The cure for intrusive thoughts

Principle 86, from Sidi Ahmad Zarruq’s, Qawa`id at-Tasawwuf:

Perfection of worship is achieved by observing the acts of worship and being mindful of them. This is achieved by following their inner and outer rules without negligence or exaggeration. Negligence leads to perdition while exaggeration leads to innovation, especially if excessive deeds are thought to lead to proximity to God.

Thus it has been said,

– “Subhāna’l-Maliki’l-Khallāq” (Glory be to the King, the Creator), and
– “In-yasha’ Yudh-hibkum wa Yāti bi-Khalqin Jadīd” (If He wills, He can do away with you and bring in a  new creation).

The person affected by intrusive thoughts (wasawis) recites that formula, constantly, whenever he is reading his daily litany (wird). He complements that by frequently practicing forms of recreation (deflecting his mind away from those intrusive thoughts) and by acting in accordance with concessionary rulings (rukhas) of the Shariah, which have been advocated by people of knowledge in order to banish such intrusive thoughts. That is different from scrambling around for concessionary rulings in the various juristic schools across the board of human situations, for that is mere perdition and straying into error. So understand!

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