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Breaking Free Of OCD & Wasaawis

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) & Satanic Whisperings (Wasaawis)

 

Most people know someone affected by OCD or wasaawis.  It is said that one in every 50 people suffer from OCD and almost all of us (all people except Anbiyaa) are affected by wasaawis to some degree.  

 

 

OCD

Minor obsessions and compulsions are common. We all occasionally worry about whether we’ve locked the door or left the iron on at home, and you might hear people described as being ‘obsessed’ with work or sport. You wouldn’t usually describe these thoughts as unwanted and persistent, and they don’t interfere significantly with everyday life.

 

OCD is a disorder where unwanted thoughts, urges and repetitive activities persist and become an obstacle to living life as you want to. Living with someone affected by this anxiety disorder can be very stressful and in many cases lead to the breakup of relationships.

 

 

Wasaawis

Faith and trust in Allah Ta'aala is a necessary component of the deen of Islam, as are ritual purity, concentration during prayers, the sequence and timing of prayers and so on. While we may all occasionally wonder if we have performed our ablution properly or if we have inadvertently skipped a step in prayers, we do not dwell on these thoughts and allow them to persist, causing disruptions and delays in our worship.

 

Wasaawis are thoughts whispered in the hearts and minds of people by Shayaateen (Devils) in order to distract them from worship. They can be regarding purity, prayers, blasphemy or other matters which can lead to such severity that it can become an obstacle to proper and punctual worship.

 

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InshaAllah, we intend to compile information on these debilitating conditions to create more awareness and examine how they may be connected.  An incredible amount of information is available  online which would be time consuming for someone to read through and could lead to confusion. We have therefore selected only relevant information from reliable sources.

 

We examine whether OCD and related symptoms are strictly medical conditions or whether they could also be Wasaawis (whisperings of shayateen or evil jinn) or related to lack of control over the nafs? Do we find any basis for such symptoms in the Qur'an and Sunnah? What are probable the causes? What precautions can be taken and what kinds of solutions are there for sufferers?

 

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OCD - Medical Definition

 

Where did the Medical term OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) come from?

OCD is a diagnostic category constructed over time by various medical and mental health professionals to assist in the identification, treatment, monitoring, and recording of a range of behaviours deemed to be abnormal.

 

Medical and mental health professionals turn to manuals put out by their professional associations when diagnosing various disorders. In the case of OCD, the manual that is used more generally is the ICD (International Classification of Diseases) put out by the WHO (World Health Organization); however, American professionals use the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) put out by the American Psychological Association (ASA).  The current manual in use in America is the DSM-5 (2013) which took 14 years to produce but includes ICD codes for efficiency and consistency. While the ICD is available online for free, the DSM-5 is not (current cost is $199).

 

The ICD-10 is the current standard diagnostic tool in use. It was endorsed in 1990 and came into use by WHO Member States from 1994 onward. A revised version is in the works.

 

The ICD-10 lists OCD (F42) under neurotic, stress-related and somatoform disorders.

 

The DSM-5 lists OCD as a distinct, separate category. In the previous version (DSM-IV), OCD was listed under anxiety disorders; however, while the current manual does not list OCD under anxiety disorders the sequential order in which they are listed in the DSM-5 “reflects the close relationships among them.”

 

While changes are continually made (albeit slowly) to the diagnostic manuals in place, it should be noted that medical and mental health professionals express concern “about the potential harm any diagnostic system can have if it increases the potential for over-identification of illness and therefore the possibility of unnecessary treatment” (source).

 

From this, we understand that the medical term OCD is not necessarily fixed across cultures and time but rather, it is fixed within certain communities (i.e. the medical and mental health professionals) for ease, efficiency, and consistency.

 

OCD according to the ICD-10

OCD can be either obsessions (thoughts, ideas, or images) or compulsions (acts) or both; must be present on most days for a period of at least 2 weeks; and, must not be due to other mental disorders such as schizophrenia.

 

Obsessions and compulsions share the following features, all of which must be present:

(1) They are acknowledged as originating in the mind of the patient, and are not imposed by outside persons or influences.

(2) They are repetitive and unpleasant, and at least one obsession or compulsion must be present that is acknowledged as excessive or unreasonable.

(3) The subject tries to resist them (but if very long-standing, resistance to some obsessions or compulsions may be minimal). At least one obsession or compulsion must be present which is unsuccessfully resisted.

(4) Carrying out the obsessive thought or compulsive act is not in itself pleasurable. (This should be distinguished from the temporary relief of tension or anxiety).

 

The obsessions or compulsions cause distress or interfere with the person's social or individual functioning, usually by wasting time. (source)

 

When Obsessions Meet Compulsions

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can cause severe anxiety in those affected. The following outline of OCD helps us understand how the two may be connected:

 

OCD is made up of two parts – obsessions and compulsions

 

1. Obsessions

Obsessions are unwanted and recurrent thoughts. They seem real (almost like one's thoughts) which cause anxiety.

They can be regarding many different things like purity or contamination of filth or germs. They can also be regarding fear i.e. fear of harm to oneself or others or being responsible for something terrible happening or related to perfectionism i.e. being obsessed with exactness.

 

2. Compulsions

Compulsions are actions carried out to alleviate the anxiety. Examples of compulsions are washing something excessively or in a certain way i.e. washing hands, showering etc. Compulsions can also be regarding checking things over and over again or repeating things  a certain  number of times or arranging and rearranging things; Compulsion can also be regarding thoughts  which are sexual, violent or religious (blasphemous).

 

 The OCD Cycle

The diagram below shows how obsessions and compulsions are connected in an OCD cycle:

 

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Does Compulsion lead to Obsession, or the other way round?

 

Bearing in mind that obsessions and compulsions can be present, one without the other, in instances where they are both present, most are of the opinion that compulsive behaviours are carried out in response to obsessions. However, it could be the other way round, say researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Amsterdam.

 

OCD as defined and described by a Muslim mental health professional, Dr Mohammad Sadiq (certified psychologist), of Alberta, Canada:

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is characterized by unabated recurrent thoughts and images that are invariably distressing because they are violent, loathsome, threatening, or obscene in nature. They are recognized as the individual's own thoughts, even though they are involuntary and often repugnant. They are largely out of the person's control and often, the more the person tries to resist them, the worse they become. These unwanted thoughts generally produce a very high amount of anxiety. This is the obsessive component of the disorder.

 

These thoughts lead a person to engage in behaviours that will relieve the anxiety or threat. Since the thoughts are recurrent, the resultant defensive behaviour is also repetitive. For example, if the obsessions are about catching germs or becoming unclean, the person frequently washes himself/herself. If the obsessions are about personal safety and security, the person engages in repeatedly checking the doors and locks his/her house. These repetitive behaviours take up so much time from their daily life that they become unable to live normally. Paradoxically, the more they engage in these defensive behaviours, the more they are attacked by these obsessions. Thus, the obsession, followed by the compulsion, becomes such a vicious cycle that one cannot easily break out of it.

