noble traditions, like the hadith al- tathlih6 whereas the case is quite the opposite in matters of taharah. One of the Infallible Imams (A) used to sprinkle water with his blessed hand on his blessed thighs at the time of answering the call of nature so that any trace of splashing that might occur would not be visible. Yet this poor fellow, who considers himself a follower of this Infallible Imam and follows him in the precepts of his religion, does not abstain from anything in matters involving wealth and its consumption. He eats his food (without any qualms about its lawfulness) by relying on the principle of asalat al-taharah and having eaten cleanses his mouth and hands. While eating, his justification is asalat al-taharah, but after eating, he declares that everything is ritually unclean (najis). Should he, in his fancy; count himself among the learned, he would say that I want to offer salat with real taharah, whereas the advantage of salat with real taharah is something that remains unknown and the fuqaha’ (R)do not know of it. Such a person should be asked, if you are so keen about real taharah, then why aren’t you as keen about real hilliyyah (lawfulness)? Even if, supposedly, he were keen to achieve real taharah, what purpose is served by his washing ten times with kurr or jari water? (Although to obtain taharah it is sufficient to wash once with jari water and once with kurr water when the contamination is due to urine and certain other impurities. Even when it is due to urine, it is sufficient, in accordance with the mashhur opinion, to wash once with kurr water, and washing twice is considered sufficient by consensus.) These several washings are inspired by none other than the deceptive Satan and the tricky self, which make an inconsequential matter appear as an asset to the sanctimonious. Worse and more shameful than this is the waswasah of some in regard to niyyah and takbirat al-’ihram, for therein they commit several muharramat while they consider themselves to be among the pious and this act as bringing them some kind of merit. Niyyah (intention) in something without which man cannot perform any of his voluntary acts and it is something, which necessarily accompanies all volt vary actions. Man cannot carry out any of his ritual or non-ritual acts without it. Notwithstanding it, in proportion to their devilishness and the degree of Satan’s domination over them, they waste an entire hour and sometimes several hours in order to obtain what is an inescapable necessity, which in the end remains unachieved! Should this matter be regarded as a result of Satanic insinuation and the work of the accursed Iblis who has put his reins on this wretch and concealed an obvious necessity from him, involving him in many muharramat such as breaking the salat, neglecting it, and allowing its time to elapse, or as something that is inspired by inner purity, sanctity and God-fearing? Another kind of waswas has to do with the refusal to join the congregation prayer led by someone who is ‘adil in accordance with nass and fatwa due to the righteousness of his outward conduct and his dutifulness in regard to the Shari’ah, whereas only God knows his inner character, regarding which it is neither necessary nor permissible to investigate. Notwithstanding it, since the person afflicted with waswas has his reins controlled by Satan, he draws himself away from the jama’at of Muslims and prays individually in a corner of the mosque. He offers such justifications as, ‘I have qualms’ and ‘It does not satisfy me’ and so on, while he himself has no qualms about leading others in prayer, despite the fact that the job of imamate is more difficult and is more open to qualms. However, he does not have any doubts or qualms here because that is in agreement with his self-seeking motives. Of the forms of waswas that is more prevalent is the one that relates to qira’ah in prayer, wherein due to repetitive and excessive effort in gutturalization the sounds of letters often violates the rules of correct recitation or the shape of the word is totally changed. For instance, the word, dallin is pronounced by some in such a way that the dad sounds like qaf. The guttural ha’ of rahman, rahim and other words is turned around in the throat in such a manner that a strange sound is produced and the letters of a word are so separated from one another that the very form, and root of the word is totally altered and distorted out of its original shape. Ultimately, all the spiritual aspects and divine secrets of salat, which is the spiritual ascension (mi’raj) of the faithful, the agent of nearness (to God) for the pious, and the pillar of the faith, are neglected, with all attention given to the ‘niceties’ of recitation. And yet despite it all, the pronunciation of words is so corrupted that the recitation fails to meet the literal dicta of the Shari’ah. In view