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Debt vs. Partnership vs. Revenue Sharing: Which One is Best for My Business?

Photo by rawpixel on UnsplashThe mantra of Islamic Finance has been “Islamic Finance prefers partnership over debt.” Hammering this idea into the minds of the masses has resulted in many people using less than optimal structures for their business needs. At times its better to finance through debt, at times through partnership, and at times through revenue sharing. In this short article, I discuss a few of the pros and cons of each and when to use them.

DEBT BASED TRANSACTIONS

Loans at interest are synonymous with Riba, the pre-Islamic practice of charging a premium on a debt, whether that premium is stipulated at contract or on default. Given this prohibition, Muslim jurists encouraged the sale of assets, allowing for long term deferred debts to be created by these sales and the time value of money to be embedded in the value created by the sale. So while debt-based sales are feasible, they are not optimal for all business situations. Almost sole reliance on these contracts by nearly every segment of the Islamic finance industry has resulted in growing debt, greater default, and legal artifice that uses these structures to synthesize a guaranteed interest rate. When are debt-based sales optimal? When you are short on cash for a large purchase that ownership of will boost your business’ ability to grow and profit. Example: equipment for a construction company.

PARTNERSHIPS

With partnerships, there’s several ways they can be structured. I wrote a bit about this for Oxford that you can read here. With partnerships, there are certainly upsides. By pooling financial resources, partners talent, and sharing time to improve the business, partnerships can prove lucrative. Where they falter is when the mission and vision of the partners is misaligned. When this happens, there will naturally be a misalignment in the human capital contributed. So regardless if both of you committed funds, when someone intentionally (or negligently) doesn’t pull their weight, the partnership will experience a downturn and all partners suffer.

There are several other downsides to partnerships, the greatest one being dilution of ownership. In order to bring in capital, owners must valuate their company and solicit investors to purchase shares of that company. Problem is, the capital contributed in exchange for the shares may not be worth the perpetual return that a partnership of any form offers. Why give up 5% of your business FOREVER just for a cash injection? Why invest significantly in a business that won’t give you more than 1% of the business? This is obviously where negotiation comes in, and finding that sweet-spot means creating the market for your offer, beating the best alternative to what you are offering. When are partnerships optimal? When all partners are aligned and your efforts now have a greater net future value than doing anything else.

REVENUE SHARING

Lastly, there are revenue sharing agreements. While there were very common in the pre-modern period, due to it being almost wholly agrarian, they are not as widely used today. Any deal in which an individual receives distributions based on the revenue (i.e. the amount of money the business makes) rather than on the amount of work that was done is a form of revenue sharing. So let’s say you own a car but can’t operate it for profit, so you give it to someone to operate and share 1/3 of the revenue generated. Another example is you inject $1000 into your friend’s business for inventory, and take a little off the top of every sale until you’ve recuperated your capital and a profit.

WHICH ONE DO I CHOOSE

Each of these structures has their pros and cons. Deciding which one to use can make of break your business before it ever turns a profit. Want to discuss which one is best? Let’s talk.

Want to hear about projects I’ve vetted? Sign up to my mailing list and I’ll update you when I have something ready.



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Do Less; Earn More – A Non-Profit Example

Ever Wonder Why You Do So Much But Achieve So Little?

Working with a non-profit client this morning, we reviewed their giving policy and services. Because previously the org tried to do *everything* for everyone, they essentially limited the funding they could secure. Why? Because it was that much harder to define exactly what they do and who they serve. Mission creep is a huge issue in non-profits. The assumption is that by doing less you somehow are less. That can’t be further from the truth. Do less, be more, and earn more. It’s all possible.

You Can’t be All Things to All People

Out of fear of losing donors, organizations will serve *all* needs instead of *unmet* needs. They induce paralysis in their donor base. Trying to please everyone and do everything simply won’t work. When faced with too many choices, customers, clients, and donors will make worse decisions or simply walk away. Pare down the decisions to what you are amazing at and what they are looking for, and you have a recipe for success.

When everyone is doing everything, it becomes that much harder for donors to understand where their choices will be the most effective. Let’s say you are a non-profit focused on hunger. You’d think that your mission is pretty simple: find hungry people and feed them. Its easy to get caught up in the ancillary needs of your community or even your target group. Feeding the hungry becomes clothing them, leading to sheltering them, leading to financial assistance, leading to a ton of operational overhead that you don’t need. You’re most probably duplicating other organization’s services, diluting their effectiveness and your own.