(source)

 

 

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Causes of OCD

 

While the exact cause of OCD remains elusive, medical and mental health professionals point to the following possible triggers:

  • genetic (inherited from family)
  • neurobiological (the way the person's brain and body are structured, including chemical imbalances)
  • behavioural (personality and usual behaviours based on ways of thinking)
  • environmental (including culture, religious ideologies, lifestyles, daily stress)

 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK) explains some of the above-noted triggers as follows:

 

Genes: OCD is sometimes inherited, so can occasionally run in the family. 

 

Stress: Stressful life events bring it on in about one out of three cases.

 

Life changes: Times where someone suddenly has to take on more responsibility – for example, puberty, the birth of a child or a new job.  

 

Brain changes: We don't know for certain, but if you have the symptoms of OCD for more than a short time, researchers think that an imbalance of a chemical called serotonin (also known as 5HT) develops in the brain. 

 

Personality: If you are a neat, meticulous, methodical person with high standards you may be more likely to develop OCD. These qualities are normally helpful, but can slip into OCD if they become too extreme.

 

Ways of thinking: Nearly all of us have odd or distressing thoughts or pictures in our minds at times - "what if I stepped out in front of that car?" or "I might harm my child". Most of us quickly dismiss these ideas and get on with our lives. But, if you have particularly high standards of morality and responsibility, you may feel that it's terrible to even have these thoughts. So, you are more likely to watch out for them coming back – which makes it more likely that they will.

(source)

 

While many medical and mental health professionals counsel, treat, and assist people with OCD by focusing on one or more possible triggers, scientists continue to explore possible genetic and neurobiological links.

 

For example, scientists at the Ansary Stem Cell Institute and the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College have been studying possible genetic links in studies involving mice. In a study published in the April 2013 issue of Nature, the scientists reported that mice missing a single gene (Slitrk5) developed OCD-like behaviours seen in humans with OCD (source).

 

In another example, scientists from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Medford, Mass., and the McLean Imaging Center at McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass., have been studying possible neurobiological links in studies involving dogs. In their study, the scientists found that the structural brain abnormalities of dogs afflicted with canine compulsive disorder were similar to those of humans with OCD (source).

 

 

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Examples of OCD Cases

 

Symmetry OCD

Twenty-two-year-old Josh Cannings has suffered from symmetry OCD or obsessive compulsive disorder for nearly 10 years.

 

It is a condition that has had a massive effect on his day-to-day life, but one that is often trivialised by society.

"I have to touch everything with my left and right hands, my left and right feet an equal amount of times everywhere I go, 24/7. It's constant," says Cannings.

 

"So say I pick up a fork with my left hand I have to also touch it with my right hand the same amount of times.

"I shake hands with both hands clasping."

 

Cannings, who works as a chef in a restaurant, says if he does not "equalise" he gets a feeling of dread in his mind and to counteract that feeling has to continually obey his compulsions.

 

It's that dread you get when you feel like something horrible has happened, when you find out a piece of extremely bad news, like someone you love is injured.

 

"It's that feeling of helplessness about not being able to do anything about it and obviously anxiety levels rise, you start sweating, you can feel your heart beating faster and you start breathing heavily." (Source)

 

 

Fear of Harming

Another ritual, which was a compulsion, was the fear that if I didn't say my prayers respectfully and sincerely, my mother might be killed in a car accident. I took on this huge responsibility as a child for another person's life.

 

"A lot of people know about the hand washing and the checking of things, but many people are unaware that OCD can also take a sinister angle, where you have a fear that you may harm your own children very violently.

 

"When I had my fourth child I had intrusive thoughts at bedtime that I would go to the children's bedrooms in my sleep, take out their dressing gown cords and strangle each one. This was horrendous to go through, because I didn't know whether I was going to do it or not.

 

"People with OCD are not dangerous and they do not harm, but I was permanently exhausted.

 

"That was the obsession: the compulsion was to try to relieve some of the pain and terror that came from those thoughts. I would get out of bed, find their dressing gowns, take the cords out of the dressing gowns and tie them into as many knots as possible, so that I wouldn't be able to put the cords around their necks.

 

"Then I'd go back to bed, but I still couldn't sleep. I would get out of bed again, get the cords, put them in a bag, seal the bag, and put the bag in a high cupboard. This would give a little relief, but it was still terrifying. (Source)

 

 

Scrupulosity OCD

The anxiety and shame started when Diance was 25. She was sitting in a pew at her church, where she is active in the ministry. It seemed to come out of nowhere. She felt as if she were going to jump out of her skin.

 

Diance doesn’t know why she felt so anxious. But she knows what she saw when the feeling overwhelmed her: a nearby woman wearing a v-neck sweater.

 

For years after that episode, Diance, a health care professional from Maryland, was unable to look at people wearing v-neck sweaters or other potentially revealing clothes for fear she was sinning. When people sat down across from her and crossed their legs, she thought it was because she had been looking at their genitals.

 

“I was scared to look at people. I thought I was offending them by inappropriately glancing at them, and I constantly prayed for forgiveness,” said Diance, who stopped hugging family and friends and felt like a hypocrite in church.

 

Diance suffers from scrupulosity, a type of (OCD). People with scrupulosity suffer from persistent, irrational thoughts about not being devout or moral enough, and believing that these thoughts are sinful and disappoint God. And like the 2.2 million adults who have OCD, Diance’s obsessive, unwanted thoughts and rituals interfered with her life and relationships. (Source)

 

 

Abaya, Socks & Gloves To Ward Off Germs (A Muslimah with OCD)

Sarah (not her real name) was so worried about germs that she dressed herself from head to toe in a black abaya, wore socks and would not take her gloves off, even when visiting other women. She finally admitted she had a problem one day when one of her friends started teasing her about using her gloves while struggling to open an envelope.

 

She found an excuse to leave and return home instead of continuing with the visit. Her friend was angry and confused at her rudeness. It was then that Sarah realized she did not have control over her behaviour.

 

 

Keeping Things Separate (A Muslimah with OCD)

This old lady has spent half her life suffering yet unable to change her condition. She started off by keeping her things separate; from clothes to her utensils in the kitchen. Before she began cooking everything from the table tops, utensils to the knobs on the cooker were wiped three times. No one was allowed to touch anything unless they washed their hands. If by chance someone did open a pot to see what was cooking without washing their hands, the lid would be rinsed. At an age where she needs care, her carers constantly wash their hands before touching her or handling her belongings.

 

*No medical treatment however many family members have tried various ways of helping her -condition worsens

 

 

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Religious (Scrupulosity) OCD

 

For people with OCD, even religious thoughts can become intrusive and distressing. Some examples of religious thoughts are: intrusive religious blasphemous thoughts, compulsive prayer, hypermorality, unwarranted concern about committing a sin, and cleaning/washing rituals. Such problematic thoughts have been referred to as scrupulosity: the relationship between religiosity and the symptoms of OCD. Fear of sin and Fear of God have been identified as the 2 domains of scrupulosity.

