According to the teachings of Islam, the desires and lusts play a vital part in the makeup of every human being; they cannot be ignored. Humans, unlike the angels, have to face the challenge in this life of mastering these forces within us. If we fail to do so, then we become enslaved by our desires and thus fall below the level of the animal kingdom.
The keys to a happy and fulfilled life are to be found in the guidance contained in the Quran and in the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad whose lifestyle embodied a perfect balance between permissible enjoyment and abstention from what is forbidden.
In this article, we will talk about the dangers of yielding to the unrestrained cravings of the soul through highlighting the problem of lust. Although man could be afflicted by lust at any age, young men are more susceptible. That is because between adulthood and childhood is adolescence, where a person undergoes great physical and psychological changes. During this stage, one’s decisions and experiences determine, to a great extent, the type of adult one will become. So, if a person succeeded in curbing his desires during this period, it would be easier for him to curb it for the rest of his life.
Sometimes, our children who are on the threshold of adolescence receive scant attention from parents regarding this matter; so, we preferred to tackle the issue of lust in the form of dad-son dialogue:
Son: Dad! You’ve told me a lot about the advantages and bright aspects of the period of entering manhood. Can you tell me about its problems and difficulties?
Dad: This is a crucial question. You know that Satan is eager to tempt and seduce human beings. Allah Says in the Noble Quran (what means):
“[Satan] said, “Because You have put me in error, I will surely sit in wait for them on Your straight path. Then I will come to them from before them and from behind them and on their right and on their left, and You will not find most of them grateful [to You].”
(Quran 7: 16-17)
Therefore, the fight between Satan and a young man reaches its climax when the young man reaches the age of religious obligation.
Allah made the way to His Paradise hard and difficult, and the way to the Hell full of desires for a certain wisdom, namely, to test people. In other words, the road to Hell is closer than that to Paradise. The Prophet is reported to have said:
“Hellfire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked undesirable things.”
Thus, desires and lust start to appear in this stage of someone’s life in order to distinguish those who can resist the temptation from those who cannot. If the ways to Paradisewere furnished with flowers, everybody would take it.
Son: Can you tell me more about these desires, Dad?
Dad: Well! They are so many, varying in strength and scope. Allah Says (what means): “Beautified for people is the love of that which they desire – of women and sons, heaped-up sums of gold and silver, fine branded horses, and cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.” [Quran 3: 14]
As for their varying nature, they differ from one person to another and from one environment to another. However, the influence of sexual desire on young people is the strongest and most dangerous, especially in the present time. The Prophet warned us against that when he said:
“I am not leaving behind a more harmful trial (cause of mischief) for men than women.”
The Prophet also said:
“A person who gives surety to (safeguard) what is between his jaws (tongue) and what is between his two legs (private organs), I guarantee his entrance into Paradise.”
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet was asked about the things which cause most people to enter Paradise. He answered:
“Being careful about one’s obligations to Allah, and good behavior”.
Then, he was asked:
“What are these things which would lead a person into Hellfire?”
“His mouth and genitals (i.e., misusing them).”
Son: You have come close to home when you spoke about this desire. May I ask more questions about it?
Dad: Go ahead, son.
Son: Some young people say that Allah is All-Knowledgeable and All-Wise, so they wonder if there is any apparent wisdom that a Muslim can see behind afflicting people with such a strong desire?
Dad: You should know, my son, that a Muslim is not allowed to question or object to the commandments of Allah. He must submit to whatever comes from his Lord and believe in it whether or not he knows the wisdom behind it. However, if he knows the wisdom, his Faith will become more firm.
One wisdom behind sexual desire is to sustain the human race by means of reproduction. Therefore, the two sexes are attracted to each other in order to achieve this end. Again, as mentioned earlier, one of the greatest pieces of wisdom is affliction and trial. If the way of obedience is hard, it will not be taken except by honest and pious people who are characterized by patience and fortitude, or else it will be open to everybody.
Son: I think the first step a wise young man should take is to know the temptations that may enkindle such a desire so that he may avoid them. Am I correct, Dad?
Dad: Certainly. One should avoid the things that may stir up desires and lust.