A day in the life of a recovering Muslim addict
The following is an example of the kind of day a Muslim who is in recovery from addiction may wish to adhere to;
Duah for waking up – In the past, there may have been times when we thought we might not make it until the morning. If Allah had Willed He could have returned our souls to Him while we were in a state of displeasing Him. In the past our first thoughts, when opening our eyes may have been full of negativity. In our addiction many of us awoke to thoughts of regret, depression, aniety and then thoughts of using, or getting our next fix. A Muslim striving to follow the sunnah, example, of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad begins their day with positivity and gratitude to Allah by reciting the following;
Fajr prayer – Every day, without doubt must begin with the compulsory dawn prayer. Missing this virtuous opportunity can cause us to feel sluggish and demotivated for the rest of the day.
“Whoever prays fajr is under the protection of Allaah. Do not put yourselves in a situation where Allaah has to call you to account for your negligence.” (Reported by al-Tabaraani, 7/267; Saheeh al-Jaami’, no. 6344).
“Angels come to you in shifts by night and by day. They meet at salaat al-fajr and salaat al-‘asr, then those who had stayed with you at night ascend, and are asked by the One Who knows better than they: ‘How did you find My servants?’ They say, ‘We left them when they were praying, and we came to them when they were praying.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, 2/33).
The one who begins their day with the Fajr prayer, starts with a spring in their step, with light on their face and with energy to maximise their day. This is the successful recovering addict as he or she has begun their morning with the worship of Allah that He loves. We have started the day with the surah Fatiha and asking Allah to keep us on the Straight Path.
Ruqiya – protecting oneself from the Shayateen –
The best ruqiya is performed on oneself. The successful recovering Muslim addict is wary to protect themselves from the whispers and antics of the shayateen. We spent a lot of our addiction blaming the shayateen for our using and relapsing. By now, we know the tactics of the devils as much as they know our weaknesses. Its time to take the power back. The children of Adam are superior over the jinne, thats why Allah asked Iblis to bow down Prophet Adam (alayhisalam). Allah tells us in numerous places in the Qur’an that the plot of shaytan is weak. We must remember that Allah has given us ways to overcome shaitans plans. There are many ways to protect ourselves and some of the best ways are to recite ayatul-kursi, The 3 Quls (last three chapters of the Qur’an) and to simply say;
Seeking refuge in Allah from Shaitan and protecting oneself from the Shaitan is a must for every recovering addict and we need to make it a part of our regular daily routine, not just in the morning but after every prayer, throughout the day and before we sleep at night. When we are prone to repeating the same sin, we need as Help and Protection from Allah as we can.
Keeping clean – The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said “Cleanliness is half of eeman.” (Muslim). As recovering addicts we look to do things differently. We want to turn our lives around completely. There may have been times during our addiction that we have been less focussed on keeping clean and smelling nice. Perhaps we visited places that were dirty to obtain drugs, and perhaps days passed without showering. Shaitan loves the dirty places and keeping clean cleanses us spiritually as well as physically.
The act of ablusion, wudhoo, performed before prayer has a positive effect on our mental well being. The Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him guided us to make wudhoo when we are feeling angry as it cools down the emotions. Therefore, when we are craving and in high states of anxiety, making wudhoo will help cool us and lessen the cravings. It is part of the Sunnah our of our Prophet peace be upon him, that he would always be in the state of wudhoo when he left his home and we should do the same.
Duah when leaving the house –
This prayer should be on the lips of every Muslim recovering addict when they leave their homes. Shaitan is waiting for us outside the door every day. Imagine if we could see him with our eyes. Only then would our duah be more urgent for us. But we need to be conscious of this and remember to say this duah in order to protect ourselves.
Anas (ra) reports that Allaah’s Messenger (saw) said, “Whoever says (when he leaves his house): “In the Name of Allah, I place my trust upon Alaah, There is no power nor movement except by Allaah” it is said to him: “You have been sufficed, you have been protected and you have been guided”. Then one of the devils turns to another and says, “How can you get to a man who has been sufficed, protected and guided”. (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, hasan saheeh).
We are also placing our trust and handing over our will and our hopes to Allah and increasing our taqwa (God-consciousness) every time we remember Allah. This dua will help us to tread on the Straight Path to Recovery when we leave our homes each day.
Correcting Intentions (Niyah)
Whether you are going to work, education or recreation, now is the time to correct intentions. A muslim has the opportunity to earn a great deal of good deeds and rewards with Allah for acts that do not seem to be anything like worship. A person who earns money for his family by going to work is performing charity. The Prophet saws said;
“…perform all that is good and keep away from all that is evil and this will be regarded as charitable deeds.” (Bukhari Vol. 2, Hadith 524)
All good actions performed for the sake of Allahs pleasure and in accordance with the sunnah of the Prophet peace be upon him, will be accepted by Allah as a good deed. Therefore, however we spend our day, we need to be conscious of our intentions and we need to strive hard to keep them pure. By remaining conscious of Allah in this way, when cravings set in, or opportunities to arise crop up we are already in the mindset of wanting to please Allah and keep away from anything that will earn His anger.
Exercise – A productive recovering Muslim is someone who takes note of his physical health alongside his spiritual and emotional well being. In early recovery especially, we may find cravings can cause anxiety, anger and a build up of excess adrenaline. Exercise is a positive way of burning off that adrenaline. We will find that by making regular time we will reduce our cravings and help promote sleep later at night. Just be conscious of not swapping one addiction for another and exercise in a healthly balanced way without exercions. We need to keep time for family and relaxation and spirituality too.
