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Telling Future Wife about Pornography Addiction

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises on pornography addiction and honesty towards one’s spouse.

I have been struggling with a pornography addiction for a few years now and it’s something that has taken a toll on me, I would be able to go for periods of five weeks without problems and then I’ll return to this horrendous habit.

The problems return during times of stress. Every time it spiritually drags me down. I have a good idea of the root problems of this addiction and how I can control it, it is just easier said than done. I am currently looking for a spouse, would this be something I would have to mention to my future wife?

Jazakum Allah khayr.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Honesty about pornography

Dear questioner, my sincere advice is for you to be honest about your pornography addiction to your future wife. The right wife for you would welcome your honesty, and be your supporter in your journey towards healing. We all all wounded in some way, and our spouses help us along our healing journeys.

It is normal to feel ashamed. It is courageous to admit that you need support.

Please let me share something from someone who was honest with his future wife about his own pornography addiction:

Allah is teaching him how to surrender herself completely to Him. As an addict, his addiction is often overpowering, and it can only be overcome by surrendering to Allah completely. For example, when thoughts to act out come to him, he should realize that he has not control over these thoughts and must surrender to Allah at that moment. He must have the determination and patience to transform his life into one of complete surrender to Him. This requires guidance which she can find via addiction programs like Purify Your Gaze. He will relapse many times but he shouldn’t focus on it. He should focus on discovering himself and the underlying causes that drive his addiction. It is a difficult road but his addiction would be a blessing in disguise if it is a means for him to know himself and thus know his Lord.

Marriage is a blessing, but life in this dunya is stressful. There is no escape from stress, and relapses are part and parcel of your healing. Imagine how even more stressed and ashamed you would feel, if you hid this from your wife.

I encourage you to prepare for marriage through this course Marriage in Islam: Practical Guidance for Successful Marriages.

Commit to healing

Please commit to a path of healing, and start with Purify Your Gaze. This is an excellent resource for you.

Allah’s Forgiveness

Anas, Allah be pleased with him, reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be blessings and peace, said, “Allah, the Exalted, has said: ‘O son of Adam, I forgive you as long as you pray to Me and hope for My forgiveness, whatever sins you have committed. O son of ‘Adam, I do not care if your sins reach the height of the heaven, then you ask for my forgiveness, I would forgive you. O son of ‘Adam, if you come to Me with an earth load of sins, and meet Me associating nothing to Me, I would match it with an earthload of forgiveness.’” (Tirmidhi)

Never, ever, ever lose hope in the mercy of Allah. Perhaps Allah is testing you with this because through overcoming your addiction, you can attain closeness to Allah. And nothing in this dunya can compete with that sweetness.

I pray this has been helpful. May Allah grant you healing and the gift of a loving wife who can be your helpmate to Jannah.

Please see A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation and A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah.

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Will Allah Be Displeased With Me?

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil advises a sister whose husband is addicted to porn on how she best can tackle this sensitive issue.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been married for 21 years. My husband has been addicted to porn since before we got married. I did not know this until a few years into our marriage. I have tried to talk to him several times but he gets angry and defensive. He tells me he doesn’t want to be controlled and if I continue to try to stop him he will be more determined.

In other aspects of his life he is very religious, masha Allah. Recently his addiction had become too much for me and I no longer want him to touch me. At first I did not refuse him, but tonight I had a long talk with him. I told him I want to help him stop his addiction and only do what pleases Allah.

He had the same reaction as before and again said he will not be controlled. Finally I told him I don’t want to have relations with him if he will not stop. He said in that case Allah will be displeased with me because I am not fulfilling my duties as a wife.

My question is, is that true in this case? Am I still obligated to fulfill my wifely duties even though he continues to watch pornography and I cannot bear to have him touch me?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for reaching out to us.

Witholding Marital Intimacy

Narrated Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” (Bukhari)

Dear sister, I cannot imagine how difficult this situation is for you. I pray that Allah heals your husband and your marriage. 21 years is a very long time to struggle with his refusal to repent.

Although you are at your wit’s end, I do not encourage the use of ultimatums, especially in regards to withholding intimacy. Doing so is a form of controlling your husband’s behavior, and this would naturally cause him to be defensive.

As hard as it might be, try to imagine his pornography addiction as a drug or alcohol addiction. Threatening to withhold marital intimacy from an alcoholic does not make him more likely to stop drinking alcohol. This route could add to his feelings of anger and frustration. However, he is choosing to refuse to get help. He is still responsible for his actions.

