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OCD Regarding Purity

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What should I do? I have OCD regarding purity and regular discharge of liquid. Sprinkling water on my underwear to cope with it gives me panic attacks.

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

My dear brother, I pray you are well.

You should stop sprinkling water on yourself, and not change your clothes every time there is some discharge. A small amount of impurity is excused.

Excused Impurities

Liquid impurities which exit the body are excused up to the amount which would equal the area of a £2 coin. This is a mercy from the Shari’a. You don’t need to change your clothes every time something comes out.

The practice of the religion should not cause distress. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Indeed, [the practice of] the religion is ease itself. No one makes it hard on themselves except that it overwhelms them.” (Bukhari)

You can still pray if there is the excused amount of impurity on you. If it exceeds this amount, wash it with a small amount of water. When the trace of it is gone the clothing is pure again. Ignore the moisture afterwards.

Get Treatment

You should seek some treatment for your OCD. This seminar will help with that. The discharge is probably wadi, prostatic fluid. A good practitioner of Tradition Chinese Medicine will be able to help you with that.

May Allah make all matters easy for you.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Dealing with OCD

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

I experience negative thoughts and feelings of all kinds. I have OCD and I know some of these thoughts/feelings are caused by my OCD and some are just natural human emotions like envy/ arrogance/ frustration, resentment, hate toward others.

What can I do?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

It seems that you may have multiple types of OCD. The type which relates to your thoughts is called Intrusive Thoughts. The subject of the thoughts is religion and its practice, as well as other things. Merely ignoring them will not stop them.

OCD is a defence mechanism. It’s there to protect you from repeated exposure to some emotional trauma. You need therapy to address this in order to remove the need to have a defence mechanism.

You do not need to worry about being held accountable for the thoughts. Take the bull by the horns, and actively seek out a means to resolving your issues. Intend to use this as a means to improve your relationship with Allah and His creation, and it will be an act of worship.

Please refer to this answer for more information.

May Allah facilitate your healing.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.

Heavily Afflicted by Waswasa

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about compulsively saying “I’m sorry” and asking forgiveness.

I became heavily afflicted with waswasa when I was unemployed mainly around najasah, but alhamduliLlah I recovered from that after starting work.

But recently have developed waswasa about actions or words of kufr. Also I’m obsessed with an intense fear of being “rude” and I keep obsessively saying sorry and it’s upsetting my parents.

I used to say bismillah before everything I do but a shaykh said it’s kufr to say bismillah before watching tv, as it contains haram things – and he said saying bismillah before eating something that’s not halal is kufr.

Is this true? Pretty much any media consumption involves some haram things like women without hijab or some music with haram things in it etc. So can we not say bismiLlah before watching tv or using internet, what about saying bismiLlah before leaving the house as you might see a uncovered woman, etc?

I am, insha Allah about to do nikah but in her culture we can’t consummate until walima a few months later. I am constantly worried and thinking about how any thing of kufr can nullify the nikah before consummation a‘udhubiLlah may Allah protect me. I found an opinion saying if we go into khalwa it can count as consummation.

Shaykh, is there an opinion that says any acts of kufr don’t affect the marriage from any madhab so I can take rukhsa?

Sometimes Muslim friends of mine make a joke on some topic that may actually be interpreted as kufr.

I’ve read your guide on how kufr needs to be intentional and you can’t accidentally do it, but I want a personal answer because it tears apart my mind and depresses me. Sometimes and my brain or shaytan finds a way of confusing me.

I also have this obsession that is driving my parents crazy. I have this intense fear that if I’m slightly rude or have an argument–disagree with someone and they get annoyed with me, it means I’ve argued and my dua won’t be answered and I’ll be punished. So then I have to beg forgiveness. Almost every single conversation I have with my parents ends with me saying “I’m sorry for being rude, I’m sorry.”

Someone in the masjid turned on the fan and someone else thought it was me and looked angry at me and I looked back at him and said “It’s a bit warm,” so he got angry with me. I felt like I had had an argument and needed to resolve it and apologize and say sorry.

And I’ll never criticize someone in case I’m being rude. This is driving me crazy and upsetting me. Is there actually any hadith or fiqh about arguing or being rude causing one’s dua to not be answered or severe punishment? The main problem is that my older brother is sometimes very harsh and rude with me even if I’m not saying anything, but even then I will try to say “sorry for being rude” because I’m scared it means I’ll be punished and my dua won’t be accepted.

