Rafed English

Obsession and Its Treatment

Q 310: It is several years that I am suffering from the problem of obsessive doubting, and it has really been tormenting me. Day by day this state is becoming more severe and has reached such a point that I suspect everything and my whole life is affected with doubt, mostly in relation to food and wet things. As a result, I am unable to behave like ordinary people. When I enter a place I remove my socks immediately because I think that they have become wet by sweat and will become najis on coming into contact with a najāsah. I am even unable to sit on the prayer mat, and when I do sit, I stand up immediately lest the minute fibers of the prayers mat should stick to my clothes compelling me to clean them with water. Earlier I was not like this, and now I feel embarrassed by my conduct and always long to see someone in my dream to put my questions to him or hope for a miracle to change my life and take me back to my previous state. Please enlighten me.
A: The rules of purity and najāsah are the same as those which have been explained in detail in the books on the practical laws of Islam. In shar‘, all things are considered pure unless it has been pronounced as najis by the Legislator, and one is certain of it being najis. Thus, getting rid of obsession in this situation does not require dreams or miracles; rather it is the duty of the mukallaf to set aside his personal inclination and observe, and bind himself to, the teachings of the sacred laws of Islam and have faith in it and he should not consider the thing whose state of najāsah is not confirmed najis. Therefore, how do you know that the door, wall, prayer mat and other things that you use are najis? And what makes you sure that the minute fibers of the prayer mat that you walk or sit on are najis and that their impurities will transfer to your socks, clothes and body? So in this case, it is not permissible for you to pay attention to this obsession. Disregarding obsession with regard to najāsah and practicing indifference and carelessness will, God willing and by Allah’s aid, help you to free yourself from the grip of obsessive doubting.

Q 311: I am a postgraduate woman with several children. I am suffering from a problem concerning purity. In view of the fact that I have been raised within a religious family and want to observe all Islamic regulations and since I have young children, I am always busy with the affairs of urine and excrement. Especially in the toilet, the water drops of the flash-tanks, etc sprinkles on my leg, face, and even head and every time I face a problem of purifying these body parts a matter that created many difficulties in my life and I cannot stop observing such matters since it is something related to my faith and religion. I consulted a psychologist in the matter, but in vain. In addition, there are some other problems that I suffer from, like the dust of the najis things and being too concerned about purifying the najis hands of the children or to prevent them from touching other things. To purify something najis is a very difficult job for me, while it is easy for me to wash the same vessels and clothes when they are just dirty. Thus, I request your valuable advice to make my life easier.
  i. The point of view of the sacred laws of Islam regarding the subject of purity and najāsah is that purity is fundamental for all things. This means that in all situations if you feel any doubt whether something has become najis or not, you should assume that it has not.
  ii. Those who suffer from a severe psychological sensitivity in respect to najāsah matters (who are called obsessive as an Islamic term) should consider that not everything is najis even if they become sure that it is najis. This is true except when they see with their eyes that a certain thing becomes najis, in such a way that if another person saw it, he would become sure about najāsah transference. It is only in such situations the obsessive people may assume this thing as najis. Those individuals should keep on acting upon this ruling until this psychological problem is completely cured.
  iii. For any thing or body part that becomes najis, it is sufficient, after removing the inherently najis material, to wash it once with tap water for making it pure and there is no need for repeated washing or dipping it into water. If the najis thing is a cloth or the like, it would be squeezed to the accepted degree, according to the common view, to remove water from it.
  iv. Since you are suffering from a sever sensitivity to najāsah, let it be known that you should not consider the dust of najis things as najis whatever the situation would be. It is, also, not necessary to care about whether a child’s hand is najis or pure or to inquire punctiliously whether the blood, [for example], had been removed from the body or not. This ruling should continue to be applicable to you until this sensitivity is completely removed.
  v. Islamic religion has easy rules which accord with human nature. So, you should not make them difficult and troublesome for yourself and do not harm your body and hurt your soul due to that. The state of anxiousness and restlessness in such situations makes life bitter and unbearable and Allah, the Great and the Almighty is not pleased with your and your family’s pains and sufferings. Be grateful for the blessing of an easy religion. The best method to thank Allah for such a blessing is to act according to the orders of Allah, the Sublime.
  vi. Your problem is a transient and treatable case. Many patients have been relieved from such a condition by following the mentioned training. Ask Allah, the Sublime, for help, take it easy, and relieve yourself of such stress by determination and willpower.

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