OCD Causing Hardship with Impurities

Ustadh Salman Younas advises on how to deal with impurities when suffering from OCD.

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

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?

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 one 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 to only 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.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Baby Stopped Drinking Milk

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil eases concerns regarding a baby who won’t eat or drink.

My eight-month-old daughter has been ill for the past three months and has not been drinking milk. She refuses food and milk and has been in hospital three times to be fed via an NG tube.

The doctors don’t know what’s wrong with her and keep saying it might be viral. She gets well in the hospital then starts getting ill when she comes home. She used to be such a happy baby who slept and ate well. My mother thinks there may be a jinn with her or me or in the house. I really do not know what to do.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Ruqya

O you who believe, seek help through patience and prayer. Surely, Allah is with those who are patient. (Sura al-Baqara 2:153)

I am so sorry to hear about your baby, and cannot imagine the heartbreak you are enduring. Please continue to make dua for your baby’s shifa. Dunya is a place of tribulation, and our children bring about our greatest tests.

Please ask your mother to ask around for a reputable shaykh or shaykha who can perform ruqya on your baby. Be careful not to let just anyone read over baby – please trust your intuition and Perform the Prayer of Guidance to help you ascertain if he/she is trustworthy.

Some signs of a charlatan would be someone asking you to do strange things like working with blood, odd sacrifices, or burial.

Prayer of Need

Please perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night, as often as you need to.

Other acts you can do: Give in charity, ask for pious people to make dua for you, make copious istighfar.

Using a Ta‘wiz

Please consider using a ta‘wiz on your baby for protection. Please write or print out the Ayat al-Kursi and three Quls. Put it in a locket or a soft cover of some sort, and pin it on your baby’s clothes. Do not hang it around your baby’s neck as it isn’t safe.

Possibility of Allergens

Is there something else in your home that could be harming your baby? Any mold? Pet fur? Any kind of allergen? Could you get an allergy test done on your baby?

Emotional Stress

What is the emotional climate at home? Babies are deeply sensitive and are very connected to their mothers. I do not know the circumstances of your home, but if there is trouble in your marriage, perhaps that may be upsetting your baby. I do not say this to cast any blame on you. Allah knows how hard you are trying.

May Allah heal your baby, and make her the coolness of your eyes.

Please see: Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

In Vitro Fertilization

Shaykh Jamir Meah answers questions about In Vitro Fertilization.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa baraktuh.

I had a miscarriage in December 2017 and was advised that I have to follow up for six months. Once the six months ended I found out that my husband and I both have beta thalassemia. So our children have the chance of having major thalassemia which means they could need blood transfusions every 2-3 months and life expectancy is shorter up to the age of 30.

Doctors have advised us to go down the route of IVF. They said they will check the fetus (PGD) for thalassemia major and if it is normal they will implant it.

My question: Is this permissible in Islam?

Jazak Allah khayr.

Thank you for writing in.

I’m sorry to hear about your miscarriage and your and your husband’s conditions. May Allah transform your difficulties into sources of relief and reward.

Scholars have stated that IVF treatment is permissible given the two following conditions:

  1. The sperm and the egg is from the husband and wife.
  2. There is no third party involved in any part of the reproduction process, such as a third party donating sperm, eggs, or acting as a surrogate mother.

It is also important to note that the husband’s seminal fluid should only be emitted via lawful means, i.e. through the wife’s hand causing him to ejaculate or similar, not self-masturbation, as this is unlawful.

Please also refer to the following answers for more details on the permissibility of IVF treatment: Kids in Test Tubes: Is In Vitro Fertilization Allowed? and Is It Permissible to Have a Child Through In Vitro Fertilization?

Complementary Treatments

For future consideration, the symptoms of beta thalassemia may be greatly helped by natural medicines such as homeopathy, which can reduce the need for frequent blood transfusions as well as improve the immune system, which also controls frequent attacks of respiratory infections. Such treatment is often used as a complementary therapy alongside conventional treatment.

I wish you the both the best of health, and may Allah grant you a loving and pious family.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Magic, Loss, and Estrangement

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan answers a question about protecting oneself from black magic and how to overcome frustration and despair.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am writing this on my distressed colleague’s behalf.

