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Last Updated: 2015/04/16
Summary of question
I have been thinking for sometimes now that everything around is impure. Please help me know what things are ritually impure and how are they are made pure?
For the past many years, I am obsessed with insinuations concerning cleanliness and impurities, that is to say, I treat everything as impure (najis). Last week I visited a psychiatrist who, after talking to me for a while, filled a sprinkler with something impure and then sprinkled it all around, on the door and the floor. He wanted to do away with the obsession but to no avail. Ever since, things have aggravated as I believe now that everything in the office and my house is impure. Please help get rid of this problem. What am I supposed to do? What is my obligation and how I should purify things in the office because I am working there and I should take a shower every day after coming out of the office so as to feel comfortable. I take off my clothes and wash them. There is a gas station of my friend nearby and I keep thinking that it is impure. Kindly, help me what I should do. Tell me clearly what I am suppose do and what things are impure and how they are made pure. What am I supposed to do?
Concise answer
The scrupulous feelings[1] are the Shaitan's plot which you should not pay heed to. In order for you to get rid of the diseases which is called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and similar conditions, you should take action to purify yourself and purge your soul in line with self-reconstruction. You should do away with the feeling by attaching importance to fulfilling your duties on time, reciting the Quran, offering prayers in their prescribed prime time and staying away from haram things. Be sure that you will get rid of this disease. Everything is in your own hand to get rid of it. No one else can help you, if you yourself do not decide to do away with the problem. You should not get disappointed and you should make your mind firm to fight the temptations and obsessive feelings. The only way to get rid is to be inattentive and heedless towards the obsessive appeals.[2]
It is necessary to note that it will take time to get rid of obsessive compulsive disorder. You must be patient as things will improve over time. Hence, you should inculcate in yourself that obsessive feelings are a kind of satanic temptations which you should get rid of as soon as possible. You should trust in God, consign your matters to him so that you may overcome the problem sooner.
Points about purity and impurity:
1 – According to Islamic Shari'ah, everything that has been clean before should be treated as pure as long as we are not sure that it is impure. One should not treat it as impure and if we treat it as impure, we have in fact opposed the holy Shari'ah.[3]
2 – Basically, everything is clean when we do not know whether it is clean or unclean, pure or impure because the principality is that everything should be assumed as clean and if anything is to be considered impure, there should evidence.[4] In addition, a man who is suffering from OCD has a special obligation to fulfill in Islamic Shari'ah. If he is certain of something being impure, he should not pay attention to his own certainty; rather he should treat those things which he touch, or things which he deals with or passes by, as pure.  It is never necessary to rinse them or wash them.
3 – You should study your Marja's book of Islamic Laws carefully especially those parts which deal with purity and impurity. You should act according to the rules prescribed in the manual of Islamic Laws. Do not make things difficult for you and do not be mentally preoccupied as you are not supposed to do anything beyond what is said in the book of Islamic laws. Do not go to extremes in matters regarding cleanliness, nor do you have to pay heed to your doubts.
In the end, we will mention some traditions about ways to cure waswas (obsessive compulsive disorder):
The Commander of the Faithful, Ali (AS) says: Fasting on three days of every month – the first and the last Thursdays of every month; the Wednesdays of the middle of the month and the fast of the month of Sha'aban do away with obsession and anxiety.
He has also been reported as having said: "Remembering us the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) cures all ailments, illnesses and doubt-breeding waswas."
In response to a question concerning obsessive compulsive disorder, Imam Sadiq (AS) said: "There is no problem; say "La ilahi illallah."[5]
The conclusion is that the solution to this problem lies in your hand only. You should, therefore, be firm and strong in your faith; trust in Allah and try to get rid of this satanic temptation. See how other people around you are acting. If they are Muslims and acting in a particular manner, you should also do the same as you are one of them. Be like them, conduct yourself in the way they do, live like them and make sure not to make things difficult for you and those around you.

[1]Scientifically called obsessive compulsive disorder
[2] Adapted from Index: 2158
[3] 2158 Ayatollah Muhammad Fazel Lankarani, Jami' al-Masail, vol.1, p.106, p. 44, second edition, Mehr publication, 1375 (Persian calendar).
[4] Vide: Allamah Muhammad Reza Muzaffar, The Principles of Jurisprudence (Usul al-Fiqh), Ismailiyah Printing and Publication Institute, vol.2, p. 215, fourth edition, 1380 (Persian calendar).
[5] Sayyid Hamid Husseini, Muntakhab Mizan al-Hikmah, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (Waswasa Cahpter), Dar al-Hadith, 1385.
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