Guide Your Clients, Don’t Cower to Them

So if you want to retain dedicated clients/donors, you have to guide their choices so they are most effective. Think of it like a restaurant. Ever go to a restaurant that has a GIANT menu and offers a cornucopia of items, only to actually make one or two things constantly? How did your restaurant get to this point? Someone probably showed up and said “I want fish!” and you attempted to meet that need, then everyone else did the same. Soon after you were serving 100 items but really only making 10. In reality your customers, after scrolling through your ginormous menu, feeling the pressure to choose quickly (so the line isn’t held up), and seeing so many things they’d rather not take a chance on, will pick what’s familiar and easy.

So you’ll make lots of sub-par plates of Biryani, Hamburgers, Shawarma, or similar. Each item will cost you more as well, because your cost of goods to make at any time all those items is too high. You’ll make lots of less than happy customers due to the anxiety related to the process. Make your menu smaller, and your customers will choose faster, your cost of acquisition will be less, and you’ll make more on volume.

Saying No is a Superpower

So what’s our hunger non-profit supposed to do if their clients need clothes? Say no. It’s a superpower. It takes a lot to say no (here’s one of my favorite books on the topic). It takes even more to say no and know how to direct that client or donor’s energy afterwards. So if it was a client being served, you’d either refer them elsewhere, partner with a specialist, or make a pilot program to spin off into another entity. If it was a donor asking to earmark funds for something you don’t do, you’d either refuse, hone your pitch to convince them of your mission, or send them to a referral partner.

So while to most it seems paradoxical, by focusing on the 2-3 core things you are great at, you can devote more time to serving more people, and by extension bring in more money to do so.

Want to discuss your non-profit or business? Hit me up on Clarity and we’ll chat through it.


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Is Every Suicide a Transgression? – Suicide in Islamic Thought Part 4

When is Killing Transgressive?

When is an act of killing considered oppressive or transgressive? Certainly when that the killing is intentional and malicious. Under Islamic law, there are three categories of killing that are crimes that may be sentenced in court:

1. Intentional malicious killing of another person (al-qatl al-ʿamd al-ʿudwān)
2. pseudo-intentional killing (shibh al-ʿamd)
3. Accidental killing (qatl al-khaṭaʾ)

I mention these here not because they are directly related to the topic of suicide, but because the idea of intentionality is core to approximating the status of the person who dies by suicide. More on this later. What’s important here is that all three of these types are related to one discerning, sane adult killing another person. They do not relate to instances of a discerning, sane adult taking their own life or instances of a person of diminished mental capacity taking their own life. The core differentiating factor here is intent. What did the person who died by suicide intend?

Demonstrating Intent

For intent to be demonstrated, certain conditions must be present. When a person exhibits any diminished capacity (they are clinically insane, chronically depressed, or any similar condition that impairs their judgment and sense of self) then their culpability for the act of killing must be abated. What’s that mean? If a person kills another or even themselves when they are not in their right mind, they may not be morally blameworthy for the act, although they would be legally responsible.

In the case of killing another person, they would pay compensation (see details of pseudo-intentional and accidental killing here). In the case when a person kills herself, there would be no compensation or legal effect per se, but understanding their mental state helps us to understand how post-death legalities are carried out (funerals, etc.)

Competing Notions of Suicide in the Hadith Literature

This tweet thread is by no means exhaustive or comprehensive to all of the text related to this topic. But let’s look at two more Hadith on this topic.

In Bukhari, the Prophet said about a man before battle “he is from the people of the fire.” That man then fought valiantly in battle, but was badly injured, then died. Someone said “that person you said was in hell fought valiantly, then died.” He replied “To the fire.”

While people were doubting what was said and wondering about his fate, someone approached and informed that he did not die in battle, but instead had been fatally wounded. Instead of succumbing to his injuries or seeking help, he fell on his sword and killed himself. In another narration he tried to kill himself with an arrow, then used his sword.

This Hadith and those like it, such as the one in Abu Dawud where a man cut his wrists in frustration with his sickness, indicate those who killed themselves did not do so out of desperation or despair, but merely out of frustration, shame, false pride, and righteous indignation that they did not deserve to live with such an injury or sickness, that such was beneath them and they knew better what they deserved.

Contrast this with the Hadith in Muslim of al-Tufayl b. Amr al-Dawsi.

