Thursday, 13 November 2014

Prescription for Lustful Gazes

Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem

Lustful gazes have become an epidemic with consequences that are so far-reaching, to the point of crippling one’s spirituality, weakening one’s Imaan, sometimes even to the extent of losing one’s Imaan - for a pretty face or a handsome face. (May Allah Ta’ala protect us all).

More and more Muslim brothers and even sisters write, after realizing or experiencing the effects of the ‘bitter-sweet’ poison of evil glancing: They want an antidote; they want desperately to escape their habit – before they totally self-destruct; because their habit of casting lustful gazes landed them in the gutters of immorality and they have had to then contend with disgrace, humiliation and sometimes a life-long stigma.

…But they find themselves weak in the face of the demands of their nafs. And the nafs, by nature, enjoys the forbidden, and is never satisfied even on fulfilment of its demands.  It is very much like the salty water of the ocean: it increases thirst and does not quench thirst.

So for those who find themselves weak in lowering their gazes from Haraam, they should now use their gazes – the invaluable gift of sight - in carefully reading the following prescription, for cure.

Alhamdulillah, if followed, lowering the gaze will become second nature and a person will reach a stage where he will not even care if Miss Universe is passing in front of him … because he would have tasted the sweetness of Imaan, and would know the lofty experiences that come on pleasing Allah Ta’ala.

To cast an evil gaze will then be most indecent and shameful for him. The person will now know better than to disgrace himself, destroy the tranquility and Sukoon of his heart and exchange the sweet pleasure of Allah Ta’ala’s love for what will inevitably become dust. He says, as my Shaykh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) said in poetry:

“I will not look, I will not look,
Never will I look at one,
Looking upon whom,
Displeases my Rabb (Allah Ta’ala).”

Whilst beauty is an attribute that charms and captivates any heart; if it is that which Allah Ta’ala has declared as forbidden, it not only destroys the peace of the heart, it lays to waste the very substance of Imaan that resides in the heart. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala, addresses both the believing men and believing women:

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at that which is Haraam) and to be modest (i.e. to protect themselves from prohibited deeds like adultery and fornication, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily Allah is Aware of what they do.”

 “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at that which is forbidden) and to be modest (i.e. to protect themselves from prohibited deeds like adultery, fornication, etc.) and not to show off their beauty except only that which is apparent and let them wear their head-coverings over their bosoms…”

[Surah An-Nur 24 : 30/ 31]

The absolute wisdom and beauty inherent in these injunctions of Allah Ta’ala, of lowering the gaze, guarding ones modesty (and adopting the full Hijaab for women), is that a person will remain far removed from the crime of Zina (adultery / fornication), as well as the stepping stones to Zina.

All those actions that lead to the commission of sin are, like the sin itself, absolutely forbidden. Like Zina is forbidden, so too are all those actions that will inevitably lead to Zina. Therefore, Allah Ta’ala says:

“And come not near to Zina. Verily it is a shameful and evil path”
[Surah Al- Isra 17 : 32]

Evil glancing is the very inception to Zina. By lowering the gaze, we curtail furthering our evil desires. These injunctions of Allah Ta’ala are a protection from sin and should be appreciated by practical implementation.

  • It is not impossible to lower the gaze from Haraam, as some say. …If we have the ability to look up, we also have the ability to look down or turn our gazes away. We open our eyes and we close our eyes. …So what is it difficult to look down or look away when we see a pretty face, accidentally? …More especially when that pretty face will result in:

-         The heart burning with restlessness,
-         Darkness filling the heart,
-         The Noor of the heart and the Noor of the face being lost.
-         Earning the displeasure of Allah Ta’ala  
-         Inviting the Curses of Allah Ta’ala.

All that is required is a little courage. If we are bold to displease Allah Ta’ala in His Presence, then this proves adequately that we can be bold enough and displease nafs and shaytaan instead. We have courage and need to re-channel it to earn His Pleasure.

  • Our respected Shaykh, Hazrat Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had mentioned that if a person is a lover of sweets and he is informed that in a certain district, there are many, many sweet shops, the person naturally feels happy because he will be able to enjoy sweetness any time he so wishes. ...Allah Ta’ala’s promise on lowering the gaze is sweetness of Imaan

In a Hadeeth-e-Qudsi, Allah Ta’ala says: “Verily evil glancing is an arrow from the poisonous arrows of Shaytaan. Whosoever fears Me (Allah) and refrains from it will receive from Me such Imaan, the sweetness of which he will taste (feel) in his heart.”[1]

So we should consider the occasions, when we are in public areas and other venues, where there may be many strange women present, as an opportunity of lowering the gaze and enjoying and savouring the sweetness of Imaan. 

