Praise be to Allah
One of the means that the Shaytan uses to misguide people is by casting doubts and whispers (waswas) into their hearts. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has warned us against some of these things. It says in the hadeeth: “The Shaytan comes to any one of you and says, ‘Who created such and such? Who created such and such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ If that happens to you, seek refuge with Allah and give up these thoughts.” Narrated by al-Bukhari, no. 3277
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) taught us two important things:
1 – To turn to Allah and seek His protection, and to beseech Him, for He is the most Generous:
2 – To put a stop to this matter and turn away from it, and to keep ourselves busy with other, useful things.
The Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to him complaining about the doubts and waswas that they were suffering. In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Some of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came to him and said, ‘We find in our hearts things that none of us dares utter.’ He said, ‘Do you really find that?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is clear faith.’” (2/153).
What is meant by his saying ‘That is clear faith’ is that their hatred of that waswasah and their rejecting it was a clear sign of faith.
The Shaytan only whispers to people of faith; as for the kafir (non-Muslim), he comes to him, however, he wants and does not limit himself to waswas, rather he toys with him however he wishes.
The belief concerning which there can be no doubt is that the entire universe, from its heights to its depths, is in a state of submission to Allah and no one in the universe possesses any power. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
This crafty enemy is keen to misguide people and to make them doubt. The more you seek the help of Allah, learn about your enemy and be prepared to face him, the more you will be victorious over him. If you know your true enemy, the following are the weapons at your disposal.
Adherence to the Quran and Sunnah in word and deed, and keeping away from the paths of misguidance, for on every path there is a devil calling people to it. So you should follow the beliefs, words, acts of worship and laws that have come from Allah and abstain from that which He has forbidden. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
Al-silm refers to Islam. Muqatil interpreted it as doing all kinds of good and righteous deeds.
Whoever gives up any part of Islam has followed in some of the footsteps of the Shaytan.
Adhering to the Quran and Sunnah in word and deed expels the Shaytan and annoys him greatly. Muslim narrated from Abu Hurayrah: “When the son of Adam recites a verse of sajdah (prostration) and prostrates, the Shaytan withdraws weeping, saying, ‘Woe to me, the son of Adam was commanded to prostrate, and he prostrated, so Paradise will be his; I was commanded to prostrate and I disobeyed, so Hell will be mine.’” Narrated by Muslim, no. 133.
Seeking refuge with Allah from all kinds of evil and turning to Him. Islam teaches us to seek refuge with Allah in certain situations, such as the following:
When entering the washroom: “Allahumma inni a’oodhu bika min al-khubthi wa’l-khabaith (O Allah, I seek refuge with You from the male and female devils).”
When one is angry: “A’oodhu Billahi min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan).”
When having intercourse: “Bismillah Allahumma jannibna al-shaytan wa jannib al-shaytana ma razaqtana (In the name of Allah, O Allah, keep the Shaytan away from us and keep the Shaytan away from that which You may bless us with).”
When stopping in a place: “A’oodhu bi kalimat-Allaah il-tammati min sharri ma khalaqa (I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of that which He has created).”
When hearing the braying of a donkey: “A’oodhu Billahi min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem (I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed Shaytan).”
When starting to read Quran: “A’oodhu Billah il-samee’ il-‘aleem min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem (I seek refuge with Allah, the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, from the accursed Shaytan).”
After starting to pray: “A’oodhu Billah il-samee’ il-‘aleem min al-Shaytan ir-rajeem wa min hamzihi wa nafakhihi wa nafthihi (I seek refuge with Allah, the All-Hearing, All-Knowing, from the accursed Shaytan, from his madness, his arrogance and his poetry).”
The best words with which we may seek refuge with Allah are al-Mua’wwidhatayn, i.e., Soorat al-Falaq and Soorat al-Nas. It was narrated from ‘Uqbah ibn ‘Amir (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Do you not see the verses that were revealed to me tonight, the like of which have never been seen? Qul ‘aoodhu bi Rabb il-falaq and Qul ‘aoodhi bi rabb il-nas.” Narrated by Muslim, 814.
Keeping busy with dhikr (the remembrance of Allah), for this is the greatest thing that may protect a person. In the hadeeth (prophetic tradition) it says that Allah commanded Yahya (peace be upon him) to enjoin five things upon the Children of Israel, one of which was: “I command you to remember Allah, for this is like a man who is being pursued by the enemy, then he comes to a strong fortress and saves himself from them. Similarly a man cannot save himself from his enemy except by means of dhikr.” Narrated by al-Hafiz Abu Moosa al-Madani in al-Targheeb fi’l-Khisal al-Hameedah wa’l-Tarheeb min al-Khilal al-Murdiyyah. Ibn al-Qayyim said: Shaykh al-Islam used to regard this hadeeth highly, and I heard that he used to say: “The evidence for its being sound is quite clear.” al-Wabil al-Sayyib, 60.
Adhering to the main body of the Muslims (the jama’ah) by living in a Muslim land and choosing righteous friends who will help him to do good. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever among you wants to attain the best part of Paradise, let him adhere to the main body of the Muslims, for the Shaytan is with the one who is alone, but he is farther away from two.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2254. Al-Qari said: its isnad (chain of narrators) is saheeh (authentic). Al-Mubarakfoori said: The entire hadeeth is either saheeh or hasan (sound). Tuhfat al-Ahwadhi, 6/320.
Opposing the Shaytan, for he may come in the form of someone offering sincere advice, so we must go against him. For if he were really good he would be good to himself first, but he has caused himself to be doomed to Hell. So if he comes to you whilst you are praying, and says, “You are showing off (so cut your prayer short),” then make your prayer lengthy. If he says, “You have broken your wudu,” say, “You are lying”. If he says to you that the dead can hear you and benefit you or harm you, tell him, “You are lying.” When you eat, be different from him and eat and drink with your right hand, and take food with your right hand. This even applies to taking a siesta, as it says in the hadeeth: “Take a siesta for the devils do not take a siesta.” Narrated by Abu Na’eem with a saheeh isnad. Saheeh al-Jami’, 4/147.
Even with regard to a piece of food that falls to the ground, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Pick it up and do not leave it for the Shaytan…” Narrated by Muslim, 12, al-Adab.
Repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. According to the hadeeth, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Shaytan said to the Lord of Glory: ‘By Your Glory O Lord, I will keep trying to misguide Your slaves so long as their souls are in their bodies.’ The Lord said, ‘By My Glory and Majesty, I will continue to forgive them so long as they ask My forgiveness.’” Narrated by Ahmad in al-Musnad and classed as saheeh by al-Albani in Saheeh al-Jami’, 2/32
So man should always be in a state of repentance and turning to Allah. They have an example in their father Adam (peace be upon him):
These are some of the means that will help you to ward off this waswas. We ask Allah, the Almighty, by His most beautiful names and sublime attributes to grant us refuge from the madness of the devils and from their traps and whispers. Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds.