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Suffering from OCD: I Want to Be Muslim Again

16 June, 2020
Q I had been diagnosed with ocd and psychosis in 2013. I got into medical school. Everything was perfect, but one day due to temperature I skipped my class test and after that I kept thinking that my teacher would fail me in my final exams, so it’s useless to study.

I went to my teacher 4 times to assure that he will not fail me, but these thought didn’t go away.

I went back home and started doubting my parents that they will message my friend to end contact with me. My parents assured me many times but I couldn’t get rid of these thoughts.

He was just a friend to me just like a brother, but every time I had thoughts that either my parents, my friends and other family members will message him.

Then I started being afraid that my children will leave me when they will start earning because they would get to know about my past affair.

Because of these thoughts, I decided never to marry because I can’t bear the pain of being separated from my children.

I kept crying all day and night just because of these thoughts. Then I started questioning whether Allah exists or not.

I tried hard but felt I no longer have the faith. But I kept praying. My family did my nikkah with my second cousin and after my nikkah I got control over myself.

But now I feel again as if I would be a kafir, someone who doubts Allah. At the same time, I am afraid of Hell, and I am afraid Allah will not forgive me for these thoughts.

I want to be a Muslim again, a real believer. What shall I do?

Answer


In this counseling answer:

These thoughts of losing control can be really painful. Please know dear sister, there is help available.

OCD is a very difficult disorder to live with, but as you know, it is treatable.

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Please do seek treatment with your therapist as soon as possible.

I kindly suggest that you also ask your therapist about additional education regarding OCD, support groups as well as stress management techniques. In shaa’ Allah, with these additional supports, you will be better able to handle an OCD flare up in the future.

Consider Tawakkul as a medication for anxiety.


As-Salamu Alaikum dear sister,

I am glad that you have decided to reach out to us. I am sorry to hear of the confusion that you are currently undergoing in life. However, you must rest assured that these feelings are simply temporary and will vanish once you solidify your belief in Allah and learn to leave all your affairs in His hands.

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OCD, since the beginning of its discovery as an illness, has been known as the “doubt” disease. For example, patients who have OCD are either preoccupied with cleaning, arranging or rechecking.

This is because they are either doubtful that there are too many germs, too much disorganization, or they have missed something important for whatever purpose and things need to checked, checked and rechecked.

This is mainly because individuals with OCD tend to seek perfection. Since perfection can never be attained, they doubt everything.

This, in my opinion, is where faith comes in. As humans, we are bound to make mistakes and learn from them. We also control hogs.

Some individuals are aware that they can control so much. However, OCD patients fail to realize this. The only way to overcome OCD is through a change in your thoughts. Thoughts that doubt, thoughts that bring about uncertainty, and thoughts that disturb the peace of mind.

Suffering from OCD: I Want to Be Muslim Again - About Islam

Learn to trust: Tawakkul as a medication for anxiety

The antidote of doubting is trusting. You need to learn to trust and be certain. You need to place your trust in Allah after you have done your share of the job.

For example, if you were compulsive about cleaning, you should clean to the best of your ability and relax. The trust that Allah will keep you from the germs which you were not able to clean. There is only so much we can do. Trust in Allah is what helps.

Allah says in the Quran,

“And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent.” (Quran 65:3)

If you think about this verse for a minute, you can see that Allah has not only ordered us to place our trust in him, but He has also said that He, Himself will accomplish that which He thinks is in our best interest.

He ultimately controls everything. Although I know that when feeling extremely anxious, it is certainly difficult to recall everything at once, the most important message to retain is that “Allah is in control, and that He is sufficient for me.”

Sometimes medication is not sufficient to overcome OCD or even psychosis. There is always a relapse and the thoughts are not adequately controlled. Medicine is simply the external application to help relieve some of the distress caused by psychological and psychiatric disorders.

The real way to reduce and eliminate its negative consequences is to change our mindset and learn to overcome doubting everything.


