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The Addiction of Watching Sex Online

Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned (by Allaah)” [Holy Quran, Al-Isra’ 17:36]

Those who guard their sexual organs except with their spouses or those whom their right hands possess, for (with regard to them) they are without blame. But those who crave something beyond that are transgressors.”  The Qur'an, chapter 23 (Al-Muminun), verse 5 to 7.

And those who guard their private parts, Except in the case of their wives or those whom their right hands possess-- for these surely are not to be blamed, But he who seeks to go beyond this, these it is that go beyond the limits.” The Qur'an, chapter 70 (Al-Maarij), verse 29 to 31.

Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do. (Holy Quran 29:45)

“We were with the Prophet (SAW) while we were young and had no wealth whatsoever. The Prophet (SAW) said: "O assembly of youths; whoever among you possesses the physical and financial resources to marry should do so, because it helps him guard his modesty, and whoever is unable to marry should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power." ” Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari includes [3]

The Prophet said, "Whoever guarantees me (the chastity of) what is between his legs (i.e. his private parts), and what is between his jaws (i.e., his tongue), I guarantee him Paradise." Bukhari 8.799: Narrated by Sahl bin Sa`d.

A narration attributed to Abd-Allah ibn Mas'ud reports:“ Rasulullah (Sallallaahu Álayhi Wasallam) said, 'O group of youth! Whoever from among you can marry should do so because it keeps the gaze low and it protects the private parts. And he who cannot marry should make it compulsory upon himself to fast because it breaks lust.' ”

The easiest, quickest and the best solution is to get married as soon as possible. The longer your marriage is delayed, the more you and your parents will be answerable to Allah (swt). In case of a delay in marriage, as per Hadith, you should fast as much as possible to let your body become so weak that there's no such desire or energy left in your body. Pls. don't misunderstand direction about fasting as to become too weak that you die from it since suicide is far worse sin than masturbation.

A Muslim is always commanded to lower his/her gaze, let alone give a loose rein to his/her hungry eye to look at the private parts of others or imagine them. More importantly, such acts cause psychological and social injury. Besides, many people in general, and teenagers in particular, waste their lives and times doing things which Allah forbade them to do. A Muslim is always commanded to spend his time in useful things, cherish what benefits him in the present, plan for his coming days, and always make the reward of the Hereafter his/her top priority.

Our advice to those people is that they should fear Almighty Allah regarding their life and youthfulness. They are to bear in mind that they will be reckoned for these two and will be questioned what they have done with them. The Hadith says: "The feet of a son of Adam will not be removed (meaning he will be standing for reckoning until he is asked about the following five), unless he is questioned about five things: his life and how he has spent it, his youth time and how he managed it, his wealth from where and how it has been spent, and his actions how close or far they are from his knowledge."

Man will be questioned about his life since it is the greatest Divine gift. Those, however, waste their life browsing these indecent activity online sites and thus spoil the greatest Divine blessing given to them, namely life. Man is granted this life not to spend it in quest for lusts and desires of the flesh, but to utilize it for the life of eternity, the Hereafter. In that eternal life everything is blessed, no poverty is there, no sickness, no senility. That eternal life is only for those who lead this life in straightness, uprightness and conformity with the laws of Allah.

Let those people, then, fear Allah regarding their youth. Youth is not a time for play or whimsical actions; rather, it is the time for fruitful work and action, ambition and perfection.

The youth have always been the indicator of progress or decline of every nation or people. The more they stick to the dictates of virtue and uprightness, the greater their nation will become. The more they fall in the den of vice, the lower their nation will go. Thus, we have the necessity for right and moral upbringing of the youth.

We advise all those people to consider the value of their lives and stop wasting it in trivialities. They should bear in mind that death may overtake them all of a sudden. All people are like prisoners in a cell waiting for their execution. No one knows when, but they should prepare themselves for it. Almighty Allah says: [Every soul shall taste death.] (Al `Imran 3: 185)"

The following working steps to fight masturbation and indecent activity online addiction are for all, no matter their age:

Step One: Admit that you can't give up.

Admit that you are unable to get a grip on your consumption of indecent activity online. It is uncontrollable. Every time you turn on the internet, go to the video store, turn on the television, you cannot say NO to yourself. You cannot NOT surf indecent activity online sites, or stop watching. You are no longer in control of your life.

Step Two: Admit that only Allah can get you out of this.

You know, after trying through so many ways to control your addiction and subsequently failing, that only Allah can help you out of this. You may have known it before, but you are convinced of it now without a shadow of a doubt.

Step Three: Your life and death are all in Allah's control.

Decide to put your complete trust in Allah, Who is in control of all aspects of your life and your death, and to bring this problem to Him and seek His help first and foremost.

Step Four: Do a self-analysis.

Do an honest, sincere, but often painful self-evaluation of your good points, bad points, and analyze your addiction, trying to understand how you reached this point.

Step Five: Make a specific repentance to Allah.

Admit to Allah and to yourself and to another trusted Muslim (if possible) exactly where you went wrong. Do not make a general request for repentance. Specifically list your mistakes and, in particular, your addiction to indecent activity online.

Step Six: Be open and ready to receive Allah's help to change.

You know your sincere repentance must be followed by action. Be ready to do what is necessary to change, no matter how difficult or painful, even if it means not even watching television for the news or never surfing the Internet alone.

Step Seven: Ask for the removal of faults.

Ask Allah with sincerity, humility and regret to help you never repeat this action (looking at indecent activity online) again and to help you avoid repeating sins committed in the past.

Step Eight: Do a nightly self-evaluation.

Every night do an honest self-evaluation of your behavior and be ready to admit your mistakes and thank Allah for the good you did that day.

Step Nine: Make lots of du`a’ (supplication) and try to increase your taqwa (fear of Allah).

Continue to pray five times a day, seeking closeness to Allah. Seek to be consciousness of Him wherever you are. Increase your reliance on Him to help you with this addiction to indecent activity online and with all other matters in your life.

Step Ten: Preach and practice.

Don’t just "move on" after Allah has blessed you to get out of this addiction. Help others you know with this problem through regular contact and sincere advice, respecting the etiquette of enjoining the good and forbidding the evil. By the grace of Allah, helping others will help you maintain control over your addiction, and you will help another Muslim or another human being to get out of this destruction and misery.

Useful Tips

Here are some very useful tips that can help you get rid of this bad habit;;

Tip 1. Know what is Halal (lawful) and what’s not

We may think only masturbation or hard core indecent activity online is Islamically unacceptable. This is not true. Improperly dressed men and women, sexual situations, foreplay, kissing, touching, dirty jokes: none of these are Islamically acceptable. Talk to a trusted Muslim friend, family member of the same gender or an Imam about this. Bring it up and ask them to give you the Islamic perspective.

Tip 2. Remember your accountability to Allah

In America and some other countries, you’re fully responsible for your actions when you turn 18. In Islam, you’re fully accountable as soon as you understand these things. So that means that from that point onwards, you cannot assume looking at this stuff is no big deal. Your eyes will testify about what you looked at on the Day of Judgment. Remember that Allah is always watching. He is Most Just and Merciful, and He rewards us for the good and punishes us for the bad we do.

Tip 3. Become conscious of the Haram (unlawful)

Too often, it’s easy to dismiss that billboard with the spandex-and-bikini-top-clad blonde girl advertising gum, or the guy in tight leather pants and no shirt advertising perfume. When you see it, remember the Islamic perspective, your accountability to Allah, and lower your gaze. Do the same for television and the internet. If you keep doing this, insha-Allah, it’ll become a habit, and eventually an automatic reaction.

Tip 4. If feeling overwhelmed, remember Allah

In situations where you feel overwhelmed and can’t get yourself to switch the channel, close the browser window or turn your eyes away from the billboard, ask Allah’s help. You don’t necessarily need any heavy duty, long Dua's. "La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah" (there is no power or ability except with Allah) is short, simple, and reminds you who is really in control and can help you out of this.

