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Addiction, Stress and Life’s Challenges

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Saad Tasleem

Channel: Saad Tasleem

Episode Notes

Saad Tasleem speaks about understanding and dealing with addictions, stress in one’s life and the challenges we face.

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Salam Alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh

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so we're talking about addiction and stress. Now, one of the things that I want to talk about before I get to the kind of the the the main

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topic here, that is the issue of treating addiction and stress. We as Muslims, we do view addiction as and stress and problems in general in life as symptoms to a bigger problem or a bigger issue. However, that doesn't mean that the symptoms should not be treated, sometimes the symptoms do need to be treated. And one of the things that we understand as Muslims is that Islam came as a complete and a perfect religion. And so sometimes there are problems which may be symptoms, but it doesn't mean that we put those problems aside. So when a person reaches a state of let's say, clinical depression, or their stress has become like an illness, or addiction, which has reached a state of

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an illness, we don't put that aside and say, you know, what, you need to fix your, your connection with God. And that's the only thing that will fix you or solve all your problems, we do treat the the actual problem or the actual symptom itself. Sometimes it does require drugs, and sometimes it does require therapy. Sometimes it does require counseling, and so on and so forth. as Muslims, we don't put that aside the prophets of Allah who didn't who send them said in the la danza de ones in a dua, that Allah subhanaw taala, has sent down the illnesses, and Allah has also sent down the cures for the dough, so seek out the cures. So part of being a good Muslim, part of being a

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practicing religious Muslim, is that we don't have this blind type of to what could occur reliance upon the last time to Allah, proper reliance upon Allah subhanaw taala involves putting your trust in Allah, but actually taking the means as well. And if you look at the life of the Prophet, Mohammed civili, send them and pretty much all of the prophets, you will see that this is a lesson that Allah taught all of the prophets. So if a lot wanted to give victory to the prophets, or to make their message, well known, widespread, Allah could have done that very easily. But throughout history with each and every single prophet that came along, always had them take the means. And they

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went through difficulty they went to, they went through trials, and they went through

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a lot of tribulation and all that. And it was in that that last penalty, was teaching us a lesson that as Muslims, as human beings, we're going to have problems and we're going to have issues. And yes, a very, very big part of that is putting your trust in Allah and is seeking a lot of help and relying in Allah and having strong faith and having strong Eman and doing your best to worship Allah subhanaw taala. But that doesn't mean that you don't take the actual means that are in front of you. So with these type of illnesses, for example, we don't put the the cures aside, or we don't put the treatments aside and say, You know what, I'm just gonna pray to God, and God will solve all my

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problems. Yes, Allah subhanaw taala, Allah has the ability to solve all of our problems, but God, Allah, Allah wants us through our difficulty to get closer to God. And part of that is taking the means. And as Muslims, we believe that even when we take the means even when we seek out the cure, that it is Allah who puts the ultimate cure in that care. So for example, if you go to therapy, or whatever, or you go to a psychiatrist, because you're dealing with anxiety, or stress, or clinical depression, or something like that, we believe that yes, in counseling, there may be a cure for the problem that someone is dealing with. But in the end of the day, it is Allah who will put the cure

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and the counseling and everything that you are seeking. Now, that being said, as a society, as as human beings, when you look at stress, and you look at addiction, you look at those issues. as Muslims, we believe that it's it's really, these are symptoms of a bigger problem. And these are symptoms of a bigger problem. So if you were to break down, stress and addiction, and this is not not just an Islamic perspective, but when it comes to addiction, specifically, if you've ever ever attended like an AA meeting, Alcoholics Anonymous, or if you've ever attended an NA meeting in Narcotics Anonymous, they usually take the problems Oh, it's not just about the specific addiction

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itself, but about the bigger picture. And so I have a list of like main causes or bigger issues that usually surround the issue of stress and addiction. So first and foremost, and this is probably one of the biggest issues that leads to either stress or addiction or depression, and that is a lack of inner peace. So a person

