In this counseling answer:
• Remember is that Allah can guide whom He wills to.
• I recommend directing the addict to seek counselling, not only for their addiction but also to deal with any traumatic experiences they have had or are having.
• It’s important to let the community know that such issues do exist and that they need to be spoken about openly so that those who need support can get it.
• You can also take a less direct approach. Sometimes, telling people that what they are doing is wrong isn’t always so helpful and could even push them to it more.
• You can encourage him to listen to more general lectures, not necessarily those referring to addiction, support him in seeking knowledge through Islamic studies courses, learning to read the Qur’an, and attending halaqahs (seminars) in your local community.
• As his connection with Allah increases, his fear of Allah and desire to please Him will push him away from the addiction.
Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatullah wa barakatuh, brother,
Alhamdulilah that your friend found Islam and that he has a supportive friend like yourself who is trying to help him out. It must be especially difficult given that he is living in an environment that only seems to support his addiction and makes it harder to overcome. This is very heart-breaking to you as you are trying to help him, and it is painful to see him heading on the wrong path.
The first thing to remember is that Allah can guide whom He wills to. Just as He guided your friend to the path of Islam, He can also guide him away from the toxic path of addiction that he is currently embracing.
“Indeed, [O Muhammad], you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills. And He is most knowing of the [rightly] guided” (Qur’an, 28:56)
Why Is He Addicted?
Addiction can often be a result of trauma, and to overcome it the person needs to deal with the root cause of it. In which case, I recommend directing the addict to seek counselling, not only for their addiction but also to deal with any traumatic experiences they have had or are having.
Dealing with such issues allows the person to manage the situation which they are trying to block out through using addictive substances as a means to escape. There can be a stigma attached to attending such services, especially in the Muslim community, due to the reason for attending being that the person engages in haram activities. This, again, is where your support will be of great benefit to him. It might also help to address the topic with your local imam so that he can publicly speak about it to the community without directly drawing attention to your friend.
It’s important to let the community know that such issues do exist and that they need to be spoken about openly so that those who need support can get it. There may even be others in the community going through the same but have been anxious to seek help, so this will be useful for them too.
An Indirect Approach
In addition to being completely obvious and direct in your advice to him regarding the Islamic perspective and ruling on addiction, you can also take a less direct approach. Sometimes, telling people that what they are doing is wrong isn’t always so helpful and could even push them to it more.
It can feel like they are being told what to do, therefore, it might be necessary to let them realise on their own that what they’re doing is wrong. When the person sees this for his/herself without being told, they are more likely to take the responsibility to change because they want to and not because they are being forced to.
This way any changes they make are more likely to be adhered to and last as they have taken these steps of their own volition. It is then that, with the support of friends like yourself, they will be encouraged to maintain their positive changes.
You can encourage this self-realisation in him by guiding him to the path of Islam without necessarily making direct reference to his addiction. Support him learning more about the religion and getting closer to Allah, so that in shaa’ Allah his growing faith in Allah will encourage him to take the steps towards a cleaner path.
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To do so, you can encourage him to listen to more general lectures, not necessarily those referring to addiction, support him in seeking knowledge through Islamic studies courses, learning to read the Qur’an, and attending halaqahs (seminars) in your local community.
All of which will, in shaa’ Allah, boost his knowledge and connection with Islam as well as form a social circle he can rely on when in times of need
“And the Day the wrongdoer will bite on his hands [in regret] he will say, ‘Oh, I wish I had taken with the Messenger a way. Oh, woe to me! I wish I had not taken that one as a friend. He led me away from the remembrance after it had come to me. And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.’” (Qur’an, 25: 27-29)
These activities also provide a helpful distraction by keeping him busy in meaningful activities and leaving no time to turn to addictive substances or be around those who might be facilitating his addiction. Therefore, replacing any bad influences and environments with those which will be more conducive to observing positive change in him.
“Recite, [O Muhammad], what has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer. Indeed, prayer prohibits immorality and wrongdoing, and the remembrance of Allah is greater. And Allah knows that which you do.” (Qur’an, 29:45)
Addiction is a problem that does exist within the Muslim community despite the fact that taking addictive substances is haram. However, often the reason behind engagement in such behaviors is a means to escape some pain or another. The solution for it is to seek counseling to treat both the traumatic experience as well as the addiction itself.
As a friend and as a member of the community, you can support your brother in attending such treatment options. Additionally, you can take a less direct approach by encouraging his connection to the religion.
Support him in learning more about Islam as a new revert as well engaging with the local community and in activities that foster a stronger connection with Allah by studying Islam, meeting with other brothers, and reading the Qur’an.
As his connection with Allah increases, his fear of Allah and desire to please Him will push him away from the addiction.
May Allah reward your concern for your brother and may He guide your friend to the straight path and find contentment on the path of Islam.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.