The Qur'an reminds us about modesty by saying, "Tell the believing men that they must lower their gazes and guard their private parts, it is more decent for them. Surely Allah is all aware of what they do. (Al Qur'an 24:30)"
Lowering the gaze doesn't mean that you can't look at the opposite gender but it means not to
look with desires and lust. If there is a desire in the look, the gaze should be averted. When we talk about lowering the gaze, we think it's applicable only to the youth and the single folk. But lowering the gaze after marriage in this world of fitna is also very important. It is affecting many marriages nowadays. Men and women who are not lowering their gaze after marriage are risking their relationship and ultimately ruining it.
The use of social media is one of the key factors in affecting this as we think lowering our gaze is not to be applied there. But in the world of ever-present social media, both Muslim brothers and sisters can fall into the trap of “Zina Of the Eyes.” It can lead to a betrayal of the basic foundation of a relationship that is trust between the spouses.
Our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) warned us from different types of Zina, to not only remind us but also to save us from falling into these sins, He said:
The Zina of the eyes is the lustful look, the Zina of the tongue is to utter licentious speech, the Zina of the ears it listening to voluptuous songs or talk, the Zina of the hand is the lustful grip, the Zina of the feet is the walking to the place where one intends to commit Zina. (AL-BUKHARI AND MUSLIM)
Immorality in our societies is getting to an alarming level. For example, there are dating apps that are created for Muslim singles, to find their potential partners. However, nowadays some married people are using it to fulfill their desires claiming of being either single, divorced, or by playing the victim card of being in an unhealthy relationship. Some sisters try to gain sympathy by playing the card of domestic violence and abuse. There is no doubt that these issues exist, but there are Halal ways to solve them.
Allah has ordained that men and women should keep themselves in a state that will please each other. But if you compare the person Allah has given you with others, you won’t gain contentment and will remain unhappy. It will lead to becoming unappreciative of the qualities in their spouse. The focus becomes personal fulfillment alone and nothing is given back into the marriage and ultimately all this leads to being ungrateful to Allah (SWT) and to His blessings. The spouse chosen for you is a blessing from Allah. If you focus on your spouse, you’ll get to know that you have been blessed with the person who best suits you. Your spouse will be a source of peace and tranquility as mentioned in the Quran:
And among His signs is this that He created for you spouses from amongst yourselves, that you may find repose in them and He has put between you affection and mercy. Verily in that are the signs for people who reflect. (Al Qur'an 30:21)
Nowadays committing sin is easy but at the same time, those who fear Allah(SWT), refrain themselves from falling into this by reminding themselves about the harm they will receive once they commit the sin. They will not be benefitted from the blessing of Allah(SWT) which has been promised for the one who guards their modesty and chastity and lowers their gazes for the sake of Allah(SWT). No doubt at times it becomes difficult and we may fall into this trap of satan that too because of our shortcomings but we must keep in mind the pleasures we receive once we refrain ourselves from committing sin.
As the topic is about lowering gaze, especially after marriage, we must understand that by doing this we’ll attain contentment in our marriage and will be pleasing Allah(SWT), and will be rewarded for it. There is a statement of Imam Al Ghazali (RA) in which he says; “The one who gazes lustfully will experience dissatisfaction after realizing he has fallen in love with one he can't be with.”
In today's society, we have to interact with the opposite gender, yet maintain the boundaries that Allah(SWT) has created. Islam has given us a proper standard of living. If we follow the ruling and limitations that are given to us while interacting with the opposite gender we won’t fall into the trap of satan. Although, sometimes it seems too difficult to follow the right path. It's an irony that we try to obey the norms of society and at the same time disobey the guidance of the one Who created us.
All the evil desires will end, be it in marital life or in individual life once we start observing the hijab of our eyes by lowering our gaze and start to please the creator rather than pleasing the creation. That way we can attain the highest level of Iman.
By lowering your gaze you are averting satan and preventing evil desires. A famous saying of Ibn Al Qayyim (RA):
The eye is the mirror of the heart, if a person lowers his gaze, the heart will lower his desires and whims. But if a person looks, the desires in his heart will be provoked.
Zainab Al Ghazala is a lawyer from Jammu and Kashmir (India).