 

Studies show that scrupulosity obsessions in OCD are ranked as one of the most common forms of OCD affecting an estimated 25% of OCD individuals (1998).

 

Medical and mental health professionals often point to environmental (i.e. religious and cultural) causes when examining and working with individuals with scrupulous obsessions.

 

The following results are of particular interest (please note that these results are based on Western studies across various religions and may not necessarily include Muslims):

 

Individuals with scrupulous obsessions may have anxiety related to their religion, sinning, and guilt, which can cause religious practices and rituals to become compulsive,.. Also, these individuals are often more religious and more likely to seek out religious counseling and less likely to receive medical treatment... They also found that a negative concept of God was associated with higher symptom severity, and that one in five did not subscribe to a particular religious affiliation. In line with the negative God concept, those that believe that their God is punitive will likely engage in more severe compulsions to make up for minor sins, even though the clergy is aware that their sins are minor and do not need compulsive actions... In addition, 20% stated that their OCD symptoms help them in observing their religion.

 

While it may be easy to assume that people with these types of worries are from very religious or strict traditions, these worries can strike the very orthodox, non-religious people, or even atheists. Scrupulosity should not be confused with being obsessed with religion or being very devout. People with this type of OCD do not feel more spiritual or fulfilled by performance of OCD-related rituals, which may include repeating prayers, seeking reassurance, or mental rituals.

 

Common scrupulous obsessions include:

  • Receiving extra change from a cashier
  • Accidentally omitting any loved ones from their prayers.
  • Concerns with sacrilege or blasphemy:
  • For example, someone might worry that they have inadvertently offended God or even accidentally worshiped the devil.
  • Excess concern with right/wrong, morality:
  • For example, someone may worry about always doing the morally right thing, in every circumstance.
  • Performing a religious task or ritual in the wrong way
  • Blasphemy
  • Having committed a sin
  • Behaving morally
  • Purity
  • Going to hell
  • Death
  • A loss of impulse control

(source)

 

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Treatment Options for OCD

 

Since treatment for OCD can vary depending on the nature, severity and history of the disorder, with some cases requiring a combination of treatments, it is most advantageous to seek help from qualified medical and mental health professionals.

 

Some forms of treatment currently available for OCD sufferers include:

  • Counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Drug therapy
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
  • Relaxation exercises

 

Dr. Sadiq Mohammed details some of the above-listed treatments as follows:

 

Obsessive-compulsive disorders are treatable. Several treatment modalities have been traditionally used in the treatment of OCD including drug therapy, behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and relaxation exercises in various combinations depending upon the nature, severity, and history. 

 

Most of the drugs used to treat OCD are antidepressants, such as, Anafranil, Celexa, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft. These drugs have variable effectiveness in the control of the symptoms of OCD and depression. Apparently these drugs do not completely stop the obsessive thoughts or the compulsive behavior, but reduce the anxiety and depression associated with them thereby reducing the felt severity of the disorder. So, they manage the severity of the symptoms, but don't seem to get rid of them. This is why drug treatment is generally used in conjunction with psychological therapies.

 

Psychological therapies, on the other hand, attempt to help the client understand the roots, dynamics, and the possible contributing factors of the disorder. The stress and anxiety are treated with relaxation exercises. Faulty beliefs arising out of the obsessions and leading to compulsions are examined. Here is a case example. The client says: 

 

“In the Qur’an, there is a verse that says, ‘And Allah loves those who purify themselves’. Also the Prophet (saw) says "Purity is half the Iman". So I keep thinking that I must keep myself clean (paak) or that I am not good enough.”

 

With relaxation, education and cognitive behavior therapy, the person is gradually guided in correcting the faulty beliefs. Past traumas, like sexual/physical abuse, and unsavory conduct and life styles of the past that may be responsible for severe guilt leading to the OCD, are dealt with. Appropriate home assignments are given to promote new and healthy thought process and beliefs. And, over a period of time, the obsessive thoughts and the compulsive behaviors begin to decrease.

 

In cases where the symptoms of the OCD are so severe that they render the person completely dysfunctional lacking any control over the thought processes, psychological therapies by themselves are not often very effective. In such cases, drug therapy is combined with psychological therapies to initially reduce the anxiety and depression followed by counseling and therapy. (source)

 

Collaboration for Scrupulosity

For those who suffer from scrupulosity OCD, collaboration between medical and mental health professionals and the religious community are recommended and encouraged. The suggestion is that:

 

Religious leaders can determine within their doctrine which rituals are extreme and which are appropriate, and they may be able to offer guidance and treatment. Additionally, highly religious individuals often consult their religious leaders rather than clinicians for help..., so providing OCD education and specialized treatment trainings in religious settings could be beneficial to bringing therapies that have been shown to be effective to more people suffering from these obsessions. (source)

 

 

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Islamic Definition and Proof of Wasaawis from Qur'an and Hadeeth 

 

The word waswaas is originally an infinitive in the sense of waswasah 'to whisper'; however, in Islam, it is also used as an expression to refer specifically to Satanic and other evil whisperings ( Source: Ma'ariful Qur'an, surah 114).

 

Waswaas or Wasaawis (singular - Waswasah) in this context then are: repetitive and unwanted thoughts, doubts and fears whispered into the minds and hearts of people by unseen and unheard shayateen (evil jinns) who are keen to misguide Muslims and deprive them of good. Wasaawis follow such a pattern that they take one away from and distance one from the remembrance of Allah Ta'aala and ibaadah to Him.

 

Allah Ta'aala instructs us to seek refuge with Him against wasaawis. We are told a Satanic companion is attached to each of us and continually tries to destroy us in different ways:

 

First of all, he induces us to commit sins, and paves the way for us to willfully violate the Divine laws and injunctions. If he does not succeed in this, he tries to contaminate and destroy our acts of obedience and worship by casting the thoughts of dissimulation, hypocrisy, pride, and arrogance. He attempts to create doubts about authentic beliefs and doctrines of Islam in the minds of the learned scholars. The only one who can be saved from the evil of such Satanic pranks is the one whom Allah gives His protection.

 

The Messenger of Allah  :pbuh:  is reported to have said: "There is not a single one of you, but his companion [a devil] has been assigned to him." The companions enquired: 'Is such a devil companion joined to you also, O Messenger of Allah?' He replied: 'Yes. However, Allah has helped me against him and he has become submissive to me. As a result, he only commands me to do good." ( Source: Ma'ariful Qur'an, surah 114)

 

Other types of wasaawis in Islam include:

  • whisperings of evil people who cast doubts in the minds of others in indirect ways without uttering them explicitly; and
  • whisperings of our own nafs which urges us to do evil works. 

( Source: Ma'ariful Qur'an, surah 114)

 

While these two other forms of wasaawis may also urge us to do evil works, for the purposes of comparison with OCD however, neither of them may be as repetitive, persistent, and unwanted as those fears and doubts cast in our minds and hearts by shayateen. For this reason, our focus will remain on Satanic whispers.