Her life has been spoiled by her own estranged family. She is critically ill and homeless, stuck very badly and abandoned. She was orphaned very young.

She has been praying hard with no results at all. A few years ago she lost her soulmate because of these estranged people, fear of the same person she was about to settle with, and her sudden memory loss. An illness which she always had.

She feels someone did magic on her as all things go wrong repeatedly, and her estranged family won’t let her make a final decision by refusing to give her her share to meet her expenses for treatment and self, and so that she can start afresh.

It has been going on for a long time and she has been losing hair on head. She prayed hard but no results. She is very sincere. It is making her very frustrated and she is losing her mind and peace. Please advise.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Thank you for writing to us.

As an immediate suggestion, your friend may implement the following:

    1. 1. Sleep in a state of ablution.

 

    1. 2. Before going to bed, recite the verse of the footstool (Ayah al-Kursi), and the last three chapters of the Quran. Thereafter, blow into your hands and wipe over your body. This is a Prophetic method of protecting oneself from all evil.

 

    1. 3. Recite the chapter of the cow (Surah al-Baqarah) as often as possible, especially in the place of residence. If one cannot recite this chapter, then have it playing from a recorder.

 

    1. 4. Be punctual in reciting the

Wird al-Latif

    1. (The Subtle Litany) in the morning after Fajr and the

Ratib al-Haddad

    (the famous litany of Imam al-Haddad) before or after magrib.

If your friend continues performing these actions, her challenges will disappear with the will of Allah, the Mighty. If it persists, she may have to consult a Raqi (someone who specializes in the treatment of black magic).

May Allah protect you and her and remove challenges from both your paths, Amin.

Abdurragmaan Khan

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Tank Water Mixed with Dirty Water

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat clarifies the rulings on the purity of water, what makes it impure, and whether it can be used for purification.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I suffer from OCD in religious matters for the past year. I am getting psychotherapy for it. I used to repeat prayers and wudu due to misgivings but I am getting better now, Alhamdullillah, and the advice on your Website has been very helpful. May Allah reward you. I am currently doing the Steps 1 Hanafi Fiqh course. I reflect a lot on my past prayers.

Once when I was in Pakistan visiting family, there was problem with the tank water being mixed with dirty water. When this incident happened, I had only converted to Islam a few years ago so I asked my husband, should I do wudu with it? He replied, it should be OK. The water smelled filthy but I don’t remember taste or color.

This was years ago. I prayed at least one salah with that wudu. I don’t remember if I did any more, changed clothes (as there might have been filthy water on my clothes while doing wudu), had shower or what. Should I repeat my prayer, how many?

Jazak Allah for your help.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Alhamdulillah, it is good to know that your symptoms are improving. You can expect a lot of good from Allah, because His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Whoever Allah wants good for, He tests him time and time again.” (Bukhari)

As for your prayer, you do not need to repeat it. You can assume every prayer you have prayed to be valid – unless there is certainty of it being invalidated. Ignore any doubts.

Here we see the value of the sunna and voluntary prayers. If there is any deficiency in the obligatory prayers Allah will say to the angels, “Look, does my servant have any voluntary [works]?” If so, He will say, “Complete My servant’s obligatory [works through them].” (Ahmad) This shows that the defects of our efforts will be compensated for by the generosity of Allah Most High.

The Default Ruling of Water

The default ruling of water is purity. This is a legal ruling, and not a customary one. Sometimes, you may find water which is not hygienic or clean – such as if a wasp was found dead in a water tank, or muddy water – but this does not affect its purity.

So, if the default ruling of water is purity, and there is nothing to establish with certainty that the water was impure, then we stick with the default ruling: purity, and the validity of all prayers performed with wudu made with that water.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Homeopathy and Animal Products

Shaykh Jamir Meah clarifies the rulings on the permissibility of using homeopathic medicines that contain animal products.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I would greatly appreciate it if someone can answer the question in regards to homeopathy and the animal products that can be found in them, i.e. Lac Caninum (dog’s milk) or Tarantula (spider). As Muslims can we take these homeopathic remedies even though it’s made from dog’s milk diluted many times and the form has changed. I would especially appreciate it if a practicing Muslim homeopath can answer it.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you’re well insha Allah.

