Lustful Gazes and Their Cure

 "Allah knows the deceit of the eyes and all that which the hearts conceal."

Allah is aware of the surreptitious movement of the eye as it casts a lustful glance. He is also aware of the evil thoughts, ideas and images that are conjured up in the heart. 

The realisation that Allah is aware of these nefarious activities creates a sense of shame, regret and guilt within the heart resulting in taubah (repentance). This verse is therefore a wonderful prescription for people suffering from the malady of lustful gazes and thoughts. However, this remedy is only effective when applied practically over a period of time. Constant meditation upon the contents of this aayah, coupled with zikrullah (the remembrance of Allah) and wazaif (daily incantation), will develop the desired level of determination to abstain from this sin. 

The original and the only cure from all spiritual aliments is determination and willpower. Mere zikr and meditation are not sufficient to eradicate spiritual diseases. 

Those treading the path of Allah’s pleasure, the Salikeen (devotees) and Muslims at large, should understand well, that the closer a person draws towards satisfying the unlawful desires of his nafs (the carnal-self), the further he draws away from Allah. Hence, this mortal enemy is to be kept under surveillance and control at all times. 

In short, any object whereby the nafs derives pleasure should be discarded at once. Even a little unlawful pleasure for the nafs is not free from imminent danger and calamity. A little opportunity for an enemy is surely destructive - the nafs is the greatest enemy - greater than the Satan himself. 

The nafs gains strength and courage from little pleasures and grows stronger and stronger in this way, until it eventually drags the Saalik and Mu’min (believer) into major sins. 

Aided by the poisonous doses of satanic ideas and whispers, the nafs grows bold and rebellious and overpowers the person, leaving him helpless to resist the temptation of sin and transgression. 

It is for this reason that one saintly poet warns: 

"Place no trust upon the deadly carnal-self (nafs) even though it become as obedient as an angel; Always remain suspicious of its motives." 

The first step is committed. The nafs has won the battle of wills. The eyes are the next to follow in its wake. The second step towards zina (adultery or fornication) is in progress. Do we succumb or do we abstain? This step is the one which sends us down in to the bowels of evil. Do we fall or do we persevere? 

It is reported in a Hadith Qudsi (a Hadith in which the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam narrates from Allah), "The (evil) gaze is a poisonous arrow from the arrows of Iblis. He that abstains from it out of my fear, I will grant him in return such Imaan (faith), the sweetness of which he will experience within his heart."

(Ibn Katheer)
Hazrat Jareer radiyallahu anhu enquired from Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam regarding the accidental gaze. He replied: "Turn away your gaze (Immediately thereafter)." 

Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said: "To gaze at a strange (ghair mahram) women is zina of the eyes, To listen to passion-stirring words is zina of the ears, To converse with a strange women (and derive pleasure thereof) is zina of the tongue, To touch a strange women is zina of the hands, To walk towards her is zina of the feet, The heart desires and craves; The sexual organ then either testifies to these or denies them."

Note: It is only through protection of these organs that the heart and private parts will be protected; just as the country whose borders are unguarded is prone to attacks on its headquarters and vital installations. 

It is apparent from the Hadith that an accidental gaze is forgiven, but to continue staring thereafter is forbidden. The gaze should immediately be turned in another direction. 

One way for a person indulged in evil gazing is that he makes a habit of performing a particular deed for a certain amount. No matter how small that deed is, it will still show its effect. For example one should make an oath that every time my eyes fall upon a ghair mahram (one with whom marriage is permitted) with lust I shall say ‘Astaghfirullah’ ten times. Now do not decrease or increase this amount. Just practice it for a few times and see for yourself. 

"Tell the believing men and women to lower their gazes and protect their private parts. That is purer for them."

In this verse Allah, has mentioned the controlling of the private parts in conjunction with the protection of the gaze, illustrating thereby that the controlling of the private parts is based upon the protection of the gaze. He who does not protect his gaze is bound to lose control over his sexual desires. 

Wherefore then, are we to go? Are we committed irrevocably to following up on the sins of our nafs and eyes? Or is there still hope of redeeming ourselves? The testosterone and adrenaline is pumping away, there is a beautiful woman before us, what do we do? The Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam through his wisdom and the guidance of Allah shows us how to counter-parry the stealthy attack of Satan with these enlightening words: 

"When any of you happened to look at a beautiful woman that attracted him, he should resort to his wife and fulfill his desire with her, for they both possess the same object of fulfilling his desire."

Hazrat Moulana Nanotwi rahmatullahi alaihe states, "The gaze should only be utilised to the extent of necessity and never to attain unlawful pleasure, for pleasure has no limitation and he that craves for it, will never attain satisfaction and contentment. 

