Islamic marriage advice and family advice

He feels like he is being followed

Car in the darkSalam

I am writing as someone I know seems to have a problem.

For sometime now he has felt like he is being followed and when he turns around no one is there.

Over the weekend we took some pictures of his car as he will be selling them. As he has uploaded them on to the PC and looked over them it seems like there is someone sitting in the car. When he took the picture no one was there.

Please can you advise as to what you think this may be and what you’re charges are.

W salam

- Rashida

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8 Responses »

  1. Dear Rashida, As-salamu alaykum,

    I see three possibilities:

    POSSIBILITY 1. Your friend is paranoid. Personally, I believe this is the most likely answer. It could be garden-variety paranoia by someone who has reason to fear that someone is stalking him; or it could be something worse, for example he might be experiencing the onset of a mental illness such as schizophrenia. You say "It seems like there is someone sitting in the car", which tells me that it is not clear but is open to interpretation and maybe imagination, especially by someone who is mentally ill.

    POSSIBILITY 2. Your friend really is being followed, by a flesh and blood human being. Maybe someone is stalking him, an ex-girlfriend or someone he had a fight with who is now out to get him. Even though he has not seen the person, we all have senses that can pick up the vibe when someone is stalking us or staring at us. Those senses include peripheral vision, small sounds that may not register with the conscious mind, and some might even say extrasensory perception.

    POSSIBILITY 3. Your friend has come to the attention of a jinn, who is watching him or following him for some unknown reason.

    I think the best course of action now is to simply wait. Your friend should get close to Allah, doing his prayers, seeking refuge with Allah, and reciting Quran every day, especially in the morning and at bedtime. If the problem does not get worse, then try to forget about it. Maybe it will go away on its own. However, the sensation of being followed gets worse then I think it's time to see a doctor and be examined for signs of mental illness.

    I am not discounting the possibility of a jinn, I just think it's less likely. If that is indeed the case, then I have no specific advice beyond what I already said about seeking refuge in Allah, being devoted in worship, and reciting Quran and dua'. I am not learned in the science of the jinn, but let him stay away from un-Islamic activities, and make tawbah for any sins he has committed. Ramadan is coming up, so it's a good time to seek forgiveness and protection from Allah.

    Wael Editor

  2. Salaam,

    I agree with everything Wael has said.

    What stuck out for me was that he took a picture of an empty car and then later made out the shape of a person. That's not being followed: that is something else which can either be supernatural or a mental projection of a fear of some kind. We all take photographs which blur, and show shadows and shapes which can be interpreted by anyone. It's like an ink-blot: people see what's on their mind - not what is actually there. The same thing happens with young children who believe there is a monster under the bed, or see a shadow of a shirt hanging and see a ghostly figure - they imagine horrible things because they are afraid in the dark.

    If your friend genuinely feels that someone is following him, then he should report it to authorities - preferably with the number plate of any car that is following him, or any physical appearance. There should be some consistency to his description of what is following him: some locale, some time of day, male, female etc. There should be some consistency to the following and some genuine evidence that he can report.

    However if the following is a non-specific sensation, if he feels that many people are following him or if he is suspicious generally of everything then that it is more likely to be paranoia which is either a result of some existing anxiety that he is feeling, some existing guilt or a symptom of a mental health problem. Paranoia is a mental health problem - it is the mind's generation of symbols of fear. If he loses trust in authority figures and starts to believe that the police, or any other authority is part of this following then he needs professional help.

    If he has ever taken any drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy and so on, then I would advise counselling because any history of drugs (even if it was only once) puts you at greater risk of developing a mental health problem.

    Danger signals to look out for are if he believes there is someone in the house, someone at the window, someone listening to his phone calls, someone trying to break in, someone trying to steal from him. If he is adding locks, cameras, phone taps, checking the windows all of the time, speaking in a quiet voice with no clear indication of a person, a description or anything physical that he can describe then again, he needs to speak to a counsellor.