Tip 5. Seek refuge in Allah from Shaitan

Shaitan lured you into this mess. Seeking refuge in Allah (saying awthu/awoozoo billahi minash Shaitan ir rajeem), will help you resist him and his whisperings to continue looking at the material.

Tip 6. Get up and leave

If you feel unable to control looking at the screen or the magazine, leave the situation. Get out of the living room, your bedroom where the internet is, or where you’ve been reading the magazine. Take a walk. Just do something to physically get out of the situation.

Tip 7. Avoid those involved in indecent activity online

If one of your friends is into indecent activity online magazines, websites, dirty jokes etc. either help him or her change through gentle and sincere advice, or abandon frequent contact with them. Their compulsion will affect you, so it’s best to stay as far away as possible, by remembering the danger to yourself, your Deen, and your relationship with Allah.

Tip 8. Stay away from places where it’s found

Sometimes it’s on a billboard on a highway and you can’t miss it. But often times, you’ll notice certain parts of your city (the seedier ones) tend to be filled with this kind of material (where there are usually strip joints, for example). Avoid these places as much as you can. If it’s on your way to school, try to change your route. Also, in summer, stay away from the beach.

Tip 9. Surf or watch TV when others are around

The temptation to sneak a look at dirty pictures or that bikini-clad babe is heightened when you’re alone in your room watching television or surfing the internet. Try to avoid late night TV and internet surfing. Instead, watch or surf when others are around so you can resist the urge to sneak a peek, thinking no one’s watching (and remember Allah is always watching). It is a good idea not to have TV or computer in the bedroom anyway. Living room or study room is a better place for this stuff.

Tip 10. Remember your example

If you have younger brothers and sisters, think of the bad example you’re setting for them. What message will they get if they barge into your room and catch you watching Baywatch or flipping through Playboy.

Tip 11. For brothers, remember your mom, sister or daughter

Disgusting right? Exactly. No one in his right mind would look at his mom or sister the way many of us look at the Baywatch babes or the girls on the internet or in magazines. Remember mom and your sister, and that should sicken you enough to stop, insha-Allah.

Tip 12. Have someone watch over you

If you really feel you’re becoming addicted to this kind of material, try to watch TV, surf the internet with someone else. You don’t have to tell them why you’re doing this, but this method can perhaps keep you in check and help you avoid looking at indecent activity online or other similar material. After all, Shaitan tempts us most easily when we’re alone. Sitting in the company of a family member or good Muslim friend will insha Allah, help.

Tip 13. Fast

The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) advised us to fast to cool passions. This should be a method we use to handle the desire aroused by indecent activity online and similar material.

Tip 14. Do Tawba and return to Allah

If you do end up watching the bad stuff, repent to Allah. Seek His forgiveness, reaffirm your faith in Him, and do good deed to compensate for that sin. He is All-Forgiven as long as you are sincere.

Tip 15. Repent again and fine yourself

If you lapse, do tawba again. Allah is All-Forgiving as long as we mean it. But then you need to discipline yourself by promising to yourself that if I did it again, I will pay this much in charity or fast for a day.

The message is that don’t give up on yourself. Keep trying. Struggle is life. Shaitan could be creative. And with the help of Allah, you will be the winner insha Allah.

The Addicts: From the Husband's Perspective (“Qwerty”):

As someone who is experiencing this fitnah, I can authoritatively tell you that most of your comments that discuss the reasons for why people like me fell into this sin are way off mark. You don't realize the self-loathing, and hatred a brother has for himself in his day to day life when he remembers what he does when no one is watching but Allah. And if only it was as simple as you guys suggest…

Before I begin, let me say that in this story of my own descent into sin, I blame no one but myself. I will deliberately be vague in some of what I say so that no one finds out who i am. And oh yes, some of you know who i am. But you don't really know who i am. I am a brother between 25 and 30 with my own family who I love very much.

I fell into the fitnah when I was in my teens. I don't want to go into the details, but soon after I was introduced to indecent activity online, I was hooked on it. What fanned the flames of desire was access to the internet. When I was new to the sin, I would never have dared to buy a dirty magazine from the local store out of a sense of shame and embarrassment. But the internet made everything accessible to me, and I could see what I wanted and when I wanted, all in the privacy of my own home. Another problem was that my family resisted when I suggested that I marry in my early 20s. Thus, the absence of a Halal outlet for this desire is another factor that has brought me to where I am now. Have you heard the story of Barseesah? Here it is;

Story of Barsisa, The worshipper

At the time of Bani Israel, there was a man in a small village, called Barsisa. He was, what you call, a monk. But he was a true Christian. He believed in Tawheed and believed Isa (peace be upon him) was a messenger of Allah. 

One day three brothers decided to go for Jihad. But they had a sister and they did not want to leave her alone. So they went looking for someone to take care of her. The town people suggested to leave her with Barsisa, because of his piety. So they went to him and when they asked him, he said, "I seek refuge from the cursed Shaytan" and said No! This was because he was scared of falling into sin (due to the potential fitnah it may cause). Then Shaytan came to Barsisa in the form of Waswasah (Whisperings). Shaytan is very smart and knew Barsisa had a soft heart. So he told Barsisa, "What if they can’t find someone good and leave her with someone bad, wouldn’t that be your fault?" Now Barsisa did not realize this was Shaytan whispering in his heart, and because of his compassion for others, he decided to accept their request and help the woman.

He let her stay in a house opposite the church. He did this so that it would be easy for him to leave her food outside the church and she could come get it herself. But after sometime, shaytan returned. This time he told Barsisa, "Why don’t you leave the food closer for her, so that people don’t see her moving back and forth alone!" Barsisa agreed and started leaving the food outside the house. But shaytan wasn’t happy with this either, so sometime later, he returned and ask Barsisa, "Why don’t you go in and leave it on the table, so that no one sees her coming out and going in alone all the time!" Again, Barsisa agreed and he started leaving the food on the table.

Then as time went by, Shaytan returned and said to him, "Why don’t you talk to her, she is all alone and has no one to talk to!" Barsisa agreed and started talking to her from behind a door (so as to screen himself). But this would lead them to almost shouting to each other to here themselves. Shaytan asked Barsisa to just go in and talk to her, and finally, he (Shaytan) had got the alone in a room. Shaytan had completed the difficult part. It wasn’t after Barsisa and the woman committed fornication. And to make things worse, she also became pregnant. As soon as the baby was born, Shaytan returned, and said to Barsisa, "What have you done? Look at the result of your evil (i.e. the child), get rid of the evidence otherwise the brothers will kill you!" Barsisa killed the baby and buried it in the same room the woman was in. Shaytan then told Barsisa, "Do you think you can kill the child of a woman and expect her not to tell anyone?!" and So Barsisa killed her and buried her alongside the baby! He then made a fake grace outside and when her brothers returned, he informed them that she died of illness. After seeing the grave and make dua for her, they returned home and accepted Allah’s decree.

Later that night, Shaytan came to them in their dream and informed them about what Barsisa had done and where the child and their sister could be found. The brother got up upset and confused, and informed his brothers of the dream, and they both said they had the same dream. So they believed that it must be true, and when and dug up the fake grave and found it empty. They then dug the place shaytan showed them in the dream and found the child and woman!

Furious, the brothers took Barsisa to the Leader to get his punishment. Barsisa knew that he would be given the death penalty. Shaytan came to Barsisa again, for the final time this time. This time he revealed himself and told him he was the one whispering the thoughts to him. And he said that he could save Barsisa, and as long as Barsisa makes sujood to him! Barsisa, out of desperation made Sujood to him , this confirmed his Kufr (disbelief) and Shaytan said to him "I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!" and left Barsisa was stonned to death and on the day of judgement he will be resurrected making Sujood to Shaytan!

