Ramadan: Time to Kick Porn Addiction Out of your System

This article has been reviewed by resident MM Psychologist Haleh Banani; she has written up a follow-up article to this post, which will be posted soon after Ramadan inshallah.

This article  WILL help you KILL porn addiction or at least start on the road to recovery inshallah.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Physiology of porn addiction & why it’s so hard to quit
  • Porn addicts: you are not losers & you CAN quit
  • The Ramadan connection
  • Simple changes towards a new life

The other day on the MM Facebook page, I had posted a question- “what is one bad habit you’d like to kill this Ramadan?” Surprisingly, one brother openly wrote about his desire to stop watching porn. Think about it. What great desperation would make a person openly talk about this habit? In fact, this is a brave brother, who has recognized his battle, and who is literally begging for a cure, a change. He is afraid, scared of going through Ramadan, through fasts, afraid that he will not be able to ward off the urge to flip on an internet porn site, or a DVD to watch some porn.

Some of you may be thinking, “Astaghfirullah, how can someone even think of doing this in Ramadan?“. Stop.  First say Alhamdulillah, and thank Allah that He, Al-Rahman, has protected you from this great fitnah.  Next pray to Allah that He keeps you away from the dark forces of sexual addictions of all types, from porn to zina, naudhubillah.

Some of you may remember that I addressed the dangers of porn addiction in a post nearly four years ago called Pornography Addiction Among Muslims. Not only did this article touch a strong nerve in our community, but it has since become the 3rd most viewed post on MuslimMatters. And, every few months, it still goes viral.  Why? Not because the post is some masterful gem written by a world expert; rather, the post was merely a collection of true stories of people afflicted. With the availability and accessibility of internet spreading like wildfire, I reckon the problem has only gotten worse.

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Effects of Porn

Although destructive in many ways, the deteriorating impact porn addiction has on intimacy between spouses, tops the list.  There is developing research that “pornography was progressively desensitizing these men sexually… that they quickly required higher levels of stimulation to achieve the same level of arousal”. The sad reality is that your wife/husband becomes progressively insufficient to satisfy your sexual desires.

For those addiction-afflicted as well as those who aren’t, take heed of the dangers of porn addiction. Like alcohol and drug addiction, porn addiction cannot simply be shut off. Rather, one must undergo a rigorous process requiring time and effort, and this process cannot start unless one understands why this addiction is so strong.  Porn addiction is one sub-category of sexual addictions, likely the lightest in terms of haram– but equally destructive and almost certainly leading to worse if not nipped in the bud. That is why Allah has instructed us to not even “approach zina” [Quran 17.32], because with porn as an entry-way, it becomes almost impossible to stop one’s path to zina.

Why is it an Addiction?

Research has shown that porn addiction is a “chemical addiction“, having an effect on the brain that is very similar to drugs. It has even been called the new crack cocaine in this Wired article. Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, calls porn the “most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.”

First let’s see how drugs work so we may see how analogous it is to porn addiction. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reports: “Most drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who abuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior.”

Porn addiction works similarly: “During the sexual process, the brain begins narrowing its focus as it releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other neurochemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin and serotonin. These “natural drugs” produce a tremendous rush or high. When these chemicals are released during healthy marital intimacy we refer to them as “the fabulous four” because of the myriad positive benefits they generate between a husband and wife. When they are released during pornography use and other sexual addiction behaviors, we call them “the fearsome four” due to the severe addiction and many negative consequences they produce in the brain and nervous system.” [Read more in this informative article]

Overcoming Addiction

We know that drug addicts can get over their addiction. We know that alcoholics have been able to do the same.

So, if you are a porn addict, know this:

(1) you are not alone
(2) you are not a loser or an evil person
(3) you CAN kick this habit but only with a huge amount of jihad’l-nafs (the struggle of the soul).

This psychologist-backed site will further help you understand your addiction–the first step in this journey of killing it. I have not done an extensive review of the site, so “buyer beware”. Please keep your Muslim hat on, and, like all information, screen it through a simple Islamic filter.

For spouses, family, friends, and supporters, know that:

(1) It is important that you “recognize” the addiction and become partners towards a cure rather than continually debasing and disparaging the addict. Debasement only makes the addict feel worse and increases the desire to seek pleasure from endorphins through porn.

(2) Porn addiction is destructive not only for the addict, but also for the spouse. As we saw in my previous post on porn addiction, it has the ability to destroy marriages. That is why it is not to be taken lightly. I urge spouses of addicts to please also be a “partner in solution” rather than a police officer. You cannot hammer the addiction out of your spouse. Learn about its physiological and psychological aspects, and HELP in the recovery. If you love your spouse, you will give it your very best shot.

The Ramadan Connection

The psychologist linked above, Joe Zychik, mentions two requirements for overcoming sexual addictions– effective motivation and a reliable method.

Ramadan is a time where we are instructed to fast. Fasting has been described by the Prophet (salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as one of the ways to control sexual desire:

Abdullah (b. Mas’ud) (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) said to us: “O  young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes (from casting evil glances) and preserves one from immorality; but he who cannot afford it should observe fast for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire.”

During regular days, it may be tough to observe this instruction, but Ramadan is a month where you are surrounded with “effective motivation” to fast. The last thing you want to do is go through the motions of fasting yet breaking it by engaging in your addiction. Use this opportunity to make some strong moves towards a “reliable method“.

Partner Up

Connect with a close friend, family member, or spouse–someone you can trust. Let’s call this person your “partner”. Have your partner install a strong porn filter/activity monitor on your computer. Let him/her control the password and make this partner promise that they will not give it to you regardless of how much you ask for it. If it helps, make them swear by Allah. In some cultures, putting your hand on the Quran reinforces this promise.

Make Structural Changes

Replace your SmartPhone– If you watch porn on your phone, get rid of it! Replace it with a non-internet-capable “cheap mobile”. Either you can have a nice toy or you can save yourself from porn.

Change your computer– If you watch it on your laptop, consider buying a desktop instead that stays in an open area where you wouldn’t want to be caught watching porn.

Turn off your TV– if u have any porn videos or DVDs, destroy them now, before you lose your spirit.

Reliable Methods

Self-Talk– Talk to yourself and your partner about your addiction. Consider this: If you are able to control yourself during fasting, why can’t you control yourself during the nights of Ramadan, nights that are the holiest nights of the entire year? And if you are able to control yourself for the entire Ramadan, is the Allah of Ramadan not the same Allah of the rest of the months, Who watches your every move?

Make constant dua– Ask Him, Al-Tawwab, to pardon your sins, and grant you barakah in your efforts and time to help you overcome this trial. Recognize that you are in this trial only by the will of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala), and by His will and mercy, He will lift you from this trial after you rise from it, a stronger believer. Use the nights of this most blessed months, and the moments before you break your fast to humbly ask Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for help.

Moisten your tongue with duas such as this one:
اللهم اني ظلمت نفسي ظلما كثيرا ولا يغفر الذنوب الا انت فاغفرلي مغفرة من عندك, وارحمني انك انت الغفور الرحيم

‘Alla-humma innee thalamtu nafsee thulman kathee-ra wala yaghfiru thunouba ila anta, faghfirlee maghfiratan min ‘indika, warr hamnee innaka antal Ghafoor-ur Raheem.’
[O Allah! I have wronged myself very much, and none can forgive sins, except You only. Grant me forgiveness, and have mercy upon me; indeed You are the Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.] (Bukhari) (for in-detail translation)

Read Self Help Books– Beyond the self-talk, you need to continue the journey on a “reliable method”. Your best bet is to get books on breaking sex addiction. Do it NOW before you lose your motivation to read them! It is more important for you to read these books in Ramadan than to spend time on entertaining guests or even tarawih (stopping haram is more important than an optional, mustahab).

Get Counseling– If you have access and ability to engage with a psychologist, this is the time to put that in motion. Call one and set up an appointment. Make sure this psychologist is a specialist in the area of addictions, especially sex addiction.

In other words, start doing whatever it takes during these Ramadan days of high spiritual motivation to set into motion something that will keep you porn free in the LONG RUN, as opposed to perhaps controlling it only in Ramadan.

Note: This article does not rely or recommend “coaches”. Maybe in a year, when we have testimonials from people who have been cured–and stay cured–with such coaching services, I’d be glad to advertise their services. For now, please don’t post any such services provided, because this would be just advertisement that I do not, in good faith, agree with or can recommend. This is my own opinion, not MM’s.

213 / View Comments

213 responses to “Ramadan: Time to Kick Porn Addiction Out of your System”

  1. Ahad says:

    Mashallah really helpful notes in it. Also should pass to people who you know are addict.

  2. O says:

    It would be helpful if you can recommend which self help books to read

    • Amad says:

      Here’s a reply from someone studying the topic and working with a psychologist:

      “No problem… here is what the psychologist recommends a lot to her customers, i have added amazon links, but of course ppl can get it from wherever they want. There is also a workbook with the out of shadows book by Carnes– very important to get that as well for someone self-studying. But if they can afford, they should see psychologist
      Out of the Shadows Understanding Sexual Addiction by Patrick Carnes,
      Facing the Shadow: Starting Sexual and Relationship Recovery, by patrick carnes

      (for wives whose husbands are addicts):
      Back from Betrayal: Recovering from his Affairsby Jennifer P. Scheneider”

      • abz2000 says:

        here’s some videos that can help you see how it effects your brain – there are a few parts

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKDFsLi2oBk

        best thing to recognize is that you’re not dependent on it but rather the opiates and dopamine surges – and you can – through practice – rewire your brain’s circuitry to be stimulated by giving charity, seeing a smile on a needy person’s face, knowing that you are pleasing your creator etc.

        it’s actually true, those nerves connect and become strong through continuous stimulation in a certain direction, if you realize that it’s crap, and that certain evil trash are using their influence in the media to push decadence on society, you develop a repulsion to it, your brain is rewired, and you develop it in a different direction.

        i agree that one should acknowledge that the deed is a problem, but if they convince themselves that they are dependent on it and it is they themselves that have that problem, they tend to turn to that stimulation when they are down, as pushing against it only magnifies the issue in the brain, making it take up a huge amount of disk space. not a good method,
        here’s an example from hitler’s propaganda minister:
        But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
        Actually from “War Propaganda”, in volume 1, chapter 6 of Mein Kampf (1925), by Adolf Hitler
        (multiple variations) If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth. // If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. // If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. // If you repeat a lie long enough, it becomes truth. // If you repeat a lie many times, people are bound to start believing it.

        the fact is that
        ya gotta develop a repulsion to it

        • Umm Sulaim says:

          And I hope one also develops a repulsion for lies, no matter how often one hears it. I, for one, do not tolerate lies in any form.

          Dopamine and other neurochemicals perform vital physiological functions, including control of pleasure and stimulation. I agree that other forms of stimulation need to be applied, but they have to be strong enough to reach the treshhold obtained via porn.

          Porn viewing occurs in isolation, the porn addict needs to come up with other pleasure-deriving activities performed in isolation.

          I am used to being alone, and I enjoy ALL my activities. The porn addict may try seeing him/ herself as an individual, rather than lost in a porridge of people. That way they do not have to rely so much on third-party influences to elicit pleasure.

          Remain good,
          Umm Sulaim

          • Ahmad says:

            Very Very valid point.. well put. Yes one should be given an alternative healthy form of pleasure which takes the place of porn pleasure

  3. Sarah says:

    A great an important piece.

    But one part of it, unfortunately, really bothered me: “What great desperation would make a person openly talk about this habit?” It is true that Allah SWT is sometimes merciful enough to veil our bad deeds and we should not talk openly about them. But this person was not celebrating this deed or taking it casually. He was talking about wanting to change. I laud him for being so honest about his goal for this Ramadan. He served as a voice for the hundreds who are afraid to speak of this. Can we please stop demonizing addicts addicts and those who sin, ESPECIALLY those who genuinely want to change? Thank you.

    • Amad says:

      Sarah, thanks for the comment.
      I am not sure how you misunderstood my point completely.
      When I say “what great desperation”, I am actually not demonizing him. I am trying to accentuate what great pain and “desire for change” must have made this person want to say something which is otherwise embarrassing. I also make similar points a few times more in the article.

      Bottomline, Addicts are not losers, they are patients; they need help, not debasement.

      • Sarah says:

        JazakAllah for clarifying; I see what you mean. I still think opening the article this way is problematic, because the impression I get is that the person’s right to speak up itself is attacked. I don’t see anything inherently wrong in talking about an issue, apart from denying the mercy from Allah SWT that I mentioned above.

        But talking about these matters is what this article and MM overall is engaging in. And I am sure that when it comes to the importance of such discussions we are on the same page.

  4. Haleh says:

    MashaAllah Brother Amad you have provided a very useful article to help those who feel powerless over their addiction. It’s excellent how you tied it to Ramadan because this is the time for self-improvement and overcoming vices. May Allah give every single one us the strength and motivation to make changes this Ramadan so that Allah will change the state of the ummah.

    Haleh

    • Amad says:

      jazakillahkhair Sr. Haleh. Thank you for your review. Your psychological pointers are as important for an addict as medicine for a patient with a disease.

  5. Amad says:

    I’d also like to thank our Editor in Chief, Hena Zuberi for doing a thorough review of the article as well as adding important content to it, and revising it to make it more readable.

  6. Amad says:

    Although I mentioned it in the article, I cannot emphasize enough the “disease” aspect of the addiction. If someone has cancer, it cannot be kicked out of the person’s system. It needs a medical process.

    Some may say that cancer is not self-inflicted. I agree. But no one wants to become an addict either. Usually people start casually and before they know it, it’s too late. Just like gambling, drug or alcohol addiction.

    Once addiction has set in, only when the “partner” (whoever this person is) accepts the disease aspect and doesn’t go on a binge about how easy it “should be” to simply watching, things will never change. If it was so easy, don’t you think the person would give it up? Why would they go through hell if it was so easy? And as a partner, if you can truly help the person out of the addiction, he/she will be forever indebted to you and it will only strengthen your relationship.

    • birkah says:

      The comparison between cancer and addiction is not true for many reasons. Insh’Allah I will highlight a few. The origin of cancer is multifactorial where the origin of addiction is mostly the result of the choice of the individual, and hence they are the recipients of the consequences. One may have no control over the progression of cancer, and thus the only thing one can do is turn to Allah. As for addiction, one must turn to Allah, but ultimately the majority of the control rests with the individual and their choices. The treatment for cancer is strictly physiological, whereas addiction is usually physiological. I highlight these because a lot of times addicts try to justify their behaviours by stating it is a “disease.”

      The point that you mentioned about the difficulty involved in quitting is certainly true. However, the effort required in eradicating cancer or another disease is vastly different from the one required for an addiction. Having a network of support, especially from a loved one, indeed helps in quitting an addiction.

  7. MX says:

    There’s also a little known link between ED(Erectile Dysfunction) and heavy consumption of Pornography.
    People need to educate themselves on this not-very-known harm of porn.
    http://yourbrainonporn.com/erectile-dysfunction-porn-part-1

  8. Hena Zuberi says:

    How many homes are being destroyed because of this addiction- May Allah SWT grant the seekers of change the tawfique to make it happen. Easy access to the internet and nonexistent sexual education lead to disaster as the expectations, once married, are so warped that the poor spouse can never live up.

    Thank you for writing about this disease in our communities. We think watching of pornography is taboo enough a topic let alone being addicted to it. Alhamdulillah Ya Rab.

    I have a question at what point does it become an addiction? When does the jump from sometimes watching dirty movies with your buddies to addiction take place?

    Advice to parents- when you buy your boys gadgets like iPads and iPods with internet access, it is criminal of you not to install internet filters. Kids as young as fifth grade have access, when a student brings an iPod to school loaded with X rated movies. That iPod could travel to the next dinner or community picnic so homeschoolers aren’t safe either, we have to be diligent. May Allah SWT help us raise Salih children.

    • Amad says:

      Sr. Hena,
      I hope Sr. Haleh can jump in here as well. From what I understand, addiction is a compulsive behavior that you are unable to stop yourself from doing it, even when there is great regret afterwards or bad consequences. I suspect that your heart knows its wrong but your brain is pumping in chemicals that it’s almost like you are possessed.

      From shaykh wiki, “Addiction can also be viewed as a continued involvement with a substance or activity despite the negative consequences associated with it. Pleasure and enjoyment would have originally been sought; however, over a period of time involvement with the substance or activity is needed to feel normal.”

      • Haleh says:

        The criteria for determining whether or not a person is addicted to porn are much the same as the ones used to identify other addictions, revolving mainly around the dependence on pornography at the expense of other aspects of life. If viewing, reading, watching or thinking about pornography is interfering with your work, your relationship, your family life or your social interactions, it is a problem.

        • Loving dove says:

          Sr. Haleh, Assalam o alaikum,

          i have searched and wrote many scholars about my depression and negative thinking that i want to come over from…. i hav developed an addiction too which i can’t explain to anyone… i am too dying to get it away from me as the brother whom you helped by writing this article but my condition is different… i need help… sincerely…. I Love Allah and dont want to die if He is not pleased with me… Please help me for His sake…

  9. ia says:

    Jazakallahkhair Amad! I love the connection to fasting you made. I highly suggest to anyone that actually suffers from this addiction to read the link “MX” posted. Very informative.

  10. Amad says:

    A note on anonymous comments—
    I know some ppl would like to remain anon in their comments. But for this post where you desire anonymity, please use any kuniya or made-up name so that there can be proper referencing between comments.