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is going through inner turmoil. They are they feel empty inside, or they may feel very conflicted inside, or they may feel like their life is lacking any type of direction or any type of purpose. And they've had a lot even, you know, the video that they just played right now, it's very interesting that the question that they asked the people, they said, What's your main goal in life? Like, what do you want to accomplish before you die, and tepat a lot, what stuck out to me was the girl who said that I want to make it to the red carpet before I die, right? Like, that's my goal in life, and Japan a lot. I thought to myself like, Okay, once you get to the red carpet, what then

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what happens after that, and we all have our different goals. For some people, it's like, you know, I want to make a million dollars, or I want to become famous, or I wanna, I want this, I want that, or I want to live the American dream, when I have my own house, two kids, a beautiful wife, blah, blah, all that kind of stuff. But the point is, like, what happens after that, and some people have had a lot when they set up, sometimes we set up these goals for ourselves. And in our minds, these are like the ultimate goals. And we assume that once we reach that goal, we're going to be completely happy, and all of our inner turmoil and inner problems and inner struggles, they're gonna

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just somehow vanish. Like, somehow, when you finally buy your $500,000 house, or whatever it is, you finally have a house in the suburbs, or you finally made it to the red carpet or you finally, whatever your specific goal is from this life, that somehow that inner turmoil is going to magically disappear. And somehow, us as Muslims, we understand that part of being a Muslim is that we live for a bigger and a higher purpose, not that we don't have goals and ambitions and all of that in this life. But it's all part of a bigger purpose. And that is we believe that Allah created us as

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for him for his worship, and that through his worship, we attain happiness and contentment, not only in this life, meaning if our life is void of that spirituality, that connection with our Creator, that worship of a law, that we're not going to feel that inner peace. And so when we worship our Creator, we worship the one who gave us life and takes away our life and provides us with sustenance, all that, that not only do we seek the happiness of this life, the inner true happiness, but also the happiness of the afterlife, which is an everlasting life. And so part of this issue of submission, and the issue of, you know, I know, a lot of times people translate Islam as peace,

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right? Has anyone ever heard this before? Islam equals peace? Yeah, anyone? Yeah. Okay. Hopefully most of you guys have heard this, right. Islam does equal peace in a certain way. Right? So we as Muslims, we the word Islam, it goes back to peace in the sense that, yes, Muslims are peaceful people. But also the fact that in submission to God, in submission to Allah is where you find true inner peace. So a lot of times, like I said, we're dealing with this inner struggle, these inner problems, these inner issues. And sometimes we miss diagnose these things. We tell our things, like I saw, like I said, sometimes we tell ourselves stuff like, Well, the reason why I'm not truly happy

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is because I haven't, I don't have my dream job yet, or I haven't met, like my soulmate, or the love of my life, or whatever it is, whatever our goal is, when in actuality, that's not, that's not the real issue there. The real issue really is that a person may be dealing with that inner struggle, or we call something known as

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spiritual emptiness, where, you know, as we know, a lot created us with different needs and different wants. Part of those needs is the need to eat and drink, and to be social beings and all of that. But part of that is what we as Muslims call our fifth law, and that is our natural disposition, meaning God created us to be spiritual beings, and we're not truly, truly going to be at rest and peace and at ease, until we are fulfilling that portion or that part of our life as well. Yes, other things are important. Relationships are important. Living a comfortable life is important. Living in safety all that's important. Having a social life. Yes, that's important. It's

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part of being a human being, we have social needs. But along with that, you also have your spiritual needs. And without those spiritual needs, if you keep ignoring your spiritual needs, if you keep to yourself, keep telling yourself that it's everything but my spirituality, that sooner or later is going to lead to a crisis, that sooner or later you're going to have a problem. And hopefully, it's while you're alive, and while you're living at some point in your life, and I went through this personally, and I'm sure many Muslims and many people have been through this. Hopefully, it's during your life where you realize or you ask yourself the question, like, what is my life actually about?

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Like, what makes me get up in the morning? Why do I do what I do? Like I wake up in the morning, I go to work, or I go to school, I spent eight hours there or I go to this job, which is, you know, it's alright, it's great, but I guess a lot of my time I spend watching like cat videos on YouTube or something.

