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