#43 – Lowering The Gaze
May 30 – Jun 05, 2022
Shawwal 29 – Dhul Qa’dah 6, 1443


Lowering The Gaze

What have Allah and His Messenger said about

Lowering The Gaze

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا۟ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا۟ فُرُوجَهُمْ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts; it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is All-Aware of what they do.

[Surah An-Nur, Ayah 30]
وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَـٰرِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا ۖ وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ ۖ وَلَا يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلَّا لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ ءَابَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ إِخْوَٰنِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِىٓ أَخَوَٰتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَـٰنُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّـٰبِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُو۟لِى ٱلْإِرْبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفْلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُوا۟ عَلَىٰ عَوْرَٰتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ ۖ وَلَا يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ ۚ وَتُوبُوٓا۟ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعًا أَيُّهَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
And tell the believing women that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, and must not expose their adornment, except that which appears thereof, and must wrap their bosoms with their shawls, and must not expose their adornment, except to their husbands or their fathers or the fathers of their husbands, or to their sons or the sons of their husbands, or to their brothers or the sons of their brothers or the sons of their sisters, or to their women, or to those owned by their right hands, or male attendants having no (sexual) urge, or to the children who are not yet conscious of the shames of women. And let them not stamp their feet in a way that the adornment they conceal is known. And repent to Allah O believers, all of you, so that you may achieve success.

[Surah An-Nur, Ayah 31]
يَعْلَمُ خَآئِنَةَ ٱلْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِى ٱلصُّدُورُ
He knows the treachery of the eyes and whatever is concealed by hearts.

[Surah Al-Ghafir, Ayah 19]
عَنْ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ يَزِيدَ، قَالَ دَخَلْتُ مَعَ عَلْقَمَةَ وَالأَسْوَدِ عَلَى عَبْدِ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ كُنَّا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم شَبَابًا لاَ نَجِدُ شَيْئًا فَقَالَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهُ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ “‏ يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ، فَإِنَّهُ أَغَضُّ لِلْبَصَرِ، وَأَحْصَنُ لِلْفَرْجِ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ، فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ ‏”‏‏.‏
Narrated `Abdullah: We were with the Prophet (ﷺ) while we were young and had no wealth. So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) 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 5066]

Lowering The Gaze

The word يَغُضُّ (yaghuddu) is derived from غضّ (ghadd), which means to bring down or to lower, (Raghib) lowering of eyes or to keep eyes down as enjoined in the verse, means to turn the eyes from something which is prohibited to be seen by Shari` ah (Ibn Kathir). Ibn Hibban has given the explanation that to look at a non-Mahram woman with intent to have (sexual) pleasure is totally prohibited, and to look without any such motive is makruh (undesirable). To look at any woman’s or man’s private parts of the body is included in this explanation (except in case of dire necessity, such as medical examination). Peeping into anyone’s house with the intent of finding out his secrets, and all such acts where looking is prohibited by Shari` ah are all included in the injunction. (24:30)

وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُ‌وجَهُمْ Protection of private parts is purported to express that all possible situations of satisfying unlawful sexual desires be guarded against. In this, adultery, sodomy, lesbian act, masturbation and all such acts that fulfill unlawful lust and passions are prohibited. The purpose of the verse is to prohibit all illicit acts for fulfilling unlawful passions. For this purpose the initial and the ultimate acts have been mentioned rather clearly, and all those actions which fall in between them are also included in the prohibition. For unlawful sexual passion the very first act is casting eye with bad motive and its ultimate result is adultery. Both these acts have been mentioned clearly and are prohibited. All other acts falling in between, such as touching hands or having conversation, are included by implication.
Ibn Kathir has related Sayyidna ` Ubaidah ؓ having said . کُلّ ما عصی اللہ بہ فھو کبیرۃ وقد ذکر الطفین that is ` Any act done in disobedience to Allah is a major sin, but the initial and ultimate acts are mentioned at the two ends of the verse’. The initial act is to cast eye, and the ultimate is adultery.

In the initial part of this long verse the injunction is the same which has been enjoined on men-folk in the preceding verse, that is, keep the eyes down or turn away the eyes. Women-folk are also included in the injunction along with men, but in the next verse there is a separate injunction for them for laying more emphasis. Hence, it is clear that for women it is forbidden to look at any man except their mahrams. Many scholars have declared that it is absolutely forbidden for women to see non-Mahram men, irrespective of looking with bad intent and passion or without any intent and passion; in either case it is forbidden. For this ruling the argument, put forward in support is the hadith of Sayyidah ‘Umm Salamah ؓ which relates that once ‘Umm Salamah and Maimunah ؓ both were with the Holy Prophet ﷺ when suddenly ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Umm Maktum ؓ ، the companion of the Holy Prophet ﷺ who was blind, came in, and the Holy Prophet ﷺ asked them to go inside. This incident had happened after the injunction of hijab for women was revealed. On this ‘Umm Salamah ؓ pleaded ` O Holy Prophet ﷺ ! But he is only blind, he can’t see us’. Then the Holy Prophet ﷺ replied ` Is it that you are blind too?’ (Abu Dawtid and Tirmidhi – Tirmidhi declared this hadith as hasan Sahih). Other jurists have ruled that there is no harm if women look at strange males without any passion. They base their argument on the hadith of Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ in which it is related that on an Eid day some African youths were showing their military exercises in the courtyard of the Mosque of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and the Holy Prophet ﷺ was watching this game, and so was Sayyidah ` A’ishah ؓ ، under the cover of the back of the Holy Prophet ﷺ . She kept on watching the game until she herself got tired of it, but the Holy Prophet ﷺ did not object to her watching. Scholars are all unanimous on the point that looking with lust is prohibited, but looking without lust is also not a preferred act.

