OCD: I Have Endless Doubts about My Faith

28 August, 2020
Q I have extreme waswasa. The waswasa started about 3.5 years ago.

had intrusive thoughts before the thoughts are still there but when I started to become religiously active then shaytan came to me with new waswasas. So I had waswasas in Salah,wudu,fear of riyah and etc. It was too difficult for me to pronounce properly my tongue used to get tied up. Specially I had so many doubts in surah fatiha and I knew I can't repeat fatiha. So I kept repeating my salah.

In taraweeh I used to take 2-3 hours to finish my Salah. A weird sound used to come out of my mouth when reciting surahs, tasbeeh. So when I used to go to mosque specially in taraweeh I felt shy as weird noises were coming out of my mouth. I tried to ignore them as much as possible but inside I felt shyness and I think in some parts I lowered my voice as those weird noises were coming.

So I tried to ignore as much as possible and gradually this was gone by the mercy of Allah. Now I can pronounce quite better. Although I repented for riyah but still I get fear that I have to make up those prayers. So should I make up the whole taraweeh? Still riyah thoughts come to my mind. Sometimes I am not sure whether it's shaytan's whispers or I really did it. So I didn't make up those salah.

I was trying to ignore them. Now I am confused whether my repentance was accepted by Allah or not. I still didn't make up those prayers. What should I do in this case? Should I make up those prayers or should I increase my nafl prayer. I have extreme doubts.

I have thoughts of kufr and shirk every moment of the day and night. Whenever it comes if I was concentrating on some other things and delay to "Amantu Billah'' even for a millisecond I have these doubts that I have to take my shahada. I take my shahada throughout the whole day. I saw on the internet that one has to utter shahada loudly. I say it loudly again and again and again when I am at home.

When some guests come into our house or I am on the road these doubts come to my mind that I have to utter it loudly and I don't wanna say it continuously in the road or in front of my guests as they may think I am mad. Then these whispers come in that I am doing riyah. I should not be shy of this and then I become afraid. I don't utter it loudly when I am on the road or in front of my guest. Am I doing riyah? What should I do?

The most fearful thing is when I try to sleep and I am unconscious but not fully asleep. Those thoughts come in and I can't defend them. One day I did shirk when I was unconscious but I was not in total sleep. I met my imam and asked him and he said you are not accountable for this. I couldn't fulfill 4 conditions of repentance.

I thought if I say to Allah that I won't do it again, I may fall into a shirk because it was out of my control. I tried to summarize all my problems.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Waswasa or intrusive thoughts might actually be part of a clinical diagnosis called OCD.

I am not an Islamic scholar, therefore I am unable to answer your question whether you need to repeat your prayers. To get an answer for this question, please write to our Ask the Scholar section.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as exposure and response prevention therapies, work really well to reduce/treat OCD of this nature.

Seek help from a professional and start therapy as soon as possible.

Additionally, it seems you met a trusted imam who is familiar with waswasa and OCD. Ask him to assist you through the healing process. Inshallah, he will advise you how to get rid of these thoughts, from a spiritual side.

I cannot diagnose you, of course, but your explanation suggests that you suffer from OCD, this is an illness that should be treated as any other illness.

Brother, do not stop making dua to Allah that He heals you. 


Salam Aleikom dear brother,

Thank you for sharing with us your concerns.

I am sorry to read that you suffer from waswasa. 

Waswasa or intrusive thoughts might actually be part of a clinical diagnosis called OCD.

“OCD is a mental disorder in which people experience unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, images, or sensations (obsessions) and engage in behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) in response.”

OCD has a religious aspect as well; bad thoughts about Allah, thoughts about the validity of your wudu or prayer are among the common intrusive thoughts Muslims with OCD get. Please read more about this phenomenon in this article. 

I am not an Islamic scholar, therefore I am unable to answer your question whether you need to repeat your prayers. To get an answer for this question, please write to our Ask the Scholar section.

