Waleed Basyouni | Are We Adding Fuel or Water?

MuslimMatters would like to introduce Shaykh Waleed Basyouni who has officially joined our team as a scholar specialist. While the Shaykh has been part of MM almost from the beginning in providing us advice and guidance, and his material has been featured on MM many times, this is his first exclusive contribution for MM. We are very pleased to have a scholar of his caliber join our team.

There is an ongoing inner struggle within each one of us. As Muslims, we are motivated by the drive to always try to do our best. At the same time, our souls are made up of a mixture of different desires and lusts that can easily drive us away from righteousness.  In addition, Shaytan, the one who promised Allah that he would deceive and misguide humans to the best of his ability, enters the picture.

[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].” [7:16-17]

I have a lot of respect and admiration for all of the young brothers and sisters who are trying their best to abstain from what is indecent and forbidden despite all of the challenges around them in society. In this short article I would like to share with these brothers and sisters who care about their faith a few thoughts in the form of some advice. I hope it will be beneficial to me and to them, to keep us on the straight path until we meet Allah while He is pleased with us.

I have noticed that sometimes people say things like, “I’ll do this minor haram, or this small thing, and it will help me to avoid a BIG sin!” For example, “I’ll take this person out on a dry date with no intimacy involved, so I do not think about fornication.” Or “I’ll watch pornography and masturbate, so I do not commit fornication.” These ideas stem from the attitude that “I’m afraid if I do not do this haram thing, I’ll do something far worse.” Sometimes others might say, “I’ll do this sin only once to get it out of my mind/system, and after that I’ll be able to not think about it any more.”

This is one of the Shaytan’s tricks, so be careful.  Doing haram will only lead to more haram. It’s like adding more fuel to a fire; which will not decrease but rather it will only make matters worse. Our lusts increase when they are fulfilled. The more you commit a sin, the more you want to do it and have more of it. Ibn Abbas narrated the hadith: “If the son of Adam had two valleys filled with gold and silver, he would wish for a third.”[Bukhari]

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What we need to learn to do is to put water over the fire, not fuel. If you feel weak and inclined towards sin try one of the following:

1. Mention Allah’s Names and Attributes and think about what they mean to you and your situation. “And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.” [3:135]

2. Talk to someone you trust and who you see to be strong in his or her deen, and ask for their advice and support.

3. Cut off what is leading you towards these negative ideas, especially the bad thoughts that lead to all kinds of haram.

4. Watch your salah. I guarantee that you are either missing some of it or not enjoying it. Your prayer may have become dry and dull. Revive your salah and see how things will turn around.

5. Simple but powerful, remember to seek protection in Allah from Shaytan by saying “Oh Allah, I seek refuge in you from the Shaytan” (A’oodhu billaahi minash-Shaytaan Ar-Rajeem). Remember du’a such as: “Oh Allah, don’t leave me to myself even for a blink of an eye.”

Think about it this way. Allah will never inspire you to do what is haram or wrong, only the Shaytan will. We know that Shaytan does not care about us and will not give us good advice. Whenever you feel that urge to do “an itty-bitty act of haram just once,” think of whose call you are answering, Allah’s or Shaytan’s. And always remember, Shaytan is not your friend; indeed he is our worst enemy.

O mankind! Certainly, the promise of Allah is true. Let not then this present life deceive you, nor let the Chief Deceiver (Shaytan) deceive you about Allah. Verily, Shaytan is an enemy to you: so treat him as an enemy. He only invites his adherents that they may become companions of the Blazing Fire. [35:5-6]

And lastly, this struggle within us is an act of worship. It should strengthen us and help us gain experience in dealing with our desires and the Shaytan. So stand up against Shaytan, and remember that, with the help of Allah, you have the power to win every battle against him.

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31 responses to “Waleed Basyouni | Are We Adding Fuel or Water?”

  1. Assalamu’Alaikum:

    Jazak’Allah Khairin Shaykh for this very important reminder. Every now and then we drown out our conscience by justifying something wrong by giving it a better name or claiming it is stopping us from greater harm.



  2. n says:

    what a short and sweet beneficial reminder.

  3. africana says:

    good article, ma sha Allah.

  4. Hafsa says:

    Jazakallahu Khayran!

  5. Yahya Ibrahim says:

    Barak Allahu feek ya aba abdi Rahmaan

    I pray for your further success and I ask Allah to place love in peoples hearts towards you.

    Yahya Ibrahim

  6. Haleh says:

    Assalamo alaikom Sheikh Waleed,
    Welcome aboard…. Officially! Thank you for addressing such an important topic. May Allah bless you and your family.


  7. Umm Reem says:

    salam alaikum shaikh waleed,

    Welcome aboard ya shaikh.
    It truly is an honor to have your articles published here.

    May Allah give you the success of this dunya and akhira and help you with all your affairs.

    -Umm Reem

  8. ali says:

    Straight to the point, and very beneficial…

  9. Omar says:

    Life is much easier and most peaceful if one tries to do ONLY what is right and ‘halal’; most of our problems comes from doing contrary to that.

    Allah Ibarik kak.

