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This is an abstract from the book “Masterpiece of Believers in Dispraising Obsession and Treating the Obsessed.” It is about a matter about which jurisprudence talks much and a problem from which many complain i.e. obsession. They were talked about in titles to be easily spread and were written in leaflets to be easily born. I ask Allah Almighty to make them useful.

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All due praise and thanks be to Allah, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon whom there is no other messenger and upon all his family and companions.

 
This is an abstract from the book “Masterpiece of Believers in Dispraising Obsession and Treating the Obsessed.” It is about a matter about which jurisprudence talks much and a problem from which many complain i.e. obsession. They were talked about in titles to be easily spread and were written in leaflets to be easily born. I ask Allah Almighty to make them useful.
 
Obsession: it is a persistent idea dominating a person’s soul without neither tranquility nor stability.
 
 
Its causes:
 
1 - Lack of knowledge: Imam Az-Zahaby said: “The one whose heart is afflicted by doubts and obsessions that cannot be removed unless asking scholars has to learn from the truth what can push that away from him and he should not elaborate.” Knowledge eradicates any doubts that come to the mind, while ignorance afflicts man with what harms him and does not benefit him.
 
2 – Weak faith: This is the result of many things such as the lack of righteous deeds and the increase of the acts of disobedience. Devil rules over the disobedient, while he fears those of strong belief and he has no way towards them.

 
3 - Indulging in apprehensions: apprehensions and abundant thinking that establish no benefits afflict man with obsessions and facilitate the way of the Devil for him.
 
4 - Negligence from the remembrance of Allah: remembrance of Allah drives the Devil away that he cannot have any way for any person. If a person leaves remembrance, the Devil will come with all his troops and enters man’s heart and mind to confuse and whisper to him, as established in the Hadith of the escaping of Satan with a sound of breaking wind upon hearing the calling for prayer; this is reported by Muslim.[1]
 
5 – Not associating with people: as the Devil is nearer to the individual person so that he can control him more easily, spoil and mislead him.
 
6 – Not Following (the righteous): either by exceeding limits or by negligence which are both dispraised.
 
 
Its Features
 
1 - Being late in toilets while performing ablutions or taking a purifying bath: these are the most frequent cases of obsessions that afflict ignorant people.
 
2 - Repeating performing prayers: because he thinks that it is spoilt and that he did not start prayer with the Imam by saying Allah is Greater. He therefore stops saying Allah is Greater and repeats uttering it. Sheikh of Islam, Ibn Taymiyyah, said “The majority of Muslims are right that if a person performs an act of worship as ordered and as possible, he then does not need to repeat it as Allah Almighty has said: {So keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him as much as you can;} [Surat At-Taghâbun 64:16]
 
{فَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ} التغابن: 16
 
Transliteration: Faittaqoo Allaha ma istataAAtum 
 
It was never mentioned that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has ordered a person to pray the same prayer twice. He only orders this who had not done what he has been ordered to, with his ability to do so, as he has said to the one who had performed a bad prayer: “Return and pray because you have not prayed” [Agreed upon],
 
«ارجع فصلي فإنّك لم تصلي» متفق عليه
 
And as he has ordered the one who prayed alone behind the row to repeat his prayer (Majmû’ Al-Fatâwa (the Collection of Fatwas 21/633).
 
3 - Repeating a letter: Ibn Qudâmah and Ibn al-Qayyim said “He -the obsessed- finds it difficult in pronouncing vocabulary, so he repeats uttering the same letter during prayer (like stammering and stuttering), thus he spoils his prayer and the prayer of others if he is the Imam” (it seems that his prayer is accepted although he is at fault)
 
4 - The existence of weakness in the nation: especially the youth who are the pillars of the nation and its foundation. They are useless if the Devil controls and whispers to one or to all of them in their worships.
 