Medicines which contain impermissible ingredients, such as impure substances, are permissible to take on the following three conditions:

    1. 1. That there is no permissible alternative.

 

    1. 2. That one has been informed that the remedy will or will likely treat the malady effectively by a qualified physician, or that one knows this through their own previous experience. This should be an upright Muslim physician, but in the absence of one, a non-Muslim physician who is sensitive to the needs and requirements of Muslim patients would be valid.

 

    3. One ingests the medicine only to the extent it is needed (which is fine in homeopathic medicines as one should only take the minimum dose).

Istihala (Transformation)

In the Shafi‘i school, homeopathic remedies which contain impure substances (and where the water it was diluted in was less than 216 liters) will still be considered impure as transformation is limited to only a few instances in our school.

In the Hanafi school, the highly diluted homeopathic remedy would result in transformation of the impure substance (which is scarcely traceable in remedies lower than 12c potency and virtually untraceable in any potency higher than this) and therefore renders the remedy permissible from this perspective, and in this difference of opinion is a mercy from Allah. (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, Mughni al-Muhtaj)

Please also refer to the following answers which discuss alcohol in homeopathic remedies and impure substances in medicine: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fiqh of Homeopathic Remedies and Is Medical Marijuana Allowed in Islam?

Warmest salams,

Jamir

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Schizophrenia – Fiqh Ruling

Shaykh Salman Younas is asked about the level or degree of religious responsibility of a person who is diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have schizophrenia as diagnosed by a doctor who is not Muslim. Am I held responsible in terms of prayer, fasting etc?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

We ask Allah to grant you health, well-being, and the strength to cope with this test.

It is not possible to give a definite answer without knowing and observing the details of your condition, especially in light of the fact that schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder.

General Ruling

Generally speaking, being sane and in control of one’s rational faculties, as well as being able to understand the message of God, are conditions for moral responsibility. Someone who is not sane or suffers from deficits in cognitive abilities that renders him unable to understand and carry out divine commands is not under any responsibility to fulfill these commands.

If an individual suffers this condition on a temporary basis, scholars state that he will not be morally responsible for that temporary period. Thus, someone suffering from schizophrenia may find himself not morally responsible for long stretches of time, while he may be obliged at other times, i.e. when his symptoms subside and are not as severe, to perform his daily obligations.

One should note, however, that this is the legal ruling on the matter. From a broader perspective, we recognize that God is infinitely merciful. He is not an entity merely checking off requirements given to us in an exam. God knows the struggles people are undergoing, the challenges we face, the hardship, that we slip sometimes and succeed on other occasions, etc., and He approaches and judges us accordingly.

Suffering in This World

Suffering in this world may seem like an eternity, but it will pass and eventually the door to actual eternity will be opened, and it is here that our suffering will, in the words of one of our teachers, “dwindle to nothing before the next [world] not only quantitatively, because of its eternity, but qualitatively because of its nature.” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, described this saying:

The person who had the most pleasing life in this world, of any of the people of hell, will be summoned on Resurrection Day and utterly plunged into the hellfire, then asked, ‘O human being, have you ever beheld any good at all; have you ever felt a single joy?’ and he will say, ‘No by God, my Lord.’ And the most miserable sufferer in this world, of any of the people of paradise, will be summoned and utterly plunged into paradise, then asked, ‘O human being, have you ever seen any bad at all; have you ever experienced a single misery?’ and he will say, ‘No by God, my Lord: I have never seen any bad or suffered a single misery.’ (Muslim)

All we are tasked to do is try our best in the situation we find ourselves in and in the little time we are given. One should not lose hope. We should continue striving as best as we can and continue turning to God.

Going Forward

Finally, in your case, I would advise you to connect with family, local scholars, members of the community, and mental-health professionals in your area. Having people around one who care and encourage us to live our lives meaningfully is important because it gives us the strength to persevere. Given the stigma surrounding your condition, this may seem challenging and intimidating, but finding a trusted group of people who support you will be invaluable and necessary.

We ask Allah to make things easy for you and give you the strength to live a life that is pleasing to Him.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Having Seriously Evil Thoughts

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about intrusive thoughts that are heretical. He explains their origins, what they mean, and how to counter them.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am a fourteen year old. My problem is that it has been five months that I am having these thoughts. First it started with thoughts suddenly coming about Allah. I resisted it. Then it went to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. I resisted that too. And now it is the Qur’an and Islam.

