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SajjadKhil

Regarding OCD in religious people.

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Salam Alaykum everyone. Why do some religious people have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in religious acts while others don't or get over it easily? I have been suffering from this issue for years now at varying degrees some times its intense sometimes its not, but never been able to completely break free. The problem is I'm no longer able to discern whether these thoughts that occur in my mind during worship are doubts or just thoughts of doubts ? I know this disorder is fueled by fear of punishment, fear of rejection of your acts, how do you stop these damn thoughts ?

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For various inhibitions, doubts, and over worries, I mostly utilise a different tactic.

I find and pick a Hadith and make it my guiding light, or sort of motto whenever I think of one.

For example, someone asked about the waswasas druing salat, on which Imam AS recommended to ignore those because those are from Shaytan. The person said how so? Imam replied that ask the person who complains of the waswasas. He himself would say these are from Shaytan. Imam rested the question at that.

Another one is doubtfulness of wudhu due to gases. Imam AS said to ignore those doubts till you smell it, because again these are part of the tricks of Shaytan to distract you.

Another one is about the istibra, same thing, once done properly, then Imam AS said even if the wetness runs down on the leg, consider your wudhu valid. 

An interesting one, someone who had OCD about the supposed dirtiness of the private parts. Imam AS casually told him, that if he considered those so abhorrent, then cut them off. On which the person got embarrassed and got his reply.

Similar one about the tahara and najasa of the clothes. Rule of thumb, the dryness doesn’t transfer the najasa, and the wetness does transfer it. Comes handy for the OCDs of restroom door knobs najis, mushrik najis, and so on.

Like the rest of us, once I read those Hadith, I overcame all of my excessive apprehensions. I always do things with the caveat that anything and everything we humans perform for the sake of God is deficient in its substance and quality. But then I also believe in the Rahma of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and He won’t keep us unrewarded for an iota of good we do, and won’t let us go free for an iota of bad we do, but then for this we have His infinite Maghfira and Afw. 

End of the day, be a happy camper. Islam is easyyyyyyy.. 

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On 7/13/2017 at 12:52 AM, SajjadKhil said:

Salam Alaykum everyone. Why do some religious people have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in religious acts while others don't or get over it easily? I have been suffering from this issue for years now at varying degrees some times its intense sometimes its not, but never been able to completely break free. The problem is I'm no longer able to discern whether these thoughts that occur in my mind during worship are doubts or just thoughts of doubts ? I know this disorder is fueled by fear of punishment, fear of rejection of your acts, how do you stop these damn thoughts ?

be sure this disorder is not result of religion and fear of punishment, because Hadiths criticize this manner, so undermine your manner is not because of your Taqwa if you think so you will get ready of this disorder.

the reason some religious people who suffer OCD are not able to remedy this problem is that they think they are  following  Islamic Law in accurate way but Islam never allow us to follow  OCD ,

مُحَمّدُ بْنُ يَحْيَي عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمّدٍ عَنِ ابْنِ مَحْبُوبٍ عَنْ عَبْدِ اللّهِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ قَالَ
 ذَكَرْتُ لِأَبِي عَبْدِ اللّهِ(علیه السلام) رَجُلًا مُبْتَلًي بِالْوُضُوءِ وَ الصّلَاةِ وَ قُلْتُ هُوَ رَجُلٌ عَاقِلٌ فَقَالَ أَبُو عَبْدِ اللّهِ وَ أَيّ عَقْلٍ لَهُ وَ هُوَ يُطِيعُ الشّيْطَانَ فَقُلْتُ لَهُ وَ كَيْفَ يُطِيعُ الشّيْطَانَ فَقَالَ سَلْهُ هَذَا الّذِي يَأْتِيهِ مِنْ أَيّ شَيْ ءٍ هُوَ فَإِنّهُ يَقُولُ لَكَ مِنْ عَمَلِ الشّيْطَانِ

Muhammad ibn Yahya has narrated from Ahmad ibn Muhammad from ibn Mahbub from ‘Abdallah ibn Sinan who has said the  following:
"I mentioned a person, who would overdo the deeds of his doing Wudu and prayer( he had OCD in Wudu and Salat) to Imam Abu  ‘Abdallah ((عليه السلام)) and added that he is a man of good intelligence." The Imam ((عليه السلام)) then said, ‘What kind    of intelligence is it that allows him to obey Satan.’ I then asked the Imam, "How would he be considered as obeying Satan?" The Imam ((عليه السلام)) said, "Ask him wherefrom this thing comes to him. He will certainly say, "It comes from Satan."

