Guarding Your Gaze

Last week I spoke being careful about what you say and I mentioned the hadith about Nabi SAW guaranteeing Paradise for one who protects what is between the jaws (tongue) and what is between the legs (private parts). So today that I would like to talk about the second element of that hadith. Protecting what is between the legs comes from protecting the gaze as this is one of the first steps that eventually leads to zina/adultery/fornication.

Guarding the Gaze

In this day and age there is a great negligence in this regard. Many people do not even regard the casting of evil lustful glances to be a sin whereas Allah has given the command of protecting the gaze in the Quran. Allah says, “Say (O Nabi (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)) to the believers that they should lower their gazes.” This verse refers to looking at non-mahrams (a person with whom one is permitted to marry). Likewise, they should not gaze at beardless youth because they too resemble women. In fact, even if a youngster’s beard has grown to some extent but one still finds the heart somewhat inclined towards him, then to look at his also haram. Surely, it would be forbidden for an individual to view any such face that one finds attractive and derives pleasure from. To guard the gaze is such an important issue that Allah has separately commanded the women to also guard their gazes. Allah says, “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gazes” (Surah An-Noor)

This issue is unlike the command of salah, fasting, and other commandments where Allah has not given a separate commandment of the same issue to women. Rather the males have been addressed and the women have been included in those commandments because in Arabic, when a mixed gathering is addressed, the masculine form is used.

In a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari (RA), Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) has said, “a Lustful glance is the fornication/adultery of the eyes.” (Bukhari vol. 2 pg. 923)

The person who casts lustful glances and indulges in any form of fornication/adultery can never even dream of becoming a friend of Allah unless they sincerely repent from this evil.

In another hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) is reported to have said, “May the curse of Allah be on the one who looks lustfully and on the one who is looked at with lust.” (Mishkaat, Book of Nikah, Chapter on looking at a woman for proposal)

In the above mentioned hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) cursed both the person who casts lustful gazes and the one who is gazed at due to not adopting proper hijab etc. Those who fear curses of the saints and pious people should be more fearful of the curse of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Therefore, if an accidental gaze falls on a beautiful face, shift the gaze immediately. Do not allow the gaze to remain focused on that face even for a single moment.

It is understood clearly from the verses of the Quran and from the hadith that the person who casts lustful glances has been given the following three evil titles:

1. Disobedient to Allah and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)

2. Fornicator/Adulterer of the eyes.

3. Cursed by Allah and Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam)

If a person is addressed with any of these titles, they would feel hurt and dishonored. So if a person wants to remain safe from these titles, it is necessary to guard the gaze.

When a person casts lustful glances, they become distanced from Allah that to such a degree no other sin pushes them so far away. The qiblah of the heart completely changes from being directed towards Allah, is not being directed towards the one this person is glancing at. The heart of this person has now turned its back on Allah. Now, whether this person is performing salah, reciting Quran, or performing any other act of worship, that beautiful face is constantly on his mind. Instead of the zikr of Allah, the zikr of that person is in the heart. The heart is not subject to such destruction by means of any other sin as compared to how it is destroyed by lustful glances. For example, if a person has missed salah or lied, then his heart will be diverted by 45 degrees. However, when he repents and asks Allah for forgiveness, his heart will once again be directed towards Allah. On the contrary, the sin of casting lustful glances will make a person completely unmindful of Allah, and the love of the person he has gazed at settles in his heart. As a result, some people have even lost their Iman at the time of death.

Allah Ta’ala has declared in a hadeeth qudsi, “Verily the lustful glance is a poisonous arrow from the arrows of shaytan. Whoever leaves the casting of lustful glances out of My fear, I will give him in return such Iman, the sweetness of which he will taste and feel in his heart.” (Kanz-ul-’Ummaal Vol. 5 pg. 328)

In other words, he will physically acquire the sweetness of Iman in his heart. This in not a fantasy or part of someone’s imagination. We have not been instructed to imagine the sweetness of Iman, but rather the word “yajidu” that has been used in the hadith is indicative of a physical experience of the taste of the sweetness of Iman.

The heart will experience such sweetness of Iman that as a result, the value for the kingdom of the whole world will perish from one’s heart. Imam Qushairi writes in his Risalah that by the injunction of guarding the gaze, Allah has taken away the pleasure of the eyes, but in return He has granted the non-perishable sweetness of Imaan. Mullah Ali Al-Qari writes that it has been narrated that once the sweetness of Iman enters into the heart, it will never exit. This is an indication that the person will die with Iman. The reason for this is obvious since when Iman will leave the heart after entering it, death will also come upon Iman. In today’s time, this treasure of dying with Iman is being distributed in the shopping malls, at the airports and any other public place. Protect your gaze in these places and gather the sweetness of Iman. Thus, you will acquire the guarantee of death with Iman InshAllah.

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