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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Scrupulosity


3wliya_maryam

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When we think of the term Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, certain thoughts may enter our mind such as the need to maintain hygiene or the need to constantly check, fear of contamination or hurting others. It is much more than that. It also primarily deals with the 'obsession' of thoughts, as I'd like to call it. Being inclined to unwanted thoughts, such as sexual or religious ones and the more you try to push it away, the worse it gets. It is like someone telling you to continue thinking this way even if you don't like it. Although this does not make sense, readers who are able to connect will get the idea.

Scrupulosity is the term given for religious OCD and is quite common within the younger generation. Fear of being a sinful human in the eyes of God, fear of constantly repeating one's prayers or rituals, lustful or bad thoughts about religious figures and others. It may possibly stem from genetic factors, but environmental conditions play a major role. Families who have been raised in conservative societies will often intertwine religion and culture, thus leading to confusion. Young adults who try so hard to keep their connection with God on a pure level will surround themselves with fear and worry of not being a righteous Muslim/Christian/Jew. 

Religious OCD was first termed scrupulosity in the 12th century. It derives from a traditional use of the term 'scruples' in a religious context, which means being obsessively concerned of one's sins and religious devotion. Moreover, the word in fact originates from the Latin word 'scurpulom' meaning sharp stone which implies the stabbing pain one suffers from their own conscience. Many famous historical religious figures would express their obsessional suffering where it became recognised as a mental disorder in the 16th century, being termed as 'religious melachony'. It is now a modern day pyschological problem, with its prevalence as rather speculative. 

 I was born and raised into a religious family whom emphasised on the importance of Islam. When I was consistent on keeping up with my prayers and religious tasks, this is when the major hurdle begun. As much as I loved being a good faithful Muslim, such thoughts that I somehow created within my mind used to intervene every single moment of the day. It used to bother me the moment I started to pray, read Qur'an, or anything that was not religion-based. I'd stay awake all night repeating the same thoughts in my head, and it felt like I was being choked by somebody. I was also scared by the number of sins I would commit, such as angering my parents. Whenever I'd anger them for the slightest thing, it led to me being emotional and apologetic. I didn't want them to stay mad at me as I feared that my prayers won't be accepted. Later on I ended up realising that I was manipulated for most of the time which really hurt me. I was coerced into believing that certain things were forbidden in Islam when it later sounded all very contradicting. This is when I started to lose most of my faith, because of the lies that I have been told. The amount of times I apologised to my parents has led me to even despise the word 'sorry'. It is when I started to realise that Islam is not as complicated as certain people make it seem to be.

My point here is not about Islam being the cause of OCD; it is about how others misrepresent the truth. For that reason, we find people either not practising or turning into agnostics. All because of the idiotic cultural taboos within our religion. If we somehow fall out of line in terms of faith, even if it was a small slip, we are suddenly hypocritical disbelieving servants of God. That's what victims of scrupulosity have to deal with, they are constantly under fear that the slightest thing would displease the Lord. Firstly, this life was set as a test; no doubt that human beings are prone to sinning, it is not possible for anyone to reach perfection. The least we can do is try our best and pray sincerely for our guidance. 

 

 

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts on such an important topic. It's pretty brave of you to do so. InshAllah your OCD posts can help many who are suffering in silence to come forward and seek help as well as work on symptom/trigger management and recovery.

Our communities are majorly lacking when it comes dealing with and helping overcome OCD. It's excellent to see a dialogue is starting, 

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