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Satan’s Whispering or OCD?

26 March, 2017
Q I have had OCD for a while, I wasn’t medically diagnosed with it but I can definitely say that I have it at least in a mild form. I have doubts in prayer, wudu, wet dream, but sometimes I can ignore and most of the time I am able to control it. My main issue though is with kufr, I know scrupulosity is part of OCD and I think that is what I have since I doubt most of the statements I say or actions I do, and I think they might have had kufr in them that nullified my Islam. The thing is I know if you did not intend kufr it didn’t happen, but my issue is I have to repeat this after most of my statements or actions to avoid the OCD. I get thoughts in my head and I know it’s from shaitan, so those well, most I can control, and sometimes I cannot. The action and statement issue is extremely hard since it interferes with my life, and obviously my worship. If you can guide me to some useful sites to explain kufr easily and clearly because I have checked most websites, with no help, or extremely confuse me. Jazak Allah Khair.



As-Salam `Alaikum,

I am writing in response to your worries in hope that you will find some comfort and increased understanding about your situation. Let’s first begin with the actual symptoms of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder).

The first criterion is that you have recurrent obsessions or compulsions that are severe enough to be time-consuming and take more than an hour a day or they cause significant distress or impairment. Your obsessions and/or compulsions need to be severe enough for you to recognize them as unreasonable or excessive and they are not caused by some other physiological condition.

Obsessions are ideas, impulses, thoughts or images that are experienced by an individual as intrusive and inappropriate and they cause anxiety and/or distress. Also, when you are feeling the compulsions or thoughts, it might seem as though the experience is not congruent with how you perceive yourself as an individual. In others words, the thoughts seem as if they are not coming from you and you do not have any control over them.

Doubting one’s beliefs or world view, questioning one’s own religion and worry about if that is right or wrong, would not necessarily be considered OCD. That would be more of an existential issue and would also be likely to cause anxiety and worry, but again, would not be OCD.

People who have OCD usually try to suppress them or ignore them or neutralize them with using a counter thought, or by engaging in ritualistic behaviors that can sometimes become compulsions.

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OCD is usually caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain whereas an existential crisis is a natural developmental stage of the soul. Researchers have identified the neurotransmitter serotonin as being low in most cases of people who suffer from OCD.

For more information on OCD look at this website.

I like the way they lay the information out for people so that it can be easily understood. You can also take an OCD self-test. If after you read the information on this site and take the OCD self-test you still believe you have OCD, then take your detailed information and reasoning back to your doctor. Sometimes a lack of understanding and information and communication is why a doctor does not give a diagnosis at first.

However, given the information that you gave me, I am at this time to lean more toward an existential crisis with a natural developmental process causing you to question yourself and soul search in an effort to find equilibrium for yourself with a sense of congruency with what you are feeling and believing on the inside and your religious practice on the outside.

If you are fighting the process of exploring your most authentic sense of self and authentic orientation to both the physical and the spiritual worlds, this can cause you to exhibit similar behaviors in thought and action as OCD. If you live a life of fear about being correct in your religious practices, you might be terrified of the natural developmental process that would lead you to experience authentic spiritual growth. If this is what is happening, you would suppress your natural thoughts and this is very similar to OCD.

Allah (swt) is one. In reality, the authentic soul worships Allah (swt) because this is a natural state of being. This is not an act of compulsion; it is natural. It is a result of being in the state of awareness of your connection to Allah (swt). There is no doubt in this state of consciousness. There is simply the Creator and the created. This state of consciousness is not something to achieve or force. It comes. The struggle is in the everyday life and consistently choosing to trust Allah (swt). If you do this, Allah (swt) will protect your soul and you will assert and establish this sacred relationship.

As I address your questions about kufr, I first want to be clear so that you understand that I am not an Islamic scholar and I am not an authority on the subject. My writing is more general and is usually on topics that most people from all faiths and all sects of Islam can benefit from. I did find some websites that address the issue, but again, I want to stress that anything I find and share as related to Islamic Scholar or Fiqh or authority, should be discussed with your own imam, sheikh, or someone that you trust to be an authority on the subject.

I have attempted to provide a balanced approach to responding to your questions and I pray that this will help you discern what the cause of your current discomfort is and help you toward finding your solution.

Thank you very much for writing in.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides. 


About Maryam Bachmeier
Dr. Bachmeier is a clinical psychologist who has been working in the mental health field for over 15 years. She is also a former adjunct professor at Argosy University, writer, and consultant in the areas of mental health, cultural, and relationship issues.