  11. salma says:

    Assalamu alaikum,

    Another thing that might kick off addiction for some:

    A parent can very seldomly hide a sin from their children, especially once they become teenagers. It is easier to hide a sin from a wife/husband that it is from one’s teenager. This is true for all types of sins. Do you want your child to learn about your addiction? Do you want your child to rebel because of seeing you as double-faced? Do you want to risk your child going out of Islam because of it? The first two happened in my house; the addiction though lead to much, much worse.

    May Allah protect us alL.

    P.S. One of the consequences of your child learning about it is that he might start on that road too.

    • Amad says:

      thanks for the comment… sorry to bud in about comments policy, but pls use a name/kuniya for the name field, not a msg.

      wr to comments, definitely a motivation for fathers to keep in mind… how bad would it be for their children to find out.

  12. birkah says:

    Alhumdullilah, I am currently helping a few individuals with different addictions. Porn addiction is the strongest and the hardest to quit. Unlike other addiction, this maybe because Allah has placed inside humans a desire for the opposite sex; He SWT mentions this in Surah Al-Imran: Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women[3:14].

    Solution in my opinion (I am a medical student, and I have also done research on this).
    – Make Duaa to Allah SWT. Never under estimate the power of your duaa. Allah SWT, alone can help you. Never despair of His mercy. Every time you commit the sin, repent immediately, and make a firm resolve never to return. If you return after 2 hours, then repent again. Continue this cycle. The most important thing is a firm determination not to return, and a hatred for the act. If you return, even after 15 min, then repent again… keep doing this.

    – Never miss your prayer, especially Fajar. Try to learn Tafseer of Surahs, develop Khusu in Salaah. Allah SWT says that prayer prevents from immorality. Remember a person addicted to pornography, but one who prays all the prayers is far greater and more beloved to Allah than a person who does not commit this sin but neglects the Salaah.

    – Stop thinking. When Allah SWT says to us don’t approach zina, this is what He SWT means. Don’t even think about it. The moment you start thinking, realize that you will eventually end up doing the act. It’s a trick of Shytaan that he will get you think and commit the act. He did this with our father Adam and the forbidden tree (He has been there since the beginning of creation, so he knows every single trick in the book; you won’t be able to outsmart him). He didn’t tell Adam AS to eat from the tree right away, but gave him excuses and gradually caused him AS to slip.
    These words are gold: Ibn Qayyim RA said, “repel the thought, for if you don’t, it becomes an idea. So repel the idea, for if you don’t, it will become a desire. So fight against the desire, for if you don’t, it will become a determination and a passion. And if you don’t repel that, it will become an action. And if you don’t replace it with it’s opposite, it will become a constant habit. So at that point, it will be difficult for you to change it.”
    – Look for a wife. Make the famous duaa at the end of Surah Furqan to make your wife a coolness for your eyes. You are indirectly praying to Allah to help you quit the addiction.

    Other points:
    – Learn about addiction in general and specifics (http://yourbrainonporn.com/)
    – Busy yourself with a new habit that you love to do.
    – Learn tafseer of these Surahs – Surah 89, Surah 90, 94 and 95. If you don’t have time, at least do Surah 90 (Allah SWT tells us what the Nafs is, how to control it, and the destructive consequences of an unbalanced nafs are), and Surah 94 (Allah SWT tells us how with difficulty there is tremendous easy. i.e. if you make an effort to quit, you will go through difficulty, but you will triumph provided you are persistent). This is available on bayyinah (For Surah 90, Brother Nouman even gets into psychology which will help you a lot with the addiction): http://bayyinah.com/media/
    – Learn the tafseer of the struggle between Adam and Iblees in the beginning of Surah Baqarah. Unfortunatley, there isn’t anything in English that captures this. Insh’Allah I will be writing about this on my blog, once we got to those verses, probably in 4 months.

    Points from talking to addicts:
    – After you quit, you will have a feeling of missing out on something you can’t have (many addicts claim this). This simply is not true. Its an empty desire. Nothing exists there. You will get what you desire. Nay! You will get better than in Jannah, more than that, and you will be eternally satisifed. Are you willingly to be patient and work for it?
    – If you struggle to quit this addiction, Allah will replace it something better.
    – Old habits never die. Do you want to be addicted while you’re 60? How would you feel? Do you want to be out of control or in control? Remember, the last deeds are what matter the most.
    – Old habits only die young.
    – Need to be patient. Many people I know have been addicted for 10-15 years. And they want to quite in 10-15 minutes. Its going to take some time. Learn the definition of patience in Arabic. Remember Allah is with those who are patient. What more do you want? Allah is with you. Do you understand that? Allah, the Creator, the Sustainer, the Nourisher, The Merciful, The Most Loving, The Most Forgiving… is accompanying you in your struggles.
    – If you quit, your life will get easier. If you don’t, your life will only get harder and more miserable.
    – The pleasure is temporary and the suffering is permanent.

    I made the following chart to help some individuals and to counter their assertions:
    Haram vs. Halal
    Pain – Permanent (perhaps into old age, and you will regret it on the Day of Judgement) vs. Temporary – only a few months (sometimes even less).
    Enjoyment – Temporary (few minutes, hours) vs. permanent (you will love every moment of it).
    Struggle – your entire life vs. few months.
    Loss – Quran, repentance, inability to do good deeds, job, family vs. none – only pleasure.
    Life – Will get harder in the Dunya and even harder in the Akhira vs. easier and even easier.
    Patience – Might not get it in Jannnah (Prophet SAW said, whoever drinks alcohol won’t have it in Jannah). Vs. you will get alllllllllllllllllll that you desire in Jannah plus more.
    Effects – Physiological (liver damage), psychiological (loss of sleep, emotions will go haywire – hypocrisy), brain plasticitivy – brain will change and adapt vs. only benefit; absolutely no harm.
    Blessings – None vs. more and more and more and more…
    Benefit – None (or very little and temporary) vs. all

    MOST IMPORATNT THING: NEVER DESPAIR OF THE MERCY OF ALLAH SWT. Keep making Duaa. As long as you want to quit, Allah SWT will help you

  13. birkah says:

    BTW, Jkhair for writing about this. Can’t believe I forgot that at the beginning!

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  15. Anji says:

    A very important motivator in the early stages of addication is to remember that although you can hide porn from family and friends, Allah is watching your actions and listening to your thoughts 24/7. He is with you when you are with porn. Develop fear and respect for Allah and use that to develop restraint within yourself.

    • Amad says:

      I understand what you are saying, but when the chemical reaction starts happening, everything gets clouded. That is why I have mentioned the need to make structural changes, to prevent it.

  16. Umm Firdous says:

    Asalaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah,

    JazakAllahu khair for this very well written, to the point article! May Allah reward you and bring ease to those going through this struggle and replace it with better. Amiin. I have a question that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. As far as I know this issue is some what prevalent amongst brothers and increasingly, sisters. If any single brother or sister comes across a prospective spouse and this information is revealed, how does one handle it? And also, can a brother or sister just straight out ask whether a prospective spouse has a current problem with pornography as there is a high probability that it will affect the marriage itself and their spouse? JazakAllahu khair.

    Umm Firdous

    • Amad says:

      Umm Firdous, great question and tough one I should add.

      Because of how widespread this addiction has become, it can no longer be a sideline question. In fact, in the last post we saw how the addiction has become THE cause for marriage destruction. So, if questions about prayer, about manners, about jobs, etc. are important, then why wouldn’t this question that could affect your relationship, not be important?

      And if you do find out that the prospect has an ongoing addiction, then you should treat it similar to what you would do if the spouse had an alcohol addiction. If they had it in the past, and turned over the leaf, then that’s one thing. Otherwise, you really need to consider this as a huge issue that will affect the marriage. Also, remember that porn addiction usually doesn’t stop at that. So, what other skeletons in the closet are you missing?

      I will request Sr. Haleh to also chime in as possible.

      • Omar Ali says:

        Walaikum Salam,

        I understand that this is a leading cause for marital issues, however isn’t there the chance that once this addicted person gets married they will leave this addiction? Should it really be considered an issue before marriage?

        I would be interested to see statistics or hear stories if getting married actually helps solve this issue because from what I’ve been reading from the stories of your last article, the addiction seems to keep going even after marriage!

        • Amad says:

          salam Omar
          As you pointed out, the previous article dealt entirely with husbands on porn. If you think about the addiction itself, the dynamics associated with it, fulfillment of sexual needs through intercourse with one woman may not fill the enticement of looking at a variety of women (porn). There is a link in my article that talks about how porn is desensitizing individuals so they need more and more for arousal.

          Bottom-line, I really believe the individual needs to fix his or her problem first. Marriage will not fix it and its a recipe for great pain for both spouses. wallahualam.

        • Amad says:

          I should add whether one agrees with my position or not, in the interest of full disclosure, this issue NEEDS to be clearly communicated to the potential spouse and let him or her decide whether they want to deal with it or not. Anything less would be dishonest and who wants to establish a marriage on deceit?

    • Haleh says:

      First of all, very few people will be so candid with a vice such as porn addiction. If the person is honest and they tell you they have a problem with it then it is admirable that they are being open with you. The way to evaluate it is whether or not they want to stop and if there is remorse or guilt associated to it. If there is genuine concern and they want to stop then that shouldn’t deter you from choosing them, but if they don’t see it as a problem then that’s a big problem.

      Haleh

  17. Valkyrie says:

    Interesting article and I am sure lots of it will do lots of good in some people’s lives. However, there are a couple of issues that do in my eyes lower the purpose of it. These are in my eyes crucial points to the pig picture of this problem:

    1- My first problem with the article – although it does not lay claim to complete scientific guidance but probably a mere eye opener – is that it fails to give a description of what we know regarding the results of recovery. The end of the different types of addiction are based a lot n the individuality of its victim but also of its form. I’ll illustrate by 2 examples: someone that has been addicted to alcohol is often described as recovering alcoholic. There is always a risk of relapse due to the fact that addictions in general are multi-factorial matters. Therefore a recovering alcoholic is to avoid alcohol, to never try it – not even once – and no never associate with it if he/she feels there might be a risk. A different example is people addicted to issues that cannot be disregarded, such as food. One might be able to control what, how and when you eat but you cannot stop eating. The fact that over-eating can be an expression of deeper problems is on the same level as alcoholism, however the long runs are different. The question here is – what do recovered people say? You might have scraped the surface among Muslims but there are results elsewhere that could have been mentioned. What is to expect and to be expected? Is there a psychological refractory period? How do the results reflect on the normalization that is spoken of, as we all have our own normal’s? Is the person supposed to avoid nudeness/eroticism/sex with his/her spouse and how does this recover? These are important issues not addressed.

    2- My second problem with the article is – that it uses the subject as a male issue. Large parts of it are gender neutral. However, the example, and the other article attached to it do put forth men. This does, even if its not intentional by you, clearly imply that this is a male problem with the women as secondary victims. Science negates that as a significant portion of porn consumers and addicted are women. This might not only pass by as male blame (even if you emphasized its not a blame game) and a patriarchal issue against women but also many associated problems that exist due to female consumption and addiction might simmer just because people think otherwise about the gender. One can argue that this is a bravery of the men coming forth and the women do need time but in my opinion an article like this does need to be encouraging addicted in general and not put a blanket on the other side of the subject. This whole notion is a general problem which scientists think has caused lots of serious issues without the general public lifting their heads.

    • Amad says:

      Valkyrie
      Good points. For #1, I think that’s something that should be explored further. Hopefully the next article on this can address some of the issues raised. If you have sources/links, those would be great.

      For #2, both the example and the post are facts. I cannot create facts. So, that is what I had available as a springboard. I do agree that there is a “significant” portion of women who are addicts (this link for sexual addiction (diff from porn addiction but related) suggests 20-25%), but the majority that have come forward appear to be men. And to be honest, I am not sure why just having a male springboard should have any effect as to how the article should be received by both genders. If I am a female addict, I don’t need Amad to tell me that there are female addicts too, I am more interested in the solution, and that is presented in as gender-neutral way as possible.

      Finally, whether we like it or not, men and women are different. Men are more visual. For women, the arousal mechanism is different. Here is NYT article on the issue:

      For example, male arousal, studies find, is strongly visual, and when men engage in sexual activity or even anticipate it, brain structures once thought to have little connection to sex spring into action. The same brain regions, however, remain relatively quiet when women are aroused.

      • Valkyrie says:

        Amad:

        ty for your reply. Afew quick comments:

        “If I am a female addict, I don’t need Amad to tell me that there are female addicts too”

        Were the addicts your sole target audience for the article? I didnt get that impression as this was an article, like most articles, that might provide substance for everyone. However, to create an atmosphere of solution one does need to create different ports to identify with. Of course, this can be discussed to a much bigger picture – different ages, different languages, different cultures, marital issues etc. But a gender definition is crucial due to a couple of points:

        * we need gender identification whether we like it or not, and this is a common thing. Men have it easier to relate to men and women to women. Even if it is only a small article in a website, I dont htin kthis basic issue can be neglected.

        * we need to emphasize that is not a male-binded problem. This because 1 – science shows that it isnt and 2 – the people that need help might slip between the sheets bc of negligation. Of course, this is also important to point out as arguments tend to get vilified and be used as misandric hammers in useless debates.

        * last but not least – our intentions (many times good ones) and hopes make us draw many wrong conclusions. The issue regarding visual arousal vs gender – is is one of the best indicators how wrong this issue has been thought of. This notion is a discovery, not an invention, that shows that we lean to sliding sides. However, these are not exclusive matters that one can divide genders in between. Such manners have caused alot of problems. I will give an example that has NOTHING to do with the core of your article, its just to illustrate:

        paedophilia has in a long time been seen as male abuse of small children. It is only lately that studies have shown that there are many, some scientists say equal amount to men, female paedophiles. The question was – why are we seeing this just about now? Are female paedophiles a recent phenomenon? Science says – no, they have always existed. But due to our ways of thinking we didnt see them or refused to see them. Male and female sexualities do have some different mechanisms nd their roles in society have also been different. These facotrs have created an atmosphere where the female paedophile has been able to act out her perversion under the radar. If we talk about the victim its careless to evaluate the seriousness only based on the gender.

        • Amad says:

          Don’t disagree with you. SubhanAllah, Allah highlights both genders:

          “Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty”

    • Hena Zuberi says:

      Valkyrie- Thank you for your critique.
      There will be follow up articles by Sister Haleh and Brother Amad and some of the issues you mentioned can be addressed. This is such a taboo topic in Muslim communities in the West and in Muslim Countries that we are just beginning to address this vast topic. The example that was mentioned is from hadith- the sayings of the Prophet (may he be blessed) and was addressed to his speific audience.

      • Haleh says:

        Here are some suggestions to sisters that discover their husbands watch porn. I understand that your gut reaction would be to get mad or sad and feel cheated on, but before you react stop and reflect. If you were caught doing something immoral you would feel ashamed – how helpful would it be if your spouse started belittling you? You probably would feel that they don’t understand and you would hide it from them.

        Here is what to do if you find out your husband watches porn:
        1. Control your reaction and your anger- if you are really mad write out your frustration but don’t react
        2. Without passing judgement ask how often he views and when he views
        3. Ask if he wants to stop or if he can stop
        4. If he says yes, see if you can help him in some way. Ask how you can support him
        5. Find out what intrigues him about it- is it curiosity, preference… If you create a safe environment he may even share his fantasies with you.
        6. If you catch him watching again control your anger and use compassion to help him
        7. Look up material together to help him stop the addiction
        8. Believe in him and strengthen him instead of making him feel like a loser
        9. Get up for tahajud and pray to Allah to stop the addiction
        10. Try your best to be available for him and fulfill him

        Haleh

        • haleh says:

          Correction for #1 I left out that you write out your frustration as a way to vent not to share it with your spouse. Writing out your feelings is a very effective and therapeutic way of coping with emotions and then burn, shred or dispose of the writing.

  18. Jawad says:

    Jazak’Allah khair br. Amad,
    Great topic especially in the month of Ramadan. I do have one issue however. You mentioned some tips about how to control yourself by reading books and keeping your tongue moist with zikr. That is good and all. However, you can’t expect a 10 r 11 year old to go start reading some books. I know this article is geared more towards the adult population but the problem starts to stem from an early age.

    If we could somehow educate the masses (parents, older brothers and sisters) about certain signs that you should pick up about your kids and their pornography use, that would be hitting the problem at its base. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have articles and services to deal with pornography addiction, if anything its one of the issues which is eating up the potential of your youth. However, I feel that we need to start making parents aware of this issue and atleast advise them on how to create an environment in the house which does not feed a young teen’s pornography addiction.

    • Abu Yusuf says:

      Salaam Alaykum,

      Remember Allah’s name al-Baseer helps! I am not addicted to porn but God-consciousness and knowing that He is watching you watch that filth can be a strong deterrent.

      I think one oft-ignored cause of porn addictions is fathers of Muslim girls in the west and even Muslim girls in the West refusing to get married till they are older and getting ‘an education’ in case she needs it ‘if he divorces me’. So great corruption occurs when the father of the girl says no to the man just as our Rasool (SAWS) stated would occur.

      • Amad says:

        Abu Yusuf, I have answered the issue of marriage in another comment. I do believe the “marriage-fixes-all” is a dangerous excuse that is used possibly by addicts, and also taken lightly by potential spouses. Addictions are different from casual use of haram means to satisfy sexual desires. Let’s not confuse the two.

        • Abu Yusuf says:

          Salaam Alaykum,

          Addiction to pornography is clearly a deviation. I personally knew of a brother who was a porn addict but also taught Sunday Islamic school and had good deeds on his scale. He then got engaged to a Muslimah. He confessed his habit to her. Then the engagement broke because he was accused of hypocrisy. Porn addiction is NOT hypocrisy. I feel extremely bad for my young brothers who seek the solace of marriage but are denied it by obstreperous fathers and impatient nubile sisters.

