I feel delusions as if I pass wind when I have wudu and as if I break wudu. What should I do? I feel delusions while making ghusl too.

Details of the Question

Whenever I start to perform a prayer, I feel as if my wudu is about to be invalidated (passing wind) and as if I have to make wudu again. How can I overcome this problem?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

This disorder is related to delusion. Satan blows to man’s anus in order to keep him away from worshipping. Man thinks he has passed wind and that his wudu has been invalidated; he tries to make wudu again though his wudu has not been invalidated. The following is stated in a hadith to prevent it:

"Do not make wudu for the things that you do not hear or smell." [Muslim, Hayd, 99 (362); see Bukhari, Wudu, 4, 36)]

What is meant by the nose feeling a smell or the ear hearing a sound is to know that one’s wudu has been invalidated. However, if a person knows that he has passed wind though he does not hear a sound and feel a smell, his wudu is invalidated. For, not all winds produce a smell or sound. It is dangerous for a person not to make wudu though he knows that he has passed wind but says, “I have not felt any sound and smell”.

This is the most common delusion that affects people who are affected by delusions. The person has the ideal of doing a deed of worshipping perfectly. He wants to do the best deed and service without any mistake and deficiency. When the issue of taqwa is also included, he pays too much attention to it. The severity of delusion increases gradually. It reaches to such a degree in the course of time that a person commits a haram while trying to do the best deed and worshipping. He abandons a fard deed while trying to do a sunnah deed perfectly. Finally, he repeats the worshipping thinking "whether it has been accepted or not". This state continues in the course of time and he finally falls into despair. Satan makes use of this state and harms him.

A person who is affected by such a delusion starts to make wudu and is caught by a delusion; while he is washing his arms, he starts from the beginning; instead of finishing wudu after washing his feet, he starts from the beginning; or after finishing wudu, he makes wudu again and again based on some excuses like "I have probably not washed my right arm and I have not wiped my head". Thus, Satan hits the target with the arrow of delusion. It becomes a disorder in that person.

I have known many people affected by delusions like that. There was a young man who had just started to worship. He used to start making wudu half an hour before adhan and hardly caught up with the fard of the prayer. He sometimes made wudu five times on end. When I knew about it, I told him that it was a delusion and he shortened it a bit but he could not overcome the delusion fully. I hope he has overcome it.

The people who are affected by a delusion in ghusl feel obliged to wash their body repeatedly after drying though to make ghusl once is enough.

This kind of delusion is seen in wudu and ghusl but it is seen in prayer (salah) most frequently. Various thoughts can normally come to mind in prayers. A person who is affected by the delusions caused by Satan cannot finish his prayer and cannot catch up with the congregation if he is in a mosque.  He performs both sunnah and fard prayers again and again. He feels obliged to read the chapter of al-Fatiha and additional verses repeatedly. He abandons some wajibs or a fard while trying to fulfill mustahab and sunnah deeds of the prayer perfectly; he makes mistakes after mistakes.

There is another aspect of the issue: If a person knows that this delusion comes from Satan or if somebody he loves and relies on informs him about it but if he continues to be affected by this delusion, he will be held responsible and he will be regarded to have committed a sin. For, in that case, it means he does not obey Allah and Allah's friends; he obeys Satan. In that case, he needs to make a preference: "Shall I obey Allah or Satan?" The first preference will lead him to nice things but the second one will lead him to misfortunes after misfortunes. (God forbid!)

Let us listen to the advice of the Prophet (pbuh) about how to act against delusions while making wudu:

According to the narration of Ubay bin Ka'b, the Messenger of Allah said,

"Indeed there is a Satan for wudu who is called "al-Walahan (the one who causes confusion)". So beware of having misgivings about water in wudu and ghusl."(1)

The reason why this name was given to the Satan who causes delusions in wudu is its extreme ambition to cause delusions in a believer while making wudu. Or, Satan makes man panic so much by delusions that he feels confused; he does not understand that Satan is playing a trick on him. He does not know whether he has washed an organ or how many times he has washed it.

Bewaring of the Satan in charge of wudu means as follows: Beware of delusions like whether an organ has been washed or not, whether it has been washed once or twice, whether the water is clean or dirty suggested by the Satan called al-Walahan.

The advice of the Prophet (pbuh) that eliminates the delusions in wudu and that can be applied by everyone is as follows:

A Bedouin came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and asked him how to make wudu. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) washed the wudu organs three times, showing him how to make wudu. Then, he said,

"This is wudu. A person who does more than it makes a mistake by abandoning Sunnah, goes beyond the limits and oppresses his soul." (2)

While explaining this hadith, Ibn Hajar writes the following:

"We saw many people who washed their hands hundreds of times but who believed that they did not have wudu."

Ibn Hajar is a hadith scholar that lived five centuries ago. It shows that delusion is not a problem seen in this age only; man has faced this misfortune for centuries. For, Satan uses the same tactics, keeping his promise that he gave Allah about misguiding His righteous slaves.

Practical solutions are mentioned in hadiths about how to act against mistakes, doubts and delusions in prayers in addition to wudu.

Let us quote some of these hadiths:

According to the narration of Abdullah bin Amr, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"When one of you is in a prayer, Satan will come to him and say, 'Remember this and that thing' so that he will virtually abandon prayer heedlessly. When one of you lies in his bed, Satan approaches him and tries to make him sleep."

We may forget some things in the deeds of worshipping, primarily wudu and prayer; we might not remember what we have read, how much we have read and how many rak'ahs we have performed. In such cases, we must not panic; we must look for a solution in the worshipping itself. Nobody can be away from forgetting; even the Prophet (pbuh), who was the most superior man, forgot, though very little. He was a great and perfect man but he was a human being like us. He felt hungry, got ill, had problems and forgot. We see this issue in the hadith as follows:

Abdullah bin Mas'ud narrates:

"Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) led a prayer. He either performed it more or less than it should have been. Thereupon, somebody said, 'O Messenger of Allah! Was anything added to the prayer?' The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said,

"I am a human being. I forget as you do. When one of you forgets, he should perform two prostrations."

Then, the Messenger of Allah turned toward the qiblah and performed two prostrations. (3)

Satan has one wish and duty: to keep man away from worshipping, especially prayer; since he was deprived of prayer and prostration, he wants to deprive humanity of this bounty and keep away from it. The Prophet reveals this target of Satan's.

Footnotes:

1. Tirmidhi, Taharah:43; Ibn Majah, Taharah:48.
2. Ibn Majah, Iqamah: 48.
3. Ibn Majah, Iqamah: 129.

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