Allah SWT has created us in the best of ways, and gave us unlimited bounties, such as the mind, tongue and understanding that allows us to distinguish right from wrong.
We often are told by those who do not understand the religion of Islam that this is a religion of restriction. That it is a religion that puts so many limits on what we are able to do.
Dear brothers and sisters, Allah SWT has allowed us most of this world for our needs. This is first and foremost that we ought to remind ourselves of. The focus is always on a dozen or so things that we are prohibited from but that is such a small percentage of what is permitted for us to do.
And more importantly, the forbidden few things need to be analysed individually as upon individual scrutiny, it usually transpires that they are damaging to our health, religion or life.
The topic of addiction is the reminder today and Allah SWT has referred to this in the glorious Quran. The imam referenced ayats 90 and 91 from Sura Al- Maida which are translated to say:
O you who have believed, indeed, intoxicants, gambling, [sacrificing on] stone alters [to other than Allah ], and divining arrows are but defilement from the work of Satan, so avoid it that you may be successful.
Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse these ayats, we can see that Allah SWT is telling us to keep away from intoxicants, gambling and other prohibited activities.
One of the lessons we ought to mention as is the need in our time and place is the word intoxicant in this ayat. Unfortunately we have people who are convinced that smoking weed or taking other recreational drugs is not explicitly mentioned and therefore isn’t prohibited.
These ayats answer this point exactly. For those of you who know, taking these kind of drugs may be wrapped up in the glamour of music videos, celebrities, comics and even countries taking a liberal view to de-criminalise.
However, ask yourself this question, which of the people who engage in these drugs are able to perform salah correctly with focus, read Quran correctly and with sincerity or perform some other act of remembrance with clarity?
We need to be careful that we haven’t duped ourselves into believing something just for the sake of continuing with the physical addiction or the psychological dependence on the intoxicant of choice.
Dear brothers and sisters, this brings us onto the overall point on this weeks reminder and that is the general topic of addiction.
The simple truth of the matter is that we are all addicted to something in one way or another in this life. It is human nature to be this way and this addiction can be positive or negative, it can be safe or it can be dangerious, but either way it is an addiction.
In order to understand this point, it is worth understanding the word addiction in the context of today’s reminder. Addiction is a compulsive feeling that drives you towards a thing or activity, and which if you stopped yourself in one way or another you start feeling some type of withdrawal symptoms.
When we think of addictions, we normally think of drug addicts, alcohol or even porn. Yet there are other forms of addiction which are seemingly ‘harmless’ e.g. addiction to social media, internet, addiction to work, addiction to sleep, etc.
But can we get addicted to Salah for example? Or to the Quran? Or to giving Charity? In order to understand how we can get addicted to positive activities, we need to understand why we get addicted in the first place.
So with that in mind, we can now better answer the question posed earlier; how can we get addicted to powerful positive habits?
The reminder concludes with 3 practical tips for this.
- We need to derive a great sense of pleasure from them; let’s take reading Quran for example.
If you want to get ‘addicted’ to reading Quran and by addicted, it becomes the habit one loves to do all the time and in fact one might even get withdrawal symptoms if you don’t read it for a few days, then you need to understand the Quran.
Find Quran commentators online whose language and personality resonate with yours and begin there all the while reading the Quran along with it’s commentary and translation.
- The positive habit needs to be able to drive away pain; let’s take another example, Salah.
If whenever you’re faced with affliction or trial or even a little bit of stress, you turn to Salah, won’t you be addicted to Salah and love Salah? Not only will your problems wither away with the power of a sincere salah, but you’ll gain reward from Allah and feel much better afterwards.
- Addicton doesn’t come overnight, it builds over time
This is an important point, if you notice any ‘addiction’ you have didn’t suddenly happen – you gradually developed an addiction to it and then can’t stop yourself.
So keep in mind that any positive addiction you want to develop needs time, you simply need to constantly build that habit into your life and soon enough it’ll become a positive addiction that you’ll enjoy, insha’Allah.
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to understand ourselves before we make any changes to the harmful effects of addictions we may have. It is not to say that addiction isn’t appealing, it is and we need something in our lives but we have the choice to be addicted to something that will impact us in a positive way in both this life and the next so take the first step to replacing the bad habits with a good one and understand it is a journey that take time and not a switch overnight.