          There are other deviations such as homosexuality. A staggering 27% of American Muslims believe that homosexuality is acceptable (reference: oft-cited Pew Research Study 2007 on American Muslims attitudes and perspectives). We find that Prophet Loot offered women to the homosexuals to rid them of that sexual deviancy (even though they rejected). There is therefore precedence in using marriage as a cure for sexual deviancy including porn addiction which is far less of a deviation than homosexuality. I firmly believe that young umarried men who are addicted to porn or addicted to prostitutes or addicted to having pre-marital sex , etc would find cure in marriage because now there is a halaal outlet for his carnal desires.

          Now what about men who are married yet are porn addicts? Br. Amad put forth two claims which would require substantiation. Firstly, the claim that the largest clientele for prostitution is married men. Secondly, the claim that more married men are addicted to porn than single men. For those who are married and fall prey to such deviancy, dual doses of theological reminders and psychological counseling may prove useful. The case of married men who are porn addicts is a curious one. I hypothesize that there may be an element of rejection by wives of their sexual advances that lead such men to get disgruntled and reach out to the internet or television to seek a carnal high. This is merely a hypothesis and needs to be empirically and statistically tested.

          I do think that even if a brother is addicted to porn, shall we forget that Allah loves istighfaar and he is not only Most Merciful and Forgiving but He is Oft-Forgiving? I believe that a Muslim who watches porn then sincerely repents, and then falls into it again and sincerely repents, and repeats this cycle for decades is still someone under the shade of Allah’s Mercy. We must not confuse some sins and categorize them in the bucket of the 7 deadly sins about which our Rasool (SAWS) informed us. This is especially important for the female partners of such addicts to remember. Your man might be paying interest on that beautiful home you and your children reside in and you have no complaints about that. He may be selling liquor in his gas station and you have no complaints about that. He may be cheating his customers or business partners and may have ill gotten wealth and pay no zakaah and only pray Maghrib salaah and you have no complaints about that. Then if you are patient with your man’s infractions in these much larger sins, then be patient and support him for something much lesser which is porn addiction. By this I am not removing the onus of accountability from porn addicts, rather I am beseeching sisters to be patient and help the brothers who are stuck in such a miserable habit.

          The Muslim must keep himself very busy so that he has no idle time. He must further engage in strengthening the body by engaging in vigorous calisthenics or other sports which will give him the endorphin rush he seeks and sap his sexual energy and divert it into something useful. As an avid sportsman I can attest that this strenuous approach in conjunction with enumerating the names of Allah is very helpful in containing deviancy.

          May Allah help all porn addicts to recover and grant us the ability to always enumerate and call on Him by His most beautiful names which creates Taqwa in the hearts.

          • BintKhalil says:

            Assalamu alaikum

            Let me tell you that if any man, who I was speaking with for the purposes of marriage, told me that he were a porn addict, I would drop him like the proverbial piece of hot coal. If, on the other hand, he told me that he were a porn addict in the past (why he want to do that I don’t know, considering we are encouraged to conceal our sins), that would be a whole different matter.

            For you to suggest that women contribute towards this behaviour by not wanting to accommodate their deviances, or that married men turn to porn because their wives are not satisfying them, is incredibly naive at best. I suggest that you educate yourself on the subject – for one, porn addiction has been strongly linked with erectile disfunction, as no flesh and blood women can compete with the “performers” on screen, so if anyone isn’t getting satisfied, it’s the wives. As for looking for women to marry, being afflicted with ED does lower your marriage prospects quite a bit, so I would strongly recommend putting your house in order, before you invite someone else and lay your troubles on their laps.

          • Amad says:

            Your comments are full of gross generalizations and unsubstantiated & unfortunate female-blame. You obviously don’t fully comprehend what addictions are and what they can do. Talk to a shaykh who has heard stories from married sisters who have done everythig to satisfy their husbands but just can’t. Talk to psychologists about how intercourse can’t provide the high that porn or other sexual addictions provide.

            This is the problem we have sometimes. We can’t look past our carefully constructed hypothetical scenarios and catch-alls.

            Finally this post is about helping addicts. Personally my concern is less how they got there and more about how to help them. And no psychologist or experienced shaykh would recommend marriage as all-in solution, leavin alone the married men issue.

    • Amad says:

      waiyakum Jawad… thanks for your comments.
      I agree that this article doesn’t cover all age groups. Although I think some of the structural changes apply to all (like stopping the “paths” to porn).

      I really believe for children, it is the parents’ prime responsibility to be aware of what the child is doing and be the source of guidance and “partnership”. I would recommend this series by Umm Reem, which actually touches on similar areas:

      Parenting series (8 parts): http://wp.me/p4JB2-5iQ

  19. BrotherinIslam says:

    One good way of stopping porn is by having an internet filter with password such as FEARALLAH or FEARTHEHELLFIRE or ISEEKREFUGEINALLAH these kinda passwords will prevent you from even unfiltering

    • Amad says:

      Witty :)

      It might cause some hesitance. But again, when the juices are flowing, the more effective way is blocked paths. Why even have the password?

  20. Waqqas says:

    Assalamalaykum Br. Amad,

    I’ll get straight to the point: I masturbated a few days back, this Ramadan.
    May Allah forgive me.
    However, Alhamdulillah, I have made a sincere repentance (inshallah) thereafter.

    But what I fear now is the penalty, the kaffarah-something I feel is a burden too heavy for me to bear :'(
    I cannot offer expiation by freeing free a slave. The Shaykh at islam-qa.com says that “If that is not possible then such a person must fast for two consecutive months. If he cannot fast, then he must feed sixty poor persons. It is not permissible for him to feed poor persons if he is able to fast. ”

    I am a student, I live with my parents, My addiction is (almost) a secret. How can I fast 2 consecutive months without them knowing and inquiring about it? How can I still keep this addiction a secret?!

    As I said, I am a student, I don’t have an earning of my own. And even if my dad doesn’t object to me asking for money to feed 60 poor persons, what do I still say if he asks ‘Why’?!

    I cannot write this but cry, I am sincerely hopeful of Allah’s mercy(inshallah), but the very thought of such an expiation ‘scares’ me if not ‘breaks me apart’.

    Although I believe that Allah will not burden me more than I can bear, I am afraid I still find the above a bit ‘impracticable'(May Allah forgive me)… And even if I do manage to make it up (inshallah), I see little to no hope of my addiction remaining a secret anymore.

    I think it is also noteworthy to mention that I had also similarly, deliberately broken my fast last Ramadan too… And I have still not made the kaffara for that! :'(

    Will a sincere repentance suffice for my salvation?

    I could use some practical advice please.
    May Allah reward you and all those concerned with this ‘realistic’ and relevant initiative.

    • Abez says:

      AssalamuAlaikum Brother. I can’t say I’ve ever been addicted to porn, but I do have a tip that has helped me overcome other sins.

      Instead of saying ‘I’m never going to do that again,’ I replaced the phrase in my head with ‘I don’t do that anymore,’ and I repeated it to myself every single time any thought related to the sin crossed my mind. In my mind, it made it final, and it put a full stop on the end of the sentence where my own nafs had left a question mark before.

      You mention not being able to fast for two consecutive months from the shame of your parents finding out. Considering what’s at stake, perhaps you could tell them, up front, that you’re finding it difficult to control your desires, and you are fasting to protect yourself as recommended by the Sunnah. Maybe they’ll get the message about how serious the matter is and help you get married sooner?

      You are in my duas for this evening, InshaAllah.

      May Allah guide and have mercy on us all, and make the path to righteousness easy and the path to sin aversive to our hearts.

      Ameen.

      • Waqqas says:

        Waalaikumassalam sister Abez.

        Jazakallahu Khair for the kind advice.

        I did talk to my parents about this, more than once. And they weren’t quick to condemn, but quite surprisingly, positively appreciated the problem here. Alhamdulillah. However, they are not helping much in finding a solution.
        On one occasion, I was extremely explicit (And this naturally made me cry, pour out my hearts content). I ended up suggesting and being adamant about an early marriage. This was when they didn’t respond well(or at least, I think so). They said all sorts of things, like I am still a student, an undergraduate, can’t support myself, how will I support a spouse?, what will people say, I still have 5 more years to do at college, and they won’t allow me to marry at least until I complete this course!

        Please continue to remember me in your Duas.

        May Allah guide and have mercy on us all, and make the path to righteousness easy and the path to sin aversive to our hearts.

        Ameen.

        • Abez says:

          SubhanAllah, may Allah reward you for your courage to speak up to your parents, and may Allah enable them to help you. Keep pushing them, as hard as you push yourself to stop, because you deserve their help. You’re not asking them for anything wrong or haraam, you’re asking for what is halaal and what will protect you, InshaAllah.

          Perhaps it may motivate you to think that any new wife who discovers that her husband views porn will feel deeply hurt, shocked, and betrayed. I’m not saying that to make you feel worse than you already do, but to help you purify yourself for the righteous sister that I pray Allah grants you. Sometimes it’s easier to do things for others than it is to do them for ourselves, because it’s easier to hurt ourselves than the ones we love.

          May Allah have mercy on us all.

    • Amad says:

      Br Waqqas, I have good news for you.

      First of all, your sincerity is shining through your comment for all to see. May Allah accept this sincerity and this desire to change and make your pain become a source of reward and betterment for you. Your desire to make recompense is also praiseworthy.

      Secondly, the kaffarah (expiation) that you are referring to is for intercourse. Like the answer from sunnipath below, the right answer from Islam-QA is also the same. You have to make up one day. So alhamdulilah not as serious as you thought, but more than the ritual, this is a heavy act, that requires sincere repentance as well… so pls dont let this “lighter” punishment discourage you from feeling the burden to change. That is motivation you need.

      Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
      If a fasting person masturbates and ejaculates, this breaks his fast, and he has to make up the fast of the day on which he masturbated, but he does not have to offer any expiation, because the expiation is only required of one who has intercourse. And he has to repent from what he did.
      Fataawa Arkaan al-Islam, p. 478

      The question Waqqas now is how to prevent this in the future. You have the motivation. USE THIS RAMADAN to make the changes needed. Think about the trigger points that caused you to desire masturbation. Images? Porn? Something on the street? In the Mall? Now think about how you can avoid them. I think some of the self-help books listed in a comment above is what you should order (if u are hiding from parents, get it ordered at another location).

      Secondly, find a “partner” to help you, as advised in the post. Try to do the best you can and start your path to full and permanent recovery.

      I sincerely hope and pray for you that inshallah this was your last stumble and your remaining and future ramadans will be completely devoid of this sin.

      • Waqqas says:

        Subhanallah! Jazakallahu Khair for the glad tiding!

        As for the self help books you suggested, I am downloading one at the moment.
        But as regards finding a ‘partner’ in sharing my struggles, I don’t think I’m up for it. Even if I do manage to consider this a positive option, how am I going to know who is best suited for me to have such a deep connection with?
        As for my parents, I don’t find them fully appreciating and understanding my day to day struggles. And the idea of letting this information out to a friend/close relative of my ‘generation’ seems all the more obnoxious. My regular interactions, The advice we give each other and any general talk for that matter would most likely be ‘infected’ with this horrible reality in the background.

        I have heard Zeyad Ramadan give the same advice; Of finding and choosing a ‘partner in struggle’. Now, if I do somehow manage to come to terms with such a concept and even find an ideal ‘partner’ in this case, I still think it would be for me to not disclose this information to anyone and to “address my sorrow and grief only to Allah” (Surah Yusuf, Ayah 86)

  21. Yasmin says:

    Jazakallah Khair for this very important post.Inshallah those who are suffering from this addiction will find it very useful and the timing is perfect as well as Ramadan is the month of repentance and fogiveness. I love how you reassured addicts that they are not losers and how you advised spouses and other family members not to constantly yell at them as this will most often aggravate the situation.

    • Amad says:

      waiyakee Yasmin. Thanks for pointing out the reassurance point. This is I think one of the critical issues that prevents recovery… the feeling of being a loser and then using porn to feel better— a nasty feedback loop.

  22. Ayman says:

    Every piece of advice here is tackling only the symptoms and not the cause. (I’m talking only about single people) Even if a person does manage to quit they will be miserable, as we are genetically programmed to need sex. It is even written in the Qu’ran Surah 4. Verse 28, man is created weak (from refraining from sex).

    The only real way you will ever stop the disease is by ferociously encouraging younger marriages in all our communties, and vehemently chastising parents and children who insist on completing their education and becoming ‘settled’ before looking for a spouse. We are told in hadith that if Father’s refuse proposals of pious men there will be great fitnah in the land, and this is exactly what we have.

    • Amad says:

      Ayman, I think no one agrees for the need of sex and for marriage.

      But you have missed the point entirely if you think this is a singles’ problem. I daresay that more married individuals are addicted than single. Pls read the previous post on husbands’ addiction (note HUSBANDS, not men) and how it is destroying marriage.

      Just like marriage doesn’t cure homosexuality, marriage doesn’t cure sex-related addictions. They need to be properly managed BEFORE marriage preferably!

      • Ayman says:

        The addictions started before marriage though, and that is the crucial point.

        And assuming married individual are more addicted than singles is ridiculous in my opinion.

        And yes -marriage doesn’t cure homosexuality, because that is a different drive to heterosexual sex or normal sex-related addictions. If someone is addicted to heroine you don’t give them nicorette. It won’t help. But if someone is addicted to cigarettes it surely will.

        • Amad says:

          Actually the largest clientele for prostitution are married men, so my hypothesis that more married men are addicted to porn is not far-fetched. But Allah knows best. And I don’t think your point that addiction has to happen before marriage and cannot happen afterwards is supported by any data either. If you are referring to some research, I would love to see that.

          Are you married by the way? I have found that over various posts dealing with marriage and sex-issues, unmarried individuals have the highest expectations from marriage :)

          • Ayman says:

            It’s completely logical to assume the addiction starts before marriage, men’s sexual drives peak in late adolescence i.e late teens/early twenties, and how many brothers are married before then? The argument that that ‘oh hear is a brother who had no interest in pornography before marriage, got married, had his desire fulfilled in the halal way, but now has become addicted to pornography’ is pretty far-fetched.

            It needs to be nipped in the bud at the on set, and that is the only way it will stop.

            Furthermore, I don’t think your parallel about married men being more likely to use prostitutes applies here, as the demand for that is most likely fuelled by the discretion that is offered, where as a single person doesn’t have the same level of observation on him, and can therefore go out and have a one-night if he so wishes.

            Surely you must agree that getting men married younger will help in stopping this problem?

            P.s I am unmarried.

          • Amad says:

            P.s I am unmarried.

            Lets talk again after you are married…. inshallah, i pray all your expectations come true. :)

          • Ayman says:

            Patronise your way out of responding to my reply. Brilliant.

          • Amad says:

            Ayman, not a cop-out but experience. When we are young, we tend to think that we know everything but none of us do. And when life’s experiences come, they teach us a lot.

            As for “responding”, I am not sure what you want me to respond to. You have laid out opinions, without backing them with any research or data. If you have something more substantial we can discuss it. But to make marriage the catch-all, and to say that no one gets addicted after marriage, are sweeping generalizations that you have provided no evidence for.

            I am willing to accept that I could be wrong. That’s another life’s lesson. Look forward to you bringing in some substance (research, reports, statistics, whatever).

            thanks for engaging.

          • Amad says:

            Here’s a message from the psychologist I referred to earlier in a comment who recommended some books (she is working with a friend studying addictions). It isn’t statistical evidence, just one point of reference: “….yeah most men that come to me with sex addiction (visiting prostitution, affairs, etc.) r married men in their late 30s/40s, one even in 60s…”

    • salma says:

      yeah most men that come to me with sex addiction (visiting prostitution, affairs, etc.) r married men in their late 30s/40s, one even in 60s…”

      The middle-age crisis?

  23. Ali says:

    Jazakallah khair for this article. No matter how much one feels overwhelmed by this addiction never underestimate the power of dua and keep on asking Allah swt to help you on overcome this addiction. Without the help of Allah swt it will not be possible to continue on your path to recovery.

    A very beneficial website to help recover this addiction is http://www.feedtherightwolf.org/

  24. SAM ANGEL says:

    Well Mashallah a Very Informative Article for young Generation..MAy ALLAH BLESS U ALL…

  25. Soriyah says:

    No discussion of porn addiction is complete without also discussing masturbation. People who watch pornography usually end up masturbating. Many who are “addicted” to pornography are probably more addicted to the masturbation part of it. Pornography just provides the stimulus they need to masturbate. So the ultimate issue at play may be masturbation and not pornography in of itself.

    Many people also watch it out boredom or because they need a distraction from their lives and pornography (and masturbation) is a quick fix for this boredom or needed distraction.

    So how might this analysis and advice change if we also talk about the masturbation aspect of it?

  26. Olivia says:

    These “natural drugs” produce a tremendous rush or high. When these chemicals are released during healthy marital intimacy we refer to them as “the fabulous four” because of the myriad positive benefits they generate between a husband and wife.

    I am so glad some doctor had the insight to not call them the fantastic four. would’ve ruined my comic addiction for life.