I can’t leave any single interaction with a human without saying “sorry for being rude.” And it makes me seem very weak and if they know me for a while they will think I’m a bit weird. Like I will tell a joke, then think what I said might be offensive and start saying “Sorry.”

May Allah forgive me for anything haram I’ve said.

Kind regards

OCD

I pray you are well.

It’s clear that you have OCD, and it’s manifesting itself in religious matters. Worrying about falling into disbelief or offending people is a symptom of your OCD. The urges they cause can be very strong, and we know that there are some uncontrollable matters which a person is not taken to task for.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Indeed Allah has overlooked mistakes, forgetfulness, and being forced [to do something] for my umma.” (Ibn Majah). Although the compulsion referred to in the hadith is the type which comes from another party, we can infer that Allah’s mercy would also extend to some behavioral compulsions too.

Based on this, jurists have said that the divorce of someone like this would not apply if he was compelled to say the word over and over (Haskafi, al Durr al Mukhtar).

Relax and Seek a Remedy

Therefore, you should not worry or be consumed by guilt. You have a condition, and Allah has provided us means to getting it fixed. Get some professional help. The therapies EFT, PSTEC, and EMDR work well with this issue. Please bear in mind that it may take time for the issues to go, and that is a test by which you will draw closer to Allah if you show the appropriate response.

Please refer to this answer too.

Ask Allah for help, and seek a solution.

May Allah remove your difficulties very soon.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Severe Doubts in Washroom

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked about severe doubts on purity in the washroom.

For the past seven months I have been going through so much doubts and uncertainty in my life. I feel like searching for answers online has made it worst. Please give me direct answers to the following, and advise dua to remove uncertainty and whispers of shaytan. I feel like Allah is mad at me, I don’t know why this is happening to me, and I am so depressed. Even when I get the right advice on these matters I keep thinking in more detail and then questioning if even the littlest thing is impure or is transferring impurity. I’m so overwhelmed, I keep crying, and have so much anxiety. Sometimes I ignore it and go about how I normally did all this, but then start feeling anxious that Allah will get mad at me.

  1. Water splashes on the body during istinja – on any part of the body including hair, face, neck etc. – is it pure or impure?
  2. Water splashes on items or clothes during istinja. Is that pure or impure?
  3. Is the hand that is used to wash during istinja considered clean? I feel like any water that falls from my hands and fingers as I get up to go the sink is impure, and get scared I’ll make things dirty or my body dirty.
  4. Is your hand considered impure from touching the water jug used for istinja? Are any parts of the body considered impure if it comes in contact with the water jug?
  5. Do I have to dig into each nail when washing my hands after doing istinja? I know for peeing you just pour water. But istinja for defecation, when you use your left hand, do you have to dig into each nail when washing with soap?
  6. Do I have to wash the handle or tap of the sink every time I wash my hands? After washing my hands, I close the tap then feel I should wash the tap and then my hands again because tap is dirty now or impure.
  7. Is the water on the sink and countertop in the washroom impure? I always feel while I am wiping the counter and water splashes on my feet I need to wash my feet. Or if I place items on the counter they are dirty now and I should wash them before using, and then wash my hands after touching them.
  8. Is the rag or mop used to wipe and dry the floor dirty. While I wipe the floor and water on the floor if a bit of the rag or mop comes into contact with skin or feet I feel like I should wash that area of skin or my feet.

These are uncertainties I have been facing regarding purity and impurity within the bathroom. I have more questions but those are unrelated. Anyways, I feel like I will never get ease. Please help me. Thank you. May Allah reward you all.

I pray you are well.

The answer to all the scenarios above is: pure; and you don’t have to dig into the nails when washing your hand after istinja.

It seems you have contacted us before with a similar list of questions. Please try to calm down. Your anxiety should not let you think that Allah hates you. You are in a test – that is all.

Having a Good Opinion of Allah

The Messenger of Allah told us that “Whoever Allah wants good for He continually tests him.” Have a good opinion of Allah, and ask for a way out of your predicament. The moments when you are feel overwhelmed are the best moments to ask, because Allah swiftly responds to those who ask in desperation.

Anytime you think that Allah hates you – tell yourself that this statement is a lie. He made you a believer and that “Allah is the ally of the believers” (Sura al-Baqara 2:256). The fact that you have belief is enough to prove He loves you. Ask Him for help, seek support from friends and family, and learn about the virtues of patience and trust in Allah. They will bring you much-needed light in the darkest hours.

I don’t advise you to go searching online for answers, nor is it advisable for you to look up detailed issues without a scholar, as it will only worsen your issues. Find a reliable local scholar and ask him to explain purity to you in a simple manner, and do just that.

