Don’t Panic!

Assalamu Alaykum my dear brothers and sisters in Islam,

We all experience times in our lives when we are stressed, worried, or are feeling anxious and down. But when these feelings start taking control of our lives, they become a problem.

Muslims, just like anyone else, can experience psychological problems. A common affliction is suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder.

I have come across an excellent collection of articles by Sheikh Al-Munajjid on http://www.islamqa.com, that gives practical advice on how to get rid of this illness by the will of Allah.

http://www.islamqa.com/en/cat/2022

Here are some pointers to get you started:

1- Stay positive: Remember that Allah is Most merciful and do not despair.  Whatever affliction you experiencing now, Allah is capable of removing it.

“O my sons! Go you and enquire about Yoosuf (Joseph) and his brother, and never give up hope of Allahs Mercy. Certainly no one despairs of Allahs Mercy, except the people who disbelieve.

[Yusuf, 12:87]

2-Know that these thoughts are nothing but whispers from the shaytaan. These thoughts cannot harm you by the will of Allah.

“Allaah will forgive my ummah for whatever crosses their minds so long as they do not speak of it or act upon it.”

[Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4968; Muslim, 127]

3- You are not alone. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

Waswaas is something that happens to everyone who turns to Allaah in dhikr etc; it will inevitably happen to him. So he should be steadfast and remain patient, and persist in his dhikr and prayer, and not give up, for by persisting in it he will foil the plot of the shaytaan and “ever feeble indeed is the plot of Shaytaan (Satan)” [al-Nisa’ 4:76]

Every time a person wants to turn to Allaah in his heart, whispers of other matters come to him. The shaytaan is like a bandit; every time a person wants to travel towards Allaah, he wants to intercept him. Hence it was said to one of the salaf: The Jews and the Christians say, we don’t experience waswaas. He said: They are right! What would the shaytaan do with a ruined house

3- If in doubt, take the easier option. A person afflicted by lots of wiswaas should always take the easier option when in doubt. For eg, if you are not sure whether you prayed 2 or 3 raka3at, assume that you have prayed 3. If you are unsure whether or not you washed a limb in wudu’, do not pay attention to this and assume that you have unless you are certain that you have missed something.

4- Remember, certainty is not invalidated by doubt!. One of the principles in Islamic Fiqh is that certainty is not invalidated by doubt. For eg. you are certain that you performed wudu, but you start doubting if you passed wind or not. This has no effect on your wudu’ unless you are certain that your wudu’ has been nullified.

5- Ignorance is your enemy! If you are unsure about a ruling Islaam, ask someone knowledgeable and do not panic.The shaytaan often capatalises on your weaknesses in knowledge. So know that the more knowledge you have, the stronger you are by the will of Allah.

6- Beware of boredom! Pre-occupy yourself with beneficial activities. Help around the house, join an islamic society, work on a small project, memorise verses from the Quraan, etc. The main point is to keep yourself busy and those whispers away by the will of Allah!

7- Keep your tongue moist with Remembrance of Allah. There are many recommended supplications that you should maintain saying. You can find many in ‘The fortress of the muslim’ : http://www.islamawareness.net/Dua/Fortress/fortress_of_the_muslim.pdf. You can also purchase a pocket sized copy from most Islamic bookstores insha Allah.

8- Do not panic! Always turn to Allah, ask Him for assistance and strength and seek refuge with Him from the accursed shaytaan.

May Allah protect and strengthen us all, Ameen. Please keep me in your sincere dua’s

If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me.

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4 Responses

  1. good post mashaAllah!

  2. I’m not a muslim, but that was still very interesting. Thank you.

    I find that my OCD is more a constant state of vigilance than a “whispering of shaytaan”. I also have anxiety attacks, and that is more in the line of evil voices as you suggest.

    Does Islaam make a direct connection between anxiety and OCD? They often travel together in sufferers, but they are not necessarily co-dependent. Or that’s my understanding, anyway.

  3. Me again. I’ve just looked up Shaytaan in wikipedia, and it had this to say about whispering:

    “In Islamic theology, the Shaytan and his minions are “whisperers”, who whisper into the chests of men and women, urging them to commit sin. This is where the desire to sin comes from, according to Islam.”

    Does this mean that OCD urges are sinful? I note that your quote about forgiveness – so long as the thoughts are not acted upon – seems to handle this, but if someone *does* give in to OCD behaviour caused by Shaytaan’s whispers, does that make them sinful?

  4. jazaki’Allah khayr

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