Check out this counseling video:


Doubts are distractions: they are the whispers of the devil

I am not sure if you have heard this before, “No amount of guilt changes the past and no amount of worrying can change the future.” As humans, we are all very anxious about the future. However, we need to learn that it is not in our control.

When Shaytan realizes that an individual is overly worried about the past such that it affects their present, he tries even harder to create anxiety and distract the individual from their true paths.

Allah says in the Quran,

Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Quran 13: 28)

Therefore, to change the course of your thoughts, you can read the 99 names of Allah, or start reading the Quran with translation and understand.

Your mind will only be away from the doubts and the thoughts if you preoccupy it with something different. Constantly thinking about such thoughts and obsessing over them will make your situation worse.

Realize the blessing of pain

When you realize that your doubts and ill thoughts are starting, try to do something that brings about happiness and inner joy in you.

It is often true that when the times are the hardest, the work is the most productive and there is more effort which stems with sincerity. This activity will distract you from focusing on your inner negative thoughts. It will even help you feel good.

You need to ensure that the activity you are doing is something which you truly like to do. It does NOT have to be productive, it can be as simple as drawing, reading, watching something entertaining, and anything which helps you sincerely deter your thoughts.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to constantly indulge in studying to achieve great heights. If you see great doctors or even great lawyers, you will see that there is something totally on the other side of the spectrum which they occupy their spare time with. Either they are writers, artists, public speakers, teachers, and the list goes on.

I encourage you to find something which you are passionate about and strengthen your relationship with that activity.

Practice Optimism

In her article, Roohi Tahir researched the following excerpt on Optimism:

“If you had the ability to choose a single psychological trait that you could improve in yourself, I might recommend optimism because it is correlated with so many other good measure.

Optimists tend to have longevity, be very healthy, have great life satisfaction and be successful. And this is holding fixed for economic, religious and socio-status measures.”

Become your own therapist

When you realize your thoughts are starting to emerge, walk through your own feelings. For example, rather than trying to avoid them, rationalize them.

For example, if you fear that you will become a disbeliever, or if your children might leave you:

  1. Write down the thought. (Don’t fear your thought, do not act on it.)
  2. Write down points opposing your thought. (tell your mind that what it is thinking is not rational)
  3. Write down the consequence of acting on your negative thought.
  4. Write down what you should be rather doing (positive thought)
  5. Write down if there is something you can do to remove the thought. For example, can you read more books about Islam and solidify your knowledge? Can you ask Allah to forgive you of your past sins? Can you do something to secure a financially stable future and retirement days?
  6. Breathe deeply, and act on the positive thought.

Negative thoughts are from Satan

Dear sister, when you realize that it is not the negative thought but you who is in control, it will become much easier to act on what is right. Remember, the negative thought is that from shaytan.

Also, please do not think about Allah as being not forgiving. Allah is the most forgiving, and for being forgiven by Allah, you need to ensure that you continue to seek forgiveness.

And lastly, relaxation, meditation are also good ways to deal with the negativity of your mind. If anything, it helps you clear out your mind of negativity and think positive.

I hope my answer provided the answer you were looking for.

Editor’s Note:

Dear sister, these thoughts of losing control, as well as desperation are really painful. Please know there is help available.

OCD is a very difficult disorder to live with, but as you know, it is treatable.

Please do seek treatment with your therapist as soon as possible.

We kindly suggest that you also ask your therapist about additional education regarding OCD, support groups as well as stress management techniques. In shaa’ Allah, with these additional supports, you will be better able to handle an OCD flare up in the future.

Please do seek treatment now as there is no reason why you must suffer like this. In shaa’ Allah, dear brother, once you are in treatment and resolve your symptoms, you will be stable again.

Just make sure that you remain in contact with your therapist and have resources and coping tools should you begin to feel it coming back. It is a lifelong disorder, like many other mental and physical disorders we humans have, but it is treatable.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Madiha Sadaf
Madiha Sadaf in an undergraduate student at the University of Ottawa, enrolled in BSc. with Major in Biology and Psychology with Minor in Health Social Sciences.