Seek Professional Help

You have OCD. Although it seems unbearable, this issue can be fixed. It may take some time, but you will be rewarded for the difficulty you endure. Please find a professional practitioner of effective therapies such as EFT, EMDR, or PSTEC, and get some help. If you have to spend some money doing so, then consider it as charity upon oneself.

Please refer to this answer for more clarity.

May Allah give you a way out very soon.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

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.

Excusable Filth in the Four Madhhabs

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat answers a series of questions about the excusable amount of filth according to the four madhhabs.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have a big problem. I suffer from OCD. It’s driving me crazy. I need to know how much filth (najasa) is excusable. I know what the four Madhhabs say about excusable amounts of filth for prayer, but I don’t know which is the best and correct position.

Sometimes when urinating I feel a tiny drop on my foot or when I’m washing myself I feel used water drop on my feet but when I check my feet, I don’t see anything. The Shafi‘is say that tiny drops we cannot see are excused and they think its true.

Please tell me which madhhab’s position is true and please explain why? And please tell me if the water of istinja is impure? (Water flows while I’m washing myself.) It doesn’t seem so to me, because there is more water than urine, so the color and smell doesn’t change.

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

The Four Schools of Law

All of the four schools of law are correct, because they are based on sound understandings of the the greatest scholars of the Umma. These scholars had the highest levels of knowledge, understanding, and ability. They did not make rulings up; rather they interpreted the Qurʾan and the Sunna to give the the rulings of the Shariʿa.

So if they are all valid, and all their rulings are correct, which one should you choose to follow? The answer is, the easier one for you, and the one which you can easily learn and apply.

I personally feel that the Hanafi school is very easy to learn; and there is a lot of flexibility in the rulings relating to purity. I think the Shafi‘i is slightly harder in this matter. See which school you can easily learn with local scholars or with a course at SeekersGuidance, and apply it.

Purity

As for the water for istinja, you cannot tell if it is actually impure. Also the fact that it is flowing means it is pure as long as the colour, smell or taste of impurity do not show. You can assume the drops are pure. Even small drops of urine in situations like this are excused (Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab; Shurubnulali, Maraqi al-Falah).

I advise you to learn a school with a qualified scholar, and have your questions on purity answered. Also, please look at our OCD archives and get some therapy if you need it to get over the issue.

May Allah facilitate every good for you in this world and the next.

Abdul-Rahim

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


My Husband Refuses to Sleep Next to Me. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

My husband is obsessed with cleaning the floors of our apartment nearly every day. It is driving me nuts! He is obsessed with having the apartment spotlessly clean. I can understand that, but it is going too far. If I don’t clean everything the way he wants, he gets angry.

He refuses to sleep in the same bed with me because he doesn’t like to sleep with anybody else, including me, his wife. What can I do?

Answer: Assalam aleykum,

Obsessions

Dear sister, it sounds like your husband may be showing signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). He is probably insisting on these strange habits as a way of alleviating his overwhelming feelings of anxiety.

Please encourage him to do this test: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Screening Quiz. I pray that our OCD Archive will shed some light into your husband’s behaviour.

Has he always been this obsessive about cleaning, or has this only started since your move to Jordan? Perhaps the stress of moving to a new country has worsened his anxiety.

Please encourage your husband to seek professional help. There are different modes of treatment for OCD, including some holistic ones, and I pray that your husband will learn better methods of coping.

Self-care

I cannot imagine how stressful this must be for you. Because of the daily, ongoing stress of dealing with your husband and his obsessions, it is absolutely imperative for you to look after yourself. Please read this: Taking Care of Yourself When Your Partner Has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Who do you have for support? Have you made close friends? Are you still in touch with your family and friends back home? What helps you relax?

Marriage

The stress of your husband’s untreated struggles can take a serious toll on your marriage. I encourage you to do everything in your power to save your marriage. Perform the Prayer of Need in the last third of the night and beg Allah for help.

I encourage you and your husband to build happier memories, outside of his obsessions. Is it possible for both of you to enjoy regular outings?

Try to reflect on your husband’s positive qualities, and why you married him in the first place.

Prayer of Guidance

If your husband refuses to seek out help and continues to yell at you, then I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance about how to move forward. A positive sign to stay in your marriage could be your husband being willing to get help, and a negative sign could be his refusal to.

There comes a point where staying in a marriage can end up breaking your psyche, and distancing you from Allah. No husband is worth that. Please look after yourself.

