The Great Virtue Of Lowering The Gaze By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah

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2 days ago (fm 26/8/15)
The Great Virtue Of Lowering The Gaze
By Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah
Allah 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 Allah is well acquainted with all that they do.” [Al-Qur’an 24:30]

So Allah made purification and spiritual growth to be the outcome of lowering the gaze and guarding the private parts. It is for this reason that lowrering ones gaze from (seeing) the prohibited things necessarily leads to three benefits that carry tremendous value and are of great significance.

The First: 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 Allah. Indeed, ” … whosoever leaves something for the sake of Allah then Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, will replace it with something better than it.” 1.

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 (sababah) whereby the heart becomes totally dependant and devoted to the (object of its desire). Then this further intensifies and becomes infatuation (gharamah) 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: tayyamallah i.e. he worshipped Allah.

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 Allah 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 Allah Alone and does not take Him as its God then it must worship something else.

Allah said concerning Yusuf as-Siddiq ‘alayhis salam:

“Thus (did We order) so that We might turn away from him all evil and indecent actions for he was one of Our sincere servants.” [Al-Qur’an 12:24]

It was because the wife of al-Aziz was a polytheist that (the passionate love) entered her heart despite her being married. It was because Yusuf ‘alayhis salam was sincere to Allah that he was saved from it despite his being a young man, unmarried and a servant.

The Second: the illumination of the heart, clear perception and penetrating insight.

Ibn Shuja’ al-Kirmani said, “Whosoever builds his outward form upon following the Sunnah, his internal form upon perpetual contemplation and awareness of Allah, he restrains his soul from following desires, he lowers his gaze from the forbidden things and he always eats the lawful things then his perception and insight shall never be wrong.”

Allah mentioned the people of Lut and what they were afflicted with and then He went on to say:

“Indeed in this are signs for the Mutawassimin.” [Al-Qur’an 15:75]

The Mutwassimin are those who have clear perception and penetrating insight, those who are secure from looking at the unlawful and performing indecent acts.

Allah said after mentioning the verse concerning lowering the gaze:

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” [Al-Qur’an 24:35]

The reason behind this is that the reward is of the same type as the action. So whosoever lowers his gaze from the unlawful for the sake of Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, He will replace it with something better than it of the same type. So just as the servant restrained the light of his eye from falling upon the unlawful, Allah blesses the light of his sight and heart thereby making him perceive what he would not have seen and understood had he not lowered his gaze.

This is a matter that the person can physically sense in himself for the heart is like a mirror and the base desires are like rust upon it. When the mirror is polished and cleaned of the rust then it will reflect the realities (haqa’iq) as they actually are. However if it remains rusty then it will not reflect properly and therefore its knowledge and speech will arise from conjecture and doubt.

The Third: the heart becoming strong, firm and courageous.

Allah will give it the might of aid for its strength just as He gave it the might of clear proofs for its light. Hence the heart shall combine both of these factors and as a result, Shaytan shall flee from it. It is mentioned in the narration, “Whosoever opposes his base desires, the Shaytan shall flee in terror from his shade.” 2

This is why the one who follows his base desires shall find in himself the ignominy of the soul, its being weak, feeble and contemptible. Indeed Allah places nobilty for the one who obeys Him and disgrace for the one who disobeys Him:

“So do not lose heart nor fall into despair; for you must gain mastery if you are true in faith.” [Al-Qur’an 3:139]

“If any do seek for nobilty and power then to Allah belongs all nobility and power.” [Al-Qur’an 35:10]

Meaning that whosoever seeks after disobedience and sin then Allah, the Mighty and Magnificent, will humiliate the one who disobeys Him.

Some of the salaf said, “The people seek nobilty and power at the door of the Kings and they will not find it except through the obedience of Allah.”

This is because the one who who obeys Allah has taken Allah as his friend and protector and Allah will never humiliate the one who takes his Lord as friend and patron. In the Du’a Qunut their occurs, “The one who You take as a friend is not humiliated and the one who You take as an enemy is not ennobled.” 3

(s) Taken from Al-Muntaqaa min Ighathat ul-Lufhan fi Masayid ash-Shaytan [pp. 102-105] of Ibn al-Qayyim, summarised by Shaykh Ali Hasa


1. Reported by Ahmad [5/363] al-Marwazi in Zawa’id az-Zuhd [no.412], an-Nisai in al-Kubra as mentioned in Tuhfah al-Ashraf [11/199] from one of the Companions, that The Messenger of Allah said, “Indeed you will not leave anything for the sake of Allah except that Allah will replace it with something better than it.” The isnad is sahih
2. This is not established as a hadith of the Prophet
3. Reported by Abu Dawud [eng.trans 1/374 no.1420], an-Nisa’I [3/248], at-Tirmidzi [no.464], Ibn Majah [no.1178], ad-Darimi [1/311], Ahmad [1/199], Ibn Khuzaymah [2/151] from al Hasan from Ali ra. The hadith is shahih. The Isnad has been critcised by many, however none of the critcisism hold. Refer to Nasb ar-Rayah [2/125] and Talkhis al-Habir [1/247]


Add Comments Section:

Merry Anne 2 days ago
Just what are you talking about explain too me I really want too understand you people.
Also I cannot tell you apart is there a certain colour you wear for your tribe.
Thank you 

Nina Khattab 2 days ago+1
+Merry Anne​ she is talking about not staring at people or members of the opposite sex that we show be lowering our gaze and respecting them and respecting ourselves 

What do U mean a colour for your tribe? There are no tribes in this world +3

Take me to Madinah 2 days ago
JazakAllah khair sist Nina, and a lil bit addition, not only about lowering the gaze, but also if a person restrains his soul from following desires, he lowers his gaze from the forbidden things and he always eats the lawful things then his perception and insight shall never be wrong :)+1

Um Anjali Munna 2 days ago
A little bit more. Gaze down is the sign of Piousness. Piousness in words and deeds , which gives us a boundary or fence to keep away from all forbidden things.
Take me to medina’s answer is sufficient.
Mery Ann question is any colour code for Muslims’ dresses. Absolutely “no”.
Although gents use generally white. Women chose generally black colour for their outer dresses.White indicates Simplcity and purity. Black is the indication of success and it make a woman unattractive in front of public eyes. It’s a sort of additional protection. That’s all. 

Sarwat Zaib Yesterday
Straying gazes and vulgarity is bases of all evil in this world. Most people invoved in oppression and other sins are corrupted by obscenity first. And hence all the bad in the world is seen. Where as Allah commands to lower and protect your sight and heart from temptations, and observe Patience. We see every one has to die, no nody can take anything of this world with them, and the world also has to die one day, so those who are evil follow their greed and by all means create bad in the world , but the Muslims believe that they have to meet their lord, and eternal rewards await them there if they pass in this test , which is life of this world. I hope it answers you +Merry Anne​

Munir Chowdhury. Salam. These days whereever n wotever u look at u c women as commodity (sometimes men too) eg., tv, newspaer n magazines, inet (the innovative ideas of sellinging nudity simply stunns me), billboards, easy availability of printed n video forms of pornographies, manaquins in shopping arcades , windows of stores all with obscene connotations n almost nude models. If 1 dosents practice n ignore these horrible n lust creating allurements by keeping his gaze low, he is doomed. Thnx for a timely n nicely detailed
article. Jazak allah khairan.

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