So look how shaytan tricked him. He came to him as a friend, but was in fact his biggest enemy!

(Their allies deceived them) like Shaitan (Satan), when he says to man: "Disbelieve in Allah." But when (man) disbelieves in Allah, Shaitan (Satan) says: "I am free of you, I fear Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)!" (Al-Hashr 59:16)

Shaytan will never make you sin directly, he will always trick you using Waswasah and he is more patient than any of us. So we should always seek refuge in Allah from Shaytan. Never think you have enough knowledge or are strong enough to take on Shaytan. This is why the Scholars of Islam are the ones with the most Taqwa, fear of Allah. So reflect on the story, if Shaytan told Barsisa to make sujood in the beginning, Barsisa would have said no staright away, but Shaytan has a plan in hand it was a step by step policy that made Barsisa finally breakdown and commit Kufr.

In some ways, my own story over the past 10 years mirrors that.

My addiction began as something small, but step by step over 10 years, it has transformed into something which is at times uncontrollable. The first time I used a credit card on a indecent activity online site was after several years of being addicted to indecent activity online. It was like I'd crossed a threshold, stepped over an important line. And unfortunately, having crossed that line, I haven't looked back and have used the card numerous times since. And that is how it is with this sin. You promise yourself for a long time that you won't cross a certain line, but then you do, and it becomes easy to repeat that sin again. But having crossed that line only once advances you to the next level of sinfulness. So you're first mistake is looking at a woman lustfully. Then its looking at free indecent activity online sites, then its looking at pay indecent activity online sites, and so on. My advice to those who are in the early steps of this sin is to never give into the temptation to “go to the next level.” If you admire pretty girls, thats bad, but not as bad as searching for indecent activity online on the web. Its a slippery slope that ends with you in a place where a Muslim shouldn't be.

So why haven't I sought help?

Dear reader, what haven't I tried to give up this addiction? Reciting Qur'an, going to talks, activism, du‘a’, all of that and more. I've prayed those prayers in the middle of the night when i thought to myself, “man, I wish I could pray with that much khushoo' in every Salah” and I made salaam and thought I'd never return to that sin, but then a week, or two weeks later, I was back at it.

But let this next event sum it up for you: me standing in Mecca asking Allah to help me stop committing this sin, asking Allah to kind of like flick off a switch and just bring it to a stop, because I am mentally fatigued by the daily battle inside me between my shameful desires and my Muslim conscience, and I just want it to stop but its proving too difficult right now.

Knowing that I am a practicing Muslim, knowing that there is a day in which I will have to stand in front of Allah and take the rap for these sins, and not having a single plausible excuse come to my mind which I can bring on that day is a horrible feeling. It feels sickening trying to make tawba for this sin, because while asking Allah to forgive me, I felt within myself (and from knowledge of past relapses) that I haven't really given it up and would fall into it again. That is difficult to come to terms with. Really difficult. And also the guilt that comes from leading a double-life and betraying one's spouse. This is not how i wanted to be.

I've seen my early zeal to learn and practice, and potential to be a productive member of this Ummah fade over the years as I spent my time – hours and hours in front of the computer getting up to no good. Some say its due to a lack of Iman, and I agree that it is. But, its more complex then that. During these years in which I have sinned, I have also memorized 10 juz of the Qur'an: that didn't come easily, nor without determination. And i would bet that is more than most people who are reading this. I don't know if that makes me a “better” indecent activity online addict than the next indecent activity online addict. But I'm certainly with those who are unhappy and want out as opposed to those who just don't give a damn.

As to solutions, I don't know. I personally think that it is nigh-on impossible to give it up here in the West once you're addicted because sex and pretty women are all around you, on the TV, in the streets, at work – everywhere.

Sisters, your husbands go to work and there are pretty women all around. Don't let it be the case too often that he comes homes to find you wearing some lame tracksuit bottoms and a T-shirt – or worse your pajamas.

What about taking another wife? I wouldn't dismiss that as quickly as some do. What indecent activity online offers is variety: black, white, fat, thin, tall, short, all sorts. Perhaps having a second wife might satisfy a brother's need for variety. Perhaps not – I can't say for sure.

What else works? Its a day to day struggle. One day its an Ayah (a Verse of Quran), another day its a Hadith. Another day its a talk. Another day its because you met a good brother. Sometimes the boost in Iman from these things keeps you off the sin for a month, other times, only a few days.

The most helpful solution overall I found was going cold turkey with the internet: cutting it off completely. It severely restricted my access to indecent activity online, and though the addiction didn't cut off completely, it was definitely a practical step in the right direction.

If you can make a quiet du‘a’ for Allah to switch off my addiction just as quickly as the light goes off when you flick the switch I would be most grateful. The one thing that keeps the struggle within me alive: Say: “O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah: for Allah forgives all sins” [Holy Quran 39:53]

More from Br. “Qwerty”: One sin leads to another, and this addiction makes you sin in other ways. First and worst of all, is the lying and deceit. I never, ever used to lie before, but after this addiction caught hold, lying became habitual as i concocted story after story to cover my tracks: Why was I on the computer for so long last night? Why do I need to take baths so often? And Subhan Allah, no one is as resourceful as one whose mind has been overcome by the need to satisfy his lusts. Sneaking away to be alone with the computer, altering the computer's history so that no one could find which sites I had visited or which files I had downloaded. The secret email addresses I set up which no one knew i had but me. Saving files in deep directories where no one would think of finding them. Its embarrassing when I think about it.

But there is also an aspect of absurdity about this whole thing. Over the years I'd made online contacts who had similar “interests” as me. One was a practicing brother, we spoke about mutual “interests” but also Islamic things, and qadrullah we made repentance the same day as each other then told each other about it. I deleted the indecent activity online saved on my PC and he tells me he did the same. By Allah's Grace he is still going good, whereas, I have found it more difficult.

Someone mentioned the trauma that the wife goes through knowing of her husband's sick habit, and I'm telling you that my wife knows about mine. First time she found the pictures I completely denied everything, and she believed me. Then she caught me again and eventually I confessed. She was very upset but eventually accepted my apology. May Allah bless her, she offered to help, and to be there and to listen to me… But the thing is, how does one speak to his wife about this habit? What does one say? It would be humiliating, way too humiliating to sit there face to face and talk about this. No, I think I need to speak to someone who doesn't know me. It would be a full disaster if I confided this habit to someone I knew and it leaked to the community. One of the greatest blessings upon me in this regard is that Allah gave my wife the patience not to expose me to my family or my friends.

Yet, i'm still addicted.

As to your suggestions, let me tackle some of those that caught my eye:

Sh. Yasir: jazakallahu khair for mentioning this fatwa. Lengthening my prayers and Sajdahs is something I have started to do as per your suggestion. And this type of advice is the advice that I need. One of the most frequent thoughts running through my mind is that I'm in a race to balance my scales. I'm in a race to make sure that I have enough good deeds to counter for my sins.

Though, I had a rather depressing thought the other day. I am involved in lots of Islamic activities, but if I were to die today and somehow my good deeds were enough to counterbalance my bad deeds, I would die being equal to a lazy Muslim who never memorized and never did da'wah work, Yet didn't sin in the way I did and so did not need to do all those good deeds because he didn't have as many bad deeds to make up for. I hope you follow what I'm saying.

All those who have suggested a return to a more spiritual state, dhikr and qiyam – I think this is good advice, and i will try to implement this.

Perhaps counseling is an option. I've seen programs on TV of people who undertook counseling to help them cope with their sex addiction.

The Addicts: From the Wife's Perspective (“ayah”):

Anonymity is a bliss indeed. Let me tell you how a wife feels when she finds out about the secret life of her husband.

