Tag Archives: Recovery

Lessons from the people of Musa

DON’T BE LIKE THE PEOPLE OF MUSA

Almost the entirety of Part 9 of the Qur’an relates some historical accounts that happened at the time of Musa (Prophet Moses). Allah describes the characteristics of that nation, the believers and the non-believers among them. We can learn many things from those two groups of people and there is much for us to reflect on if we want to secure our recovery from addiction and embrace Islam as a way of life. Allah has given these examples so that we can try hard not to fall into the same behaviours that those people did. Let’s look at some of them and try to reflect a little insha’Allah. Miracles20Board_answer_3_xlarge

Don’t turn away from Allah’s Miracles and Signs. In the state of intoxication or in the midst of our addiction, our hearts became less attuned to the signs of Allah and we gave up on His Mercy and lost hope in Him being able to help us. We knew somewhere inside that it needed a miracle for us to change yet at the same time we gave up that Allah would allow that to happen. Allah tells us over and over again in the Qur’an about the different miracles that His prophets and Messengers were sent with. In this Juz, we learn about the miracles that Musa was given and how many of the people dismissed them, turning away 22553-If-You-Dont-Believe-In-Miraclesand denying what they saw with their own eyes. Allah sends us signs every day to make us sit up and think, to help us keep on striving towards Him, remembering Him every day. We forget that miracles are all around us. The Qur’an is a miracle in itself, we must hold fast to it and take lessons from it if we want to be guided. Allah does not love those who turn away from His Path. 

 Do not ignore afflictions When things start getting tough, life is hard, bad things keep happening, we need to stop and reflect. It may be, that Allah is punishing us, or testing us so that we may return to Him. The people of Musa were tested with trials and afflictions. The non-believers among them continued to turn away and the believers among them began to become impatient. 

07:128-130 “Musa said to his people: “Seek help in Allah and be patient. Verily, the earth is Allahs. He gives it as a heritage to whom He wills of His slaves; and the blessed end is for the Muttaqun (God-Conscious). They said: “We had suffered troubles before you came to us, and since you come to us.” He said: “It may e that your Lord will destroy the enemy and make you successors on the earth,so that He may see how you act?” And indeed We punished the people of Fir’aun with years of drought and shortness of fruits, that they might remember, take heed”.

seaSo during our addiction, it may be that it felt as though nothing was going right, because Allah wanted us to change our course. And in recovery, it is hardships and tests that make us stronger. The companions of the Prophet would wonder why they were going through ease, worried that Allah had abandoned them. They preferred tests because they knew it was Allah’s way of Him causing us to draw closer to Him. 

Keep away from manipulation One thing addicts are very good at is manipulating others. In our addiction, we twisted things and bent the rules to suit our selves. In recovery, that needs to change. To be fully engaged on The Straight Path of Allah we need to submit wholeheartedly to the laws and legislation of Allah. Allah tells us about the people of Musa who were asked not to work on the Sabbath. Allah tested them by ensuring the fish did not come to them on any day other than the Sabbath day. The people fell fall to their temptations and ended up putting out their nets the day before so that they could leave them there for the fish to jump into. “Thus We made a trial of them, for they used to rebel against Allah’s Command” (7:163)

Don’t abandon the ones who are lost Allah describes three types of people in one verse

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 1 – A group of people who were astray, committing sins and far away from Allah

2- A group of believers who tried to endlessly preach to the wrong-doers even though they did not listen to their advise. 

3 – A group of people who mocked the preachers and told them not to bother with the group of wrong-doers. This group kept themselves apart from the rest of the community. 

Allah says in Surah Al-A’raf 07: 164;

“And when a community among them said; “Why do you preach to a people whom Allah is about to destroy or to punish with a severe torment?” (The preachers) said; “In order to be free from guilt before our Lord, and perhaps they may fear Allah”. 

For a five minute video lecture on this Verse by Nouman Ali Khan click here

In our recovery, we must remember those days that we lost in our addiction and sinfulness. We needed people like the group of advisors to come to us and pull us out of our ways. Perhaps, so many people walked on by, people who thought they were good worshippers of Allah tutted, raised their eyebrows and rolled their eyes at us, writing us off for good, thinking that we were heading for the Fire and no one could say anything to help us. Maybe, if someone had advised us earlier, less people had ignored us, perhaps, Allah Knows Best, we may have entered into recovery earlier. Islam teaches us to be like the preachers in this Verse. monkeyThe second group of believers were arrogant and Allah was angry with them for adopting this attitude against the sinners. He was so angry with them, that He chose to punish them along with the wrong-doers, and He saved only the preachers! 