In short, for as long as you are married to him, you are still obligated to have marital relations with him. I say this within the context of your husband being gentle with you and being sensitive to your needs and wants in the bedroom. If you are feeling repulsed by him, then you both need to work on solving this issue.

By the same token, these actions are displeasing to Allah:

1) watching pornography

2) masturbating while he watches it

3) disregarding your feelings.

Marriage Counselling

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, blessing and peace be upon him, said: “The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

A successful Islamic marriage is a mutually respectful and loving partnership with the joint intention of pleasing Allah. Within this context, your husband is failing to recognize his role in displeasing Allah through how much he is hurting you.

Is it possible for at least you to attend culturally-sensitive counseling? Ideally, it would be better for both of you to attend counseling, but your husband seems resistant to any form of change. Please know that you can still tremendously benefit from counseling, even if you attend it by yourself. A good counselor can help empower you and help you recognize what is within your sphere of control, and what is not.

Accepting a Wife’s Influence

A wise husband knows how to accept his wife’s influence. Consider these links:

Love Quiz: Do You and Your Partner Accept Each Other’s Influence?
Husbands Can Only Be Influential if They Accept Influence

Prayer of Need

You probably feel extremely powerless. Because of this, I encourage you perform the Prayer of Need to appeal to the One who created your husband.

Pornography Addiction

Purify Your Gaze is an excellent resource for people like your husband. Again, only he can decide to get help.

I encourage you to consult Megan Wyatt from Wives of Jannah to help you navigate your difficult and sensitive marital situation.

Prayer of Guidance

I encourage you to perform the Prayer of Guidance as often as you need to in regards to staying in your marriage. A positive answer could be your husband softening and finally getting the help that he needs to treat his addiction. A negative answer could be your husband persisting in his addiction and refusing to repent.

Oppression

Narrated Anas, may Allah be pleased with him:

Allah’s Messenger, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one.” People asked, “O Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?” The Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, said, “By preventing him from oppressing others.” (Bukhari)

At the end of the day, if you cannot bear to touch your husband, then it does not seem like a marriage worth staying in. Please exhaust all options and consider divorce a last resort. Divorce may be frowned upon, but it is still permissible. If both of you fail to fulfill your obligations towards each other, and continue to oppress one another, then divorce may even be obligatory. Please remember that Allah has given you the gift of agency. Use it to draw closer to Him.

Please see Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long, A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation, and “Too Embarrassed to Talk About It”: Pornography Addiction and Some of Its Effects on Muslim Marital Life.

I pray that Allah blesses you with wisdom, courage and insight to do whatever is most pleasing to Him.

Wassalam,

Raidah

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


Can I Prevent a Child from Seeing His Birth Parents?

Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas

Question: Asslamu Alaykum

I have legal guardianship of a baby who is two years of age. Both his parents are addicts and have lost custody of their child. At present, neither parent has joined a rehabilitation programme to stay clean. I am looking after the child on my own – I am a single female. I am being pressured by the child’s family to allow the child to see the parents. What is the Islamic perspective? Should I allow the parents to see their child with the hope that it will help them change? What are the rights of the child regarding this?

Answer: Assalamu alaykum

This is clearly a sensitive situation. On the one hand, birth-parents have a privileged position in Islam when it comes to the rights they possess over, and are owed by, their children. Yet, in this particular situation, there was clearly good reason to transfer guardianship of the child to a responsible adult who could provide the child the care and nurturing he or she requires.

Therefore, what we have is a conflict between the basic rights of the parents and the interests and well-being of the child. The state has already determined that the parents are in no position to care for the child, and the reason cited (drug addiction) makes clear that the interests of the child may be undermined if the parents are allowed to have a sustained relationship with him or her especially when they are not attempting to ameliorate their situation.

Given this, you need to strike a balance between the rights of your child’s birth-parents and his or her interests/well-being. One way to approach the matter is by thinking of it along a spectrum running between very limited or no contact to a regular relationship with frequent visitations. It may be best to start off from one end of the spectrum and then move your way across when you feel the time is right based on the parents improving their own situation and not being a negative/harmful impact on the child.

The basic rights of the parents in such a situation, for example, may initially be fulfilled by keeping them updated regarding child’s progress, sending them pictures, through letters, etc., otherwise known as indirect contact. When you feel it is appropriate, you may wish to allow them to speak to the child on the phone or through video chat. And then the situation might improve to an extent where some form of direct contact is possible, such as supervised visitations. It is important that even when one has reason to limit contact between child and parent, that the former grow-up knowing that the latter deserve some degree of respect and possess rights that children are meant to fulfill.