Of course, this should not be misconstrued to mean that we visit those places where there is temptation. Where there is mud, even an elephant can slip.

  • At such a time – when the desire is strong to cast that evil gaze, immediately strike a deal with Allah Ta’ala. Say: O Allah, it is solely for Your Pleasure and out of Love for You that I am restraining myself from casting these evil gazes, even though my nafs and heart desire to derive forbidden pleasure in this. …O Allah, I am placing Your Pleasure before my pleasure and am hopeful of the fulfillment of Your Promise, of granting the sweetness of Imaan to the one who lowers his gaze from Haraam.”

In another Hadeeth mentioned in Mishkaat Shareef, Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “When anyone’s eyes fall on a pretty girl and he immediately casts his gaze away from her, Allah grants him the Divine Guidance towards such Ibaadah, the ecstasy of which he feels in himself.”

  • Moreover, if a person is married, then keep in mind that Allah Ta’ala has given a wife who is Halaal. It is great ingratitude that a person would choose to look at and fantasize over Haraam women, when blessed with a Halaal wife. This will inevitably result in dissatisfaction, unhappiness and even criticism of one’s wife and will open the doors of marital misery.

Lustful glancing is infidelity and a violation of the rights of one’s spouse. …Would any well-balanced, sound-minded person like that his wife casts evil gazes at other men, and fantasizes about them? …So similarly, she too will not like that her husband engages in such disloyalty and betrayal.

Of course, the same is applicable to women. Many women, including married women, complain of their weakness of admiring men.

  • Always keep in mind that casting lustful gazes means casting those gazes at someone’s daughter, mother, sister, wife, etc. Would anyone of us like that someone does the same to our wives, our daughters, our mothers or our sisters? ...No.

If we respect strange women by lowering our gazes and keeping our hearts free of evil passions and lust, Insha-Allah, Allah Ta’ala will protect our womenfolk from those who have sick hearts and minds. Otherwise they will also be subjected to the same evil from strange men. None of us would be happy with that.

  • Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Allah curses the one who looks and the one at whom the gaze is directed (i.e. the one who was responsible for attracting the attention of a ghair-mahram).”

The La`nah (curse) of Allah Ta’ala is no trivial and insignificant matter, to be taken in the light-hearted manner we do. A person tagged with the label of the ‘La`nah’ of Allah Ta’ala is denied His Mercy and deprived of His proximity, until he repents thereof, firmly intending not to indulge in such Haraam pleasure again. If not, then this evil habit of lustful gazes paves the path of disgrace. May Allah Ta'ala save us all. 

  • Furthermore, by developing the love and fear of Allah Ta’ala, it becomes extremely easy to restrain oneself from sin. Taqwa and the conscious awareness of Allah Ta’ala’s presence are a protection, security and barrier from sin. These beautiful qualities are easiest acquired from the company of the Auliya Allah (Friends of Allah Ta’ala).

Mullah Ali Qaari (Rahmatullah ‘alaih) had given the following definition of Hayaa (Modesty): ‘The ‘Haqeeqat’ of Hayaa is that your Maula (Master, Allah Ta’ala) must not find you in that place which He has forbidden.” …or indulging in that which He has forbidden.

The conscious awareness of Allah Ta’ala prevents us from committing sins.

Ultimately, if we lower our gazes, we guard our hearts from evil desires and lust, and we also guard our minds from Haraam fantasizing – and Allah Ta’ala blesses our hearts with the sweetness of Imaan.  Just one small action of lowering the gaze or turning the gaze in another direction and major problems are solved, and the net result is the Supreme Bounty of Allah Ta’ala’s pleasure, the sweetness of Imaan, peace and contentment! This is indeed a wonderful exchange for such a small deed.

May Allah Ta’ala grant us the Taufeeq of 100% obedience and bless us with the sweetness of Imaan.

[1] Kanzul-Ummaal

       Also: Read the Book

By Hazrat Maulana Shah Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb 
(Rahmatullahi Alayh)