The Great Virtue Of Lowering The Gaze

Allaah, the Exalted said,

“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts; that will make for greater purity for them. Indeed Allaah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [an-Nur (24):30]
So Allaah made purification and spiritual growth to be the outcome of lowering the gaze and guarding the private parts. It is for this reason that lowering one’s gaze from (seeing) the prohibited things necessarily leads to three benefits that carry tremendous value and are of great significance.

Experiencing the delight and sweetness of faith.

This delight and sweetness is far greater and more desirable that which might have been attained from the object that one lowered his gaze from for the sake of Allaah. Indeed, “whosoever leaves something for the sake of Allaah then Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent, will replace it with something better than it.”

The soul is a temptress and loves to look at beautiful forms and the eye is the guide of the heart. The heart commissions its guide to go and look to see what is there and when the eye informs it of a beautiful image it shudders out of love and desire for it. Frequently such inter-relations tire and wear down both the heart and the eye as is said:

When you sent your eye as a guide For your heart one day, the object of sight fatigued you For you saw one over whom you had no power Neither a portion or in totality, instead you had to be patient.

Therefore when the sight is prevented from looking and investigating the heart finds relief from having to go through the arduous task of (vainly) seeking and desiring.

Whosoever lets his sight roam free will find that he is in a perpetual state of loss and anguish for sight gives birth to love (mahabbah) the starting point of which is the heart being devoted and dependant upon that which it beholds. This then intensifies to become fervent longing (sabaabah) whereby the heart becomes totally dependant and devoted to the (object of its desire). Then this further intensifies and becomes infatuation (gharaamah) which clings to the heart like the one seeking repayment of a debt clings firmly to the one who has to pay the debt. Then this intensifies and becomes passionate love (ishk) and this is a love that transgresses all bounds. Then this further intensifies and becomes crazed passion (shaghafa) and this a love that encompasses every tiny part of the heart. Then this intensifies and becomes worshipful love (tatayyuma). Tatayyum means worship and it is said: tayyama Allaah i.e. he worshipped Allaah.

Hence the heart begins to worship that which is not correct for it to worship and the reason behind all of this was an illegal glance. The heart is now bound in chains whereas before it used to be the master, it is now imprisoned whereas before it was free. It has been oppressed by the eye and it complains to it upon which the eye replies: I am your guide and messenger and it was you who sent me in the first place!

All that has been mentioned applies to the heart that has relinquished the love of Allaah and being sincere to Him for indeed the heart must have an object of love that it devotes itself to. Therefore when the heart does not love Allaah Alone and does not take Him as its God then it must worship something else.

Taken from ‘al-Muntaqaa min Ighaathatul Lufhaan fee Masaayid ash-Shaytaan’
[pp.’s 102-105] of ibn al-Qayyim.

 

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