LISTEN TO: SOLUTION
Sadiq graduated with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of San Diego before immigrating to Canada, where he has been practicing for the past 33 years.
Many Muslims are starting to come to him for counseling, but most prefer to remain anonymous, sharing theirproblems via e-mail only.
But according to Sadiq, “Many are starting to come out of the closet.”
Fazaga said he counseled around five men on the issue in the past six months alone.
Three men came with their wives, and two came alone.
“One couple was close to divorcing,” Fazaga said. “Their marriage was hanging by a thread as the wife was so fed up with her husband’s repeat offenses she was ready to call it quits.”
The couple has been married for three years and has children. Fazaga said they agreed to disconnect their Internet and cable television in order to deal with the problem.
Things started to look up for a while, but then they realized they could not live without the Internet, he said.
“The minute they hooked the Internet back, the husband relapsed into his addiction,” Fazaga said.
Medically, addiction is defined as “a chronic relapsing condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain.”
Experts believe addiction is the same irrespective of whether the drug is alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, heroin, marijuana or nicotine.
In other words, the brain tends to experience the same chemical reaction irrespective of the addiction.
Experts believe every addictive substance induces pleasant states or relieves distress.
Continued use of the addictive substance induces adaptive changes in the brain that lead to tolerance, physical dependence, uncontrollable cravings and, all too often, relapse.
Dependence is at such a point that stopping is very difficult and causes severe physical and mental reactions from withdrawal.
“My addiction began as something small, but step by step, over 10 years, it has transformed into something which is at times uncontrollable,” Qadir said. “You promise yourself for a long time that you won’t cross a certain line, but then you do, and it becomes easy to repeat that sin again.”
Abdullah agreed wholeheartedly.
“No matter how upset my wife was and no matter how much I loathed myself for committing sin, I always ended up seeking solace by logging on to the Internet and watching porn,” he said.
Addiction is also time-consuming, Fazaga said. It takes husbands away from their spouses and children.
It puts financial drain on the family as funds are diverted to support the addiction.
“Worst of all, sexual energy is misdirected and spent outside the family,” Fazaga said.
Research indicates the majority of Internet users and those seeking help for problematic sexual behavior online are married heterosexual males.
It also indicates pornography consumption is mainly associated with six trends: increased marital distress, and risk of separation and divorce; decreased marital intimacy and sexual satisfaction; infidelity; increased appetite for more graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal or unsafe practices; devaluation of monogamy, marriage and child rearing; and an increasing number of people struggling with compulsive and addictive sexual behavior.
Both Sadiq’s and Fazaga’s observations concur with these findings.
“What pornography does is kill the natural (sexual) stimulus for either man or woman,” Fazaga said.
He added that a woman once told him that no matter what she did, she could not excite her husband.
“I cannot compete with the pornographic images,” she told him.
“Intimacy, which is a very important part of a conjugal relationship, is jeopardized at this point,” Fazaga said.
Sadiq points out that addiction to porn is part of human nature and, therefore must, be dealt with within that context.
Sadiq, a devout Muslim, said, “Telling people this is haram (unlawful) won’t help them overcome the problem.”
Fazaga is in line with Sadiq’s remarks.
“Unless we acknowledge that this is a human problem first, we won’t be able to treat it efficiently,” he said.
Both agreed the culture of blame by way of religious edicts and sermons won’t help an addict and could, in fact, further alienate him or her.
“If you tell an addict you’re going to burn in hell for this, he will simply shut off and tell you Islam is not for me,” Sadiq remarked. “Embracing him and walking him through the healing process is key.”
Sadiq is of the opinion that prevention is the mother of all cures.
On the religious front, Sadiq believes that in order to prevent falling into the evil cobweb of pornography, a Muslim should read Qur’an on a daily basis, go the mosque very often, keep good company, avoid surfing the net unnecessarily and when doing so, do it in a public place or around family so the temptation to view illicit material does not come up.
Fazaga pointed out that it was no coincidence that the Qur’an says, “Do not come near illegitimate sexual acts,” rather than, “Do not commit illicit sexual acts.”
He believes the devil tempts by small steps and not by wholesale coercion.
“Living in a highly sexualized society and being bombarded with sexual content everywhere and on a daily basis on the Internet and through the visual media is the biggest challenge for a moral and God-fearing society,” Sadiq said. “Overcoming this challenge needs serious and practical prevention rather than wishful thinking.”
Sadiq offers workshops on this and other issues affecting the family and society at large.
He counsels in person, on the phone and via e-mail (his Web site is www.shifa.ca .
Fazaga said his Islamic center is open to all and welcomes anyone who needs counseling with pornography addiction or with any other problem.
He indicated there are many steps and techniques used to cure this addiction and that he personally oversees the healing process through counseling.
“We guarantee people 100 percent confidentiality, and we will not judge anyone,” he said. “Pornography does not define what kind of person you are, but rather what kind of behavior you have adopted.”
As for Abdullah, the news is grim. Porn addiction brought on many other evils into his relationship and, before he knew it, his marriage came to an abrupt end in 2004.
“I am 100 percent responsible for this breakup,” he sulked. “I brought it on myself and I deserve whatever punishment is awaiting me in the hereafter.”
Qadir remains married but has not been able to overcome his addiction. source