Question 139: I have done a very bad sin in the month of Ramadan. I went to the masjid for fajr on drugs. Everyone knew I was high. How do I repent from this sin and how do I stay on the straight path?
Answer 139: There are several aspects to your question that need to be addressed including the following:
- Method of Repentance
- Medical Issues of Addiction
- Issues Related to Fasting
- Public vs. Private Sins
- The Issue of Hopelessness
Method of Repentance: There are some elements necessary to achieve repentance. One of the methods is knowledge. “…those of His servants only who are possessed of knowledge fear Allah Surely Allah is Mighty, Forgiving.”
Realization of the serious sinful nature of intoxication and its consequences is an important element. Substance abuse is particularly dangerous to one’s soul because it can lead to a host of other sins, lead to bad deeds becoming more fair-seeming, afflict one’s ability to feel the weight of ones sins, and contribute to hopelessness in Allahs (swt) mercy. Imam Al-Ridha (as) said, “Allah (swt) forbade the drinking of wine, since it causes corruption, disturbance and intoxication of the mind and becomes the cause of all the sins including: murdering, falsely accusing chaste woman of adultery, committing adultery, lessening abstinence, and refraining from forbidden deeds.
Consuming intoxicants is mentioned as one of the greater sins, “They ask you about intoxicants and the games of chance. Say, in both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit.”
Another method is regret or remorse, as it states in the Holy Qur’an Allah (swt) says, “And He it is who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do”. Another method is a strong will and intention. Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (as) said, “A man never gets weak if he is strengthened with a firm intention (will).”
Another method is doing extraordinary good deeds which cause forgiveness of bad deeds. Just as it states in the holy Quran, “And keep up prayer in the two parts of the day and in the first hours of the night. Surely good deeds take away evil deeds. This is a Reminder to the mindful.”
To set these elements in place, one must continually work for and pray for his/her increase in correct knowledge of the straight path. Upon realizing one’s sin one should feel sincere regret and remorse over the action, not just in getting caught at it, and one should make a clear intention, resolve and plan to reform.
Once someone said in front of Imam Ali (as), “Astaghfirullah” (I ask Allah’s forgiveness), then Imam Ali (as) said, “Your mother may lose you! Do you know what ‘istighfar’ (asking Allah’s forgiveness) is?”
‘Astighfar’ is meant for people of a high position. It is a word that stands on six meanings:
To repent over the past.
To make a firm determination never to revert to it.
- To discharge all the rights of the people so that you may meet Allah quite clean with nothing to account for.
- To fulfill every obligatory act which you ignored (in the past) so that you may now do justice with it.
- To aim at the flesh grown as a result of unlawful earning, so that you may melt it by grief (of repentance) till the skin touches the bone and a new flesh grows between them.
- To make the body taste the pain of obedience as you (previously) made it taste the sweetness of disobedience. On such occasion you may say: ‘astaghfirullah’.
Medical Issues of Addiction: In the case of drug abuse, in addition to sincere repentance, one may have another issue to address. Several substances commonly abused by drug users may cause addiction. Addiction can be very powerful and may in some cases not be addressed through strength of will alone. One who is sincerely resolved to quit drug abuse may need to pursue medical and/or psychological assistance to achieve success. Without knowing individual details of this case, it is not possible to recommend particular resources but only to suggest that they might be needed. If such steps are needed, fulfilling them would be a necessary part of true and successful repentance.
Issues Related to Fasting: There may be concern about the validity of one’s fasts when under the influence of a drug. If a person eats or drinks something during the time period of fasting, this breaks one’s fast and requires both Qada (making up the fast) and kaffarah:
If a person eats or drinks something intentionally, while being conscious of fasting, his fast becomes void.
In the following situations, both Qada and Kaffarah become obligatory, provided these acts are committed intentionally, voluntarily and without any force or pressure, during the fasts of Ramadan: (i) Eating and (ii) Drinking. If one committed such acts but didn’t know the rules concerning those acts which void his\her fast there would be no need to pay Kaffarah.
Making his\her fast up is sufficient in this matter. (Note: if one was able to know and learn the rule but didn’t, one must compensate and pay Kaffarah as well, according to Ayatollah Sistani (ha).