 
Types of the Obsessive
 
1 - Obsession in creed: as shown in the Hadith in which Satan asks who has created so and so and who has created so from so until he asks: who has created Allah. The treatment of this is by leaving arguing with to answering him as mentioned in the Hadiths which are in summary: I believe in Allah and His Messenger, He is Allah, (the) One, Allah-us-Samad [Allah the Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)]. He begets not, nor was He begotten. And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him. He is then to spit towards the left side and seeks refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan and prevents himself from being carried away in such obsession. Obsession is to end and the devil is to be defeated for those who do that obediently and sincerely for Allah and His Messenger. As the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said “doing this will make it go away from him.” [Authenticated by Al-Albani]
 
«فإن ذلك يذهب عنه» صححه الألباني
 
2 - Obsession in purification: this is more spread among the obsessed. The Devil interferes with many people through this matter due to the lack of knowledge of its religious rulings and the spread of ignorance especially when it comes to the intention of purification. The Devil, therefore, whispers to the obsessed about their intention. You find the one of them striving hard for the intention which is due to his ignorance. An intention does not need all these efforts. Just aiming at performing an action is intending to do it. Such striving leads one to verbally utter the intention and as it is known, uttering the intention is a kind of heresy. Each heresy is straying from the right path; it had not been done neither by the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, nor by his companions or their followers.
 
A person intends to do something, and then he is in doubt whether such intention is concluded or not? Doubting the intention is a kind of madness as man definitely knows himself, so how can a sane person doubts himself?
 
3 - Obsession during urinating or defecating: as they spend a long time in toilets. One exerts efforts to urinate then one does disgraceful actions such as pulling out, grasping, hemming , walking, jumping, roping, checking, pouring, stuffing, binding, and moving (refer to their explanation in Ibn Al-Qayyem’s “Ighathat Allahfan” (Relieving the Athirst))
 
The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and his companions did not use to do anything of that such as those obsessed.
 
4 - Obsession in performing ablution: if a person is to perform ablution, he looks to the water and wonders: how can I know that it is acceptable for ablution or at least that it is pure?
 
This is ignorance, because if he has religious knowledge, he will know that water is originally pure. Allah Almighty has said {and We send down pure water from the sky} [Surat Al-Furqân 25:48],
 
{...وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً طَهُورًا} الفرقان: 48
 
Transliteration: waanzalna mina alssamai maantahooran
 
so a person in not to leave originality for contingency. If he contemplates for a long time about the purity of water, then his sin is to be greater.
 
5 - Obsession in the purification of cloths: a person washes his pure cloths several times a day if he is in doubt of their purity or that he is just not sure. Obsession may get hold of him to the extent that if a Muslim touches his clothes, he washes them, as if this Muslim is impure or that his cloths are. He is a sane person; would he let impurity cling to him? Is man impure? If his garment is touched by a drop of water, he does not become satisfied by washing such drop; he rather washes the whole garment and everything he has. If this takes place during ablution, he becomes late for the congregation praying.
 
6 - Obsession in prayer and recalling its intention: he verbally utters the intention by saying “I will pray so and so” then he stops that thinking that the intention is cancelled, though it cannot be canceled but only on purpose. He commits ten heresies that neither the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, nor his companions did; not any of them. They are: I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed Satan; I am intending to pray the noon prayer, on time, for the sake of Allah, as an Imam or as a follower, four praying units towards the direction of Kaaba. He then bothers the limbs, bends the forehead, protrude the veins of his neck and cries with saying “Allah is Greater” as if he was shouting at an enemy.
 
Sheikh of Islam said: “If one of them had lived as long as Noah, peace be upon him; searching whether the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, or any one of his companions had done any matter of that, he would not have find anything from that unless he utters mere lies. If this was good, they would have done that before us and guided us to it. If this was guidance, then they have gone astray from it, and if they were in guidance, so what can be beyond truth except error?”
 
 
Impacts
 
1 – The wrath of Allah Glorified and Exalted: through his state of obsession, an obsessed is exposed to missing performing many acts of worship. Such deeds anger Allah Glorified and Exalted, as its doer is in a state that does not please Allah Glorified and Exalted.
 
