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Evil Glances: A Commentary of Verse 30 of Surat al-Nur

By Asif Uddin
 

{ قُلْ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّواْ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُواْ فُرُوجَهُمْ ذٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ }

وَقُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنَاتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِنَّ وَيَحْفَظْنَ فُرُوجَهُنَّ وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ مَا ظَهَرَ مِنْهَا وَلْيَضْرِبْنَ بِخُمُرِهِنَّ عَلَىٰ جُيُوبِهِنَّ وَلاَ يُبْدِينَ زِينَتَهُنَّ إِلاَّ لِبُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ آبَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ أَبْنَآءِ بُعُولَتِهِنَّ أَوْ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِيۤ إِخْوَانِهِنَّ أَوْ بَنِي أَخَوَاتِهِنَّ أَوْ نِسَآئِهِنَّ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُنَّ أَوِ ٱلتَّابِعِينَ غَيْرِ أُوْلِي ٱلإِرْبَةِ مِنَ ٱلرِّجَالِ أَوِ ٱلطِّفْلِ ٱلَّذِينَ لَمْ يَظْهَرُواْ عَلَىٰ عَوْرَاتِ ٱلنِّسَآءِ وَلاَ يَضْرِبْنَ بِأَرْجُلِهِنَّ لِيُعْلَمَ مَا يُخْفِينَ مِن زِينَتِهِنَّ وَتُوبُوۤاْ إِلَى ٱللَّهِ جَمِيعاً أَيُّهَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

Today, through media such as television, film, and especially the internet, shamelessness and immodesty have worked their way into the fabric of society and slowly deteriorated the moral quality of many lives. Modern teens waste their youth in pursuit of harmful, or simply useless, entertainment, available now on an unprecedented scale. The eyes are the portals through which most of this harms reaches the heart. Allah’s Messenger (upon him blessings and peace) said, “Verily, the evil glance is a poisonous arrow from the arrows of Iblis. He who abstains from casting evil glances, I will grant him such iman as he will feel its sweetness in his heart.” Allah clearly forbids casting evil glances for to both men and women. He offers the same command to each: “Say to the believing men, (O Prophet), that they should lower their gaze {from women that are forbidden to them)…. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze from (men that are forbidden to them)” (Surat al-Nur, 24:30–31).

Mufti Muhammad Shafi, the late Grand Mufti of Pakistan, comments on these verses: “The word yaghuddu in the ayah is derived from ghadd, which means to bring down or lower. Ibn Hibban has given the explanation that to look at a non-mahram woman with intent to have sexual pleasure is totally prohibited, and to look at any woman’s or man’s private parts of the body is included in this explanation (except in case of dire necessity, such as medical examination). Peeping into anyone’s house with the intent of finding out his secrets, and all such acts where looking is prohibited by Shariah, are included in the injunction.”

One who casts evil glances is breaching the trust of Allah Almighty, who says, “He knows every treacherous look of the eyes and all that the (human) breast conceals” (Surat Ghafir, 40:19). “Treacherous” is not too harsh a word. For when the owner of eyes peers at what he may not by right look at, he betrays the one who granted him the blessing of sight. No one ought to think that he is the final possessor of his own organs, for each is a trust from Allah, and each is capable of wrongdoing. Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessings and peace) said, “The eyes commit adultery. Their adultery is gazing (lustfully at those forbidden to them).” The Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessings and peace) also commanded Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “Ali! Do not look follow up a wrongful gaze with another. The first (accidental) one you may have, while the other you may not.”

To conclude, I offer a reminder we find in the Prophet traditions:

Every eye shall weep on the Day of Judgment, except for the eye which was lowered from unlawful gazes, the eye which stayed awake in the path of Allah, and the eye which shed a tear for fear of Allah (even if that tear be as small as the head of a fly).

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