    I would advise that he try to identify whoever he feels is following him with the intention of reporting them to the police. If he cannot do this, then it could be that he needs to see a professional.



  3. honestly this guy is a scary cat or maybe he did something wrong and now fears and someone myt wanA get revenge when i have the feeling im being followed gosh i tel myself ALLAH is with me wat is there to fear? only u ALLAH! i seek refuge in u ALLAH.

  4. Oh my god. This sounds very creepy..... I'd be careful with believing in Jinn.... that he may be followed

    by one of them. I agree with the others that he must be able to identify the object or person he feels

    observed by....If he can't identify it, he has a problem and should consult a physician or therapist.


  5. Assalam’Alaikum,

    I am replying on this very late but may be it gonna help. One year back my brother started feeling that he is being spied upon and being followed and his words are being used in media. Earlier I thought it’s just work stress and shift in role of his duties that he is going through and can be treated by counselling sessions. But now when I met Psychiatrist I got to know its Paranoid Schizophrenia of Delusion disorders. It was very shocking and hard for me and my family to accept if something like this could exist and my brother is facing it (We haven’t told my brother yet. Apart this problems of bizarre delusions, my brother is very well behaved, soft-spoken and doing well personally and professionally. But this feeling of being traced and followed makes him irritated and depressed sometimes). More challenging is its treatment may be because of lack of awareness and mindset towards mental disease at large in addition to patients disagreement for he being sick A doctor has told me, in this disease there is "loss of insight", which means that the patient does and cannot understand that he is ill. So trying to convince him will not help until he is almost cured. It’s best to avoid such discussions and divert his mind. If you try too much to convince him, he may even begin to doubt you and think that you are part of the spying network. So, the medicines have to be given either hidden or by force in such patients. A regular and quick treatment is must along with family awareness and unconditional support. I have researched a lot over this due to my brother. I am marking the part that is relevant here in your case too.

    Schizophrenia is a group of severe brain disorders in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions and disordered thinking and behaviour. The ability of people with schizophrenia to function normally and to care for themselves tends to deteriorate over time.

    Hallucinations are sounds or other sensations experienced as real when they exist only in the person's mind. While hallucinations can involve any of the five senses, auditory hallucinations (e.g. hearing voices or some other sound) are most common in schizophrenia. Visual hallucinations are also relatively common. Research suggests that auditory hallucinations occur when people misinterpret their own inner self-talk as coming from an outside source. Schizophrenic hallucinations are usually meaningful to the person experiencing them. Many times, the voices are those of someone they know. Most commonly, the voices are critical, vulgar, or abusive. Hallucinations also tend to be worse when the person is alone.

    Persecutory delusions: These are the most common type of delusions and involve the theme of being followed, harassed, cheated, poisoned or drugged, conspired against, spied on, attacked, or obstructed in the pursuit of goals. Sometimes the delusion is isolated and fragmented (such as the false belief that co-workers are harassing), but sometimes are well-organized belief systems involving a complex set of delusions ("systematized delusions"). A person with a set of persecutory delusions may be believe, for example, that he or she is being followed by government organizations because the "persecuted" person has been falsely identified as a spy. These systems of beliefs can be so broad and complex that they can explain everything that happens to the person.

    I am trying to help myself and my family in order to help my brother to cope up with this disease and hence collecting as much as information as possible. Since this is happening in my family so I feel helping any person who is suffering for not having required information. Even psychiatrists here are not of much help if one is not very active and aware on his own. If you need any kind of assistance then do let me know. I would feel really happy if I could be of any help. Sometimes this situation seems as dead end and you get so helpless more because it’s not very easy to see your loved one like that but May Allah help us all and my brother to survive in fittest way and beat this horrible disease named Schizophrenia.