of this, should this (perverse obsession with qira’ah) be considered as satanic waswas or as a divine inspiration on the part of the sanctimonious person afflicted with waswas? Despite all these traditions relating to the presence of attention and attentiveness of the heart during worship, all that this poor fellow has understood concerning the theory and practice of the presence of heart is either to be obsessed with waswas concerning niyyah or and to twist to extend inordinately the long vowel (madd) of ولا الضَّالِّينَ his mouth, eyes and other facial features while vocalizing words. Is it not a misfortune that one should remain for years negligent concerning the presence of heart and the remedy of his disturbed mind, without ever thinking of taking a step in this regard, without regarding it as one of the significant aspects of worship and without learning the way of acquiring it from those learned in the matters of the heart? Is it not a calamity that by the side of this neglect he should be obsessed with this kind of absurdities, and consider as being essential to piety and inner purity what are a ‘work of the accursed Slinkier’ according to the express texts of the Noble Scripture and a ‘handiwork of Satan’ according to the express traditions of the Truthful Ones (A) and acting upon which makes one’s works invalid according to the verdicts of the fuqaha’? At times waswasah is originated or heightened in one because other ignorant persons like himself consider it as one of his virtues. For instance, they extol his piety, religiosity and sacred character by remarking that ‘This person is so religious and pious that he is given to waswas’, although waswas has not only no relation to religiosity but is contrary to it and is due to ignorance and absence of understanding. But since they do not tell him the truth and do not regard him with repulsion and disapprobation, but on the contrary praise and extol him, he pursues this vicious conduct to its extreme, making himself a plaything in the hands of Satan and his task force and banishing himself from the sacred company of those near to God. And therefore, my dear, now that it is known through reason and tradition that these are satanic wasawis and that these obsessions are a handiwork of Iblis that invalidate our works and turn our hearts away from God, the Exalted, beware of them, for this waswas may not remain confined to your acts and may affect your belief and creed and thus expel you from the religion of God. By making you uncertain in your faith in God and Resurrection, it may lead you into everlasting wretchedness. Since Satan cannot mislead the like of you into immoral and profane conduct, he approaches you by the way of worship and rites. First, he makes your works and deeds, which should be a means of attaining divine nearness and of ascending into the proximity of God, the Exalted, to go waste and become invalid, and turns them into a means of remoteness from the proximity of the Sacred Lord, the All-Glorious, and of nearness to Iblis and his troops. Ultimately, it is feared, he may make a plaything of your beliefs. Hence, take steps for its remedy by all means and through any kind of exercise that may be necessary. The Remedy For Waswas You should know that this malady of the heart, which like other diseases of the heart can lead man to everlasting perdition and endless wretchedness, can be cured very easily and simply by the means of beneficial knowledge and action. But first, one must know himself to be sick, for only then can he take a step to cure his illness. But the difficulty is that Satan has so driven home his arguments that he does not consider himself to be sick. Rather, he considers others to be wayward and negligent of their religion. As to the theory of remedy, it lies in contemplating about these matters as mentioned. It is good for a human being that his acts and deeds be based on reflection and thought. He should think about an action that he wishes to perform for the pleasure of God, the Exalted, as to from where and from whom he has derived its details. It is known that the common people learn them from the fuqaha’ and their maraji taqlid (authorities on Law), who derive the manner of performing an act from the Book and the Sunnah by the means of ijtihad. Now when we refer to the works of the fuqaha, we find that they repudiate the conduct of one obsessed with waswas and consider some of his acts as invalid. When we refer to the noble traditions and the Book of God, we see that his conduct is ascribed to Satan and the perpetrator is considered to be devoid of intelligence. Hence, when the case is such, an intelligent person should reflect and think for a while if Satan has not taken control of his mind. Then he must commit himself to setting aside this kind of conduct and correct it, for therein lies God’s good pleasure. Whenever someone finds