I don’t like having these thoughts. I hate having them. When I go to school and go away from the remembrance of Allah they, suddenly, out of nowhere, just come. But when I start to pray and remember and come closer to Allah, they are not there. It makes me very stressed. For example they are like, I seek refuge in Allah, “Is Allah really true?” “Was the Prophet really a prophet?” Or like, “Is the Qur’an Allah’s word or did the Prophet make it up?”

These are thoughts which I hate to have and it was very hard for me to even write them. But I really need help. I am sad and very depressed. They just come out of nowhere. I am just sitting there and pondering on the greatness of Allah or the nobility of the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, or pondering upon the Qur’an and suddenly these thoughts just come.

Please if you could answer me soon I would appreciate it very much.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Intrusive thoughts are not sinful

The thoughts you are having are not from you, and your dislike of them is a proof of this. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Indeed Allah has overlooked for my umma the thoughts that their minds say to them as long as they do not act on them or speak about them.” (Bukhari; Muslim)

There is no need to focus on them. The more you focus on them the stronger they get. It’s like trying you best not to think of white elephants: pretty soon all you can think about is white elephants.

You should relax, accepting that what is happening is out of your hands, and that you are being rewarded for the test of having them. Please refer to this answer for more information, and consider some of the forms of therapy mentioned in it.

Childhood experiences

Something which is quite noticeable in many, but not all, cases such as yours is that they went through a very difficult situation when learning religion as children. Children are sensitive and traumatic Qurʾan learning experiences leave a long-term effect, which sometimes manifests as an aversion to religion, or brings symptoms like this.

This is simply a defense mechanism due to their subconsciously associating the din to the painful memories or individuals who traumatized them. Many of these people need therapy or some form of help just to be able to focus themselves towards religion later in life.

It is obligatory on us a community to ensure that early learning of Qurʾan and Islamic Studies is engaging, enjoyable, and enveloped in the spirit of the tenderness found in the Sunna. May Allah facilitate these matters for the Muslims worldwide. Amin.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

Abdul-Rahim.

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


When Can I Take a Medicine Containing Gelatin?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Assalam aleykum

I have a daughter with a congenital heart disease. I need to vaccinate her against the flu every year.


My local GP is giving intranasal flu vaccine which is derived from gelatin. It is much better then the injection. The injection is less effective but I believe it is not Haram from my understanding.


Should I be giving the injection instead of nasal spray?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

There is no harm in opting for the nasal vaccine in the case you describe.

While the default is that medicine with impermissible ingredients should not be taken unless there is no available alternative, the combination of both (a) the greater effectiveness of the nasal vaccine and (b) your daughter’s heart condition would justify taking the nasal vaccination even if it contains an impermissible ingredient.

This position is also lent support by the fact that there are some scholars who do not deem gelatin from non-halal sources to be impermissible. While this is not the view we forward, it does provide some leeway in medical contexts for the consumption of products that contain gelatin in circumstances like the one you describe.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

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 studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

Photo: Root66

Can Cupping (Hijama) Be Performed on Women?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: Can cupping (hijama) be performed on women?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,

Yes, it is permissible for women to undergo cupping (hijama).

The treatment, however, should be performed by a woman. If a woman is not available, the ruling would return to the discussion on seeking medical attention from the opposite gender and its related conditions.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The best treatments you use are cupping and sea costus.” [Bukhari]

Please also see: Using Cupping (hijama) to Cure Illnesses and: Fiqh of Females Seeking Medical Treatment

And Allah Most High alone knows best.

wassalam,

[Ustadh] Tabraze Azam

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Tabraze Azam was born and raised in Ipswich, England, a quiet town close to the east coast of England. His journey for seeking sacred knowledge began when he privately memorized the entire Qur’an in his hometown at the age of 16. He also had his first experience in leading the tarawih (nightly-Ramadan) prayers at his local mosque. Year after year he would continue this unique return to reciting the entire Quran in one blessed month both in his homeland, the UK, and also in the blessed lands of Shaam, where he now lives, studies and teaches.