How Shaytan Whispers

inspirationandifanevil Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

Do We Hear Shaytan?

How does Shaytan whisper? Have any of us heard Shaytan? We have, and we haven’t. We haven’t heard him consciously— that is we haven’t heard his voice while being aware of it— and we don’t know what kind of voice he has or what language he speaks.

But we have heard him, subconsciously. Allah the All-Knowing has said:

الَّذِي يُوَسْوِسُ فِي صُدُورِ النَّاسِ

Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind – [Quran, 114:5]

(To understand Quran in Arabic, take this 9 hours course on learning 50% of the Quran.)

He whispers in our sudoor, not in our ears. That is why it is so hard to catch him.

Science and Shaytan

There is a branch of psychotherapy known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). The basic idea of this therapy is that our emotions are not the direct result of external occurrences, but how we interpret those occurrences.

External stimulus > Thoughts > Emotions

For example, suppose after a job interview you fail to get the job. There are several ways you can interpret this situation, and each will give rise to a different kind of emotion.

External stimulus—>Thoughts—>Emotions

Failed interview—>I am a loser. I can’t do a thing properly.—>sadness

Failed interview—>The interviewer didn’t like Muslims.—>anger

Failed interview—>I wasn’t prepared— next time I’ll do better.—>hope

The fascinating thing about this theory is the fact that these thoughts are automatic, i.e. we’re not usually aware of having them, and we don’t have them intentionally. They don’t even occur in full sentences or a particular language, rather they just flash past our mind like very rapid visual projections. Most often we only feel the emotion building within us without even realizing the thought which gave rise to it. Sound famililar? Yes, it is exactly like Shaytan’s whispers.

How To Detect Shaytan

How do we then detect these thoughts if they are so difficult to catch? First of all, we need to make lots of dua to Allah to protect us from the evil whispers, and the best dua is the last two surahs, to be recited every morning and evening (after asr). Also whenever you detect a negative emotion or thought, seek refuge in Allah, as Allah said,

وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ الشَّيْطَانِ نَزْغٌ فَاسْتَعِذْ بِاللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ

And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing. [Quran, 7:200]

Let us also look at how the psychotherapists treat this. They categorize negative automatic thoughts into ten (sometimes more) categories. What we have to do is catch these thoughts in action in a thought record sheet, imprison them in paper, and look at them rationally. Let us first look at the ten categories of negative automatic thoughts with examples, and then we’ll have a look at the thought record sheet.

 

  1. All or nothing thinking

 

Thinking in black and white, either something is perfect or its all wrong. (after getting a B in test) I am such a bad student.
  1. Over-generalizing

 

Taking one or two instances and making a general statement on it. (after husband comes home late) you’re always late!
  1. Mental filter

 

Filtering out all the good things and keeping only negatives. (in the above situation, forgetting the times when husband comes early)
  1. Disqualifying the positive

 

Making the positive things somehow invalid It doesn’t matter you came early yesterday, because you just wanted to watch your football match.
  1. Jumping to conclusions

 

Making negative predictions or reading other people’s minds I just know I’m going to fail.I know my teacher thinks I’m stupid.
  1. Magnification or minimization

 

Making something out of proportion. I just can’t finish all these essays (despite having plenty of time).
  1. Emotional reasoning

 

Justifying your thought by your emotion. Since I am feeling angry at you, it means you must have done something wrong.
  1. Should/ must
Imposing rules on yourself or others when there is none imposed by Allah I must get an A in all exams.
  1. Labelling
Calling names. A subcategory of overgeneralization. You’re sick.
  1. Personalization
Assuming things are your fault. It is my fault my son doesn’t study.

 

All these are Shaytan’s weapons. You will find that some of them apply to you personally more often than others. If you do the thought record sheet regularly, you will find out which ones are your most stringent enemies. Whenever an unexplainable emotion bothers you, write it down in the sheet, and what thoughts accompany it. Write it all down no matter how illogical it seems. Then identify which of the ten types of negative thoughts it belongs to. After you have done that, replace the negative thought with a positive rational thought, and observe how your negative emotion is transformed into a warm feeling of relief. After some practice, you will observe that you become more and more aware of your fleeting negative thoughts, and they come less often. And once you become more aware of these thoughts, you will find it easier to remember to seek refuge in Allah, in sha Allah.

You will find a printable thought record sheet here.

Tabassum Mosleh

For Bengali speakers, I have written a similar article in Bengali: http://ahobaan.com/2013/07/16/fishfish/

1 Comment

  1. Munifa May 31, 2017 Reply

    Jazakallah for the helpful tip given . Inshallah i will improve myself as a better muslim . Jazakallah once again . I really love this page of understandquran.com .
    Indeed Allah is all knowing and All hearing , i have learnt a lot from this page ❤️

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