a trace of this obsession in himself, he should turn to other ordinary people or question the ulama and fuqaha’ about his own conduct to see whether he is suffering from waswas or not. That is because most of the time the one suffering from waswas is unaware of his own condition and considers himself as quite balanced and others as negligent. But if he should do some reflection he would find that this belief too is a satanic suggestion, for when he sees that the practice of the ulama’ and the great scholars in whose knowledge and practice he has faith, or rather that of the legal authorities (maraji’ taqlid) from whom all Muslims derive the issues of halal and haram, is contrary to his own practice, he cannot say that the entire class of ulama, the leaders of the faith and its adherents are not committed to the religion of God and it is only the waswasi person who is committed to piety. After that, he has come to know in theory that he is ill, it is necessary to take remedial action. The main point that relates to action is that he should not pay attention to the satanic waswasah and the whims that it insinuates. For instance, if he is suffering from waswas in the matter of wudu’, he should make use of a single handful of water despite Satan’s protestation. His Satan may say that this act is not valid. To this he should reply by saying that ‘If my act is not valid, then the practice of the Messenger of God (S) and the Pure Imams (A), as well as that of all the fuqaha’ was invalid too. The Messenger of God (S) and the Imams (A) performed wudu’ for nearly three hundred years and the manner in which they performed it was like this according to mutawatir traditions. So if their wudu’ was invalid, let mine also be such.” If you are muqallid of a mujtahid, you may tell Satan: “I am acting in accordance with the ruling of a mujtahid. If my wudu’ is invalid, God shall not consider me responsible, and He has no incriminating grounds (hujjah) against me.” Should the accursed one cast doubt concerning the ruling of the mujtahid, saying that he did not give such a ruling, fetch his book, which is accessible, open it and show it to him. If you ignore his insinuations several times and act contrary to his suggestions, he would take his hands off you in desperation, and it is hoped that you will obtain a definite cure of your illness, as mentioned in some noble traditions: In al-Kafi, (al-Kulayni reports) with his isnad from Zurarah and Abu Basir that they said: We asked him (I.e. Imam al-Baqir or Imam al-Sadiq [A]) about a man who had frequent doubts in his salat, to the extent that he wouldn’t know how much he has offered and how much remain to be offered. He said, “He should repeat (the salat).” We said to him, “That happens to him a lot and wherever he repeats his doubt also recurs.” The Imam said, “(In that case) he should ignore his doubt.” Then, he added, “Don’t let the Evil One get accustomed to haunting you by tempting him by breaking the salat. For Satan is wicked and gets accustomed to that which he is allowed to get used to. So when one of you does not pay attention to his doubt and does not break his salat frequently, and this is done a number of times, the doubt will not recur to him.” Zurarah says: Then the Imam added, “The Evil One wants to be obeyed, and when he is disobeyed he will not return to any of you.”7 (Al-Kulayni) reports with his isnad from Abu Ja’far (A) that he said, “When sahw (I.e. forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, lapse of attention) occurs often to you during salat, disregard it, for that will make Satan leave you. Indeed sahw is due to Satan.”8 Certainly, when you oppose his insinuations and do not pay attention to them, Satan will give up his hopes and the state of steadiness and certitude will return to your soul. But while you oppose him you must tearfully beseech God, the Exalted, and seek the refuge of His Sacred Essence from the evil of the Accursed One and from the evil of the carnal self. Of course, He shall help you. In the following tradition of al-Kafi too, we have been commanded to seek God’s help against the evil of Satan: Imam al-Sadiq (A) said: A man came to the Messenger of Allah (S) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I complain to you concerning the waswasah that so troubles me during salat that I don’t know how much of my prayer I have offered.” The Prophet said to him, “When you enter your salat, strike your left thigh with the forefinger of your right hand, then say: In the Name of God and by God, I put my trust in God, I seek refuge in God, the All-hearing, the All-knowing from Satan, the Stoned One. You will exorcize him and drive him away.”9 And all praise is God’s, firstly and lastly, outwardly and inwardly, and may benedictions and peace be upon Muhammad and the Pure Ones of his progeny.
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