When the obsessed misses or does not perform the acts of worship rightly, he is then in a state of disobedience; and disobedience angers Allah, especially if its doer insists on it.
 
2 – The Shaking of Religion and weakness of Faith: as Satan has found a way to slave of Allah. So Satan whispers to him about his obsessions. Obsession mostly hits those of weak faith. The most remarkable sign of the shaking of religion and the weakness of faith is losing the congregation prayer, delaying prayer or even completely missing it.
 
3 – Being dissatisfied with the Sunnah and deviating from it: increasing the performing of ablution to more than three times is contradictory to the Sunnah. This increasing is obsession in itself. It was not reported from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he has increased more than that. It was rather mentioned that he forbade that.
 
4 – Annulment or decrease of the reward: due to the increasing of times more than the Sunnah, as this whoever increases over three times contradicts the Sunnah. In the Hadith of Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas: a Bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and asked him about ablution. He demonstrated it to him three times and three times and said: “this is ablution, so this whoever increases more than that has abused, transgressed or wronged” [Reported by Ibn Majah and Al-Albani said: good authentic]
 
«جاء أعرابي إلى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فسأله عن الوضوء فأراه ثلاثا ثلاثا ثم قال هذا الوضوء فمن زاد على هذا فقد أساء أو تعدى أو ظلم» رواه ابن ماجه وقال الألباني: حسن صحيح
 
5 – Bringing misfortunes for himself and others: for himself: by being away from the right guidance -which is the greatest misfortune- and from the way of Allah Almighty as well as from the guidance of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, which cause distress, difficulty and vexation; For others: by fatiguing, distressing, grieving and saddening his family and friends, especially his parents.
 
6 – Fatiguing the soul: hesitation in and repeating the verbal intention and exaggerating in pouring waters over limbs in ablution are all torture to the soul.
 
7 – Performing the forbidden and leaving the ordained: the wise legislator (Allah Almighty) has ordered what befits the self and what it can bear and has forbidden what harms and destroys it. These include ordering using little water in ablution and forbidding wasting it by extravagance. The obsessed people do the forbidden and leave the ordained.
 
8 – Wasting time and life: by staying in toilets and his other conditions as previously mentioned. If he avoids that, he would use his time for what benefits him both in his religion and worldly life. Al-Wazîr Ibn Al-Wazîr Ibn Hubaira said:
 
Time is the most precious kept thing
And I see that it is the easiest thing to be lost
 
9 - Exposing people to disgracing and defaming him: no one is safe from people. If a person is good, they deny his good deeds; while if he is bad, they spread out the bad deeds and forget the good deeds. This is applied for wise persons, so what about the ignorant obsessed? He is their demand and desire. They mock and make fun of him in meetings, and warn people against him… etc.
 
10 - Occupying his conscience with more than what is required: this is one of the bad impacts as he –the obsessed- occupies his conscience with more than what is required. If water does not belong to him such as the water in public WCs, he repeats ablution, thinks about the purity of the water and then comes out worrying about what is more than required. This occupies him to the degree that harms him much in tomb and on the Day of Resurrection.
 
11 - To be a reason to slander his friends and brothers: who are not afflicted by such disease, so evil people slander them. In other words, while the obsessed person is among his friends, evil persons slander all Muslims, by such sayings as “these religious persons are obsessive and stern”, and the alike words said by secular and evil people, may Allah reproach and destroy them sooner not later.
 
How great is the offence of such ignorant towards all Muslims. He exposes the non-obsessed persons to be slandered by enemies. His action becomes a stumbling block to the disobedient that prevents them from righteousness.
 
12 - Being delayed from worldly business: such as trading, seeking for livelihood and other important businesses in this worldly life, due to being occupied with obsession.
 
 
Treatment
 
1 - Seeking for religious sciences: as this prevents one from doing that which has no origin in religion. In addition, Satan becomes fearful of him and escapes far away.
 
The condition of the obsessed is all ignorance of religion, because if he were knowledgeable, he would not have done that.
 