  27. Siraaj says:

    As mentioned above, article was released today stating addictions of all types are chemical in nature, not behavioral:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44147493/ns/health-addictions/#.TkmsQ115PvE

    Siraaj

    • Olivia says:

      As the daughter of a recovering alcoholic who is now deceased, I just don’t subscribe to this view that addictions are primarily stemming from people’s neurology and not their actions. The initial steps into any addictive behavior are action-oriented. People take those first steps out of curiousity and and an inclination to follow their own nafs and Shaytan’s footsteps. Once they are head and feet submerged in the behavior, then it becomes addictive and the action becomes associated with that pleasurable feeling. But I have seen firsthand social workers and psychologists present addiction as if the doer were a complete victim, claiming that they were genetically predisposed to that addictive behavior. Allah has made it clear that we are responsible for our actions and has given us the guidelines to avoid evil behavior and we are accountable for that. I don’t believe this about addiction being a “brain disorder.” This is just an attempt to remove moral obligation and accountability from a society that doesn’t want it on the table.

  28. muslim says:

    I have an issue where I stopped watching it, but instead have started reading it as a step down but now getting out of that is hard. I stop, then I do it again and i keep going through that cycle. Its harder to stop since it doesnt seem as bad as watching. any extra tips?

  29. Ariful Islam says:

    Zazak Allahu Hairun…

  30. Ajibade Musa Olawale says:

    sallam. A very great piece, i pray Allah liberate those that are addicted.

  31. Waqqas says:

    Brother Amad,

    In my experience, I can say that porn is not as much a problem to deal with as is its aftermath, which has proven to be peculiar in provoking despair(at least in my case).

    Yasir Qadhi mentioned in his article “Constant Sins and Repentance” that some sins do not leave the believer until death comes to him. This is a lesson I’ve tried internalize, that Porn is an addiction for life. I must do all I can to stay away, but in the unlikely event that I should fall for it again, I mustn’t compound the problem further by despairing of Allah’s mercy.
    But my ongoing struggles with this vicious cycle of sin(specifically:porn) in life, have brought to light an entirely different problem. While I thought it was hard enough coming to terms with struggling, sinning and repenting on a regular basis, I came to realize that this (apparently endless) cycle has much more far reaching consequences. I gradually started slackening in studies, with much of my time being wasted in porn, and more being reserved making up for it(and the distancing from God) by reading Islamic literature. I began to read more and more Islamic material, trying to understand and internalize my faith better, as I learned that “Only those who have knowledge can truly fear Allah”(Surah Fatir).

    However, those around me only saw the part of me that ‘Read about Allah’ and were completely oblivious of the evil, greater, more resilient part of me that frequently defiantly, disobeyed Allah. And when my academic results appeared, all of the ‘Islamic studies’ were blamed. I was blamed for not studying for school by being ‘distracted’ with ‘Islamic books’. To the point where I have to hide such books from my very own (Educated and Practicing Muslim) Parents. I had to come up with lies that I was studying for school the same time. I had to lie if I intended not to hurt them. I had to lie to retain the opportunity to try and protect myself from haram(by increasing in Knowledge). A part of me says this is sinful, lying is a sin, but how can I not lie when uttering the truth robs me of the thing that keeps my very soul alive?!
    Such allegations on my ‘Pursuit for ‘Ilm’ have left me feeling a hypocrite, helpless, hopeless… :'(

    This negative response wasn’t limited to the Islamic book, Videos and programs I was involved with, but I have actually been discouraged from doing voluntary acts of Worship like sitting in the Masjid till Ishraq after Fajr in Ramadan! What is most distressing is that, this attitude has been meted out by my parents, who are well educated in the deen and sincerely want to please Allah.

    Moreover, Pornography has impacted my regular school life as well. Allah has commanded Ihsaan in all things, and I go ahead and actually skip classes?! I did so in most cases feeling utterly hopeless and hypocritical after an ‘incident’. My goal in (secular)studies was to please Allah, to be a better Muslim, to be a better representative of Islam in my particular academic front. But once I dropped to the level of getting carried away by pornography, I could not even comprehend how a sinner like me would carry on with such a heavy responsibility of being a True representative of Islam.

    Such regularities in life, made me realize that by not being a good Muslim (due to porn), at school and even at home, I am actually from “Those who do Kufr and avert [people] from the way of Allah”! (Surah Muhammad, ayah 1) In which case, all else I do, every attempt at dawah, every single thing I try, is not only missing Allah’s rahmah and barakah, but also that the category of people I belong to, “Allah will waste their deeds.”(Surah Muhammad, ayah 1)

    These are some very real ramifications of pornography, that I need help with.
    May Allah reward you all for the good work here.

    • Amad says:

      I agree with you about the ramifications. That is why this addiction is so destructive. It goes well beyond the addiction itself. It destroys marriages and lives. But it as to start at the issue itself. Stop porn. And that’s why I suggest you get the books recommended above, get a partner, stop the means to porn, and inshallah start on the journey to recovery.

    • Hyde says:

      It took a lot to say what you said. I respect that.

  32. Umm Sulaim says:

    It is about time this issue was publicly discussed.

    I get fed up with Muslim men – as a Muslim, I appreciate the problem is not peculiar to MUSLIM men – and their obsession with nudity to the extent I triple-check their backgrounds before accepting their friendship requests on chat networks.

    Although, the cure and prevention are desirable, I am more curious about the cause. The internet provides free and unfettered access to porn. The internet is not the sole culprit, but an escalation of already existing crises.

    I shall try to illustrate at least part of the causes using my analysis of the behavioural patterns of Muslims in my current community.

    There is an over-emphasis on pretence, pretence at not being sexually promiscuous. Instead of seeking halal solutions to desires, the indigenous community simply pretends such desires are nonexistent. During the day or in places where they are easily recognised, males and females do not interact. This, in a community where guest houses are the norm; use your imagination to figure out whom the guests are.

    Another part of the problem is the simplification of ones marital status. Recently, I had to refute the widespread notion that marriage accords one responsibility and integrity, saying to one of my professors, “If one was irresponsible prior to marriage, marriage alone can not make one a responsible individual”. Yes, we are aware of the hadith on marriage, but marriage has no magic wand to erase ones illicit actions.

    Culturally, men are encouraged to marry very young girls. Good. The hadith says marry virgins; if one can extract the truth regarding that from a potential spouse. Then what? Two days later, take a fully grown woman to bed? I don’t think so! One marries to satisfy ones DESIRES not to be congratulated for marrying the youngest eligible girl in town who, I might add can not perform!

    The list continues.

    Regarding solutions, one must not make the assumption a man seeks a solution with the aid of a woman. From personal experience, a man may insist he needs the woman as a wife to improve his Deen, while refusing to even consider the woman’s advise. Rather, if the man desires change, the woman is present as a supporting pillar. I fully subscribe to this.

    And to Waqqas, you may request my email if you wish. And please, keep yourself busy without jeopardizing your Iman nor your academic studies. You might want to consider forming a schedule.

    Keep on trying,
    Umm Sulaim

    • Amad says:

      Sr umm sulaim, u seem to have good ideas on the issue. Can u pls mention anything about ur background? Psychologist or social worker?

      Also I didnt fully understand ur take on marriage above…

      • Umm Sulaim says:

        As-Salam alaykum.

        I am a psychologist and a social worker, but not in the typical sense. I possess no formal qualifications in these. Rather, I analyse individuals and attitudinal trends, regularly making the results of such public. Thanks to my detractors, I am a well-known personality, hence my words are widely disseminated and are usually accepted by Imams.

        I also run a community service program teaching kids English and mathematics after school hours; I have a teaching qualification in mathematics and biology. I can teach any age group; my current students are between 6 and 13 years old, 5 girls and 2 boys.

        And to clarify my position on marriage,

        1) The community here perceives sexual misconduct as a nonissue. See no evil, hear no evil, solve no evil.

        2) Married individuals are seen as respectable despite the realities.

        3) Permissible channels of sexual pleasure – marriage to someone one is actually interested in instead of to any shy girl – is not sought.

        The purpose of marriage is defeated when one seeks sexual satisfaction to the exclusion and detriment of ones spouse.

        Keep moving forward,
        Umm Sulaim

      • Umm Sulaim says:

        As-Salam alaykum.

        I am a psychologist and a social worker, but not in the typical sense. I possess no formal qualifications in these. I analyse individuals and attitudinal trends, regularly voicing the results of such. Thanks to my detractors, I am a well-known personality, hence my words are widely disseminated and are usually accepted by Imams.

        I also run a community service program for kids teaching them English and mathematics after school; I have a teaching qualification in mathematics and biology.

        To clarify my position on marriage,

        1) The community here perceives sexual misconduct as a nonissue; see no evil, hear no evil, solve no evil!

        2) A married individual is seen as respectable regardless of the realities.

        3) Permissible channels of sexual satisfaction – marriage to someone one is interested in instead of to any shy girl – is not sought.

        The purpose of marriage is defeated when one seeks sexual fulfillment to the exclusion and detriment of ones spouse.

        Keep moving forward,
        Umm Sulaim

        • Umm Sulaim says:

          My apologies for posting twice; my mobile browser went off on me. The browsers of porn addicts should do that often.

    • Waqqas says:

      Thank you. I could really use all the help I can get. How can I contact you?

  33. IbnHuzaifa says:

    Thanks for sharing this brother amad.

    I was never really addicted to porn as much as I was addicted to masturbation. Whenever I felt the urge to masturbate, I would either do it without porn (in cases when watching it could even slightly have a chance of others knowing about this habit) or with it when I was alone. I say that masturbation was my main problem because after I did it, I had zero interest in watching porn and even if I tried, it made me feel sick looking at it. However, if I didn’t have access to porn, I would be able to control myself better and was less likely to masturbate.

    I never knew about masturbation before porn and I discovered it through porn. I got exposed to this in mid teens and after a couple of years, the guilt started to settle in. Since then it’s been almost 7 years. Al-humdulilaah, during those years, I only went up to the extent of watching free videos. I contemplated paying but that is a step I never took and al-humdulilaah I have been saved from taking that step. I realize that now after seeing how many brothers started paying and eventually started committing zina. My problem was therefore limited to watching porn and masturbation only. My mid university years suffered because of this habit and during that period I learned about how this habit really affects me negatively and the need to rid myself of it.

    The most common solution that I employed was to keep myself busy which allowed me to increase the gaps between each incident to a minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 1 week. I kept myself busy by doing things that I love (prominent position in isoc/msa’s, be around brothers all the time, sports etc.). Many times, the cause of the incident would be me casting one glance on an inappropriately dressed girl in the street in the day and coming home and resorting to porn to release that frustration. Masturbation was a method to release stress build-up in university as well and I guess I resorted to porn as it made sure that I would release that stress build-up. The downside of that would be that I would feel weak the rest of the day and couldn’t accomplish much. The worst this habit has done to me is made me feel weak the whole day for 3-4 months straight so much so that I stopped praying completely, not go outside my house and cut off almost all connection to any social life (I wouldn’t even respond to emails).

    During early years of uni, I thought (naively) that marriage is the solution until br. zeyad brought to light the fact that it is not through real examples. I also thought that shaitan was responsible for this and I started to do zikr, stay in wudu all the time, ayat-ul-kursi etc that would even keep the evilest of the evil among them at bay. When that didn’t help, I realized it was my nufs that i had to fix. And I also realized that I need to fix this before marriage. I had many solutions in mind but unfortunately, many needed partners as br amad has mentioned and I was not ready to have a partner.

    After each incident of masturbation for the last 5 years, I would feel guilt and I think because of this guilt, the want to rid of the habit and battling with my nufs I have had a roller coaster ride with this habit. During the past 5 years there have been times of a little more than 1 month where no incident happened because it was either Ramadan or I was very busy at a vacation with my family or had extreme patience.

    Tired of these ups and downs and extreme affects of cutting off from the religion and world, A few months ago, I decided to be my own partner and put quite a few filters on my computer and on my router all with different passwords. The passwords that I created followed a complex method that I could not remember. An example would be:

    1) Write your firstname and lastname with all small letters
    2) Convert alternating letters to equivalent numeric digits
    3) Convert alternating numeric digits to corresponding sign on keyboard (eg 1=!, 2=@ etc)
    4) Jumble it up with some specific algorithm

    So I know the password is based off of my name but I don’t actually know it. So after adding multiple filters each with its own password, it was like your partner putting a password and not giving it to you even if you asked. Since I added those filters, I haven’t been watching porn and when I feel the need to masturbate, I wait it out for as long as possible. So far, each masturbation incident is having increased gaps which I hope will eventually lead to my complete recovery inshalla. Shortest gap was 2 weeks and the longest gap has been 1.5 months and counting.

    It was only during the first 2 years of this habit, where I would occasionally sit the whole night and just watch porn. After that I used porn to exclusively masturbate which did not take more than 15 minutes. I don’t know if I was ever a porn addict. But if I was, then I think I have recovered. I do consider myself a masturbation addict and I think I am currently recovering on that front. However, I feel the urge after every couple of weeks and by delaying to satisfy that urge by even a day makes my body capable of holding it out much longer when it happens next time. I know I can’t get rid of the urge completely since it’s natural and at this point marriage is the solution, but at the same time I want to make sure I can get as far away from porn and masturbation as possible.

    My story has times when I seriously and honestly repented repeatedly, lost hope and then gained it back. It has times when I hated myself and everything around me. It has times when I was granted extreme patience and no patience at all. It has times when this habit brought me close to Allah and also pushed me far from him. Nearing the end (inshalla), I can only say that self-determination, realization of the habit and its causes, and seeking help from Allah were key to my success so far. My problem sounds smaller than what most other brothers seem to have but if this post strikes a chord with anyone and gives him hope, there will not be a happier man that I. My story is too long to be told in one post, and so I have discussed only the prominent parts of it.

    • Amad says:

      jazakallahkhair
      very inspiring story and efforts.

      As Siraaj’s link points out, research points out that addictions are “chemical based” not behavior. Masturbation of course is a sexual act, tons of chemicals in brains with this. The ultimate behavior out of all porn is sexual – masturbation, intercourse, etc. However, the compulsiveness and damage it does to relationships and sexuality are the big issues. It seems that both porn and masturbation are correlated for most people. Even when masturbation is the addiction, porn is still used many times for the visual arousal. Also I wonder what would lead a person to think of masturbation? What are the trigger points? And without visual cues or empty mind (Shaytan’s playroom), I reckon the desire for masturbation would be easier controlled, and that is something you have mentioned from your experience (filters– no porn, staying busy– no idle time).

      again thank you for sharing all this. A small request, pls use a name (any name) to help conversation.

      • IbnHuzaifa says:

        I have changed my kunya as per your request.

        Good point! Although I tried to keep myself busy, there were times when I just didn’t feel like doing anything. This is still a problem I am dealing with. The main trigger, I believe is chemical-induced. After looking at an inappropriately dressed girl walking down the street, I resorted to porn which ended in masturbation. Because of that, I think my body doesn’t know how to relieve that tension without porn and so the method it seems to rely on is gradual build-up. I would think it’s the same gradual build-up that a husband would feel in marriage. This gradual build-up is of course the product of not being able to lower my gaze all the time. Other factors such as regular Hollywood movies, a female news anchor, a female cashier, day-to-day stress build up etc all contribute to this as well some of which I can not avoid. It is my hypothesis that even if I were successful in avoiding all these distractions, simply because of my human nature, there will be a threshold in the delay I face between urges.

        When the urge comes, I can hold it for a few days. Any longer builds intensity and therefore stress. Due to this stress, the first moment I am alone, I release the stress (without watching porn of course). So at the very heart of my current struggle is to make my body used to bearing that stress that comes with it. This is one of the reasons I am also looking for a wife and I know if anything happens in that department, it would be at least a year or so from now.

        Some current methods I am trying to employ with releasing day-to-day stress build up is personal development. I am trying to improve my organizational and time management skills. So far I have not made any considerable progress but I am trying.

        I also would like to add that although this is one of the reasons why I am looking for marriage, I have made sure that this is not the only reason. I have understood the fiqh of marriage and sisters’ expectations of marriage. If anything, I want to make sure to perfect my obligations to my wife first before expecting her to do the same. This also keeps me in check as I have heard that marrying for just that reason can make a marriage hard. I used to blame my parents for delaying marriage and perhaps they are somewhat guilty in this but I hold myself the only person responsible for my condition. My parents did as best as they understood. Maybe if I were in there position, I wouldn’t have known any better. I could have married on my own but I never wanted to hurt them. And so to achieve the balance is another motivation for me to fix myself.

        I make dua to Alla that He grant shifa to me and to all my brothers and sisters from this disease and give them wisdom to raise their children disease-free. Aamin.

        • Amad says:

          Pls get the book that was recommended by a psychologist above, “Out of the Shadows”… I think it will prove useful inshallah.

          Ameen toy our dua’ and may Allah reward you much for sharing all this with us.

        • BintKhalil says:

          Assalamu alaikum

          I have to comment about what you said about Hollywood movies and how it contributes to the build-up. Television and movies inflame passions – this is what they are designed to do, be it lust or appetite for material goods, they are meant to make people crave things they don’t have. Although you can’t do much about female cashiers, you can do a lot about this – reducing your appetite in one area (especially this one big one – TV and movies) will help greatly reduce it overall.

          • IbnHuzaifa says:

            Walaekum Asalaam

            I have a list of things that I know I can remove from my life and I am working on all of them (watching movies is one of them).

            I would also like to add that I am a programmer and so most of my work is on my computer. I have found that I waste a lot of time on computer browsing facebook, twitter, blogs etc. I know that if I can somehow reduce my overall computer usage, it will be a big step forward with my masturbation addiction and keeping the achieved recovery with porn addiction strong. This is part of the personal development I talked about earlier where I need to organize my time and tasks more efficiently.