At first I only suspected some suspicious stuff on the computer but never realized the intensity of it until years later. My mind wouldn't go beyond chat rooms. It made me angry especially because I had been very loyal to my husband, but I didn't let the 'suspicions' take over my mind.

Sometimes I would get some disgusting popups on my computer and a friend of mine told me that it would only happen if someone actually downloads them. I didn't believe her. I was so naive. I couldn't even picture my husband watching any such thing. I had so much respect for him. I had married him for the sake of the Deen. His friends had testified for his character. Then how could I even doubt him for a second. Then a day came in my life, I wish hadn't come. I saw what I shouldn't have seen. It made me sick. I felt like puking. I cried and wished I was dreaming but the reality was right there in front of my eyes. But my husband promised that he would stop. He would become more 'spiritual' and would take any and every precaution that I would ask him to… It lasted for sometime but now I know it has started again…Day by day I fight this battle within me, on one side my love for him tells me to help him and work something out, on the other side my anger overtakes me and I think of leaving…but how? What would I tell the imam why I seek to leave my husband? A wife is a 'covering' (libaas) of her husband, she hides her husband's weaknesses and I did this for years, so how can I embarrass him now?

I want to help my husband, I want to see him successful not only here but in hereafter too. But how? I can't keep nagging about the same subject every day. He already tells me not to act like his 'mother'. That feeling of sorrow and guilt is not there in him anymore or at least I don't see it. Sometimes, it takes more than reminders of Allah's fear for a person to leave certain sins. Sometimes a death of a loved one, some diseases, some catastrophe…so I think that perhaps if I leave it will shake him deeply and he will repent.

Sometimes, by Allah, I want to get into a car accident just to 'wake' him up (and if i could guarantee that it would not lead to my death causing me to commit suicide, I would have done it). When he is around us/family, I am fine. I don't let my mind wander around but when he is working on the computer, I could only doubt and suspect him. I had read that pure people are for pure people. But my mind fails to understand…I had never even looked at another man with an evil thought. I molded myself to his demands. Although, I grew up in a very 'modest' way, I went out of my way to get over my 'shyness'. I did everything to please him from dressing in a certain way at home, to making our intimate life more exciting…Those of you who blame it on a wife's lack of interest in intimacy are completely wrong. My husband will testify to this. We are a happily married couple (other then this issue) including our intimate life…sometimes I wish I hadn't done any of this, so at least I could 'justify' my husband's action!

I feel bad for my children. My sons idealize their father like anything but there comes days when I fail to see my children becoming good Muslims because I know a 'father's sins affect his children.'

Yet there are days when I want to give up on my own struggles of becoming a good Muslimah because I must not be 'pure' enough to be married to my husband. In my anger, I went a couple times on some 'chat' rooms just to chat dirty with someone…but I couldn't do it…I swear by Allah I couldn't even enter the chatroom, I felt disgusted inside me…but I fear that a day might come when I wouldn't feel disgusted anymore…I know these are evil whispers of Shaytaan, but what can I do. I came to know of a sin of his that is killing me inside. Perhaps if I see him increasing his good deeds in other ways to make up for this sin, I would stop feeling this way, but I don't see that happening and I don't know how to convince him into this. I have tried every way from talking to him, to requesting, to fighting to begging to crying to pleading but after all I am a wife and a wife can be everything but a 'teacher'!

Brother Yasir Qadhi here said that it is not a major sin, my question to him is: Whenever Allah mentioned in Quran about avoiding major sins and He will forgive the minor, He always says, 'avoid major sins and FAWAHISH'…isn't this act an act of Fahash? If it is, then how could it be something minor? Yes it is not the actual act of zina but if it is fahash and Allah explicitly asks to leave major sins and fawahish?? And wouldn't it fall into the category as 'consistent minor sin in itself is a major sin'??

Anonymity is a bliss. May Allah bless all of you for providing this opportunity for people in my situation to speak. Those of you who read this and think that it is only a 'personal' problem, know that it is NOT because this sin effects the people around you. I've heard brothers bragging about sisters' Hijaab because it is a 'communal' sin, and I tell you that this too is a sin that can ruin the lives of those living under your guardianship.

So change and do something about it, PLEASE do something about it…for Allah's sake first and then for your beloved wife's sake and for your beloved children's sake.

Advice from a “Recovering Addict”:

I have some practical advise, because I myself am a recovering person:

1) It is not Shaytan — it is the Nafs (the inner evil which lives in self). Recognize this. I have done so many Du‘a’'s and Ayahs of Qu'ran that would repel even the most obstinate Shaytan and would still feel an intense desire. I realized it is the Nafs. Once you realize this you are one step closer to personal responsibility. Try it, read Ayat Al-Kursi and see if it helps. If it does not then you know it is your inner evil and not Shaytan.

2) Realize that addiction is chemical as well. You will notice as you get that desire that your heart rate goes up, your body is calmer (endorphins released in your body), your heat is up. If you realize this then you've gotten another step closer. Why? Because after a few days of going cold-turkey you've flushed out the chemicals/hormones that have been affecting you as well as the constant need for the high that you get. Think of it as a heroin addict, but in the case of a sex high that makes you that good feeling.

3) Give mad charity. I mean a lot of charity. Tie it to your sins if you do it. This is how I did it $100, $200, $500, $1000, $2000, $2000, then I had enough. I was going bankrupt man, but I felt that every time I kept sinning and not stopping I was making a bigger sin which needed a greater amount of Sadaqa to expiate. I felt as if I was ransoming my soul to get rid of sin. Alhamdulliah, anytime I didn't pay I would get problems at work, get parking tickets (worth $100 0- $200 anyway and just goes to waste to the city rather than count as a good deed) and all sort of worldly problems. If I paid the money right away I would not run into these problems and would not lose money on tickets and stuff. GIVE SADAQA, it shows real sacrifice.

4) “A strong desire is a justifiable need”. I read this on a billboard once, for a Lexus car. Your deed is 100% Haram, you HAVE to come to grips with this. It is so easy to justify it. You cannot do this if you are to quit. Think of eating pork. You never went near it because you know so clearly that it is Haram (strictly prohibited). It goes the same for indecent activity online. You have to not kid yourself, to realize that there is no justification except your own desires.

THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION EXCEPT YOUR SELF. YOU DO IT TO PLEASE YOURSELF, THAT IS IT.

5) You have an addiction for life. You have to completely quit cold-turkey, and never never start again. Once you start, even just once, you will continue. I took this reality from a person I saw who was a big time smoker and quit. When offered, even though it was so tempting, he did not even take one smoke. He knows once he takes that one smoke he's done for it.

In this case, if you can stop for a good month or so Insha Allah you have to avoid all things that would lead to you thinking about indecent activity online. (cover your eyes if you are a faint of heart).

Don't reach for your penis, even once. Stay away from it and know that once you feel the sensation of arousal you will not be able to control your desire. If you find yourself looking at women on the street, literally look right to the floor and walk. Get headphones, listen to Qu'ran while looking down to keep your mind busy.

6) You have to make your intention to completely quit; NEVER start again. If you intend for a week or a month you will not make it. Only when you completely say (and literally have a out-loud conversation with your Nafs) that you are stopping forever because:

  • You don't want to keep going like this when you are older
  • You don't want to lose your marriage
  • You are afraid of losing out on rewards from Allah.…whatever makes you afraid the most.

Once you intend to completely stop, just like not eating pork, then you will have a much easier time insha Allah. You will even get used to staying away.

7) Zuhd (asceticism or severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence): Try to distance yourself from the things of the world in general. It will help you to become less attached to things. being used to detaching will also help you detach from indecent activity online.