The kaffarah of leaving out a fast of Ramadan is to: (a) free a slave, or (b) fast for two months or (c) feed sixty poor to their fill (or give one mudd 3/4 kg.) of food-stuff, like wheat or barley or bread etc. to each of them. If it is not possible for him to fulfill any of these, he should give sadaqa according to his means and seek divine forgiveness. And the obligatory precaution is that he should give Kaffarah when he is capable to do so.
If a person breaks his fast with something haram, whether it is haraam in itself, like wine or adultery or has become haram due to some reason, such as any food which is normally permissible but it is injurious to his health, or if he has sexual intercourse with his wife during haidth, he will have to observe all three Kaffarah, as a recommended precaution. It means that he should set free a slave, fast for two months and also feed sixty poor to their fill, or give one mudd of wheat, barley, bread etc. to each of them. If it is not possible for him to give all the three Kaffarah, he should perform any one of Kaffarah which he can possibly give.
Islamic Laws / Smoking during the time of fasting: It is an obligatory precaution not to allow the smoke of cigarettes and tobacco and the like to reach the throat while fasting.
Ayatullah Khamenei: As an obligatory precaution, smoking isn’t permissible while fasting.
Ayatullah Makarem Shirazi: It is an obligatory precaution that one who is fasting abstains from smoking cigarettes and all tobacco products, in addition to not allowing thick smoke reach his throat. Going to the shower where there is steam is okay.
Ayatullah Bahjat: The fast not being broken by dust or smoke that isn’t thick, isn’t a substitute for food and isn’t tonic, isn’t devoid of reason, although abstaining is ahwat (in accordance with precaution).
Ayatullah Nouri: The fasting individual must abstain from thick steam that changes back to liquid in the mouth and also, as per obligatory precaution, must not allow the smoke of cigarettes and tobacco products and the like to reach his throat.
Ayatullah Zanjani: In the holy month of Ramadan, smoking and using tobacco products openly in a way that is disrespectful to the fast is impermissible, and if it isn’t disrespectful, it is still impermissible as per precaution. In the case of an individual smoking, he should still abstain from all other invalidators of the fast until Iftar, and also must perform the Qada (make up for) that day.
Ayatollah Sistani: Smoking during the time of fasting invalidates the fast. Injections do not necessarily break one’s fast unless the substance being injected is in place of food, for hydration, or is in itself the intoxicant.
Keeping all this in mind, if the drug was consumed during the period of fasting, it is possible that the fast was voided and Qada and Kaffarah may be called for. If the drug was consumed during the night, it is possible the fast is still in order unless ones intoxication resulted in something else that voids one’s fast. If one has questions about a specific case, a follow-up question may help clarify.
Public vs. Private Sins: Committing a sin in public can be of particular concern if it contributes to corruption of others. If one is inviting others to join in the sin, this is a further sin upon the first sin. Although the drug was not consumed publicly, being under its influence publicly provides evidence of the sin to others. Absent the condition of other persons knowing of the sin, then the public sin is the same as a private sin.
It is important to remember that Allah (swt) is Omnipresent and we cannot in truth, hide our sins. We should be more concerned about Allah (swt) witnessing our sins. We must strive to increase dhikr (remembrance) of God at all times, and remember that it is His opinion that matters, not the opinion of people. Good deeds performed so that others will notice are of little benefit and sometimes even harmful to one’s soul. In some cases where people are more concerned about the opinion of other people, instead of God’s, this can be a form of shirk (polytheism).
The Issue of Hopelessness: Hopelessness or despair can often be associated with addiction or drug abuse because of the great effects it has on one’s soul and the difficulties many experience in conquering it. It is known as the second greatest sin after polytheism. Amirul-Mu’minin (as) said to the man who was prevailed by despair of God’s mercy out of his many sins, “You, to despair of the mercy of Allah is the greatest sin that you have ever committed.” “…and despair not of Allah’s Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah’s Mercy except the unbelieving people.”
In conclusion, we have tried to address in detail the question, how to repent and avoid such a situation in the future and include resources for further assistance.
In some situations, some outside help may be necessary to overcome drug, alcohol, and tobacco addiction, in addition to the spiritual and repentance measures that must be taken, for the sake of your soul and Allahs (swt) pleasure. There might also be some underlying psychological issues stemming from either clinical or situational depression or other issues with mental health, in which case a licensed professional could be utilized to deal with those underlying issues. You will be able to find such help in your local areas by the suggestion or referral of your primary care physician.