    • Assalamualaikumwarahamtullahi wabarakatuh

      We are having similar porblems and my dad is inclined towrads it being a possession of jinn and my brother thinks it is pure schezophrenia- and the patient- my other brother thinks it is schezophrenia also. In the past, he has had HASAD which was cured by Ruqyah as prescribed in the religion- this time there is a traceable cause and effect- family problems- result- schizophrenia- psycologists have identified it and my bro taken to some mashaaykh- each time he does, his situation gets worse. (When he did genuinely and undoubtedly had a problem of HASAD- related to NAZAR (AIN) and the world of unseen s0 somewhat related to JINN), immediately he fainted when the shaykh recited purely Quranic verses ( nothing ambigous, hidden or un-understandable). But now, he says it is pure schizophrenia and why does dad keep taking me to shaykh he says- it annoys him and the 'voices' he sees increases.

      I am confused- is he hesitating to go to the shaykhs (even though they have read on him) bnecause his Jinn could be strong and misleading him or is it that he really does have schizophrenia? How can we determine- May ALLAH give him and every muslim SHIFa in ints complete form and give him and all muslims in stress AFia. Please let me know from your experiences sister erum and others.

      As for Nadhira- you think you are strong? making fun of others..wait till ALLAH shows you to belittle someone- wait till you learn that KIBR which is defined as looking down upon someone is a deed Despised in the sight of ALLAH (SWT). Wait for that or repent- clean your heart and seek frogiveness. I use to feel similar strength till ALLAH showed me I was weak- Only ALLAH is powerful. I sued to think I have iman so 'these ppl with less iman suffer' so fear ALLAH- and be HUMBLE-

      The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Almighty said, ‘Pride is My cloak and greatness is My robe, and he who competes with Me in respect of either of them, I shall cast into the Hell Fire.’” [Sunan Abu Dawud - Classed as Sahih by Shaykh al-Albaani] HADITH QUDSI

      Others- pls stick to the topic and asnwer me May ALLAH ease you in your troubles- PLEASE STICK TO THE TOPIC OTHER- I HAD TO ADVISE SISTER NADHIRA since he is sister in faith

      • Sohaib, it was not clear to me from your question which family member is having the problem. Is it one of your brothers? I suggest that instead of taking him only to the shaykhs, you take him to a physician or psychiatrist who can diagnose his problem and prescribe medication. There are medications that can help to control schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

        Wael Editor

  6. @ sohaib-

    We are still struggling with the disease and it's really tough to keep up with the fight. At times it gets so terrible to handle everything and to see my brother going through the ordeal. High stressed emotions! That’s what doctors told us that family go through during the course of treatment and hence its must to take care of your stress as well.

    I can understand that you want to take the patient to the sheikh ..that’s okay but Please don’t ignore the biological treatment. Prayers and treatment goes together. Because the worst mistake in this treatment is missing the medication even for single time. In technical terms, doctors told us that there gets some chemical imbalance in mind which needs to be attended and only medication can do that. Counselling comes later. You cannot convince a person whose mind has no reception point...just like you can’t make understand a nursery class student about advanced has to start with teaching it’s a step by step process which requires extreme patience and empathy towards the one who is suffering. And, don’t forget it’s a long process ...might take years and you and your family have to provide unconditional love and support...this doesn’t mean being overprotective. Like for my brother- No one can say he is ill. He is normal just like me and you apart this paranoid feeling even which was gone after 4 weeks of medicines so now the toughest part is to convince him to continue medicines. And this is the worst of all mistakes that family do-they stop treatment on their own as soon as they feel things are fine. Let doctors do their job and you do yours by listening to doctor, praying and dealing with patient. My advice will be- 1.) Find a good doctor even if it takes you to go to places and money 2.) Start Treatment ASAP 3.) Try to gather as much information as you can to accept the reality. There’s a lot of stuff available on net. You can read psychiatry books as well. 4.) Stick to you doctors advice and medicine scheme and tell your doctor every possible details and don’t hesitate to ask even the trivial doubt 5.) Be patient and empathetic 6.) Have faith and trust in ALLAH- no matter how grim situation is. Things could have been even worse. You are still the blessed one.

    Lemme know if there’s something specific you want to know and if I can be of any help in any way.

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