To look at a woman’s satr (concealable) parts by another woman without any lawful reason is also prohibited in line with the wordings of this verse. It is for the reason that concealing of satr (concealable) from all, both by men and women, is obligatory by Shariah. Man’s satr (concealable) comprises all parts of the body from navel to knees, and that of women, the whole body, except face and palms. Neither can a man see another man’s satr nor can a woman see another woman’s satr. Looking by a man at a woman’s satr or of a woman at a man’s satr is highly prohibited, and amounts to contradiction of the injunction of the Qur’anic verse which enjoins for ` turning away the eyes’. As has been explained above in detail, it is enjoined in the verse to lower the eyes or to turn the eyes away from everything which is prohibited to be seen under Islamic injunctions. To look at a woman’s satr by another woman is included in that.

[Maarif ul Quran Vol-6 (pg 407 – 411) , Maktabah Dar al Uloom, Translation by Prof. Muhammad Hasan Askari & Prof. Muhammad Shamim]

Spiritual Reminders

Gateway For Sin
Since the early stages of unlawful sexual intercourse resonates from a look, He declared that lowering the gaze takes precedence in order to guarding the private parts, because such incidents originate from the sight just as the majority of fires ignite from small sparks. So it may be one look, followed by another and another, then the major offence. This is why it is said that whoever safeguards four things completes their religion: the glances of eye, the thoughts that cross the mind and the statements and the steps. An individual should be his own gatekeeper at these four doors and remain stationed on guard at these openings because it is through them that the enemy enters and probes into the dwelling before completely destroying what they have taken over.

As for the glance, it is the director and guide for desires, and safeguarding it is the starting point for safeguarding the private parts, because whoever is careless in their glances shall find that they lead them to ruin. The glances are the initial foundation for the incidents that affect an individual, because the glance gives rise to a thought, then the thought gives birth to an idea, an idea evokes a desire and the desire develops a crave, then this craving intensifies and becomes resolute conviction which inevitably results in the action as there is no intervention. In this regard, it has been said: “Patience upon lowering the gaze is easier than patience upon the pain of what happens after it.”
From the plights of such glances is that they produce sorrow, sighs of regret and burning aguish. He sees what he is unable to obtain or able to resist. It is one of the most painful torments to witness something you are unable to resist and unable to be patient without and unable to have at the same time. What is even more astounding is that a glance can injure the heart, and this may be followed by multiple injuries. Eventually, the pain of these injuries will not prevent an individual from repeatedly glancing, and I also have some poetry about this:

You continue to follow a glance with another — another follows every pleasant sight
You think that it’s the remedy to your wound, but in fact — it is a wound to another

[Adapted from Ad-Daa Wad-Dawaae (Al-Jawab Al-Kaafi) by Ibn Al-Qayyim, English Translation by Osman Hamid (pg 340 – 343), Hikmah Publications [2020]]



Lowering The Gaze
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas:
Al-Fadl bin ‘Abbas rode behind the Prophet as his companion rider on the back portion of his she camel on the Day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th Dhul-Hijja) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet stopped to give the people verdicts. In the meantime, a beautiful woman From the tribe of Khath’am came, asking the verdict of Allah’s Apostle. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand backwards and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the owner sides in order that he should not gaze at her. She said, “O Allah’s Apostle! The obligation of Performing Hajj enjoined by Allah on His worshipers, has become due (compulsory) on my father who is an old man and who cannot sit firmly on the riding animal. Will it be sufficient that I perform Hajj on his behalf?” He said, “Yes.”

[Bukhari Volume 8, Book 74, Number 247]

Sunnah Acts

The Rights of The Pathway
Abu Sa’id Khudri reported Allah’s Apostle (ﷺ) as saying:
Avoid sitting on the paths. They (the Companions) said: Allah’s Messenger, we cannot help but holding our meetings (in these paths) and discuss matters (there). Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said: If you insist on holding meetings, then give the path its due right. They said: What are its due rights? Upon this he said: Lowering the gaze, refraining from doing harm, exchanging of greetings. commanding of good and forbidding from evil.

[Sahih Muslim 2121c]


Duʿāʾ For The Unmarried
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْوَٰجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّـٰتِنَا قُرَّةَ أَعْيُنٍ وَٱجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
rabbanahab lana min azwajina wathurriyyatina qurrata aAAyunin wajAAalna lil muttaqeena imama

And those who say, “Our Lord, grant us from among our wives and offspring comfort to our eyes1 and make us a leader [i.e., example] for the righteous.”

[Surah Al-Furqan, Ayah 74]

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