Only the person that fulfils his desires within the limitations of necessity can attain true contentment. Thus the endowments of a strange women are no different from that of a one’s own wife, to differentiate between the two is but the deception and trickery of Satan."

(At-Tasharruf Vol.3)
Hazrat Thanwi rahmatullahi alaihe advises that, an illicit love affair is in reality an affliction and calamity from Allah, as a result of which the rooh (soul) becomes greatly agitated and tormented, sleep becomes haraam, the thought of the beloved constantly haunts the mind and a state between life and death prevails over the heart - a condition that can veritably be compared to that of the people of Jahannam. 

Also he mentions, falling in love with a handsome lad is much more severe than an illicit love affair with a woman. It is possible that some day he may marry the woman, but when two males are involved, no such possibility exists. 

When the nafs begins to take a fancy to a certain form of figure, Satan grasps the opportunity and amplifies the beauty of the desired object manifold in the imagination of the fancier. Eventually the evil deed is committed and it is only then the balloon of amplified beauty is burst. Now what seemed to be extreme beauty is nothing but an illusion. Gazing at the object now evokes feelings of contempt and nausea. 

Hazrat Thanwi rahmatullahi alaihe further states, "When man inclines towards a form, it becomes embedded in his mind and heart. He may thereafter, recite as many ‘La Hawla’ as he desires and blow on his chest, he will not attain salvation from this malady since his reading is bereft of sincerity and a firm resolve to abstain from this evil." 

"And come not near unto adultery, verily! It is an obscenity and an evil way."

In this verse Allah has prohibited us from even approaching zina (adultery); thus educating us to the fact that: any cause that leads up to a haraam act is also haraam, and thus is to be totally avoided. 

Human instinct is such that no sooner does a strange man and woman meet in privacy that a sensation of mutual attraction develops from stage to stage, from mere affection to uncontrollable passion and ultimately into the irreversible stage, where it is almost impossible to control the nafs, and finally the shameful deed of zina is perpetrated. 

Thus Allah has made easy upon us the beautiful pathway to chastity, purity and piety (taqwa), by declaring unlawful all those factors that contribute to the commission of zina. The solution is simple; marriage, a fortress against all evils of the loins. 

Ibn Haban has narrated from Anas radiyallahu anhu and he has narrated from the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam that: "On a child’s seventh day, his aqiqah will be performed, he will be named and his hair will be removed. Then, when he reaches six years of age, he will be trained in etiquette. When he reaches the age of nine, his bedding will be separated and when he reaches the age of thirteen, he will be struck on missing salaah and saum. When he reaches the age of sixteen, the father should get him married and then should take his hand and say, ‘I have taught you etiquette, I have educated you, I have got you married. I seek refuge with Allah from your calamities in the world and your punishment in the Hereafter." 

"Had it not been for the grace and mercy for Allah upon you, none of you would have ever been purified, but Allah purifies whomsoever he desires to."

From this aayah it becomes apparent that together with striving to attain spiritual purification, it is also essential to attain the grace and mercy of Allah. We have to constantly entreat and implore Him for His mercy and beg Him to include us amongst those whom he has purified. 

Hazrat Moulana Rumi rahmatullahi alaihe writes, "O’ Allah! If a thousand chains of carnal desires and satanic deceptions have shackled our feet, we have nothing to fear if your grace is upon us." 

Hazrat Ukaaf radiyallahu anhu reports that Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Karfas was an aabid (devout worshipper) who lived on the seashore and remained engaged in worship (ibadah) for three hundred years; fasting during the day and worshipping during the night. Once he became infatuated with a woman as a result of which he eventually became a kaafir and discarded all his ibaadah. Allah saved him from this misfortune through some of his good deeds and forgave him." 

Thereafter addressing me (Ukaaf) he said: "O’ Ukaaf! Marry or else you will be at a loss." 

As a result of not marrying, Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam termed Hazrat Ukaaf as ‘The brother of Satan.’ And then he said, "The greatest weapon of Satan against the pious is women." 

Thereafter Hazrat Ukaaf married.

(Jam’ul-Fawaid p.571)
In one Hadith, he said, "The worst of you are those who are unmarried (Despite possessing the means to marry), the worst of those that die amongst you are the unmarried." 

Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "A destitute is he, who has no wife." 

The Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum enquired, "Even though he may possess much wealth?" He replied in the affirmative. Thereafter he said, "A destitute is she who has no husband." The Sahaabah radiyallahu anhum enquired, "Even though she may possess much wealth?" He replied, "Even though she may possess much wealth."

Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "The whole world is an object of use and benefit, and the best means of benefit is a pious woman." 

Rasoolullah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said, "Do not marry women solely for their beauty or wealth, because beauty may lead her towards evil (Infidelity) and wealth will cause her to rebel and disobey. Thus make deen the criterion and marry religious (pious) women." 

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