8.) Get busy with dunya! what, I thought you just said be ascetic? Yes, but Idle hands are the devil's playground. Take on medium to long-term projects, they will help you get focused. You will start thinking about it a lot, your project that is. Do some construction on the house, work on completely reorganizing. BUT make sure you have a plan, you write it down, and that you structure it. Meaning: complete this, then that, then this, in order to complete the entire project. Keeping busy is the best thing for a recovering addict because once you are bored and alone, forget it.

9) Travel, take time off, for a year if possible. For some reason I never had a problem with the addiction while traveling or being away from home. Go study Arabic in a Muslim country for a year. Sure there is bad stuff there, but not as much, and not as accessible, trust me. Travel especially if you are having a hard time even stopping. Take yourself away from the environment long enough for you to get away from your habit. But if you don't make your absolute intention to quit forever BEFORE you go, forget it.

An finally, keep giving Sadaqa (voluntary charity). I will emphasize on it as much as I can.

Islamic Advice:

One really good coping strategy to enslave the Nafs (the inner evil self) is to spend the entire night in prayer. Although the Sunnah is to sleep and then get up for Salah (prayer), but for the weak Nafs–stay up all night works. Not settling for any less, but the whole night.

Brothers who are doing this need to make Taubah and replace this 'enjoyment' with Halal stuff.

Sometimes we look for answers far away but the Qur'an is only on the shelf next to you:“The inhabitants of the city came rejoicing (at the news of the young men's arrival). Lut said: “Verily! These are my guests, so shame me not. And fear Allah and disgrace me not.” They (people of the city) said: “Did we not forbid you to entertain (or protect) any of the Alamin (people, foreigners strangers etc) from us?” Lut said: “These (the girls of the nation) are my daughters to marry lawfully) if you must act so.” (Surah 15:51-77)

So the people of Lut wanted to satisfy their desires in an unlawful matter. Allah gave them an alternative Halal way. Women. The brothers who are watching indecent activity online have to leave that. Make Taubah. Go to your wives, talk to them. Build up relationship. Spend more time with them. Fulfil their rights and needs and yours will be fulfilled.

Also there is a distinct lack of spirituality which leads to sin. I must witness that we need a great amount of Tazkiyyah and must take the path of Sulook that out forefathers were upon. If your Salah is not taking you away from this sin then there's something massively wrong there. Allah (swt) says; Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and establish the prayer. Indeed, the prayer prevents from the immorality and evil deeds, and surely (the) remembrance (of) Allah (is) greatest. And Allah knows what you do. (Holy Quran 29:45)

Out of Meaninglessness Comes indecent activity online.

Let's take these troubled brothers and attach them to Islamic efforts, either online or elsewhere. There are many Islamic websites that are run by volunteers (this is one, I believe) where they perform a number of tasks–from designing webspace to posting da‘wah on forums. We can take these brothers and hook them up with people like Yusuf Estes and get them Islamically (In an Islamic manner) active. If they have issues with the computer (i.e. unable to resist the urge while on the computer) then we could get them hooked with other Islamic efforts going on (soup kitchens, street da‘wah, Tableeghi Jamaat etc). This will have to be regular and intense at times because if you get them to be idle–they will resort to indecent activity online. If you can't hook up with some bigtime Shaykh (Imam or a Scholar), then perhaps build a support group or another group of like-minded brothers to get Da‘wah going on.

Muhammad AlShareef mentions in his CD lecture, “When Wolves becomes Shepherds” that when some action is committed–a new pathway is made in the brain. Based on that theory, if we can strengthen an Islamic pathway (i.e. Da‘wah)–it will weaken the indecent activity pathway.

O you who believe, turn to Allah with taubatan nasuha (sincere repentance) (Quran 66:8).

Except him who repents and believes and does good deeds; for such Allah changes their evil deeds to good ones. And Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful (Quran 25:70).

What is a sincere repentance?

1.Ikhlaas – gotta have sincerity. Repenting to Allah for the sake of Allah, not because we are caught in the act.

2. Admit the sin – don't ignore, trivialize or at worst, justify the sin. Admitting there is a problem is the first step to solving it.

3. Feeling guilty – “Feeling guilty IS tawbah” Al Mustafa, SalAllaho alaihi wa sallam.

4. Immediate tawbah – just like Adam (AS). This is very hard because many-a-times, after committing the sin, we feel so guilty and disgusted with ourselves that we feel ashamed to do tawbah = exactly what shaitaan wants – to delay us and our tawbah. Therefore, the solution is to do tawbah immediately.

5. Increase in the good deeds – hasanat wipes away sins.

6. Intend to stop the sin – make a true, sincere intention and strong resolve to never return to the sin.

If you do slip back, start over from step 1 until this step is actualized. Doesn't matter how many times the slip happens…1000, 10000, a million, a billion times. Just keep going back to step 1 if you do fall in the sin.

If this seems like an infinite loop, then its a plot of Shaitaan to make you think this way. Only Allah's Mercy is infinite. Subhan Allah, this is the BIGGEST step for me right now. Every time I think of committing a dreaded sin that has haunted me for years, I ask myself: “So what happened to your tawbatan nasooha? Didn't you promise Allah that you're not going to go back to the sin?” And then, walhamdulillah, I desist.

7. Not publicize – What this means is not to boast about your sin, and to not even mention it in public out of a desire for Allah's sitar. Because all of RasoolAllah's (SAWS) ummah will be forgiven except those who publicize their sins.

Unless, of course, you have repented and talking about the sin brings about the benefit of bringing others away from it.

8. Restore rights of others, if applicable.

For every time you sin, pray at least 2 rakaah nawafil, immediately after sinning. Even if you don't feel guilty, make it a habit. Now you have support and that sinning will, oddly enough, push you closer to Allah SWT. I guess that's why we sin–so Allah can bring us closer to Him.

When you are sinning, turn away from the screen, be still and know that you could die at that moment and that yes, hellfire is where you would be if that happens. This thought never gets old. Bring it back to mind as often as you can. People try and mentally overcome this thought before they commit a sin, just to make themselves feel OK and then they do the sin. And then they think later “Oh that thought didn't work on me,” when really they didn't want it to work on them, in the first place. So keep bringing it back to mind, even while sinning and Insha Allah it will steer you away.

A person giving up hope is disastrous to say the least but not uncommon. I've seen on occasion, other brothers breakdown in front of me into wailing and tears saying that Allah would never forgive them.

There is one issue that I have noticed with brothers who have this problem. They are split in two, inside and it hurts them. Being more religious than the average person yet a great sinner in the mirror.

There is an internal struggle going on. A Jihad of the nafs.

On one hand the nafs censures itself. “Oh you sinner, return to Allah”. On the other hand there is a trap of iblees.

Iblees knows that the soul wishes to repent. So he lays a trap at every door of repentance: “Allah will never forgive you. This is a sin you keep repeating. Leave off da‘wah, you are too dirty for ibadah.”

It is a trap of iblees designed to destroy the nafs that is in a state of muhasabah (self assessment?).

So to begin with as both of you have mentioned that you do hate what you are doing and that you have tried to stop using various means. So understand that when you do this then the soul is in a state of Jihad. And at times this internal struggle can be greater than that fought with a sword.

The nature of the sin is addiction, therefore continuity. And as Ustadh Yasir has explained that a minor sin done continuously can become major. So the habit must be broken.

Let's say you stopped for a while and then you started again. Don't let that make you give up trying. In fact stopping for a while shows that you can stop totally, eventually.

Also, dhikr is life. Dhikr is not just words that we say with our tongue and say 100 times in one minute. Dhikr is what quenches the thirst of our hearts, and without it, we will eventually die. I admit that one point in time I used to go around telling people to do dhikr, but I didn't know what it actually meant. I can just say that dhikr is so much more than what we think. Dhikr is what makes life worth living. It's our connection with Allah. Without it, we have nothing. We simply get lost in a world of delusions and continue falling and falling, until we can't get up.

