A major problem experienced by many is of Wasaawis. There are two major issues here, we look down on others. No matter how evil a thought is, any thought that comes on its own is not harmful or sinful. It is a good sign and beneficial, especially if the thought pertains to Allah Ta'ala and Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam. Why? You will not be responsible as long as the thought came to you without your doing.
How can thoughts be beneficial and a sign of goodness? The Sahaaba R.A told Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam that we are experiencing such terrible thoughts that we cannot even speak about them. Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam told Sahaaba, “That is Imaan.” If a person is affected with a thought and it worries him then this is a sign of Imaan as Shaytaan only attacks a person with Imaan. Shaytaan doesn’t waste time with those without Imaan, and who are not concerned of Qabr and Aakhirat.
Shaytaan doesn’t steal money which is nothing more than paper. Shaytaan snatches away the greatest commodity which is Aa’maal and finally Imaan. Shaytaan has taken an oath in the Quraan to come from all directions to snatch away Imaan. A person protects his home by fitting burglar guards, alarm system, etc. In the Quraan Allah Ta'ala explains the oath of Shaytaan,
ثُمَّ لآتِيَنَّهُم مِّن بَيْنِ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ وَعَنْ أَيْمَانِهِمْ وَعَن شَمَآئِلِهِمْ وَلاَ تَجِدُ أَكْثَرَهُمْ شَاكِرِينَ
“(To mislead them,) I will then approach them from the front, from their backs, from their right and their left (in every possible manner) and You will not find most of them to be grateful (most of them will follow me and not Your Deen of Islaam).”
This verse gives us the solution to the problem. Those that make Shukr unto Allah c will certainly be protected. Shaytaan is fully aware that he will never be able to break through to those that make Shukr.
As long as a person did not realise of the evil thought he will not be responsible. When one realises then he should become conscious and regret. Allah Ta'ala had blessed me with wonderful opportunities to be with our Akaabireen. I had noticed our Sheikh-ul-Hadith Hadhrat Maulana Fakhrud-Deen Saheb R.A, suddenly he would recite Astaghfirullah on certain occasions. Allah knows best but I assume that some thought had come to his mind and he reflected over it and immediately said ‘Astaghfirullah’. After realising that one is involved in evil thoughts then he will be sinful if he entertains the thought. This will be harmful as one has allowed Shaytaan to come through the burglar proofing.
Maulana Muhammad Ahmad Saheb Partaabgari R.A. says, “I guard my heart all the time so that no one besides Allah c enters the heart.” No evil thoughts should enter my heart as the heart is the place of Allah Ta'ala.
A person that willingly brings thoughts into the heart will be sinful, but the thought that comes without any effort will not be sinful. Many entertain the thought and take it further which is harmful. Many women think ill of the mother-in-law. If one speaks to her in an ill manner and disrespects her or physically harms one it is worse. It is perhaps more difficult to control one’s thoughts than controlling one’s actions. When involved in a fight, many people tell friends to hold them down before they punch the opposite party. They are unable to punch and fear the opponent yet they telling friends to hold them down, but the thoughts of a person are not withheld.
These thoughts are like fuel. If a person doesn’t have fuel in his vehicle, he will never reach his destination. Hadhrat Maulana Maseehullah Saheb R.A. has explained that eating should be treated as a command of Allah Ta'ala as Allah Ta'ala says, “Eat and Drink.” Without eating how will a person perform salaah? A person should have fuel but it should be used for the correct purpose such as coming to the Masjid, performing Salaah, etc. which will take a person towards Allah c. It should not be used to go towards Haraam.
Similarly, when the fuel of evil thoughts affect a person, it should be used to take you towards Allah c and not towards Haraam. When one makes this sacrifice one will increase in spirituality and one will reach Allah Ta'ala very quickly. Salaah is performed five times a day, Haj is once in a lifetime, Fasting and Zakaat is once a year but the Mujahadah of controlling one’s thoughts is continuous. The stronger the Imaan of a person the stronger is the challenge of Shaytaan.
There are certain Duas that are very effective for removing evil thoughts. We should recite these Duas. The words of these Duas also have an effect, but if recited with the meaning and concentration the effect will be greater. One Dua that should be recited is,
امَنْتُ باِللّهِ وَرُسُلِه
I have brought Imaan on Allah and all His messengers
The word Rusul has a Dhamma or Pesh on the letter “Raa” which changes the word Rasul into Rusul which is the plural. So a person should think that I believe in Allah, yet I am thinking of all these women in my Salaah. How can that be possible? A person that has got Imaan on Allah performs Tahajjud, recites the Quraan Sharif, engages himself in Dua, how can he think of all evil?
Another great remedy provided in the hadith is that we should recite the Dua,
اَللّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ وَسَاْوِسَ قَلْبِىْ خَشْيَتَكَ وَذِكْرَكَ
O Allah! Make (i.e. change) the whispers of my heart Your fear and remembrance.
Convert the evil “Wasaawis” (whispers and thoughts) of my heart into your fear and remembrance. In our small hearts what kind of thoughts are brought? Now, you have changed these thoughts of Shaytaan around by reciting this Dua and used the same thoughts to go towards Allah c. Many a times we entertain thoughts that a certain family member has done Jadu upon me yet those poor people are totally unaware of it. We tend to accuse righteous pious people many times. How can we accuse them?
So we are making Dua to Allah Ta'ala to change these evil thoughts into the fear of Allah Ta'ala. Our Sheikh Daamat Barakaatuhum says that sometimes a person gets confused in regards to the wording of the Dua. Does the word “Khashyatak” appear first or does the word “Zikrak” appear first? Hadrat says that it is very easy to remember as the letter خاء (Kha) appears before the letter ذال (Zhal) in Arabic. By remembering this, it is easy to remember that the word “Khashyatak” appears first.