A man from his tribe migrated to Medina, but then fell ill due to the weather. He fell into depression and grief and so one night he took a blade and cut open his knuckles, and bled out until he died. TufayI saw him later in a dream yet he was covering his hands. He said “What did God do with you after you’d gone?” He replied, “He forgave me due to my migrating to the Prophet.” He said “Why are you hiding your hands?” He said “I asked and was told we won’t fix what you damaged.” Tufayl informed the Prophet of this dream and he raised his hands in supplication and said “Lord God, even forgive even his hands.”

This Hadith is cited universally as proof that one that died by suicide is not unequivocally in the hellfire and is additionally deserving of prayer and forgiveness. So even by doing the sin of killing oneself, it doesn’t follow that one is a sinner or committed the sin of killing oneself.

Substantive Differences between the Two

Let’s take a look at some of the substantive differences between this Hadith and the one of the man who threw himself on his sword. In those that mention the phrase “nahar bihi nafsahu” or “qatala bihi nafsahu” there is an indication of false pride and righteous indignation at being afflicted with sickness or injury.

In the Hadith of Al-Tufayl, the phrasing is different: “He fell ill, into depression, then took a blade he had and cut open his knuckles then bled until he died.” The key term here being “hatta maat,” meaning his own death was not directly attributed to him but simply a result of his action. i.e. death was not by active intent, but due to desperation and depression. He did not take his life due to pride or displeasure with God’s will, but instead did something he thought may make his pain subside. Understanding the mindset of the person who is suffering from a particular illness, medical condition, or mental state is key in rehabilitating their condition and helping them improve beyond suicidal thoughts.

This is a key differentiation that many do not take into consideration and because of this they cause considerable pain to both those who have suicidal thoughts as well as those who are left behind after they die by suicide.


Article One: Suicide, God’s Oneness, and Theological Precepts related to suicide.

Article Two: God’s Attributes, The Sin of Killing, & Is Suicide a sin?

Article Three: What Effect Does Sin have on Faith?

Article Four: Is Every Suicide a Transgression? (This Article)

Article Five: Summary and Resources (TBD)

2018 Year in Review – Community Activities Report

Salam Alaikum,

Last December I decided to go on a social media hiatus, allowing myself time to reevaluate my priorities and focus on self-care. Looking back, what I found was that 2018 was a year of both growth & loss, a year of challenge & improvement. By taking time away and allowing myself the ability to look inward, I was able to re-calibrate my mental and emotional state, my physical well-being, and my spiritual health.

As the year closed, I decided to look back and see what I had accomplished over the year and where I could best situate myself vis-à-vis my current activities. Was everything I was doing meaningful? Was it effective? Was it serving myself and others? What did you all think of it? Was my focus on financial engagement in the Muslim community having an effect? Did my promotion of mental health awareness meet the needs of those in need? Were my outreach activities meaningful and transformative?

Essentially this all boils down to one question: How can I improve in 2019?
The answer: create a baseline to measure 2019 with.

So I decided to reach out to you all, to close friends and mentors, and answer these questions. These answers were all compiled into a word document, which I then shared with close friends and advisors for more input, and then gave that to the Studio of Kung Pik Liu to turn all this data and input into a community activity report to distribute to all of you.

Below is the “2018 Community Activities Report”. You’ll need to join my newsletter to read it. It tells you a little about who I am, what I’ve been up to during 2018, what some of my 2019 plans are, and how you can support the work I do. I’ve also included details of the activities I was part of and your testimonials.

Here’s an alternative link as well: 2018 Year in Review – Community Activities Report

Thank you all for your continued support, encouragement, and engagement. I look forward to an active, faith-filled, and engaging 2019.

Enjoy.

3 Powerful Ways to Secure Your Children’s Future (If You Die Early)

This article was originally published at ProductiveMuslim.com


One of the most pressing concerns for all parents is their child’s future.

Many of us live in single-family homes, have only one breadwinner in the house, relatively small savings, and limited social network to rely upon.

How do we secure our families future in the face of adversity?

How is that even possible when future adversity is an unknown?

Our financial safety nets are non-existent and our social safety nets can wear thin. Some of us are living paycheck to paycheck, barely keeping up with all our expenses. Continue reading…

Video: Does Rape Require Four Witnesses Under Islamic Law?

In this short video Joe Bradford discusses the differences between Zina and Rape with regards to consent, the nature of each act, and the process for proving each, and how equating one to the other is an injustice that is antithetical to the faith of Islam of the whole.

