OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and Islam

OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) and Islam

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Islam

OCD is also known as “ the doubting disorder” or in Islam known ad ‘Waswas’ meaning ‘whisperings of Shaitan’. Muslims who suffer from OCD will normally relate it to their faith which is categorized as Scrupulosity and affects every day of worship such as wudu, prayer, cleanliness. They will often question themselves have I cleaned myself 3 times, did I miss my raqat, did I do wudu correctly. These are irrational intrusive thoughts that enter our minds.

What is OCD ?

OCD is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) that can be stressful and lead individuals to engage in repetitive behaviors (compulsions) in an effort to reduce their discomfort and ease their anxiety.  Although compulsions might temporarily reduce anxiety, many OCD sufferers claim that both their obsessions and compulsions cause them great distress and frequently interfere with their everyday lives.

If you’ve got OCD, you probably know, or recognize, that your compulsive behaviors and obsessive thoughts are somewhat irrational. However, even so, you still feel like you can’t resist them.

Do you know how the needle gets stuck on a record player playing an old record? Well, OCD sort of works the same way. It causes your brain to fixate on a particular urge or thought, for instance, washing hands until almost peeling the skin off because you fear germs.

Though OCD is frequently misinterpreted or oversimplified as the desire for cleanliness or order due to inaccurate media representation, this can lead to confusion and a lack of support for those who are experiencing OCD. This article will serve as a guide, explaining the causes, symptoms, and treatments of OCD in order to demonstrate how complex OCD is compared to what most people believe.


OCD an affect anyone 

About 3% of the people on this earth will battle with this disorder at some point in their lives. People of all ethnicity and culture can be affected, however, certain risk factors can help increase the likelihood of you suffering this particular mental disorder.

What causes OCD?

OCD can stem from a variety of factors. Similar to many other conditions, there may be a number of risk variables present that range from person to person and have varied effects on everyone. Some of the elements that increase a person’s risk of developing OCD include:

  • Family History: Having one or more OCD cases in one’s family may predispose one to acquiring OCD.
  • Biological Causes: One biological issue that may predispose some people to OCD is a problem with neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. There is less proof that genetic variables are common in OCD; there may be genes that predispose people to illnesses in general, but no specific OCD genes have been found.
  • Life events– Stress plays the biggest part in the development of OCD. Strong triggers might be produced by situations that make you feel responsible or out of control. Numerous studies have demonstrated that abuse and trauma can trigger the formation of OCD, with compulsions acting as coping mechanisms.

The Symptoms of OCD


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) doesn’t show the same way in every person, just as OCD has no single cause. OCD symptoms can, however, typically be divided into obsessions and compulsions

Compulsions are the repeated behaviours, carried out in reaction to obsessions. These compulsive behaviours are carried out in order to ease anxiety or avoid a terrifying outcome.  Many OCD sufferers are aware of the unhelpful or unreasonable nature of their behaviours, but they nonetheless feel compelled to carry them out. Common compulsions include, for example:




The long-term effects of these compulsions are an increase in obsessional preoccupation and the maintenance of the pattern of responses to them, despite the fact that they can temporarily reduce anxiety.

Obsessions are recurring, persistent impulses that enter the mind unexpectedly. Because they are frequently unpleasant, obsessions can make people feel anxious. OCD obsessions frequently have recurring themes, the most prevalent of which are:

CONTAMINATION – The fixation in OCD is the fear of contamination for oneself or others, notwithstanding how frequently it is depicted in the media as obsessive cleaning or hand-washing.

SEXUAL – unpleasant sexual ideas or pictures.

PERFECTIONSIM: a need for accuracy, precision, or orderliness; a need to know or recall for sure.

OCD can cause Anxiety

When dealing with OCD, you might start to experience chronic anxiety because of your obsessive thoughts. Usually, compulsions and rituals are used to help reduce this anxiety and nervousness that has been caused by the obsession. Some of these obsessive behaviors include



OCD Man washing hands


> Counting words, letters or objects

Repeatedly checking your doors to ensure they’re locked

> Rearranging objects to make sure a specific symmetry or order is met

> Doing stuff in multiples, like switching your lights


OCD Treatment

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get treatment. There are therapies wherein you can rely on different therapy methods that work for you. There are also different kinds of medications you can consider. And lastly, there is religion which can be used to help support OCD treatment as well. For instance, in Islamic culture, OCD is viewed in a religious perspective, thus applying religion to therapy. In conclusion, there’s more improvement when this religious therapy is done, but overall, this would depend on the culture in general and a person’s preferences.

