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Thursday, May 26, 2005

DRUGS Is It a way to escape your responsibilities?

DRUG Defined as - Any chemical substance, whether of natural or synthetic origin, which can be used to alter perception, mood, or other psychological states. Today, the topic of drug abuse is a serious issue amongst every community in Britain. We the Muslims have it staring at our faces on our very doorsteps if not in our homes. Within this article I would like to explore the dangers and concerns surrounding drugs as well as point out to my fellow Young Muslims that it is HARAAM.

Too many young people, some as young as ten, smoke or take drugs. Of course there are different classes of drugs, some more addictive and damaging than others but the most commonly taken, Cannabis, seems to appear almost every where. You can smell it on the user's, their clothes, out of car windows, in phone boxes and even find the buds from spliffs on your doorsteps.

According to Professor Heather Ashton, of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

"Cannabis affects almost every body system. It combines many of the properties of alcohol, tranquillisers, opiates and hallucinogens,"

Before I explain the bottom line that intoxicating yourself is Haraam, I would like to explore the role of drugs in our society. From my own knowledge and experience of drug users, especially those that smoke cannabis, I am quite adamant that these individuals are not wreckless nor a physical danger to anybody, but as research shows they use it as a lifestyle drug to deal with stress and anxieties as well as for mere stimulation. However, during an interview with a community worker in an ethnic majority area of Northern Birmingham, I was bought into the New Millenium as they say.

The number of young people, especially Muslim boys and girls addicted to 'Brown', 'Crack' and other hard drugs is not just on the increase but also tragically visible. My dear respected readers this is just a mere snapshot of the larger scale of this issue. Studies conducted in some parts of ethnic-majority London show that the strong stigma of a family member addicted to drugs is not a deterrent at all. The Metropolitan Police say a:
...significant number of street robberies, burglaries and girls entering prostitution is definatelly related to feeding a drug habit...

What makes one person take drugs while, another abstains from doing so?

Entertainment Industry and Peer pressure certainly play a major role in starting many on a life of drug abuse, the young are especially susceptible to adopting it.

The entertainment industry is particularly plagued with drug abuse. Top performers in the music world often become victims of heavy drug use. Entertainers can give drugs a glamour and appeal that youths seem to find irresistible. The world of drugs is also glamorised in fashion, movie and television.

Many factors play a role in getting an individual attracted and hooked on drug taking. Among these are lack of purpose in life, depression, disillusionment, poor parental control.

Some users attribute their situation to having little or no confidence to mingle in social situations and therefore by taking drugs they are more at ease in such circumstances. Others use drugs to simply avoid taking on responsibility.

To put this into context despite Muslims already facing Racism and discrimination in the work place and almost everywhere else in Britain, many in these areas have to contend with being victims of crime perpetuated by their own ethnic group.

Furthermore, statistics show that the majority of the Muslim community in Britain is very young, i.e. under 30 years of age and that in some parts of Cities like Birmingham there are more young people per household than ever before. With more young people around, it means more are likely to be vulnerable to drugs and our jaws may have hit the floor on hearing the scale of the above mentioned tragedies but what about if I was to say this is just the tip of the iceberg and that this is a Time Bomb waiting to be set off! So why is Drugs such a big thing?

Because we live in whats called a post-modern world where nothing is fixed staight forward or even real such as - internet communities, life is very hectic and disorderly. Young people. especially are exposed to countless media images which are conflicting. For instance on the one hand they are advised to live life to the max and be trendy whilst on the other hand they are expected to work extremely hard besides discrimination and barriers to be successful Professionals. On top of this they have Satan dragging them on all directions.

The easiest way to explain it is by the need for STIMULATION. With so many of the above pressures young people need room to chill out and go into their own little world, even if it means it has to be an unknown flat or digs where theres a cloud of smoke every time you walk in. This search for stimulation isn't only applicable to people who take drugs, it also applies to the rest of us who have a reliance on heavy doses of media and capitalist ways of life, such as flash cars, fans of celebrities, Hollywood and Bollywood and even businessmen who think of nothing but making profits.