Update: Here’s a Facebook link to my video. Apparently someone reported the video on YouTube for explicit content and now you can only watch it if you’re logged in!

 

The Kavanaugh Hearings, Morality, and the Appointment of Judges under Islamic Law

So with all this appalling #KavanaghHearing news, I figured I’d comment on the inherent virtue jurisprudence of Islamic law in it’s appointment and regulation of judicial appointees.

So first, what does a judge do? A judge’s (Arabic: Qāḍī’) basic function is to resolve disputes and allocate rights to litigants. The Qāḍī retains not only the power to interpret and express what the law is, but the authority to order it be applied by the executive.

In order to be appointed, the candidate for a judicial position had to possess be a free Muslim of legal capacity, be of sound mind, and possess high moral probity (ʿAdāla). Remember these are rules written in a not too distant past when things were different, so they stipulated he be free – i.e. not a slave – else he be bound to someone who has control over him.
If a person were in debt or in the long term employ of another, the same applied.

Gender was an issue debated as well, with most early jurists making it a condition that a judge be a male, while the likes of Abu Hanifa, al-Tabari, and Ibn Hazm disagreed. These debates rely heavily on medieval concepts of women’s access to education as well as the population’s overall literacy at that time. In my opinion, the arguments of those in favor of female judges are perhaps stronger and more universal.

One qualification that all jurists spent the most time discussing was a judge’s moral probity. Known in Arabic as ʿAdāla, it is a condition of general ethical conduct and virtue both before and after appointment. In fact I know of no time restriction for this. The person nominated for appointment should have a stellar record. There is no “boys will be boys” excuse for being a crappy person in the past.

The basis of stipulating moral probity is the verse “Oh you who believe, when a sinner comes to you with news, then clarify it.”
﴿ يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا ﴾ [الحجرات: 6].
This verse indicates an a priori necessity to investigate claims surrounding morality and upright character.

Moral probity was generally defined as: a character intrinsic to one’s self that obliges one to maintain mindfulness of God, abstain from major sin and minor sin, and avoid morally suspect behavior even if permissible. (Tabsira 1/259) In fact, the condition that a judge not be appointed unless he is known for this level of high moral probity is one there is consensus of all Muslim scholars.

What this means is that when you have more than one possible candidate of equal qualification, the ones whose probity is suspect are disqualified. The only nuance to this is when an immoral person is appointed and there is no way to remove them, do their rulings maintain legal weight and the power of law? The majority of scholars said no, because they weren’t issued with the proper pre-requisites
A minority allowed the immoral man to be a judge, but only the LEAST immoral one of the bunch, so that there is at least someone with higher probity than the others ending disputes

So back to moral probity as “a character intrinsic to one’s self that obliges one to maintain mindfulness of God, abstain from major sin and minor sin, and avoid morally suspect behavior even if permissible.” What are these three things: major sins, minor sins, & morally suspect actions? Let’s talk about it a bit.

Obviously the most major sin of all in Islam is to associate others alongside God in worship (shirk). The assumption however is that the judge is already a Muslim, but were he known to commit such an act after Islam he would be disqualified.

Additionally, the major sins of Islam have a rule: Any act for which there is a prescribed punishment for in this life, or a divine retribution for in the hereafter. So for example, adultery and fornication are sins that fulfill both. They are punished by stoning or flogging in this life, and in Hell there are specific punishments such as roasting in a pit at the lowest part of hell.

Another major sin in Islam is consumption of intoxicants. Those that are caught for public drunkenness are flogged publicly, and in the next life they’ll drink from a river of pus. Any form of sexual assault that results in penetration would be a major sin that results in stoning, lashing, or both. Sexual assault that does not include penetration is one of those sins that is left to the Court’s discretion to punish as it sees fit. If public enough of a crime, the judge can order the same punishment as fornication or adultery to be implemented as a deterrent for other people that may engage in the same thing.

It should be mentioned that one definition of major sins is that it is every act that is followed by mention of being cursed by God, earning his anger, or deserving hell. (Majmu al-Fatawa 11/650) That said, it’s important to recall this verse here:
(إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَرْمُونَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ لُعِنُوا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ) [Surat An-Nur 23] “Indeed those that accuse chaste, heedless, believing women are cursed in this life and the next, and they will have a painful punishment.”

A priori are those that accost women sexually, as acts against them are worse than statements against them, and usually result from the lack of value men place on women.