Please see:

OCD Archives
Love, Marriage and Relationships in Islam: All Your Questions Answered
A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

How to Deal With Waswas Regarding Purity According to the Shafi’i School?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I suffer from OCD.

1. After using the toilet, how much water is normally used? Is the water that splashes from the bottom of the toilet bowl filthy?

2. After making istinja, are my hands technically clean?

3. Before having intimacy, a sticky, colorless fluid comes out. Does sperm becomes filthy when it is mixed with this fluid?

4. When making the ghusl must the sticky fluid around the private parts be washed off completely? Can I use soap? How can I be completely certain that all the skin became wet?

5. When making wudhu, must I rub the hands and arms with water?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

May Allah ease all your affairs.

In an Islamic paradigm, OCD is usually borne from an eagerness to fulfill ritual obligations accurately or a fear of being taking to task if not. This is an important foundation for all your questions. If it is Allah you fear or wish to please, then you must take the advices of the scholars and give their guidelines precedence over your thoughts or obsessions. Allah instructed all believers to turn to Allah, His Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam and the scholars for guidance. Thus, when you act upon the guidance of scholars over your concerns or obsessions borne from your condition, you are pleasing Allah; giving preference to your concerns and thoughts borne from your condition over the guidance of scholars will effectively mean the opposite.

1. Istinja

Istinja means to clean the front and back privates from filth or najasah. There is no set amount of water that should be used – the objective is to remove the najasah. Usually for the front private 100 – 200ml should suffice. Once water has been poured over the organ it suffices and there is no need to question whether all najasah has been removed. RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam permitted the usage of stones, acknowledging that stones may not remove all najasah. Consequently, one should remember that mere pouring of water is more effective than stones which were allowed by the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam. The same would apply to the backside, save that scholars advised that one uses the middle finger of the left hand to remove the filth. Use as little water as required, when no traces of najasah remains your istinja is complete and no thoughts or obsessions should be entertained. After relieving oneself, the water inside the toilet bowl will be considered najis, however it is only when you have absolutely no doubt that water has splashed from the toilet bowl onto your body or clothing that you need to wash the affected area. Anything less than physically seeing water splash onto your body, clothing or floor around the toilet, must be ignored, full stop. You asked about the hair of your leg touching the inside rim of the toilet, if you have not seen physically without doubt that najasah reached a spot that you touched with the inside of your leg or hand or any part of your body or clothing, then it should be considered clean and thus no need to wash.

2. Cleaning hands

Your hands are not impure after istinja. In the case of the front private this is clear. Regarding the back private, once you’ve poured water over your hand while washing the back private, your hand is already considered clean. If you however, see traces of najasah on your hand, then merely rinsing your hand with water once would suffice to remove najasah. Thereafter if you wish to use soap or any other detergent, you may do so, but it’s not a requirement from the Shari’ah.

3. Intimacy

Pre-ejaculate is najas, whether mixed with residue of urine or not. During intimacy if you know of an area of your linen that came in contact with pre-ejaculate, then it should be washed. Again, you must know without doubt, whereby you actually saw pre-ejaculate transferring to your linen, otherwise the default ruling would apply that it is clean. A thousand thoughts may enter your mind regarding the storing possibility that some pre-ejaculate may have transferred here or there, but these thoughts must be ignored in the face of the scholarly guidelines as mentioned previously. If you wish, and this not necessary, you may dedicate special linen for times of intimacy, that is removed afterwards.

4. Ghusl

Yes, pre-ejaculate and other najasah should be washed off before performing ghusl. You could perform ghusl before washing your body with soap or after. It’s important that ghusl be performed with water only. With a three litre bucket of water the Prophet sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam completed a ghusl and he sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam had thick, long and dense hair. Standing under a shower while wiping the body where possible, definitely ensures water reached every part. What you could do to ensure water reached areas such as the back private is to wipe the area with a cloth.

5. Wudu

It is preferred to rub the hands. You can be certain that water reached your entire hand by observation. If you saw water running over the entire hand, then it reached all of the hand.

Lastly, please stick to these guidelines and others that you previously studied on the Seekers Hub website. Do not entertain thoughts that emanate from OCD as this does not only mean that you will be neglecting the injunction of following the advices of scholars, but it will make your life complicated and difficult and many a times effect your relationship with others.

May Allah guide and protect us all, Amin.