Dhikr is the solution to our problems, along with admitting the lowliness of ourselves. It's a struggle, but if we have to pretend, we pretend. It must become a habit. At the same time we need to fill our time, because idle time is a big fitnah. We need to watch the sins of our tongue every day, and try our best to become aware of every evil we utter so that we can stop uttering it.

We all need to sit down in a secluded area, ask Allah for forgiveness and think of our sins as we utter it, every time. We need to break ourselves, and it may take time, but it must be done. We need guides, so let us find them! Ask Allah and He will help you. But do whatever it may take to rid yourself of these evils, even if at first it may seem like you are struggling against forces which seem impossible to defeat. DO NOT LOSE HOPE. Once you lose hope, you are going to drown.

Four Ahadith, that I (personally) count as my HOPE in front Allah 'azza wa jal

a) the Hadith of Anas ibn Malik radyAllahu 'anh that the Prophet salAllahu 'alaihee wa sallam said

By Him in Whose Hand is my soul: If you committed sins to the extent that your sins filled what is between the heavens and the earth, Allah would forgive you after seeking His forgiveness. By Him in Whose hand is Mu?ammad's soul, if you did not commit sins, Allah would replace you by other people who would commit sins. Then, Allah forgives them after seeking His forgiveness.” (Musnad of imam Ahmed)

b) The LONG Hadith of Abu Dharr al-Ghifari radyAllahu 'anh from the Prophet salAllahu 'alaihee aw sallam that Allah said:

O My servants, I have forbidden oppression for Myself and have made it forbidden amongst you, so do not oppress one another. O My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you, O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefiting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other that blame no one but himself. (Muslim, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).

c) The Hadith of ibn 'Abbas radyAllahu 'anh reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “There is no believing slave [of Allah] except that he has a sin that he continually commits, from time to time, or a sin that he constantly does – it never leaves him until he leaves this world. Verily, the believer is created muftannan, tawwaban, nassaa`an – when he is reminded, he remembers.

The explanation of this Hadith is done by Shaykhuna Yasir hafidhahullah online at http://muslimmatters.org/2007/04/03/pearls-from-the-sunnah-1/

d) The Hadith of the Prophet salAllahu 'alaihee wa sallam, that the son of Adam will sin, repent, sin, and repent, sin, and repent.. so much so that shaytaan gives up on him! and the ayah in (NOT so ironically) Surat GHAFIR Verily Allah will give VICTORY to his messengers AND those who believe IN THIS LIFE AND on the day when the witnesses will be brought forth.

- The victory is IN this life…and on the day of judgment for ALL to see that YES WE (I) was victorious. They WITNESS to that. How sweet of a day that is – may Allah make us of those who are victorious. Ameen!

Listen to this lecture, “Ahmed the Repenter” as narrated by Sheikh Navaid Aziz. If you can't see the video here, download it by Clicking Here;

 

* If you MUST sit on the computer by yourself, perhaps keep the light on and keep a copy of Quran on your lap or in your eyesight.

* Concentrate on this and say this to yourself perhaps 100 times: “Allah is watching me right now”

* Say the istia'adah (Aooz Billah Min Ashaitan Alrajeem) I seek refuge of Allah (swt) from Satan, the Banished one.

* Think about how you'll feel after you do the evil deed…Visualization is the key here!

* Collect all the URLs that you regularly visit, and block them. I believe in firefox and IE, you can add these “blocked sites” and set a password. Set a random password that you type without looking so that you don't know how to unlock it. (haven't checked this)

* Visualize the state of the people you are watching (or lusting I should say) will be on the day of Judgment [if they continue on that path]. Imagine how ugly they will look, how fat their skin would be, how big their molar teeth would be (size of Uhud!)..SubhanAllah, just think about their torture and the fact that you're making them your “friends” in this life, that should scare you away from them. You definitely do not want to be raised with them on Yawmul qiyamah (The Day of Judgement)!

NLP / Pschychological Advice

Here in the west this is affected by what people regard as normal. As the media numbs our morality level, the norms of acceptability change.

This is a problem common to all men now not just Muslim men. The Christians have clinics to counsel people off indecent activity online. It is an Information Age problem or should I say epidemic. I'm not a Psychiatrist but I do study Psychology and it can help to use some methods to stop brothers doing this.

One NLP technique would be to anchor indecent activity online with homosexuality. This can either be done in counseling or it can be addressed in any lectures done on Islamic sexual etiquette. We need to resolve this problem on a wider scale.

Now I'm going to show you a method to break the habit for ever insha Allah:

First understand the problem (this is all common knowledge is psychology, it's not voodoo!): When you do something that gives you a reward it releases chemicals in your brain.

So when you eat, exercise or have sex, then certain chemicals are released inside the brain. This is the reward process of the brain to keep you eating, healthy and procreating etc.

One chemical is dopamine. This reinforces the pleasure each time. In other types of addiction more drugs (higher doses) are required each time to achieve a similar level of pleasure/feeling. This is what is referred to as tolerance. Now when you watch indecent activity online I bet that over time you had to start watching different types of indecent activity online to get the same 'feeling'. You build up a numbness or tolerance as we call it. This is what led you to use your credit cards.

Some pharma companies are developing a drug to stop this process (for heroin addicts), but we all know where that leads to. Continuous treatments so that they can make money.

What you need to do is to replace the pleasure with a greater pleasure. As imam Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyyah once wrote about the gaze: “The pleasure received in not looking is greater than the pleasure received in looking.

Brother Dawud mentioned in his post that: “Muhammad AlShareef mentions in his CD lecture, “When Wolves becomes Shepherds” that when some action is committed–a new pathway is made in the brain. Based on that theory, if we can strengthen an Islamic pathway (i.e. Da‘wah)–it will weaken or make us  forget the indecent activity pathway.”

Unfortunately your other 'indecent activity online pathway' is probably well developed and traversed by now. In actual fact you need to change the pathway itself. In fact the best thing would be to go to an NLP practitioner and he or she should be able to help you immediately. Or to remain anonymous you could go to a non-Muslim one. But you need to find a reputable one near you.

I'll provide a method here that is used by NLP people. Try and use it yourself. It is very possible to make this work, I've tried it with phobias and other stuff. Make sure you have confidence in the method and try it out properly. If it doesn't work then go to an NLP practitioner.

What you need to do is use a method called anchoring, where you tie certain emotions and feelings with certain actions or triggers. This is not some voodoo. It is a psychological method used by business people all around the world for many different purposes.

This method has been tested on people and does work very well. Make sure you read it a few times and understand it well before you start.

Other Advice:

Open communication between husband and wife from day one (or should I say first night together) is needed. Unfortunately many women feel uncomfortable talking to their husband about their needs (sexual and otherwise) because sex in many cultures has always been a very hush hush subject to discuss so when it comes time for marriage, the woman, more often than the man it seems, are a bit lost because all of a sudden this is right in the open, something it never was before. If she is unsure or hesitant to his desires, that doesn't give the husband the right to turn to indecent activity online. He ALSO needs to make an effort to be open and communicate his needs to his wife, otherwise both parties involved are straining their own relationship. This goes back to your last post about education and how it is so much needed, especially to young married couples.

One must remember that women are shy by nature so it is natural that they refrain from talking about this subject even with their husbands especially in the early period of marriage. Sometimes they have certain needs/sexual desires and they feel shy to inform their husbands about it. And perhaps that is why they become disinterested in the sexual life causing dissatisfaction to the husbands. That's why I believe that husbands should take the initiative and talk/ask their wives about this.

As I read this, a light bulb popped… you may know that there is an activity logger software. We have installed this for our little kids.

One thing a person in a similar position as yours may want to do, to “force” the issue on himself (kind of like what you mentioned) i.e. install this software… with cooperation from the wife, and have her set the password. This way, everything is logged and if the person is hiding this from the wife and doesn't want to mess up that relationship, then it will provide a big deterrent if the wife can track the internet activity. This program actually works quite well and tracks everything, incl. taking snapshots (I recommend this for parents as well— its free to try).

