Bismillahir rahman ir raheem
July 22, 2009
Jibreel Asks, and the Prophet Replies
The Adab of Looking—Sh. Muhammad Hassan
Asalamu alaikum wrt wb,
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, All praise be to the One Who did not take a child, and has no partner in dominion, the One Who has no helper, Whom there is no god except He, the Creator of all things, and there is no creator other than Him, and there is no Lord other than Him. He Whom Allah guides, none can lead astray, and he whom he leads astray, cannot be guided. That is because Allah is the truth, and what they call on other than Him is falsehood.
I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah, unique in His Actions, Names, and Attributes; He has no equal, no partner, no opposite, no wife, no parents, nor children, unique in His Self, attributes, and actions. “Say: Allah is One, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe, He has no children, no parents, and there is nothing like Him.”
And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, may Allah send peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, the Shining Sun, and Allah opened through him blind eyes, and deaf ears, and sealed hearts, and left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day, and none deviates from it except is in loss. He is the caller to the best of actions and speech and character, and may peace be on his companions, family, and all those who follow his guidance and Sunnah, and take from the fruits of his teachings until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome to you all, my honored brothers and sisters, and your effort has been well, and you have prepared a place for yourselves in the Jannah. I ask Allah who joined us at this hour to join us in the afterlife with the Prophet, the Imam of the Prophets in the Gardens of Paradise, for He is capable of that.
My beloved: Jibreel asks and the Prophet, peace be upon them both, answers. A series of lessons in Aqeedah and Imaan, and Tawheed, based on the Hadith of Jibreel, I present it to the beloved Ummah, may Allah increase it in honor, in a new unique means of presentation, the unique questions and concise guided answers that take place between the Prophet peace be upon him and Jibreel. And why not, when the questioner is the Trustworthy one of the heavens, Jibreel, and the teacher is the Trustworthy one of the earth, our noble Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
And that is through a beautiful long conversation, questions and answers, in this beautiful hadith narrated by Bukhari in its abridged form, and Ahmed, Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban, Ibn Khuzaima, and many others, including Imam Muslim, and it is the version I chose for us, so that you brother, and you honored sister, may memorize it: Yahya bin Amr said: The first one who spoke of denying Qadr in Basra was Ma’bad al Juhani. So we, I and Abdurahman al-Himrawi left for Hajj or Umrah, and we said, if only we find someone from the companions of the Prophet, peace be upon him, so that we may ask him about Destiny.
We were blessed to found Ibn Umar in a Masjid, and we gathered around him, some of us on his left, and others on his right, and I said: Oh Abu Abdurahman, some people have begun to read the Quran seeking out its minute details, believing that there is no Qadr, and that all events happen spontaneously, and that Allah doesn’t know about them until they happen. Ibn Umar said: “If you meet them, tell them that I am free from them and they are free from me. By Allah, if they gave a mountain of gold in charity it would not be accepted by Allah from them until they believe in Destiny.”
Ibn Umar then said, ‘Hadathani Abi’ i.e. my father (Umar bin al-Khattab) taught me: “While we were sitting with the Prophet, peace be upon him, one day, a man suddenly came upon us, his clothes were extremely white, and his hair extremely black, and he had no signs of travel upon him, and none of us knew him. He sat next to the Prophet, placing his knees towards his knees, and placing his hands on his thighs and said, ‘Oh Muhammad, Teach me about Islam…’
The Prophet peace be upon him said, ‘Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is His messenger, establish prayer, pay Zakat, fast Ramadan, and perform Hajj if you are able.’ The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ We were amazed that he asked him a question, and then told him he was correct! He then said ‘Teach me about Iman.’
The Prophet replied, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in Destiny, its good and evil.” He said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ He then said…’Teach me about Ihsaan…’ The Prophet said, “To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you aren’t able to see him, then He indeed Sees you.” He said, ‘Teach me about the Hour…’
The Prophet peace be upon him replied, “The one being asked does not know more than one questioning.” The man said, ‘Then tell me about its signs.’ The Prophet said, ‘A slave-woman will give birth to her master, and you will see barefoot, naked, herdsmen competing in constructing tall buildings.”
