Removing the Intruder: On Treating Love Addictions

Posted by on Jun 21, 2012 in Before Marriage, Featured, Overcoming Hardships, Personal Development, Reflections, Relationships, Spiritual Purification, Spirituality, With the Divine | 1,930 comments

Removing the Intruder: On Treating Love Addictions

Removing the Intruder: On Treating Love Addictions

By: Yasmin Mogahed

Every created thing yearns to fulfill its’ purpose. The eyes yearn to see. The ears yearn to hear. The stomach yearns to eat. The heart yearns to love. And inside every one of us is a created thing. It is a gigantic mass. It is a mass of affection, loyalty, and devotion. And it was created with a purpose. It was created to be given. But it was made to be given in a very specific way, to a very specific place. What we chose to do—or not do—with this heavy mass, determines our state in this life and the next.

The drive to give ourselves to something compels us, and acts as a very powerful force. There is a sort of desperation to love, to share, to connect. It is a desperation to contribute, to invest, to affect. The drive is so strong; but we often don’t even understand it. We often can’t comprehend the nature of this inner mass, and we don’t know what to do with it.

So, some of us hold on to it. To try to hold on to what was made to be given, is like holding a ticking bomb inside our chest. It finally explodes within us, creating a black hole of emptiness. This is how we implode.

And then there are some of us who do give it. But, ya Latif, we give it in the wrong way and to the wrong hands. We try to give it, all of it—every drop of it— to our careers. We try to give it to the ‘love of our lives’. We try to give it to this world. To give the entirely of this mass to something other than its’ Creator causes unparalleled torment and inner damage.

Allah tells us in the Quran:

21:22

“Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides God, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah , Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.” (21:22)

In this verse, God tells us what would have happened had there been more than one object of worship in the heavens and the earth: corruption and ruin. If the heavens and the earth, in all their majesty, would have been ruined by taking more than one object of worship, what of the fragile human heart?

What happens to a heart that takes more than one object of ultimate love, fear, hope, and devotion? What happens to the one who gives this inner mass to other than its’ Creator? What happens to the one who allows other than Allah to be soaked into the deepest recesses of the heart?

To understand the result of this intrusion, imagine the heart like a sponge. When something of the dunya is presented to it, the heart can either accept or reject it. If the heart is protected and rejects what is presented, the heart will remain safe. But if the heart is unprotected and accepts it, like a sponge in a container of ink, the heart will absorb. And it can absorb all the way to the core (lubb). Once this process takes place, removing that which has been absorbed becomes extremely difficult. And painful. Like cleaning out a sponge, removing what has been absorbed into the core of the heart requires agonizing and consistent squeezing.

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Fitan (trials) will be presented to hearts, as a reed mat is interwoven: stick by stick. Any heart which absorbs these trials will have a black mark put in it. However, any heart that rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that hearts will be of two kinds: one white like a white stone, which will not be harmed by trials as long as the heavens and earth endure; and the other dark and rusty, like an over-turned vessel; not able to recognize the good, nor reject evil, but rather being absorbed with its desires.” [Muslim]

Commenting on this hadith, Ibn ul Qayyim (RA) explains that the fitan (trials) that are presented to the heart are of 2 types: shahwat (desires) and shubuhat (doubt). He says, “The first causes intentions and desires to be corrupted, whilst the second causes knowledge and beliefs to be corrupted.” [Ighaathatul-Luhfaan, p.40]

When the fitan of desires and doubt are accepted and absorbed into the heart, there are 2 dangerous consequences that follow:

First, that heart will no longer be able to recognize good and evil, as they really are. If the heart is fully soaked in darkness, it may even see good as evil, and evil as good. Suddenly, the haram (forbidden) looks beautiful and the halal (permissible) looks ugly. This is the consequence of a deeply diseased heart. And that disease comes about by allowing the heart to absorb the fitan (of desires or doubt).

Second, that heart will judge and be led by whims and desires—rather than by the guidance of Allah. Instead of being a slave to Allah, such a person will become a slave to his own desires. Slavery to anything other than Allah is the most painful sort of oppression.