OCD responds well to psychological treatments like Counselling/Psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT) as they address the obsession compulsions and maintenance of behaviors.  Our counsellors can help you through this where you can reconnect with your faith in positive ways.

Wrapping Up

Recognizing the triggers is the first step you’ll need to take when managing OCD symptoms. These triggers are normally the situations, urges, and thoughts that give rise to your compulsions and obsessions. Once you’ve figured these things out when you can start on your road to recovery.

To book an appointment contact us

Muslim Mental Health | Islamic Counselling

Muslim Mental Health | Islamic Counselling

Muslim mental health, man sitting on peer

Importance of Muslim Mental Health in Islam

Muslims come from a diverse background and experiences. Each has its struggles and obstacles to facing life challenges and maintaining mental health.

However, to maintain a balance, we must understand Muslim mental health, what does Islam say about it, and what are the tips guided by the Quran and Hadith?

Is it necessary to self-examine whether or not an individual has a mental illness, or do they need professional assistance, and how Islamic counselling can help in maintaining mental health?

To obtain answers to all of your questions, please read this article all the way through.

What Is mental Health ?

Mental health by The World Health Organisation (WHO) is our state of wellbing includes of emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.  It informs us us how we think, feel and act. It underpins our we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.

Mental Health with Islamic Perspective

Religiously speaking, a person’s psychological well-being is directly related to that person’s ability to realize religious purposes in the modern world.

Muslims are programmed to lead their lives with specific rules and regulations that ensure salvation after death. Therefore, theologically, mental health is the ability of a Muslim to stay connected to Allah and follow the pathway He has instructed.

Regardless of the hurdles and obstacles, a person faces on his way, he must stay consistent in doing worship of Allah. Moreover, following a pathway leads to encompassing overall well-being and health, which includes:

  • Mental Health: engaging our thoughts. Are we thinking positively and practical? Are we opting for ways to help others around us?
  • Physical Health: maintaining physical health like taking a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining hygienic conditions.
  • Spiritual Health: our relationship with Allah like praying to Him, asking for forgiveness, and offering His mandatory obligations.
  • Social Health: our interactions and behavior with Allah’s creatures. Are we kind? Or do we hurt everyone’s sentiments?

If you want to achieve calm and composed mental health, you must have a balance in all of the sections mentioned above. Mental health is a liquid. You need to work and explore to find a balance constantly. A balance in our spiritual, psychological, physical, and mental states can help us achieve a successful journey that can transverse our lives.

However, the term ‘balance’ refers differently at different stages of life. For instance, students will be more focused on getting an excellent academic score, or you might find a balance by taking back a step from socialization to recalibrate yourself.

Gaining mental health and stability is not linear. Every person strives for it on their manner. If you cant find balance and consistency in your life, you might need to reconsider your lifestyle to be back on track.

What Can Trigger a Mental Illness?

Mental illness is caused by a multiple of factors and sometimes the mental illness develops gradually and others times can appear when a stressful event triggers it. It can affect the human body emotionally, physically, socially, and mentally.

Some of the triggers of mental illness are:

  • Lack of support and resources.
  • Major life changes.
  • Family stress and conflicts.
  • Experiencing tragedies or traumas in life.
  • Genetics – It can run in the family
  • Drugs and Alcohol

The severity and range of a mental illness vary from person to person. Sometimes, it is non-clinical, and a person can cure it by making minor changes in a lifestyle. However, sometimes, when the clinical threshold is achieved, a person should seek professional help.

Some of the types of mental illness include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
  • Personality Disorders.
  • Phobias
  • Bipolar

Muslim Mental Health

Spiritual and psychological health is an essential lifelong process widely discussed in Islam. If a person wants to build a strong relationship with Allah, it is necessary to understand a person’s spiritual and psychological functioning and follow the essential mandates of Islam.

