Lowering the Gaze

Today’s reminder is about an important matter that many of us know of, most under-estimate it’s effect and one that is prevalent in today’s day and age. Allah SWT speaks of it in the Quran and the imam referenced Surat Al Noor, ayat 30-31 which is translated to say:

Tell the believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.

And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to Allah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.

Dear brothers and sisters, shaytan works by encouraging us to look freely at what we don’t have a right to look at, and the only outcome of this is gaining sins and dreaming about the impossible. Therefore, we need to realise that not controlling the gaze of the eye in following what is forbidden for us is a great sin, should not be belittled.

There is a hadith in which it is said that the zina/fornication of the eye is the (lustful) look, the zina/fornication of the ears is the listening (to voluptuous songs or talk). Therefore we need to be careful that we do not fall foul of this warning.

The imam mentioned a hadith which is translated to say.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said: to Ali: Do not give a second look, Ali, (because) while you are not to blame for the first, you have no right to the second.

Dear brothers and sisters, the lowering of the gaze is also for other matters, such as not looking inside other people’s houses without permission as the house is a private dwelling to protect them on the inside as clothes is to protect them on the outside.

We have clear direction on this topic in the Glorious Quran as Allah SWT has warned those who do not protect their eyes. In the following ayat Allah SWT speaks of the trait in which people look covertly at others and are able to hide it well. In Sura Ghafir, ayat 19 it is translated to say:

He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal.

The explanation of this is those people that try to look at women when no one else is looking may be escaping detection of people but Allah SWT is aware of what they are doing.

We can also derive from this that the eye is the main door to the heart, and closest of sensors to the heart, and many issues arise from it hence Allah SWT links the two together in this ayat.

Dear brothers and sisters, those who do not control their eyes, for example through what they see on the screen, or outside amongst society or on the beach/shopping etc, will be inflicted with problems that affect their heart.

This is the illness of the heart will then inevitably affect their faith as each look is like an arrow to the heart, and this builds up over time if the habit is formed. Those who have this damaging trait will also discover that there is a direct correlation with the other elements of their faith, their tendency to do zikr, the amount of Quran they recite, the depth to their prayer, the charitable acts they perform etc.

But the truth of the matter is that we live in a time and a place where the lowering of the gaze is very challenging at times.

We have the distraction of social media in it’s many flavours, smartphones and media capability that children have access to before they even leave primary school in some cases.

We have challenges in the hot weather as it promotes behaviour where lowering the gaze becomes even more difficult than normal.

And so what follows then a couple of practical tips that we can take away from today’s reminder that can assist us in this.

  1. Understanding the issue of relative beauty. For example, something you see as beautiful, like a set of clothes might seem ugly to others. Hence, what you see as being beautiful may not be so in other people’s eyes. Beauty is relative and therefore use this logic to tell yourself when you see a beauty in something impermissible.

 

Ask yourself, “what is the beauty in an image that angers Allah SWT and defies his commandments openly”.  Ask yourself “what is the beauty in this person who offers themselves as a tradable commodity through displaying their beauty for all to see?” Ask yourself in these cases “what is the beauty in this when in fact it is the work of shaytan?”

 

You should know the reality of what your eyes are seeing so that you are able to shun it, ignore it and persuade yourself to look away from it.

 

  1. The second tip, if it’s a habit already, is to plan it’s eradication. With any habit, plan for a week at first, or even a day if need be, and for each failure, compensate it with a charitable act, obligatory prayers, zikr of a pre-determined amount, acts that all displease Shaytan and please Allah SWT.

Dear brothers and sisters, in this country there is a saying that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Let’s use today’s reminder to understand that our soul is at risk through the actions of our eyes and take steps to ensure that we do not fall foul of this trap.

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