Are the Recurring Incidents Signs from Allah or is It My OCD?

11 September, 2020
Q Assalamu alaykum,

I'm not really sure what direction to go and I'm really worried about my state. Can you help me? I have a big problem with waswasa about Allah. Like the remorse it seems to come in waves, where there's nothing I can do about it and then it leaves and I feel like I’ve become a kafir.

Then when I try to do any dhikr I worry it won't be accepted by me because I think I have disbelieved and this didn't help me. I also have this thing where whenever the waswasa starts my eye will feel strained then my other eye and when I remember Allah it feels like I'm able to see clearly again. Do you know what this is?

Whenever I try to make tawba , I lose the remorse seconds later. I will make salawat a lot and when I remember the sins I will feel guilt and sadness and I will pray salat tawba. Then when I think about the sins again it's like I have a barrier to feeling any emotion. Then I think my tawba was insincere and not accepted so I eventually end up where I was at the beginning feeling awful and depressed and like I’ll never be able to make tawba. It feels like a cycle, where I can cry, and feel remorseful and wish I had never done that. But always sooner or later I end up feeling nothing when thinking about the sin.

I also had the fear I would die soon. So it was extremely painful because I would wake up in the middle of the night and I didn’t feel like eating and I just lost hope. The only thing that stops the miserableness from coming back is that I think my tawba might have been accepted because after I made 2 tawba my eeman really increased.

But now I think if I made tawba sincerely I can continue doing good deeds. But if my tawba wasn't accepted I'll go back to that paralyzing fear. I know I might never make tawba properly again because of the above problem. But whenever I want to do good deeds I think "if my Tawba was not accepted will all my good deeds be worthless?" and about the hadith where on Yawm Qiyamah people come with good deeds like mountains but Allah scatters them and i worry that will be me. Could this cycle be similar to the cycle of sin?

I also think being miserable is being selfish because it's self-defeatist and I think it removes the guilt because I just think "I'll never be able to fix anything" and I just mope about myself and I’m not thinking of the sins and my disobedience but I’m whining. I also have this thing where I'll hide under my blankets and use my phone to get away from my worries.

Before I remembered the sins, I was listening to Quran. After a waswasa attack I kind of "saw" this vision of me in a grave when I was wailing and asking "how could I have forgotten My Lord like this?" I promised myself I would never let that happen but now I fear that it will happen anyways and I can't stop it. Its stupid but i feel like it was some kind of message. I was awake. Do you know what it could be?

Do you know of anything I could do? I do hate this and I feel like my life is on standstill. I go through episodes of feeling nothing and really bad panics usually at night or in the morning. That I've wasted another day and I'm going to end this way. Right now I'm in the " feeling nothing" phase. Do you know why I seem to go through phases?

I think I have 5 options: 1.ask a mufti 2.salawaat (it helps with guilt) 3.be miserable and hide from everything 4.follow the advice at zawaj (link in notes) which i tried but then i ended up with the cycle https://en.islamway.net/article/8184/a-message-to-someone-drowning 5. Follow this advice. I'm not sure if it would work for me though and that's why I ask if this cycle is similar to the cycle of sin?

There is a part of me that thinks I should see a psychologist for some things. Then there's another part that says that I just like attention and I'm trying to not blame myself for my sins. I also fear that the whole "i may as well not feel regret" thing is a part of that.

Also a few days ago I begged Allah to guide me. I went outside and the first newspaper I saw outside our local shop was one with the headline "the man who wouldn't take the blame". I was thinking that was a sign, or am i just stupid?

Answer


In this counseling session:

OCD has a religious aspect as well; bad thoughts about Allah, thoughts about the validity of your wudu, prayer or tawbah *just like in your case) are among the common intrusive thoughts Muslims with OCD get.

You mentioned you have already thought of seeking help from a psychologist. You also thought of reaching out to an imam. Please brother no longer think only: it is time to act. If you do not change something in your approach to the problem, nothing in your life will change. 

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

Yes brother, prayer is our strongest tool to overcome any problems.

