You have heard it before, and you are about to hear it again. Islam is the religion of moderation. It is the middle path. It is the route that is not too extravagant, nor too negligent. It is the religion that encourages to do more than enough, and not to settle for less than enough, but is also accepting of just enough. Whether that is in actions, intentions, good deeds or thoughts. So, where do we draw the line? To some people, overthinking to a certain extent would be classed as being mindful and pious. However, to someone with scrupulosity, it could be something much more severe than being God conscious, because “overthinking” looks completely different in their own minds.

“I’ve forgotten what Rakah I am on”
“My Salah is invalid”
“I have to start again”
“Will it ever get accepted”
“Allah must hate me”
“I can’t say that about Allah”
“He must hate me even more, why has He given me these thoughts?”
“I can’t question His Will”
“But I still am, Astagfirullah, Astagfirullah, Astagfirullah (I seek forgiveness from Allah)”
“He will never forgive me”
“He must hate me”
“I can’t say that about Allah”

– and it could go on and on, often repeating itself, often escalating, often leading to overstimulation resulting in mental paralysis of cycling thoughts about faith – the one thing you are supposed to take comfort in. Does it still sound like piety?


Taqwa: An Islamic term for being God Conscious, however it is much more than just an awareness of Allah. It is the awareness of Allah in everything that you do and say. It is often translated as fear of Allah, love of Allah, to protect oneself from evil and the one who performs righteous deeds.

Scrupulosity: Find the full definition here but in short, it is tormenting and unrelenting intrusive and obsessive thoughts about one’s faith in relation to sins and imperfections. So, for Muslims – this can present as an overwhelming amount of overthinking of a potential sin. For the majority of us, we can redo wudu again, or consolidate ourselves by relying on our intentions and reminding ourselves that Allah will forgive us for our shortcomings. However, for someone with scrupulosity it can be much more intense and not such a simple process as illustrated above.

For an incredibly brave, real life story experience, please read here, please note that some people may find the content distressing.

How do we move forward? It can be extremely difficult to even think about the process, and it’s important to remember that you do not choose your illnesses, but you do choose your recovery. It’s very easy to let your thoughts consume you but remember that Allah is as you think of Him.

‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”
~ Bukhari

It’s also very easy to expect doom and gloom, but it’s important to remember that Allah has provided so much lightness for us in this religion of ours, whereby “Bismillah-hir Rahman-ir Raheem” (In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful) is encouraged to say before we start any act, expel any negative thoughts and action and take comfort in His everlasting Mercy that He constantly tells us to take advantage of.

Do you struggle with Scrupulosity? If so, and if you are comfortable with saying, what do you take comfort in and what helps if you?

Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum

Meanha Begum is currently studying a degree in Islamic Psychology where she has been given the blessing to explore her passions, Islam and Psychology. She relishes in the insight of an Islamic perspective to incorporate into psychology, to help those who have never been given a chance that every devout muslim, and non muslim deserves. Which is why she considers Inspirited Minds to be a huge blessing in her life. She has been brought up in a heavy western environment, where Islam was once far from her reach, but through trials and tribulations, she has managed to come out stronger and closer to Allah than ever before. It's simply her experiences, ideas, and open nature that pushes her towards wanting to help others out of their vulnerable places, through their journey, and into happiness, with tranquil souls.

8 Comments

  • Javed Ahmed Malik says:

    Asalamalakum reading this article amazing

  • Yusuf says:

    Salams sister
    I have read you articles over the past year or so and gained a lot insight. Jazakallah khairun
    I was moved to write as I work as a CBT therapist in an IAPT service and I regularly see Muslim clients with OCD. I struggle to help this group of clients as in most cases the illness is deeply ingrained.
    I would welcome any help or direction to resources as to how to best help my clients
    Thank you so much for you regular updates
    Wasalam
    Yusuf

    • Meanha says:

      Wa’slaam brother Yusuf,

      JazakAllah Khair for your comment, truly humbled to hear from someone of your level of expertise! May Allah reward you in abundance for all the good that you are doing, Ameen. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles, I would suggest, Abu Zayd Al Balkhi’s book Sustenance of the soul – he speaks about OCD quite a lot and it can provide some comfort to you as a practitioner to have some history islamic background as well as spiritual references to give to your patients. Unfortunately, OCD is something that is not well covered in the relationship between Islam and Psychology – yet, however, focusing on the biological side of OCD can prove quite helpful as often it’s not a spiritual defect, rather a combination of a number of things as I am sure you know. Often, positive affirmations can be helpful (speaking from a professional and personal perspective) as sufferers often don’t make enough excuses for themselves. Would they tell a friend that Allah hates them and won’t forgive them? Most likely no, and we need to also adopt that attitude. I hope this has helped, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