Then the questioner left. We sat for a while, and then the Prophet peace be upon him said: ‘Do you know who the questioner was oh Umar?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He replied, ‘He is Gabriel (Jibreel), he came to teach you your religion.’ ”
My beloved, tonight with Allah’s help and permission, we will have our 31st lesson with Hadathani Abi (My Father Taught Me). We continue with this foundational Minhaj, a minhaj of Tarbiyya that every home needs, any home that wants to raise its children on the minhaj of Allah and His Messenger.
We spoke last time during this critical series about Tarbiyya by example, Tarbiyyah by love, Tarbiyya by Aqeedah, Tarbiyya by Ibaadah, and Tarbiyya by Akhlaq, and we are speaking extensively, by Allah’s help, about Tarbiyya by Akhlaq (good character), and the first foundation of Tarbiyya by Akhlaq is by Adab (manners).
And we spoke about Adab with Allah Most High, and with the Prophet of Allah peace be upon him, Adab with the Rulers and Scholars, and Adab with parents. Then we spoke about general Adab of Muslims with their brothers and sisters, and we spoke last time about the beautiful Adab of Seeking Permission.
And today, we will talk about an Adab that is critical, for we have more of need for a little Adab than for a lot of knowledge.
And what is the benefit of knowledge if it doesn’t lead its possessor to Adab with Allah, the Messenger, creation, with oneself, with one’s wife, children, and the environment? We are in dire need of the station and status of true Adab, with all the meanings that this word carries.
Today, we will speak about the Adab of Looking.
After speaking about the Adab of seeking permission, this naturally leads us to the subject of the Adab of Looking.
And perhaps many might think that the Adab of Looking does not need an entire chapter in itself, but after reading this I think you will agree that it needs not only its only chapter, but many chapters!
And perhaps many Da’ees (those who teach about Islam) might think that this topic doesn’t need to be spoken about in public, but it is absolutely critical, for looking is the precursor and the means to fornication and adultery (Zinaa).
And Allah commands lowering the gaze upon men and women, since it will prevent us from falling into Zinaa.
Come today and let me introduce this subject first by saying: Islam is the religion of Allah, the One who created human beings, and He knows what is good and bad for the human being. Allah knows what will cause us happiness and sadness in this world an d the next.
Allah says: Alla yallamu man khalaq…
67.14. Should not He Who has created know? And He is the Most Kind and Courteous (to His slaves) All-Aware (of everything).
Imagine if someone’s car broke down, would he bring it to a doctor? Or an accountant? No, he would bring it to a mechanic who specializes in its problem. This is logic.
Me, and you, we are the creation of Allah, Whose Perfects all things in His Creation. So if something breaks or is broken in us, and we want to know how to fix this dysfunction, then by common sense, we should go back to the one who created the human being, to know what will fix us, and what will make us happy and successful.
But the arrogant and disillusioned person relies on his own laws, and invents methodologies that contradict what Allah Most High has commanded, and the Shariah of the Messenger of Allah, and they think that these laws and systems will bring them happiness in this world.
But this is not true, for a human being, no matter what he reaches of knowledge, is limited and confined by time and place, and his age is short and his life is finite, and he does not have the ability to know what will happen in other times and places, and he is subject to desires and whims, and these desires and passions affect him, and he is only human, and bound to err.
So the human being should not reach beyond his means, and he must realize that he is weak and his reason and intellect limited, and his life is short and bound on this earth, and it is not appropriate nor reasonable that a person think that he can place laws and regulations for himself and other humans that which will bring happiness in all places and times.
No, the only one who can do this is Allah, Most High.
Islam does not ever contradict the Fitrah (natural state of the human being), for Islam is the religion of Allah, the Creator, and He knows what makes us happy and sad, and He alone knows what is good for our bodies and souls and spirits.
So if Islam placed a minhaj (methodology) that command and forbids, then for sure know that this system is placed for the happiness of human beings.
Its limits, commands, and prohibitions are revealed by the Creator, in order to lead us to true happiness in this world and the next.
Thus, the human being should not go beyond his means and limitations and place his own laws, for he cannot and will never be able to choose or write a system of laws that will bring true happiness in this world and the next.
Humanity might place laws that do not directly contradict the Minhaj of Allah and the Minhaj of the Messenger of Allah, which guard the benefits and Massalih of humans, and in this case, there is no harm in following these laws, since the Shariah came to bring benefit and ward off harm, as long as they don’t go against the rules of Allah. Rather, a person may fall into haram if they go against these rules.
Here is an example. If there are laws such as traffic laws, and say that a street is one way, and a person goes against this law, and goes the wrong way on a one way street, he has done something Haram, especially if this traveling exposes himself and others to haram, according to Shariah.
Thus Islam, when it commands and forbids, it is in accordance to the religion of Allah, and the Minhaj of Allah, who knows best what He created, and He is latif al khabeer, Kind to His Creation, and Well Aware (of what benefits them) .
Islam is not against femininity in a woman, and it doesn’t forbid a woman from loving beauty and decoration.
And Islam does not forbid man from attraction to a woman, but it raises this attraction from the level of animal passions to an honored position.
“Laqad karamna bani adam….”
"We honored the children of Adam and exalted them above many of Our other creatures (Bani Israel 70),"
When Islam forbids a woman from Tabarruj (displaying her charms), it does that to protect her, and to prevent harm from coming to her, and to the society at large.
The Hijab protects her, as well as the youth and young men, and the society at large.
Islam, when it forbids Khalwa, i.e. a man and a women being alone together, this is for the protection of the woman, the man, and society at large.
And Islam when it forbids free mixing of the sexes, this is to protect the society from falling victim to base hedonistic desires.
When Islam encourages youth to marry, as in the words of the Prophet pbuh:
“Oh young men, whoever amongst you can afford to marry, then he should do so.”
And if he cannot marry, he should fast. And marriage itself is the greatest institute for saving the youth, girls and boys, from falling into immoral forbidden relations.
And Islam commands that if one cannot marry, then he should fast, so that his desires are checked, and remain controlled by the laws of Allah, and this is the Shariah of Allah and the Messenger, to protect humanity and society as a whole, it is preventative medicine.
And from the greatest of these preventative medicines, is lowering the gaze, and the Adab of Looking.
Reflect on this introduction my beloved brothers and sisters, we must always contemplate it, and I did not present it to pass our time, for I value every moment of your time, but this introduction is of critical and vital importance to the task ahead of us.
Islam is the religion of the Creator, and he knows what is best for us and what harms us, (remember the verse, “Doesn’t He know, the One Who Created? And He is Well Informed and Aware of All things.”) and every command and prohibition is a guarantee for happiness in this world and the next, and to save us from falling into the swamp of base desires, and every command or prohibition for men and women, they are to guarantees and the passkeys to societal bliss and happiness in this world and the next.
We Must Count Our Blessings
Islam is the religion of Allah. It reminds us that the blessings of Allah cannot be counted or encompassed.
Allah says: 14.34: “And if you count Allah’s blessings you would not be able to encompass them.”
From the greatest of these blessings that Islam commands we reflect on is the blessing of vision, and perhaps we don’t appreciate that value of vision until we lose it, and may Allah protect our sight always and not test us by taking it away.
And if Allah takes away someone’s vision, and he is patient, Allah guarantees him Paradise.
Our vision is from the most valuable of blessings, and it is from the greatest of Allah’s bounties upon us.
For this reason, my beloved, we will be asked about it.
My beloved youth, and our girls and daughters, there are those who use this blessing in a forbidden way, and this is not permissible. We will be asked about this.
Allah says, “And do not follow that which you don’t have any knowledge of, for indeed hearing, seeing, and you hearts, for all of these things shall you be held responsible.”
“Wa la takfoo ma laissa bik ilam, inna as sama’ wa al basara wa…”
Yes, the blessing of vision is from the most honorable blessings, and a wise Muslim should not use it to look at haram , or at films or TV series, or dirty pictures, or to look at the private things of others, or to stare in the street, or in the university,
A wise Muslim who knows the value of this blessing, wouldn’t use it in a dirty or haram way.
Perhaps a person has a moment of weakness, and slips, and sees something haram, but he quickly makes tawbah and seeks Allah’s forgiveness.
Or if he enters his car, and hits his head, he knows that this hurt was the fair reward of that forbidden look that took place a few moments ago.
If he is sick, or his finger is injured, then he knows it is from what he did, from looking or backbiting, or something else.
Looking at haram is a poisoned arrow of the devil. And a person may kill himself by looking at a girl or a women and he doesn’t even know it.
I say: The most dangerous and vital part of the body is the eyes. They are our windows on to the world.