Another thing someone mentioned is to have the computer in a “open area”. Like my uncle has all the computers set up in the living room, in clear view of anyone passing. Still, if the wife's gone, the Shaytan will play… so the logging software may watch.

Here's my advice, get rid of the internet. If you need to check your e-mail or something go to a public library. Sure it will be tough, but not nearly as tough as the anger of Allah on the Day Of Judgment.

Advice from Shaykh Yasir Qadhi:

To the husband, Qwerty:

1) Regarding Qwerty's situation, it reminded me of a fatwa I read from a great modern 'alim – someone whom I know personally very well and greatly admire. He was asked about a similar situation (person addicted to indecent activity online and masturbation). His response – I only wish I could find the original Arabic – almost moved me to tears. He started off with the basic advice of informing him that this was a sin and he should desist from it, and continually repent to Allah. So far it was standard. But then he continued on. He said that this sin, despite its evil nature, is not a major sin in and of itself (for example like actual zina or adultery), and as long as one repented and felt guilty it would not come under the rule 'a habitual minor sin becomes a major sin'. Then he said – and this was the most beautiful point;

"And make sure that Shaytan does not use this sin to prevent you from being of benefit to the Ummah in other ways, for this would be a greater victory for Shaytan than the actual sin you are committing".

Meaning that the sin is a problem, but then sitting down in your house, despairing, and becoming totally useless to the Ummah is an even greater problem! So feel guilty for your sin, but use that guilt to make sure you generate more good deeds in order to make it up. Which leads me to my second point.

2) Qwerty, and those in your boat, make sure you have more than the 'average' good deeds to show. Pray some extra nafls (extra Salah or Prayer)  regularly, read Quran (and memorize, as you were doing), do dhikr… when in sajdah (prostration) prolong it for that short extra time, realizing you need those blessings. During wudhu (ablution), perfect it and realize that for every drop of water that falls down a sin is removed. Saying isighfar (special prayer to repent i.e. Astaghfirullah), and especially the 'sayyid al-istighfar' (The Prophet said "The most superior way of asking for forgiveness from Allah is 'O Allah! Your are my Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but You. You created me and I am your slave, and I am faithful to my covenant and my promise as much as I can. I seek refuge with you from all the evil I have done. I acknowledge before you all the blessings you have bestowed upon me, and I confess to you all my sins. So I entreat you to forgive my sins, for nobody can forgive sins except you." Hadith Bukhari Vol. 8, Book 75, Number 318) regularly, meaning what you say.

And indeed it is possible, if you do all this and more, that you will rise higher *because* of your sin, since it led you to higher heights. Again this is not a justification of the sin, but rather a ray of hope for the sinner that not all is lost. No human is sinless, and what you are doing is a (minor) sin, hence use it to be a better Muslim, and make du‘a’ to al-Rahman that He forgives you, and to al-Sitteer that He covers up and conceals it from others.

3) MW, your last comment – I swear by Allah – made my heart tremble and hair stand on end. Do you realize what you have just said? By Allah this one statement of yours is worse than any sin you could have done, so repent for it. Do you think that you, and you alone, can be so sinful that Allah's mercy cannot encompass you? That you have so much 'power' to commit sins that the infinite mercy of Allah is powerless when faced with it?!

Understand the implications of what you say and repent for this one statement, before you repent from the lesser sins that you say you have done. For indeed a Hadeeth tells us that 'The greatest of all major sins is shirk with Allah, and despairing of the mercy of Allah, and losing hope of the help of Allah.' See how the Rasool (saw) equated giving up hope in Allah and His Mercy with shirk. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins….for He is al-Ghafoor, al-Ghafaar, al-Raheem, al-Rahman, al-Tawwaab, al-Haleem, and al-Afuw. He is forgiving and loves to forgive. O Allah, forgive us all for our shortcomings, and conceal our faults from others, and cover us up with your mercy, amin!

To the wife, ayah:

Salaam alaikum Sister Ayah. My heart really bled for you – your pain and suffering is understandable, may Allah make it easy for you.

Most important point of advice: never ever wish for any misfortune on yourself or your husband. I can understand the frustration, but don't be like those whom Allah says in the Quran ”And man asks for evil [upon himself] as he asks for good, and indeed Allah is quick [in responding]” Of the interpretations of this verse is that a person makes du‘a’ AGAINST himself, as you yourself are about to do, so be careful in this regard, and do not despair of Allah's mercy.

Also I would not advise you to leave your husband permanently. Perhaps your presence is minimizing these sins, and if you were to leave he would become worse, so consider yourself as protecting him in some ways. And do not ever think you are part of the problem (as for those who commented that a man's addiction might be his wife's fault – really that is so chauvinistic and ignorant it is unbelievable).

Lastly, about your question: we need to define a kabeerah (major sin) versus a sagheerah (minor sin). A major sin, according to the strongest opinion, is a sin that entails Allah's curse, or threat of punishment of Hell. So actual fornication is a major sin, but the steps leading to it (e.g., talking to a woman, looking at her, etc.) does not constitute a major sin. No doubt some 'minor' sins are more major than others, but they are still in the realm of minor sins. Hence, even if a sin is 'disgusting' it does not necessarily follow that it is a kabeerah or a major sin.

Not to trivialize minor sins here, but we need to remain clear about these matters.

Now, a minor sin is transformed into a major one when a person habitually does it without any remorse or regret. What makes it a major sin is the lack of guilt and lack of repentance – if a person continue to repent and then fall into a minor sin, it remains a minor sin. Hence, if a person *tries* to give up a sin and continues to slip into it, then that does NOT constitute a major sin. Only if a person loses all modesty and habitually commits such sins without any guilt or attempt to change will such minor sins be considered a major sin.

Hope that clarifies this issue insha Allah…

And I sincerely pray that Allah makes your situation easy for you, and guides you and your husband to that which pleases Him!

 

A Talk with the Self By Kamal El mekki (Poetry)

Oh my self what will calm you?

Can't you remain patient for a day or two?

I try to contain you but your strength overpowers

But when we die life will seem like hours

So can't you be patient for part of a day?

And remain steadfast upon the straight way?

The direction you're taking leads to my worst fears

Of the day we stand for fifty thousand years

No one will joke nor talk nor smile

And the sun from our heads will be at a mile

Nowhere to hide and nowhere to flee

Standing for what seems an eternity

Then the judgment begins and the books will land

Either on your right or your left handOh my self …

Do not become like those who left the right track

And put their left hands behind their back

Oh self how do you plan to cross the sirat suspended in the air?

Craftier than a fox, sharper than a sword and thinner than a hair?

How do you plan to cross? Or will you cross at all?

The blink of an eye? Run? Or would you rather crawl?

The bad deeds you command will drop you from it

And only good deeds put you back upon it

Oh self it's a five hundred year-drop suspension

Over a terrible place I'd rather not mention

Oh self…Do not be fooled by this world and its illusions

And keep in mind judgment, the grave and other conclusions

Oh self wake up! Don't follow your desire

And ask for forgiveness to avoid the fire

Oh self keep the commands and avoid prohibitions

And pay close attention to these admonitions

Be amongst those who were the best of planners

Who prepared for the future with good deeds and good manners

Oh self its simply about your control

Being patient now so as to reach your goal

I don't mean to put a burden, or put much stress

Just to warn of a day when the limbs confess

Sins add up as you live through the years

Then sadness won't save you and nor will the tears

Every time you sin the Shaytan is winning

So remember the One against Whom you're sinning

Oh my self…Life is short and ends when you least expect it

And then what will you say when you're resurrected?

