THE OPENING CHAPTER
The journey of recovery through the Qur’an begins with Surah Fatiha (The Opening Chapter) also known as The Mother of The Qur’an. This is the Chapter where Allah introduces Himself to the reader. As we enter upon the month of Ramadan we reintroduce ourselves to Allah, we connect back with Him and we do this through His Words in His Holy Book, The Qur’an. It is important for us to really reflect on these words. Not only is Allah introducing Himself to us through this Verse, but He is also offering us a jewel that can help us to shine throughout our lives. This Verse is a prayer in itself, and through these words we are begging Allah for His guidance and assistance in keeping us on The Straight Path. As we stand each day, five times per day, and recite this verse over and over again, lets do this with contemplation and remember that this is a direct conversation between us and our Lord, The Lord of The Worlds. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said;
“Allah (mighty and sublime be He), had said: ‘I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says: ‘Al-hamdu lillahi rabbi l-alamin’ , Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: ‘My servant has praised Me.’ And when he says: ‘Ar-rahmani r-rahim’ , Allah (mighty and sublime be He) says: ‘My servant has extolled Me,’ and when he says: ‘Maliki yawmi d-din’ , Allah says: ‘My servant has glorified Me’ – and on one occasion He said: ‘My servant has submitted to My power.’ And when he says: ‘Iyyaka na budu wa iyyaka nasta in’ , He says: ‘This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.’ And when he says: ‘Ihdina s-sirata l- mustaqim, siratal ladhina an amta alayhim ghayril-maghdubi alayhim wa la d-dallin’ , He says: ‘This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for.’”
“If we truly understood the strength of Surah Fatiha we would know, without a doubt that we need Allah to help us achieve abstinence from our addictions. It is in complete trust of Allah and His Oneness that we realise it is He Who can keep us on The Straight Path”
OUR ENEMY IN THIS WORLD
Just as Allah has introduced Himself, He soon introduces us to the enemy of each and every one of us. Allah tells us how He created Adam in Paradise and the moment Iblis (Shaitan) became the ememy to mankind until the Day of Judgement.
2:34 “And when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves before Adam” and they prostrated except Iblish, re refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers”
Allah then tells us how He granted Adam and Hawa to be free in Paradise. They had everything they could desire and more. They were in the Gardens of Paradise, with happiness and perfection all around them. Allah informed them they could enjoy the delights of the garden, bar one tree to which Allah forbade them from coming near. Iblis began to whisper to them regarding the tree. Here was a couple who had everything, yet Iblis convinced them that it was not enough. Gradually and slowly he lured them towards the tree that had Allah had made haram for them. He used words that spoke to their desires. Iblis called it ‘The Tree of Eternity’ making it seem enticing and exciting, yet Adam and Hawwa seemed to forget that they were in the eternal gardens of Paradise and already had everything that their hearts desired. This is the nature of man. We could have everything yet our hearts will lean towards the forbidden.
2:36 “The Shaytan made them slip from Paradise, and got them out from that in which they were. We said: “Get you down, all, with enmity between yourselves. On earth will be a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment for a time”
There are many lessons for us to learn from this story. We can recognise the tricks that Shaitan uses to lure us into our addiction. By using luring suggestions as he whispers to our hearts he entices and excites the lusts and desires so much that for a brief moment we deny the commands of Allah. Allah created mankind with the potential to give into our lusts, and this is part of our test. This was the first test that Allah gave to Adam, and he slipped. But did Adam continue in his betrayal of Allah’s command? No! He repented, he realised his mistake and he tried as hard as he could to seek help from Allah against his enemy.
2:37 “Then Adam received from his Lord Words. And his Lord pardoned him. Verily, He is the One Who forgives, The Most Merciful
Therefore, when Shaitan causes us to slip, to give into our desires and lure us away from the command of Allah we must immediately turn back to Allah in sincere repentance in the hope that Allah will pardon us too. We realise that Allah allowed Shaitan to become our enemy as part of our test. Without shaitan many of us would be able to worship Allah and stay straight. But Allah loves repentance and He loves to pardon and He loves to see the struggle of those who love Him.
PATIENCE & PRAYER
An essential ingredient in any recovery programme is patience. We need patience and steadfastness to get through this test of life and overcome our desires and the whispers of Shaitan. Allah tells us in a beautiful verse;
In this verse what is meant by ‘al-Khashi’in’ are those who have sincere faith in Allah, with awe and in full obedience, fearing His punishment and believing in His Promise of Paradise and His warnings of Hell Fire. In recovery, if we can adopt this attitude and aim to be among the Khashi’in, we will find things easier and smoother, inshaAllah. Patience and prayer go hand in hand and should be a permanent and daily fixture of our recovery in order to stay away from the forbidden fruits of this world.