Of course, all of this would be subject to any local laws surrounding the issue of the rights of birth parents and the type of contact they are permitted to maintain in such situations. Therefore, you should take the above advice merely as general suggestions that you can take into consideration when consulting legal experts.

Wassalam,

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir.

I Am Addicted to Pornography. What Do I Do?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: Assalam aleykum,

I was exposed to pornography at the age of 10 and am still addicted at the age of 17. This has greatly affected me, and I do not know how to stop. What do I do?

Answer: Assalamualaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah reward you for seeking out a solution.

Addiction

I am sorry that you were exposed to pornography at such a young age. This great calamity is affecting more and more of our children. May Allah protect and heal our ummah, and preserve the innocence of our children.

Please seek out help at Purify Your Gaze. This is a safe space for Muslims like yourself who are struggling with pornography addiction. Don’t ever lose hope in the Mercy of Allah. Have absolute trust Allah can grant you a complete healing.

May Allah bless your recovery, and make you a means of support for others who are also struggling on this path of healing.

Please see:

Reader on Pornography
A Reader on Tawba (Repentance)

Wassalam,

[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi’i’ fiqh, Arabic, Seerah, Aqeedah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajweed. She continues to study with her Teachers in Malaysia and online through SeekersHub Global. She graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales, was a volunteer hospital chaplain for 5 years and has completed a Diploma of Counselling from the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors. She lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with her husband, daughter, and mother-in-law.

Porn Is Big Business and Muslims Are Becoming Customers – Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

Porn is big business and Muslims are far from immune to it. Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Muslim Chaplain at the University of Toronto and teacher at SeekersHub Toronto, spends ten minutes reflecting on how he helps young people deal with it.

Resources for seekers

Cover photo by Johan Larsson. Our thanks to Quran Speaks for making this video available.

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"I’m Married To A Sex Addict" – 5 Tips on Moving Forward

In this guest column for SeekersHub, Danielle Adams from Lifestar Therapy offers advice to couples dealing with pornography and sex addiction.

Pornography and sexual addiction is a complicated issue, especially if you’re married to someone who is struggling with this fixation. You’ve probably felt shocked, angered, depressed, and resentful over your spouse’s problem. That’s normal. However, there are things you can do to help yourself move past the hurt and into a better place emotionally.
Follow these five tips to learn how you can improve your relationship, move toward forgiveness, and start feeling more love for yourself and your marriage.
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1. Acknowledge the Addiction

When secrets are kept and problems aren’t acknowledged, distrust and fear will develop within a relationship. Before the healing process can begin, you and your spouse both need to recognize and admit that (a) there is an addiction, and (b) that relational distress is one of the many consequences of that addiction.

2. Get Help

Addiction isn’t something your spouse can just “get over.” Seek answers to your questions and get the support you need from a professional marriage therapist, a spiritual leader or trusted friend, and a support group. They can help you more fully understand how and why sex addiction starts, help you through your emotional trauma, and get you and your spouse on the path to recovery.

3. Invest in Yourself

Resist the urge to dwell on the unfortunate circumstances you now find yourself in. Instead, take this time to invest more fully into yourself. Write down some recovery or spiritual goals to work toward, serve others who are in need of help or support, enjoy healthy eating and exercising, and distract yourself with a new, fun hobby.
By focusing on your own goals, you’ll be distracted from your difficult situation and will give yourself some much-needed, much-deserved positive attention. By having more love for yourself, it’ll be easier to have more love for your spouse.

4. Support One Another

One of the most important things you can do to support one another during this trying time is to have full and open communication. Talk non-aggressively about feelings and struggles, trials and triumphs. Listen with an open heart and allow yourself to feel love and empathy.
You may also want to set clear physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual boundaries regarding your spouse’s behaviors and actions that might make you feel uncomfortable. By setting and keeping these boundaries, your spouse will be able to start earning your trust once again and you will have some control over how the situation affects you and your family.

5. Look Forward

There’s no need to continually dwell on the actions and mistakes of the past. It’s an ugly trap that you don’t want to find yourself residing in, keeping you miserable. By looking forward, together, each day will get a little easier. Recommit to rebuild trust, improve communication, and focus on the bright future of your marriage. Some days will be more difficult than others, but with time and patience, healing can be achieved and you will once again feel whole.

