The concept of surrender is one of the most profound lessons that I have gained from theBreaking Free Trainings. The very action of surrendering was what brought me to Purify Your Gaze by the will of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala (SWT).
While attending university, I went through the worst of my addiction. I was consistently sexually acting out to unwanted behaviors, daily or every other day, in periods of a week or two weeks until I hit a rock bottom.
Everyday my emotional state was deteriorating from the guilt and disappointment of looking at the most vile and disgusting actions from behind closed doors while appearing to be a practicing Muslim and a role model in the community.
I experienced all of the suffering from the self-hate, the broken vows of “the last day”, the repeated X’s signifying relapses marked in my agenda; it all took a toll on me.
Then one day after finishing making ghusl, I remember walking into my room and just falling on my knees, crying and asking Allah in my most heartfelt, sincere du’a to guide me out of this. I stayed there pleading in my room, begging for forgiveness and a path that would remove me from this state.
When I was kneeling in the middle of the room, I decided then and there that it was only Allah who will get me out of this position. It was only Allah that I can depend on, and my only way out was to sincerely put in the work to remove myself from this cycle.”
I watched the Purify Your Gaze’s four video mini-series about a year prior to this, but until this moment, I had not yet committed to joining the program because of excuses of not finding the money or not having the time.
Yet, when I was there kneeling in the middle of the room, I decided then and there that it was only Allah who will get me out of this position. It was only Allah that I can depend on, and my only way out was to sincerely put in the work to remove myself from this cycle.
That was the moment that I decided that I would join Purify Your Gaze. Not only was this major decision made but I also pledged that I would join the Purify Your Gaze program after revealing addiction to my entire family upon going home for a break.
The impetus of my action to join the program was due to realizing my powerlessness in facing my desires and surrendering solely to Allah (SWT) by recognizing Him as the All-Powerful, the Only One.
Disclosure, alhamdulilah, was great and constructive. I believed that it was the right step to take concurrently while initiating my recovery. Yet, after disclosing my addiction to my immediate family, joining the Purify Your Gaze program, and going through some of the modules, I found myself losing my drive as time progressed.
The recovery gradually became neglected as life presented its distractions until I found myself mirroring the same behavior prior to starting the program. Yet, alhamdulilah, Allah sent me the words that, upon hearing it, I could only fully appreciate in hindsight now that I am further in my recovery.
“Surrender is not something that you’ve done once and now you are free to move forward. You will need to surrender repeatedly on every stage of your recovery to remind you of your place of slave-hood before Allah.”
Ustadh Zeyad in Module 1.4 “Finding Power Through Powerlessness” made this statement. Among all of the remarks throughout the Breaking Free training, this statement is the most significant in my eyes. Its field of reach applies not only to our addictions but extends to every facet of our lives. I see this statement as analogous to the purpose and wisdom of Ramadan and this month’s significance on the essence of our iman.
Ramadan is our opportunity to surrender. This month is our chance to separate ourselves from the cycle of compulsion caused by the constant desires and distractions that we experience for 11 months out of the year.
If correctly performed, the impact of Ramadan wouldn’t last simply for 30 days but should make an imprint well beyond the month itself. This is because Ramadan is an opportunity for us to sincerely step completely away from our lives, reflect, and change through obedience and devotion to Allah. Essentially, it is our clear opportunity to surrender.
From this month, Allah gives us the environment to step away from our compulsive cycles of life as a means to rejuvenate our iman. Part of the beauty of Ramadan is that it is repeated annually. Why isn’t it a one-time requirement in life as Hajj is? If this month gives you the same opportunity of all your sins being forgiven, as does Hajj, why does it repeat yearly?
Just as I began to fall back into acting out after I surrendered, disclosed, and joined Purify Your Gaze, we are bound to slip back into our daily compulsions after our cleansing during Ramadan.
“Ramadan is an opportunity for us to sincerely step completely away from our lives, reflect, and change through obedience and devotion to Allah. Essentially, it is our clear opportunity to surrender.”
Therefore, Allah knows that we will slip. He (SWT) knows that we will falter. He knows that we will eventually need to turn back to Him, and so we have an installation within our deen for this purpose, to remember His Grace and His Power over our lives. Salat holds the same concept of giving us opportunities within our day to step away from the distractions that keep us from remembering Allah.
By understanding this, Ramadan serves as our breaking point out of the cycle that eventually pull us back in. Surely Allah states in Surat Al-Nisa,
“And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.” [4:28].
This innate weakness is why willpower alone is not enough in overcoming addiction to pornography and sex, and why the beauty and reward of Ramadan is more than just simply refraining from the physical food and water.
It signifies that surrendering repeatedly is necessary, and it is only through our recognition of our powerlessness in front of the absolute power of Allah (SWT) that true progression in our addictions and our lives is successfully performed.
May Allah make us of those who surrender sincerely to Him, and may He make us the successful in every aspects of life during this life and the next.