Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: We are a practicing, loving family. My brother prays, fasts, and is active in the community. However, he has—strangely and inexplicably—started doing hard drugs. We don’t understand why he is doing drugs and he won’t listen to us. What can we do?
Answer: Walaikum assalam,
I pray this finds you in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you, your brother, and family the best of this life and the next. May He grant you patience, forbearance, assistance, and facilitation in assisting your brother in this delicate and dangerous matter.
Treat this like any sickness or ailment:
(1) Act Out of Loving, Caring Concern for your brother—the sunna of sincere counsel (nasiha) is rooted in love, mercy, and sincere concern for creation, and is a condition for the perfection of our faith (iman) itself. Allah Most High describes true believes as being, “Deeply caring for each other.” [Qur’an, 48.29] The Messenger of Allah (peace & blessings be upon him) said, “None of you truly believes until they love for others what they love for themselves.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
(2) Do No Harm. Keep in mind the golden principle established by the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should say the good or remain silent.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. Thus, don’t argue with him; don’t nag, don’t discuss just for the sake of discussing—and, especially, don’t get angry nor threaten him. Rather, consider your words carefully, and only discuss in ways likely to be of benefit.
(3) Understand the Root Causes. Carefully understand the root cause(s) for the ailment, and address these causes—for they’re the true ailment, and the sin (here, doing drugs) is merely its manifestation. In this, keep three things in mind: (a) respect his privacy and do not spy; (b) spend time with him, lovingly, seeking to understand ‘where he’s at’ emotionally and in life, and what he is struggling with, or what may be stirring him towards harmful choices; and (c) encourage trustworthy friend close to him to assist, likewise—sharing with them the above advice.
(4) Consult Experts. Don’t hesitate to consult qualified counsellors, particularly if unsure of the way forward, on how to help your brother. If needed, don’t hesitate to caringly convince your brother to seek counselling, and facilitate that for him.
(5) If You Seek, Seek From Allah—and If You Rely, Rely On Allah. Turn to Allah after every prayer that Allah heal him from this, and facilitate the above for you and your family The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) advised Ibn Abbas (Allah be pleased with him), “If you ask, ask Allah; and if you rely, rely on Allah.” [Tirmidhi, and others] This entails that, while we take all worldly means, we have absolute faith (iman), conviction, and certitude (yaqin) that the One who benefits is Allah; the One who gives is Allah; the one who facilitates is Allah; the One who tests is Allah—and that if we seek, with sincerity and true trust, all trials and tests will be for our ultimate good, and are expressions of Divine Mercy.
Keep in mind the Prophetic promise: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Were you to rely on Allah as He deserves to be relied upon, He would provide for you as He provides for birds. They leave home hungry in the early morning, and return home full in the evening.” [Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, and Ibn Maja, on the authority of Umar (Allah be well pleased with him)]
And Allah’s promise in the Qur’an, 65.2-3: “Whoever places their trust in Allah, Allah is their sufficiency.”
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.