Question asked to Shaykh al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah):
There is a man who suffers from the whisperings of Shaytan. [Shaytan] whispers things to him that are great sins, concerning Allaah, the Almighty, the All-Powerful and [the man] is very much afraid of this; what is the advice of your eminence?
Answer by Shaykh al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah):
Regarding what has been mentioned concerning the problem of the questioner, which is that he fears the result of it, I say to him: Rejoice at the good news that there will be no result from it except a good result. This is the whispering by which Shaytan assails the believers in order to upset the sound belief in their hearts and to cause them sprirtual and mental agitation and disturb the serenity of their faith, indeed the serenity of their lives, if they are believers.
He is not the first among the people of faith to be confronted by this situation, nor is he the last, for it will continue as long as there is a believer in the world; and this same situation confronted the companions (radiAllaahu ‘anhum), for it was reported on the authority of Abu Hurayrah (radiAllaahu ‘anhu) that he said:
“Some people from among the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) came to the Messenger and said to him, ‘Verily we perceive in our minds that which every one of us considers too grave to express.’
He (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘Do you really perceive it?
They said: ‘Yes.’ Upon this he (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: ‘That is true faith.'”
[It was reported by Muslim in the Book of Faith, in the Chapter of Explanation of the (evil) whispering regarding Faith (132)]
In the Two Sahihs, it is also narrated from Abu Hurayrah (radiAllaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Satan may come to anyone of you and say: ‘Who created such and such? Who created such and such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ So, when he inspires such a question, one should seek refuge with Allaah and give up such thoughts.”
[Reported by Bukhari in the Book of Beginning of Creation, in the Chapter: The description of Iblis and his Legions (3276) and it was reported by Muslim in the Book of Faith, in the Chapter on the Description of the (evil) Whispering regarding Faith (134).]
It is reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas (radiAllaahu anhuma) that a man came to the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and said: “Oh, Messenger of Allaah! One of us has thoughts of such a nature that he would rather be reduced to charcoal than speak about them.” The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “All praise and thanks be to Allaah, Who has reduced his matter (shaytan’s guile) to (evil) whispering.”
[It was reported by Abu Dawud in the Book of Good Manners, in the Chapter: Regarding the response to (evil) Whispering (5112) and by Imam Ahmed in Al-Musnad (1:340)]
Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said in the Book of Faith:
“The believer is put to trial by the whispering of Satan, the whispering of kufr which causes him distress, as the companions (radiAllaahu ‘anhum) said: “Oh Messenger of Allah! One of us has thoughts within himself of such a nature that he would rather fall down from the heaven than speak of them.” The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“That is true faith”
And in another narration: “he considers it too grave to express.” He (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“All praise and thanks are Allaah’s, Who has reduced his (shaytan) intrigue to (evil) whispering).”
That is, the occurence of his whispering along with this great hatred for it and repelling it from the heart is a part of true faith, like the warrior in Allaah’s Cause who met the enemy and fought him until he overcame him, for that is a great Jihad up to his words.
This is why the seekers of knowledge and worship are assailed by whispering and uncertainty which do not afflict another, because he (the other) does not follow the Law of Allaah and His way; rather, he follows his own desires, heedless of the rememberance of his Lord and this is the goal of Shaytan, as opposed to those who turn towards their Lord with knowledge and (acts of) worship, for he is their enemy and he seeks to prevent them from (worshipping) Allaah, the Most High.
So, I say to this questioner: once it is clear to you that this whispering is from Shaytan, then you must struggle and stand against it, know that it will never harm you as long as you undertake the necessary struggle, reject it and cease thinking about it. The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said:
“Allaah has forgiven what is whispered in the hearts of my followers, unless they put it into action or utter it.” [(Reported by Bukhari in the Book of Manumission, in the Chapter: Error and Forgetfulness in Manumission and Divorce (2528) and by Muslim in the Book of Faith, in the Chapter: Allah has forgiven what is whispered in heart (127)]
And if it is said to you:
Do you believe what is whispered to you? And do you think it is the truth? And is it possible to describe Allaah, the Most Glorified by it? You would say: It is not for us to speak of this; Glorified are You (Oh Allaah), this is a great lie! You would reject it with your heart and by your words; and of the people, you would flee further than any of them from it. Then it is, only whispering and perils displayed to your heart, and a window to polythesim from Shaytan, who courses throughout the human body as blood courses through it, in order to destroy and obscure your deen for you.
This is why you find that Shaytan does not place doubt or rejection about trivial things in your heart, so you hear for example, of the existence of large and important cities filled with residents and buildings in the east and west and yet doubt their existence never once crossed your mind, nor regarding their faults, such as that their buildings are destroyed or are unfit for habitation or that there are no occupants in them and so on. There is no goal for Shaytan in making mankind doubt such things. But Shaytan’s important great goal is destroying the faith of the believer, so he strives by his horse, and on foot, to extinguish the light of knowledge and guidance in one’s heart and to cause him to fall into the darkness of doubt and uncertainty.
The Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) explained the beneficial medicine which contains a cure for this:
“Then let him seek refuge with Allah and cease doing it.”
If a person ceases doing that and continues to worship Allah, seeking & desiring that which is with Allaah, it will stop troubling him, by Allaah’s Power. So, avoid all suppositions which pass through your heart on this subject and worship Allaah, supplicate to Him and glorfiy Him, and if you heard anyone describing Him with what was whispered to him, you would kill him if you could. Therefore, what is whispered is not a fact; rather it is simply thoughts and whisperings which have no basis. Like in the case of someone wearing a clean garment which he has just washed and then he is assailed by thoughts that “maybe it is impure,” and “maybe it is not permissble to pray in it,” but he should pay no heed to this.
And my advice may be summarized as follows:
1. Seek protection with Allaah and completely stop these suppositions as the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) ordered us to do.
2. Mention Allaah, the Most High and restrain yourself from this whisperings.
3. Wholehearted dedication to worship and acting in accordance with the Command of Allaah and seeking His Pleasure, for when you give worship your undivided attention with earnestness and striving, you will forget about occupying yourself with this whispering, InshaAllaah.
4. Seeking refuge with Allaah much and asking Him to protect you from this thing.And I ask Allaah, the Most High for protection for you and safety from every evil and every destable thing.
Source: Fatawa Arkanul Islam, Pgs 55-60.