However, you mentioned that you did consult an imam who said “you are not accountable for this.” Therefore, I would go take his words as the response you need. 


Check out this counseling video:


Seek help from a professional

As you have been suffering from OCD for years, it appears my dear brother that at this point you really do want help with a professional. In sha’ Allah, I am confident that you will seek it out.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, as well as exposure and response prevention therapies, work really well to reduce/treat OCD of this nature.

Usually, these therapies help you “build awareness of the problematic obsessive thoughts, Identifying how these obsessive thoughts are irrational and distorted and consistently challenging the distorted thoughts with more objectively realistic thoughts”.

If you can find a good therapist Insha’Allah, who is familiar with your type of OCD, I would kindly suggest dear brother start therapy as soon as possible.

OCD: I Have Endless Doubts about My Faith - About Islam

Seek Help from Your Imam

Additionally, it seems you met a trusted imam who is familiar with waswasa and OCD. Ask him to assist you through the healing process. Inshallah, he will advise you how to get rid of these thoughts, from a spiritual side.

For example, it is well-known that morning and evening duas keep Satan away and protect our day. 

“By starting and ending your day with the remembrance of Allah, you will gain an immense amount of blessings (barakah) in your day.”

You will have peace and contentment in your life. (Q20:130)

There are certain times when duas are more answered. 

Remembering Allah in general helps us. I cannot diagnose you, of course, but in case you have OCD, this is an illness that should be treated as any other illness. Therefore, brother, do not stop making dua to Allah that He heals you. 

Talk to Allah, cry to Him and ask Him for healing as well. Allah is most merciful. 

Trust in Him, not what these intrusive thoughts are telling you. When you try to pray, ask Allah to remove the thoughts. If they persist, just pray as much as you can. If you cannot continue, Allah knows your heart and it is good. However, your mind needs healing and it is through no fault of you.

It is your test, brother

Brother, Allah has not created us to suffer. Yes, we are tested, all of us, but never with something we would not be able to deal with. (Quran, 2:286) I am sure you know this. 

We are tested for many reasons. 

1, To worship Allah

(Surah 29: 2-3)

2, To wash away our sins

The Prophet (saw) said:“No calamity befalls a Muslim but that Allah expiates some of his sins because of it, even if it were the prick of a thorn.”  (Bukhari, Muslim).

3, To train their patience and endurance

 (Surah 3: 146)

4, Tests often lead to greater blessing

“Perhaps you dislike a thing and Allah makes therein much good.”(Surah 4: 19)

If you read about the lives of the prophets, especially our beloved Prophet Mohammad (saw), they all were tested severely and went through many trials much worse than you or I could imagine. It did not mean Allah (swt) did not love them. It meant that they had to endure trials and tribulations like most humans, some had more severe tests.

Your Relationship with Allah

Your test brother is these thoughts. The question is, what will you do about it? Are you ready to make a wise decision and seek help from a professional while working on strengthening your relationship with Allah? I have a feeling you are.

What you can rest assured of, sister is that Allah does love you and for everything you have suffered a sin is removed. When you are healed, what a blessed day that will be.  Who knows, maybe you went through this so you could help others one day who are suffering as you did.

I am confident that you will overcome this. You are strong, you love Allah and you have great insight and ability. 

Please, be open to trying therapy and new ways of looking at things, and never give up for you were created for a wonderful thing in this life. Soon insha’Allah these intrusive thoughts will be gone and you will have a happy, peaceful life.

I hope you find my answer beneficial,

***

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About Timea Aya Csányi
Timea Aya Csányi pursues her BSc. degree in Psychology and Islamic Studies at the Islamic Online University. She is a certified NLP® Practitioner, one of our writers and counselors at the "Ask the Counselor" section. She works as a fitness trainer who is specialized in the spine and functional training. She is advocates for gaining self-love and confidence through exercising. If you are a Muslimah who seeks spine-friendly online training with a PT, you can reach out to Timea at [email protected]