Lower Your Gaze!
- :Sabeel Ahmed
What does it mean?
"There was a companion of ours in Glasgow who became ill and was hospitalized. He was admitted for three days and on the fourth day the attendant nurse said, "Marry me". He [the brother in Glasgow] asked, "Why? I am a Muslim, you and I cannot become companions." She said, "I'll become Muslim". "What’s the reason?" it was asked. She said, "In all my time that I have served in hospitals, except you, I have never seen a man lower his gaze in front of a woman. In my life you are the first person who lowers his gaze when seeing a woman. I come, and you close your eyes. Such great modesty can be taught by none other than a true religion." The protection of one's gaze entered Islam in her. She testified to the Oneness of Allah and became a Muslim. They both got married. By now, the same woman was and is the means of bringing so many other girls / women into Islam."
By Tariq Jamil
It goes without saying that every Muslim should spare no pains in lowering his/her gaze and preserving his/her modesty. This should occur in compliance with the Divine command given in Surah An-Nur: "Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest." (An-Nur: 30-31)
In a hadith, the Prophet (saww) is reported as having said: "And the eyes commit zina (adultery). Their zina is gazing."
He (saww) commanded Ali (as) said: "Ali! Do not look once after another, for the first look is for you (since it happens accidentally) while the second is against you."
How To Lower Our Gaze
"A big curtain is not my intention, but a big iman and befitting Islamic manners is "
"The ayats in Sura Nur about lowering our gazes doesn't affect me anymore," expressed another youth, talking about the intense temptations felt by today's young. Difficulty in lowering the gaze by both the young and old is readily perceived on the street, weddings, parties and even in the mosques. What has gone wrong? How can Muslims, called by Allah, our Creator the model community, the custodians of Truth and the upholders of morality behave this way? Why are we adopting the attitudes and routes of the kuffar? How can we rectify ourselves? What follows is a series of practical, though graphic advises which can work for us and set us free from Satan's stronghold, Insha`Allah.
When Allah created humans with all our desires and urges, he also revealed to us sufficient and complete guidance to properly channel these desires, both in the midst of Dar-ul-Kufr or Dar-ul-Islam. All we need to do is seek it, contemplate on it and pursue it. "This day I have perfected your deen for you, completed my favours upon you and chosen Islam as your deen." (Maida).
When confronted with an alluring situation like passing by a non-mahram on the street, office or school, Satan is constantly tempting us to glare at her/him with evil thoughts. Satan is probably excitingly saying, with a big smile, 'yes, yes, yes,' when we steer into the bait he is setting. During these situations, immediately and consciously realize that when we give a second or following glances, we are obeying Satan. "O you who believe, follow not the footsteps of the devil". (24:21). By immediately averting our gazes and disobeying Satan, we are giving him a one-two punch in the face and leaving him frustrated and accursed.
Satan rebelled and was expelled by Allah, so let's all rebel against Satan and expel him from our hearts. Satan intends to fight a war against Muslims, so let's gather our forces behind the Qur`an and the Sunnah and defeat him. Remember that even if no human eye is watching us, the Ever-Watchful Allah is constantly monitoring the innermost regions of our hearts. Our eyes, limbs, tongue and private parts will be witnesses on the Judgment Day and not an atom's worth of deed will remain unexamined.
Our minds are conditioned to associate thoughts of stealing clothes from a store to being in handcuffs and hauled into a police van. Likewise we should condition our minds to bring the verses of Surah Nur in front of our eyes during any tempting situations and imagine that Allah is speaking to us directly "Say to the believing, men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty. O you believers! Turn you all together towards Allah that you may attain success" (24:30-31). If the Qur`an contained only these two ayats, it would be enough to convince me that it is the book of Allah.
With practice, these associations and the remembrance of Allah during tempting situations will prevent us from getting stuck by devilish arrows. Successfully controlling our gazes also deadens our avoidance of sinful situations. An Islamic idiom says, "Anything that leads to haram is haram in itself." To do a pious deed is a reward; to avoid a sin is a reward too. One of the biggest culprits in this class is movies. In the name of entertainment, to please our peers and children and an excuse to do something together as a family, we astonishingly allow un-Islamic pictures and dialogues in front of our eyes and ears. Can we ever imagine the Prophet or our Imams (aozubillah) renting the latest hit from Blockbuster Videos, or listening to music with alluring lyrics at high volume?
In our wedding ceremonies and parties and even in many Islamic fundraising dinners, there is heavy free-mixing between brothers and sisters. Often the chairs of males and females are arranged facing each other, knowing that about 90 percent of our sisters do no wear proper Islamic hijab. Perfume, make-up, tight fitting clothes and much more is always around. It is often noticeable to see males and females peeking glances at each other from the opposite ends of the hall. A big curtain is not my intention, but a big and befitting Islamic manners is.
Let us contemplate the above humble advices and constantly make the supplication, "O Allah help us control our sensual desires until we get married, and even after we marry, let our desires be only towards our spouses."
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