          • BintKhalil says:

            You have talked a lot about blocking sites in other comments, so it looks like you are on the right track there inshaAllah. A tip I got from a productivity/time management site for not wasting time on the computer by checking social networking sites or checking email a dozen times an hour, is to take your laptop with you outside without a charger and work – this way, you know you have a limited window of time to get a chunk of work done and you don’t waste any of that time slacking off.

    • Waqqas says:

      Br. IbnHuzaifa,

      All you narrated above appears to me as my very own reflection! Wallahi! I can completely relate(disregarding the minutiae) to almost everything you mentioned!

      “I was never really addicted to porn as much as I was addicted to masturbation. Whenever I felt the urge to masturbate, I would either do it without porn (in cases when watching it could even slightly have a chance of others knowing about this habit) or with it when I was alone. I say that masturbation was my main problem because after I did it, I had zero interest in watching porn and even if I tried, it made me feel sick looking at it. However, if I didn’t have access to porn, I would be able to control myself better and was less likely to masturbate.”

      “I got exposed to this in mid teens and after a couple of years, the guilt started to settle in. Since then it’s been almost 7 years. Al-humdulilaah, during those years, I only went up to the extent of watching free videos.”

      -In my case, I got exposed to it in early teens and now its been around 5 years.

      “My mid university years suffered because of this habit and during that period I learned about how this habit really affects me negatively and the need to rid myself of it.”

      “The most common solution that I employed was to keep myself busy which allowed me to increase the gaps between each incident to a minimum of 24 hours and maximum of 1 week. I kept myself busy by doing things that I love (prominent position in isoc/msa’s, be around brothers all the time, sports etc.)”

      -However, in my case, busying myself with other activities (those I was specially interested in) took up so much of my time that I became largely negligent of my formal education. (As I mentioned in my earlier comments here)

      “Masturbation was a method to release stress build-up in university as well and I guess I resorted to porn as it made sure that I would release that stress build-up. The downside of that would be that I would feel weak the rest of the day and couldn’t accomplish much. The worst this habit has done to me is made me feel weak the whole day for 3-4 months straight so much so that I stopped praying completely, not go outside my house and cut off almost all connection to any social life (I wouldn’t even respond to emails).
      During early years of uni, I thought (naively) that marriage is the solution until br. zeyad brought to light the fact that it is not through real examples. I also thought that shaitan was responsible for this and I started to do zikr, stay in wudu all the time, ayat-ul-kursi etc that would even keep the evilest of the evil among them at bay. When that didn’t help, I realized it was my nufs that i had to fix. And I also realized that I need to fix this before marriage. I had many solutions in mind but unfortunately, many needed partners as br amad has mentioned and I was not ready to have a partner.”

      “After each incident of masturbation for the last 5 years, I would feel guilt and I think because of this guilt, the want to rid of the habit and battling with my nufs I have had a roller coaster ride with this habit. During the past 5 years there have been times of a little more than 1 month where no incident happened because it was either Ramadan or I was very busy at a vacation with my family or had extreme patience.

      It was only during the first 2 years of this habit, where I would occasionally sit the whole night and just watch porn. After that I used porn to exclusively masturbate which did not take more than 15 minutes.”

      “My story has times when I seriously and honestly repented repeatedly, lost hope and then gained it back. It has times when I hated myself and everything around me. It has times when I was granted extreme patience and no patience at all. It has times when this habit brought me close to Allah and also pushed me far from him.”

      “Although I tried to keep myself busy, there were times when I just didn’t feel like doing anything. This is still a problem I am dealing with.”

      “This gradual build-up is of course the product of not being able to lower my gaze all the time. Other factors such as regular Hollywood movies, a female news anchor, a female cashier, day-to-day stress build up etc all contribute to this as well some of which I can not avoid.”

      “When the urge comes, I can hold it for a few days. Any longer builds intensity and therefore stress. Due to this stress, the first moment I am alone, I release the stress (without watching porn of course).”

      -To the contrary, I found that the longer the duration since the last ‘incident’, the lesser there remained the urge to do it again.

      Some current methods I am trying to employ with releasing day-to-day stress build up is personal development. I am trying to improve my organizational and time management skills. So far I have not made any considerable progress but I am trying.

      I used to blame my parents for delaying marriage and perhaps they are somewhat guilty in this but I hold myself the only person responsible for my condition. My parents did as best as they understood. Maybe if I were in there position, I wouldn’t have known any better. I could have married on my own but I never wanted to hurt them. And so to achieve the balance is another motivation for me to fix myself.

      – Exactly my thoughts!

      I feel like I could really benefit from your experiences, Is there anyway we can get in contact, through email perhaps?

      Wa Jazakallahu Khair

      • IbnHuzaifa says:

        Waqqas, I am happy to see that you can relate with my story. If you want, you can contact me at koopasslee at yahoo dot com

    • Umair Sayyed says:

      1.5 months and counting… may never end.. good luck.. seems your story strikes a chord with mine…:-)

      May allow guide us all through sirat-e-mustaqeem.. Ameen

  34. MX says:

    In the place where I study, there is complete ignorance about how porn can cause erectile dysfunction(ED). People consider you a jerk/prude/weirdo/religious nut if you tell them that you don’t do porn simply because Allah tells us to “lower our gaze”.

    Justifications for watching porn range from deep-seated self-conviction that porn teaches guys how to have sex– to how it enables them to enact their fantasies in a sexually ”repressed” society. Guys don’t even consider it to be an addiction.

    Thankfully, the badly needed neuroscience and research into the effects of high speed Internet porn addiction and its relation to ED has arrived.[1][2][3]

    We can use this research to convince our pre-teens/teens –of the harms of porn– which includes the not-quite-religious ”rationalists”– who reject the “lower your gaze” command with an arrogant smugness.

    [1] – http://yourbrainonporn.com/porn-induced-sexual-dysfunction-is-growing-problem
    [2] – http://yourbrainonporn.com/doing-what-you-evolved-to-do
    [3] – http://yourbrainonporn.com/as-porn-goes-up-performance-goes-down

  35. MuslimBrother says:

    Asslam u Aliekum,

    I had gotten a habit (not necessarily addicted) to certain sins and temptations. I didn’t know how to deal with it for a while. I even wrote a poem out of depression due to it:

    Lust is my cage
    It has captured me in its shade
    Filling my heart with desire & rage
    Is this deliberate or is it staged
    Verily this is the work of the devil with which he has me engaged
    Tommorow I will be told “This is what your hands have laid!”
    O Watcher of deeds (Allah) I’d like to request a trade
    Grant me guidance and Your Mercy before it is too late
    Grant me patience with which to control my state
    I meet You and You are Pleased, make this my fate
    And turn my face away from Hell’s gate

    But then in one of my Fiqh classes I learned about expiation for breaking an oath made in Allah’s Name. So what I started to do was that I would say, “Wallahi I will not do such and such today” whenever I felt a desire to committ the deed or if I felt that most likely I’ll fall into it. Knowing that if I break it I have to pay expiation (free a slave or feed/clothe 10 poor people or fast three days), it would help me resist since I did not want to do the expiation as it is hard for me. At times I ended up breaking the oath and fasted the 3 days for each day that I did the break and found this VERY difficult. It became such that I was so irritated at doing the expiation that whenever I would take the oath, I had no problem resisting the sin (though at times it was hard) because in my mind doing the expiation was far more burdeoning than the desire to indulge in the temptation. So as the days turned into weeks, it became easier and easier to fall out of habit of the temptations and sins. Now, I barely get those same desires and if I do I just make an oath for the whole day and night. So I would suggest that the addicts perhaps find something that is halal and is stronger than their desire for the addiction as a replacement.

    Hope that Helps!

    • n says:

      mash’allah. Allahuma barik. Allah granted you the strength to beat your nafs and any waswas from Shaitan. also you can fill your days with a lot of sunnah worship and adhkar if u haven’t already.

  36. Request says:

    Assalamu Alaykum

    First of all, I really like the efforts made in this article to address porn addiction and the fact that us Muslims are not exempt from it. I still feel like there could much done to help out the brothers and sisters who are struggling with this addiction. Many Muslim addicts are not able to tell others because of this dangerous problem mainly from fear of being judged and scrutinized, and thus have to live a double life full of misery.

    I feel there is another topic scholars of our time should keenly address. That is, I get watching porn and masturbating are terrible sins. Now, it is okay to tell others that you have this problem and you need help. I read fatwas on IslamQA and live scholars, that one should confess sins to others when Allah has concealed it, as there are ahadith such as this one that says:

    It was narrated that Salim ibn Abd-Allah said: I heard Abu Hurayrah (radi Allah anhu) say: I heard RasulAllah (sallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “All of my ummah will be fine except for those who commit sin openly. Part of committing sin openly is when a man does something at night and Allah conceals it, but in the morning he says, ‘O So-and-so, last night I did such and such.’ His Lord had covered his sin all night, but in the morning he removed the cover of Allah.” (Bukhari; Muslim)

    So I don’t get it. If a Muslim has porn and masturbation addiction, it is okay for him to get help from others, when Allah has not revealed his sin to anyone else? Can he or she tell a counseller or doctor that ‘I had a relapse last night, what am I doing wrong?’. Please clarify this for me dear author inshallah

    Also, throughout the Internet there are many free recovery forums, websites and books made by Christians and other secular organizations that help tackle porn addiction. I could not any free forums or websites made by Muslims, where us Muslims addicts can talk to each other, partner up, and motivate each other towards recovery. It could be very helpful for Muslim struggling addicts to know they are not alone and they have other brothers and sisters struggling as well. Also, a free online anonymous program or at least some resources would also be great. I have seen “Muslim coaching programs” and love what they are doing, but many addicts cannot afford the price of the program and the fact it can only take a capacity of students at one time of the year.

    Ultimately like all diseases, the cure I guess comes from Allah subhanata’ala, May Allah help those of us who are struggling with this disease and help us get on the right path to recovery.

    -Edited to remove link (see my note at the bottom of my article). Also please use a name or kuniya next time as per our comments policy

  37. Abu Zaid says:

    As an unmarried porn addict, I’ve found myself asking time and time again for Allah to rid me of this evil habit only to find myself coming back to it– time and time again. I’m also a college student who can’t marry because of cultural barriers placed upon me by my parents.

    I don’t know if this makes any sense to anyone, but it’s almost reached the point of acceptance “in the day and culture” that we’re living through these days..

    A point was made on referencing modern psychology books or for seeing a psychologist. This is one route I have not tried, but I’m EXTREMELY hesitant of going to see someone likely to be non-Muslim who’s going to tell me that a “healthy” dose of masturbation is OK. Are there any Muslim-friendly psychology books/psychologists out there?

    Please help.

    • Amad says:

      Abu Zaid, I understand your skepticism about non-Muslim psychologists (with regards to whether they will understand our religious traditions), but from what I have read online and having skimmed through some of the excerpts of the Patrick Carnes book, I think you’ll find that they will not use something that is part of the addiction cycle to try to stop it. It wouldn’t make sense. So, I recommend putting your concerns on the side, keeping up an “Islamic filter” and doing what it takes to “fix” your situation. It’s obvious you have the will and inshallah Allah will help you through it.

    • Umm Sulaim says:

      I may be unable to predict the reception or advice one may receive from a non-Muslim psychologist, I am, however, in a position to say a few things:

      1) If one politely gives the psychologist the impression that one is not a nominal Muslim, one may obtain better advice.

      2) One is not obliged to agree to or accept the words of the psychologist. One may gently object to any statement.

      3) The psychologist’s assessment of the situation may be influenced by many factors, some of which should not be considered anti-Islamic, unless there is evidence for that. The psychologist sometimes may make suggestions, simply to understand the patient better. It is upto the individual to ensure he/ she is well understood.

      4) No one should reveal his sins unless this is necessary. One may relate the situation as a constant inclination to masturbate or watch porn rather than the actual performance.

      And keep on striving,
      Umm Sulaim

  38. Mariam says:

    My husband was addicted to pornography and he sought help for it. However, even though he no longer watches it, he still doesn’t feel the same “high” with me as he did when he used to look at porn.

    Do the effects of pornography never go away?

    • birkah says:

      They will eventually go away, Insh’Allah. His system needs to reboot, and return to the previous neurochemical equilibrium. Imagine how you felt last time when you ate way too much, to the point that you had trouble breathing, or just had to lie down; you were fully beyond your stomach capacity. Awful! Disgusted! And probably skipped a meal, just to enjoy food. Or imagine how amazing the food tastes when you have been hungry. The same applies with excessive sexual activity.

      There is also proof of this from the sunnah. Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When a Muslim, or a believer, washes his face (in the course of Wudu’), every sin which he committed with his eyes, will be washed away from his face with water, or with the last drop of water; when he washes his hands, every sin which is committed by his hands will be effaced from his hands with the water, or with the last drop of water; and when he washes his feet, every sin his feet committed will be washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water; until he finally emerges cleansed of all his sins.” [Muslim].

      Wudu and Salaah (I posted the definition of this on my blog today) burn sins. Allahu A3lam, they may also burn the effect of the sins as well. Also, we learn this from Surah 92 and 94. Further, the famous ayah, good deeds replace (allah used the verb ذهب-take away ) evil deeds.
      My advice: Make duaa to Allah SWT. Tell your husband never to think about past porn memories. Tell him to pray more and before each prayer do wudu.

      birkah
      http://kalamuallah.wordpress.com/

  39. Hash786 says:

    Thank you for this eye-opening article.

    I am a God-fearing Muslim that used to be addicted to pornography. Alhamdulillah, I can safely say that I am not addicted anymore. However, the tendency to revert to pornography – like Soriya says – out of boredom or distraction does come up now and again.

    I’m a bit disappointed that Soriyah’s point on the link to masturbation, and muslim’s question on how to phase it out, were both not addressed in the responses to their comments.

    If you combine the two, this leads to my question: if one is able to eliminate pornography, how does one practically work to have control over their genitalia (masturbation) to the point where they don’t feel stimulated to arousal and the strong carnal urge to curb this. Put very bluntly (and crudely)…when a man does not have a form of release (via masturbation for those of us who are unmarried or sex for those who are), after a period of time, our body naturally builds up the production of semen and would then a release in some way. After having grown out of the age of wet dreams, how would a young man satisfy this natural inclination of his body?

    What my question boils down to is this: when a man does not masturbate or have sex for a while, their virility means that they will become aroused without intention, even if they do not think about anything that would stimulate. For me in the past, this is just natural build-up of semen. Correct? So, if one is not able to manually alleviate these arousals (that may be at inopportune moments), then what is the Islamic rationale behind us handling this? Let us assume that pornography is not an option, and that masturbation is the habit we are trying to kick. Does this not then mean that unwanted arousals and excreting semen when you pee become inevitable? Is this not more difficult on the Muslim because then they need to make ghusl?

    Thank you for your response. Jazak-Allahu khair

    • Amad says:

      alhamdulilah. First of all congrats on breaking the habit. If you have tips on how you did it, they would be great.

      Brother, the reason we didn’t go much into masturbation questions, as this post is related to porn and associated addictions.

      I view masturbation as much less of a problem than porn addiction. I believe Shaykh Qaradawi has a fatwa on this that I can get to you later or someone else feel free to do so. As a man, I understand where you are coming from. I think in this case of “normal” sexual desires, marriage is definitely a need, but until then one has to figure out means to stop trigger points, some fasting and basically doing the best one can inshallah. Going through college in America, I feel that being very intimate with the MSA, having very little idle time, and MUCH less access to porn (talking about 92-96 era) helped me through the issue and alhamdulilah as far as I remember, I survived.

      If others have experience with masturbation-addiction or self-help, pls feel free to chime in. Again, we are talking about “need to release”, not porn-addiction.

      P.S. I don’t think you excrete semen with urination. There is pre-seminal fluid, which doesn’t require ghusl.

      • Omar Ali says:

        Yes, I agree with Br. Ahmad, I really doubt semen excretes during urination, at least nothing that would require ghusul. The only time ghusul is required is if you reach climax or intercourse.

        As for the “need to release”, I never knew you could grow out of the age for wet dreams. I’m 24 and I still get wet dreams…

        I’m pretty sure if you don’t release for a couple of weeks, you will soon get a wet dream to release that tension and buildup. However, if you put aside the idea of masturbating, and if you try your best to lower your gaze and to not look at porn, inshAllah you will have a lot less build up in the first place, so the tension will be easier to bare. I know it’s hard, and it will take time and patience. But Alhamdulilah we have the blessed month of Ramadan to work on issues exactly like this!

        May Allah make it easier for all our brothers and sisters.

  40. Jazakum Allahu khayr Muslim Matters team and Sr. Haleh for bringing this topic up again and keeping things real.

    Edit: Appreciate the comments, but not sure if you read the disclaimer at the bottom of the post. For future advertising of for-profit coaching programs on MuslimMatters, please contact info AT muslimmatters.org to speak with our sales department

    MM Staff

    • Dear MM Staff,

      I’m disappointed that a public forum for discussion is not being open for all and your comment edit makes it look that I’m “advertising” whereas I just am adding to the discussion based on my line of work.

      I don’t think your edit here is warranted but each to his opinion. I would rather have my comment completely deleted than moderated. Thank you.

      Edit: Still not sure if you read br Amad’s disclaimer at the bottom of the post, so here it is:

      Note: This article does not rely or recommend “coaches”. Maybe in a year, when we have testimonials from people who have been cured–and stay cured–with such coaching services, I’d be glad to advertise their services. For now, please don’t post any such services provided, because this would be just advertisement that I do not, in good faith, agree with or can recommend. This is my own opinion, not MM’s.

