Fear of Mistakes, Real Life, OCD

Issue 519 » March 6, 2009 - Rabi Al-Awwal 9, 1430

Living The Quran

Al-Nisa (The Women)
Chapter 4: Verse 49

Fear of making mistakes
"Do you not see those who praise themselves for purity? No, Allah purifies whoever He wills. They will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck."

All acts and thoughts of those who are abundantly proud are directed towards earning the appreciation of others, and of making themselves out to be superior. For this reason, they excessively fear making mistakes. For them, making mistakes is a form of humiliation. They have total confidence in themselves, yet, paradoxically, feel the constant worry of doing the wrong thing. The arrogant ardently avoid all kinds of mistakes; making a mistake for them is an embarrassment. Therefore, they deny even the possibility. They are in a constant struggle to escape accusation of any faults. In the above verse, Allah describes a disposition of these people.

The arrogant humiliate others when they discover their mistakes. They exaggerate the errors other people make, taking every opportunity to bring these to light. They show no pity for anyone who commits an error, and become condescending towards them. They erroneously assume that if they reveal others' mistakes they make apparent their own faultlessness. Therefore, no one can feel at ease in their company. Such people always create an atmosphere of negativity.

Due to these reprehensible qualities, the arrogant can never master sincerity in its true sense. They remain deprived of this quality because they are aloof, always scheming. Such traits hinder them from being sincere towards others, being the reason why others distance themselves from them. They always fear that sincere behaviour, or natural shortcomings may become an object of ridicule. Due to their bad character, the arrogant are usually abandoned by others when they lose their power or fortune. Yet, we need to remember that, even at those times when they feel they are powerful, they are still alone in their own inner-world, so distant from the morality of the Quran.

Compiled From:
"The Arrogance of Satan" - Harun Yahya

Understanding The Prophet's Life

Real Life

Without remembrance one may as well be dead because during times of neglect, one is not remembering his purpose and therefore h e is not doing a useful act. Hence, the hadith of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), "The similitude of the one who remembers his Lord and the one who does not remember his Lord is like the similitude of death and life." (Bukhari, Muslim)

This real life that the Prophet is referring to is the life of the purified person who remembers Allah and recognizes his purpose in life. He does not wander about aimlessly not recalling why he is even existing.

There are two distinct modes of dhikr or remembrance of Allah. One is a constant and continuous form of dhikr wherein the person is always mindful of Allah as he goes about his daily routine and affairs. This form of dhikr, though, is developed and assisted by the more formal form of dhikr wherein a person remembers Allah at specific times via the means of specific words that have come from the Prophet. In fact, the most important of these formal means is the prayer itself.

Compiled From:
"Purification of the Soul" - Jamaal al-Din M. Zarabozo, pp. 318, 319


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A pious Muslim doubts whether his ritual ablutions are correct. He goes back and repeats them. This doubt becomes stronger. It becomes a regular part of his religious life. He takes 20 minutes to make his ablutions, repeating each act of washing over and over again.

The worshipper doubts whether he has made a mistake in his prayers. He repeats the acts of prayer, and even full prayers over and over again.

For such a person, daily worship, which should be his greatest comfort and solace, becomes a source of anxiety, frustration, and despair. The arrival of each prayer is welcomed with dread, though the person has strong faith and deep down inside truly loves prayer.

This person needs to understand that he is not having a problem of faith. Rather, he is suffering from an illness that brings him to suffer from worry and despair.. This illness is known as obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The misgivings and doubts that dominate the persons mind and thoughts are obsessions. Obsessions have four characteristics:

1. They are specific thoughts that dominate a person's thinking.

2. These thoughts do not have any real connection to the problems that the person is facing.

3. Trying to ignore or dispel the thoughts causes great psychological stress for the person. This person is not schizophrenic. He fully realizes that his misgivings are baseless, but he simply cannot resist succumbing to them.

4. The person who has these thoughts is aware that they are the product of his own thinking. He is not adopting them from someone else.
Compulsions are the behaviours that the person cannot resist carrying out. The following can be said about compulsive actions:
1. The action is carried out over repeatedly even though the person carrying out the action wishes to cease doing so. However, the pressure to continue repeating the act is greater than the will to stop doing so. Washing hands over and over again is a common manifestation of compulsive behaviour.

2. The person afflicted with these compulsions constantly tries to overcome them. Every time he resists the urge to carry out the action, he suffers from severe psychological stress on account of it. This is only relived temporarily when he resumes the action again.
Muslims who suffer from obsessive-compulsive behaviour often suffer from doubts in relation to their purification (doubting their wudû') and their prayer (doubting whether they performed their prayers properly).

The good news is that 80% of those who seek proper medical treatment respond readily and positively to the treatment. Some do suffer from relapses and need further treatment.

Compiled From:
"The Psychology of Severe Misgivings" - `Alî Ismâ`îl `Abd al-Rahmân