Even after the Children of Israel were saved from Pharoah’s captivation, they were still imprisoned. They were imprisoned by the objects of worship that had entered their hearts. The worship of the calf—the calf itself—was absorbed into their hearts. Allah says:

2:93

“And [recall] when We took your covenant and raised over you the mount, [saying], ‘Take what We have given you with determination and listen.” They said [instead], “We hear and disobey.’ And their hearts absorbed [the worship of] the calf because of their disbelief. Say, ‘How wretched is that which your faith enjoins upon you, if you should be believers.’” (2:93)

Because of their misguided worship, the calf was absorbed into their hearts. Today, we may not worship a calf or allow that love to enter our hearts; but most of us worship other forms of the calf. We worship money, power, status and other people. And those very same objects of ultimate love, fear, hope and devotion also get absorbed into our hearts. As a result, our hearts become corrupted and ruined, as Allah warned in the Quran (21:22).

The Prophet (pbuh) has also warned us of what happens when the heart becomes corrupted. He says: “Beware, in the body there is a flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. And behold, it is the heart.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

How, then, can we prevent this corruption and ruin of the heart, and thereby the corruption and ruin of the entire body? The first way is through protection.

One important Islamic principal is that protection is better than cure. For example, Allah does not tell us not to commit zina (unlawful sex), He says “Do not come close to zina.” The Quran says:

17:32

“And do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way.” (17:32)

Allah does not just prohibit zina, but prohibits all that could lead to it and puts up many barriers to even coming close: lowering the gaze, modesty in dress and behavior, avoiding seclusion with the opposite gender, etc.

In protecting the heart, Allah has also given us a prescription. The remembrance of Allah (thikr) provides layers of protection around the heart. Prayer provides a layer. Quran provides a layer. Athkar (supplications of remembrance) throughout the day provides a layer. The more we remember Allah, the more our heart is protected. Thikr provides guards outside the heart that kill anything which threatens the tawheed or health of the heart, before it enters.

If, however, the heart does become infected, it must be cured. To rid the heart of what it has absorbed, you must subject it to the cleansing process. This process can be painful at first (like getting the ink out of the sponge), but with consistency and patience, any heart can be remade and brought back from the death.

Allah says,

57:16

“Has the time not come for those who have believed that their hearts should become humbly submissive at the remembrance of Allah and what has come down of the truth? And let them not be like those who were given the Scripture before, and a long period passed over them, so their hearts hardened; and many of them are defiantly disobedient.” (57:16)

57:17

“Know that Allah gives life to the earth after its lifelessness. We have made clear to you the signs; perhaps you will understand.” (57:17)

Just as Allah can give life to the dead land, so too can Allah give life to the dead hearts. So if you have absorbed something of the dunya into the sponge of your heart, there is always hope.

One of the most common types of ‘ink’ that gets absorbed into the heart is other people. It may be a person who entered your heart, but you cannot marry. Or it may be a person you did marry, but who entered a place in the heart reserved for Allah (swt). Removing this person from the heart is a lot like treating a drug addiction.

If it’s a person you can’t be with, like a drug, you need to cut yourself off from that person completely. Cut off all communication and reminders–even if that means blocking numbers, emails, and Facebook profiles.

This is your detox.

Second, you need to replace that object of worship with something better. Increase in your thikr (remembrance of Allah) and get closer to Allah. If you aren’t praying your daily prayers, fix that. Pray all, and pray on time. Pray qiyam in the last third of the night (just before fajr). Make duaa (supplication), tawbah (repentance), cry, plead to Allah to cure you and heal you.

This is your treatment.

Once the treatment has taken effect, your heart will be restored, by the permission of Allah. Once the heart is restored, it can come back to balance and its’ created purpose: to know and love its’ Creator more than anything else. Such a heart will regain the ability to give again to the creation, but this time in a healthy, selfless, and less dependent way. The heart will be able to give for the sake of the One it loves most—not for the sake of the self (nafs). Once this treatment has taken effect, you will be able again to give that inner mass of complete love, devotion, and loyalty to the place it was created to live. Remember that the mass that is not given is a ticking inner bomb. But, the mass that is given to the wrong place is also a ticking inner bomb.

Give. But give rightly. Absorb. But only what rightly lives and belongs in that sacred land inside your chest. Once this balance is regained, your heart will be able to see, love, give, and take in the right way. Your heart is your true eye. Your heart is the master of the body. Its’ purpose is far too noble to go unrealized. Its’ palace is far too precious to go unguarded.

Guard it. And guard it well…because every created thing yearns to fulfill its’ purpose.

 

Photo Credit: Signs of the Divine (c)

 

Photo Credit: Signs of the Divine (c)

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  • Lost

    Assalamualaykum! All praise and thanks to Allah who brought me to this post in one of the dark hours of my life..Jazakallah khayr..