As you see Imam Sadegh((عليه السلام)) did not count overdo of wudu and Salat act of intelligence, it is a obeying of Satan

Edited by Sayed Hossein

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On 7/12/2017 at 4:22 PM, SajjadKhil said:

Salam Alaykum everyone. Why do some religious people have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in religious acts while others don't or get over it easily? I have been suffering from this issue for years now at varying degrees some times its intense sometimes its not, but never been able to completely break free. The problem is I'm no longer able to discern whether these thoughts that occur in my mind during worship are doubts or just thoughts of doubts ? I know this disorder is fueled by fear of punishment, fear of rejection of your acts, how do you stop these damn thoughts ?

Salam, 

I would be careful in picking up and using psychology terms like 'OCD' (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The reason why is because modern psychology is based on the premise that all disorders of the mind are rooted in the anatomy of the brain. In other words, they reject the idea of a soul, the unseen, etc, I.e. things which are part of the religion of Islam. Modern Western Psychology teaches that it is a problem with the neuro chemistry and anatomical structures of the brain (such as synaptic connections, etc) that causes these disorders and that certain outward (dhahir) behaviors will increase the problem by further throwing off this chemical balance and these anatomical structures. 

While Islam also teaches that these things have an influence on 'disorders' (we don't dismiss Western Psychology entirely and there is some overlap), the main factor in these disorders is the whispering of the Shaitan, and this effect on the soul (two unseen entities which Western Psychology does not consider). 

Also, this problem of 'OCD' when it comes to religious people is not something that is limited to a certain group. I think most people, from time to time experience these things. For example, when you are doing Salat and right in the middle of it a thought comes into your mind 'Did I wipe the top of my foot all the way to the tip of the toes, or did I stop at the beginning of the toes, thus invalidating my wudu ? ', 'Did I go all the way down in ruku or should I have gone further ? '. In Islam, we have a way to deal with these issues. All Marjaa' have clear rulings on these (Doubts concerning prayer, doubts concerning wudu, etc) and how to deal with these doubts. Although there are slight differences for each marjaa', there is some basic things these rulings have in common. For example, doubts concerning wudu are to be ignored while you are in Salat, unless you are sure that you didn't do wudu at all before you did your Salat. So you do an act of Ibada, the best way you know how and with concentration (such as wudu). Then once that act is finished, you move to the next act and don't let your doubts regarding a previous act of Ibada affect your concentration on your current act of Ibada. This is because the goal of the Shaitan is to invalidate all your acts of Ibada by distracting your thoughts to other than Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) while you are in the midst of doing the act of Ibada. The types of thoughts he will use to distract the person depends on the individual. Some he will bring thoughts of work and the work assignments they may have overlooked, some he will bring fantasy thoughts, others he will bring doubts about wudu, etc. The goal of Shaitan is to keep your mind focused on the past (things you missed, doubts, etc) or the future (fantasy thoughts) and not on the present act of Worship. The more you give into these thoughts, the stronger and more distracting they will become. 

The way to overcome this is to simply ignore those thoughts and bring back your concentration to the act of Ibada and focus on Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). The more you do this, the less those thoughts will come into your head, and when they do the weaker they will be until you can fully focus.  

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6 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

the main factor in these disorders is the whispering of the Shaitan, and this effect on the soul (two unseen entities which Western Psychology does not consider). 

Not necessarily. I myself suffer from an unusual type of ocd which makes me constantly think of those people who have very difficult lives. And I know how it started and developed. I think it is not mainly due to whispering of Satan. If I were an indifferent person who only cared about her own problems, I would never suffer from ocd.