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Right. But I go to this job and all everything that I'm doing in life, it's fine and great and dandy, but in the end of the day, what is it all really about? And the issue of and that's something that even psychologists often talk about the issue of the big oops, right. And that big oops, is basically, when you show up at the end of your life, and you look back at your life, and you ask yourself the question, What was all that for? I woke up every day. 5am in the morning, to beat traffic to get to this job. Like I said, maybe you like it, maybe you don't like it. And I, you know, I was in this turmoil every day, like, I work so hard every day. And now I'm sitting on my

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deathbed, and what was all that for? Right, and then when a person doesn't address that issue, or they ignore it, and let's face it, it's very easy to just ignore that issue. It's very easy to be like, I don't want to think about that. I just, I just want to continue, it's more convenient to just live the life that I'm living, and just keep in this pattern that I have for myself. And so I often have a lot when I when I speak to especially young people, I often ask young people this question, I think a lot of young people, they're not asked this question. A lot of Muslims sometimes will tell the younger generation that you need to be a better Muslim, you need to pray, you need to

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do this and do that, and all that kind of stuff. And we never actually talked to them about the big questions, the bigger issues in terms of like, Okay, what is your life really about? What do you hope to accomplish at the end of your life? What are you hoping for? At the end of your life when you're sitting on your deathbed, and if God gives you that chance, where you actually have a moment of reflection, many people actually don't get that chance. Right? Some people die in a way where they're not anticipating the dot. And I was in control of that. But that question of, you know, if you're on your deathbed, and Allah has given you that chance to look back at your life, will you

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have an answer for what your life was actually about. And really, in finding that purpose, Pamela, is where we find that that inner peace, and we've had a lot as Muslims, part of our

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part of our faith, part of our belief system, part of our creed is that the more we attach our heart to the Creator, the more free we feel that in the end of the day, if our life is just about worldly things, if it's just about money, and usually, let's be honest, and break, it comes down to just a couple of things, a few things, either it's family, you know, whether you're marrying the perfect person having children, blah, blah, or it's money, or for some people, it's fame, or popularity, but it just breaks down a couple of things, if that's it, that in the end of the day, you will add certain there is a type of shackle that you're putting on your soul. And it is truly that when you

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truly when you submit to a law submit to the Creator, when you're truly going to feel free. And this is why if you if you've ever spoken to a new Muslim, or someone who has accepted Islam recently, they often describe this experience of feeling immensely free. And it's a part of you that would seem like something very counterintuitive, where you know, there may be someone who lives a life of basically just doing whatever they like or the or the issue or the living a lifestyle where you say to yourself, if it feels good to me, I'll do it. Or as is the the famous Irish pub saying, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you will die. Right? That's, that's a that's a life goal for some

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people, right? But if you go from that type of lifestyle, where you're pretty much quote unquote, free to do whatever you want, just if it feels good to you do it, if you enjoy your life, do it. You go from that to now praying five times a day, not eating pork, not drinking alcohol, and all this other stuff. How is it that you feel free, is because that freedom is true freedom. It's the freedom of the heart, it's the freedom of the soul. And this is why we as Muslims, we understand that difficulty is not the same thing as stress. Difficulty does not have to actually equal stress and anxiety. Difficulty is part of life. Everyone, for the most part will go through some type of

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difficulty might be difficulty or hardship or the body might be difficulty of the mind might be difficulty of medical difficulty or poverty or whatever it is, you may go through something in your life and that's part of life. But that doesn't mean that you have to live in a state of anxiety or a state of stress. And it's really the heart that needs to be free. And this is why if you look at the companions of the Prophet, Mohammed Salah send them, you'll find that they lead incredibly difficult lives, incredibly difficult lives where they were constantly being persecuted, they were constantly being tortured, they would constantly have to fight to even survive. And in a life like that. You

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would imagine that they were happy. Not just like this, you know, type of happiness where you're like you're like just about the surface happiness. It's deep, inner happiness, where your heart truly feels like you can soar and it can fly and it feels truly free.