Building a psycho-spiritual side of oneself is as important as a person would like to build an academic and intellectual side. Once Sahl bin Abdullah (may GOD be pleased with him) narrated,” if one knows his mind, one also knows his state between Allah and himself.”

The Last Prophet ( Peace be Upon Him) established the base of refinement and development of a good character. To that end, every Muslim scholar and spiritual practitioner focuses immensely on good characterization and psycho-spiritual development.

Moreover, the entire Islamic heritage is filled with positive attitudes and actions. All the messengers of Allah instructed the Muslims to balance their activities, thinking, behavior, and emotional utterance.

Subsequently, the intentional nurture of human behavior contributes to mental illness resilience and acts as a preventive measure against mental illness. Many Islamic scholars emphasize mental health over physical as every Muslim is prone to mental illness, and only a few succeed in escaping from it.

Therefore, a lack of practicing positive behavior and spreading kindness can decrease a psychological strength that may cause unnecessary significant suffering.

Maintaining a Stable Mental Health with Islamic Counselling

Firstly, many Muslims often don’t understand how to maintain mental health and stay positive and composed in their daily routine. You can include the following religious practices in your routine to stay focused and relaxed:

  1. Turn to Allah, worship, and ask for forgiveness.
  2. Stay connected to your loved ones and make a strong bond with them.
  3. Seek awareness and gain knowledge related to mental health.
  4. Make slight changes in lifestyle like take healthy diet, exercise, etc.

However, sometimes, a person practices everything to avoid mental illness, but it doesn’t help. In such a case, it is perfectly acceptable to seek professional assistance.

Tips to Maintain a Mental Health from Quran and Hadith

“Indeed, for every hardship (disease), there’s a relief; with every hardship, there is a relief.” (Quran, 94:5-6)

As mentioned in the Sahi-Bukhari, two gifts given to a human by Allah are leisure and good health. Every Muslim knows that our physical and mental health is Amanah (trust) from Allah, and we have to take the best care of ourselves to return our body to Him in the best condition we can.

Therefore, some tips are mentioned in Quran and Hadith to maintain our good mental health. Let’s have a look!

1.      Be Available for Others to Help Yourself

Being available for your loved ones and the people you know means being generous and kind to them. Whenever you help others, you will feel better. It is also a gift from Allah that He has made you capable of helping others.

The research was conducted at the University of Zurich. It resulted in people with kind and helping hearts having more life span and better health (such as having low blood pressure levels).

Whether it is about spreading smiles, charity, or serving a cup of tea to your colleague, it’s a Sunnah to help others and make the world a better place.

2.      Always have Faith in Allah

Regardless of what emotion is bothering you, whether stress, anxiety, depression, or anger, remembering Allah and seeking His help and forgiveness will always rescue you from troubling thoughts.

However, sometimes it feels that you are praying to Him, but it is not helping. You are not getting desired answers to your questions. To that end, reciting Surah Dhuhaa will help you in these times. This Surah was revealed when the Last Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was anxious and worried.

3.      Keep Your Focus on Positive Thoughts

When you live in the era of social media, this point matters a lot. People displaying their lives and lifestyles on social media are perfect and glossy without flaws. However, the reality is quite different.

Instead of focusing on what they are showing, count your blessings and positive things in your life. Thank Allah for what you have and what others lack. It will release your stress and make you calm.

4.      Have Faith in Yourself

We don’t always have perfection in life. Sometimes, we are going through tough and demotivated days. There are three things you must do when feeling in such a way:

  1. Put your problems on paper and analyze how to find a solution.
  2. Always take time to destress yourself, no matter how busy your routine is.
  3. Regardless of how much is on your plate and how hard your sufferings are, there will never be more than what you can bear.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining good mental health is necessary for every person to lead a composed life. Every person, at some point, has a mental concern; it depends on you how you cope with the situation. Always connect yourself to professionals and Allah for guidance and courage to increase your emotional resilience and faith.

Never think that your problem is big; always remember Allah is bigger than your problem. He never leaves His follower alone in their time of need.