Minor sins are those things that don’t have a specific punishment for in this life or the hereafter, but are nevertheless prohibited.
For example the Hadith “The eye fornicates, and it’s fornication is looking…” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Lastly are those things that are morally suspect, even though they may be permitted. For example, one may dine out with colleagues from work, and unbeknownst to her a co-worker orders an alcoholic beverage. While it is permissible to dine in a restaurant, it may become morally suspect to remain there when alcoholic beverages are being served in proximity, even if it’s not at the same table.  This is a very elastic category and one that is based on custom more than text, but nonetheless draws questions about one’s own actions simply due to the environment.

We can see from this quick review of judicial appointment qualifications, that many up for appointment would simply not pass muster, and this should encourage all of us to question how and why things that fly in the face of morality have become so normalized so as to be swept under the rug when appointing someone to a position as sensitive as that of a judge.


For more reading on this see:

Religious Studies versus Islamic Theology/Law – Religion For Breakfast

If you are unfamiliar with the “Religion for Breakfast” YouTube channel, please give it a look and subscribe. It’s one of my favorite channels. Andrew Mark Henry does a wonderful job of making complex topics on religion accessible. In the video below, he touches on the general difference between religious studies & theology.

You can watch the video here:

He touches on a few points I’d like to expand on a little. What stand outs to me in this video is what types of questions various types of scholars try to answer. What types of sources do they rely on? What assumptions do they make about those sources?

Religious Studies & Theology as Unique Disciplines

As separate areas of study, religious studies and theology are often conflated. Henry gives an example of questions surrounding Buddhism. A Buddhist monk may explore why life is suffering according to the Buddha, while a religious studies scholar will explore what was it about the life of the Buddha that made suffering such a prominent part of his religious thought?

Expanding on this, let’s look at a few examples from Islamic studies versus Islamic Theology. A Muslim theologian would ask “Why do we reject idolatry?” then substantiate this from primary texts. A religious studies scholar specialized in Islam would say “What in 7th century Arabia gave rise to Muhammad rejecting idolatry?”

Note that the Muslim theologian is not primarily concerned with historical questions, but textual ones; the religious studies scholar the opposite. For the former, history is not a primary cause for theology/belief, revelation is. Each field is based on unique assumptions. The Muslim theologian assumes the veracity of Islamic texts as a foregone conclusion. The truth values inherent in Islamic sacred texts are considered revered if not inviolable. The religious studies scholar does not care. True or not, the truth value of Islamic texts has no bearing on the questions he’s asking.

Does the Same Apply to Law and Jurists?

Similar can be said for Muslim jurists and Islamic studies scholars. The jurist says “What is the ruling on drinking coffee? What texts apply here?” He will then actively attempt to apply the substantive principles and philosophical underpinnings of Islamic primary texts to the issue. He is engaged in legal analysis of a current problem, not documenting the historicity of a previous issue. Essentially, the jurist is trying to answer a theological question: What does God want the believer to do in this situation?

For the Islamic studies scholar, he is answering a particular set of questions with their own assumptions. For example, “Why did Kadizadeli jurists in the Ottoman period hold coffee to be prohibited? Why did other jurists dissent? What influenced these decisions other than just religious texts?” It’s a historical question. A historical question about a legal or theological issue, but a historical issue nonetheless.
The theologian/jurist asks, “What did God and His Messenger say and why?”
The religious studies scholar says, “What did Muslims say and why?”

Similar Questions, Different Answers

These questions seem to be the same, but they are not. Understanding the difference between the two is to understand not just the subjects studied, but their sources, hermeneutic principles, and the critical apparatuses used to draw conclusions in each field.

I highlight this because the religious studies approach has, for many lay Muslims, become so prominent in popular media (including social media and blogs) that this approach is not only used to answer questions of the past, but to infer questions of the present and future. While this approach may be useful in determining a chain of precedent in Islamic theology / law, it is not in and of itself theology or law. It does not confer on its reader what they should or should not do in their context, it simply records for them someone else’s context.

For Muslim theologians and jurists, to engage in solving problems of law and theology through historical accounts is a very problematic approach. It assumes sources equal to or competing with God’s speech. It places the standard of what is good, true, correct, and appropriate outside of God’s speech, and in the actions of his creation; finite creatures who themselves were trying to approximate “what God wants from” them in any instance. This is an expansive topic, but one we won’t go into at this time.