And the result of looking is an imprint on the heart. If you are walking, and you look at a girl, and may Allah forgive her from not dressing properly, and she goes out and the Shaitan makes her beautiful and dazzling in the eyes of youth, and this young man may have a wife much more beautiful than her, but the Shaitan makes the girl on the street more beautiful, and may Allah protect me and you from the devils.
The Prophet pbuh said: “If a woman goes out from the house, the Shaitan goes out with her and makes her beautiful in the eyes of others.”
This woman could be ugly, but the Shaitan will make her beautiful in his eyes! And he will look at her until he kills his heart by looking at her.
And single look may lead to great sadness and regret and loss in this world and the hereafter.
Shaykh, don’t make it such a big deal!
No, it is a real danger, and I am being realistic.
In fact, my Shaikh Ibn Qayyim says:
A man used to be a Muadhin (one who calls to prayer) for many years, 40 years to be exact, and one day he went out of his house, and he saw a beautiful woman, and he looked at her, and he followed her with his eyes.
She asked him how to get to a beauty parlor called “Hamam min Jabi”, and he looked at her and her beauty afflicted his heart, then he pointed her towards his house, saying “It’s this way,” and she entered, and he went in behind her, locking the door behind him.
He wanted to commit fornication with her. She convinced him to bring her something to drink and eat, and he thought she was ready to commit fornication with him as well. But when the man returned, she had left the house and fled, and the man came out into the streets looking for her. As he wandered in the streets, he called out in desperation, “Where is the Hamam min Jabi?”. He remained in this state, repeating the same words, until he found himself on his deathbed.
This is not a story or a film. This is a true story. And how many of the likes of it are out there? How many of our youth have gone on the internet at night, or entered a chat room, and found themselves absorbed in it until the next morning. What is worse, is that months, and perhaps years have been lost in such a state. They never left its evil, and became victims of their own addiction.
How many men have been tested by a woman, and failed that test. Here, the woman becomes the cause of the man’s loss and humiliation, often stealing or committing Zinaa (fornication) along the way, or perhaps, even going so far as to commit murder for her sake. For this reason, the Prophet pbuh said, “I have not left a fitna more harmful to men than women, and the first fitna for Bani Israel was in women.”
This is not to accuse women, but there are those women who go out with makeup, and perfume, and practice various ways to entice men and captivate them.
In Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet pbuh said, “There are two people of the fire whom I have not seen, men with whips like the tails of cows which they use to strike the people, and women dressed yet undressed, and their hair flaying back and forth like the hump of a camel. They will not enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, though its fragrance can be found at a great distance.”
صحيح مسلم - (ج 11 / ص 59)
عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ
قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ صِنْفَانِ مِنْ أَهْلِ النَّارِ لَمْ أَرَهُمَا قَوْمٌ مَعَهُمْ سِيَاطٌ كَأَذْنَابِ الْبَقَرِ يَضْرِبُونَ بِهَا النَّاسَ وَنِسَاءٌ كَاسِيَاتٌ عَارِيَاتٌ مُمِيلَاتٌ مَائِلَاتٌ رُءُوسُهُنَّ كَأَسْنِمَةِ الْبُخْتِ الْمَائِلَةِ لَا يَدْخُلْنَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلَا يَجِدْنَ رِيحَهَا وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا لَيُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ كَذَا وَكَذَا
This is the punishment for a woman who goes out undressed, to be a fitna for men, and she may have grown up wearing these clothes and she didn’t wear hijab, and may Allah protect our daughters, and guide these women to go back to hijab.
I advise the women who wear tight jeans, and body suits, and form fitting clothes, and yet covers her hair, my cherished daughter, don’t think that you are wearing hijab. Don’t ever imagine that you even wore hijab for a single day in your life!
Conditions of Hijab (Covering)
Hijab has its conditions and rules, as explained by the scholars:
1. It must be loose and flowing, i.e. it should not show the shape.
2. It must be long and cover the entire body.
3. Its material must be opaque and not thin.
4. It should be free of perfume.
5. It should not be a style that is attractive or known to be indecent.
As for those women who go out with tight jeans and fitting tops, covering the head, and calling this hijab, know that this is not hijab. Those of you who wear tight clothing and a mere cloth on the head, perhaps leaving just a bit of hair exposed, need to understand that you have been tricked into thinking this is hijab. Perhaps someone told you this is an acceptable form of hijab. No, my dear sisters, Allah did not command this. If you knew the result of this type of dress, you would lower your head in shame. This is not a ‘step on the way to hijab’, as some may claim. This is not the right way.
My beloved brothers and sisters, let’s go back to the story of the man who repeated the words “Where is the Hamam min Jabi”, over and over. This man spent the day and night repeating these words, forgetting all else in the world. The adhaan for Fajr came and he paid no heed. He left obedience to Allah; he left everything in his preoccupation with her. In this state he remained, all the way up until he found himself on his death bed. His friends tried to get him to pronounce the Shahadah before he passed away, but to no avail.
For the tongue is the megaphone of the heart; it only repeats what is inside the heart. On the deathbed, only the truth comes out. One may be an expert in lying in this world, but in the final moments of life, he will not be able to speak except what his heart bears within.
Ibn al Qayyim said, “A person who was busy with his wealth, and his heart was filled with love of money, was on his deathbed, and it was said to him, say La ilaha il Allah. He could only say, “1000, 2000, 3000…counting his wealth.”
So, the tongue reflects what is in the heart during one’s life, and especially at the time of death. A person will not speak on the deathbed except what is in the heart, from Imaan (belief) or nifaaq (hypocrisy).
The man from our story wandered around, saying, “Where is the Hamam min Jabi?” during what would be the end of his life. And he died in the same sorry state, repeating those very same words. We ask Allah to grant us a happy ending to our life in this world, and save us from a bad ending.
A student of mine had a neighbor who lived on the top floor of his apartment building, who was addicted to music. He used to advise his neighbor against listening to music, and warn him of its dangers. Yet, the neighbor would not listen. One day, the student was sitting in his house when he heard crying from above. He went upstairs, only to find his neighbor’s children crying, while listening to music. The man was on his deathbed.
The student was amazed by this scene. He told the children, “Do you not fear Allah? Your father is upon his last moments. The angels of death are coming to him, and you are playing music!? The angels of death are present. Would you not listen to some verses of the Quran? They said, “No problem, but we don’t have tapes of the Quran.” So, he went down to his house, and brought back a tape of the Quran, and gave it to them. They played the tape.
Although the man was not completely conscious due to the severity of the pangs of death which were overtaking him, he awoke for a moment, just long enough to shout and say, “No no! I don’t want to hear the Quran! Leave the music on, it soothes my soul.” And so he passed away, his last words being, “Leave the music on, it soothes my soul.”
Ibn Hajr said: “Whoever loves on a thing dies on it, and whoever dies on a thing, will be resurrected on it.” A look imprints itself on the heart. So it is no wonder to see how much sadness and loss in this world and the next can just a single look cause.
صحيح مسلم - (ج 1 / ص 349)
قَالَ حُذَيْفَةُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ تُعْرَضُ الْفِتَنُ عَلَى الْقُلُوبِ كَالْحَصِيرِ عُودًا عُودًا فَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أُشْرِبَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ سَوْدَاءُ وَأَيُّ قَلْبٍ أَنْكَرَهَا نُكِتَ فِيهِ نُكْتَةٌ بَيْضَاءُ حَتَّى تَصِيرَ عَلَى قَلْبَيْنِ عَلَى أَبْيَضَ مِثْلِ الصَّفَا فَلَا تَضُرُّهُ فِتْنَةٌ مَا دَامَتْ السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَالْآخَرُ أَسْوَدُ مُرْبَادًّا كَالْكُوزِ مُجَخِّيًا لَا يَعْرِفُ مَعْرُوفًا وَلَا يُنْكِرُ مُنْكَرًا إِلَّا مَا أُشْرِبَ مِنْ هَوَاهُ
Imam Muslim narrated that the Prophet pbuh said,
“The Fitna will be exposed to the heart like straw, one strand at a time, and any heart that drinks it, a black spot will appear on it, and whichever heart rejects it, a white spot appears on it. Until the hearts are two: a heart that is pure white, that will never be affected by a Fitna as long as the heavens and the earth exist, and a heart that is black that does not know the difference between right and wrong, but only its vain desires.”
The Fitna will be exposed to the heart, not the eye, nor the ears. The eye is just a window. The ear too, is an instrument that hears music, but the imprint of the picture or the sound falls on the heart.
To bring this reality closer to home, let’s consider the internet. You connect to the internet, and surf the web. When you are finished, you close the computer, and go to sleep. Although your eyes are closed, every picture, every word, every laugh comes back to you in your sleep, while the computer has long been turned off. Why? It is because the pictures, words, and songs, my dear readers, have been imprinted on your heart, without you even realizing it.
Do you, my dear readers, understand now how many a look has lead to humiliation and sadness in this world and the next?
Indeed, Allah linked the Adab of the Looking to guarding the private parts and not falling into fornication.
“Kul lilmimoona ya ghuddu min absariahim…wallahu khabeerun bma tasnaoon”
24.30. Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allâh is All-Aware of what they do.
Many of us know this verse, yet do not reflect on its meaning. This is truly a remarkable comparison and correlation. It is as if Allah, Most High, is telling us that lowering the gaze is a definite means of protecting one’s private parts from falling into Haram. Then consider the absolutely amazing ending to this verse: Allah is All Aware of what they do. That is, Allah is knowledgeable of all persons and actions. Know that Allah hears you, and sees you. Going back to our example of the internet, if you closed the windows, let down the curtains, and shut the door, and went onto the internet to look at wicked sites enjoining fornication and immorality, know then that Allah is still watching you.
And in the following verse, Allah addresses the believing women, telling Prophet Muhammad pbuh to say to them:
24.31. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.)
Yes, that is right. The Muslim woman is likewise obliged to lower her gaze, and that is her means of protecting her body. Allah has placed lowering the gaze for both men and women as a means and guarantee to prevent falling into haram. The two actions are necessarily connected.
The first action is mainly psychological, and requires fighting the evils of the self and its desire to look. The second action, on the other hand, is physical, and is concerned with guarding the actual private parts from committing indecency. Without a doubt, when the gaze is left unrestrained by religion, it leads a person to evil consequences that end up harming him or her in this world and the next.
Narrated Imam Ahmed, and Hakim (who said its chain is authentic, though some scholars have stated there is weakness in its chain) that the Prophet said:
المستدرك على الصحيحين للحاكم - (ج 18 / ص 246)
عن حذيفة ، رضي الله عنه قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « النظرة سهم من سهام إبليس مسمومة فمن تركها من خوف الله أثابه جل وعز إيمانا يجد حلاوته في قلبه » « هذا حديث صحيح الإسناد ولم يخرجاه »
“The (forbidden) look is a poisoned arrow from the arrows of Iblees, and the one who leaves it out of the fear of Allah, Allah will grant him faith whose sweetness will be felt in his heart.”
While there is some weakness in this hadith, the following is an authentic narration with a similar meaning.
The Prophet said, in an authentic hadith in Bukhari and Muslim:
صحيح البخاري - (ج 8 / ص 351)
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ
عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِيَّاكُمْ وَالْجُلُوسَ عَلَى الطُّرُقَاتِ فَقَالُوا مَا لَنَا بُدٌّ إِنَّمَا هِيَ مَجَالِسُنَا نَتَحَدَّثُ فِيهَا قَالَ فَإِذَا أَبَيْتُمْ إِلَّا الْمَجَالِسَ فَأَعْطُوا الطَّرِيقَ حَقَّهَا قَالُوا وَمَا حَقُّ الطَّرِيقِ قَالَ غَضُّ الْبَصَرِ وَكَفُّ الْأَذَى وَرَدُّ السَّلَامِ وَأَمْرٌ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَنَهْيٌ عَنْ الْمُنْكَرِ
“Beware of sitting in the streets!” So, the people said, “We cannot avoid doing so. But when we gather, we merely talk. He said, “If you refuse, then at least give the streets their right.” They said, “And what is the right of the streets?” He said, “Lowering the gaze, removing what may cause harm out of the way, responding to greetings, and enjoining good and forbidding evil.”
Now imagine if the Prophet pbuh saw the youth of today with their gatherings in outdoor cafes, and smoking in the streets, ...! This is an admonition to our youth, who spend time relaxing in cafes, talking about the girls who pass by. Perhaps a Muslim man- a father even- might attack the dignity of a Muslim woman in this way, yet would he tolerate such an offense directed towards his mother, sister, daughter, or aunt? Such is the behavior of wolves in sheep’s clothing.
Pay attention to this gentle admonition, my dear readers! The Prophet pbuh warns, “Beware of sitting in streets!” The honorable Sahabah (companions) who were raised by the Prophet pbuh responded, “Oh Messenger of Allah, we cannot avoid sitting in the streets.” They did their business there, and met with each other there, etc. The Prophet pbuh then said, “If you refuse this advice, then at least give the streets their right.” This is Islam, even the street has rights! I wish I could devote an entire chapter to the rights of the street, for sitting in public streets does have its own protocol and proper etiquette.
They said, “What are the rights of the street?”
He said, “Lowering the gaze,”
It is bad adab (etiquette) then, to sit in a place where we can witness all types of haram taking place. Can you see how far we have gone from our noble religion? Look what our religious teachings contain of pearls and beautiful treasures. By Allah, if we followed this religion we would be happy in this world and the next.
The Prophet pbuh then said: “.. removing what may harm out of the way, responding to greetings, and enjoining good and forbidding evil.”
Think about that-- sitting in the street would become a gathering of knowledge and learning if we followed the Prophet’s pbuh advice! This is Islam. By Allah, this hadith requires an entire chapter, not just a few lines! Even the street has rights in our religion.
In another hadith, which I mentioned in the last chapter, the Prophet said, in Muslim:
صحيح البخاري - (ج 18 / ص 287)
عَنْ سَهْلِ بْنِ سَعْدٍ
أَنَّ رَجُلًا اطَّلَعَ مِنْ جُحْرٍ فِي دَارِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَالنَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَحُكُّ رَأْسَهُ بِالْمِدْرَى فَقَالَ لَوْ عَلِمْتُ أَنَّكَ تَنْظُرُ لَطَعَنْتُ بِهَا فِي عَيْنِكَ إِنَّمَا جُعِلَ الْإِذْنُ مِنْ قِبَلِ الْأَبْصَارِ
“A man looked into a private room of the Prophet’s house (he had no Adab, can you imagine, in the house of the Prophet, this is a true loser!) and the prophet had a comb in his hand (he had longer hair beyond his ear lobes) and when he went out and saw this man with no Adab and character looking inside the keyhole of his door, he said, “If I knew you were looking, I would have poked your eye with this comb!” Then the Prophet said, “We have only been commanded to seek permission to prevent looking (at private things).”
A house has many private things, and not just the women that may be present inside. Indeed, there are many other things that one may wish to keep private. Also, in Saheeh Muslim, as I mentioned in the last chapter, “If a person spied on you without your permission, and you threw a pebble at him that poked out his eye, you would not have any sin on you.” This is the gheera (protective jealousy that stems from a desire to care for and guard one’s family and belongings) of the Prophet pbuh for the Ummah.
You might very well ask: Yes Shaykh, but in the streets, if you look to the right, there are women, and to the left, there are women, and if you look up, there are women in the balconies, and down, there are women. What should I do?! The Prophet pbuh, answered this question. As narrated by Imam Muslim, Jarir said: I asked the Prophet pbuh about the accidental look? He commanded me to look away. So, if you accidentally glance at a woman who passes by in front of you, you will not be held responsible for that fleeting look.
In another narration, during Hajj, a woman appeared in front of the Sahaabi Fadl (r), who was riding behind the Prophet pbuh. He looked at the woman, and the fairness of her skin showed from behind her veil. This desire that a man has to look at a woman is a matter of Fitrah (inherent nature), for Allah has placed profound attraction betweeen the children of Adam in order to facilitate the continuation of the human race.
But he was sitting behind the Prophet, pbuh! The Prophet pbuh turned Fadl’s face away, but he kept looking! This is the nature of a man. One has to fight his nafs, and ask for help from Allah. After the first glance, struggle to look away. I know it is not easy, and it is as not a small thing. After fighting the nafs, and praying at night, and begging for forgiveness, you will find it easy, by Allah, and you will raise to a level that no poet can describe, and you will be able to look away easily.
By Allah, if your eye falls on a beautiful woman, and she is perhaps undressed, and you fight your nafs and look away, you will taste a sweetness and delight in your heart.
This woman will tire your heart. The Prophet told him to turn away.
Imam Ahmed narrated, and there is some weakness in its chain, “Oh Ali, don’t follow one look with another. For the first is for you, and the second is against you.”
It has weakness, but this authentic hadith clarifies its meaning:
Bukhari and Muslim narrated that the Prophet pbuh said:
صحيح مسلم - (ج 13 / ص 125)
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ
عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ كُتِبَ عَلَى ابْنِ آدَمَ نَصِيبُهُ مِنْ الزِّنَا مُدْرِكٌ ذَلِكَ لَا مَحَالَةَ فَالْعَيْنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا النَّظَرُ وَالْأُذُنَانِ زِنَاهُمَا الِاسْتِمَاعُ وَاللِّسَانُ زِنَاهُ الْكَلَامُ وَالْيَدُ زِنَاهَا الْبَطْشُ وَالرِّجْلُ زِنَاهَا الْخُطَا وَالْقَلْبُ يَهْوَى وَيَتَمَنَّى وَيُصَدِّقُ ذَلِكَ الْفَرْجُ وَيُكَذِّبُهُ
“It has been written for the child of Adam his share of Zinaa, and it befall him without escape, and the Zinaa of the eye is looking, and the Zinaa of the ear is listening, and the Zinaa of tongue is conversing, and the Zinaa of the hand is touching, and the Zinaa of the foot is walking, and the heart strives for it, and the private parts confirm it or reject it.”
The people of knowledge said these things are called Zinaa but they are not the type of Zinaa that results in the Hadd punishment, rather they are the precursors of Zinaa. And Allah said, “Wa la taqrabu az zina.” “And come not near to Zinaa.”
Why did the Prophet call them Zinaa? Because they are the real precursors to Zinaa.
If it was impossible to avoid this, Allah would not have forbidden it.
My beloved, don’t look at the haram. Look at the signs of Allah in the universe!
“Afla yandhuruoon ailla ibli kaif khuliqat…”
“Don’t they look at the camel, and how it was created?”
“Say: Traverse the earth and see what was the end of the rejecters (of faith.)”
This is the way of using this blessing of vision in a way that is pleasing to Allah.
The poet said:
All evils begin with a look. And most fires start from a small spark.
How much is a look like an arrow loaded onto a bow, pointed at the heart.
His eye might be pleased, but it will soon slay his heart.
No welcome to pleasure whose reality is sadness and loss.
And my Shaykh Ibn Qayyim said:
You follow one look with another, and think it is medicine, but rather it is worsening the wound!
My honored readers, I will suffice with this, for this is indeed sufficient reminder for those who have hearts.
I ask Allah to save us from looking at haram, and may Allah protect our eyes and cover our faults in this world and the next. May Allah protect our limbs from falling into haram.
Before closing this chapter, let me say, the benefits of lowering the gaze are many, and from them:
1.) It is following the command of Allah and the Messenger pbuh.
2.) Lowering the gaze leads to an intimate connection with Allah. It grants light to the heart, and if the heart is enlightened, all goodness comes about.
3.) Lowering the gaze closes the paths and doorways of the Shaitan to your heart.
4.) Lowering the gaze from is from the greatest means of remembering knowledge and attaining it. I always remind myself of this rule, and students of knowledge should pay careful attention to it.
5.) Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Whoever turns his glance away from haram, Allah will place light in his vision, in place of the forbidden thing that he turned away from. And Allah will open for him the doors of knowledge, Imaan, insight, penetrating vision, and understanding. These things can only come about from the vision of the heart.”
All this from lowering the gaze, and you will find memorizing of texts and Quran easy. Indeed, the heart is a container, and if it is dirty, it will not be able to store the light of knowledge. If one memorizes, but the heart is not pure, the knowledge will not have benefit.
Abdullah ibn Mas'ud said, “I think a person forgets knowledge because of his sins.”
Abdullah bin Mubarak said, “Sins take life away from the hearts. Addiction to sins leads to humiliation, and leaving them is the guarantee for success.”
I ask Allah to grant you light in your vision, and I ask Him to help us to lower our gazes, and to grant us forgiveness for what has gone by of shortcomings and mistakes, and to grant us happiness and the coolness of our eyes with the victory of Islam and the honor of the Muslims, and may peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.
Asalamualaikum wrt wb.