It is an accepted reality that overindulging in anything can be harmful and detrimental.

Every person requires water for their survival and the healthy functioning of their bodies, and it is generally recommended that a person drink 2L of water a day. However, if a person drinks TOO MUCH of water, they will become sick. The condition is known as hyponatremia – commonly called ‘water intoxication’ – and it can even prove to be fatal in certain extreme cases.

Likewise, food, in general, is required by the human body for its continued existence and survival. However, overindulging in food leads to obesity, and in the wake of obesity follow debilitating diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

The remedy, for people who are sick due to overindulgence, is a lifestyle change where the indulgence is curbed and controlled so that the body has a chance to detox, recuperate and recover. Thus, diet and exercise plans are often prescribed, and if followed strictly, they produce most positive results.

Nevertheless, just as overindulgence in food leads to the body becoming sick, overindulgence in the dunya (permissible material pleasures) causes the spiritual heart to become weak and sickly, while indulging in sins fatally poisons the spiritual heart.

Thus, just as a detox period, with complete lifestyle changes, is necessary to treat diet-related overindulgence, in the same way, a detox period, with complete lifestyle changes, is required and is most beneficial in treating the indulgence of sin and overindulgence in the dunya.

The month of Ramadhaan is almost on our doorstep. This blessed month provides us with the ideal opportunity to embark on a ‘spiritual detox’. In fact, spiritually detoxing during this month is so important that in the blessed hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) cursed the one who allows the month of Ramadhaan to pass by without gaining forgiveness for his sins through reforming his life!

However, for this detox to be effective, it will be necessary for us to adhere to the following points:

– Sincerely repent from all sins and make an effort to cut out all sins entirely. This will only be possible if we also eliminate the avenues that lead us to the sins. If we fall into gheebah (backbiting) due to a certain friend, then we should either correct them and prevent them from speaking gheebah, or we should avoid contact with them altogether. If we fall into sin because of the internet, then we should either remove our access to the internet or place strict controls in place that prevent us from falling into sins.

– Reduce our involvement and indulgence in the dunya. Idle conversation, unnecessary shopping, browsing the internet, perusing the news, staying up-to-date on social media – all these indulgences deaden the spiritual heart (and if they involve sins such as viewing pictures of animate objects or listening to music then they fatally poison the heart). The deeper we fall into the indulgences of the dunya, the further we drift away from Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, we will commonly notice that generally, from morning until night, our minds are focused towards things of the dunya (food, fashion, gossip, travel, etc.), and seldom do our hearts turn to Allah Ta‘ala. Such is our condition that even when performing salaah, we struggle to focus our attention towards Allah Ta‘ala.

– Be determined to make the spiritual detox work and enforce strict discipline upon yourself. If a person has determination and courage, then with the assistance of Allah Ta‘ala, he will be able to completely revolutionize his life in the month of Ramadhaan. In order to maintain our determination and courage, we should try to keep the company of the pious. Also engage in some muraaqabah (meditation and introspection) before sleeping every night – or at any other suitable time. Ponder over the fact that it is the month of Ramadhaan, and Allah Ta‘ala has given us a chance which we may not live to see again. If we cannot reform ourselves and connect with Allah Ta‘ala in this month then when do we hope to do so?

– Daily make du‘aa to Allah Ta‘ala to assist us to reform our lives, to detox and cleanse our hearts of all filth and evil, and to connect us to His pleasure and mercy.

Finally, we should not wait for the month of Ramadhaan to start for us to commence our detox. A sign of true sincerity and determination is that we will start NOW. After all, what guarantee do we have that we will remain alive over the next few days until Ramadhaan arrives?

May Allah Ta‘ala forgive us all, cleanse our hearts completely and connect us to His love and mercy, aameen.