2 - Strengthening faith: by increasing performing optional acts of worship, obedience and closeness to Allah that include praying, giving alms, and fasting, etc. The most important acts of obedience is the obligatory acts of worship. If one does that, one strengthens faith and has a strong barrier that prevents the cursed Satan from reaching the heart.
 
3 - Continuous remembrance of Allah Almighty: Imam Abu Bakr Ibn Al-Arabi said: “Allah Almighty has empowered Satan to spoil man’s prayer by whispering … and its remedy is remembrance …etc.”
 
Remembrance is the strong barrier and block, the accompanying protector and the deadly weapon against devils. Among all remembrances, there are especially the remembrances of the beginning and end of day, sleeping remembrances, going out and entering remembrances and others.
 
4 - Knowing that the truth is what the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has come up with: so following him in words and deeds, which is the guidance Allah has accepted for His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, who is the good example to be followed. The obsessed has taken the way of Satan as their way; and an evil way it is (that leads one to Hell unless Allah forgives him).
 
5 - Knowing that devil cannot ever advise man: even if he claims that he recommends {And he [Shaitân (Satan)] swore by Allâh to them both (saying): “Verily, I am one of the sincere well-wishers for you both.” (21) So he misled them with deception.} [Surat Al-A’râf 7:21-22]
 
{وَقَاسَمَهُمَا إِنِّي لَكُمَا لَمِنَ النَّاصِحِينَ ﴿٢١﴾ فَدَلَّاهُمَا بِغُرُورٍ...} الأعراف: 21-22
 
Transliteration:  Waqasamahuma innee lakumalamina alnnasiheena (21) Fadallahuma bighuroorin 
 
So beware of him and his steps.
 
6 - Striving in pushing obsession away and distract himself from it: by not to be occupied and pre-occupied by it, otherwise one will be controlled and taken over by it; and how impossible then that it will go away unless Allah wills that. If one strives and pushes that away, it will vanish, Allah willing.
 
Sheikh of Islam, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “the slave of Allah must persist in the remembrance of Allah and praying and not to be bored. By persisting in that the plotting of Satan will fade away {Ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaitân (Satan).} [Surat An-Nisâ’ 4:76]
 
{...إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا} النساء: 76
 
Transliteration: inna kayda alshshaytani kana daAAeefan
 
Whenever the slave of Allah wants to aim at Allah by heart, he is afflicted by the whispers of Satan of other matters. The Devil is like a highwayman. Whenever the slave of Allah wants to go to Allah Almighty, he wants to commit highway robbery against him.” One of the ancestors was asked: “The Jews and Christians say that they are not afflicted by the whispers of Satan. He replied: they have said the truth. What can the Devil do to a ruined house?”
 
7 - Seeking refuge with Allah Almighty: {And if an evil whisper from Shaitân (Satan) tries to turn you away (O Muhammad) (from doing good), then seek refuge in Allâh.} [Surat Fussilat 41:36]
 
{وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّـهِ...} فصلت: 36
 
Transliteration: Waimma yanzaghannaka mina alshshaytani nazghun faistaAAith biAllahi 
 
If you seek refuge, he escapes and becomes like a fly (in cowardice). So, seek refuge with Allah upon reading the Quran and upon performing other acts of obedience.
 
Ibn As-Sa’di said: “Seeking refuge contains asking help from Allah to push Satan away.”
 
8 - Invocation: this is one of the strongest reasons to push obsession away. Know that Allah is shy to turn away a slave who has asked Him; as that He has promised to answer the one who invokes Him. So, increase your invocations, especially in the preferable times of acceptance.
 
 
Written by
Abdullah ibn Sulaiman Al-’Atîq
03/23/1418 Hijri year
 
Ibn Khuzaymah House for Publication and Distribution
 
From: Convey! Even if Only One Verse
 
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[1] Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) said: When there is a call to prayer the devil runs back breaking the wind so that he may not hear the call, and when the call is complete he comes back…[Sahih Muslim].
 

 

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