The Cure to Evil Thoughts

By Hakim-ul-Ummah Mujaddid-ul-Millah Hazrat Mawlana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA)

“The easy remedy to evil thoughts is that when the onslaught of such thoughts overpowers the heart and mind, then one should intentionally and purposely focus one’s attention towards a good and/or positive thought. After this exercise, if these unwanted thoughts continue to linger, then undoubtedly these are unintentional thoughts (for which there is no sin). This method which I have mentioned is very simple and one should make it a routine and then rest at ease from these thoughts forever.

Many a salik, due to these types of evil thoughts and or fantasies, start to consider them self as contemptible and wicked, but this is absolutely not true. It is actually shaytaan who insinuates these types of thoughts into the heart, therefore what sin has the poor salik committed? The salik is actually so depressed and suffering due to these thoughts that in fact they are receiving great rewards from Allah Ta`ala for the internal, spiritual struggle they are undergoing…”

Hazrat continues to explain the reality of these thoughts saying, “…In actuality these evil thoughts are not even within the heart of a believer, rather they linger around the external precincts of the heart. Thus, those “evil-thoughts” which the salikeen suffer from, that loiter outside of the heart, are not really thoughts, but mere reflections or effects of those reflections, which give the impression to a person that they are actually coming from within. The only thing which is actually firmly embedded within the heart of a believer is faith, not stray thoughts. These stray thoughts are nothing but superficial and external which have no reality or substance, thus one should not be worried about them at all.

Shaytaan only insinuates such thoughts into those hearts which have the valuable treasure of faith in them. Just like a thief. A thief only goes to rob a house which has some wealth inside. Thus we should understand that stray thoughts only come about for the true believers and accepted servants of Allah, not for people that are faithless and rejected.

The question might still remain regarding the darkness and spiritual low a person might feel due to these stray thoughts entering the heart. For this I say that the feeling of “darkness” in the heart is tab`i (natural) and all types of darkness are not necessarily an obstacle in treading the path to Allah as long as a person is on the right track. Take for example a train which is headed to its destination. Does a train not travel in the darkness of the night? Don’t we close the shudders at times which block the light from outside? Does this stop the train from traveling on to its destination? All it needs is that the driver should have light and that the train should remain on track. Insha Allah, we know that this train will ultimately get to its destination.

In order to benefit from the above-mentioned advices one should not do the aforesaid exercises with the intention of averting stray thoughts. Neither should one wait for the complete disappearance of such thoughts from the mind and heart after doing it. Rather a person should merely put them to practice when needed, considering them to be an ongoing beneficial-practice without waiting for any results. The reason for this is that intending the aversion of thoughts will lead to hastiness and worry. That worry will lead to anxiety, and how can one possibly avert stray thoughts when one is worried and anxious?

(Anfaas-e-Eesa; Part 2, pgs. 445-446)

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3 Comments on “The Cure to Evil Thoughts”

  1. wojtek Says:

    I cannot stop my evil thoughts they are consuming me and I can’t stop do I need help? do I need to see a doctor? what should I do?

  2. Saleem Says:

    Jazakallah for this post…. just what I needed Alhamdulillah

    AllahuAkbar.

  3. Mustafa Says:

    Thanks for posting, this post made me feel a lot lot better!


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