I believe that the main causes are our mentality, how we analyze and interpret the events and neuro-chemical factors (as far as I remember, I read somewhere that a part of brain, called amygdala, is hyperactive in ocd sufferers).

Ocd sufferers, in my opinion, are idealistic people who overestimate potential risks and this makes them stressful and anxious.

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7 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

I would be careful in picking up and using psychology terms like 'OCD' (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). The reason why is because modern psychology is based on the premise that all disorders of the mind are rooted in the anatomy of the brain. In other words, they reject the idea of a soul, the unseen, etc, I.e. things which are part of the religion of Islam. Modern Western Psychology teaches that it is a problem with the neuro chemistry and anatomical structures of the brain (such as synaptic connections, etc) that causes these disorders and that certain outward (dhahir) behaviors will increase the problem by further throwing off this chemical balance and these anatomical structures. 

we cannot deny the effect of the anatomy of the brain for many mental disorders, OCD  is one of them, 

there is not necessarily to believe in the idea of soul and accept the effect of brain and chemical for psych problems.

how do you justify the belief in the soul and this fact that the part of the brain effectuates the memory function?
the soul has own story and our body has own story. our answer is the final perception is related to soul and all human parts are just tools.
our self-consciousness and awareness is soul and brain without one pure core that is call soul has no perception

7 hours ago, Abu Hadi said:

the main factor in these disorders is the whispering of the Shaitan, and this effect on the soul

also, there is not necessarily to know Shaitan as spatial existence that called Eblis, 
why we can't count germ, disorders and any condition made us far from  Allah as Shaitan? Eblis has corps and tools and one of those tools is mental disorders

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In my humble opinion; wisdom, learning more about Fiqh (how to deal when in doubt, or if you are what Fiqh considers a frequent doubter,)  and faith / Imaan and perhaps Tawakkul

are relevant and can solve (a lot of) this problem.

This also means you have a great opportunity in this difficulty. 
 

Edited by Mohammed-Mehdi

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6 hours ago, Sayed Hossein said:

we cannot deny the effect of the anatomy of the brain for many mental disorders, OCD  is one of them, 

there is not necessarily to believe in the idea of soul and accept the effect of brain and chemical for psych problems.

how do you justify the belief in the soul and this fact that the part of the brain effectuates the memory function?
the soul has own story and our body has own story. our answer is the final perception is related to soul and all human parts are just tools.
our self-consciousness and awareness is soul and brain without one pure core that is call soul has no perception

also, there is not necessarily to know Shaitan as spatial existence that called Eblis, 
why we can't count germ, disorders and any condition made us far from  Allah as Shaitan? Eblis has corps and tools and one of those tools is mental disorders

That's why I said there is some overlap between the two. There are some disorders that are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, some by anatomical malformations in the brain, some by whispering of Shaitain, some by a combination of all of these. You need to be a highly trained specialist who ALSO believes in the unseen to make a proper diagnosis. I am not a specialist trained in the area, that is why I did not attempt to give a diagnosis for the OP. I merely stated that the issue brought up by the OP goes beyond merely 'OCD' diagnosis as diagnosed by a Western Psychologist. 

If you want to know about Islamic Psychology, I.e. Psychology that is practiced as part of the religion of Islam, rather than Psychology divorced from religion, listen to the speeches of Br. Khalil Jaafer. He goes into this in depth. He is also one of my favorite speakers / lecturers. 

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Salam  I have OCD myself it hard to deal with even with medication from a psych I get bad thoughts sometimes even now I get them  thoughts  going around your head non stop over and over but there are some therapy you have to try and take control of the thoughts  Think and say dua  Pray to Allah  and focus on your love for Allah 

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On 7/13/2017 at 4:22 AM, SajjadKhil said:

Salam Alaykum everyone. Why do some religious people have OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in religious acts while others don't or get over it easily? I have been suffering from this issue for years now at varying degrees some times its intense sometimes its not, but never been able to completely break free. The problem is I'm no longer able to discern whether these thoughts that occur in my mind during worship are doubts or just thoughts of doubts ? I know this disorder is fueled by fear of punishment, fear of rejection of your acts, how do you stop these damn thoughts ?

