I have OCD. This means I experience overwhelming whispers. I came across an article of yours that talked about this. I have a few questions. I was wondering if you could please help clarify the following:
What is the difference between intrusive thoughts and urges?
What is the difference between intrusive thoughts from the own nafs and from shaitaan?
Is there a possibility of ever acting on these thoughts?
Thank you so much for bringing light to this topic. It's something I personally have a hard time dealing with. Hoping to hear from you soon. JazakaAllah Khair.
In this counseling answer:
•Individuals with OCD tend to assign meaning to each and every thought they have which, in turn, causes them to act on the thought depending on the nature of the thought.
•You need to constantly remind yourself that your thoughts are simply not who you are, and they need to be directed positivity.
•Firstly, acknowledge Allah’s presence in your life. Allah has been your utmost caretaker. He controls your safety, your health, and your happiness.
•Eat healthily and exercise regularly.
•Rationalize your thoughts. Instead of dwelling on the negative, sinful, selfish thought, dwell on the rational of why it is not useful to dwell on it.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you so much for placing your trust in our ability to propose an answer to your questions.
Dear sister, everyone has thoughts. They are part of a proper functioning brain. Every single individual has about 60 000 thoughts a day, and I can ascertain you that not all 60, 000 of them are going to be positive and good. Every single individual has negative and bad thoughts.
However, people who are diagnosed with OCD simply tend to dwell on them longer and try really hard to assign meaning to each and every single thought.
Intrusive thoughts vs. urges
When something is defined as intrusive, it is because it causes disruption and annoyance. It is not readily welcomed, and is uninvited. Therefore, an individual can realize that such thoughts are intrusive because the brain knows that it is not common to have such thoughts.
Everyone has intrusive thoughts as well. However, some people can readily dismiss them, whereas others have a hard time. Those with OCD have a harder time.
Like I mentioned, individuals with OCD tend to assign meaning to each and every thought they have which, in turn, causes them to act on the thought depending on the nature of the thought.
For example, if a thought concerns the identity of a person, the person may doubt him/herself. Or, if an intrusive thought has to do with an action, it may then turn into an “urge” when too much meaning and importance is assigned to it. As a result, it becomes hard to resist these thoughts. When you become too indulged in thinking about them, then it becomes very draining to self-resist.
Therefore, you need to constantly remind yourself that your thoughts are simply not who you are, and they need to be directed positivity. In order to overcome these thoughts, it is necessary to learn to disregard these thoughts in their heads, rather than validate them by assigning meaning through assuming they hold importance.
According to Islam, good, so-called divine or angelic thoughts are characterized by steadfastness to religion while selfish and satanic thoughts are characterized by fluctuation/change in personality and religion.
However, I am, unable to tell you more about this issue. As I am not an Islamic scholar or a person who is knowledgeable enough in the science of aqeedah (Islamic creed), I advise you to send your questions to our Ask about Islam section.
How to avoid intrusive thoughts
Remembrance of Allah
“Shall I not inform you of the best of your actions, the purest in the sight of your Lord, which raises your rank to the highest, which is better for you than spending gold and silver, better than meeting your enemy so that you strike at their necks and they strike at yours?’ They replied: ‘Yes, indeed,’ and he said: ‘It is the remembrance of Allah’” (Tirmidhi).
Firstly, acknowledge Allah’s presence in your life. Allah has been your utmost caretaker. He controls your safety, your health, and your happiness.
In order to develop a deep, pure love for our Creator, we must acknowledge that we are helpless without Him. Every breath is in His control, and every heartbeat pumps with His permission.
Answer these questions: How has Allah blessed me? How will I thank Allah and remember Him more often? These questions will help us find peace when our thoughts tend to take us down a negative path.
Eating healthy is very important. I cannot emphasize the positive impact healthy food has on the brain. The brain and the heart are the most important organs of the body. Most of the illnesses, from mental to physical are a consequence of unhealthy diet.
A friend of mine was once trying to lose weight, and instead of eating healthy, he tried to control his diet to such an extent that the was eating a fruit, a small bowl of rice, and some salad, for the entire day! Unfortunately, this caused hallucinations and depression and lethargy. After going back to eating healthy, his hallucinations, depression, and lethargy was gone.
So, eat a well-balanced meal, filled with nuts, fruits, vegetables, healthy amount of sugar, and milk and good fluids.
Exercise has been proven through clinical and basic science research to genuinely reduce depression, and myriad of mental and physical health conditions. According to research, cancer patients who exercised after their diagnosis and treatment recovered much better than those who did not! Therefore, dear sister, exercising chemically impacts your brain and your body positively.
Reading does to the mind what exercise does to the brain. Reading is important because it not only develops our minds, but it gives us endless knowledge and lessons while keeping our minds active, and expands our ability to think and rationalize.
Socializing and entertaining oneself through hobbies.
Friends are an important part of life. Get involved, as socializing helps remove the negative thoughts in addition, you need find yourself ways to keep yourself involved and never alone with nothing to do.
Training the mind
I can understand how hard it must be in certain cases to control your thoughts. I know that sometimes certain thoughts cause anxiety and depression and hopelessness. However, in these circumstances, the best way to remove these thoughts is to replace them.
For example, if you have a thought which renders you sad, replace it with a happy, positive, past productive thought. Next, when you have a thought resembling a sin like behavior, rationalize as to why it should not be done, and rather than dwelling on the negative, sinful, selfish thought, dwell on the rational of why it is not useful to dwell on it.
I hope I adequately answered your questions.
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.