Warding off Bad Thoughts: The relationship is always mutual. Our relationship with God is sometimes severed and cut off or tend to become weak; but He is always everywhere with us. God, the Exalted says, “And He is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that ye do.” Hence, if our connection with God becomes weak, we must look for the cause or setback. It has been said that the best way to get friendly with someone is to be in touch with them more often. Psychologically, this point has been considered to be undeniable and without a shred of doubt.
We must try to find what has created a distance between us and God. Sometimes arrogance, haughtiness, jealousy, feeling of needlessness and other sins which originate in the mind, create a distance between us and God. That is to say, the thinking power has been paralyzed in the sense that it cherishes only bad thoughts. Sometimes, some sins are committed by organs and limbs causing an obstruction (barrier) between us and God.
As you have stated in your message, it is likely that your separation from God may originate in those thoughts. Since, there is a thought behind every action, and an action beyond knowledge, we should control the mind and not let everything enter it. Although such an action seems to be difficult, the results are very positive.
Sometimes, the thoughts that enter the mind come from the Shaitan which should be warded off and repelled immediately because they force man into action. God, the Exalted says, “And most surely the Shaitans suggest to their friends that they should contend with you.” Therefore, one should prevent satanic thoughts from entering his mind.
One of the biggest and most important factors that leads man away from God and causes him to become negligent are unwanted memories.”
Some of these ungodly memories have so much influence on the individual that he loses his concentration amid performing the best act of worship i.e. prayer. It is therefore necessary to prevent the growth and development of such memories. The memories develop gradually as a result of talking and speaking with someone, listening, being in some gatherings, reading some magazines etc. When they get profuse and accumulated, they create some sort of enthusiasm. Finally, they become part of a man’s secondary habit coming easily to his mind and causing him to be oblivious of God. For this reason, those who have a materialistic mindset are constantly seeking worldly pleasures.
As was said earlier, it is necessary to prevent such thoughts from entering the mind and one should endeavor to ward off those thoughts that are coming to his mind. The Qur’an gives a solution; (one should guard himself against evil things and remember God. He should be careful as to where he goes, what he reads, listens, eats and wears. When he takes care of all these, gradually, zikr (remembrance) of God will be instilled in his heart and thereupon, good memories will be formed in his mind. For this reason, the Qur’an suggests “remembering God” as a way for coming out of negligence and for seeking proximity to the Truth).
God, the Exalted says, “O you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance. When remembrance increases in one’s heart, he starts to get interested in Him and this interest becomes his secondary habit so much that he remembers God in all situations.
Having said that, one should, therefore, pave the way for purifying and cleansing his heart and mind from bad memories and from impurities by remembering God and preventing the evil influences of negative and tormenting thoughts.
Note: Some of the answers have adapted (with a lot of changes have been made on) from:
 . Holy Qur’an, 35:28.
 . Wasail-Shia – Volume 17, Page 22.
 . Surah al-Baqarah 2:219; Refer to the book of Ayatollah Dastghaib wrote about this in detail, Vol. 1&2.
 . Surah Shoura, verse 25.
 . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 67, Pg. 211; Biharul Anwar, Vol. 67, Pg. 205, hadith 14.
 . Surah Hud, verse 114.
 . Biharul Anwar, Vol. 93, Pg. 285.
 . “الجنة محفوفة بالمکاره و جهنم محفوفة باللذات و الشهوات” Wasa’ilul-Shia, vol. 15, pg. 309, section 42 (the section that speaks of refraining from haram desires and pleasures).
 . Tawzihul Masael of maraja, Vol. 1, Pg. 891, Q 1572.
 . Tawzihul Masael of maraja, Vol. 1, Pg. 931.
 . (Araki, Golpaygani, Khu’i, Fazel, Tabrizi, Sistani, Safi) the rest of the issue hasn’t been mentioned; Ajwibatul-Istifta’at (in Farsi), inquiries 744 and 760; Tawdihul-Masa’el (annotated by Imam Khomeini), vol. 1, pg. 903, issue 1605.
 . Al-Mahjatul baida’i, Vol. 7, Pg. 253.
 . Surah Yūsuf 12:87.
 . Surah Al-Hadid, verse 4.
 . Surah An’am, verse 121.
 . Javadi Amuli, Abdullah, Stages of Morality in Quran, pg.30.
 . Ibid, pg.32, with minor modifications.
 . Stages of Morality in Quran, pg.34 and 35.
 . Surah Al-Ahzab, verse 41.