Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Am I required to leave my home if it is the only way to stop myself from watching prohibited content? Am I allowed to stay home if I am confident I will not watch any prohibited content?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
It is obligatory to abstain from anything strictly prohibited, and anything that has a direct causation to something strictly prohibited must also be abstained from.
This is based on the axiom: If an obligation cannot be fulfilled without something else, that something becomes obligatory as well. [Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah wa al-Nazai’r]
Being alone in your home may be a circumstance in which you feel the temptation to watch prohibited content, but if being alone is not the direct cause of such sinful desires, it is not obligatory for you to leave.
However, suppose you feel that leaving home will help you overcome these temptations. In that case, it is permissible as long as no other issues in the Sacred law prevent you from leaving the house, such as danger or your parents’ reasonable disapproval (if you live with them or are unmarried), etc.
Seeking Out Solutions
Passions and lusts are part and parcel of the human experience. One must deal with them head-on to subdue them to a level of moderation and obedience to Allah Most High and the Sacred law.
The best and most effective method of subduing sexual desires is to find a permissible avenue to fulfill such desires, in this case, marriage. [Ghazali, Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din]
The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, addressing the youth, “O youth! Whoever amongst you has the ability, get married. It facilitates averting the gaze from the prohibited and guarding one’s chastity. And whoever is unable, fast, for it is a protection.” [Bukhari]
Secondarily, if you cannot get married, or doing so will take time, take the following steps to help control your passions from taking you into sin.
Weakening the Desires
Just like a rebellious animal, the passions and desires of the human can be tamed. The first step is to weaken them. This is done through two things:
- Lessening its food intake. Note: this also includes reducing those foods that increase desire, such as red meats;
- Burdening it with toilsome acts
From the aforementioned Prophetic narration, we can see one example of such laborious action: fasting.
Like a rebellious animal, the desires will submit if one limits one’s food intake and burdens the body with toilsome acts. [Ghazali, Ihya Ulum al-Din]
Abstaining from Antagonists
Anything you know that stirs up your desire for sinful desires is essentially your enemy in the pursuit of obedience. [Ibid.]
If watching television or scrolling social media, for example, stirs up your desires, then you must abstain from these things or at least minimize them. [Ibid.]
It will take some reflection as to what things stir up your desire to watch prohibited content. It is possible that a specific place, time, or activity may be the culprit. Once you discover this, remove or at least minimize such activities. [Ibid.]
Strengthening the Soul
In addition to weakening the animalistic side, one must strive to strengthen their soul. This is done through increased remembrance of Allah, recitation of the Holy Quran, moments of silent reflection on Allah’s greatness, His bounties, and the realities of life after death. Another very effective act is attending gatherings of remembrance and keeping the company of righteous people. [Ibid.]
These acts will strengthen the inward desire to attain the good pleasure of Allah Most High, thus raising one’s eyes from the horizontal to the vertical, from the worldly to the Heavenly. [Ibid.]
Lastly, yet most important, is to turn your heart to Allah Most High and beg Him persistently to help you overcome your wayward passions. Also, beg him to assist you in finding a righteous spouse to help you truly bridle your desires.
Pray the prayer of need and recite the following supplication abundantly:
“.لَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللهِ”
“There is no power (to do good) and no ability (to abstain from evil), except through Allah.”
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch teaches Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences.
He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he studied for three years in Dar al-Mustafa under some of the most outstanding scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib.
In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.