We live in a world that is driven by lust. Wherever we look, we will see manifestations of lust and sin. We have been programmed to feel lust for almost everything. What would happen if we overcome this debilitating desire? Islam4u presents, “Overcoming Lust: Surpass Your Flesh.”
What Is Lust?
Lust is not a good feeling. It is an insatiable desire for sex, money, fame, and power. It is devoid of love, virtue, and good intentions. Lust is the haram form of carnal desires. Unfortunately, nowadays, our lives are centered around lust, which is giving your flesh priority over your spirit. It is when you lack love or any good feeling for the things you do. That is when you turn into an abomination rather than a human being. Most people live lustfully without even knowing. We must overcome it and pay heed to our spirit so that we can prosper. Without lust, the world would change for the better. There would be much less crime, murder, fornication, and any sinful act that comes to mind.
What Does Islam Say About Lust?
Islam is a perfect religion that considers everything. In Islam, lust is one of the worst traits of a human being. People who lust after one another have been severely censured. Of course, not every desire whether it is sexual or not is considered lust. On the contrary, a sexual desire that is controlled, accompanied by love, and within the boundaries of religion is considered sacred in Islam. What is considered harmful and degenerate is when it is unrestrained and has no purpose other than satisfying one’s physical needs. The Quran says the following about those who only seek to satisfy their lust:
بَلِ اتَّبَعَ الَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا أَهْوَاءَهُم بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۖ فَمَن يَهْدِي مَنْ أَضَلَّ اللَّهُ ۖ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن نَّاصِرِينَ ﴿٢٩﴾
Indeed, the wrongdoers follow their own desires without any knowledge. So who will guide those whom Allah has led astray? They will have no helpers. (30:29)
What to Do to Break Free From Lust
Everywhere we look, whatever we hear, and whatever we read contain instances of lust. Breaking free from lust is one of the most difficult things to do in this day and age. The solution to this is deepening our connection with Allah. We have no choice but to start from somewhere. We have to make the decision that from this day onward, “I will not be consumed by lust in my life anymore.” For example, one of the most evident and worst phenomena that we are facing today is the issue of pornography. Pornography truly destroys. Quitting the consumption of pornography, although extremely difficult as it mostly becomes an addiction, is a great step toward breaking free from the chains of lust. Those who have successfully given up porn live much happier lives. They exude self-confidence, a magnetic aura, and spirituality.
Of course, there are other instances of lust that one must get rid of in one’s life. For example, if a person has the habit of looking at non-mahram women lustfully, they must try their best to put an end to such a habit once and for all. In general, connecting with Allah, His Prophet (s), and the Ahlul Bait will go a long way in overcoming lust in every facet of life. Therefore, we must ask them to help us, and never sever our connection with them for a split second.
What Happens When I Overcome Lust?
When you overcome lust, many good things happen in your life. Your spirit will be enriched with the light of Allah. Allah will help you and guide you to the straight path. You will achieve a sense of peace and tranquility that you never even thought of. You will be extremely optimistic about your future and you will know that Allah will always assist you. In short, overcoming lust helps you transcend the physical barriers of life and ascend the spiritual ladders to heaven.
What About My Sexual Desire?
As we said, there is a difference between healthy sexual desire and lust. Allah has created us with a sexual desire for a purpose. He has created us with feelings of hunger and thirst for a similar reason. We become hungry and thirsty so that we can eat and drink to sustain our bodies and survive. Similarly, we have a sexual desire within us as an instinct to procreate and continue our lineage. If we did not have this drive, we would become extinct. As a result, Allah has shown us the correct way of satisfying this desire. He has told us that we must marry each other. Otherwise, there would be chaos and there would be no limits to with whom one could have sexual relations. Allah made this desire so that we love each other. It is not lust, but a sacred feeling that we must nurture. Allah says in the Quran:
وَمِنْ آيَاتِهِ أَنْ خَلَقَ لَكُم مِّنْ أَنفُسِكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا لِّتَسْكُنُوا إِلَيْهَا وَجَعَلَ بَيْنَكُم مَّوَدَّةً وَرَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ ﴿٢١﴾
And of His signs is that He created for you mates from your own selves that you may take comfort in them, and He ordained affection and mercy between you. There are indeed signs in that for a people who reflect. (30:21)
However, this desire can also be misdirected. If the only thing we think about, seek, and pursue is satisfying our sexual desire, it becomes a disliked quality that we must amend. This holds true with respect to every desire including the desire to become famous, powerful, and rich. If these desires are not controlled and serve evil purposes, they become lust.
What Are Some Good Methods of Overcoming Lust?
There are countless methods to overcome lust. There are two important ways of overcoming lust and achieving enlightenment. The first method is fasting. When you fast, you forgo all pleasurable things such as eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. This greatly strengthens your spirit and helps you overcome lust. It improves your self-discipline and will enhance your self-control. Fasting is also very healthy. The Prophet (s) has said, “Fast so that you become healthy.”
The other method for overcoming lust that might seem radical and unconventional to most people is a practice known as semen retention. If you are unmarried, semen retention is a must. Semen retention means avoiding any act that results in the release of semen, whether it is masturbation or sexual intercourse. This practice greatly strengthens one’s mind, body, and soul and has many benefits. It increases self-confidence, greatly improves one’s mental clarity and verbal fluency, and gives one many qualities that every man must have. If one does it for the sake of Allah, it will entail much reward. As Muslims, this practice also helps one avoid many sins, such as masturbating, watching porn, fornicating, and looking lustfully at other women. After practicing semen retention for at least three months, one will achieve such a spiritual state that is indescribable. Eventually, one will be able to get married with a balanced body and mind and lead a successful life in both worlds.
Overcoming lust should be the goal of all human beings. By lust, we do not mean halal, controlled, and moderated sexual or non-sexual desires. Lust is mostly a haram carnal desire that does nothing but consume your life. It is an aimless search for more and more pleasures of the flesh that do not even satisfy the person. One becomes greedier and greedier and never achieves happiness. If you truly want to live like a human being rather than an animal, you must overcome lust. Islam has emphasized the importance of removing lust from one’s life. A life that is free from lust is a prosperous one. By overcoming lust, we will become closer to Allah and will achieve salvation in the hereafter.