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

Concepts of Health and Disease within an Islamic Framework, by Shaykh Jamir Meah

In Shaykh Jamir Meah’s first article in this series, he discussed the importance of holistic healing for believers in the treatment of chronic disease. In this article, he specifically looks at the concept of health and disease, and how this understanding relates to our own religious states and practice.

 

The Concepts of Oneness, Duality, and Plurality

One of the first thing that attracted me to homeopathy was that every single homeopath that I had ever read about, or met, believes in a Creator. The reason for this is that homeopathy demands the practitioner to observe not only the world around one, but also the inner world within one. The only conclusion any sincere seeker can come to, is that the universe, with its intricate order and balance, can only exist through a single Creator.

God created man, and from him, He created his pair, and from this pair, multiples were created. Allah tell us that, ‘All things We have created by pairs, that haply ye may reflect,’ and the Prophet ﷺ said, ‘There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.’ [al Bukhari]. Disease and cure are a pair, and it is the task of medicine to search the vast creation of Allah to look for the remedy to each disease in each person.

Traditional therapies hold that there is only ever one disease in the body at one given time. It is not possible to have two diseases in one body. Despite plurality of symptoms manifesting in the one body, whether on the psychological or physical level, these are merely manifestations of the one root disease, or central disturbance.

 

The Concept of Health

Ask a physician to explain the concept of health, and you’ll probably get an answer like, ‘feeling well in both mind and body’, or ‘being free from illness or injury,’ etc. which are all fine and true. However, it falls short of the concept of real health.

Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, gave a magnificent description of health, when he wrote, ‘In the healthy condition of man, the spiritual vital force, the dynamis that animates the material body, rules with unbounded sway, and retains all the parts of the organism in admirable, harmonious, vital operation … so that our indwelling, reason-gifted mind can freely employ this living, healthy instrument for the higher purpose of our existence.’ [Aphorism 9, The Organon].

This vital force that Hahnemann speaks of, the dynamis that animates the material body, is another name for the Qi, the energy force in Chinese Medicine. They are one and the same thing.

Another equally sound explanation of health is given by professor G. Vithoulkas, when he says, ‘Health is freedom from pain in the physical body, having attained a state of well-being; freedom from passion on the emotional level, having as a result a dynamic state of serenity and calm; and freedom from selfishness in the mental sphere, having as a result total unification with Truth‘. [The Science of Homeopathy]

We can see then that the two (homeopathic) definitions of health, though differing in words, carry the same meaning. The body is an instrument to help one fulfil their ‘higher purpose’ in life, which is of course explained by Allah Most High in his words, ‘I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me.’ [51:56].

Before we move onto the concept of disease, it would be useful to briefly understand something about the Universal Law of Frequency and Vibration.

 

The Universal Law of Frequency and Vibration

Science, through the field of Quantum Physics, is showing us that everything in our universe is energy.

Everything has its own vibrational frequency, whether animate or inanimate, governed by The Law of Vibration. A chair may look solid and still, but in reality, there are millions of subatomic particles in motion, all moving with energy. Everything that appears solid is the frequency of the vibration of the energy that makes it up.

Everything, even our thoughts, feelings, and sounds have their own vibrational frequency. These vibrations set up resonance with whatever possesses identical frequency. This gives the phrases such as ‘good vibes’ or ‘negative vibes’ some basis. In other words, your thoughts are inseparably connected to the rest of the universe.

The Mantra preceding meditation for Hindus and many Buddhists is the word, ‘Om’. This word is believed by these religions to be representative of the ‘universal sound’, referring to an ultimate reality, or truth.

For Muslims, we have a much clearer, unambiguous and direct understanding of the focus of our thoughts and meditations, which is only Allah, Exalted is He. Allah tells us, ‘The seven heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, declare His glory: there is not a thing but celebrates His praise; And yet ye understand not how they declare His glory!’ [17:44].

Everything in the universe is in remembrance and glorification of the Creator, whether it be from the kingdoms of plant, animal, or mineral, or the naturals elements of water, air, earth and fire. Everything praises Him, and it is only men who do not perceive this, and who chooses to praise Allah or be heedless of Him.

This praise of everything in the Universe for the Creator can be viewed in the context of the Law of Vibration. Given the above verse, it would not be far-fetched to say the universal ‘sound’ or ‘vibration’ of the created universe is one of remembrance of Allah.

In many chronic cases of disease (though obviously not all cases, especially when there is a clear reason for emotional or physical pathology), there is an inner turmoil within the human heart and psyche, which is usually a precursor to emotional and physical sickness, as we discussed in our first article.

