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The Delights of Lowering the Gaze August 13, 2008

Posted by shadows15 in Gems and Jewels, Personality Development, Weekly Wisdom, Worship.
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“…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…” – Imam bin al-Qayyim (‘al-Muntaqâ min Ighâthatul Lufhân fî Masâyid ash-Shaytân’ [pp.’s 102-105])

While living in the West, many of us are frequently tried with the sight of indecently dressed women and it becomes a never ending battle from the moment we leave our houses till when we finally arrive back to our families. Here Imam ibn al-Qayyim mentions the relief derived from lowering one’s gaze by pointing out the devastating consequences of not lowering one’s sight. When the sight is not lowered, the person becomes attached to that impermissible object which clouds his judgment, making him take illogical decisions and irrational ideas. The person then may begin to fantasize over the object of desire which may lead to haram actions which could all have been diverted had he first lowered his gaze. Lowering the gaze provides strength for the heart and does not allow desire to overtake oneself regardless of the situation because one is blocked from seeing things, hence tackling the root of the problem.

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