How Can I Help My Brother Who Is Addicted to Drugs?
Answered by Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil
Question: My brother doesn’t pray, fast, and he is highly addicted to drugs. We are trying to help him but we can’t as he hides his addiction and lies.
I tried to reach one of his good best friends to help out, and he is trying. My family is trying to help as much as we can, but we see no results. I keep thinking about these concerns and can’t do anything. What can I do?
Answer: Assalam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray this finds you well. May Allah ease this heavy burden from your family.
Please seek help. Drug addiction is something that requires professional intervention. Please do your research and look for a suitable rehabilitation center where you can send your brother. Many Muslim families are so ashamed of the thought of placing their adult son or daughter into rehab, because of what people will say. Anyone who speaks ill of your brother is part of the problem, and not part of the solution. Getting him the help he needs will help not only him, but it will help all of you.
Even though it may look like your brother is deliberately acting up, please do your best to view his addiction as an illness. The drugs he is taking have altered his brain, and his primary drive in life is to get his next hit. He isn’t trying to hurt you or your family on purpose. That being said, please get the right support so you will know how to help him, instead of enable his addiction.
“And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,” [Qur’an, 2:155]
Even though your brother’s recovery might seem impossible right now, trust that anything is possible through Allah’s help. There are many Muslim men and women who have recovered from drug addiction, and who are now living productive and fulfilling lives. Have hope in Allah’s ability to heal your brother.
Once his addiction is under control, then insha Allah your brother will be well enough to make his repentance and pay back his missed prayers and fasts. Please don’t give up on him. Right now, the priority is his physical health and safety. Help him get the right support. Look after your own needs in this time. You can’t be of any help to him if you wear yourself out from worry.
Please reach out for support from strong, trustworthy family and community members. You and your family cannot do this alone. Choose who you confide in wisely. If you come across any individuals who try to lecture and/or shame you, your brother or your family, politely give them salams and refrain from giving them further information.
If you struggle to find Muslim families you can confide in, then know that there are many non-Muslim families who struggle with the same thing.
In addition, I strongly encourage you and your family members to attend family counseling.
[Ustadha] Raidah Shah Idil
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Raidah Shah Idil has spent almost two years in Amman, Jordan, where she learned Shafi‘i fiqh, Arabic, Sirah, Aqidah, Tasawwuf, Tafsir and Tajwid. She continues to study with her Teachers through Qibla Academy and SeekersHub Global. She also graduated with a Psychology and English degree from University of New South Wales.