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And somehow you have the the story of villain or the love that and this companion who is being tortured, and you'd have and they would they would take, they would lay him out in the middle of the desert 140 degree weather, and they put a smoldering hot boulder on his chest. And his his, his his his flesh would sear with with with how hot this rock was. And I want you to think about how in that state, below the love that I felt truly free. He felt truly at peace and truly at ease. And for us as Muslims. That is the goal, that no matter what life throws at us, no matter what we're going through, no matter what is happening around us, whether it be problems in our house, whether it be

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communal problems, whether it be problems in the society, whether it be political issues, whether it be natural disasters, whether it be hardships, this and that loss of life, illnesses, sicknesses, no matter what is going on our life, yes, our body may be at our body may be uncomfortable, our body may be facing some hardship, our body may be in pain. But our goal is that our heart is free. And our heart is free in the submission of Allah, Allah. And this is why the companions, they would often talk about how they were freed there, they were freed from the shackles of submission to this light for the things of this life. And they were free to the submission of God, the submission of a

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lifespan of Tiana and like I said, that is that is something that we are we're all as Muslims, it is our goal. And that is what we want for everyone else as well. And this is why some had a lot. One of the things you often find is that new Muslims or people are Muslims who first start practicing their Deen, they are very, very active in calling other people to Islam. Right? Why is not because we as Muslims are trying to take over the world or anything, right? It's because you feel this immense freedom, you feel this immense ease. And if you've been in this situation, you know what I'm talking about. And you're like, I want everyone else to feel this way as well. And you feel like you have

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lived a life where you're basically blinded, or you're shackled by just your worldly your Bane desires to eat, drink, eat, drink, have sex, have fun, like that's it like that's all life is about. And now you have a higher purpose, right even had a law. Like I said, if you go back, if you look at like a meetings and like Narcotics Anonymous meetings, one of the things they tell you in those meetings is you have to have a bigger purpose in life. And they don't, obviously, they don't define it as they don't tell you what your bigger purpose should be. But one of the one of the points is that you need to live for something beyond just yourself and beyond just this moment, or this time

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that you're living in. Because the problems that you're dealing with these issues that you're dealing with this constriction that you're feeling your life, it surrounds you, and it surrounds your circumstances. But life is a lot bigger than that. And when you look at life, and you and you think of a higher purpose, and you look at find purpose and meaning in your life, that is a way that you free yourself from that type of restriction, or that that those feelings that are keeping you shackled in your desires or your addiction, or the stress that you're feeling. So that's that's the first thing, a lack of inner peace. And like I said, that is probably the biggest issue here. And

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that is how I think, is one of the things that will solve a lot of problems, a lot of issues for a lot of people where if they lead a life, where they're looking for where they're at least if they haven't found the inner peace, they're actually striving, they're working really hard to find that inner peace. And we as Muslims, we we basically when a person reaches that state, where they're looking for that bigger purpose, they're looking for the true purpose of life, life that for us is their fifth law is their natural disposition, clawing out of all of the coverings that have been put on top of it. Right. And as the Prophet Mohammed, Mohammed Salah says, send them he said, Every

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newborn child is born upon their fifth law, every newborn child is born on their natural disposition to in that natural disposition is to want to worship god alone, want to worship alone, and it is their parents that change that either make them a Jew or a Christian or whatever life they pick, or whatever religion or lack of religion they pick after that it's because of the influence of their parents. But deep down inside, we believe every person has that has that goodness has that natural disposition to worship their Creator and like I said, it's that it's it's basically their fifth thought clawing out and seeking that tranquility of the worship of Allah Subhana data. And this is

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why you notice how even in the Quran and the Sunnah of the prophet send them, the worship of Allah is is often referred to as a very peaceful state. Last kind of Allah said, Allah be the killer.

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And barely it is by the most certainly it is by the remembrance of Allah.

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Do hearts find rest.