  10. Sister says:

    JazakAllah! I loved that you gave us points to help out . . .

    An excellent article. Very helpful, and eye-opening. Indeed, the Shaitaan is very tricky. But we are strong enough, with Allah (swt)’s help of course to win every battle against him.

    “And lastly, this struggle within us is an act of worship. It should strengthen us and help us gain experience in dealing with our desires and the Shaytan. So stand up against Shaytan, and remember that, with the help of Allah, you have the power to win every battle against him.”

    ^^ Thank you. May Allah SWT reward you Shaikh.

    Was Salaam.

  11. Jazakallahu khairun ya shaykh!

    “And lastly, this struggle within us is an act of worship.”

    .. best statement, I named my blog after this :)

  12. Yusuf says:

    Jazakum Allahu Khayrun, for a great reminder ya Shaykh.

  13. hayat says:

    machalla may allah grant you jenetul ferdos ,,, you have sent this important reminder the day i needed it most. this is . i felt that allah subhanehu wetal make you post this very good time. what a nice remeinder. very helpful. specially our selat part made me cry…. that is where my problem starte bec of school and the winter time in europ. every selat is so early and hard to chach up while on road i feel so bad when i do keda. but it is hard . i need everyones dua .

  14. Abu Ibraheem says:

    Thank you very much for this kind reminder!

  15. abu ubaydah says:

    For once, a piece that does not attack muslims and throw them under the bus.

    What a break of fresh air! This place stank of nifaaq after all the recent articles.

    • Amad says:

      The place “stank” of nifaaq, but this strange force kept attracting me to it… And then I decided to comment on an article and did exactly what the article warned against.

      Thanks for humoring us… we can always count on you guys to keep us going! :)

    • HadithCheck says:

      Brother abu ubaydah, I am sure you’re not claiming to know what is in the people’s hearts. Accusing other Muslims of hypocrisy isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you believe that some of their actions or words are incorrect, then by all means do your duty of stating what you think is the truth, however do so with respect and more importantly with proof from the Quran and authentic sunnah. It is your obligation when you see something wrong, especially done or said by one of your fellow Muslims, to give sincere advice and try to correct it! You and I both know that accusing people of nifaaq without having any real proof isn’t the proper approach.

      In addition to that, where are we from the actions of the companions may Allah be pleased with them? They used to worry about their own selves and one of them would fear for himself from hypocrisy, rather than accuse others of it!

      It says in the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri may Allah be pleased with him that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “I was not commanded to dig into (enquire into) what is in people’s hearts or to cut open their bellies (find out their secrets).” (Bukhari, 4004; Muslim, 1763).

      ( إني لم أومر أن أنقب قلوب الناس ولا أشق بطونهم )

      However, if you do see something that you believe is wrong then I urge you to point it out, with proper proof from the Quran and authentic sunnah, rather than throw a general comment accusing people.

  16. Samar Hadrous says:

    Jazaak Allahu khayran Sheikh Waleed for writing such a straight-forward, concise, and powerful reminder.

    The fourth point: was VERY on the mark in my opinion, especially the guarantee.
    “4. Watch your salah. I guarantee that you are either missing some of it or not enjoying it. Your prayer may have become dry and dull. Revive your salah and see how things will turn around.”

    Our ummah could definitely use A LOT more of “tell it like it is” articles like this one so we can spread the reminders…. starting with our families and friends insha’Allah.

  17. Hina says:

    jazakallah khair…a much needed article.

  18. sisterfiddeen says:

    JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaykh. Really needed this. I loved how you cut off the misconceptions from the root so we can’t make those excuses of Shaytan.

  19. Amad says:

    When I first read this article (before posting– MM privileges :) ), I had only one word- “beautiful”

    Sh. Waleed has this way of presenting plain topics in such an interesting way, that I am now reminded of what I miss having left Houston few years ago!

  20. Mansoor Ansari says:

    Jazak’Allah khair for this advice, it’s a must share!

  21. Good, simple but hard-hitting advice. “Whenever you feel that urge to do “an itty-bitty act of haram just once,” think of whose call you are answering, Allah’s or Shaytan’s.” Ma-sha-Allah, what a fundamental and yet often overlooked principle.

  22. Mohammed Memon says:

    Jazzakallahkhair Sheikh for this beautiful article. It was short, but straight to the point and hit home hard.

  23. Mujahid says:

    Jazak Allah Khairan Sh. Waleed,

    Insha’allah, I plan to summarize the article and discuss it with my Friday halaqa students :)

  24. umm.esa says:

    A very beautiful and concise reminder, jazakAllahu khayran!

  25. Babar Khan says:

    mashallah, a good article. i don’t know of anyone who can’t benefit from this small piece of advice.

  26. UmmAdam says:

    JazakAllahKhayrun Shaykh, much needed advice in the times we are living in.

  27. LifesAStruggle says:

    And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).

    And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.


    Brothers and Sisters life’s a struggle, and struggling to please Allah is part of the path to Jannah

  28. Aziza says:

    I LOVE this article. Thank you so much. Evil thoughts are something I struggle with constantly. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone and to never give up. May Allah reward you abundantly! :)

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