The first thing such a person should realize is that thoughts come from
a) Inspiration from Allah (e.g., a thought about Allah’s unity)
b) Whispers from the Shaytan and his army of jinn (e.g., a thought that causes doubt in one’s
belief or centers around an act of disobedience)
c) Messages from hidden angels (e.g., a thought that centers around an act of obedience)
d) Everyday thoughts from the person’s own conscious (e.g., a thought about one’s relationship
with another human being); type (d) thoughts are usually affected by what the person sees, hears,
smells, tastes, touches, or feels inside.
It is also important to note that thoughts can be divided into five categories in relation to the state of the heart
that they lead to:
a) Thoughts that lead to wajib states of the heart (please refer to footnote 2674), such as loving
Allah and the Prophet (May Allah bless him and give him peace)
b) Thoughts that lead to mandub states of the heart, such as preferring others over oneself in
c) Thoughts that lead to mubah states of the heart, such as happiness or depression
d) Thoughts that lead to makruh states of the heart, such as miserliness of heart
e) Thoughts that lead to haram states of the heart (please refer to footnote 2646), such as
Bad thoughts above are only type (e) thoughts.
2619 There are two basic approaches to thought control:
a) Suppression (i.e. stopping the thought all together); this is the method taught by the teachers
of the Path and is the harder one to learn.
b) Redirection (i.e. to start thinking about something else (as the mind can concentrate on only
one major subject at a time)); this method is easy to learn and employ even by those who are not
travelling the Path.
2620 Learn the art of thought control. In order to learn thought control, the person must understand that a
complete thought consists of four parts:
a) A visualization of a subject
b) A visualization of a predicate
c) An affirmation of a link between the subject and predicate
d) A conviction/confirmation that the above link is true.
For example: So-and-so is a worthless-person. I believe it. Here, so-and-so is the subject. Worthless-person is
the predicate. Is is the word that affirms the link between the subject and predicate (this word may also be
implied and not mentioned (e.g., in a verbal sentence)). I believe it is the conviction or confirmation that the
link is true. These four parts make up the complete thought. These four parts do not happen simultaneously but
happen sequentially in time one after the other. In order to suppress thoughts, the person must learn how to
break this natural four-part process when it first starts (i.e. when the subject is first visualized in the mind). This
can be learned by constant day-long practice for about half-a-year or more (this is done by invoking a blank state
in the mind which crowds out the bad thought’s subject and predicate every single time the bad thought starts
occurring from the time the person wakes up until the time he goes back to sleep). Or it can be learned by
placing oneself in extremely difficult situations (e.g., supervised continuous solitary remembrance of Allah) for
a few days (as such will lead to a state of shock in which thoughts stop; then, the person can attempt to
constantly stay in this state of shock by repeating his previous difficult activity at fixed time intervals but in
[As a side note, thoughts that distinguish one thing from another are called distinguishing thoughts. Thoughts
that center around physical things are called imaginative thoughts. Thoughts that center around non-physical
ideas are called abstract thought. Thoughts about past experiences are called memory-related thoughts.
Sequentially arranged thoughts are called contemplation. All of these types of thoughts can be suppressed and
completely stopped. Likewise, the mind can also be redirected away from all of these types of thoughts.]
(Source: Guiding Helper Maliki Fiqh Manual)