Warnings - About the harm drugs can do just don’t seem to scare youths, the common phrase used to avoid thinking what the ill-effects of drug use is to have attitudes like "Ahhhh- it won’t happen to me" or "We only live once - so lets just enjoy it to the max ". Anyone with a little sense would realise that having such views can and will harm the individuals own life.

There are many reasons why the young view life in this way, one of them is because the young are very resilient and full of vitality that they don’t believe their health will suffer. To appreciate how important your own health can be, just ask someone who is terminally ill or has just recovered from illness.

So what is causing the young of today to adopt a life of drug abuse?

The mass adoption of drug abuse, the acceptance of drug use for social interaction e.g. All night parties. Is an indication at the state of our society it shows how feeble we have all become. Otherwise why should a significant number of people prefer drugs to the reality of the present day.

Materialistic modern living styles and preoccupation with achievement often fails to meet an individuals spiritual and emotional requirements - parents eager to bring in that extra pound rather than spending that valuable hour with their child at home, schools and teachers more obsessed with attaining grades to improve the league status rather than helping develop an individual with his or her own identity.

However, a Drugs help worker explained quite simply that it is a matter of 'Choice'. Not everybody who has a hard life turns to drugs, but those that do, especially drug addicts, are thrill seekers who know quite well what they are getting into and the damage it can do to them and their families, but yet they can't be responsible enough to give a damn.

The upsetting instances when a young brother is approached to attend the masjid for salah and he tells you in a very respectful way that "I would, but I can't because am not 'Pak' ( Clean ) cos I’ve been smoking." Then what we do is meet them later after we've finished our prayer, without a care for the hereafter of this brother. What such an instance shows, is that if they had not intoxicated themselves then the likely hood is that they would be a regular Mussalee. And for every person seen to be attending the Masjid more may have followed the habit but the chances of that now grows thin. Our tolernace of drug use stems from our inability to persuade and help our fellow school mates, bredrens, college mates, cousins and neighbours that the daily pressures of work, education and family life can be overcome by one gift from Allah. Salah-The five daily prayers. It seems it is easier to risk punishment of the hereafter let alone breaking the law to buy drugs and use them regularly than
to remain Pak for even a week to attend the masjid where the performance of salah is easy and fulfilling.

The benefits of Salah are extraodinary as Muslims who follow this basic requirement will tell you that if you have to pray regularly your body has to be pure, so you can't smoke drugs or drink alcohol or be in a state of ghusal. Thus you're kept away from such bodily sins. Plus if you have to keep away from such sins, you naturallly will find yourself away from locations where such sins are committed.

Okay; what is the answer to avoiding the above pitfall?

Fortunate for us all, is that there is a way. However it is not an overnight remedy but requires patience and dedication. Once you manage to attain some degree of perfection you will then realise how easy it becomes to handle the pressures and stresses of modern living.

This solution is not new nor is our problem. Since the start of time we humans have been susceptible to leading ourselves down the wrong path and each time our creator and sustainner Al’mighty Allah has, through his kindness provided us with devine guidance the last of this was via our Prophet Mohammed Rasulullah Salallahu Aliahi Wassalam and it is ISLAM as we all know.

In the face of adversity do not resort to worldly help before seeking help from Allah for He is the one that can elleviate your problems and guide you on the right path.

Now that you have asked Allah (Subhanahu Wa Taala) to solve your dilemma, your saying to yourself:

" What’s happening; I asked for that flash car a week ago, but I don’t seem to see it, parked outside my house yet ".

Unfortunately your prayers arn’t answered in that manner. As with anything in life you need to put some effort into making sure that your approach to seeking help from Allah is perfected and conducted with some degree if not complete regularity, only then, will you start to see results. However; you should not be discouraged if your prayers aren’t answered as you would have liked, since Allah knows best.

Some verses from the Quran with regards to seeking help from Allah:

" ...Seek help from Allah and be patient, the earth belongs to Allah. Anyone He wishes from among His servants shall inherit it... " (7:128)

" Our Lord, fill us full of patience and make our feet firm. Help us against the disbelievers. " (2:250)

" And anyone who acts patiently and forgives, truly he is persevering in affairs. " (42:43)



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