By reading the response to this question, you have already taken the first, correct step in trying to resolve a problem. That is a great place to start. Many people get into addictive behaviours—whether it is obsessive viewing of pornography or other behaviours—and refuse to acknowledge that there is even a problem. Some time ago, a person wrote to us regarding pornography, “I can quit if I want to!”. This illusion of control is the first problem to contend with. Pornography is an addictive, problematic behaviour that is unhealthy both for the soul and the body, and is hugely detrimental to a person’s spiritual growth. Admitting that it is a problem is the first step to eliminating this behaviour from one’s life.
Secondly, pornography damages a person psychologically by putting him into the habit of objectifying women, and the human body in general. Further, it creates a view of sexuality that is far removed from reality. Pursuing such unrealistic goals in the real life would lead a person to a life of dissatisfaction, depression, and anxiety. In his Friday Sermon, dated July 6, 2012, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah be his Helper) speaks about the issue of pornography and says that “viewing such vain things, such films is a kind of addiction”.[i] Huzoor advised against forming friendships which cause a person to further indulge in such vain pursuits. Once a person gets into it, it can be very difficult to get out.[ii]
The Promised Messiah(as) states, “Desires of this world create a form of impure greed which in turn increases yearning and thirst (for more)”.[iii] The same is the case with pornography and other addictive behaviours. Advising those who are engaged in such bad habits, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (may Allah be his Helper) stresses that attention should be paid to remembrance of Allah, Istighfar, Durood, and prayers.[iv] In other words, the best way to fight against such bad behaviours is to seek God’s help.
Furthermore, Huzoor directed our attention to a prayer of the Holy Prophet(sa) in his Friday Sermon, dated May 20, 2016. This prayer is as follows:
O Allah! Create love in our hearts. Reform us, and guide us to the paths of peace. And take us from darkness to light. And save us from manifest evil, whether inward or outward. And bless our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our wives, and our children. And turn to us with Mercy. Indeed, You are the Oft-Returning, the Merciful. And make us grateful for Your blessings, remembering them with praise, and accepting them. And O Allah! Complete Your favours upon us.[v]
Along with prayer, it is also useful to study about such addictive behaviours from the works of psychologists. One psychologist who has earned a reputation in this field is Dr. Patrick Carnes. Reading up on the problem and seeing what issues in one’s life make one susceptible to certain behaviours and addictions is another way to understand and deal with the problem effectively.
Overall changes to our lives, our schedules, and the amount of time we give to prayer and our spiritual growth are also things to consider. In his book Noah’s Ark, the Promised Messiah(as) explains the problem of evil and the fundamentals needed to fight against it. Furthermore, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad(ra) has given a step-by-step guide to defend against sin in his book, Way of the Seekers. These books and other resources are available on www.alislam.org.
[i]. Friday Sermon, 6 July 2012, https://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2012-07-06.html, Retrieved April 16, 2019
[iii]. Malfuzat, vol. 1, p. 371
[iv]. Friday Sermon, 6 July 2012, https://www.alislam.org/friday-sermon/2012-07-06.html, Retrieved April 16, 2019
[v]. Sunan Abu Dawud, Book of Prayer, Chapter: The Tasha-hud: https://sunnah.com/abudawud/2/580