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And that is like I said, not that for us as Muslims. That's it. That is the goal that we find that peace and that rest and the Prophet civili send them he would say to beloved

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The love that our beloved would make the man who would start the prayer, he would say, bring us some ease with this prayer, bring us some rest and some comfort, meaning this life yeah, all the stuff that we're doing this life. It's, it's, it's coming down upon us, but give us some relief with this prayer, right this prayer, this higher purpose, that is what is gonna bring us true true true relief and true comfort of the heart. Secondly, another one of the causes of stress, or anxiety, or addiction, or any one of these issues is the fear of, or a fear of the unknown. So sometimes people look at their life, and they're afraid of what's going to happen, and they're afraid of what may

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happen or what may not happen. And that fear sometimes shackles us. And that fear sometimes manifests itself in things like addiction. And once again, as Muslims, we the whole point is that we don't fear the unknown, because we know that these matters, go back to a loss penalty. And then part of our appeal, is that a loss that decrees matters that may on their surface, that may seem harmful to us. They may they may seem quote unquote, evil to us, but there is some goodness in there. There is some hair in there. And though and so once again, this we never fear the unknown, or we never fear the unknown. Yes, we prepare for the unknown. Oui, oui, oui, oui.

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We work hard to protect ourselves. But we never fear the unknown and the fear, that is really where those problems start. Also, another one of the big issues is loss. And sometimes, and you may have noticed this as well. And if you know someone who's been in the case where they're suffering from addiction, or depression or anything like that, sometimes what triggers that is loss, whether it be loss of sometimes it's like a monetary loss, somebody was doing really well in their life, and all of a sudden, they went bankrupt, or they they lost their job or something happened, and they completely lost their wealth, or a loss of health. Sometimes people are struck with a terminal

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illness, may Allah protect us, or some other type of illnesses, something where they fear the loss, or they have a loss of their health. And that leads them to this type of depression. Or sometimes it's a loss of a loved one, which somehow law is incredibly, incredibly powerful. And it's so powerful that even the profits, that it weighed down heavily upon the profits to lose a loved one. If you look at Yaqoob, Sarah Jacob, when he lost his son, Yousif, it caused him so much distress that he almost went blind, he went blind with the distress that he had at the loss of his son. And then in the end, he said in the

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law, he said, I only turn to a law, I only turn to my God, with my sorrows in my distress. And for him, once again, like I said, that loss of life and losing so a loved one is a very, very powerful thing. And that is one of the things that usually or can drive a person to, as you said, depression or anxiety or stress and all of that the Prophet Mohammed said a lot of them, he went through what was known as the almond herzan, or the year of sadness. And in this year's catalog, the prophet said, all I send them he lost his wife, which was everything to him, he his wife, Khadija on the left, and she was like the rock for the profits that I send them. When everything was coming down

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upon him. When everyone seemed to be against the Prophet satellite send them, he knew that he had his wife with him. She was there, she supported him from day one, from the first day The message was sent to the process. And then he ran, he ran to who he ran to his wife, and his wife was there for him. And that support for him, he lost her, and he lost his uncle, which once again was that, that that strong support for him. And in that loss, it hit the profits of the licensing very heavily. And so we view sadness as something which is normal and is something which is very powerful. But your faith, your Eman and your submission to us kind of data is what brings you through those challenges.

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It's what takes you out of those and makes you go on and move past beyond those tests and trials. And this is why when we as Muslims when someone dies, we say in that we're in Nigeria and spend a lot of Muslims they just say this statement just out of habit. So when does it go into into human ideology? Okay, what's next, right in Nadella here in the UAE Roger is an incredibly powerful statement. I was trying to add it in the process well, but she'll sabreen that give glad tidings to the patient people, what leads them to be patient in that in that time of of hardship and loss of life and all that, that the belief not just the statement, but the belief that in the law he was in

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LA he Roger own that most certainly we belong to Allah and we will return to a lot and that is life. This life is temporary and Allah is in control and yes, it is sad to lose someone. Yes, it is difficult and yes, we feel sad and we cry and it hurts will last