Dhuhr and Asr prayers
In the early days or months of sobriety we may find it easier to work our recovery programmes from prayer to prayer. At fajr we must think to ourselves “I am going to stay clean until Dhuhr”. When Dhuhr comes we perform our prayers and inshaAllah we will reap the benefits of that prayer, cool down our cravings and reaffirm our faith in Allah. If the cravings kick back in again we hold on until Asr. We keep going through the days, prayer by prayer, hoping for the reward and help of Allah to get us through each day. Prayer makes recovery possible. Its the very essence of our Islam. Some scholars say that by choosing not to pray, someone chooses to leave Islam. Islam means ‘submission’ and a Muslim is ‘one who submits to Allah’. Therefore, if we are not praying, how are we submitting? Think of how we used to submit to our cravings and our desires every day! Think about how we used to submit to the invitations of the shayateen! Isn’t it time we submitted to Allah?
A muslim in recovery is conscious of the timings of prayer and finding a place to pray whereever he may be, so that he can pray on time. It is not Allah that is need of our prayers – it is us who is in need of them.
In our addiction, we may have lived like nocturnal beings. Perhaps we waited for the family to be sleeping, or perhaps we made excuses why we would be late home. In our addiction the nights were long and the days were short. In our recovery, this needs to change.
It is Allah alone Who has made the night that you may rest in it, and has made the day light-giving. Surely in that there are signs for those who give heed (to the call of the Messenger).(Qur’an, 67:10)
We need to make our days packed and preoccuppied so that when night time comes we are ready to relax with our families and take time to focus on our prayers and recitation of Qur’an. Getting an early night will help us to be ready and fresh for the next day, and give us the opportunity to rise early for fajr, or even tahajjud (pre-dawn prayers) if we desire.
We should be conscious of utilising the hours before bed wisely, so that we can maximise our rewards with Allah.
Throughout our addiction we may have neglected our families. Relations were severed and partnerships were destroyed. In our recovery, part of embracing Islam as a way of life, is to make ammends to those we have harmed through our addiction. We will never get back the time our family or friends missed out on. But we can strive hard to rebuild our relationships with them with humbleness and humility. The Prophet peace be upon him encouraged us to make time for our family and strengthen the bonds of kinship.
Time for Qur’an
As part of our recovery , we need to fill up our evenings with actions that lead to righteousness and occupy our minds with the remembrance of Allah. If we do not do this, shaitan will tempt us through our desires to give in to our cravings and urges. Recitation of the Quran is one of the best ways to come closer to Allah and His Path. The Prophet saws would read certain chapters from the Qur’an every night and encouraged us to choice an portion of the Qur’an and be consistent in that.
Perhaps, you might like to start with a surah like Surah Mulk or Yaseen. Muslim recovering addicts find that by reading Quran every night, they are able to restructure their lives, fight the cravings and overcome the shayateen. By reciting Quran, we establish a new routine and new habits that counteract the old ones. We are able to cling on to our sobriety by holding fast to the Book of Allah. A residential programme in South Africa called Crescent of Hope incorporates the recitation of certain chapters into their recovery programme for the patients. Each night the patients will follow the sunnah of Muhammad, peace be upon him, and recite the same chapters that he would regularly read each night; Surah Waqiyyah, Mulk and Sajda. Clients benefit from the structure and when they return home, they are able to continue with this sunnah and inshaAllah purify their evenings and prevent relapse. This creates new habits that will counteract the previous addictive habits of their past. This is something we can do as part of our recovery programme, in fact it is a sunnah that many Muslims, addicts or not, are able to utilise to keep themselves on the Straight Path of Allah.
Western recovery programmes promote the taking of daily inventories where the recovering addict thinks and reflects about their day, what they did well, where they went wrong. A successful Muslim recovering addict encorporates this into their daily routine, because this is something practised by the early companions of the Prophet peace be upon him. This practise is called Muhassaba and it means ‘to bring yourself to account’.
By checking in on ourselves each day we can only seek to improve on our recovery programme. If this can be worked through with a trusted friend of loved-one this is even better. The Prophet saws said “A muslim is a Mirror to another Muslim.” This means, just like a sponsor in the twelve step programme might, we need help to look at ourselves and gently advise one another to Allahs way. As Allah says in Surah Asr;
Whenever Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) went to bed, he would lie down on his right side and recite: “Allahumma aslamtu nafsi ilaika, wa wajjahtu wajhi ilaika, wa fawwadtu amri ilaika, wa ‘alja’tu zahri ilaika, raghbatan wa rahbatan ilaika, la malja’a wa la manja illa ilaika. Amantu bikitabikal-ladhi anzalta, wa nabiyyikal-ladhi arsalta [O Allah! I have submitted myself to You, I have turned my face to You, committed my affairs to You, and depend on You for protection out of desire for You and out of fear of You (expecting Your reward and fearing Your punishment). There is no refuge and no place of safety from You but with You. I believed in the Book You have revealed, and in the Prophet You have sent (i.e., Muhammad (ﷺ)).]”
Our recovery programme is tailor made. Islam provides us with the foundation to build upon an Islamic recovery programme. This is just a screen shot example of what a typical day might look like for a recovering Muslim addict. It is up to us to adapt, fill and strive to add as much as we can from the sunnah of the Prophet saws into our lives if we want to get or remain free from our addictions. We also need to ensure that we seek regular proffessional help alongside our dean, as the Prophet saws encouraged us to go to the people with the right knowledge when we find ourselves in difficulty.