  • Shammanoreen

    Jazakallah …..this really is a nice piece of work especially i really liked your reflection on the ayah (21:22). May we be able to go back to Allah with a qalb-e-saleem

  • ambidextrous

    MashAllah love your articles !! they are a source of true inspiration :) May Allah swt grant you Jannah for guiding all of us .. ameen

  • Ibn Yusef

    AMAZING READ

  • Shahrose22

    such a beautiful article.

  • Ro2a 90

    ِAllaho akbar =’) Mashallaah , Thats very true ..Alhamduellaah that happened to me and now iam so happy founding allaah in my heart , iam so happy loving him more than anyone .. i feel his care , i feel his love in eberything in my life now alhamduellaah =)
    may allaah grant you jannah yasmin , love you for the sake of allaah <3

  • Guest

    This article came to me in the most appropriate time!! Masha’ Allah. Jazak Allah khair ya Yasmin. May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala reward you for your inspirational articles, and May Allah swt increase you and your family in taqwa, guidance and Tawfeeq

  • http://seekingtobetter.blogspot.com/ ~ ubah

    ” Its’ purpose is far too noble to go unrealized. Its’ palace is far too precious to go unguarded.”

    Beautiful

  • Aniaj

    Subhan Allah..

  • Guest

    This article was the answer to what I’ve been going through lately!! Jazakullakhair! For your wisdom, your courage, and your inspiration! I hope we could all find the courage to touch the lives of many, in our own ways, in the way that you have! May Allah bless you immensly!

  • http://twitter.com/NAsadullah Nahiyan Asadullah

    Jazaki Allaahu khayran for this beautiful reminder, ameen!
    :D

  • ninjabi

    I have kept this tab open and read this article again and again. I will keep the tab open to read it again..to remind myself how to heal. jazakAllah

  • Jinan

    Mashallah. Another brilliant article! Jazakallahu Kheiran for this timely advice.

  • Guest

    I am curious of your opinion of the saying “unbelief before belief…” wherein most likely these trials of doubt will most likely come in. With that said, I think doubt can be healthy so you are not just blindly following something, but have come to a moral and knowledgeable conclusion (as best as one can when it comes to faith) that this is what YOU choose to do. Thoughts?

  • Nawal

    Jazaki Allahu khair
    worthy reading article
    May Allah purify our hearts from all other things that keep us away from Him

  • Cured

    Dear Yasmin,

    Jazaki Allah Khairan wa raza8aki el firdews al-2a3la insha’Allah, ameen.

    I’ve been through such an agonizing experience once that I can totally relate to this wonderful article.

    I remember I was crying and crying over someone who gave me pain, but I didn’t know why I was lingering in that situation! why I accepted that to myself! why something that I love gives me pain! For a long time, I didn’t know I was actually addicted!

    Then one night while I was crying my eyes out, I prayed to Allah plz take this person out of my heart, I can’t take this pain anymore.
    Next morning I felt like completely a different person, waAllahi, it’s like Allah (SWT) has responded to me right away, al7amdulilAllah.

    Since then I’ve been cured by the grace of Allah (SWT) alone, and since then I learned the greatest lesson of my life, as you mentioned in the article, when to accept and when to reject things to enter my heart, I learned “the hard way” how to gain control over my heart through rationalizing, I started to have deeper vision over things, to diagnose people with that same disease, the disease of the heart, the most fatal disease, May Allah (SWT) preserve us from it, as holding a sound heart is the only passing ticket to Jannah.

    I will always remember that the mass that is not given is a ticking inner bomb. But, the mass that is given to the wrong place is also a ticking inner bomb.

  • Azeemulla

    Sister Yasmin,

    JazakAllah Khair for such an immensely touching article, which I believe is a reminder that all the love which we have within ourselves in masses has to be only towards Allah (SWT) and our bellowed Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) .
    We all can somehow relate ourselves to this article as at some point of time we have submitted ourselves towards the love of worldly affairs which could be our family, careers, be it a particular human being, money, power and have found that black hole in our heats.
    I agree the emptiness comes only when you have filled your heart mind and soul towards a certain worldly thing which is bound to lose at some point of time. Whereas the Love for Allah and submission towards his will is the only way our hearts can always be filled with happiness in this life and the life here after.
    Another reminder for us all to get back on to the right path of deen before it is too late.
    Keep up the good work, May Allah accept your efforts and bless you along with your family.

