By: Imam Jory Kareem
It is with the utmost of gratitude that I find myself engaged in conveying the perspective of one who has submitted his will to the Will of My Higher Power. I have noticed the field of addiction has been progressively opening its clinical doors to the realm of spirituality as a focal point for the process of recovery.
As a Muslim (one who submits his will to the Will of God) and a clinician, I am provided the opportunity to use the benefits of that process (an ongoing active relationship with the source and power that gives my life meaning and purpose) and assist other Muslims and all other people who are willing to turn their will over to a Higher Power.
The Islamic perspective presents the Quran as a Mercy, a Blessing, a Healing and a Warning. The way of life that is prescribed for a life that is clean and one that constantly is striving to purify itself is set forth as both a challenge and a source of freedom. From a clinical perspective, the nature of addiction is particularly powerful attachments to objects that do not alleviate psychological, physical or emotional pain. In an attempt to reestablish balance in the lives of those who have detached themselves from the source and power that offers the mercy, healing, blessings and warning, the aim becomes the hearts of the addicts. The heart, being the seat of affection and understanding, becomes a welcome center for principles that create the healing process to occur.
In essence, this healing is a reattachment of the mental, emotional and psychological self to a supreme object of love, fear and respect, which discards and prohibits any other object from having the power to cause depression and despair to enter the heart. The mental self, the psychological self and the emotional self is actively engaged in this healing process; and just like all other prescriptions, the warning is clearly stated and describes consequences if not adhered to with strict obedience or the willingness to follow directions. This process (spirituality) is not exclusive to a particular religion, as it is universal in scope and is available for the entire inhabitants of this world. It is not bound by ownership, but rather, embellishes the essence of true freedom.
Improper attachments over a period of time corrupt the heart, the soul, the mind and the character of a person. Therefore, the propensities for all kinds of diseases erupt and take place in the lives of man. The self-destructive, self-debasing, self-defeating defects of character reflect the condition of the heart and the extent of its corruption or blindness. If the heart of man is blind, then it cannot see means to its liberation. Spirituality is a way of life that serves as a path to peace and freedom for all of mankind. It is available for Buddhists, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Agnostics (those who don’t know whether or not to believe) and Atheists (those who believe there is no Higher Power).
The peace and joy of true freedom is felt in the heart of man, and it is reflected in his character as the one who submits constantly, follows guidance and adheres to directions that maintain the joy and the freedom.
There is no religion in the world that can display total freedom. However a prescribed way of life, The Deen, as it is called in Islam, invites all of mankind to a life that is clean and a heart that is striving for purification. I believe that spirituality can be mastered like the martial arts and other sciences, and when you meet a man who has mastered this art of submission, you see the reflection of spiritual principles in his conduct and character. In my opinion, it best serves the interest of all those in the field of addiction, as well as those who are seeking treatment, to grasp spirituality as fundamentally necessary if healing is to occur in the minds, bodies and hearts of our clients.
I hope and pray that this approach will serve as a model for more understanding and addressing the special problems encountered by recovering Muslims and addicts in a predominantly non-Muslim society. I pray that God will continue to bless all our efforts to treat the disease of addiction, revive the hearts of those who suffer and raise them from their fallen condition. The path to peace and freedom is laid out for those who take the prescription to heart. Of all the things that I have been sent to the world to teach, at the heart of them all is good manners, graceful conduct and benevolent character.
Once the heart is attached properly, it will no longer suffer blindness and will be able to see that religion, in and of itself, is not sufficient enough to cure the ailment of the heart; only a willing heart will learn to love and understand, thus it will heal. I will continue down this Path Of Peace in my field and as a professional I will strive to reflect principles that attract towards guidance.
I believe that meritorious and effective clinicians are those who not only understand the technical aspects of treatment, but also attract the clients to this path of peace and freedom by way of their own conduct. In this manner, they have great impact on clients. May God bless all of my brothers and sisters as we attempt to love and understand one another in this process called Life. If change is truly the barometer for learning then certainly to change the condition of a person or a people is to change the condition of their hearts.
I have been blessed to be an integral part in the change that occurs in the lives of people who grasp the guidance, and I am equally blessed to work in an environment that promotes a spiritual philosophy and reflects spirituality from the time you walk in the door until the time you walk out. There is someone to welcome you and guide you into the journey of the heart as the healing begins. May the Peace Of God Be With You (As Salaamu-Alaykum).