DhikrGhuslSalah (Prayers)Waswasa
What are the causes of Waswasa? If a person gets such distracting thoughts such as when praying Salaat, reciting Dhikr, performing Ghusl and in matters of purity, is there anything a person can do to get rid of such thoughts and cure it permanently?
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Amina Inloes,

Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the Islamic College in London and also the Managing Editor of the Journal of Shi'a Islamic Studies.

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10 Answers
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Amina Inloes, Amina Inloes is originally from the US and has a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Exeter on Shi'a hadith. She is the program leader for the MA Islamic Studies program at the... Answer updated 12 months ago

From my experience, there are multiple causes of the symptoms of waswas.

As described in the previous response, literally, the word "waswas" refers to the whispering of Shaytan. However in my experience, people also experience the same symptoms as:

* Psychological coping mechanisms (for instance, as a response to prolonged stress such as warfare or the pressure of being a minority and feeling one's identity is under threat)
* Manifestations of psychiatric conditions (anxiety, OCD, etc.) that are expressed in the guise of being "religious". Sometimes because this is considered to be a more socially acceptable way of expressing this behaviour or even praised and encouraged as signs of piety. 
* Sometimes as a response to a very strict upbringing or social environment in which one is made to be terrified of small mistakes (like missing a spot during wudu), or where there is a lot of criticism of these things. 
* I think to some degree there is a personality element as well.

Not all people who are dealing with these things respond in the same way (i.e. with symptoms of waswas); however, some do. Perhaps part of it is a desire for control in situations where we cannot control what is going on around us.

This does not mean that whispering from Shaytan is not present in these situations or that everything has a psychological/psychiatric explanation; rather, the two can happen at the same time. 

Anyway, in addition to addressing what is due to Shaytan, such as by reciting ayat al-kursi, and the other interventions mentioned below, these things can also be addressed, if they are applicable in the circumstances. 

Some people are also just naturally very scatterbrained and absent-minded and easily forget things (such as whether they ate or what time they have to go places, as well as things such as whether they did salat or wudhu), but this is somewhat different because it does not usually cause distress. However, some of the same interventions may apply (such as ignoring doubts).

In any case, as discussed in the previous response, the important thing is to overcome these things and acknowledge that this is not what Allah wants from us and rather the ritual acts we do such as salat and ritual purification are means to a higher goal rather than something to become anxious about in and of themselves.

Sayyed Mohammad Al-Musawi, Sayyed Mohammad al-Musawi is originally from Iraq and heads up the World Ahlul Bayt Islamic League in London. Other than being involved in various humanitarian projects, he frequently responds to... Answered 1 year ago

Waswasa is a condition of weakness in the will power and thinking power which makes the person hesitate in defining his acts and doubts himself or / and others.

The cause of this mental condition is the weakness in dealing with Shaitan which makes the person under the influence of Shaitan.

Shiatan and Satanic efforts are weak as Allah (SWT) says in Quran ( Verily, the efforts of Shaitan are weak) (Sura Annisaa’, Verse 76). Normal human beings are easily able to defeat Shaitan, but those who opt to be weak and go on in their weakness till they become very weak, put themselves as an easy target for Shaitan. Shaitan tries to mislead them under many titles including Wudhu and Namaz and Tahara and  Nijasah etc. Shaitan creates doubts in their minds about the validity of their worship to disturb their state of mind and make them loose the sweat taste of worshipping Allah. If they keep listening to Satanic whispering, they will go far away from Allah (SWT). Some of them might reach to loosing their faith in worst scenarios.

Tackiling Waswasa needs:

1. Admitting that Waswasa is from Shaitan and being aware about its origin.Jafar Al-Sadiq (AS) was requested help to cure a person suffering from Waswasa.bHectold them: Ask him, is what he suffers from from Allah or from Shaitan? Imam Said: He will say: It is from Shaitan. 

‘Such person needs to always be reminded that Waswasa is from Shaitan.

2. Repeating Estighfaar, Salwaat, La Hawla Wala Qowwata Ilya Billah and Laa Ilaaha Illallah لا إله إلا الله, Sura Tawheed. All these recitations drive Shaitan away if been recited with concentration and dedication.

3. Not to care to the repeated doubts at all and practicing  the total ignoring of such doubts because of its Satanic origin.

4. Reciting this Quranic supplication : RABBI A’OOTHO BIKA MIN HAMAZAAT ASHSHAYATEEN رب أعوذ بك  من همزات الشياطين

5. Repeating Ayatul Kursi.

Wassalam.