    Azeem

  • MamHarr

    MashaAllah, Jazak Allah Khair for this wonderful post. May Allah continue you to guide you and increase you in knowledge and eeman.

  • Dinda Rahmadhani89

    Jazakillah khayran katheeran, sis Yasmin. May Allah reward you abundantly. I love you for the sake of Allah :’)

  • Zubaida Aziz

    MashAllah.May Allah bless you for this good post.aameen

  • http://theezookeeper.blogspot.ca/ Rays of Faith

    This was a beautiful and beneficial article. JazahkAllah Khair sister.

  • Lee

    Hahaha. Where was this article when I was 16?!! MashaALLAH, beautifully written sister. You are truly an inspiration for those of us who want to be role models in our respective communities. It incorporates all of the advice that I heard for 5 years since learning the difference between love of this world and love which knows no bounds: the love of ALLAH and for ALLAH.

  • Nimat25

    SubhaanAllah!!!

  • Nur

    wonderful. ma sha Allah! jazakAllah khair for sharing this. wish it could help me a lot. you always been so understanding dear sister. may Allah bless you!

  • http://twitter.com/rabebonline rabeb abdellaoui

    jazeki allah 5ayran dear Sister(^_^)

  • naz

    Thanks for posting. It was a different perspective.

  • Nina

    I think that all of this easier said than done, subhan Allah. I think it’s more troublesome when your self-esteem is damaged as a result especially due to the subject of the “ink”.

  • m.a

    Thank you so much Yasmine :)
    masha’Allah, this was well written!
    may Allah (SWT) reward you and grant you jennat el-Firdous, Ameen.

  • Nurul Sakinah

    May Allah bless you for writing all these. Thank you, sister.

  • eeb

    I absolutely love what you wrote! Thank you so much. This is really inspirational specially for a 15 year teenager like me. Jazzak Allah Khair :)

  • http://twitter.com/shahirahbartows shahirahbartowski

    :”( so true. thankyou

  • http://www.facebook.com/aqsa.choudhry.9 Aqsa Choudhry

    JazakAllah for this beautifull article..
    i read this article few days ago and it just touched my heart. at the spot i promised Allah that i will not contact that person again until she is removed from my heart (its a halaal realtionship). but right now i am really suffring through alot of pain. i have repented to Allah but i just can’t take her out of my heart no matter how much i try. i do all types of zikr and have made alot of dua aswell. f you have any otthersuggestions on how to remove her from my heart please do let me know. kindly pray for me. jazakAllah for opening my eyes.

  • Ahmad Hafiz

    Alhamdulillah. Thank you.

  • Aisyah

    Assalamu’alaikum…
    Dear Yasmin,

    This came at such a perfect time. I read your tweet, and it’s like a prayer answered. I know it’s a love addiction that I’ve been going through. And I know i must find a way to stop it. I prayed, but I guess not hard enough. I stop communicating with the person who have caused all the pain, yet I can never stop myself from finding out every little thing about him. I even still keep everything that reminded me of him. After reading your article it dawned on me, I was not detoxing myself enough from this addiction. I had to cut any ways of communicating and remembrance. Then with a fresh start, I should pray hard, intensely, and whole heartedly, unlike what I have been doing lately. Halfheartedly, still having hopes that things would change with him.

    This mass, this need to share and give all the love, now I know Who has the right to receive it. Hope I can be a better person in this new islamic year we’ve just entered. And, jazakallah to you, sister, for all the beautiful articles you’ve shared with us.

    Wa’alaikumsalam…

  • AnNisa’

    Subhanallah sister. Just what I needed to read at this very time of my life. Dear sister Cured, your post had uplifted me too :)

  • Reen

    It’s like you dive into my heart and dug out and analyze every thing in it. I’m glad im not alone facing this situation. I’m still trying to make myself a better person, ‘cure’ my heart as you said it. I’m so thankful to have been given a chance to cure myself. I was so lost once upon a time ago, and I never again want to be in that position anymore.

    This is beautifully written Yasmeen. May Allah bless us all and keep our hearts safe from darkness. Amin.

  • White

    This came to me from Allah SWT when i needed the most.. to give me a re-affirmation ! SubhanAllah.. this came through you.
    May Allah reward you sister ! Lots of Love.

  • Mrjammyjamr

    Salam Sis,
    I look forward to hearing you speal in London next month

  • Azza Musheera

    Just in time. I’m faced with some “ink”… InshaaAllah, things will get better.

  • Faiza Gaffar

    Amazing article. Jazakallah.

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