He Is Suffering From Waswaas And He
Made Many Vows And Broke Them: Sources Of Waswaas And
Will The Muslim Be Punished For It?
Islamic Rulings -
Living Shariah Verdicts
Islamic Questions & Answers
He is affected by waswaas and he swore many
oaths that he would not do that action again, then he
broke the oaths. He has sworn many oaths and vows and
only Allaah knows how many they are, and he is
suffering from waswaas. How can he expiate for what
has gone before?.
Praise be to Allaah.
If a person swears many oaths and breaks them, and
does not offer expiation, one of two scenarios must
1 – The vows were all to do with one thing, such as
saying, "By Allaah, I will not smoke," then he breaks
the oath and does not offer expiation for that. Then
he swears again that he will not smoke, then he breaks
the oath… in this case one expiation is required.
2 – The oaths have to do with several actions, such as
saying, "By Allaah, I will not drink; by Allaah, I
will not wear (certain clothes); by Allaah, I will not
go to such and such a place," then he breaks all those
oaths. Does he have to offer one expiation or as many
expiations as the oaths he swore and broke? There is a
difference of opinion among the fuqaha' concerning
this matter. The majority are of the view that he must
offer several expiations, but the Hanbalis say that he
only has to offer one expiation.
The more correct view is that of the majority, because
these were oaths to do several things, and breaking
one of them does not mean that another is broken, they
are not interconnected.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was
asked: I am a young man and I swore to Allaah more
than three times that I would repent from a haraam
action. My question is: do I have to offer one
expiation or three? And what is my expiation?
He replied: You have to offer one expiation, which is
feeding or clothing ten poor persons, or freeing a
slave. Whoever cannot do that must fast for three
days, because Allaah, may He be glorified, says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"Allaah will not punish you for what is unintentional
in your oaths, but He will punish you for your
deliberate oaths; for its expiation (a deliberate
oath) feed ten Masaakeen (poor persons), on a scale of
the average of that with which you feed your own
families, or clothe them or manumit a slave. But
whosoever cannot afford (that), then he should fast
for three days. That is the expiation for the oaths
when you have sworn. And protect your oaths (i.e. do
not swear much). Thus Allaah makes clear to you His
Ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs,
revelations, etc.) that you may be grateful"
This applies to every oath that is made to do one
thing or to refrain from one thing; if the oath is
sworn repeatedly, only one expiation is required, if
he did not offer expiation the first time. But if he
offered expiation the first time, then he repeated the
oath, then he must offer another expiation, if he
breaks the oath. Similarly, if he repeated it a third
time and had offered expiation the second time, he
must offer a third expiation.
But if he swore oaths to do several things or to
refrain from several things, then he must offer
expiation for each one, such as if he said, "By Allaah
I will not speak to So and so," and "By Allaah I will
not eat food," and "By Allaah, I will not travel to
such and such a place," and "By Allaah, I will speak
to So and so" and "By Allaah, I will hit him," and so
What must be done is to give each poor person half a
saa' of the local staple food, which is approximately
one and a half kilograms. With regard to clothing, it
should be what is sufficient for prayer, such as a
thobe or a rida' and izaar (upper and lower garment).
If he gives them dinner or breakfast, that is
sufficient, because of the general meaning of the
verse quoted above. And Allaah is the source of
End quote from Majmoo' Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz
If the person asked about is suffering from waswaas,
and he swore these oaths under the influence of that
waswaas, without intending to do so or wanting to
swear an oath, then he does not have to do anything.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him)
said: If a person is suffering from waswaas, his
divorce does not count as such if he utters the words
of divorce, if it was not done intentionally, because
this utterance of divorce was caused by the waswaas
and was not intended, rather he was compelled to do it
because of the strength of the waswaas and his lack of
willpower to resist it. The Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "There is no
divorce when one is compelled." So the divorce does
not count as such if he did not truly intend it
willingly. This is something that he was compelled to
do and did not intend or choose to do, so it does not
count as a divorce. End quote from Fataawa Islamiyyah
If this applies to divorce, then it applies even more
so to oaths, because the issue of marriage is more
serious than the issue of oaths.