Resources for seekers

Cover photo by Johan Larsson

How Can I Help My Brother Who Is Addicted to Drugs?

Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil

Question: My brother doesn’t pray, fast, and he is highly addicted to drugs. We are trying to help him but we can’t as he hides his addiction and lies.

I tried to reach one of his good best friends to help out, and he is trying. My family is trying to help as much as we can, but we see no results. I keep thinking about these concerns and can’t do anything. What can I do?

Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease this heavy burden from your family.

Drug Addiction

Please seek help. Drug addiction is something that requires professional intervention. Please do your research and look for a suitable rehabilitation center where you can send your brother. Many Muslim families are so ashamed of the thought of placing their adult son or daughter into rehab, because of what people will say. Anyone who speaks ill of your brother is part of the problem, and not part of the solution. Getting him the help he needs will help not only him, but it will help all of you.

What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs
Helping A Family Member or Friend

Compassion

Even though it may look like your brother is deliberately acting up, please do your best to view his addiction as an illness. The drugs he is taking have altered his brain, and his primary drive in life is to get his next hit. He isn’t trying to hurt you or your family on purpose. That being said, please get the right support so you will know how to help him, instead of enable his addiction.

Patience

“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,”
[Qur’an, 2:155]

Even though your brother’s recovery might seem impossible right now, trust that anything is possible through Allah’s help. There are many Muslim men and women who have recovered from drug addiction, and who are now living productive and fulfilling lives. Have hope in Allah’s ability to heal your brother.

Once his addiction is under control, then insha Allah your brother will be well enough to make his repentance and pay back his missed prayers and fasts. Please don’t give up on him. Right now, the priority is his physical health and safety. Help him get the right support. Look after your own needs in this time. You can’t be of any help to him if you wear yourself out from worry.

Support

Please reach out for support from strong, trustworthy family and community members. You and your family cannot do this alone. Choose who you confide in wisely. If you come across any individuals who try to lecture and/or shame you, your brother or your family, politely give them salams and refrain from giving them further information.

If you struggle to find Muslim families you can confide in, then know that there are many non-Muslim families who struggle with the same thing.

In addition, I strongly encourage you and your family members to attend family counseling.

Please see:
Selected Prophetic Prayers for Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Wellbeing by Chaplain Ibrahim Long

Wassalam,
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.

My Brother Has Started Doing Hard Drugs: What Do I Do?

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.”

Please see: Positive Spiritual Thinking: Choosing Mindfulness (taqwa) and Embracing Trust (tawakkul)

And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.

wassalam,

Faraz Rabbani

Photo: richiec

How Should I Deal With My Addiction to Prostitutes?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

I have a strong addiction to prostitutes. How should I deal with that?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

You should repent to Allah Most High, and then supplicate to Him asking that the difficulty be removed out of His Pure Grace.

This is a trial for you, and the sign of success is in steadfastness in upholding the limits of the Sacred Law, and using it as an opportunity to seek Allah Most High.

With that, continue to attend circles of learning and remembrance, and look for righteous company, striving to always remain occupied in the good.

If you don’t busy yourself with the good, it will busy you with bad.

Please also see: How Do You Distinguish Between a Test From Allah and Punishment? and: A Reader on Patience and Reliance on Allah and: Committing Adultery in an Unhappy Marriage

And consider taking the following free class at SeekersHub: Absolute Essentials of Islam: Basic Hanafi Jurisprudence (STEP)

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

How Can I Wean Myself off From Masturbation?

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: As salam alaykum,

From the age of 15 I have been addicted to masturbation and pornography. I am married and it’s affecting my marriage and my wife.

I have tried everything: blocking porn on my mobile and computer, praying, dua… I am really suffering. I can’t lower my gaze and stop.

What can I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that this message finds you well, insha’Allah.

Keep repenting, keep turning back to Allah with resolve never to return to the sin, and pray the the Prayers of Need and Repentance daily: How Does One Perform The Prayer Of Need (salat al-haja)? and: Prayer of Repentance: Salat al-Tawba

Please see the following resources: A Reader on Tawba (Repentance) and: How Can I Wean Myself off From Porn? and: A Reader on Pornography and Masturbation

Do everything you can to break the habit completely. Cancel your internet subscription, and go away with your wife somewhere, giving yourself a change of scenery and chance to renew your resolve and relationships. And take the following program: purifyyourgaze.com

And Allah alone knows best.

wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani