Islam and habitual sins

Should a person watch erotic videos to avoid sex outside of marriage?

Salaam,I'm 19 years old,I hope this is not sounds dirty or weird but I don't wanna do zina and I don't want to marry,but I have to do something so I'm watching erotic videos,is it sin? But if I don't watch these I know I will do some bad things,so I'm rather watching erotic videos,is it sin? If it is what can I do?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Please see the following answer where I discuss the philosophical reason why watching pornography and reading erotica is wrong and should be avoided. The reasoning is not merely Islamic, it transcends religion and applies to all people: Is reading erotica permitted in Islam?

As for what you should do: do your best to avoid obscene pleasures. Islam does not ask you to do the impossible. If you fail and give in to your desire, move on as soon as you can and do something good to make up for it (such reading Quran and other acts of worship). There is no final solution for this as long as you are young and have strong sexual urges. But giving in to these urges will always have a negative on your character. There is no way to normalize this so that you can enjoy obscene pleasures while also remaining a deeply spiritual and self-respecting person. The two are opposed and cannot coexist in a person. If you want to maintain your dignity and self-respect, do your best to enhance your spiritual side by dedicating an hour of every day to extra worship (such as by performing tahajjud or reading Quran). The stronger your spiritual side becomes the easier it will become to resist temptations.

But even if you do that you will likely still fail sometimes and give in to the temptations. But what makes the difference between an admirable young Muslim and a failed one is that the admirable one continues to resist and does not let their character be defeated. With every failure they will work to rebuild their character through working to reconnect with God.

Best wishes.

What is the best way to avoid habitual sins?

Assalamu’alaykum, I wanna ask how to find myself and get back on the right path back? Im lost. Like so lost. Ive been feeling so tired with life and everything but i still keep on sinning. Like why is it so hard for me to understand that this life is temporary. Im sorry im emotional. I just needed to let this thing out. Can you please make dua for me. I just want to be a good servant of Allah ((you dont have to reply)) thank you. May Allah bless you.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You cannot stop sinning just by wishing for it or by trying to use your willpower. That never works. You must instead try to become the type of person who needs no effort to avoid sins. And this can only be achieved by setting aside an hour or so every day for extra worship (Quran-reading and praying).

Being unable to stop sinning is a sign that you are distant from God. The sinning is just a sign of a bigger problem. And the solution is to come closer to God. Once you achieve this, you will automatically avoid sinful things without having to think about it. Stop worrying about sins (God forgives all sins) and start worrying about your relationship with God.

For more details please see my essay God has not abandoned you

Best wishes.

Why is it so difficult to stop repeating sins?

I have questions about repeating sins. I clearly know that being in a haram relationship is wrong and awful and I keep asking forgiveness from Allah swt and I pray for Him to protect me from the whispers of shaytaan. But why do I keep repeating the same sins over & over again. I am always sad whenever I do it but I feel like I fell deep down and He won’t forgive me. Please help me.

The reason is that avoiding sin requires feeling deep sense of loyalty toward God. It is not sufficient to merely acknowledge in your mind that God exists and that sins are wrong. You need to make His presence feel real to you, and that requires daily work.

Trying to avoid repeating sins is similar to trying to lose weight by eating less when your house is filled with delicious things like cake and ice cream. Today you might watch a very inspiring lecture or short film that motivates you to lose weight so that you avoid eating the foods you like. But tomorrow, your motivation will have evaporated, and unless you do the necessary work to feel motivated again, you will likely start eating those foods again.

It is in human nature to be attracted toward certain sinful things. Unless we work every day to keep our motivation for avoiding sins, our human nature reasserts itself so that we end up engaging in those sins. What I recommend is to perform at least an hour of tahajjud and Quran reading before bed (see here for the details). If you maintain that just for a week, you will likely be able to effortlessly avoid all sins because you will feel close to God and loyal to Him throughout your day so that it feels out of character to sin.

However, if you start doing that and it helps you avoid repeating sins, if stop doing it then you will again start sinning. If you are truly intent on avoiding sins, you have to make the decision to spend a certain amount of time every single day in extra worship for the rest of your life. There are no short-cuts, no permanent solutions. It is a daily challenge and we have to meet it every single day if we want to remain spiritual and pure of sin.

Giving up an addiction to “sexting” apps

I've been addicted to apps like kik and snapchat for sexting . Even when I delete them I install it back and find girls calling me .how do i quit this crap ? May Allah help me.

The solution I believe is the same as that for avoiding pornography, which is to have a regular, daily spiritual practice that turns you into the kind of person who can naturally avoid sinful things without even trying. The practice I recommend for Muslims is tahajjud, please see this new essay for more about it: Mysticism without Sufism: A Guide to Tahajjud, Islam’s Meditation Practice

Dealing with an addiction to pornography

Assalamu'alaikum. I'm a girl and I'm struggling with my porn addiction. Most of my friends assume that I'm such a religious person just bc i graduated from Islamic boarding school. They just don't know the fact that I'm addicted to porn:( I feel guilty for everytime i watched it, ask for His forgiveness then stupidly watch it again and again. I just can't handle the pleasure that i got from watching it. I pray 5 times a day too, recite the Holy Qur'an and practiced some small examples of Ruqyah Syar'iyyah to protect my self from that vicious circle. But i keep doing it:( I can't stop myself from it.... how to get rid of those addiction? I know it's written in the Qur'an "and those who keep their private parts...." But i still can't stop myself:( I keep asking for His guidance to guide me to the right path but my inner desire always won

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

If you are younger than 25, then your brain has not completed its development. As we mature, our ability to control our urges increases. Therefore if you have difficulty controlling yourself now, each year that passes will likely make you more capable of it. Do not lose hope but do good deeds to make up for it, such as reading the Quran or reading books about Islam in order to increase your knowledge.

For an addict, controlling an urge is impossible if the thing they are addicted to is easy to obtain. What you should do is make it more difficult for you to engage in it, for example by spending less time alone (find hobbies, join clubs and societies, volunteer at charities around you, etc.).

Trying to control your urges is likely going to be hopeless (the way it is for an obese person who wants to lose weight and who has ice cream in the freezer, even if they resist the urge for hours, they will likely still fail many times a week). Instead of thinking of controlling yourself, you should plan against your addiction. Come up with ways of making it difficult or impossible for you to engage in it, such as by spending less time alone as mentioned. If there is a time of day when you have the strongest urges, make it a habit to go out to a coffee shop, library or park for a few hours during this time.

Developing the right plan is going to be the most important part. Reading more Quran and praying more (such as performing the voluntary prayers) is going to also help. And if despite all of these things you continue to fail occasionally, instead of fretting about it just get back on track and know that as time passes things will get easier.

Perhaps everyone’s life contains an ‘unsolvable’ problem. It can be having a disabled child that requires much time and energy to take care of, it can be having a demanding elderly parent who lives in one’s house, it can be extreme poverty or a mean and cruel boss that one is forced to work for for years on end. Your unsolvable problem might be your addiction to pornography. It is a test of your faith and patience to suffer from a problem you cannot fix. Instead of giving up and thinking that God has abandoned you (which is what Satan wants you to think), continue to do as much worship and as much prayer as you can, always seeking God’s forgiveness and trying to think the best of Him.

On avoiding looking at inappropriate images on the internet

I am a 20 year old lady, and I have this problem of constantly clicking on 'inappropriate images' and when I'm done, I feel bad and ask for Forgiveness, but it's become so repetitive! How do I remove sexual desire from within (just until marriage)? I don't even talk to the opposite sex, but what I'm doing is still not good.

There is no way to remove sexual desire. Fasting might help reduce it. The best solution is to reduce your opportunities for engaging in that, such as by only using your computer (if that is what you are using) in a public place, or not spending time alone at home.

At 20 years of age your brain has not fully developed and your power to control your impulses is weak compared to a 25-year-old. There are millions of others like you who wish to stop looking at such things but cannot because of their low impulse control until they get older. For now, don’t lose hope and make sure to carry out all of the obligatory acts Islam asks of you, and ask for God’s forgiveness every time you pray. Meanwhile, try to always come up with new ways of reducing your opportunities for engaging in that, by socializing, finding work outside, etc, and inshaAllah as you mature, it will become easier for you to control your impulses.

Islamic Strategies for Escaping a Sinful Life

19 year old boy here. It's a serious issue but I'll keep it short. I was exposed to pornography at a very young age and I still haven't been able to get over it. And then came the time when I could mingle with the opposite sex and actually do things and since then I haven't been able to stop myself from committing zina. I've barely started to learn Islam but my imaan was a little stable in a few days and I did not do it in a long time. But it ate me from inside. Please help me

Continuing from above, I fear Allah swt but it does not remain constant to me. I’m very helpless and I do not know what to do. I keep doing it. My sexual desire overcomes it and I feel guilty then as usual. I know I’m doing a very horrible sin but I’m really in a position of a porn addict. And if I haven’t asked you the previous thing anonymously then please don’t answer to that? I’m in deep trouble and want my sins to be discreet obviously. Please help me. Jazakallahu khair

I cannot look at myself in the mirror. I desired to be a very influential Muslim and truth in my heart but this major sin inside me is eating me. I’m very frustrated and unable to do anything and I feel horribly ashamed to offer my namaz. Please help me. I’ve asked you around three questions cuz there was a word limit and I hope I get help from Allah swt through you!

No matter how great your sins are, God’s mercy is greater. The greatest sin of all is to lose hope in His mercy and to stop offering the obligatory prayers and performing other obligatory deeds. Regardless of how you feel, this is a duty you cannot ignore. Continue asking for His forgiveness. Even if you fail ten thousand times, He has the power to forgive you more times than that.

At the age of 19 your brain development is not complete. It only completes after the age of 25. What this means is that you have poor impulse control, because of no fault of your own, because the prefrontal cortex of the brain has not completed developing, which is the part of the brain that enables us to control our emotions and impulses.

Trying to make yourself stop engaging in those sins while they are easily available, and while your brain development has not completed, might be asking the impossible. It is like putting a child in a room full of candy and asking them not to eat any. It is an unfair test, because they haven’t developed the ability to control their impulses yet. The same may apply to you.

Think of your desires as an enemy. You cannot defeat it directly, because you do not have the power yet. You must defeat it indirectly. Instead of putting yourself in a test that you are unable to pass, you must avoid the test altogether. This is done by making it impossible to engage in those sins. If you live somewhere where you have easy access to women to sleep with, move somewhere else. Move to a different country if you have to.

If you are sincere in wanting to win this battle, you must do what it takes, even if it requires much work and hardship. Consider it your hijrah. You do not yet have full control over your desires, therefore you must not put your hopes in learning a magical way of overcoming them. You must instead use your intelligence and planning ability to find ways of making it impossible to engage in those sins. Since I do not know your exact situation, I cannot tell you what the best plan for you is. Any plan that requires you to have significant control over your impulses will most likely fail. The plan must take impulse out of the equation by making the sins impossible. For example, if you could join an Islamic educational establishment in a faraway country or area that does not have internet or cell phone coverage, then in that situation avoiding sinning would probably become very easy for you, and you would be able to focus on worshiping God and getting yourself educated about Islam.

Part of the solution could be to get married, even if your family think you are too young, since avoiding major sins is more important. Ibn Masud (companion of the Prophet, ) says that even if he had ten days to live in this world, if he was afraid his sexual desire would cause him to sin, he would do his best to get married. You may be able to find a woman who understands your problem and helps you find ways of overcoming it.

You could also go to a pious person at a local mosque, perhaps the imam, and share with them your problem. Maybe they will be able to help you by getting you involved in certain activities, or helping you move somewhere where you can fight your desires more easily. Sharing your problem with others is difficult, since it will go against your pride and self-respect. But you must give more value to avoiding your sinful life, even if this requires that you expose yourself to highly uncomfortable situations.

If you are unable to find a successful plan for making it impossible for yourself to sin, then know that as you grow older your ability to control your impulses will grow. After 25 it will become much easier for you to avoid sins related to sexual desire. Therefore this should be your back-up plan; if everything else fails, hold on to your faith until it becomes easier to resist your sins. Continue to read as much Quran as you can, try to memorize it, perform all the voluntary prayers including tahajjud, constantly read Islamic books, and if you sin, repent, purify yourself and go back to worship as soon as you can, thinking of it as a temporary interruption in your life of worship, until God helps you completely avoid it.

Continue planning against your desires and praying day and night for God’s help, until He gives you a solution sooner or later. If you sincerely ask of Him and seek Him with everything you have, then He will forgive you and answer you.

Satan will constantly tell you that you are worthless and that you should give up hope. You must fight his whispers and know that there is no solution for you in this world except to seek God, regardless of how sinful and worthless you feel. It is only He who forgives sins.

There is no safety from [God’s punishment] except through taking refuge in Him. (The Quran, verse 9:118)

God knows you better than yourself, and He understands what you go through. If you are sincere in seeking a solution, then He will reward your sincerity and forgive you your past and future sins as you continue to seek His pleasure.

You must consider it your duty to perform sufficient worship and Quran-reading on a daily basis that the afterlife starts to feel as important as the present life to you. This seems to require about an hour of extra voluntary deeds a day, whether it is Quran-reading, supplication, praying at the mosque or performing extra prayers. Once you achieve this state and maintain it for weeks and months, it becomes far easier to resist sins.

You already believe in God and the afterlife. This is only an intellectual belief. Through worship, you can turn it into an emotional belief as well, so that God and the afterlife feel real to you. Once your faith is not just an intellectual belief, but an emotional state, then this will have a powerful effect on your state of mind and on your actions. This is the state that every Muslim must seek to achieve, and it is the state of the prophets and the greatest believers.

The best help I have found toward maintaining such an emotional state has been to perform every prayer at the mosque, to perform dhikr and supplication after every one of them, and to perform all the related voluntary prayers. If there is a mosque near you, then this should be one of the first things you try. Even if it is 10 or 15 minutes away, consider it part of your war against your sins to go there, and God will reward you for your time and effort.

Consider going to the mosque part of your job, as if you earn an hourly wage for it. It is just another job, perform it, and you will get its rewards.

Planning against your sins and doing the work necessary to avoid and overcome them is not going to be easy. It is going to require difficult and perhaps boring and repetitive work. But for this you will be greatly rewarded.

If you want to have a successful career in this life and the next, if you want to be a leader like you said, then do the daily work needed for this. A career requires work, your work is to do worship and to go to the mosque. No matter how unrewarding you find this work, if you do it, you will get its fruits. Worshiping and obeying God is not meant to be fun. It is work, sometimes hard work, sometimes boring work, we do it because we want His rewards. If you do not get any uplifting feeling from your worship or mosque attendance at first, continue doing it for weeks and months, and you will eventually feel it inshaAllah.

When we try to seek God and renew our allegiance to Him, He may withhold His help until we prove our sincerity. If we try to worship Him ardently for a week, then give up hope when nothing happens and we feel no difference, it shows that we do not truly have faith in Him, that we are not sincere in our servitude. We prove our sincerity by constantly working toward Him whether we feel good or bad, whether we feel appreciated or abandoned. This is true worship of God, that we love Him regardless of what He decrees for us. Everything else is mostly self-worship.

 

Dealing with a porn addiction

Tumblr question:

How can I deal with porn addiction?

Updated answer

You cannot stop sinning just by wishing for it or by trying to use your willpower. That never works. You must instead try to become the type of person who needs no effort to avoid sins. And this can only be achieved by setting aside an hour or so every day for extra worship (Quran-reading and praying).

Being unable to stop sinning is a sign that you are distant from God. The sinning is just a sign of a bigger problem. And the solution is to come closer to God. Once you achieve this, you will automatically avoid sinful things without having to think about it. Stop worrying about sins (God forgives all sins) and start worrying about your relationship with God.

For more details please see my essay God has not abandoned you

Former Answer

The short answer is that if you do sufficient worship and Quran-reading so that the afterlife feels more important than the present life, or as important, then giving up any sin becomes the easiest thing in the world. Your problem is not porn, but the fact that your heart is not sufficiently soft, humble and submissive to God. This is the problem that needs to be fixed, and the fixing of it is through dedicating at least an hour of every day to voluntary worship, whether it is through reading the Quran, or praying extra prayers, or sitting after every obligatory prayer in supplication.

Once you continue on this path for a few days, your heart will soften and become submissive, and your awareness of God’s nearness will increase, and your eagerness to seek to serve Him through good deeds will increase as well, so that you enter a state where sins become unthinkable.

Always ask yourself how important the afterlife feels to you. If it feels faraway and unimportant, you have failed at keeping God’s remembrance alive in your heart, and this is what you must work to fix. You know you have reached the necessary state of piety when your record of deeds feels like a real object to you. You think about adding good deeds to it, and worry about the sins recorded on it, so that you continuously ask for forgiveness, since you can never be sure if God has forgiven all of your sins.

Once the afterlife feels so real that it is not just an intellectual idea, but something that causes emotions in you (thinking of Paradise makes you feel excited with joy and longing, and thinking of the Hellfire causes you fear), then you know that you have finally managed to balance the present life with the afterlife.

Being addicted to any sin can only come about when one is attached to the present life, when the afterlife is nothing but a faraway idea, rather than a real, living and breathing thing that is only a heartbeat away. This is the disease that needs to be cured, and curing it will cure all sins, not just a particular sin.

Therefore do everything you can to cause the afterlife to feel real in your heart. Read the Quran, supplicate to God, and continue praying, until your heart submits.

And repeat that every day. This is nothing something that you can accomplish and leave its trophy on your shelf. Faith is something that needs to be continuously recharged, every day of your life. You must work every single day to keep the afterlife real in your heart. Every morning will be a new day in which the afterlife will fade from your heart, and you must exert daily effort to recreate its reality. Without this, no matter what short-term success you achieve in avoiding sins, you will always fall back into it.


God will not burden you with more than you can bear. If you cannot stop it, then make up for it by asking for forgiveness, reading Quran, and praying tahajjud.

Always remember this verse of the Quran: “We have not placed any hardship for you in (this) religion.” (22:78).

There are no clear texts (Quran or hadith) that deal directly with watching porn. This is a matter of conscience between you and God. God is a kind and understanding master, and He knows you better than yourself. If you cannot stop, then continue returning to Him in repentance, He will see your sincerity and your efforts, and that is what matters.

In ten years, when your hormones have calmed down, you will find it much easier to resist this sin.