--- On Thu, 9/4/09, hatsoftohar...@yahoo.com

From: hatsoftohar...@yahoo.com <hatsoftohar...@yahoo.com>
Date: Thursday, 9 April, 2009, 8:22 AM

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 Hijab, 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 and His Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and 
lower our gazes.

Allah says: "Do not go near fornication and adultery, it is an abomination and 
an evil way." (Quran 17:32).

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:

"Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their 
modesty; that will make far greater purity for them; And Allah is well 
acquainted with all that they do. And tell the believing women that they should 
lower their gaze and guard their modesty." (Quran 24:30-31).

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 Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) further explained to us Allah's command. Abu 
Hurayrah (r.a.) narrated that the Prophet (s.a.w.) said, "(the adultery of the 
eyes is looking (at [that] which is not allowed)" (Bukhari, Muslim).

Also, on the authority of Jurayr (r.a.) who said, "I asked the Messenger of 
Allah (s.a.w.) about accidentally looking at something that is not allowed and 
he said, "Turn your eyes away." (Muslim).

In another Hadith on the authority of Abu Sa'eed, (r.a.) the Prophet (s.a.w.) 
said, "A man should not look at the Awrah of another man, and the woman should 
not look at the Awrah of another woman." (Muslim).

Thus, our Prophet (s.a.w.) even instructed us to lower our gaze when looking at 
members of the same gender in some cases.


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, 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.


"Never underestimate the power of Dua." This holds true in all trying 

Sometimes, despite avoiding certain places where you are more likely to 
encounter an improperly dressed person, you may find someone walking on the 
street going to the beach or the park who decided to get ready for suntanning 
or swimming beforehand.

In these cases, lowering the gaze may be even harder. You weren't expecting it, 
so you didn't mentally prepare yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed, one suggested Dua to read is: "Aouzo billahis Sami 'il 
Aleem minash Shaytan ir Rajeem" (see Quran 41:36 for more information) . A 
translation of this is: "I seek the refuge of Allah who is the Hearer and Who 
is the Knower from the Shaytan the accursed."

In general, seek refuge in Allah. It has also been suggested to say "La hawla 
wa la Quwwata illa billah" (there is no power except with Allah). If we 
sincerely make Dua, Insha Allah, we can succeed in turning our eyes away.


But lowering our gaze does not mean being rude or antisocial. The Prophet 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.


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 tells us: "O you who believe! Do not follow Satan's footsteps: if any 
will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will command what is shameful and 
wrong..." (Quran: 24:21).

Looking at another man or woman in an indecent manner is following in Satan'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 Satan 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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