From whence does this inner turmoil begin? Quite often, it occurs when the will of a person is not fully aligned to the Divine Will. For many people, inner conflict occurs because their desires, hopes, and thoughts are in contrast to the Divine Commandment and Decree, either desiring that which is not permitted, neglecting that which is commanded, or being discontent with Allah’s Decree.

In this conflicted state, there is usually inner restlessness and agitation in the heart, for it looks for inner peace and repose in that which Allah has not placed peace and repose in, namely created things. Two inconsistent attitudes cannot exist in one person without conflict, because ‘God has not assigned to any man two hearts within his breast’ [33:4]

Looked at in another way, man is a part of creation, not separate to it (were we not created from earth?). If man’s will is ill-directed will and he is in state of heedlessness (ghafla), then man’s frequency of vibration is out of sync with the natural vibration of the universe, which as we mentioned is in constant praise of Allah. When this occurs, man is in a state of agitation.

When a person aligns his will to the Will of God, and relinquishes the desires and opinions of his ego, fulfilling His commands, and keeping away from His prohibitions, and remembering and thanking Him, the inner turmoil disappears and one finds contentment and peace, even if the world around them is in turmoil. ‘Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah: for without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.’ [13:28].

The goal then, is to return to a pure state, the fitrah, where the heart is attached and submits to, and is in praise of Allah Most High. This gives real meaning to the idea of ‘being as one with the universe’. In this pure state, man can truly take his place as God’s khalifah (viceroy) on earth.

This is one of the reasons why spiritual training is so important and why it works. In the course of training, the true spiritual guide is redirecting the disciple’s will to the Will of the Divine.

If inner conflict and restlessness is neglected for a long period of time and left unresolved, like a toxin, it spreads in the heart, the mind and the body, and disease occurs.

 

The Concept of Disease

Once we have understood the concept of true health, it’s easy to understand disease. In contrast to health, we may define disease as simply ‘bondage.’ Physical pain creates the bondage of the body, lower desires and passions leads to the bondage of the emotions, and the selfishness of the ego creates the bondage of the spirit. All of which prevents one from moving forward and fulfilling the ‘higher purpose’ of one’s existence.

In disease, one’s vibration is out of sync with the pure or natural order, as we have mentioned. This internal discord could have occurred during the person’s own life, or passed down through generations.

When inner disorder persists, it manifests in outward disorder. Inner chaos can lead to outward chaos. This can affect individuals, or whole societies. In a compensated state, inner chaos can make a person fastidious and leads to OCD and waswasa, as they try to control their outward environment in order to allay the inner disorder, which they are unable to control. Clinical experience shows that behind all of these states, there is almost always some underlying fear buried deep down, whether connected to worldly matters or religious matters, and these need to surface and be resolved.

Like a guitar that needs to be finely tuned, a person’s vibration, and in turn, their will, needs to be tweaked, altered and re-aligned. This is the job of two disciplines: 1) that of certain natural medicines, which align the individual’s vibration to the harmonious vibration of the natural universe, and 2) spiritual training at the hands of a genuine spiritual guide, which guides and enhances the individual’s will to submit to the Will of God.

For lasting physical, emotional, and spiritual health through the various stages of man’s life, to combine both natural therapy and spiritual guidance is ideal.

So far, we have been discussing the theoretical relationship between natural medicine and Islam. In our next, and final article, we will be looking at how the principles of natural medicine can be of practical benefit to people, as well as discussing the Law of Cure.

 

I Need to Get Things off My Chest. Can I Confide in My Husband or Is That Gossiping?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: I am trying to cut out gossiping. I struggle to hold things in because I have OCD and anxiety. Can I confide in my husband? He doesn’t gossip at all, and will keep what I say confidential.

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for clarifying this matter.

Permissible Backbiting

Please refer to this article – When Is Backbiting Permissible?

In short, for the sake of your emotional health, you are permitted to confide in someone who can help you.
Please do your best not to give identifying information such as the person’s name or other incriminating details. Be as vague as possible, and give only just enough information in order to help you reduce your anxiety. For example, it would be better for you to say something like “So-and-so did this and it really upset me.” It would be impermissible for you to specifically name the person who upset you, unless your husband is capable of righting that wrong. In other words, it is impermissible to name someone just for the sake of venting.

For your long-term recovery, I suggest that you consider seeing a counsellor, therapist or psychologist.

I pray that Allah grants you lasting healing, and places tranquility in your heart.

Please see:

Slander, Backbiting and Talebearing

Wassalam,
Raidah

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Photo: Paulo Philippidis