Monday, January 15, 2007

What's Wrong With A Lustful Gaze?

Many of us who are used to watching Sinbad or Temptation Island, or are addicted to Bollywood or Hollywood movies, or enjoy the company of people of opposite gender, may wonder what's wrong with lustfully staring at the attractive features of the opposite gender? Perhaps one saying of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sums it all:

"The furtive glance is one of the poisoned arrows of Shaytan, on him be God's curse. Whoever forsakes it for the fear of Allah, will receive from Him (Great and Gracious is He) a faith, the sweetness of which he will find within his heart." (al-Haakim.)

Therefore, a secret lustful look at a person of opposite gender has been compared by the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) to an arrow from Shaytan that:

1. poisons our hearts
2. ruins our intentions
3. gives rise to false hopes and desires
4. distorts our perception of 'reality'
5. deprives us from enjoying and concentrating in Prayers
6. gives rise to constant feeling of guilt and depression
7. sometimes leads to sleepless nights
8. renders our heart weak for continuous Shaytanic attacks
9. promotes hypocrisy
10. weakens our memory
11. eventually leads to Zina (adultery)
12. above all, diminishes our love for and fear of Allah

Allah commands us: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts; that will make for greater purity for them..." [24:30.] In the verse following this one, Allah commands "the believing women" in the similar manner.

17 Ways To Survive In Temptation Island!
Yes, it¹s hard, especially when you're constantly bombarded with obscene images: that hot, scantily clad guy or gal in the magazine luring you; or the persistent emphasis on sex in the movies (even Toy Story or Spider Man!); or the pervasive links to pornography while you may simply be checking your e-mail. How can you protect yourself from all of this?

1. Don't forget the power of Allah¹s Remembrance (Dhikr)! It is the most powerful of all the defenses. Regular reading of prescribed Du'as will develop your Taqwa (consciousness) and keep you mindful of what thoughts you entertain.

2. Remember your Accountability to Allah. In Islam, you're fully accountable as soon as you understand and feel such temptations. Your eyes will testify about what you looked at on the Day of Judgment.

3. Always walk with your gaze lowered. But make sure not to bump into a hydro post! Lowering the gaze does not mean that you cannot have any eye contact as you walk or during a conversation. It means that you keep your eyes under control.

4. Take the Right Seat! In a public place (e.g. café), choose a seat that minimizes your view-frame and avoid mixed-crowds. It is precisely about such comfortable gazing at the attractive features of the passers-by that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) advised 'Ali ibn Abi Talib: "Ali, do not let a second look follow the first. The first look is allowed to you but not the second.''(Ahmad, Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi.)

5. Hangout with those known for noble character and modesty. When you are around good people, they can remind you to abstain from that which Allah dislikes. As the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said, "A person is likely to follow the faith of his friends, so be careful about who you make your friend." (Ahmad.)

6. Avoid friends that are into immoral movies, music, dirty jokes etc. Such activities are the tools of Shaytan that promote the idea of love based on looks or love at first sight. Such friends would take you into an artificial world of fantasies and false hopes, away from reality, before it¹s too late! Therefore, either you help your friends change through gentle advice, or abandon frequent contact with them. As Allah warns us: "If anyone withdraws himself from Allah's remembrance, Most Gracious, We appoint for him an evil one to be his intimate companion." [43: 36.]

7. Avoid visiting malls and parks alone. Always try to go out with a family member or a good friend, whose company may help you avert your eyes from the objectionable billboards and inappropriately clothed people. In summer, step out only when you have to.

8. Never have 'nothing to do'! Shaytan loves 'bored and idle' people. If you are feeling bored, do the dishes, or take out the garbage, or read some book. Allah says, "Do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands." [2: 195.]

9. Volunteer for Islamic Organizations. Your Jihad against immorality in the society is one reason for you to join Muslim youth groups in your community. Your involvement with such activities, along with the love of helpful brothers or sisters struggling for a good cause, will keep your mind, energies, and thoughts focused away from the Haram.

10. Read, Read, and Read! Yes, read as many Islamic books and articles as possible. Reading keeps your mind and eyes busy! It keeps you motivated to live your Islam and strengthens your relationship with Allah.

11. Always remember that the beauty of this world is temporary and the life hereafter is everlasting.

12. Observe voluntary fast to strengthen your willpower and to cool your passions. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) strongly recommended the youth to make it a habit.

13. If you are able and responsible then get married for the sake of Allah. It may be one of the most effective, yet challenging, defense mechanisms against such temptations.

14. For Brothers, remember your Mom and Sister. Disgusting right? Exactly! No sane person would look at his mom or sister the way many of us examine the girls on TV shows or stare at our Muslim sisters in social gatherings. This thought should sicken you enough to stop, Insha-Allah.

15. Remind yourself of the Death and Hereafter often. "Remember often the terminator (or destroyer) of all the pleasures [i.e. death]," the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) once reminded us. (at-Tirmidhi.)

16. Increase your Good Actions. Try following the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam): "Remain conscious of Allah and fear Him wherever you are. And follow a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards people." (at-Tirmidhi.)

17. Repent and Return to Allah. Allah is All-forgiving and loves those who return to Him, promising not to repeat their sins."Ask forgiveness from your Lord, then turn towards Him in repentance; He will loosen the sky over you in abundance, and He will add strength unto your strength." [11: 52].

-Author Unknown
Sheikh Muzaffar Ozak says:

What is absolutely certain is the truth that spiritual love is incomparably higher in degree than material love.

[Unveiling of Love ]

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