And Allaah knows best.
Sources Of Waswaas And Will The
Muslim Be Punished For It?
I'd like to know if there is a way to
distinguish the wassasa that is coming from the
shaytan, and the wassasa coming from the nafs, and can
we know which is coming out of which? And if it is
coming out of the nafs, are we going to be punished
even if we reject it?.
Praise be to Allaah.
The waswaas which people experience is not all of the
same type or degree, either in terms of the type of
sickness or in terms of its source and effect.
The kind of waswaas which tempts a person to listen to
or look at haraam things or to commit immoral actions,
and makes such things appear attractive to him, comes
from three sources: the nafs or self which is inclined
to evil (cf. Yoosuf 12:53), the devils among the jinn,
and the devils among mankind.
Allaah says, describing the first source, which is the
nafs (interpretation of the meaning):
"And indeed We have created man, and We know what his
ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than
his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge)"
Allaah says, describing the second source, which is
the devils among the jinn (interpretation of the
"Then Shaytaan (Satan) whispered to him, saying: ‘O
Adam! Shall I lead you to the Tree of Eternity and to
a kingdom that will never waste away'"
And Allaah says, describing the third source, which is
the devils among mankind (interpretation of the
"Say: I seek refuge with (Allaah) the Lord of mankind,
2. The King of mankind —
3. The Ilaah (God) of mankind,
4. From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers
evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his
whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allaah).
5. Who whispers in the breasts of mankind.
6. Of jinn and men"
So these waswaas may come from the jinn or from the
sons of Adam (human beings).
See question no. 59931
What happens to a Muslim regarding his wudoo' and
prayer, where he does not know how many times he
washed during wudoo' or how many rak'ahs he did in
prayer, comes from the Shaytaan. If he seeks refuge
with Allaah from the Shaytaan, Allaah will suffice him
against him. But if he gives in to him and responds to
the waswaas, the Shaytaan will gain power over him,
and that waswaas will become a chronic problem. This
is what is called al-waswaas al-qahri (overwhelming
waswaas). This kind of waswaas – as one of those who
are specialized in this field said – "is a sickness
which befalls some people like any other kind of
sickness. It refers to repeated thoughts, movements,
ideas or notions which are of a loathsome nature that
a person would ordinarily reject and strive to resist.
He also realizes that they are wrong and have no
meaning, but there is something that is pushing him
towards them and he usually fails to resist them. The
strength of these waswaas may vary, so much so that
they appear – to non-specialists – to be very strong
and it seems that the sick person is doing that
willingly. This kind of waswaas may also affect a
person in his worship and in his worldly affairs."
The waswaas of the Shaytaan may be dispelled by
seeking refuge with Allaah.
The waswaas that comes from one's own self may also be
dispelled by seeking refuge with Allaah, and by
strengthening the connection between a person and his
Lord by doing acts of worship and obedience and by
giving up evil things.
As for al-waswaas al-qahri (overwhelming waswaas), it
is a kind of sickness as stated above.
The difference between the waswaas that comes from the
Shaytaan and the waswaas that comes from the nafs is
subtle, as was quoted by Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah
(may Allaah have mercy on him) from some of the
scholars. He said:
Abu Haazim made a comparison between the waswasah
caused by the nafs and that caused by the Shaytaan,
and said: Whatever your nafs hates for your nafs is
from the Shaytaan, so seek refuge with Allaah from it.
And whatever your nafs likes for your nafs is from
your nafs so forbid it to it.
Majmoo' al-Fataawa, 17/529, 530
i.e., the nafs usually whispers concerning things
which are connected to its whims and desires, which
people usually like.