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It hurts to lose someone, right. But in the end of the day, we know that these people were given to us by last patata. No matter how beloved this person was, to us, that person belongs to Allah subhanaw taala. And even that statement itself SubhanAllah. If we really just thought about that singular statement of saying that we belong to a one, we return to Allah, that is an incredibly powerful statement. It's it's really it's not, it's not just steam. Like I said, it's a way of life. It's part of our creed, it's part of our arcada. It's part of who we are. Lastly, and I know, my time's a little bit short, but

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a lack of control. For some people, what leads them to stress, what leads them to addiction and anxiety. And all that is a feeling of lack of control, where they feel like they're not in control of their own destiny, and they don't know where their life is headed. And they don't know how to get past that. And we as Muslims have had a law, we embrace that. We embrace the fact that we're not in control. And I often give the examples out of luck. And you may have heard me give this example before as well. But the example of a or the analogy of a paper cut. The paper cuts out a lot. If you think about a paper cut, there's a lot of lessons to be learned from paper cut. I'll tell you how.

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The paper cut teaches us that it is truly a law who is in control and not us. Why?

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Think about the last time you had a paper cut. First of all, before we get there, let's say that we came across an alien life form. Right? Let's say we came across alien life form, they never been on earth before. They never met human beings, but they know about our culture, they know about who we are. And and we met this this alien life form. And we say this alien life form, say, and we tell them, you know, I got a paper cut yesterday. And it was painful. And this alien life form will say to you, this paper cut, you were in pain through paper, this,

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this material that you can just cut up like that. That is what caused you so much pain. And you'll say yeah, okay, that's the first thing. The second thing, what happens to you every time you have papercut? A couple different things. First of all, you always say to yourself, maybe after some explosives, maybe right? You say to yourself, I can't believe I got I got caught again. Right? And then you say yourself will law he never again, right? I'll never let it happen to me ever again. Right? I was so careless, that I let a paper cut me out a lot. I can't believe that happened to me. And then you say to yourself, never again, I'm never gonna, and then for the next maybe a few days

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or weeks, every time you turn the page, it's very carefully, you're aware of that paper cut. And you're like, Okay, I got this, right. I'm in control here, right? The papers not in control. I'm in control. Right. So you turn the page very, very easily hold off until a month goes by six months go by a year goes by and you're flipping through the papers and books get a paper cut again. And you're like I can't believe it happened in that had a lot is a sign from Allah subhana wa tada that in the end of the day, you're not in control. No matter how much you think you're in control, no matter how much you feel like you're in control. In the end of the day, it is Allah subhanaw taala decrees

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these matters, evens out a lot. The other example I usually give is the stubbing of your toe. Right, it's very interesting to paddle out how we always stub our toe in the exact same spot every time. Right, and even sometimes, sometimes we stub our toe, then we're like, Ah, sorry, yelling at the table, or like staring at our at our spouse or whoever, like why did you put this table here, the table has been there for five years, you just stub your toe on it right? And then you're like, pick up the table, put it aside somewhere else. And then once again, you forget you've had a lot of time goes by, boom, you stub your toe again. And let's be real, it's incredibly painful, right?

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Incredibly and you're like cursing blah, blah and stuff. But once again, you're not in control. But we embrace that and in that we find peace and comfort that the one who is in control, the one who is truly in control. That is the one who we worship, that is the one who we have submitted to that is the one who our life is based around and that is what brings us that peace and that tranquility. Lastly, I'll leave with this inshallah Tada. My last two points. And this is kind of like a little bit of a summary. But remember that number one, remember that the closer you are to your fifth all your natural disposition, your natural, your innate, your inner need to worship your Creator. The

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closer you are to that the happier you're going to be and happy not in just this very like I said, the surface type of happiness, but this deep inner happiness where like as I said before, your body may be in pain, your body may be uncomfortable, your life may be very seems stressful, but inside your lead you live a very peaceful inner peace, inner a life which has inner peace. So the closer you are to that filter, the closer you are to that

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Natural disposition to worship your Creator, the happier you're going to be. Lastly, hardship doesn't have to equal stress and loss pero tiada knows best. Well I heard that one Alhamdulillah bellarine Allah Hotel saramonic como rahmatullah wa barakato