      I hope it’s clearer now.

      – MM Staff

  41. UmmAbdillah says:

    i feel like i live in a bubble after reading this. i was unaware of how much difficilcuty my fellow bros and sis are facing, may Allah make it easy on them

    on a side note, is masturbation more common in muslims? maybe im too naive but im assuming it’s easier for non muslims to fulfil their desire without bieng married etc

    • Abu Yusuf says:

      Salaam Alaykum,

      Yes indeed Muslims face much more difficulty due to the restrictions we face in gender relations. As such, the only legal outlet for fulfilling one’s desires is through wives or that which our right hands possess. The author has noted that the thrust of his article has to do with addressing the addiction itself. Whilst I believe that is important and the article / resources he presents is beneficial, one must consider the root causes of such deviation.

      If we consider the Google searches on porn keywords sorted by country, we find Pakistan and other Muslim countries atop such a reprehensible list. I believe it is because the only way we can release our pent up sexual energy is through marriage or that which our right hands possess. Since the latter is not an available option in today’s world, only marriage then remains as the suitable candidate. Why then are Muslims still atop porn search lists and porn consumption? Why is that the case even though we have the halaal outlet of marriage? The main reason is because marriage and the cultural baggages and exorbitant mahr and costs put off many young brothers. Not only that, the women have self-aggrandized visions of themselves and see themselves only fitting in the arms of a knight in white shining armor akin to the romance films and disney movies they grew up watching. To compound that, the insular minded fathers are no better and they create great corruption on Earth by rejecting eligible Muslim bachelors because of some cultural baggage or because his daughter should only marry a doctor or some other nonsensical restrictions. I feel bad for so many young brothers who have met this fate. Yes, we must address porn addiction when it has snared brothers in its vicious trap. However, a deeper exploration and pontification of root causes must be undertaken in order to prevent a new generation of porn addicts amongst the pre-teen brothers who are about to embark into their teenage and young adulthood years. These aren’t carefully constructed hypotheses but rather the reality on the ground of scores of young brothers rejected frivolously by the families of young women who WANT to get married. What is the grand conclusion of this line of thinking? Well, if the only halaal outlet is made excruciatingly difficult then you cannot prevent the inevitable tidal wave of deviation that will thereafter and as a direct consequence occur (whether that is adultery, homosexuality, porn consumption (not necessarily addiction), sexual offences, masturbation, etc). There are too many young Muslim men in America who resorted to sexual deviation solely because their parents coerced them into delaying marriage or because the fathers of women rejected them even though they had the means to support their daughters beyond what the fathers themselves could afford and even though they possessed good character.

      I realize this may seem tangential to the main subject but often times the root issues have nothing to do with the symptoms manifested.

  42. birkah says:

    I was listening to a lecture by Sheikh Yasir Qadhi (August 04, 2011: Surah Ali Imran) available here:
    http://www.memphisislamiccenter.org/multimedia/audio/

    Helping people addicted to porn, especially some very practicing people, I always asked myself if person with Imaan can ever be invoved with it (I know form Sunnah there was a sahabi who was addicted to alcohol; that is a very interesting case study, and one that requires study). Alhumdullilah I found the answer tonight while listening to Sheikh Yasirs reminder. Bottom line: ibn Abbas RA said a person can be a muttaqi and commit zina (not watch it)! Reflect over that! For some great tips of now how to deal with an addiction listen to the lecture.

  43. Man Dude says:

    While I agree that pornography is a problem and is a compulsive act I think with the lack of research there is on the subject you take a big leap in calling it an addiction. I can speak from personal experience that I have friends who have real drug addictions like cocaine and heroine and it can be very insulting saying that your addicted to pornography, shopping, or video games when some out there has a real problem with a real drug that threatens to kill them, it undermines in my opinion the seriousness of drug addiction.

    you quote this from an article:

    Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, calls porn the “most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.”

    And not this (from same article):

    “However, as the panelists themselves acknowledged, there is no consensus among mental health professionals about the dangers of porn or the use of the term “pornography addiction.”

    Link to article: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2004/11/65772

    Again to reiterate my main point, we need to be careful about what we call an addiction because its a real medical term that should not just be thrown around.

    -Edited. Civility in discourse includes not accusing authors of dishonesty. It’s part of husne dhan. Also as per our comments policy, pls use a name or kuniya

    • Amad says:

      First of all, I agree that there is disagreement on porn or sex being addictions (there is “disagreement” not a conclusion one way or the other so it cannot be concluded that it is NOT an addiction either). But more and more the psychology community is coming to the conclusion it cannot be but chemical addiction. I have already explained the brain issues and there is almost indisputable data that sexual acts produce similar chemical reactions.

      This wiki article does a good job discussing it from all angles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography_addiction

      If comparing porn addiction to drug addiction is “insulting” the latter, then comparing porn addiction to shopping addiction may be insulting to the former. To be honest, all these behaviors are damaging to different extents. It is possible that porn addiction destroys a person more than drug addiction for instance, because in sex-linked addictions, the spouse of a person sees himself/herself as being “insufficient”, and maybe less inclined to be helpful.

      We don’t help ourselves when we start getting into score-carding addictions or “habits that very much look, smell and taste like addictions”. The causes are real, the symptoms are real, and the effects are real. And they are devastating. I don’t think the victims care about semantics, and I certainly don’t believe it adds any value to get into a debate about this. In fact, there is much more value in treating it like an addiction. Even if we were to assume its not addiction and by calling it we are resorting to “over-correction”, then the person will take steps that work with addictions and they can ONLY be helpful.

  44. Harmful effects of p*** cannot be disputed, nor is there a dispute that this is an Islamically undesirable act.

    In related news, Toronto Imam charged in sex case

    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/08/17/toronto-imam-charged-in-sex-case

    The stories of se*ual assault and harassment in Muslim communities have to be told, and perpetrators dealt with. I find there is great reluctance to acknowledge that se* assaults, p**n, drugs and such activities exist in Muslim communities and no one deals with the issue.

    • Umair Sayyed says:

      dear… the reason is (talking abt. my self) believe in our religion but not practicing it completely.. otherwise islam has instruction for men and women.. which if followed.. these addictions will never happen..

      1. Womens practicing Burkha..
      2. We all keeping gaze lower
      3. Stop Inter-mingling of sex in social events
      4. Get married as soon as you are ready…
      5. No TV at home..

      Actual follower will never find him self addicted to these stuffs…

      Allah knows the best….

  45. Layla says:

    It all started with porn:

    This is a true but shocking story of somebody who started with porn. The person in question was somebody learnt in his deen and was a well-known da’ee in his community. This path took over 15 years:

    I am not sure if it started by him watching porn or by him getting a second wife. The second wife, though, found some magazines at home.

    After a few months, he divorced his second wife. He then started chatting to women on the net then he travelled to meet some of those women.

    His travels were expensive so he fell into the sin of riba. For his travels, he used to shorten, then take off his beard.

    He then lived in a foreign country for a couple of years.

    He came back to his family, started again with chatting to women on the net and committed zina.

    He then took again a second wife (to make the relationship halaal, per his words) but with no intention to be just between the two wives. Then, one day, he was caught with some remaining nail polish on his finger. He later quit her.

    Then there was a rumour that he was visiting gay clubs.

    Then he started to wear “women lingerie”. He took photos of himself and even advertised himself on some websites. He was caught watching for wigs on ebay.

    Then he took his beard off completely by way of laser surgery except for a bit under the chin.

    Then he took some “natural” supplements to grow some breast tissue.

    He was then seen in a street at night where there are a few gay clubs with a wig on.

    Yes, the brother is practising and prays all his prayers. He knows the deen. Although this is a summary of 15 years, it is clear how Shaytan took him away step by step. And it all started with pornography.

    • Amad says:

      wow that is unbelievable…

      If he still prays, there is still a chance to come back to Allah… may Allah guide him.

    • Umair Sayyed says:

      Well.. people do consider attraction towards same sex as illness also… infact there are specific biological terms defined for it.. which advocated this phenomenon to be natural….

      May almight help him..

  46. IbnHuzaifa says:

    I was thinking about this topic and I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding the following thought.

    If pornography addiction is a problem, I would suspect that internet addiction would also be a problem. If that is so, would it make more sense to target internet addiction from the get go or would targeting porn first and then internet be a better option?

    I can see the pros and cons of both approaches but I just wanted to know the author’s and the readers’ opinion on this.

  47. someone says:

    alright , this is a good article and is so helpful , i am only 19 years old , and inshallah i will do my best to achieve the goal of stopping that habit .
    i just wanted to note that you are missing a big bunch of effects that help us (young) to do and increase that bad habit .
    1- spare time
    2- the bad environment or familial atmosphere that we are stucked in
    3- i myself have too many dreams that are very hard for me to achieve , that’s why i sometimes have a bad mood , which leads me to trying to have fun anywhere and i’m calling that the Psychological state or condition

    and i think there is more reasons leading us to do that , and i think that it only depends on how much you are afraid of the one who created you , it is all depends on how much you are close to him .
    after all , we are humans that will always make mistakes , you just have to regret all you sins , and pray and ask Allah to forgive you. that’s all

  48. Sis says:

    Alhamdulillah for this post as i recently caught some indecent images on my younger brothers phone, he is only of young age in his teens and is not usually this type so i was very shocked to see such things on his phone n it made me wonder if he watches porn online! i hate the fact that he has been doing this and i feel like i cant look at him in the same way but he’s my brother and i love him so please if anyone can give me any advice, i can never aproach him with this matter because i dont want to put him to shame but i have been making dua ever since for him to stop and to remove the pictures off his phone before any other family members see it and for Allah (swt) to forgive him. if there is any re-assurance you can give me then please do because this makes me really sad and deeply hurt. Jazakallah khairun.

    • Hena Zuberi says:

      Sister= talk to him because if you don’t it could become worse- the shame that he will face knowing that you know is nothing compared to the shame he will face when he is standing in front of Allah. Don’t interrogate him as this will just shut him down.

      My friend had a similar experience with her son. She was non-judgmental and talked to him like an adult- he is 14. He told he what do you want me to do ‘I am a guy’. But having that conversation opened up the door to so much more connection between mother and son.

      Talk to him rationally so you can find out how far he has gone-

      Now is the time to explain to your brother that he can get into trouble for sending emails or pictures with sexual messages. This is a favorite ‘cool’ thing for young guys to do to send friends x-rated pictures. Warn him that his account, along with all the family’s screen names, will be dropped by your Internet service provider. What’s worse, if the images or emails are threatening or God forbid involve children, he could be reported to law enforcement officials.

      May Allah make it easy for you and save your brother from this fitnah.

    • IbnHuzaifa says:

      When I was in my early teens and did not discover porn, I stumbled across an inappropriate picture online. Living in a muslim country at the time this was something new to me and my curiosity led me to look at more pictures. My sister caught me once and really let me know how disgusting she thought my act was. I felt ashamed and it only drove me further down in hiding my act and being clever in my ways to continue looking at the material so that no one is aware. This was almost 8 years ago. In those 8 years, no one stepped up to really help me and if some one in my family knew, they either kept quite or blamed me for how disgusted they felt.

      I eventually learned about porn a year later and have been struggling with myself for the past 5 years. I have found out my own solutions but for you my sister, I must tell you to not alienate your brother on this matter. Get your father or older brother (if you have one) to talk to him to remove awkwardness. If you don’t have awkwardness with your brother, then you should educate yourself about people who are suffering and ways to fix this issue to help him out. Do not leave him at the mercy of the world and take sister hena zuberi’s advice seriously.

      Alla help you and your brother amin.

      • hanzala says:

        assalm o alaikum @33e6cff8ea68160731b53ae051a15ff1:disqus , i have also the same issue u were , can we talk privately about ur recovery, it may be very helpful to me

  49. M. Khalid says:

    Through Ramadan I pray 5 times daly I do nothing wrong. But when Ramadan is over. I can’t stop watching porn. I keep saying no more but alway end up watchin it.

    • IbnHuzaifa says:

      I can relate to how you feel brother. I would like to ask you that if there was a filter on your computer for which you did not know the password for, would that help? By contrast, if there are several computers that you have access to and they all use the same internet router, would it help if the router itself blocked the access to such sites?

      I have recently realized that I suffer(ed) from multiple addictions including internet, masturbation, porn and movies. Some addictions are/were more than others and I have been able to rid myself of porn completely al-humdulilaa.

      I was never and still not ready to tell my struggles to people that I know and because of that I have suffered a lot but I have learned a lot as well. So only I could fix myself. At the heart of my continuing struggle, I follow a concept which has so far helped me rid myself of porn addiction.

      The idea is to put barriers between yourself and the addiction such that to lift the barriers and to get to the addiction would require a considerable effort. An example of this is adding multiple filters on your computer and internet router all with different complex passwords you came up with when installing the filters. That way, even if you crave porn, you will have to think hard of what the passwords were. If you turn off one filter, you will be faced with another.

      There will be times when you will work hard to get across those barriers for hours. However, there will come a time in a day when you are in self-control. Take that opportunity to build the barriers again. This is the constant struggle I have with my nufs. It gets frustrating sometimes but it is very fruitful and relatively quick to help you rid of the addiction.

  50. Zafir Abdul Muid says:

    This addiction has been a substitute for Real sexual intamasy for far Too many yrs. Please help!

    • Umm Sulaim says:

      By “substitute”, do you mean you are single or married but not attracted to your spouse.

      The scenario is much less complicated, though equally pernicious, for a single person. Work with someone you fully trust to eliminate the contact points of pornography. If there’s no one you trust to that extent, you then have to go it alone, with immense perseverance.

      Tell yourself there is only one of you, without dual personalities, one for the public, the other when alone. Try to harmonize your conduct to reflect that one personality.

      And if you are married, the above still applies, except you have a Halal outlet for your libido. Develop that sexual relationship.

      And be yourself,
      Umm Sulaim

  51. I am a 19 year old that has been watching porn for many years now. I have some crazy sexual desires. It feels impossible for me to stop watching porn. I can’t stop myself. What do I do?

    • Amad says:

      Maruf,
      Pls read the article. You need to get a partner to help you, to stop your access to it. If you have a desktop, put it in the family room where people can see.

      If you can stop yourself during fasting, you can stop yourself in Ramadan nights, which are the holiest nights of the year.

      Try to get your hand on the book “out of the shadows”… maybe you can find a copy on the internet.

      As for your “crazy sexual desires”, porn can lead to rewiring of the brain, and if you don’t start your path to recovery before you get married inshallah, you’ll live with this problem for the rest of your life and also cause major grief to your future wife.

      • Waqqas says:

        Brother Amad,

        A point of considerable significance, it seems, is finding a ‘partner’ through this struggle.

        Zeyad Ramadan also considered it extremely important. However, for those who could not afford his courses(like me), we missed out on his promising techniques.

        An important question(for a lot of the commentators here) that still remains unanswered is: “How does one get to know who would be the ‘right partner’/how does one choose the most suitable partner? Any general guidelines?

      • Maruf Hossain says:

        I will not get married. I made that promise to myself. I’m in love with someone that I can never have. Porn for me is a sexual desire that I cannot resist from.

  52. I watch it on the internet in my room. I have a desktop computer. I watch it sometimes when I’m not fasting. Most like after breaking the fast after Seheri. I watch it at night time most of the time.

    • IbnHuzaifa says:

      maruf,

      I recommend you put the computer outside your room so you are less likely to watch it.

      If you require your computer for studying and need to be in your room while you do it, I suggest investing in a printer and print everything you need on paper. However, again, shift your computer outside your room.

      If you cannot shift your computer outside your room in case you are living in a dormitory, I suggest adding filters on your computer with each filter having its own password and each password should be complex.

  53. Sameer says:

    Salaam
    I have a very rare problem. I wish someone to help me to sort out my problem. I’m not an addict to ponographic sites. But my main problem is that Sex comes into my mind during paryers. I’ve tried many things like concentrate on Imam’s wordings or my words. But I can’t concentrate for more than a certain limit. My another problem is that I can’t talk to a girl looking at her face. I always look into a wall or computer or my boy friend’s face while talking to a girl so that sex do not come in my mind. I’m at the age of 24 and I’m very depressed as my prayers are not going right. Is there any way so that I can concentrate on prayers?
    Awaiting a Helpful Repsonse. . .

    • Umm Sulaim says:

      First, not looking at a girl while talking to her is NOT a problem at all. I commend you for that.

      Distraction during Sallah is a common tactic of shaytan. Please, seek refuge with Allah as often as this happens.

      And don’t give up hope,
      Umm Sulaim

  54. Tawwaboon says:

    as salamualaykum Br Amad

    one thing I may have to disagree with you about is what you mentioned about reading these books even if it’s at the cost of leaving Taraweeh prayers. I feel that this is the month that you have to truly connect with the Qur’an and let your heart be exposed to it.

    Br Nouman said a beautiful concept in one of his lectures…he mentioned that just like this body needs earthly things to survive and would die if it does not get food and water (from the earth)….the same way, our soul…a creation that existed before this land, requires a heavenly source to feed it. And that source is the Quran.

    Wallahu Alam

    • Amad says:

      wasalam bro
      this is just my opinion. It doesnt have to be mutually exclusive (people can do both) but in my view, if you are worried about breaking ur fast the next day due to porn, then better to fix that problem than to be in recommended prayers…. wallahualam.

      • Waqqas says:

        I have practically stopped praying taraweeh (only do qiyam al layl occasionally at night) after I came across your suggestion, in hopes of trying to work my way out of this addiction.

