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Confessing Porn Addiction to Family

Ustadh Salman Younas is asked about the permissibility of sharing a history of porn consumption with family members and whether it is advisable.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I am asking if it is permissible to share with my family that I have had a eleven year struggle with pornography? After I finish or see my results from neurofeedback I plan to share my problem with my family. I feel that I have done the best I can do from my knowledge to abstain from the haram. What was missing was that I told no one what was going on with me. There was one hadith that says to hide your sins but I find no explicit or implicit support for this from the Qur’an. I began reading Imam al-Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din and am slowly trying to perfect my conduct. What steps should I take to share this problem or break this mental plateau I have spiritually?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

The basis is that one does not reveal one’s sins to others.

This is based on clear prophetic traditions, such as “All my community will be excused except those who commit sins openly. Committing them openly includes a man who does something shameful at night and when morning comes tells someone that they did such-and-such, while Allah had concealed it for them. They slept under the cover of Allah, and they removed Allah’s covering from themselves in the morning.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

However, this rule has exceptions. Imam Nawawi said, “There is no harm in telling about a sin to one’s shaykh or another person who may be expected to teach one how to desist from the act or refrain from similar acts, or apprise one of the causes that led to it, or pray for one.” (Adhkar)

Given this, it would be permitted for you to tell your family members if they are people who you expect advice from, who may assist you in fighting your addiction to pornography and keep an eye out for you.

You should not, however, publicize your sins merely for the sake of telling people. Rather, you should identify those who may help you in your struggle and then inform them of your problems to the extent that is required for them to address your problem effectively.

Salman

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

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.