 

 

Mention of Wasaawis in the Qur'an

In Surah Al-A'raf (verses 16-17), Allah Ta'aala tells us how the devil has made it his mission to lead people astray:

 

 

7_16.png

7_17.png

 

[satan] said, "Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. (16Then 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]." (17)

 

 

In Surah Al-A'raf (verse 200), Allah Ta'aala also tells us what we should do when we are afflicted by wasaawis:

 

7_200.png

And if an evil suggestion comes to you from Satan, then seek refuge in Allah . Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing. (200)

 

 

And, in Surah An-Naas, Allah Ta'aala gives us the ultimate du'aa against wasaawis:

 

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  1. Say, "I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
  2. The Sovereign of mankind.
  3. The God of mankind,
  4. From the evil of the retreating whisperer -
  5. Who whispers [evil] into the breasts of mankind -
  6. From among the jinn and mankind."

 

Mention of the Wasaawis in Hadeeth

In Saheeh Muslim, it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu anh) said: “Some of the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) came to him and said, ‘We find in our hearts things that none of us dares utter.’ He said, ‘Do you really find that?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is clear faith.’” (2/153).

 

 

One of the Sahaabah complained to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about waswaas during prayer, and he said: “The Shaytaan comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “That is a devil called Khanzab. If he affects you seek refuge in Allah from him and spit drily to your left three times.” He [the Sahaabi] said, I did that and Allaah took him away from me. (Narrated by Muslim, 2203)

 

 

“The Shaytaan comes to any one of you and says, ‘Who created such and such? Who created such and such?’ until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ If that happens to you, seek refuge with Allaah and give up these thoughts.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 3277)

 

 

The Companions (radiallahu anhum) of the Prophet (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) came to him complaining about the doubts and waswaas that they were suffering. In Saheeh Muslim it is narrated that Abu Hurayrah (radiallahu anh) said: “Some of the companions of the Messenger of Allaah (salallahu 'alayhi wa sallam) came to him and said, ‘We find in our hearts things that none of us dares utter.’ He said, ‘Do you really find that?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘That is clear faith.’” (2/153).

 

What is meant by his saying ‘That is clear faith’ is that their hatred of that waswasah and their rejecting it was a clear sign of faith. The Shaytaan only whispers to people of faith; as for the kaafir he comes to him however he wants and does not limit himself to waswaas, rather he toys with him however he wishes.

 

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Examples of Waswasah Cases

 

A Cry For Help

For some months i have been having a problem with waswas in both my prayers and when performing wudu. I keep forgetting what i have washed in my wudu and keep forgetting how much i have prayed. It has reached a point where i am making sajdah as - sahw for every single prayer because my mind keeps going blank. The more i concentrate on my prayer the more it occurs. Sometimes i think i must have read 6 or 7 rakats for a four rakat prayer because i simply cannot recal how much i have prayed and so i continue until i am certain. The more i do this the worse the problem gets. I want to ignore the waswas but i am not sure if this is sanctioned by the shariah. I feel it is the only way to rid myself of this disease. I read Surah Baqarah and many dua related to the whisperings of shaytan and Surahs Falaq and Naas.

 

With regards to wudu i have a combination of problems as i feel that i have not washed properly after using the bathroom or if my clothes get wet that there is something impure on my clothes. When making wudu i feel like i have not washed properly. I try to ignore these whisperings but i am terrified that if i ignore it and i am wrong, that my prayers will not be answered. I have reached a point where my prayers can take upto an hour or more to perform and have become merely a ritual without any khushoo because of these problems. I finish one prayer and start fearing how i am going to manage to get through the next one. I feel i am trapped because there is no way i can miss a prayer as I know this is exactly what shaytan wants me to do. Please help me.

 

 

Suffering From Waswasa (source).

[Question:] First, I take long in the toilet, making ghusl and wudhu, i.e. washing my hands incessantly.

 

Second, every verbal utterance by me or my wife is dissected and analysed for kufr. I ask approximately 10 muftis for a fatwa because I want to be 100% sure. Inevitably, asking so many muftis results in 1 out of 10 concluding kufr. My negative mindset precludes me from focusing on the 9 in favour. This has happened on 3 occasions. For example just yesterday my wife was reading a message on facebook part of which said: “thank you Allah for making my samosas turn out the right shape.” When she finished reading the message she said: “trust her to come out with crap.” 4 muftis said no kufr but the one inconclusive fatwa is what my mind is entrenched with.

 

Another example is of a conversation I had with my father wherein I stated: “I told Sajid that I am willing to help the Masjid out in confidence provided my employer doesn’t come to know. If, however, you mention my name to them I will screw you over and I don’t give a damn then that the masjid is involved.” The intention here was not to disrespect the masjid but to threaten the brother.

 

Mufti Siraj Desai (South Africa) and Mufti of (Zimbabwe) and Mufti of (Darul Ifta Birmingham UK) concluded that this did not constitute kufr but my anxiety levels are such that I cannot rest until the remaining muftis all come back and conclude the same.

 

Third whenever I am given naseehat by my wife in particular such anger and anti Islamic sentiments grip my heart that it feels like I have left the fold of Islam. Muftis have suggested seeing a psychiatrist. I am reluctant to see a non-muslim psychiatrist yet I cannot find a reliable Muslim psychiatrist in the UK. I am gradually falling in to a state of depression bordering on the suicidal. My marriage is up and down and I am completely lost. I am irregular with Salah and my akhlaaq rapidly oscillates from the sublime to the disgraceful. I have been sitting in bed all day doing absolutely nothing. The month of Ramadhan is passing by and I an pre-occupied with obtaining fatwas regarding whether such and such statement constitutes kufr. Please provide a solution. Even whilst writing this, I initially wrote please help me as opposed to please provide a solution. Now I am wondering whether asking help from another besides Allah constitutes disbelief.

 

Please suggest a cure and confirm that there is no need to renew Iman and re-perform nikah.

 

[Answer:] There is no doubt that you are suffering from a dangerous type of waswasa which probably may actually lead to the destruction of your Iman. Shaitaan is playing with your mind, and you are giving him the chance to do so.

 

Your first problem is that you are bringing many unnecessary questions in your mind, and the other problem is that when you receive answers for your questions (from authoritative scholars), you begin to have doubts in their answers. If you continue in this manner, you will ruin yourself.

 

You need to take control of your self, do whatever you are commanded to do as a Muslim, and refrain from prying into every small and insignificant matter that comes to your mind. If you cannot control them, then recite a lot of Ta’awuz (that is, say A’uzu billahi Minash Shaitanir Rajeem) frequently, until these thoughts go away.

 

Secondly, ignore whatever comes to your mind (from among these evil whispers). Pay no heed to it, and give it no importance.

 

Thirdly, if you think that some of these thoughts are such that you need to seek a fatawa, then communicate with such a Mufti (Islamic scholar) upon whom you have reliance and confidence, and accept what he says. Do not go about ‘scouting’ for opinions, for this will only put you in a state of confusion.

 

With respect to asking questions while seeking help, this is something which Allah Has (himself) asked us to do when he said, ‘And ask those who know if you do not know’. Allah Has also ordered us by saying ‘And help each other in goodness and in piety’.

 

In order to cure the problem of waswasa, you should also frequently recite the dua which Allah has given in the Holy Quran when one is touched and affected by Shaitan. This Dua is :-

 

‘Rabbi A’uzu bika min Hamazaatish Shayateen wa A’uzu bika Rabbi An Yahdhuroon’.

‘O  my lord I seek refuge in you from the whispers of the devils. And I seek refuge in you, O my lord, from their presence.

 

Strictly adhere to the performance of your Salaah, stay away from all the haram, and supplicate to Allah and follow the guidelines that I have given. Insha Allah, Allah will remove your problem. And Allah knows best.

 

 

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Combatting Wasaawis & Preventative Measures

 

Islam is a complete way of life with solutions for every problem.  The following advices have been compiled from various authentic sources where scholars have advised sufferers of wasaawis, be they in regard to purity, prayers, or blasphemy.

 

 

1. Identify wasaawis as being from Shaytaan & seek refuge with Allah Almighty

 

 “And if an evil whisper comes to you from Shaytaan (Satan), then seek refuge with Allaah. Verily, He is All-Hearer, All-Knower" [al-A’raaf 7:200]

 

We seek refuge with Allah Ta'aala by saying: a`oodhu billaahi mina ash-shaytaani ar-rajeem  (I seek refuge and protection in Allah from Satan, the accursed).

 

In Surah An-Naas, Allah Ta'aala says:
1. Say: "I seek refuge with (Allah) the Lord of mankind,
2. "The King of mankind,
3. "The Ilah (God) of mankind,
4. "From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his

     whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allah) ,
5. "Who whispers in the breats of mankind,
6. "Of jinns and men."

 

One of the other ways to seek refuge from Satan is to recite the last two chapters of the Holy Quran, namely Surat Al-Falaq (The Daybreak) and Surat An-Naas (Mankind)

 

 

Doubts during Prayers: One of the Sahaabah complained to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about waswaas during prayer, and he said: “The Shaytaan comes between me and my prayers and my recitation, confusing me therein.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “That is a devil called Khanzab. If he affects you seek refuge in Allah from him and spit drily to your left three times.” He [the Sahaabi] said, I did that and Allaah took him away from me. (Narrated by Muslim, 2203)

 

Imām An-Nawawī states in his explanation, “And this hadīth proves that it is recommended to seek refuge from Shaytān then to dryly spit to the left when one is inner whisperings.” (Although in a talk by Shaykh Riyadhul Haq, it is mentioned that the spitting should be done before and after the Salah in the Hanafi fiqh)

 

Wudhu: As for the doubts that cross your mind regarding Wudhu, Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has taught us a Du'aa that we should constantly make, 'O Allah! I seek protection from Walahaan.' (Mishkaat pg.47; Qadeemi). Walahaan is the name of the devil that causes these doubts to cross our minds during wudu.

 

The Shaytaan who whispers in Wudhu is called Walahaan. He creates doubts regarding Tahaarat (Purity) and these doubts should be ignored. (From the lecture of Shaykh Riyaadhul Haqq)

 

 

 

Short but comprehensive advice from Hazrat Maulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)

 

"The secret code to press for Allah Ta’ala’s Help, against the whisperings of shaytaan, is ‘Ta`awwuz’."

 

 

 

2. Oppose the Shaytaan

Opposing the Shaytaan for he may come in the form of someone offering sincere advice, so we must go against him. For if he were really good he would be good to himself first, but he has caused himself to be doomed to Hell. So if he comes to you whilst you are praying, and says, “You are showing off (so cut your prayer short),” then make your prayer lengthy. If he says, “You have broken your wudoo’,” say, “You are lying”. When you eat, be different from him and eat and drink with your right hand, and take food with your right hand. This even applies to taking a siesta, as it says in the hadeeth: “Take a siesta for the devils do not take a siesta.” Narrated by Abu Na’eem with a saheeh isnaad. Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4/147.

 

3. Seek Allah's Help through Du'a & Prayer

In addition to seeking help, make sure you consistently ask Allah’s aid during these trials. Make much dua (supplication), and also establish and increase your prayers – pray the five daily prayers on time, establish the sunnah prayers, read the Qur’an daily, send salawat on the Prophet (peace be upon him), and make sure you increase in your remembrance (dhikr) of Allah as well. (Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani)

 

 

4. Ignore wasaawis

Evil whispers during prayer and regarding purity come from the Shaytaan who is keen to misguide the Muslim and lead him astray. The most common advise to combat these Wasaawis is to ignore them which if implemented when they first begin to occur, can serve as a deterrent.

 

Completely ignore these doubts and suspicions. Never allow this to have the better over you. In spite of these thoughts occupying your mind just execute the obligations of that time. Don’t ever delay the obligation on account of any thought, no matter how serious it may be. After having practiced this for some time, by the grace of Allah Ta`ala, you will find some form of ease. 

 

 

Thoughts/ Wasaawis are like Guests. If one made a guest feel welcome, the guest is inclined to visit again and the more welcome he is made to feel the more he will be inclined to visit. However when a guest is made to feel unwelcome he may visit once or twice and then at the continuous cool reception no self respecting person will visit again.

 

Similarly unwanted thoughts/Wasaawis will continue to come if attention is paid to them. If ignored they may persist for a while but eventually they will cease Insha Allah.

(Source: taken from the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat)

 

 

5. Seek advice from scholars and thereafter follow the advice

Once a certain situation is clarified with a scholar, then it should be left to rest. Every time the same scenario appears, one should follow the guidance given on the previous occasion.  

 

May Allah ease your burden upon you. Wasawis are a difficult issue to deal with, but alhamdulillah you have already begun dealing with the issue in two important ways: 1) by recognizing that there is a problem and 2) by seeking help and guidance. (Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani)

 

 

6. Be aware of fiqh (jurisprudence) issues related to impurity, doubts etc., so that one does not go to extremes in ignorance.

 

Abu Abdullah said: The Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  had made clear that it is obligatory (while performing) ablution to was the body-parts once.  And the Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  also did perform the ablution by washing (these) parts twice and thrice, but he never washed them more than three times.  (Bukhari, vol.1, pg. 135)

 

The learned scholars disliked exceeding the limits set by the Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  while performing ablution.

 

Until you can see impurity on your body then assure that you are paak. With regards to these Masa’il Galabah Zan is enough.

There is a maxim in jurisprudence
اليقين لا يزول بالشك
 Certainty is not dispelled by doubt.
 So as it is certain for your body to be paak then just by mere doubts you will not become impure

Source

 

 

Repeating your wudhu on doubts (whether severe or slight) is in itself a disobedience to the hukm of Prophet Muhammad and not an act of piety like Shaytaan makes you feel.

 

Follow the sunnat as closely as possible.

 
Question

I am a Muslim male aged 25 years. My problem is that while performing my wudu (ablution), I sometimes wash my face more than 3 times (4 to 5 times). I do the same thing when i wash my hands and feet, rinse my mouth and clean my nose. The reason I do this is that I feel all the abovementioned parts in my wudu are not properly wet and cleaned if I clean them 3 times and therefore clean them more than 3 times. Please tell me whether such a wudu would be proper and whether the salat (namaz) performed after doing such a wudu would be properly performed? Please answer this question in your earliest convenience. 

 
Answer

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Abu Abdullah said: The Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  had made clear that it is obligatory (while performing) ablution to was the body-parts once.  And the Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  also did perform the ablution by washing (these) parts twice and thrice, but he never washed them more than three times.  (Bukhari, vol.1, pg. 135) The learned scholars disliked exceeding the limits set by the Prophet  sallallahu alayhi wasallam  while performing ablution.

 

As for the doubts that cross your mind regarding Wudhu, Nabi (Sallallaahu Alayhi Wasallam) has taught us a Du'aa that we should constantly make, 'O Allah! I seek protection from Walahaan.' (Mishkaat pg.47; Qadeemi). Walahaan is the name of the devil that causes these doubts to cross our minds during wudu.

 

And Allah knows best
 

A Female Iftaa Student

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

 

Reference: (Radd-ul-Mukhtaar, vol.1, pg. 239 ; Bukhari, vol.1, pg. 135 ; Badai-us-Sanaai, vo.1. pg.113)

 

 

 

7. Seek medical help when necessary

Have no doubt that seeking medical help is part of our religion. Consulting others in serious matters is an emphasized sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and seeking necessary medical help is required upon those who are able to seek it. (Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani)

 

 

 

8. Establish clear limits and stick to them

1 shower a day for 5 minutes max, 1 wudhu per prayer for 1 minute max (5 seconds on each limb), 10 seconds for washing your hands max, and so on and so forth. Once the timer is up, you stop the action, assume cleanliness, and move on. (Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani)

 

 

 

9. Refrain from sin

Keep away from sins and wrong actions which are the means by which Iblees gains control over the sons of Adam. Allah says:

“Verily, he [the Shaytaan] has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allah)”  [al-Nahl 16:99] 

 

 

10. Recommended du'aas

 

In the book of Ibn al-Sunni it is narrated via ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her), “Whoever suffers from this waswaas, let him say ‘Aamantu Billaahi wa bi rusulihi (I believe in Allaah and in His Messengers)’, three times, and it will go away from him.”

 

Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that one of the scholars thought it was mustahabb for the one who was affected by Waswasah with regard to his Wudhu or prayer to say Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah, for when the Shaytaan hears dhikr (remembrance of Allah) he slinks away, and Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah is the best of dhikr, and the most effective remedy for warding off Waswasah is to remember Allah a great deal.

 

 

The simple remedy to such thoughts is to ignore them and don’t bother. This will be a smack on Shaitaan’s face. Shaitaan will feel humiliated and not attempt his evil plot on you again. Simply read:

 

                       لاحول ولا قوة إلا بالله العلي العظيم   and   أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم  

 

 

(source: Mufti Ebrahim Desai)                                          

 

                          

11. Hope & trust in Allah

Trust in Allah that your prayer and purity are accepted. Remember that the sahaba and the Prophet (peace be upon him) all had less water than we do now, and without a doubt their prayers were accepted. So there is no doubt that we, who use (and waste) so much more water than they ever did, are performing our wudhu in a matter acceptable to Allah.

 

 

12. Preventative measures

 

Urinating in the Bath

It is mentioned in a hadith that the Holy Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi Wasalam has prohibited us to urinate in the bath as the illness of waswasah arises from this. (Tirmizi p.12 v.1)

 

 

Something to keep in the mind and the heart

Undoubtedly, whoever thinks of the paths of the Messengers of Allah, especially our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) will find that his path and his law is easy and clear, with no hardship in it.

 

“… and has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” [al-Hajj 22:78]

 

 

Thoughts/ Wasaawis are like Guests

They are like guests. If one made a guest feel welcome, the guest is inclined to visit again and the more welcome he is made to feel the more he will be inclined to visit. However when a guest is made to feel unwelcome he may visit once or twice and then at the continuous cool reception no self respecting person will visit again.

 

Similarly unwanted thoughts/Wasaawis will continue to come if attention is paid to them. If ignored they may persist for a while but eventually they will cease Insha Allah. (From the teachings of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat).

 

 

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Connecting OCD and Wasaawis

 

Having examined and defined OCD and wasaawis separately, insha'Allah we will now investigate the connection between the two. For this, we turn to scholarly opinions and find that:

*  any connection between the two hinges on both definition and severity of the condition; and

*  if anything, some OCD related symptoms may originate as wasaawis, though we can not say for certain that all OCD          symptoms are wasaawis. 

 

For this reason, it is crucial to appreciate that:

*  OCD and wasaawis can be separate conditions requiring separate treatments;

*  they can both manifest in the person at the same time; and

*  the most effective treatment may require a combination of treatments. 

 

However, regardless of whether the condition is wasaawis or OCD, all relief comes from Allah Ta'aala and so we must always turn to Him and supplicate for relief while continuing to pursue various options that He might make the means of relief for us.

 

Insha'Allah, in addition to the fataawa in previous posts, the following quotes from scholars will help shed some light on the issue of whether such recurring thoughts could be wasaawis and OCD.

 

 

1. Ilm Hub (our question):

Question: 

Can worries [pertaining to ritual purity] lead to excessive concerns and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) regarding purity? 


I'm looking into OCD and wasaawis regarding purity. A special needs teacher recently said to a friend who has a son who suffers from OCD that religious beliefs often contribute to OCD.  

 

I also wanted to know if wasaawis as we know them in Islam, is actually OCD?

 

Answer: 

A continuous pattern of such scenarios confusing ones mind do contribute to OCD. Once certain scenario is sought and clarified with an Alim, then it should be left to rest. Everytime the same scenario appears, one should follow the guidance given on the previous occasion. When a person starts recurring worries on the same scenario, even after having had the solution for it will definitely be either OCD or Wasawis.

 

Actually, any set of ideology, whether it is through religion, civilized code of conduct or just basic interactive ethos ALL have the same tendency of contributing towards OCD. Essentially, anything can contribute. 

 

No, I do not think so. While OCD resemble similar symptoms, I feel wasawis are more particular in nature. Wasawis tend to have a pattern about things which takes one away from ibadiyaat or distances oneself from them. OCD can be in many simple things as well. Why is the soap placed that way, it has to be right side up and in the specific place. etc.

 

 

 2. Jamiat Ulama - Natal (our question):

Question:

We are looking into compiling a resource on OCD. We have gathered quite a lot of information, both medical and from the Islamic perspective and we are in the process of putting it together inshaAllah. After researching what we cannot tell for sure is if OCD are in fact Wasaawis.

 

Answer: 

As Imam ibnul Hajar al-Haythami (Rahimahullah) has stated, OCD stems from Wasawis. The beginning stage is that Shaitaan injects the doubts (Wasawis) in a person. The more a person pays attention to these doubts, the more severe it becomes until it eventually leads to OCD. And Allah Knows Best. (Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed)                                                                                                         

 

 

3. Mufti Ebrahim Desai (1):

Waswasa could either be genuine whispers of the Shaitaan or due to some sickness. If it is due to a sickness which is generally diagnosed by a phsychiatrist or clinical phycologist, then such waswasa or thoughts are treatable.

 

 

4. Mufti Ebrahim Desai (2):

Question: 

I have been suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) for nearly 11 years. My symptoms are characterised by incessant, obtrusive, obscenely blasphemous thoughts, which I have no control over, and cannot seem to purge from my mind. Moreover, I suffer from another manifestation of OCD, vis, excessive hand washing and avoidance behaviour. This condition is having a debilitating impact upon my life. I would like to know the Islamic take on my situation, and does it lay the blame for my affliction firmly on my doorstep.

 

Answer: 

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) may be viewed as a sickness like any other sickness. As Muslims, it is out belief that sickness is from Allah Ta’ala and it is compulsory upon us to be happy with the order of Allah Ta’ala. When one is ill, he will consult an appropriate physician with the hope of getting treatment to cure or control the sickness. You should view your condition in the light of the above and consult with a psychologist for treatment and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.

 

 

5. Seekersguidance:

From what you have described, it appears to me that your condition might move beyond waswasa and into the realm of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which is in reality a serious disorder that requires professional attention. Therefore, I highly encourage that you seek counseling from a qualified mental health professional who can help you understand and deal with this condition.

 

Have no doubt that seeking medical help is part of our religion. Consulting others in serious matters is an emphasized sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him), and seeking necessary medical help is required upon those who are able to seek it. When we are in doubt about something, Allah commands us to ask those who know [16:43].

 

 

6. Shaykh Faraz A. Khan:

Question:

Are there any verses in the Quran that allude or suggest that ocd is caused by jinn, by ocd i mean the type of ocd where people keep washing their hands or they keep thinking they havent locked the front door etc?

 

Answer: 

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a serious mental illness, for which a person should seek appropriate psychiatric counseling and medical treatment. Allah knows best if the cause could be related to jinn.

 

If what you mean by OCD is not the actual medical disorder, but instead a person’s bad habit or tendency to be fidgety or twitch, or repeatedly check things unnecessarily, then it is possible that such a tendency is related to waswasa, which the Qur’an does affirm as coming from evil jinn, as in the well-known verses of Sura al-Nas.

 

Having said that, we also know that a person’s own nafs incites him, as Allah Most High informs us:

“Surely it was We Who created man, and We know what suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.” [50:16]

 

Regardless of its origin, a person should force himself to fight such a tendency, lest it get out of hand and perhaps even turn into the real medical illness of OCD.

 

Restlessness is a vice, while the mark of the strong believer is dignity and tranquility. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha]

And Allah knows best. Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

 

 

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Examples of OCD and Waswasa Combined

 

I Decided To Be A Better Muslim

I remember that after my son died, I decided that I will be a better Muslim. I looked at the most religious person that I knew. It was my mother-in-law. This person is on the prayer mat all the time—always praying, always fasting. So, I thought that she was a good example. I started thinking about the ways in which she does things and that's because she was so religious, so I thought she must be right. I started to see the behaviour that she had towards things.

 

She would not let anyone touch her things, which made me think we were not clean enough. If I washed something like a spoon or pots, then she would wash that item again three times. So I started thinking that everything had to be washed three times to be clean. So I started doing the same thing. Even before my son had died, I was “normal.” My mother-in-law does not put her clothes in the washing machine with ours, hers had to be washed separately. My husband even got her a separate basket for her clothes. Looking at her behaviour, I thought that I was not clean enough. So, I began to be like her so that I would go to Jannah and see my son again.

 

 

Obsession With Cleanliness

Amar (not his real name) had an obsession with cleanliness and was convinced that everything must be so clean that he could pray during any second of his life, even while sleeping. It became such an obsession that he would insist all doorknobs in the house be washed, chairs must be washed and anyone who touched them must be perfectly clean. He left conversations and events frequently to wash his hands. He refused to use any toilets outside his own home and in his own home he insisted on having a bathroom that only he could use so he could assure himself it was clean.

 

 

Literally "Hours in the Bath"

When a person spends more than 30 minutes or so in the bathroom it is often said in jest that they spend "hours" taking a bath. Well in this case the sister literally does spend "hours" in the bathroom. She bathes and repeats the bathing over and over and again until family members knock on the door and try to convince her that she is clean. She asks, "Are you sure I'm clean?". When it is confirms a few times that yes, she is clean, only then will she come out. *She has gone through intensive medical treatment however her condition remains.

 
 

A Mind Consumed By Persistent Doubts (source)

Doubts regarding taharah are consuming my mind. Try as I might, a new powerful, anxiety-ridden doubt will force me to seek assurances from a mufti on a daily basis. I am therefore fearful of going to urinate or to have a bath.

 

What others may not pay any attention to, my mind is automatically drawn towards it. For example, today, near the pile of clean clothes was underwear. Assuming it was paak, I picked it up and wore it, whilst my feet, legs and private parts were wet.

 

Subsequently the all consuming doubt entered my mind, which was: 'I am not sure whether it is paak or not, why was it just lying there in isolation and is it a napaak underwear that I negligently discarded. If so, my limbs have become napaak, and if they have become napaak, then the water which dripped on to the carpet has rendered the carpet napaak. This would mean any subsequent salah performed on that carpet would be void for the rest of my life.' 

 

If I clean the carpet with a rug doctor again (like I have done several times previously) this will serve only to cause a huge argument with my wife.

 

I have to contend with this conflict and, no matter how much dhikr I do, the doubt and fear that the carpet is napaak will always be there.

 

A Mufti has advised me to ignore the doubt, but the 'what if' scenario is still at the forefront of my mind. This has caused me to miss Asar, Maghrib and Isha today.

 

I often cry out to Allah because this issue of not knowing whether I am paak or not, or whether the carpet is paak, or whether cross-contamination has taken place through a wet transfer is driving me crazy.

 

It is because of this I miss Salah and feel despondent thinking there are so many things to wash due to cross-contamination that I am never going to finish. I have to wash towels etc. discreetly and quickly so that my wife does not find out. This raises my anxiety.

 

Sometimes after wudhu I will feel as though a drop of urine has come out, despite vigorously trying my best to remove urine drops at the time of istinja. The confusion is sometimes that feeling is backed up by concrete evidence of a urine drop having come out. 8 out of 10 times there will be nothing. In such a scenario, the mind becomes scrambled as to what should be done next.

 

The latest issue is hand-washing after Istinja or generally. I wash 3 times, but after removing my hands from the sink, there will be this strong whisper in my mind, which says: 'You have just touched the toilet floor. If you don't go back and wash your hands, then the towel you wipe your hands with will become napaak. If this becomes napaak and then you wipe your body after ghusl, then your body will become napaak, and if your body, in particular your feet become napaak, the carpet will become napaak and the repercussions of that are far worse than going back and washing your hands.' The voice in my head also says: 'It takes only one error for these chain of events to come in to play and therefore to avoid the greater anxiety, it is safer to engage in the less anxious task of re-washing your hands.'

 

I have seen Shayks, Muftis, Hakeems, Doctors etc. but that question of 'what if the carpet is napaak will not go away?' Sometimes the question is: 'what if I have committed kufr?'

 

A couple of Shaykhs are unwilling to assist stating that I am the only one that can help myself. No disrespect intended but I am trying. I wouldn't deliberately inflict this anxiety on myself or my family.

 

It is the things with the most grave repercussions that affect me, e.g. if the carpet is napaak (as in the above scenario) then anytime and everytime my wife and I walk on it after wudhu, our feet become napaak, and if they become napaak, then our Salah for the rest of our life will not be accepted.

 

Similarly, if a particular action, no matter how far-fetched, may constitute kufr, the repercussions are I could have nullified all my previous good actions and invalidated my marriage. These are serious issues and hence on a daily basis, I am not functioning. All I am doing is asking fatwas.

 

I think I have a database of over a 1000 fatwas. My marriage is in turmoil because I simply cannot distinguish between what is a genuine concern and what is a doubt.

 

I feel all alone and often wonder whether this issue will ever go away and whether or not I will ever attain that connection with Allah.

 

I am having CBT, counselling and Paroxetne. I try to do dhikr at the time of these doubts, but they remain strong as ever. 'What if' is a dominating theme in my thought process and this is exacerbated by the odd occasion when I have tried to ignore and realised that actually there is clear evidence that urine has come out or that the underwear is napaak.

 

I want to gain closeness to Allah, but I am plagued by waswasa, OCD, concerns, anxiety, worry (call it what you well).

 

I would love to wake up one day and find instant peace within myself and not worry about whether the carpet is paak or not, or whether my in laws are recklessly consuming haram again.

 

This leads me on to another issue. My father in law will sometimes order takeaway without checking whether its HMC or making relevant enquiries. This leaves me in a dilemma; should I eat or should I not eat? My hear beat goes up everytime I go there. If I say something, it gets blamed on my waswasa or being too strict. If I eat it and it's haram, the consequences are even worse.

 

These issues have led to contemplation of suicide. Has anyone been through this and, if so, can they render some advice.

 

* The topic was eventually locked with no solution found. The various advices of members did not seem to help. 

 

 

 

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Comfort in a Qur'anic verse for one sufferer (A Happy Ending)

 

The whole Quran has this unbelievable way of amazing me. Its beautifully poetic verses and breath taking words just settle in my heart and mind so warmly. Though the whole Quran has the power to make me feel like everything will be okay, there is one verse that absolutely wins my heart. That verse is "On no soul doth Allah place a burden greater than it can bear" 2:286. (This verse is also repeated in 6:152, 7:42 and 65:7).

 

I can not think of any other verse in the Quran that empowers me as much as this one does. This is a verse I often reflect on in times of stress, sadness and need. Think about it. Just repeat the words.

 

On NO soul does Allah place a burden GREATER than it can bear.

 

Now, tell me, what is it that we can not overcome? What test is too much to bear? What final exam, what major decision, what grief of a loved one passing away, do we not eventually overcome? The answer is simple - none.

 

This verse really hit me at a time I needed it most. For the last couple of years, I have been suffering from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD. It is a disorder that effects millions of people, and is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

This disorder caused me to have many unnecessary thoughts. I would repeatedly replay incidents over and over in my head. The type I have is more of a mental OCD, rather than a physical type. However, I would sometimes encounter physical anxiety. For example, sometimes I felt I had to touch something a certain amount of times or repeat things.

 

The hardest challenge was when I came to have difficulties in making wudu, the purification washing before performing a prayer. I was always under the impression that my wudu was not good enough or that I missed washing a spot. I would literally stand in front of the sink repeating my wudu until I thought I had it perfect. The same would happen with my prayers. I would pray the same prayer 3 times just to make sure it was "perfect".

 

Little did I know that on one particularly rough day, I would be inspired. I was feeling very down because of the OCD. I just could not handle it. It is hard to explain to someone who does not have it, it is just so frustrating because it seems like an easy thing to handle, but for one who has OCD it is incredibly exhausting.

 

So, I am standing in front of the sink, wondering to myself why it is so difficult to just be content with the things I do. I was so angry. So upset. Until the phone rang. It was my brother, calling from his college dorm.

 

My mom picked up the phone and spoke with him. I assume she told him that I was having a rough day, so he asked to talk to me. When I got on the phone, all he said was, "Go look in the Quran in chapter 2, verse 286".

 

So I went and picked up my Quran that he had recently bought me. I flipped through the pages until I came to the verse. Then I stared at the words and read them in my head. "On no soul does Allah place a burden greater than it can bear." I had to fight back tears. I actually felt like Allah had written those words just for me.

 

It was that day that I really understood what those words meant. I still reflect on the words every time I need to. So I want to tell you all, my brothers and sisters, let those remarkable words settle in your hearts and minds. Always remember that there is nothing we can not overcome. Allah said so.

 

(By the way, OCD can be controlled, please reach out to a doctor if you feel you need too. Always remember Allah is watching over you). 

 

(Source)

 

 

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References, Useful Links, and Further Reading

 

In alphabetical order:

 

1.   Ma'ariful Qur'an - (text)

     English translation of Maulana Mufti Muhammad Shafi's tafseer (   :rahim:

 

 

2. Obsessive-compulsive Disorder (OCD).pdf - (text)

    an article by Dr. Mohammed Sadiq

 

 

3.  Remedy-to-evil-thoughts-A5.pdf

     by Shaykh Abdul Hamid Ishaq

 

 

 4.  Satanic Whispers - (audio)

      a talk by Shaykh Riyadhul Haq

 

 

5.  Waswasah Ke Hifaazat – (audio) By Hadhrat Mufti Khanpuri Saab URDU

 

 

6.  Wasaawis ka 'Ilaaj  - (audio)

     a talk in URDU by Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat on the Remedy for Wasaawis 

     (InshaAllah we intend to transcribe the lecture soon and post main content in English.)

 

 

7.  Whisperings-of-Shaytaan.pdf - (text)

     transcription of a talk by Hazrat Maulana Shaykh Yunus Patel (   :rahim:)

 

 

 

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:assalam:

 

:alhamd:  after a lot of research, we have compiled as much information as we could on this serious and often debilitating condition of OCD and Wasaawis.  We have tried our utmost to present facts from reliable medical sources as well as proofs and remedies from the Qur'an and Sunnah. We pray it will be a means of help and cure to sufferers everywhere inshaAllah who often feel alone, suffering in silence, unable to help themselves and not knowing who to turn to. May Allah subhaanahu wata'ala grant relief as it is He alone Who cures, Aameen.

 

We would appreciate feedback and /or advise/information we may have overlooked.  We request readers to make du'a for acceptance of this effort and it becoming a means of relief for sufferers. Jazaakumullah 

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