Recognition of Thoughts
A khaatir of khair (Thought of Goodness) having the following ingredients is from Shaitaan:
• It produces total delight-delight unchecked by khauf (fear).
• It demands haste. The haste it wants is, unchecked
• It pertains to something, the consequences of which are not at all considered.
The following five occasions are excluded from this rule:
1. Marriage of a virgin.
2. Payment of the debt.
3. Burial of the dead.
4. Feeding the visitor.
5. Repenting for sins.
If the Thought of Goodness is accompanied by delight tempered with khauf and one is concerned about the consequences of the act if it is translated into practice, then such thought of virtue is from Allah Ta’ala. Ir has also been said that such a khaatir of khair is from the Angel Mulhim.
N.B. Khauf in the context of this discussion means concern and anxiety to render the virtue fully, and perfectly, observing all the required rules and adaab pertaining to that act, the thought of which has occurred. At the same time one is anxious in regard to the acceptance of the deed–will Allah Ta’ala accept it or reject it? The meaning of being concerned about the consequences is in relation to guidance, virtue and hope for thawaab in the Aakhirah. There should be no other motive.
Mulhim is the name of an angel who occupies the right side of the heart while Waswaas is the name of a shaitaan who occupies the left side of the heart of man. The Hadith Shareef explains this:
“When man is born Allah Ta’ala creates an angel and a shaitaan along with him. The shaitaan makes his abode on the left side of mans’ heart and the angel settles on the right side. Both then call towards man.”
Some effort, concern and Thikr (among which the recitation of Laa haulaa walaa quw-wate is very efficacious) will suffice to ward off the khawaatir of shaitaan. Allah Ta’ala states:
“Verily, the scheme of shaitaan is weak.”
The best remedy for the waswasah (thoughts and whisperings) of shaitaan is to totally ignore these. How will one know that one is ignoring such thoughts of shaitaan? The recognition of this is that one will not be unduly bothered or vexed when such thoughts assault one. The state of indifference which existed prior to the entry of satanic waswasah should also prevail after these thoughts have entered the heart. In fact, the occurrence of satanic waswasah is proof of one’s Imaan. Such assaults should therefore be a cause of happiness and not sorrow. When the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam explained their concern and vexation about these satanic thoughts which afflicted them, Rasulullah (saws) said:
“This is clear evidence of Imaan.”
A thief makes an attempt only where there is something of value.
Regarding the desires of the nafs, great effort and great struggle are required in this sphere. Subjugation of the desires of the nafs is achieved only after struggle. The need to confront the nafs with resolution, wrath and determination is very important. There are three ways of combating the desires of the nafs. These are:
1. Preventing it from lust by denying it its nutrition. Its desires should not be fulfilled. Much resistance has to be offered to the nafs. When a wild horse is denied food or its food is reduced it becomes submissive. It will become subdued and the lustful demands of the nafs will be ended.
2. The imposition of Ibaadat on the nafs also weakens its demands. An ass becomes weak and submissive if along with denying it food it is loaded with a heavy load. Similarly, the nafs will be transformed from a state of restlessness to tranquillity by imposing on it such Ibaadat which is beneficial.
3. Seeking the aid of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Azza Wa Jal says in the Qur’aan Shareef:
“Verily the nafs is a great commander of evil, but (the nafs) upon whom Allah is merciful (such a nafs will remain obedient).”
Adoption of these three methods with constancy will, Insha’Allah, render the nafs obedient and submissive. Man will then be safe from its evil promptings. Even after having gained control of the nafs, one has to be alert at all times. Ghaflat (negligence) is extremely dangerous. Ghaflat will result in the nafs once again asserting its domination and control over man.