Dear Sheikh! As-Salam Alaykum! I would be grateful if you would advise me on
the following. With the coming of the summer hot days, a Muslim finds himself in a dilemma, he has to struggle against himself
to be far from the rampant nakedness around him. How can I save myself in these summer days? What shall I do so as to lower
my gaze and keep my deen?
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most
Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Dear brother, thank you very much for this good question that reflects your desire to
live according to the rules of Islam. May Allah bless your efforts and grant you knowledge and guidance in this world and
in the Hereafter.
It goes without saying that every Muslim should spare no pains in lowering his gaze and
preserving his modesty. This should occur in compliance with the Divine command given in Surat An-Nur: "Tell the believing
men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they do. And tell the believing
women to lower their gaze and be modest." (An-Nur: 30-31)
In his hadith, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported as having said:
"And the eyes commit zina (adultery). Their zina is gazing." He (peace and blessings be upon him) commanded
Ali and said: "Ali! Do not look once after another, for the first look is for you (since it happens accidentally) while the
second is against you."
Of course a Muslim needs some help in lowering his gaze. A Muslim should always think
of Allah's reward that is deposited for him and of the many bad consequences he is saved from when he lowers his gaze. It
is a tough task of course, but the harder it is, the greater the reward.
Here, we would like to cite for you some helpful hints to make the task of lowering the
gaze easier for you, in sha’ Allah:
"It is when he is surrounded by half-naked people that a Muslim must have the courage
to follow the command of Allah and His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and lower his gaze. "Do not go near
fornication and adultery, it is an abomination and an evil way." (Al-Israa’: 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 is forbidden 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 to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Aware of what they
do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest." (An-Nur: 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, which
is so much more common in the summer months.
The adultery of the eyes
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) further explained to us Allah's command.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said: "…the adultery of the eyes is looking (at [that] which is not allowed)…"
(Reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Also, on the authority of Jurayr who said: I asked the Messenger of Allah about
accidentally looking at something that is not allowed and he said, “Turn your eyes away.” (Reported by Muslim).
Lowering for the "other" nakedness
One common mistake is to think that lowering the gaze is only required upon encountering
nakedness and indecency "in the flesh" or in person. Lowering the gaze must also be practiced when watching a film or television
program replete with nakedness and intimate scenes of couples. (Actually, one should try to avoid watching such types of programs,
period). Lowering the gaze includes changing the channel when Baywatch comes on.
It also means changing the channel when watching the news if one feel attracted to the
anchorperson or reporter reading or presenting the news. And anyway, television isn't that great of a way to spend time.
go to the beach
Avoid the beach or anywhere else you'll find a plethora of men and women clad in swimming
trunks and bikinis. Lowering the 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. This doesn't mean never taking the kids out to enjoy the
slides and see-saws 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 sunset). 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 du`a’," Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn, New York
once said. This holds true in all trying situations. 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 sun tanning 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 du`a’ to read is: A`oothu billahi
as-ami` al-`aleemi min ash-shaytan ir-rajeem (I seek the refuge of Allah the Hearer, the Knower, from Satan 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 or might except with Allah).
If we sincerely make du`a’, in sha’
Allah, we can succeed in turning our eyes away.
Lowering the gaze doesn't mean being anti-social
But lowering the gaze does not mean being rude or anti-social. Summer is definitely a
time to go out and have fun.
The gaze is part of a Muslim's character
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..." (An-Nur: 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, especially during
these hot summer months. 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."
Excerpted, with slight modifications, from: http://www.soundvision.com