        However, at the end of the day, I tend to feel that despite all that I read, all the knowledge about this addiction, at some point or another I WILL slip and fall into it again.

        ‘Reading about it’ doesn’t seem like a ‘tangible progress’ to me :/

  55. IbnHuzaifa says:

    brother amad

    I have acquired mp3 reading of the book Out Of The Shadows by Patrick C. for free. It has six parts. I want to share them over here with other people.

    I feel due to it being in audio format, people who can not or may not be able to commit to buying and reading that book may benefit from this. Do I have your permission to share those links directly here? If not, can you suggest an alternative method on how I can share them with interested people over here?

    Here’s the link to part 1 of 6 for your reference: http://am686op8ejk5bq9l85u5d9ehac.gcdn.biz/d/R/PuVQeaRpEFs1mTWI4Ic4e7Vm5P77SVKeUQLUgnh5q6l9Rl4tGxeNUGZUH_kQDOna/Understanding_Sex_Addiction_1of6.mp3

  56. Hassan says:

    Thanks!! This article helped me a lot. Jazak- Allah!!

  57. another brother says:

    I am not much of an “addict” (the other post about porn addiction really woke me up Alhamdulillaah, it made me realize how destructive it can be and since then I’ve cut down on accessing that filth by a drastic amount) but I have very strong desires which results in performing the “deed” every now and then, its something I really need to stop. Ramadhaan has helped me control my desires but still its not allowed me to turn off. Since I’m a student and therefore due to cultural upbringing of my parents, I’m not encouraged to marry until I got my qualifications so I cant release my feelings in the halaal way yet. porn is not the issue here, it is my strong sexual desire for women, which leads to that particular act… what practical methods can I take to help me keep myself controlled for longer periods, not just a few days. I want to keep my desires locked up until I marry inshaAllaah.
    any help and advice would be great, jazak’Allah khair

    your brother in Islam

    • Waqqas says:

      These are some words of advice I got from one of Zeyad Ramadan’s public posts, all this reiterates the need to choose a ‘partner’ for oneslef in this struggle. Who will that be? How do we decide who is most suited? I hope we can get some good points in this regard from the experts at MM inshallah.

      -Edited. Pls see note at the bottom of the post regarding coaching.

      • Waqqas says:

        P.S. I intended for this to be a separate comment in itself, did not mean to specifically reply to any comment here.

      • Amad says:

        Waqqas, I cannot get you qualifications for a partner. I appreciate your concerns about keeping your struggles to yourself. But I ask you to answer this, not to me or anyone else, but to yourself. Is your desire for secrecy related to the embarrassment associated with this or is it really the desire to only return to Allah? Perhaps both? Again, no need to reply to me.

        My own personal sense that I get is that it is embarrassment. and I don’t mean to say that the issue of embarrassment is somehow a bad thing. As Muslims, we have to be shy of our sins. But you need to clarify what it is in your mind. You have two choices: either to continue hiding it and not being able to cure. Or to take the bold steps and work on finding the right confidante?

        I’ll add that there is a huge misconception that expressing your sin is wrong in itself. The public expression that is forbidden is the one that is to “show off” the sin. Not if you are trying to “fix” it. In this case, you know it is wrong, and you are sincere in solving it. And further to that you don’t like exposing it, but only doing so to find help.

        Back to your specific question, you really should consider who your most sincere friend might be? There must be someone you can trust. May Allah provide you with the best of solutions.

  58. Rafsan says:

    Alhamdulillah , Allah has has helped me to find this very important post.
    May Allah bless the writer of this article.
    I don’t have an porn addiction,Alhamdulillah but I am 18 years old and I have an addiction to musterbation, I am trying my best to stay away, but if you can write a similar article to help people like me to get rid of Musterbation addiction, it will be really helpful.

    • muslim says:

      try NOT showering naked…it helps. wear shorts or an izaar(lungi) or something to at least cover your `awrah. i have never done that but i have wanted to before and this is one of the ways I found helps me control that urge. try it out and see if it helps. also, in general try to keep your exposure to your own private parts to a minimum.

  59. Umm Ousama says:

    I see that lots of brother blame the use of porn on the delay of marriage. Is this really right?

    If you look throughout history throughout the different lands, men never married early. Even if you go back to the Sahabah, they didn’t marry very young. How come that our parents had no problem staying chaste until they got married? How come the World had no problem staying chaste until they got married except in recent times?

    A brother goes through puberty in his mid-teens. Do you really expect to get married as soon as he goes through puberty? Yet, the “need” of women starts then. A brother needs to be responsible before getting married. He needs a “source of income”. Even if he is a student, he needs to work to be able to feed his wife. Is he ready to do that? Is he ready to combine work and studies and family?

    How many of our brothers who watch porn listen to the advice of our beloved (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam): “O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual power.” [Agreed Upon]

    My dear brothers, it is not only because of “cultural baggage” that a father doesn’t allow his son to marry before finishing his studies. A father also knows the responsibility of marriage. However, it is cultural baggage to ask for big dowries or to ask the girl to wait till her sisters are married or to ask the girl to finish her studies first. Girls have always been married young, unlike men.

    So my dear brothers, here are a few things you can do:

    1. Fast as much as you can. After this month, there will be the 6 days of Shawwaal, then there is every Monday and Thursday and then 3 days in the middle of each month.

    2. Stay busy. Volunteering, Sports, Helping at home, Visiting elderly people, Visiting the Sick, Travel to a poor country to help rebuild places, …

    3. Get a job. By having a job while you study and saving some money, you are showing your parents and any future spouse that you are responsible and that you are hard-working. Show your parents how well you can study and show your parents how well you can manage study and work.

    4. Eat less. If you follow the advice of our beloved (salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) regarding food (1/3 food, 1/3 fluids, 1/3 air), you will have less “extra” energy.

    5. Do sports. Sports make you busy and use that “extra” energy too.

    6. Make du’a. Do you make du’a enough? Do you make du’a for yourself and for others?

    7. Come back to Allah. If you come back to Allah (whether regarding this issue or any other issue) walking, Allah will come back to you running.

    8. Treat your parents the best. If you want to ask your parents to seek marriage, then increase your good deeds, increase your good treatment towards them, pray 2 rakat before asking them. Turn to your Lord before turning to your parents. Your parents’ hearts are in the Hands of Ar-Rahman; thus if you turn to your Lord, He then directs your parents’ hearts the way He wish.

  60. Abu Yusuf says:

    To the brothers who are ‘confessing’ their porn addictions, I must advise you to refrain from using your real names on the discussion board as Allah jalla wa 3alaa has hidden your sins so you must not reveal your identity and make an open proclamation even if that is in the interest of curing yourself. Had it been a private one on one session with a professional counselor that may be a different case.

    As for sister Layla, and her story about a supposed da’ee and his rumored peccadillos and sexual escapades, this sounds like another concocted feminist fairy tale to malign a good brother. Notice the word ‘rumor’ appeared in the story and the flow of the story almost sounds exclusively like hearsay. As for the brother who posted a link to the article about the Imaam in Toronto, there are two points to be made: 1) Even if he is guilty then we shouldn’t expose him further than the suffering he has suffered in the hands of his own community 2) He has just been arrested, no evidences have been shown, no case has been waged in court, nothing has been done, yet we the Muslims are the first ones to assign guilt to him. Is there something wrong with that picture? Subhanallah!

    • layla says:

      Dear brother Abu Yusuf,

      I do not blame you for not believing this story as, indeed, reality goes beyond fiction. That brother was being my husband so, unfortunately, I do know. Unfortunately, the rumours are only for one of the above facts (I have no desire to check the rumours as the rest is enough but, if I wanted to, I know where to go to investigate). As for the rest, there are pictures to confirm this. And, unfortunately, his children can confirm the story :(

      I, as well as his children, have made numerous du’as for him. And, as I came here anynomously, I don’t see how I defame him. In fact, rumours were started by outside the family. May Allah guide him to the straight path again.

  61. BintKhalil says:

    Brother Amad, since a lot of people here commented about not having a partner for privacy and/or other reasons, would it be at all possible to connect people here? A lot of people here are in the same boat, and the privacy that the internet provides might be harnessed with good. This way the article can indeed be used to translate to action inshaAllah.

  62. Umair Sayyed says:

    Amad bhai.. are you there on twitter? would like to follow you.. becomes difficult to sign to multiple site…. if you dont have.. will suggest you to create twitter ID and FB page.

  63. Abu says:

    Salam, Thank you for the helpful article.

    What I wanted to know was, does viewing explicit material nullify ones fast?

    • Umair Sayyed says:

      Dear Abu,

      Will suggest you to consult Uleema (alim or mufti) for queries like these… which is proper “masla”… Probably you will find answer in muftisays or askimam.com

  64. Johnny says:

    Salam brothers and sisters,

    I have a EXTREME addiction to porn and masturbation. I have tried several times to kick the bad habit. I feel like i am alone in this condition and the only person that faces it is me. I look down on myself a lot because of it and it plays along in ruin the rest of my self esteem. I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do and where to go. please make dua for me this is ruining my life at the moment and i just cant seem to stop.

    jazak.

    • Jo Jo says:

      Wa ‘alaikumus salaam brother.. You are NOT alone. I am in the same position as you. I’ve tried over and over, and failed. I hope every year that Ramadan will “fix” me, but I am never strong enough. I also feel like I have no hope.

  65. umm abdullah says:

    Emails from the grave!!

    Assalamualaykum

    Please brothers take the time to listen to this short clip (see link below) about the death of a muslim who was involved in porn. It is a frightening but necesssary reminder/warning. You may have to copy and paste the url.

    http://towardshuda.wordpress.com/2010/02/09/e-mails-from-the-grave/

    I pray to Allah for all of you to be purified. Alhumdulilah you have recognise there is an issue and you want to rid yourself of it. This is commendable and the first step to overcoming such problems. May Allah help you, forgive you and guide you.
    The person Hash786 said he overcame his addiction but he didnt give details on how. I’m sure the brothers would appreciate his contribution. Can the moderator urge him to share this.

    From your old posts on the issue the story on sister Aya was quite sad. Is it possible to get in touch with her. She can remain annonymous.

    May we have a good end as we return to Allah the Almighty. Ameen

  66. umm abdullah says:

    Emails from the grave!

    Forgot to say the video is only 3minutes. PLEASE WATCH!

  67. Abu Control says:

    ive never masturbated in my life by the grace and blessings of Allah, and im now married with kids. ive never looked at porn though when i was younger, if something came on, there would be brief glimpses before i switched the channel (because i didn’t have the remote control, had to get up and change the channels on our old tv, which i did), and yes my physical drive was on overdrive daily and it was painful.

    two ideas in my head kept me from engaging in these:

    idea #1: Allah is watching me, there is no way I can do this (watch pornography or masturbate) while He’s watching me (this thought also enabled me to break my habit of excessively swearing in my sophomore year of high school).
    idea #2: masturbation is for desperate lonely losers who can’t get any and while i wasnt dating or getting any myself, i had a personal standard that this act was beneath my dignity. the idea of sinking so low was simply unthinkable, the mind would move from the desire to the thought “i wish i were married already!”

    hope some of you find these as useful tools among the many you’ll need to fight these problems, may Allah make it easy on all of you.

  68. Abu Adam says:

    Here is a pamphlet I’m putting together for my local masjid, maybe someone can benefit form it.This is made from what I have been learning from my classes at http://www.netinstitute.org. Feel free to distribute.
    Bismillah

    Addicted To Drugs, Objects or Events?…………………….
    Addiction issues don’t have to get the best of you, your Lord Allah will heal you if…………………………………………
    If you think He SWT can! Dear brother/sister may Allah reward you for taking steps on a journey to end your addiction, or helping someone else with their addiction problem, whether it’s a drug, object (porn), or event (binge eating) involved. Overcoming an addiction can be extremely challenging, but “whoever struggles, finds”. Allah the one who knows us better then we know our own selves says what could mean “whoever has consciousness of Allah – He will give him a way out and provide for him from where he does not expect. Whoever puts his trust in Allah –He will be enough for him. Allah always achieves His aim. (65/2,3) .

    Think about that, “he will give him a way out” if you have consciousness (taqwa) Allah also tells us “I…Indeed Allah is with the patient” (2:153). How can that help you? If you don’t lose heart or give up you will be victorious. No matter how many times you have tried to end your addiction or tried to help you friend end theirs you need to know many people have beaten their addiction problems. Addiction is an issue that the more you stumble on the path to recovery the closer you get to the goal. Look at history of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) how quitting in the face of adversity didn’t even occur to him (peace be upon him). Close you eyes and think about when his early followers where being killed, tortured and looking to him for strength and support it seemed like the whole world was against them with no way out on the horizon. There was a scary, dark and unknown future. But he and the believers put their trust in Allah and were patient for a long time and by the power of Allah they outlasted their adversaries and where victorious. If you don’t quit, you outlast your problems. Guaranteed (InshaAllah).

    In American history it is reported that Thomas Edison the person known for inventing the light bulb was told by his teachers he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

    If you tried to end your addiction but relapsed 1000 times, your not failing a thousand times it’s just taking you a thousand times to get it right. The right mind frame can change your perspective and give you encouragement.

    It was reported that some of the sahaba memorized 10 verses of Qur’an at a time then would implement what they read before they would moved on to remember more. Take time to ponder over the Qur’an. Allah says what could mean “Indeed, We have sent down for you a Book, in which there is your Reminder Will you not then understand? (21:10). If you ponder over the Qur’an, I mean actively read it for wisdom you will get encouragement and an increase in spiritual strength. It will help guide you to good choices. Allah says what could mean “If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of The Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him. (43:36).

    If you or a family member has an addiction problem, you should know a lot is happening inside the mind of the addicted one. It’s natural that our bodies want to maximize pleasure and lessen pain, it helps us as a species to continue on and helps us keep safe. That’s why when you put your hand on a hot stove you don’t have to think about taking your hand off of it, your body will withdraw your hand automatically. When a person takes part in a addictive behavior (using heroin, smoking cigarettes, pornography, food addictions, sugar etc..) They found a powerful way to change their mood. It’s not the object they are addicted to it’s the mood change they are addicted to . The brain says “hmm, this is a way to change the mood fast if we are in pain or feeling bad”. Unlike a healthy person who might deem it sufficient talk to a friend , take a walk through the woods, read Qur’an, or be patient to change their mood when they aren’t feeling a way they like. The addicted one gets quick gratification by acting out (doing addictive behavior) .The brain bypasses the part of the brain that makes decisions and arranges the mood change in the same place of the fight or flight reflex. Just like you don’t think to remove your hand from a hot stove, the person doesn’t think when they feel bad, weak, embarrassed or incomplete to act out, they just do it automatically. No deep thought process crosses the mind. In most cases, it becomes an automatic response to act out (get high). Eventually, the problem can get so bad that a person can’t function emotionally like a normal person, so they begin to live just to “act out”. They bought into the big deception that drugs and addictive activities promote, which is “I can nourish you, and make you feel better”. The fact is that no object, drug or event can make a person happy or fulfilled. Happiness isn’t something to search for it’s something you grow on the inside. It’s easy for a person’s brain to justify acting out, but it is a lie that has confused many smart people. People get addicted to things for different reasons. Some people get a prescription from a doctor for pain and get addicted to it. Others may have been given drugs in school by administration to get them to pay attention. Others just tried something with so called friends and over time lost control.

    No one wants to be taken over by their addiction, but the addiction destroys the will to stop. The brain is making it a natural response to feeling bad. It’s as if someone asked you to stop feeling hungry when you haven’t eaten in a while, you would probably say, “how can I stop feeling hungry? It’s a feeling that comes from inside that I don’t have control over!” That is similar to a person who has a addiction problem. It’s a powerful, baffling, and cunning problem as one of the founders of the association “Alcoholics Anonymous” described. That’s why a person will swear not to “act out” one day, only to fall into it the next day. When I say act out, I don’t just mean smoke the crack, watch the porn, or sniff the cocain. I mean taking the steps towards it. For example, if a person gets the idea to go buy some cocain he might start thinking about it deeply, put on a certain outfit, start walking in the direction of the place he knows he can buy it. As he is walking towards it, the emotion of the person is heightened or calmed. They are actually taking part in the acting out even though they may have not have used the substance yet. That is what “acting out” means, taking part in any part of the rituals of addiction.

    Rituals keep us tied to beliefs and actions. We Muslims pray because it keeps our feet grounded in the religion. Likewise, addictive rituals keep a person in the addictive cycle. A person has to recognize when they are acting out and what their rituals are so the brain will stop “playing games” on them. A person goes about acting out in a pattern. First they think a certain way, then they justify acting out, then they take steps towards acting out, and covering it up. Finally, they act out. Over and over, in a predictable way. In a ritualistic way.