For your own well being we recommend working with one of our Sakoon therapists. You can book an appointment by going to Get Help now


Women of the Year

Women of the Year

Women of the year

Ayesha Aslam received a global #womenoftheyear award in ‘minorities matter’

After a busy day on Sunday 10th with #muslimmentalhealthconference and on Monday attended lunch in London with Women of the year.

Met some remarkable, amazing, talented women which included TV personalities, Paralympics  gold medal (the medal was heavy) )and also a young lady at 100 who is still active in the community.





Avoid Burnout in Ramadan

Avoid Burnout in Ramadan

Avoid burnout

Avoid Burnout in Ramadan

Ramadan is considered the holiest month for Muslims, a time when they devote themselves to prayer and, of course, fasting. It’s also one of Islam’s Five Pillars, and those who are able to fast, should.

As an integral part of this holy occasion, most Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and It’s crucial to engage in proper practices to avoid burnout during this holy month.

With that said, how can devotees avoid burnout while they engage in deep contemplation and prayer during this holy month?
1. Have healthy meals.
What you eat can even affect your mood, so you must look after your diet. It has a big role to play in these last twenty days of Ramadan. 

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims only partake in two meals each day – their early morning meal (suhoor) and their evening meal (iftar). It can be challenging to adjust to this since most people are used to three main meals per day, with some snacks in-between and without it you can feel tiredness and lethargic.

To prevent this from happening and reduce the level of tiredness it’s best to eat healthy and light meals during suhoor and iftar. Engaging in a healthy diet during this holy month can give you the energy you need to get you through the day. It can also help you focus on your reflections and prayer.

A healthy diet means avoiding oily food and increasing your intake of vegetables and fruits. You can also increase your protein and complex carbohydrate intake during this time.

2. Avoid drinking caffeine.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It’s considered the perfect way to start the day and serves as a great pick-me-up during the afternoons when everything slows down. Caffeine is primarily responsible for this, and it can offer many benefits for one’s health.

For example, it can boost your energy levels and improve your brain function, although only temporarily. It’s also a powerful antioxidant.

However, consuming too much caffeine can lead to heightened anxiety, increased blood pressure, and digestive issues. Additionally, you can experience headaches and fatigue if you don’t get your regular caffeine fix, which can be difficult while you’re fasting.

In that case, it’s best to avoid caffeine entirely during Ramadan. This will prevent you from feeling fatigued and burnt out during this time. Instead, you can substitute caffeinated drinks with herbal tea, such as mint or chamomile.

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to reduce your caffeine intake gradually next year as Ramadan approaches.

3. Keep yourself hydrated.

Drink plenty of water after Iftar

The body consists primarily of water, so it’s essential to always keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This is especially important while you’re fasting during Ramadan, as water can help prevent constipation and improve your overall health.

4. Take power naps throughout the day.

With both suhoor and iftar taking place either early in the day or late in the night, it can be challenging to keep yourself alert and functional during the day. After all, you’ll have to adjust your sleeping schedule during this time.

While this is a small sacrifice to make, it can still leave you feeling exhausted during the day. So, to combat this and avoid burnout, it’s best to take short naps or power naps.

Power naps can help you boost your energy levels, allowing you to tackle your tasks more efficiently, even while fasting. These naps should last around 20 to 30 minutes, just enough time to re-energize you for the day.

If this proves to be impossible in your workplace, you can sit back and shut your eyes for around 10 to 15 minutes. These short naps can help you get through the day and focus on your prayers and contemplations without burning out.

5. Do some light exercises.

Again, it can be almost impossible to maintain a high energy level while you’re fasting during Ramadan. It’s highly encouraged to engage in light exercises throughout the day.

These exercises include light stretches or even simply taking a walk. Not only will this give you an energy boost, but it can also help improve your circulation, keeping you alert even while fasting.

However, avoid engaging in too-strenuous exercises as doing so may result in you burning out even faster. You just need enough physical activity to keep you energized enough throughout the day.

6. Avoid cooking extravagate meals.

It can be time consuming and hard work making extravagant meals for Iftar. If you do this for 30 days you will be burn out. Instead plan your meals in advance something that is light and quick to make. This will be less stressful and also avoids wasting food, in addition it provides you with more time towards your spiritual goals.

So there you have it and I myself have followed the above and so far this Ramadan I have avoided the Pokaras !