Here Are Three Ways to Overcome Your Desires

Here Are Three Ways to Overcome Your Desires

Ramadan is a time devoted to overcoming our base desires, by abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours. Here are some tips to help us in this month, and to carry on the practice after it is over.

“Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research is a research institute which aims to instill conviction and inspire contribution based on mainstream Islamic texts.”

In today’s world, we are faced with an onslaught of temptation and desire each and every day. The challenge of staying connected to the religion of Allah has never been more difficult, and yet it is still open.

One of the great scholars of our history, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, was influential in our approaches to contemplation and spiritual psychology. He identified a number of different Prophetic and Qur’anic approaches to controlling our minds and our hearts in order to help us on our journey to Allah.

In his book ‘Iddat as-Sabireen, he put forth a number of strategies for reminding ourselves of the knowledge and beliefs that we hold, particularly in the face of temptation and desire. He referred to this as Tadhakkur, in reference to the verse of the Qur’an in which Allah says:

‘Certainly, those who are righteous, when a party of Shaytaan touches them, they immediately remember (Him i.e Allah SWT), then they gain insight’

(Surah A’raaf: 201).”

To achieve this, he recommended those struggling to bring to mind different thoughts to their conscious awareness, three of which we will mention here:

  1. Remember Allah’s countless blessings upon you and that your disobedience will erect a barrier between you and them.  
  2. Remember that through your fulfilling desires and attainment of temporary pleasure you will lose out on goodness both in this world and in the next.  Faith, Providence, and wealth all decrease as a consequence.
  3. Remember that Allah has promised to replace what you leave for His sake with something much better. It is worth the struggle.

May Allah give us the ability to act in a way which is pleasing to Him and to make use of the scholars of our present, past and future.

Read more in The Lost Art of Contemplation: Spiritual Psychology by Zohair Abdul-Rahman