How Do I Address My OCDs about Impurities (Najasa)?

Hanafi Fiqh
Maliki Fiqh

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question

I have been struggling with OCD for the past few years. It’s mainly obsessive thoughts about impurities (najasa).  I have read that certain things considered najis in the Hanafi madhab aren’t najas in, for example, the Maliki school.

My life would become easier if I could consider less things to be impure since I am very afraid of touching impure things. Is it possible to follow the ruling of other madhabs when it comes to things being impure?

Answer

Yes, this would be permitted and particularly if there is a genuine reason to do so in cases of hardship.

Leading Sunni scholars have stated that it is not obligatory for a person to follow a single madhhab on every issue. Rather, he may follow different schools on different issues so long as he does not systematically seek out dispensations or combine opinions in a way where the end action is unacceptable in all schools. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

In your case, if your OCD makes it difficult for you to deal with certain types of impurities, you may treat them as pure if there are other opinions stating so to avoid the mental anguish that comes with OCD. However, I would advise you only to do this as a temporary solution until you are able to overcome your OCD.

For this, you should seek professional help and advice and, for the time being, avoid the more technical aspects of fiqh. Rather, focus on the very basics and don’t overburden yourself with details, which might aggravate your situation.

Related Answers:
How Do I Deal with Obsessive Thoughts about Purity and Filth?
Does the Qur’an Mention OCD or Waswasa (Baseless Misgivings) Being Caused by Jinn?
Advice for Sufferers of Extreme Waswasa or OCD in Issues of Purification

[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani 

Born and raised in New York, Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studied Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is now in his final year of his PhD at Oxford University, looking at the early evolution of the Hanafi madhab.
His teachers include: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Salah Abu’l Hajj, Shaykh Ashraf Muneeb, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Snobar, Shaykh Ali Hani, Shaykh Hamza Bakri, Ustadh Rajab Harun and others.
Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics. He is also an avid traveler and book collector. He currently resides in the UK with his wife.