The angel of death overlooked you and took the souls of your brothers

And one day he'll come to you and overlook others

For great rewards plant the righteous seeds

Oh Allah, I seek refuge from the evil of my self and from the evil of my deeds.

 

Success Story & Advice (From Ahmed):

I a 25 year old male, a recovering addict to indecent activity online and masturbation.

It all started at about the age of 10/11, when I accidentally discovered masturbation. Back then I did not understand what I was doing and did not realize that this was Haram or forbidden (But I have to say, I would always do it in secret, even though I was young I had an inkling that this was wrong). Anyway I continued in this fashion for a year or two, and then I discovered indecent literature. At first I was too embarrassed to simply walk into a shop and buy a magazine, so I would literally look in people's garbage, in the hope of finding indecent activity material online. I remember staying awake late at night and turning on the TV once my parents slept, in order to watch late night TV which often showed soft-core indecent activity online. (I remember in shame the lengths I would go to conceal my secret, e.g. closing the door, but not completely so that I can hear approaching footsteps and hiding an indecent activity video underneath a loose floorboard that was nearly discovered by my father).

It got so bad, and I felt so guilty, that one day, I was about 13 years old then, I took a brave step and confessed to my father, who was extremely supportive and gave me practical tips to my problem. It worked for a few months and my father thought he was successful, but unfortunately I relapsed and went back to my old ways.

I continued like this for a few years until about the age of 15/16 (throughout this time I always felt guilty and ashamed but continued any way), that was when the internet became mainstream. To me this was the start of a new level in watching indecent activity online, as it made it so easy, (no need for embarrassing walks in to an adult shop, and of course the ease of access and variety of indecent activity online content on the web). I started off by simply watching nude pictures and downloading free video-clips (you see the indecent activity online barons are very much like drug dealers, you get your first joint for free, then you're hooked and forced to go back to the dealer, but this time you have to pay to get the harder content). However, after about 2 years the free stuff simply was not enough, I needed more to quench my ever-increasing lustfulness. This was when I crossed another fence, using my credit card (a bit like a previous post).

This continued until about the age of 20. This was when it really got out of control as I started to contemplate visiting prostitutes; you see watching indecent activity alone was not enough. Again, its like drugs, you start with cannabis and end up with crack/heroin. Again the internet made it very easy to do this, as prostitutes advertise themselves on the web on certain specialist websites. At first, like the previous post I would only call these women, it kind of gave me a kick. I would justify this to my self by saying that 'its not Haram (forbidden) to talk, as long as I don't actually act on my feelings', but yes… you guessed it, I moved on to the next level and committed Zina (fornication). After the first experience which left me feeling quite guilty, I decided to repent to Allah and stop watching indecent activity online, but once you have been addicted to something for so long it's very easy to relapse. In fact, I started to visit prostitutes on a regular basis, justifying it to myself by saying ' as long as I do not engage in penetrative sex then my sin is not so great'.

After a year or two, I decided that the only way to solve my problem is to get married. Unfortunately, marriage only helped for a few months, and then I relapsed once more.

However, things changed exactly 1 year ago. As I'm sure you have realised, this beast of an addiction has been the storey of my life, it has absolutely consumed me in every way, I have tried so many times to slay the beast, but every time I fail. Yet, something happened to me exactly one year ago that allows me to stand before this forum today, and announce that I have finally slayed this beast. In fact, today is my 1 year anniversary of victory. Like all other addicts whenever I repented I knew at the back of my mind that this will not last. 1 year ago, when I repented I came to the realization that I cannot have this thought at the back of my mind, as it made my repentance worthless. I then sat down and brainstormed all the ill consequences of indecent activity online; I came up with the following,

  1. The most important one off course is going to HELL
  2. Constantly feeling guilty and worthless
  3. Constantly feeling ashamed of my self, this led to poor self-esteem and lack of confidence.
  4. Wasting my precious time. Time that can be spent learning new things or simply enjoying the company of friends
  5. Having to constantly lie to cover my tracks, and then to lie again to cover my previous lies, and so on
  6. Sexual contact with my wife became a chore rather than something to look forward to, as I simply was no longer excited by my wife (and bless her little heart, she tries so hard to seduce me)
  7. The feeling of utter emptiness after masturbating, compared to the feeling of joy when hugging my wife in bed
  8. The amount of money wasted: I can honestly say that in the space of about 10 years, I blew approximately fifteen thousand pounds (£15000) on indecent activity online and prostitutes. This money could have gone to the poor, it could have gone towards my mortgage, it would have paid for about 10 holidays, or at least 4/5 visits to the holy city of Mecca.
  9. The inability to do anything that would please Allah (such as read Qur?an, or help the Muslim UMMA), as I always felt 'what's the point of doing a good deed, as I have committed so many disgusting sins'
  10. The utter humiliation I would feel had my wife found out, not to mention the enormous amount of pain I would cause her had she found out I was watching indecent activity online and even cheated on her'.

So, how did I stop? It's a combination of everything really.

  • Constantly reminding myself of the 10 disadvantages outlined above (I have them stored on my organizer, and read them every day)
  • Reading Quran and du‘a’ (prayer) everyday, and paying charity.
  • Never staying home alone if possible
  • Praying on time
  • Going to my wife when ever I felt the desire (off course it helps that I have a wife who is very enthusiastic when it comes to sexual matters)
  • Encouraging my wife to always dress provocatively when we are at home.
  • Remember how guilty, depressed and ashamed you will feel, after committing the sin of watching indecent activity online or masturbating.
  • A lot of you will probably agree with me that you watch indecent activity online when you are bored and have free time on your hand. There is a verse in the Quran about free time and how it should be used. I also recently heard a lecture in which the imam (a Muslim Scholar) said that all evil comes from spare time, as this is when a human is at his most vulnerable, you have nothing to do, nothing to pre-occupy your mind, so in order to fill this void, you commit a sin such as watching indecent activity online. The message here is always occupy your mind with something useful ( read a book, visit a friend, play football/sports, start a project, watch a comedy, anything really, as long as it is not Haram or forbidden) never remain idle when you have time on your hands as boredom can be your downfall, and lead you to the wrong path.

Apart from these 8 points, I have a few more tips that have worked for me.

1 year ago, I made a Nidhr (covenant) to Allah, so that if I was to relapse I would have to fast 120 days continuously.

Every day, I go in front of the mirror and I psyche myself up, screaming 'NEVER', 'NEVER', 'NEVER', over and over again, ( 'NEVER', as in I will 'never' go back to my old ways again)

I have a secret book that I purchased specifically for this purpose. I have marked all the dates of the year on it for the next couple of years. Next to every day I either have a tick which would represent a successful day, in other words a day I did not watch indecent activity online in, or I would have a cross, which would represent failure. Alhamdu-lilllah I now have 365 ticks, and not a single cross. I look at all these ticks every day, and it gives me a sense of achievement. I would not want to see a cross in this book, as it would symbolize a return to the old ways. Seeing that cross would seriously depress me, hence I avoid it at all cost.

I hope these tips will help. Please read du‘a’ (prayer) for me as I want to continue on the right track. I know I can. I know I can. I know I can. Allah is on my side. Allah is on my side. Allah is on my side.

NEVER EVER AGAIN!

Due to nature of the content, the people and the specific details around their stories mentioned herein have been deliberately modified. The content is further optimized and edited for legibility and easy comprehension. If you liked whatever was put together here and presented to you, pls. pray for all of the Muslim brothers and sisters. There's an old Urdu saying in Pakistan which pretty much means "Habits accompany you to your grave". May Allah (swt) help all of us in this excruciatingly painful, yet blessed journey towards truly repenting. Ameen!

 

Amir Ali Tayyab
The Webmaster
aatayyab@yahoo.com

 


Sources: Holy Quran, Hadith and opinions of various scholars and Islamic websites.
 

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