One of the points of frustration for many people struggling with their unwanted sexual behaviors is their relationship with Allah SWT. However, since starting their personal recoveries at Purify Your Gaze, many members were able to make great breakthroughs in this area of their life, ma sha Allah.
As Allah SWT says in Hadith Qudsi: “I am as My servant thinks I am.” [Al-Bukhari]
Here are some of the mindset shifts that members made about Allah SWT:
1. Allah Really Loves To Forgive
A common perception amongst members was that Allah was angry with them, out there to get them, or He would punish them for their shameful sins. Brother Adil reflects on this way of thinking and where he believes it comes from:
Brother Adil”We tend to project our understanding of human behaviour onto Allah. If we anger someone, we fear owning up to our mistakes because we expect revenge before forgiveness, in exchange for the harm we caused the person we are apologizing to. We expect to be shamed for our infractions before we are let off the hook. We believe this is only just.”
The following paradigm shift helped propel brother Adil’s recovery and healing from his unwanted sexual behaviors:
Brother Adil”When we admit our mistakes to Allah, there is no revenge forthcoming, because there was no damage done to Him to begin with. All the damage was self-inflicted. Nor are our admissions of sin a revelation to Him. He knew and let it happen. So when one finally comes round to accepting one’s mistakes before Allah, He forgives immediately, no questions asked. He does not forgive because we deserve it, He forgives because He loves to.
“I’ve always struggled to accept this because it sounds too good to be true. But this is reality. Ask those who know who Allah is. Ask those who you know unconditionally forgive people. They are the ones who truly understand Allah beyond academic concepts. They understand the message behind Allah’s statements in the Qur’an, because they live by them. They all say the same thing. Allah will forgive you, even if you can’t forgive yourself. You are limited by pain, loss and resentment. Allah is not.”
2. The Moment We Have Fallen Is The Greatest Opportunity To Embrace Our Slavehood Before Allah
Often times, the reaction that people have when they relapse back to their unwanted sexual behaviors is of despair and hopelessness. However, for many members, instead of seeing a relapse on the path of recovery as failure and turning further away from Allah, it is instead a means to recover their true slavehood before Allah SWT:
Brother Adil”The devil’s logic is, “You’re filthy. Stay away from Allah.” A monumental deception. Finding oneself in a fallen state is the right time to let one’s slavehood seep into oneself. It’s the most natural thing for a human being to do. I was advised to bring all my problems, worldly and other-worldly, to salah.
“No matter what transpires between the prayers, it can be cleansed completely during them. Sins fall off in wudhu, then in qiyam, rukoo’ and sujood. In du’aa, major sins can be presented to Allah for cleansing. This opportunity comes five times a day. Salah is meeting with a Rabb who loves those who seek purification and He loves to purify His slaves with His forgiveness.”
Sister Zara”I am so much more cognizant of His Power over me, and His Mercy since I started recovery. I am continuously reminded of my powerlessness, which is empowering itself, ironically. The more I remember Allah, the more I feel safe in His Protection.
“And when I slipped into relapse, I had the strange experience of turning back to Allah even *right* after relapse. I didn’t feel guilty about going back to Him, Alhamdulilah. The feelings of guilt are slowly falling away from me, Alhamdulilah, and it is benefiting not only my relationship with Allah (swt), but all my other relationships as well.”
3. Sins Do Not Harm Allah, They Only Harm Ourselves
For many members, the breakthrough occurred when they recognized that their sins do not harm Allah SWT, but rather themselves.
As Allah SWT says:
‘And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.
I do not want from them any provision, nor do I want them to feed Me.
Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength.”
— Surah adh-Dhariyat (56-58)
This mindset shift helped them become more accountable for their unwanted sexual behaviors and realize that Allah SWT is there for them in their recovery and wants them to succeed not because it benefits Allah in any way when we worship Him, but because it benefits ourselves:
Brother Adil”Recovery has taught me that Allah is not harmed by my sins. My actions damage my own self. Allah is free of need and will forgive me any time I ask for it, with any kind or quantity of sins. Every second spent feeding the addiction has been a loss, an opportunity cost and a consumption of poison, for ME. I am the one who changed because of my actions. Allah is still Allah. He is waiting for us to give up this game of playing around with our lives, accept that we are nothing without Him and ask Him for direction.”
4. Allah Always Finds A Way For Me To Succeed, Even When I Fall
Brother Hassan shares a beautiful account of how he relates differently to Allah SWT now in his recovery, by focusing on His Mercy:
Brother Hassan”My relationship with Allah (swt) has certainly changed since the beginning of this recovery program. Ever since I started the recovery program I feel like Allah (swt) is facilitating everything for me, exactly the way a mother treats her child who is about to walk, when the child tries to take a step and falls down the mother takes the child back from the group and motivates him and helps him to try again, I feel like exactly the same way Allah (Swt) is treating with me.
“I am trying to walk toward sobriety and recovery and on the way I take a step and then fall down and then Allah (swt) being far far more merciful than that mother, helps me more and shows me even more light and gives me even more strength to try again and stand up and move forward.”
Brother Hassan looks at his stumbles on this path of recovery in a different light, ma sha Allah:
Brother Hassan”Can you imagine, will a mother slap her child who falls to the ground while trying to take his first step to walk? No mother will ever do that. Then how would Allah (swt) the creator of all the mothers and the source of all the mercy would ever punish his servant who is afflicted with this addiction and who wants to quit it, would punish the servant when his servant stumbles while trying. I believe that, as long as I try and stay on this path Allah(swt) is there to help me and he is there to love me.”
And that is the crux of the matter: Allah does not expect perfection from you in your recovery from your unwanted sexual behaviors. As long as you keep trying and knocking on His door, you will be amazed at how Allah SWT will take care of you in this process.