    It’s important to understand the illness, because when someone understands something, they can work to getting to the core of the problem. Look at a person sick with the flu. They are very predictable in the way they start getting sick. First when you get the flu you feel your throat getting scratchy, then you start coughing and sneezing, then feel weak, etc. One of the predictable actions of a person with an addiction problem is their brain justifies their actions. This is important because if a person doesn’t recognize the denial and justification they won’t be able to move forward. For example a person who has an alcoholic problem who has to meet with his wife’s family the next day will say “I will just have one drink so my hands won’t shake when I meet her family”. I’ll just have one drink as a medicine so I can seem normal because if I don’t drink I will start shaking and feeling bad and I don’t want to embarrass my wife. This is a delusional logic that is part of addiction. A person must admit 24 hours, 7 days a week that they have an addiction problem and there can be no justification for it no matter what! They can’t say they drink because they where abused or they drink because they are depressed. They must say ” I drink/smoke/watch porn because I have an addiction problem and not justify it or deny it! That’s the same with any other addiction. A person must first struggle to do three things even if they aren’t ready to stop acting out.1-admit to Allah they are weak and need his help 2- not justify their addiction 3- not deny their addiction 4- understand a object or event can’t fulfill you or make you happy. The Messenger of Allah said what could mean “If the son of Adam were given a valley full of gold, he would love to have a second one; and if he were given the second one, he would love to have a third, for nothing fills the belly of Adam’s son except dust. And Allah forgives he who repents to Him.” ( Sahih Bukhari )

    When a person has a friend, family member, or a person in the Masjid has some sort of addiction problem, it’s important to help them and not hurt them. A person can do things thinking they are helping the person but are really hurting them. For example doing things for the brother /sister with the addiction problem that they could do for themselves like giving them gas money, paying their bills, paying their car note, buying them cell phones, clothing etc. If a person with an addiction problem gets any of these things they will just use the money, or sell the items to act out and lie about it later. Sometimes they need to get kicked out of their apartment, and feel some discomfort to to feel the consequence of their ways as a motivation to be ready to end the denial and get help. The way you help a person with an addiction problem is by encouraging them to take advantage of local resources to get help and encourage them to not quit trying. Give the person love, but not money.

    Sometimes loved ones get addicted to helping the addicted one. In fact it’s normal and predictable that this will happen. This causes family health, mental and financial issues. It’s hard watching someone who you love destroy themselves in front of your eyes. Essentially the person with the addiction problem is the only one who can stop the problem, and he/she harms himself and the family even though he/she can’t see it. But they need love and the right support. You don’t want to be an enabler (a person who inadvertently helps the person to act out). You help the person by not shaming them, insulting them or dishonoring them , because all these things hurt a person with an addiction problem. The shame of not being able to quit triggers a response to “act out”. When a person loses self esteem, self love, self determination, they have lost themselves. So they dwell in a dark lonely place . You don’t do for the person what you wouldn’t do, or let a normal person do. You don’t let them come home late at night, steal, cheat, take over your life, or live in the house while hurting family members. But you give encouragement and support and help them to join a program that helps addicted ones. They must join a program. You don’t give the person money, or all your time. But love, encouragement, and some of your time only to help them get help. The only way to help is to GET THEM HELP. You also want to give books, tapes, and lectures, to help them grow as a person. That’s it! If there is children involved, they must be accounted for and cared for by the community.

    Families will sometimes feel the need to defend themselves against a person who acts out, because the person develops a different personality. The person does things that are abnormal and things that are not a part of their normal character. So family naturally want to separate from the person. The person may make family uneasy, steal, lie insult, or worse. It’s important to have boundaries for the person. Establishing boundaries is good for everyone. It keeps hate out of the heart and reduces harm. But you don’t want to ever completely separate yourself, because the person needs you for your love, and encouragement. Remember the person is a victim and needs your support to get over this.

    Some times a family may need to do an intervention to come between a person and their addiction, when the person refuses help. A good book on how to do a intervention is “No More Letting Go” by Debora Jay. There are a lot of good books showing friends and family how to help a person with an addiction. Every Masjid should have a plan of action on how to help members with addiction problems so when they come across one it will make things easier for everyone. Even if it’s just referring them to a certain local resource. There should be a game plan with this growing problem.

    There are organizations for professionals, like airline pilots and doctors who have addiction problems that will keep their secret, and give them help at the same time. There are organizations that help families to cope with addiction, and help to maintain a happy and good life without letting addiction destroy the family, and will help them cope with life like (http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/). There are online classes, and recovery professionals who make house calls to help people who are in recovery. Some services cost money, some are free. You must get out there and search, because “whoever struggles finds”. The family should also encourage the person to join an organization like Narcotics Anonymous with chapters across the country. It will give the person measurable goals to work toward and keep them moving forward on the path to recovery. I encourage you, whether you have a addiction problem, or you have a family member suffering, to seek out and join an organization now! Some of these organisations may be christianity based, and others are non-religious, so be advised to first and foremost, hold on to your deen.

    Here are some things you can start doing today to start the journey:
    1-Reaffirm your connection with Allah by reading the Qur’an and pondering over it (start now!)
    2-Stop denying there is a problem
    3-Admit you are weak, powerless and need Allah’s help. Your actions are not enough! Ask Allah.
    4- Recognize every time your brain tries to justify acting out.
    5-Ask yourself, what would you like to change about yourself?
    6-Ask yourself, how will you go about changing yourself ?
    7-Ask yourself, how do you see yourself once you change?
    8-Ask yourself, how will you feel once you change?
    9-Ask yourself how will your change positively effect those around you?
    10-Join a local organization like (AAA), because you need help.
    11-Read study and grow as a person. Just because you have an addiction doesn’t mean you have to shut down. Try to develop as a child, parent, friend, and a person. Read and learn about the stories of others who are going through this problem by renting books and tapes free at the public library, listening to Islamic lectures
    12-Practice “mindfullness” which is the art of concentrating on something (say, your breathing), with an attempt to live in the present, without thinking about the past or future. Practicing this form of meditation develops the awareness of when a persons focus is shifting to something else and helps the person to not respond to impulses, depression, or shame, but learns to see feelings and emotions as they are, and not judge them much, like watching someone walk down the road until out of sight. Just allowing ideas to flow in and out without judging them, analyzing them or fighting against the emotions. For example, a person would sit down and concentrate on the air coming in and out of their nose and on nothing else. The person attempts to keep his/her mind on the breathing. Any time the mind wonders off, they notice that the focus has changed, and they bring it back to the breathing. This “live in the moment” type of meditation can be done while eating, walking, and almost anything.
    May Allah help you to take action RIGHT NOW! Remember there is no shame in admitting a problem, and taking steps to to deal with it. Addiction is a long term illness, and takes time before you can get a hold of it. Join an organization. May Allah make this pamphlet for his sake.
    — Your brother, Abu Adam

  69. Abu Adam says:

    correction on ayyat.
    Think about that, “he will give him a way out” if you have consciousness (taqwa) Allah also tells us “…Indeed Allah is with the patient” (2:153)

  70. Akhi says:

    Proven tips on stopping this ugly and harmful habbit…

    1. take regular showers
    2. clean private parts after urinating, dirt accumulating there is an open invite to shaytan…
    3. urinate sitting down as the prophet s.a.w.s did… this empties the bladder completely from dirt… (for men)
    4. Make sincere duaa
    5. Recite SURA YUSUF, or at least play it on mp3… I promise you it works MIRACLES!!! at least parts 2 & 3 and reflect on the story, where the woman is trying to seduce him… Yusuf talks to his lord “surely is a soul inclined to evil except those whom u have mercy upon” and when he sais “the prison is dearer to me than what they are calling me to”
    6. Fast volountarily sometimes, it’s good to fast on the 13, 14, 15 of every lunar month (when the moon is full) or the first two thursdays and mondays, according to the prophets tradition fast lowes sexual desires…
    7. Always keep in mind that this is a trial and the bigger the temptation is the bigger the reward is for abstaining from it… and if you overcome it it will be counted as a good deed
    8. Keep in mind the verse “woe to him that has taken his desires as his god!!!” Don’t let anything or anybody have control over you, except Allah swt…
    9. Recite the verse from surah an noor “tell the believers to lower their gaze… (qul lil mu’minina yaghudhu min absarihim… ) to the end and the one after (qul lil mu’minaati…) do this regularly
    10. Thank Allah and ask him for his help sincerely…
    11. Keep busy with exercise, physical and social activity school work hobbies etc…
    12. Be aware of the full consequences (feeling of guilt, low testosterone, drain of energy, most importantly Allah displeased with you) you simply CANNOT succeed in life with this going on

    Hope this helps
    wa salaam

  71. Mikaela says:

    Many sufferers and even therapists agree that they hope a greater awareness of the disease will eventually help addicts of all genders and ages come forward and seek treatment.
     

  72. muslim brother says:

    is it temporary(ephermal) satisfaction or everlasting satisfaction that we seek? ask yourself this!

  73. Abdul karim says:

    Masha Allah great article

  74. Me addict says:

    I happened to chance upon this article and realised that I need to start today, no start NOW.

    Even, before I read the full article, I have taken my first step – I deleted all my email accounts I used for this fahishah.

    Why I post this here? 2 reasons

    1. For all your duas. Please please please – a strong wasiyat for everyone reading this to include me in your duas to give me the strength for this Jihad.

    2. Inspiration for others – All of you out there – lets fight and win this battle. This is the Jihad of our times. Yes, we can do it, Insha Allah.

    Ya Allah, please help me and my brothers (and sisters) in our struggle.

  75. Angry and Frustrated says:

    I mean this in the most non-offensive way possible: Why would I give up pornography? Honestly, why?

    Look, I’ve been trying VERY VERY hard to get married for over 5 years. I’ve met countless women, I’ve been to marriage gatherings, I’ve been introduced, blah blah. I’ve given up on things that I wanted in my ideal wife so many times. Maybe something is wrong with me. I think I’m a very nice person, honest, friendly, blah blah, But people keep calling me “weird” and its very hurtful — though I don’t show it.

    I see people who I know dated and committed Zinnah getting married before me, despite being years younger. Why? Because they dated, did all these things I never did, so they know how to “play the game”.

    I’ve prayed and made du’a for years and years. Why should I continue to pray to a God who won’t respond to me? Why should I continue to move down a path that many before me have, and I seem to be following as well?

    You know what Allah? I won’t pray to you until you prove that you really have this power and ability to change all things. Otherwise, you have no more power than an idol. So, pornography is the only access I have to women. And that’s better than nothing.

    • Dear Angry and Frustrated

      Allah tries each of us in different ways. Maybe your trial was being single and having to battle your hormones. And shaytaan beautified the path to sin by bringing to your notice those who disobeyed their Lord and went into ruin by committing zina. And eventually in an attempt to avoid the big glaring sin, he led you slowly and steadily towards pornography, making you think it was to protect you from zina but was in actuality a lesser form of zina. And as he led you down this path, he then convinced you that Allah (SWT) was not on your side and that you didn’t need to pray to Him or He didn’t have the power to change your situation (audhu billah). And maybe from a man who 5-7 years ago was a pious individual ended up losing his faith in Allah. And maybe that was the test that Allah had given for you but you let Shaytaan win you over.

      My sincerest advice, is that you turn earnestly towards Allah in forgiveness, like Yunus (AS) turned towards Him, and remember the prayer when he (AS) said la ilaha illa anta subhanaka inni kuntu min az-zalimeen (There is none worthy of worship but You, Glory be to You, verily I am amongst the wrong doers). Then pray earnestly for Him (SWT) to grant you a pious wife and protect you from the evil of pornography. And verily He (SWT) is the One who loves to forgive.

      May Allah (SWT) make it easy on you.

      Best Regards
      -Aly

      *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

      • Angry and Frustrated says:

        Aly,

        Disobey my Lord to follow Shaytaan? Didn’t Allah disobey himself when he PROMISED us that he would answer our du’as? And, you asked me to make du’a to Allah. My honest, most sincere question is, what good would that do? What’s the point?

        ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ
        “Call upon me, I will respond” – Surah Ghafir, Verse 60

        Well, I called and called and called. Its been five years now. That’s a very long time. I’m older now and have gray hair. And now I’m depressed and always angry. Who would even want me anymore? So where is Allah? Is he even capable?

        The Qur’an makes an argument about the idols and says that the mushrikeen are calling upon beings that cannot hear you, cannot help you, cannot do anything. My question is, how is Allah different than an idol? Allah does not do anything either.

        What difference would it make if I prayed to Allah or an idol? The result would be the same, so how is Allah any different than the idols the prophets had to deal with? Or the Idols of the Hindus?

        The one who led me down this path isn’t Shaytaan, its Allah, by breaking his promises even though I was as sincere as I could be.

        • SubhanAllah!

          Any prayer made is answered in 3 ways:

          1) It is answered immediately
          2) It is saved and the ajr is given in the hereafter
          3) It is used to avert something bad that may be destined for you

          I would recommend you read the following:
          http://islamiclearningmaterials.com/5-reasons-your-duas-arent-answered/

          It answers this very nicely

          • Angry and Frustrated says:

            Thanks for your comments. I’ve calmed down a lot since then, and who knows, I might return to prayer and fasting. But, that’s only because my emotions have calmed down. My mind still rejects the answers given to me — and with good reason.

            First, anything you say about “it will be given in the hereafter” or that it will change any soo’ in my Qadr towards good can also be said about an idol. What I perceive is exactly the same. My question remains, what makes faith in Allah different than faith in an idol? You can also say “The idol has removed soo’ from your Qadr” or “will give it to you in the hereafter”.

            Related: It reminds me of Ibrahim’s argument where he said “My lord makes the sun rise from the East to the West”. What if someone says to a Muslim “My idol makes the sun rise from the East to the West”. What do you say to that? Fabuhita alladhee amanoo?

            Second, I really take offense to the ones about how my sins might be holding me back. Not from you in particular, but from the notion. I recognize that I’m FARRRR from perfect. But, that’s basically kicking me while I’m down. To be blunt, I’m your stereotypical “Good Muslim boy”. I went to Hajj, I never dated or did drugs, I studied Arabic for many years, I honestly honestly did try very very hard. I didn’t take the religion lightly. So to me, that answer is like saying “You’ll never be good enough”, so I might as well just give up now.

            I once wrote a short premise on this: Every excuse (note: not answer) for why du’as are not answered is flawed. I listed them out, one by one, and then explained their problems. I also read Yasir Qadhi’s “Du’a Weapon of the Believer” a couple times, especially the chapter on Unanswered Du’as. But they’re just excuses, not answers. To me, its Allah promising, but failing to deliver.

            One thing that comforts me is looking at all the good in my life, I’m young, healthy, very wealthy, reasonably good looking, etc. But I still feel that’s a temporary distraction to a major problem in the Deen.

            I used to maintain hope in Allah, that maybe he just might show up and change things. Now, I need proof or else I’m going to hold out. Show me something that would have happened one way, but a Du’a changed it so that it happened another. Show it to me with my own eyes. Otherwise, I would be like a Christian who denies his own mind and only has blind faith.

          • Let me first say that I am sorry if you thought I was accusing you of sin. That was not my intention. I was just telling that it is one of the reasons that duas are not answered. You are ma sha Allah quite well read so really anything that I say is something that you already know.

            Regarding the notion that an idol may change qadr, then the argument Ibrahim (AS) gave to his people when he broke all the idols except the biggest one comes into play here. And as Allah (SWT) say these idols that are worshipped can not event stop a fly from taking from the offerings laid down to them.

            I recently learnt a dua that I have included in my azkar of morning and evening “Allahumma inni asaluka ar-rida ba’dal qada” (my translitteration is not perfect – my apologies) Rough Translation: “O Allah! I ask of you contentment in that which has been ordained.”

            I pray to Allah (SWT) that He guides your heart once more towards His light and makes you content with what He has Ordained.

            Best Regards
            -Aly

            *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

          • Frustrated and Angry says:

            First off, I’m not angry at you, nor did I even notice an accusation. Don’t worry about it.

            The over all point I’m getting as is that anything you can say about an idol, you can also say about Allah. Because, the same way an idol does nothing, Allah does nothing. I don’t know how to make myself more clear. Any criticism that can be made about an idol can be made about Allah.

            I’ve made that du’a, in a slightly different format, a million billion times. And clearly it had no effect.

            The Shaykh I sit with said you have to have conviction in Allah, and have a good impression because “I am in the opinion on my slave”. But, I have proof against this hadith. I’ve made du’a with absolute conviction and still it had no effect. To be honest, I have no more trust in Allah to muster up, even if I lie to myself, to honestly believe that Allah will do anything. He’s let me down too many times.

          • Unfortunately, this forum is not the correct place to seek an answer. If you have access to a Shaykh it is best you discuss with him.

            Best Regards
            -Aly

          • Frustrated and Angry says:

            Fair enough, thanks for your time and effort.

  76. Yomomma says:

    Ibraheem ibn Adham, may Allaah have Mercy upon him, who was a teacher and a companion of Sufyaan ath-Thawree, and he was asked about the saying of Allaah -The Most High:

    “And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me, I will answer your prayer.. “ [Soorah Ghaafir, 40:60]

    “We supplicate and we are not answered.” So he said to them:
    _________________________________

    You know Allaah, Yet you do not obey Him,

    You recite the Qur’aan, Yet do not act according to it,

    You know Shaytaan, Yet you have agreed with him,

    You proclaim that you love Muhammad, Yet you abandon his Sunnah,

    You proclaim your love for Paradise, Yet you do not act to gain it,

    You proclaim your fear the Fire, Yet you do not prevent yourselves from sins,

    You say “Indeed death is true”, Yet you have not prepared for it,

    You point out the faults with others, Yet you do not look at your faults,

    You eat of that which Allaah has provided for you, Yet you do not thank Him,

    You bury your dead, Yet you do not take a lesson from it.”

  77. When I was a sophomore in college, I heard someone give a khutbah and mention these same points. I asked him for his khutbah and pinned these same points over my desk, so that I could implement them. That was around 10 years ago, 2003. While I’m not perfect, I know in my heart that I tried very hard. But Allah has yet to show up.

    Why should I believe what Sufyaan al-Tahwri said was correct? Prove to me that he was right. I very much want him to be right, but have very compelling reasons to believe that he was wrong.

  78. […] Also read this old but informative piece from Muslim Matters: Time to Kick Porn Addiction Out of your System […]

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