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I've done some research earlier and found out that "waswaas" and "doubts" are two entirely different things.

According to the hadith, if you have waswaas, then you should just seek refuge with Allah and Allah will not mind the waswaas.

But when it comes to doubts, Allah is more critical about it in the Quran:

"The believers are those who believe in God and His Messenger, then have not doubted, and have struggled with their possessions and their selves in the way of God; those -- they are the truthful ones." [Quran 49:15]

"[ Allah will say], "Throw into Hell every obstinate disbeliever, preventer of good, aggressor, and doubter" [Quran 50:24-25]

These ayahs scared me a bit. I'm not even a 100% sure if I have doubts or waswaas.

I've heard some muslims say that "seeking refuge with Allah" is only meant for waswaas. It is not meant for doubts. The only way to cure doubts is to search for the answers to the doubts. If I have doubts and I try to seek refuge with Allah instead of searching for answers, He will not forgive me for my doubts. This cure only applies to waswaas.

So what do you think? Can a muslim treat doubts and waswaas the same way? If I have doubts (not waswaas), can I just ignore them and seek refuge with Allah instead of searching for answers? Is this permissible in Islam?

Please provide a clear, unambiguous answer and authentic sources.

Thank you.

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To answer this question, we really first of all need to go through the terms you are using and define them.

Also, we must go through the verses you are quoting. Then we might come to a conclusion.

So as you say, doubt and waswas might not be the same thing, they might be related, but that again depends of your definition of the word waswas.

What does waswas mean?

  • Whispering. Which mostly is understood to come from Satan in a religous point of view. Please note that there are discussions about what type of "whisperings" really are coming from Satan and which aren't.
  • Obsessional thoughts, OCD, see: http://www.ocduk.org/types-ocd

Now, if one has OCD, one should visit a doctor which specialize in this area. Because thats more counted as a psychological disorder. God is Just and doesn't punish someone for something she/he cannot control. See:

Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. It will have [the consequence of] what [good] it has gained, and it will bear [the consequence of] what [evil] it has earned. "Our Lord, do not impose blame upon us if we have forgotten or erred. Our Lord, and lay not upon us a burden like that which You laid upon those before us. Our Lord, and burden us not with that which we have no ability to bear. And pardon us; and forgive us; and have mercy upon us. You are our protector, so give us victory over the disbeliev

And:

Let a man of wealth spend from his wealth, and he whose provision is restricted - let him spend from what Allah has given him. Allah does not charge a soul except [according to] what He has given it. Allah will bring about, after hardship, ease.

The doubts could of course be treated as either one of the types of waswas. It could also be related to other things, one could not know for sure. If it's OCD, it might be easier for a specialist to draw the conclusion that it is the source. But doubts could also come from other sources, it musn't be waswas. But one might call all doubts from satan, following the philosophy: "everything that brings you away from Islam, is from Satan".

The verses about doubt

Analyzing the first verse, Surat AL-Hujurat, verse 15
The message of this verse is to say that "the TRUE believers are...". Reading the verse before it (i.e verse 14):

The desert Arabs say, "We believe." Say, "Ye have no faith; but ye (only) say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah,' For not yet has Faith entered your hearts. But if ye obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not belittle aught of your deeds: for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

Meaning that they were Muslims. The verse later one explains the conditions for them, about TRUE belief:

The believers are only those who believe in Allah and His Messenger then they doubt not and struggle hard with their wealth and their lives in the way of Allah; they are the truthful ones.

The tafsir here might also be interesting.

There are many hadiths related to TRUE belief. For instance the hadith:

“You will never believe until you love each other. Shall I tell you what will make you love each other?” They said, “Of course, O Messenger of Allah.” He said, “Spread peace between yourselves. By the one in whose hand is my soul, you will not enter Paradise until you are merciful.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, all of us are merciful.” He said, “Verily, it is not mercy between yourselves, but rather it is mercy in general; it is mercy in general.

The message of the hadith isn't not talking about belief itself, it is talking about the highest LEVEL of belief. You can believe and be a bad person, you can believe and hate everyone and be unjust - but you will never be a TRUE believer.

Analyzing the second verse, Surat Qaf 24-25:

[ Allah will say], "Throw into Hell every obstinate disbeliever,

"Who forbade what was good, transgressed all bounds, cast doubts and suspicions;

Reading the next verse (26):

"Who set up another god beside Allah: Throw him into a severe penalty."

The verse doesn't entirely mean the person who doubts, it might also mean the person who makes people doubt. Even if it means a person who doubts, it is still baked in to many conditions:

  1. A person who set up another god besides Allah. (Moshrik)
  2. A person who forbids good.
  3. Exceeds all the limits (in a negative way)
  4. Makes other people doubt (calling the message a lie), OR it could also be interpreted as he doubts about the message (after beeing clear to him)

You might also know that there are different of opinions about WHO is a kafir. You can read about that in this forum.

Conclusion

In my perspective, the verses you quoted has nothing to do with your situation. The context is not the same.

You might have heard this from me before, but I truly believe your problems are based on you drawing conclusions too fast. You do this by being certain about your interpretation of certain hadiths/verses are absolutely true, which then make you draw conclusion that will be false (if the interpretation is false). You should take a step back, if you really are concerned you should study for real, not reading some verses and hadith in the net. This can really be an "iman" killer, if you aren't experienced, just like one who cannot swim will drown (and die) if one jumps into the deep ocean.

I recommend you to study Arabic, Logic, Rhetoric, Argumentation analysis, Usul Al Fiqh. Keep away from the deep ocean until you do know how to swim.

  • If the desert arabs in surah hujarat, verse 15 are muslims, then why does Allah say "Ye have no faith"? Doesn't that mean Allah doesn't consider them to be muslims? – user16329 Nov 12 '16 at 7:18
  • @curiosity aa i wrote in the post "Meaning that they were Muslims." This part "say, 'We have submitted our wills to Allah" is coming from the word "qol aslamna" (the word for submit ones will to Allah I. e muslim). Read the whole sura it might become clearer in its context. Also read my post again I think you might have missed the part with TRUE faith/belief – Kilise Nov 12 '16 at 8:44
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Here are the wise sayings of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib regarding doubt. Inshallah they make things clear for you.

Imam Ali (a.s)said:

"Do not give in to misgivings lest you start to doubt, and do not doubt lest you disbelieve and do not allow yourselves to become emboldened [against Allah] lest you fall into self-deception." [Bihar al-Anwar, V.2, p. 54, no24]

He said also: "Doubt extinguishes the light of the heart." [Ghurar al-Hikam, no.1242]

You see the seriousness being pointed out by Imam Ali regarding doubt. How can you tackle this problem.

Here is the advice of Imam Ali (as):

"Doubts are dispelled through repetition of one's thought processes." [Ghurar al-Hikam, no.4271]

And what can be better to nourish the thought process than reading, learning and researching.

Don't give into the desire to doubt everything and to unreasonable debating.

-1

Doubt is essential to faith.

You see, when trying to understand something, or even Allah, one needs to question and question rises from doubt and curiosity. Because Allah is the truth, He will reveal His signs when questioned enough. How He will reveal, it's relative to the one questioning.

There is no God, but Allah

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