 

On 4/10/2019 at 4:20 AM, _E_ said:

Salam  I have OCD myself it hard to deal with even with medication from a psych I get bad thoughts sometimes even now I get them  thoughts  going around your head non stop over and over but there are some therapy you have to try and take control of the thoughts  Think and say dua  Pray to Allah  and focus on your love for Allah 

Salam alaikum,

I myself had OCD when I was in highschool and it drove me insane for almost two years. I wasn't even diagnosed with it yet I knew I had it because of the symptoms. It led to the point where I'd harm myself as well as not being able to sleep, it even affected me with my daily activities. I understand where you're coming from, because it honestly feels like there's no way of getting these thoughts under control. 

But let me tell you one thing, psychologists usually don't help neither does medication; I mean I got rid of it without seeking professional help and Alhamdullilah. I would get bad thoughts about Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) and Islam as well as about the Prophet (sawas) or the Imams (عليه السلام) and other uneccessary ones. I later realised that it was a common thing within religious people and I shouldn't panic because Allah is the most Forgiving and He forgives those whose hearts are filled with doubts 

It just got worse for me to the point where I felt like I was suffocated. I had no choice but to open up to my parents about it, eventually they gave me advice and aided me to get rid of it especially my dad since I assumed that he must have had it when he was younger aswell so he knew what I was going through. It's good that you made a post about it because it's always good to open up towards mental disorders like OCD, because it will make you feel supported and gain hope in getting rid of it Insha Allah.

What I did in order to get rid of it was to just ask myself: do I believe in these thoughts? If I know that I don't then why am I still worrying? Why should I be contemplating? Because the more you get anxious about it the worse it'll become

I also had to spend more time around my family and not stay in my room alot because isolation usually leads to OCD

And there was one thing that I also thought about; how much I restricted myself in terms of religion. I felt like I wasn't giving myself any ease especially when it came to prayer or making dua. But it mainly has to do with your mentality, and sometimes even genetics play a role

You will eventually get there. I know it's hard, but Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will  make it easy for you

 

fee amanillah

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On 4/9/2019 at 2:20 PM, _E_ said:

Salam  I have OCD myself it hard to deal with even with medication from a psych I get bad thoughts sometimes even now I get them  thoughts  going around your head non stop over and over but there are some therapy you have to try and take control of the thoughts  Think and say dua  Pray to Allah  and focus on your love for Allah 

My Father, myself, two of my sons, and a grandson. When I was in elementary there was no such thing as OCD. I was a brat, I was told to behave, settle down, I was often helped to settle down. I often heard, Why can't you just...

My grade four teacher gave me a sheet of bristle board, told me to draw out my thoughts on it. I couldn't keep one thought in my head long enough to draw it. Add the stress of how a drawing would be received, what did she want me to draw, who was going to see it, what was it all about anyway. I made a mess, I never did do it. History class was ridiculous, I remembered nothing. While everybody was listening, in my head I already had the explorer off exploring something else, finding something new. Rarely heard what he actually did.

For every thought, there is an equal and opposite thought, (relatively speaking), sometimes an influx of ideas before the first thought is fully processed. It's what makes kids climb up slides. Kids appear dumb because they are asked one simple question expecting one simple answer while they stand there silent. Inside the brain they've thought of a few answers and explored a couple scenarios already. They just don't know which answer is best. The sign of a high IQ is often confusion. They appear clumsy because their hands don't move as fast as their brain. Then comes the disapproval because you just can't quite follow the crowd. You want to fit in but know you don't. Upstream seems to be the best way to express it, often viewed as behavior problems.
Over time you learn what is acceptable and how to slow down. If bad thoughts creep up it's okay to stop what you're doing and tell yourself that isn't right, then go back to what you were doing. The act of stopping yourself is very helpful.

If these thoughts are conspiring, doubting, angry, or lack empathy they may not be your own. 

@Abu Hadi mentioned it and probably has a better idea how it's dealt with in an Islamic environment. The biggest problem with Western psychology is as Abu mentioned, they believe nothing spiritual, everything supposedly comes from within. 

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