Instead of isolating yourself, go out and try finding good Muslims whom you like to be with. Attend Muslim gatherings and lectures, increase your knowledge and surround yourself with people who remind of you Allah, His mercy and love. 


Assalamu Aleikom brother,

I am sorry to hear of your issues with waswasa and feelings of guilt about whether your tawbah is accepted or not. Mashallah brother, worrying about whether Allah forgives us after sinning is a sign of a faithful Muslim. “Allah loves those who repent “(Al-Baqarah 2:222) So, inshallah you are on the right track to Jannah. 

However, you reached a level that these thoughts and feelings have become frustrating to the extent that you doubt your sincerity.  

May Allah help you keep these worries under control.

Waswasa 

You said 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, prayer or tawbah *just like in your case) are among the common intrusive thoughts Muslims with OCD get. Please read more about this phenomenon in this article. 

Seek help from a professional

Brother, you have been suffering for years.  You mentioned that you have panic attacks. You have sought help from other websites and now from us. However, you still feel hesitant. Clearly, you need more direct help than just reading and asking questions at online platforms.

Are the Recurring Incidents Signs from Allah or is It My OCD? - About Islam

You mentioned you have already thought of seeking help from a psychologist. You also thought of reaching out to an imam. Please brother no longer think only: it is time to act. If you do not change something in your approach to the problem, nothing in your life will change.  

“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. (13:11)

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.

Your options

You mentioned four options you feel you could do to solve this situation. 

Asking a mufti or imam is a good idea as your problem is related to waswasa and your feelings of guilt that your tawbah is rejected. 

You mentioned your mom does not want you to go anywhere before or after school. Does she know about your troubling thoughts and feelings? I am sure if she knows, she would even go with you to the imam to help you. 

Please, if you have not, involve her in your problems. I am sure inshallah you will find her understanding and helpful. 

Prayer. Yes brother, prayer is our strongest tool to overcome any problems.

The Prophet said: “The first of his deeds for which a man will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection will be the prayers. If it is found to be perfect, he will be safe and successful. But if it is defective, he will be unfortunate and a loser.”

Continue asking Allah in your prayers to give you ease, remove these negative thoughts and feelings you have. Make dua after every prayer of yours. 


Check out this counseling video:


Be miserable and hide from everything. Brother, although it might feel comfortable, this will not solve your issues. Humans are social creatures who can cheer you up, support you physically as well as emotionally in times of need. And you are in a situation when you do need people around you. You just need to find healthy ways to solve your frustrations. 

Instead of isolating yourself, go out and try finding good Muslims whom you like to be with. Attend Muslim gatherings and lectures, increase your knowledge and surround yourself with people who remind of you Allah, His mercy and love. 

“Try to have as many as possible true friends, for they are the supplies in joy and the shelters in misfortunes.” (Bihar-ul-Anwar)

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” (Jim Rohn)

As waswasa is a very common problem among Muslims, I would have a search on Muslims who also suffer from this. They could offer you some good times that works for them. 

Have fun with your friends. Do things that makes you happy. 

Following the tips you read on zawaj.com. The sites you showed us have lots of amazing and practical advice. However, you said it confuses you. 

Brother, you do not have to implement every single tip – you will end up overwhelmed and not doing anything. Chose only 1 or maximum 2 tips and try implementing them on a regular basis. Make them a habit, and then move on to the other tips. 

Again, brother, as it seems you have been reading and asking online platforms a lot what to do but you do not feel a difference, it is time to do something else and reach out to help from a professional. 

Accepting tawbah

I am not an Islamic scholar, therefore I cannot say much about when tawbah is accepted. However, Aboutislam has a very good article when tawbah is accepted and what you should do. It shall remove all your bad feelings inshallah. 

But please, again, go to that imam and talk to him about your problems!

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 workship 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)

3, Tests often lead to greater blessing

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

I hope I was able to release some of the stress you have been through and confirm to you that you need to seek professional help inshallah!

May Allah bless you and make things easy.

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 are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

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]