OCD & Its Cure in the Light of the Quran

Cause of obsessive compulsive disorder

The cause of the condition is unknown. There is growing evidence that OCD represents abnormal functioning of brain circuitry.

What is OCD?

  • Obsessions occur when people repeatedly get intrusive thoughts or ideas that can be frightening or distressing.  i.e. thinking that your mother is going to die, and then worrying that they will because you had this thought.
  • Compulsions are when people feel compelled to do certain things even when they don’t want to. They may include hand washing, counting, checking, cleaning etc.

People who carry out these rituals are described as having OCD. Generally, the purpose of the ritual is to ward off or protect from the consequences of a potential danger.

Who gets OCD?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects 1 in 50 people, (1 in 100 children) and affects men and women equally. It may appear at any time in a person’s life, but for 50% of sufferers, it begins in childhood or adolescence. Symptoms may come and go, improve or worsen over time.  Study’s have found that people with OCD do share certain personality traits, specific life-long tendencies to think and act in particular ways. One study suggests that OCD sufferers may be summed up as fearful, introspective, and depressive.

Sir Aubrey Lewis, a great English psychiatrist, concluded in 1935 that most extreme cases of OCD could be grouped under four general categories: filth, harm, lust, and blasphemy

Filth: fear of dirt and of contamination by germs, poisons, or body secretions
Harm: fear of acting on persistent impulses to harm other people or oneself
Lust: obsessive sexual thoughts
Blasphemy: religious obsessions, etc.

إِنَّمَا يَأۡمُرُكُم بِٱلسُّوٓءِ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُون١٦٩
He (Satan)  keeping ordering  you to harmful (acts & things) , immodest acts, and that you ascribe to God what you do not know. (2:169)

In this verse, the Quran tells us, that Satan keeps ordering us, in the voice of our own thoughts, in an impulsive form, to do evil, immodest acts, and to say superstitious things.  So, Satan whispers and keeps the impulsiveness feeling and thoughts going.   As Sir Aubrey Lewis categorized these thoughts into  haram, filth, immodest acts, and blasphemy. Haram and filth are put into one category in the Quran. Instead of blashphamy, the Quran mentions “ascribe to God what you do not know.”   Some of the more recent scientists, just call it superstitious thoughts.    Either way it is impulsive thoughts about the unseen world.

The Quran gives a solution to this problem in the verse before.  So it reads

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلنَّاسُ كُلُواْ مِمَّا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ حَلَـٰلاً۬ طَيِّبً۬ا وَلَا تَتَّبِعُواْ خُطُوَٲتِ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ‌ۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَكُمۡ عَدُوٌّ۬ مُّبِينٌ (١٦٨) إِنَّمَا يَأۡمُرُكُم بِٱلسُّوٓءِ وَٱلۡفَحۡشَآءِ وَأَن تَقُولُواْ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ مَا لَا تَعۡلَمُونَ (١٦٩)
O people, eat permissible pure things out of what lies in the earth, and do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan (Satan); 83 indeed, he is an open enemy for you. (168) He orders you only to (do) Haram and immodest acts, and that you ascribe to God what you do not know. (169)

The first solution is to eat of Good and pure things of the earth. Second solution is to stop following the ways of Satan. He is an enemy of humans, and wants to make things difficult for them. One way he does this is by putting a human in a state of OCD.  As mentioned earlier, fear is a trait common in OCD patients,  and the Quran  teach in many places fear is tool of the Satan.  In one particular place the Quran mentions, “Satan threatens (creates fear)  you with poverty and he commands you to immorality. But God promises you His forgiveness and bounty (QURAN, 2:268)

In fact, bulimia and anorexia are often associated with OCD because it normally starts as obsessive thoughts geared toward being thin and good looking? OCD can be a very debilitating disorder. Not only is the person bombarded by troublesome thoughts all of the time, but it can lead to serious behavioral problems such as cutting, eating disorders and the like. For example, kids may become obsessed with thoughts of becoming popular or staying thin. Although it is common for kids to go through generalized thoughts such as these, when the thoughts consume who they are, the issue is a deeper one and should be addressed. So, again with bulimia and anorexia we find a link between OCD and food.

Probably the most overlooked form of therapy for treating obsessive compulsive disorder, and many disorders like it is through whole food diet therapy as mentioned in the Quran. A diet rich in tryptophan, the amino acid precursor to serotonin, is essential to maintaining levels of serotonin. The following foods are rich in this amino acid and should be incorporated into your diet regularly. This list includes: oatmeal, rice bran, eggs, cottage and swiss cheeses, blueberries, bananas, and turkey, roast beef, chicken, whole grains, salmon, tofu, brown rice, baked beans, broccoli, avocado, mackerel, potatoes, nuts and sunflower seeds. It is also advisable that you choose organic, pesticide and hormone free meats and veggies.

Many parents who have used vitamin and other supplements for their children with OCD offer anecdotal reports of improved mood states and reduced symptoms. Among the nutritional supplements they (and some psychiatrists) recommend are B complex, omega 3 fish oil, and calcium/magnesium. The potential use of any vitamin supplements and herbal medicines for your child’s OCD should be discussed with your doctor.

If your child or adolescent is dealing with OCD, there are clear benefits to be gained from cutting down the amount of highly sugared and caffeinated products in his diet. This includes candy, cookies and cakes, sodas, coffee, tea and other “energy boosting” bars or drinks containing high amounts of sugar and caffeine. These products can increase anxiety and nervousness in a child with OCD, ADHD or social anxiety. A balanced diet with all food groups represented is an important element in the home care of a child with OCD. Also important is an adherence to a regular routine for three meals a day.

However, most important foods would be the foods mentioned in the Quran itself, and in the model we see in the Prophets.



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