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Lower Your Gaze

As temperatures soar and sweat pours down our faces, it is essential to remember this: protect your eyes, and that does not mean wearing sunglasses, it means to lower our gaze - be careful of our glances. In our culture today, as the temperature increases, so does the amount of exposed skin on people's bodies. Although this is very distressing and disturbing, it has become a fact of life. In fact, those of us, especially our sisters wearing Hijaab, who cover to guard their modesty are seen as strange.

It is in this instance, surrounded by half-naked people, that we must have the courage to follow the command of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتعال ) and His Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) and lower our gazes.

Allah says: ►Nor come nigh to adultery: for it is a shameful (deed) and an evil, opening the road (to other evils).
sura AL ISRA chapter 17 verse 32

This sin is so hateful in the sight of Our Lord, that He commanded us to not even go near it. Despite what anyone may say, looking upon that which one is not supposed to is going near adultery. For an illicit affair begins with a lustful glance. Allah wishes for us not to commit this ugly sin, and thus He commands us to lower our gazes:

Allah says: ► Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands' fathers, their sons, their husbands' sons, their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the slaves whom their right hands possess or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex; and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! Turn ye all together towards Allah that ye may attain Bliss.
sura AN NOOR chapter 24 verse 30-31

Lowering the gaze does not mean keeping our eyes constantly on the ground and not looking up at all. It is turning our faces away when we see a less-than-decently
...dressed woman or man walking on the street in the middle of the day or at anytime.

—•► THE ADULTERY OF THE EYES

The Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) further explained to us Allah's command. Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه ) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) said, "(the adultery of the eyes is looking (at that) which is not allowed)"
(Sahih Al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

Also, on the authority of Jurayr (رضي الله عنه ) who said, "I asked the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) about accidentally looking at something that is not allowed and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, " Turn your eyes away ."
(Sahih Muslim)

On the authority of Abu Sa'eed (رضي الله عنه ) the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) said, " A man should not look at the Awrah of another man, and the woman should not look at the Awrah of another woman ."
(Sahih Muslim)

Thus, our Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) even instructed us to lower our gaze when looking at members of the same gender in some cases.

—•► LOWERING FOR THE OTHERS' NAKEDNESS

One common mistake is to think that lowering our gaze is only required upon encountering nakedness and indecency "in the flesh" or in person. Lowering our gaze must also be practiced when watching a film or television program replete with nakedness and intimate scenes of couples (actually, we should try to avoid watching such types of programs, period).

—•► BEWARE OF THE BEACHES

Beware of the beaches, rivers, pools or anywhere else you'll find a plethora of bikini and swimming-trunk clad men and women. Lowering your gaze there is virtually impossible. You may turn in one direction, thinking you're home-free, but soon enough you can't even look there. The same holds true for parks and recreational facilities. While this doesn't mean never taking the kids out to enjoy the slides and seesaws or having barbecues there, it does mean perhaps having activities on days that are cooler, or at times when the sun is not as hot and intense (i.e. some time in the earlier morning or before Maghrib). This way, the prime time for sunbathing has passed, and most people either leave or feel cool enough to put some more clothes on.

—•► LOWERING THE GAZE DOESN'T MEAN BEING ANTISOCIAL

But lowering our gaze does not mean being rude or antisocial. The Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) used to present the message of Islam to people that had come for the yearly "Ukaz" festival, which did include unIslamic activities like drinking and gambling. However, this requires faith, self-control and discipline. This must never be used as an opportunity to indulge in these sins.

—•► THE GAZE IS A PART OF A MUSLIM'S CHARACTER

A Muslim is decent and pure. This means all of his or her body must be decent and pure. A natural consequence of this is lowering the gaze.

Allah says: ► O ye who believe! follow not Shaytan's footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Shaytan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things).
sura AN NOOR chapter 24 verse 21

Allah has created the angels from intellect but He did not place lust in them, He created animals with lust but did not place intellect in them, but He placed both intellect & lust in humans, therefore he whose intellect overcomes his lust is greater than the angels & he whose lust overcomes his intellect is lower than animals.

Looking at another man or woman in an indecent manner is following in Shaytan's footsteps. It all begins with a lustful glance. Such a glance leads to lustful talk and flirting, then meeting and we are all aware of what comes next. Let us stop Shaytan in his tracks and lower our gaze. Let us start today. Yes, it is very difficult and it takes discipline and faith. Yet, whenever we struggle to please Allah, He will reward us several times over in this life and the next. It is truly a Jihad. But, it is a Jihad worth undertaking, and we will be all the better for it.

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—•Practical tips to lower your gaze•—

Discover the beauty and serenity of lowering you gaze by following some of these tips, remember to keep your dealings with Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتعال ), and by lowering your gaze you are pleasing the almighty.

•——• * Keep in mind that Allah is watching you,

Allah says: ► (Allah) knows of (the tricks) that deceive with the eyes, and all that hearts (of men) conceal.
sura GHAFIR chapter 40 verse 19

•——• * Practice makes perfect, Strive and train yourself to lower you gaze.

Allah says: ► And those who strive in Our (Cause)― We will certainly guide them to Our Paths: for verily Allah is with those who do right.
sura AL ANKABOOT chapter 29 verse 69

•——• * Prevention is key. Avoid places where you might be exposed to temptation.

Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri (رضي الله عنه ): The Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) said, 'Beware! Avoid sitting on the roads." They (the people) said, "O Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) ! We can't help sitting (on the roads) as these are (our places) here we have talks." The Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) said, 'If you refuse but to sit, then pay the road its right ' They said, "What is the right of the road, "O Prophet Muhammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ? "He said, 'Lowering your gaze, refraining from harming others, returning greeting, and enjoining what is good, and forbidding what is evil."
(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

•——• * Keep the company of good people, make a pact with your friends that you will lower you gaze and watch out for each other, if one of you slips, remind them.

Narrated 'Abdullah (رضي الله عنه ): We were with the Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) while we were young and had no wealth whatever. So Prophet Muhammad (صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ) said, "O young people! Whoever among you can marry, should marry, because it helps him lower his gaze and guard his modesty (i.e. his private parts from committing illegal sexual intercourse etc.), and whoever is not able to marry, should fast, as fasting diminishes his sexual .power."
(Sahih Al-Bukhari)

—•►★★★★★★★★►

Hadeeth Newsflash

Reported by K`ab bin Malik (RA): Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Two hungry wolves sent in the midst of a flock of sheep are no more destructive to them than a man's greed for wealth and fame is to his Deen.'' [At-Tirmidhi]

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