So when a religious studies / Islamic studies scholar states “Scholars in 16th century Mughal India allowed X” they are not making a statement on the appropriateness of X for 21 century America, nor should they be. Just as these fields are often confused, so is the applicability of the conclusions drawn from them.

Overextending conclusions in either field does an injustice to both.

A Note on Addiction and Desire – Adapted from Ibn al-Qayyim’s Rawdat al-Muhibbin

Is desire bad? Much like expressing one’s anger, desire is not praiseworthy at all times, nor is it blameworthy. Excessive anger is blameworthy, as is excessive desire. How do we define excess in these situations? Excess is when their expression goes beyond what benefits or what fails to prevent harm. Despite there being acceptable expressions of desire, we find almost universal condemnation of it in religious texts. Why?

Because most people that obey their desires or emotions do not confine them to a level that benefits them. Instead, they exceed the bounds of acceptable expression in ways that harm both themselves and others. When mentioned in the Quran, desire is universally condemned and when mentioned in the Sunnah it is restricted, curbed by the controls of Prophetic guidance on proper action and character. “None of you truly believes until his desire is in accordance with what I have brought” has been narrated as a hadith on this topic.

Unrestricted desire allows one to indulge in contemporaneous pleasures without consideration for their consequences, even when such indulgences lead to both present and future pain. This life has consequences that come before those of the next, and desire blinds one from this realization.

Gentility, faith, and intellect prevent one from indulging in a pleasure that is followed by pain, or in lusts that bequeath regret. Someone that lacks gentility, i.e. a higher sense of character and refinement, will give his desires precedence even if doing so will devoid or diminish such character. This is the stage in which mindfulness comes into play, where you avoid things, even permissible things, if you know that partaking in them will play a negative role in your emotional and spiritual state. Al-Shafi’ said “If I knew that drinking cold water would diminish my gentility, I’d never drink it.” But this takes a level of self-awareness that can only come from constant evaluation of your own actions, feelings, and how those affect your subconscious thoughts.

Those addicted to their desires come to a point when they are never gratified by them. Despite this, they can’t abandon them, as indulging in desire becomes life itself. A person with a sex or alcohol addiction will not experience even one tenth of the gratification that a person who rarely seeks pleasures from sex or drinking experiences. Despite the sparsity of such pleasure for the addict, he or she will throw themselves into ruin just to gain even a little of what they assume will bring them happiness. Desire then ceases to be a temporal state, and instead is an ingrained habit that can’t be shaken. Inseparable in your mind, it then consumes you. Were such a person to step out of the shadow of their desires, they’ll find that what was presumed to be happiness was only grief, joy only depression, and pleasure only pain. Like a bird attracted to seed, under which lies a trap; neither did it gain the seed, nor escape the cage it found itself in eventually.

So, what are some ways that a person can save themselves from the pain of addiction and the traps of desire?

To start, you have to come to the realization that there is no way around the pain, only through it. Pain is inevitable, but one type of pain is less than the other. By acknowledging that the pain of patience and perseverance pales in comparison to the pain of addiction and giving into desire, a more fruitful choice can be made.

Also, by remaining mindful of one’s place with God being better and more beneficial that indulging one’s desires, the satisfaction that comes from dignity and self-worth becomes sweeter and more satisfying in the end. Much like a sick person who finds no pleasure in eating regardless of the amount, tasting only the bitterness of medicine, the palate is eventually cleansed, and the body purified, so that natural desires become enjoyable again.

Finally, by realizing that succumbing to your desires makes you bestial in nature. Succumbing to your indulgences makes you enslaved to them, which prevents you from your higher calling. You are no beast or animal. You were created in the best of forms and with the highest potential in creation. You should use those desires to fulfill those temporal needs that – if left unchecked – would prevent you from that higher purpose. Just as you don’t eat all day, and eating is not life, nor should any other desire or indulgence be. Just like you abstain from some foods due to the harm they cause, so too should you not chase after desires – even legitimate ones – at all times. And just as you do not consume certain things because of the negative effects they have on your body, you must also abstain from some desires totally because of the harm they cause both spiritually and emotionally.

أَفَمَن كَانَ عَلَىٰ بَيِّنَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّهِ كَمَن زُيِّنَ لَهُ سُوءُ عَمَلِهِ وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُم ﴿١٤﴾

“So, is he who is upon a clear sign from his Lord like one whom his evil deeds have been decked out fair, having followed their whims?”
(Quran 47:14)