The Qurʾan documents the story of a young boy who was abandoned by his older siblings. The very people who were meant to protect him turned against him. He went through the traumatic experience of being kidnapped by his brothers, physically assaulted, having his shirt ripped off, and then being thrown to the bottom of a dark well. I often think to myself, what was it like for him down there? The word used in the Qurʾan is jubb; a jubb is a hole that has knee-deep water and has no tiles or cement surroundings. In other words, it’s a deep hole in the ground which contains some water, the sides of which are soil. It must have been dark, dirty, and scary. This young boy, named Prophet Yusuf (AS), must have felt alone, hurt, terrified, and abandoned. After the Qurʾan mentions Prophet Yusuf being thrown in the well and coming out to be sold as a servant, the story pauses. Allah tells us in surah Yusuf, verse 21 that from that moment, Yusuf’s life journey is taking a positive route – one where he will come out as king of Egypt. We each have a well, or a jubb, that we are in. Our well is scary, lonely, and we look around and sometimes feel like there is no way out. We are trapped and become hopeless. However, if we pause for a minute and look up, we will see light and hope. Pornography is the well for many of us, and even when we break free, we may become slaves of something else, but this is a journey of freedom. What might have Yusuf’s “perfect life” looked like? Perhaps if this had not happened to him, he would have been a child who was constantly pampered with his father’s love at home. However, that would not have made him become who Allah wanted him to become. As members of the Purify Your Gaze community, we all wonder why we are here, and why we couldn’t just have “normal” lives. Perhaps this is actually the best thing for us. Perhaps there was no other way for us to get to know ourselves without being thrown in the well and hitting rock bottom.
“We each have a well, or a jubb, that we are in. Our well is scary, lonely, and we look around and sometimes feel like there is no way out. We are trapped and become hopeless. However, if we pause for a minute and look up, we will see light and hope.” – LibertyProphet Yusuf’s story teaches us that Allah is in control. He is the One who will guide us to what is best for us, in the most subtle of ways. Sometimes, to become a slave of Allah, we need to experience the pain of not being his slave and instead experience the pain of being a slave to others, to ourselves, to material things. To me, tawheed is not an intellectual exercise, but one where the heart loses hope in everything and everyone except Allah. Tawheed is to submit to Him in all circumstances and realize that we have no power, nothing, except through Him. On our own, we will constantly succumb to temptations, but it is through Him that we will find strength. The point is to change perspective. The story of Yusuf is full of injustice, horror, abandonment, and temptation. However, each time Prophet Yusuf was thrown in a “well” he climbed out a stronger person. So take a moment, and look up from your well. There is light and we as a community will be there to give you a hand and help you climb out.