Some of the scholars pointed out another important
difference, which is that the waswaas that comes from
the Shaytaan makes sin appear attractive until the
Muslim falls into it; if the Shaytaan is unable to
achieve that, he moves on to another sin, and if that
does not work he moves on to a third, and so on. He
does not care about making the Muslim fall into a
particular sin, rather what he cares about is making
the Muslim disobey his Lord, and it is all the same to
him whether he makes him do something that is
forbidden or omit something that is obligatory, for
all of it is sin and disobedience. As for the waswaas
that comes form the nafs, it is what urges the person
to commit a specific sin and repeatedly seeks to make
him do it.
The Muslim will not be punished for the waswaas that
comes from the Shaytaan or from his own nafs, so long
as he does not speak of it or act upon it. But he is
commanded to resist it, and if he neglects to resist
it and goes along with it, then he will be punished
for that neglect.
He is commanded not to pay any attention to the
waswaas of the Shaytaan, and to proceed on the basis
of the smaller number (of rak'ahs) in prayer if he is
not sure how many he has done. He is commanded to seek
refuge from the Shaytaan and spit drily to his left
three times if the waswaas of the Shaytaan comes to
him whilst he is praying. He is commanded to keep
company with good people and avoid bad people. Whoever
is negligent with regard to any of these matters will
fall into the traps of his nafs which is inclined to
evil, or will respond to the devils among the jinn and
mankind, in which case he will be punished.
As for overwhelming waswaas, it is a kind of sickness
– as mentioned above – so the Muslim will not be
harmed by it and Allaah will not punish him for it,
because it is beyond his control. Allaah says
(interpretation of the meaning):
"Allaah puts no burden on any person beyond what He
has given him"
"So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as
And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: "Allaah will forgive my ummah for whatever
crosses their minds so long as they do not speak of it
or act upon it." Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4968;
The one who is tested with this kind of waswaas must
always read Qur'aan and recite the dhikrs prescribed
in sharee'ah, morning and evening. He must strengthen
his faith by doing acts of worship and shunning evil.
He must occupy himself in seeking knowledge, for
although the Shaytaan may gain power over a
worshipper, he cannot gain power over one who has
The Shaytaan may come and whisper evil things to a
Muslim about Allaah, or His Messenger, or His
sharee'ah, things that the Muslim hates and does not
approve of. The fact that he resists these waswaas and
hates them is a sign of the soundness of his faith. So
he should strive to control his nafs (jihad al-nafs)
and not respond to the one who calls him to evil.
Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
The phrase: "and whether you disclose what is in your
own selves or conceal it, Allaah will call you to
account for it" [al-Baqarah 2:284 – interpretation of
the meaning] means that even if He brings you to
account and questions you, He will not punish you
except for that which a person is able to ward off. As
for that which he cannot ward off, such as the waswaas
of the nafs, no one is accountable for that, and
hating evil waswasah is part of faith.
Tafseer Ibn Katheer, 1/343
Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy
on him) was asked:
Waswaas and ideas may cross a person's mind,
especially to do with Tawheed and faith; will the
Muslim be punished for that?
It is narrated in al-Saheehayn and elsewhere that the
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him) said: "Allaah will forgive my ummah for
whatever crosses their minds so long as they do not
speak of it or act upon it." Agreed upon. And it is
narrated that the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with
them) asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) about the kinds of waswaas and thoughts
referred to in the question crossing their minds. He
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) replied:
"That is a clear sign of faith." Narrated by Muslim.
And he (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)
said: "The people will keep on wondering until it is
said, ‘This was created by Allaah, but who created
Allaah?' Whoever experiences any of that, let him say,
‘Aamantu Billaahi wa rusulihi (I believe in Allaah and
His Messengers).'" Agreed upon. According to another
report: "Let him seek refuge with Allaah and stop it."
Narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh.
Tuhfatal-Ikhwaan bi Ajwibah Muhimmah tata'allaq bi
Arkaan al-Islam (question no. 10).
In the answer to question no. 62839 you will find
important information on waswasah and the remedy for
In the answer to question no. 25778 we have described
the remedy for one who is worried about waswaas and
See the answer to question no. 12315 for important
And Allaah knows best.