  • El Youssfi Mohamed says:

    Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatu Allah.
    Thanks very much for this article, it’s such an useful and worth to read thing.
    Well… I think you mean scrupuliosity about Allah and Islam, if so, my point is this:
    I had had a scrupulosity long time ago, Alhamdulillah, I born muslim, but when I was that age I had big suspicions and doubts about Islam, and I thanks Allah because if that, because, I believe he wanted me to be a strong believer. So, by having all that, I was forced to read and seek the truth, and Alhamdulillah, he direct me to the right sourses, which convinced me and answer all my questions and doubts.
    So, if I can say that, I have no scrupulosity at the moment, and I am fully believe that Allah and Islam it the clear truth (Alhaq).
    But, if you meant scrupulosity in worshipping Allah, I mean, things that may disturb my worship and relationship with Allah, there are so much of Satanic scrupulosity, so often, and firstly, the Satan tries always to push the person to do devil things and things that make Allah angry, this comes when the Satan is unable to make scrupulosity about the existence of Allah and stuff like that such as having God besides Allah(Shirk), he tries his best to push us to make big sins, if there no way, he pushes us to do little sins, when it’s not possible, he pushes us to make less good deeds and make us as lazy as possible…
    So, this differs from each one to the other, and I can say it’s depended on someones degree of believe which is depends as well on someones Allah and islam awareness and knowledge…
    Hope my opinion can answer your answer, and please keep sending me you nice articles.

    Best wishes & Regards

    Mohamed

    • Meanha says:

      Wa’alaikumaslaam Wa Rahmatullahi Wabaraktuh! JazakAllah Khair for your comment and your personal insight. Whilst I agree with you to a certain extent, for some people they may not feel the doubts you felt and rather their doubts lie in their ability to fulfil an act of ibaadah or generally their relationship with Allah. For some, it could be shaytaan but for others it could be the Scrupulosity. I am grateful for your comment, and I’m glad to hear you are doing better now! JazakAllah Khair and please do keep reading, would be nice to hear your interesting thoughts again!

  • Naher says:

    Salam sister Meanha,

    Thank you so much for your article/blog post you have written.

    I signed up to Inspired Minds a few years back, as I love the concept of what you guys are doing.

    However, I’ve only started reading your articles this year- and I’ve found that you truly speak to my soul.
    I signed up as I’ve recently tried to ‘practice’ Islam.. I’ve tuned in to the spiritual side within me and have found my religion to be of amazing guidance when it came to tribulations and understanding of this world.
    When I read what you explained about scrupulousity, it instantly resonated. The repetitive thoughts of ‘will this prayer be accepted’, ‘what will Allah think of me’, ‘I shouldn’t have these thoughts, astagfiruillah.’
    Growing up, my family were very pious. Especially my mother (Alhamdullilah). She spends her days and nights reading Qur’an, and her days revolve around praying. Which is so beautiful to me and has always been of something I feel truly blessed to have seen. However, she also suffers from bipolar disorder, which has a huge impact on how you view things. Worrying is a massive factor within the illness, and this can cause her to frequently obsess over thoughts, and even advice or knowledge that she has about Islam. To the point where it can depress her.
    This has had an impact on me since I’ve started to seek knowledge in Islam and practice. I have grown up around this obsession, and sometimes it makes me worry the same when it comes to salah and actions.
    I completely understand that we should be conscious of Allah swt, and his words and guides. However, to do this in a healthy way is not something our communities has taught us, nor our families and ancestors.
    The fear instilled in us that we will ‘go to hell’ if we commit a sin.
    I think it is key and completely necessary that we understand that we are all learning and our journeys are all so different. We will make mistakes, and perhaps sin but Allah has told us himself ‘If you did not sin, Allah would replace you with people who would sin and He would forgive them’ – to me, this was so fascinating to read about as I’ve always just been taught not to sin or bad things will happen.

    We need to teach ourselves about the mercy and sweetness of Allah.

    We need to remind ourselves of his names and attributes, and remember that he is powerful beyond measure yet has so much compassion for his servamts.

    More than our own mothers.

    This was really long, forgive me. Lol however it was something that I felt I needed to touch on and I hope this is understood and helps someone.

    • Meanha says:

      Wa’alaikumaslaam Nehar, firstly – JazakAllah Khair for your heartfelt story, it’s taken me a while to respond as I wanted to make sure you know how grateful I am for sharing your experience and don’t apologise for it being too long, the longer the better! You are totally right on our communities neglecting this part of faith and refusing to accept that doubt can sometimes present on the surface, and instead of dealing with it at a low level intensity, it gets worse. Your suggestions are fantastic – please continue reading this month as we are hoping to talk about similar things too!

      P.S I’m super glad you have started reading recently! I’m looking forward to more of your comments.

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