“…We rescued those who forbade evil, but with a severe torment We seized those who did wrong because they used to rebel against Allah’s Command. So when they exceeded the limits of what they did (manipulating Allah’s prohibitions), We said to them: “Be you monkeys, despised and rejected.” 07: 165-166

Juz 9 illustrates other characteristics of the people of Musa which earned those people the punishment of Allah. Take time out to read more about it yourselves insha’Allah so we can learn not to fall into the same errors as they did. Recovery is about changing ourselves from within. We need to focus on ourselves, change our arrogant ways, stop manipulating others or the laws of the land, and especially the laws of Allah. Recovery on Allah’s Straight Path is about submission. We must submit our heart fully and remain focused if we want to change permanently. And we must abandon others as we head onward, take them with us. Once we accept Islam we must then take the message to others persistently. Allah says;

“And as to those who hold fast to the Book and perform Prayer, certainly We shall never waste the reward of those who do righteous good deeds”. 07:170

 

 

Quarter of a Century on Drugs: Majids Story

My story of drug abuse spans over 25 years. I am almost 40 and first tried drugs when I was about 13 or 14. It first started with smoking a cannabis joint with some school friends. Drugs quickly became very central in my life, taking, selling or facing the consequences of drug use. This could be lying to my parents, avoiding police, bragging about my drug use or discussing who has the best drugs or who can smoke the most spiffs. Drugs basically dominated my life. Looking back now I see some of my failures were also linked to my drug taking, for example, not finishing college, missing job interviews, wasting many years, were all a direct result of indulging in drug use.

By the time I left school and until the day I got married there was hardly a day that went by when I did not use. During my college days I started experimenting with harder drugs like LSD, Speed and Ecstasy. It was the early 1990’s and the rave scene had emerged, to which I flocked to with my friends on a weekly basis like it was a religious pilgrimage. I did somehow manage to get in to a local university as a mature student at the age of 19, but Uni became another place where I could find like minded people to not only use with but to whom I could sell to. I don’t remember wanting to be an actual dealer or wanting to carry the status of one but I found a gap in the market and decided to exploit it to fund my own use. By now I was taking harder drugs like Cocaine and crack which were not cheap. During this spell of selling I got caught by the police and ended up getting 6 months in prison. It was inside prison where I first smoked heroin and although I did not have a habit inside I did continue taking heroin when I came out on a ‘social level’ or so I convinced myself at the time. Having seen addicted heroin users and watched some suffer in prison from withdrawals I always kept long gaps between each use. Along with a small group of friends, we decided to only do crack and heroin one day a week to avoid any of the pitfalls of withdrawal, we chose Tuesdays and even called it “Tuesday night sessions”.

At the age of 25 I got married and decided to stop using drugs for a year but soon after my daughter was born I started seeing my old friends again. Friends from the Tuesday night sessions, who had by now forgotten the risks of getting dependent on opiates, were now full blown junkies. It didn’t take long for me to get addicted to heroin and now started a ten year battle of being in and out of active opiate addiction.

25 years of drug abuse is hard to summarise in a few words and I can go on about my war stories but I do not think there is much benefit so I will focus on recovery and breaking free from the drugs hell. I do want to say that I hurt many people so dear to me as a result including my wife, children and parents.

It has taken me a long time to get some clean time but I honestly believe that I am most at peace when I am drug free. I got kicked out of my house for continuous relapses so decided that I had to stop once and for all. Having been raised a Muslim I knew true peace and serenity can only really be achieved with spirituality and that giving up drugs alone will not be the answer to solving my worries and anxieties.

I found myself in a cheap hotel, disowned by my family, even my own children. I felt as though my world had fallen apart once again. I had two choices, I could have taken this solitude as a freedom pass to carry on using without being caught out and questioned by my wife. But my soul was screaming out for something else. That night I sat and prayed to Allah. I got on my knees at maghrib time and begged Allah to remove the addiction and guide me to The Straight Path. I took the second choice. I started going cold turkey from the heroin and fought the urges and cravings.

I knew being alone would be too much to endure so I set up a support network for myself which included attending evening prayers at the mosque each night, N.A (Narcotics Anonymous) Fellowship Meetings regularly, support from friends who had achieved some clean time and very quickly started to regain self worth, confidence and living a guilt free life.

I also took care of my physical health by attending the gym and slowly my family started to accept me again once they saw I was taking responsibility for my recovery and looking healthier and feeling spiritually motivated. I would like to mention that on previous attempts to get clean I often failed and looking back feel that it could have been because I felt external pressures to give up. This time I had an internal, personal desire and a strong intention to change.

Having been clean now for some time and it feels like I have found the real me. Every aspect of my life has improved, from work and my family to my health, self-confidence and self-esteem. To prove to myself that my drug-taking days, although at the time seemed so special and exciting, in fact were irrelevant. I say this, because I really don’t remember any particular using session but any real joyful days in recovery, such as family outings, dinner parties etc are locked into my memory and are the highlight moments of my life and the ultimate highs. Drug using days are never looked back on with a happy feeling, but these good times in recovery bring a true sense of contentment when I remember them.

Make duah for me as you read this story that I stay on the Straight Path and I pray that Allah blesses all the readers with recovery and happiness in this life and the next. Ameen