In a previous article, I tackled the issue of lowering one’s gaze and why Muslims should lower their gaze as well as the significance and benefits one may incur from being steadfast and constant in lowering his gaze.
Here, I will provide the dear reader with some aids or tips that may enhance and help him lower his gaze in compliance with Islamic Shari`ah and the laws prescribed by Allah the Almighty, the Creator of all.
- To occupy one’s self with righteous things
The human self or soul does not get bored of moving, going around, demanding and laboring. Consequently, if you do not occupy it with what is right and righteous, it will definitely occupy you with that which is evil and debaucherous. And, if you do not try to take it to an elevated status, it will certainly drag you down to the lowest of all positions. Hence, you should determine what you need and want, then start to do your best to implement your highest and noblest dreams.
This was the reason that `Umar ibn Al-Khattab, Commander of the Faithful, disliked leisure time as it might drag one down to the lowest earth. He said: “I dislike to see any one of you as having leisure time; one should occupy himself with anything that may be useful be it in this life or the hereafter!”
- To observe fasting more than often
The origin of lusts and desires is one as the origin of patience is one. Therefore, one who becomes patient and steadfast in the face of his desire for food and eating, his will have a strong will and will be more capable of lowering his gaze. That is why fasting was prescribed for Muslims: to train the fasting person on abstaining (voluntarily) from fulfilling his lusts and carnal desires and become steadfast in his abstention from all these lusts and desires no matter what. Consequently, lowering the gaze will become second natural to him; a matter that perfectly shows his diligence and resolve. Hence, we can see the value of fasting in its capacity as a great desire breaker and conqueror. Through fasting, souls become more purified and elevated. Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) said: “O young men, those among you who can support a wife should marry, for it restrains eyes from casting (evil glances), and preserves one from immorality; but those who cannot should devote themselves to fasting for it is a means of controlling sexual desire.” (Reported by Muslim)
Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said: The purpose of fasting is to keep one’s soul away from desires; to prepare it for the attainment of its utmost nobility and happiness; and to pave the way for it to accept what may make its eternal life blissful. Indeed, hunger and thirst reduce intensity of the soul and remind us of the bad conditions of the poor hungry men and women. By constricting the paths of food and drink in the human body, fasting constricts the paths of Satan influencing the heart.
Based on the above, one can do much fasting if he fasts during Mondays and Thursdays of each week as well as fasting during the three days in the middle of each Hijri month (Islamic Calendar) which are called “the White Days.”
- To get married
In the above hadith narrated by Muslim, the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) not only advised but also encouraged the youth to get married so as to guard their chastity and avoid falling into the abyss of adultery.
The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) prescribed marriage as a ‘curative medicine’ that may build a barrier between the Muslim young man and looking at what has been made prohibited for him by Allah the Almighty.
- To observe Allah’s Presence
Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal.” (Ghafir 40: 19)
Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah knows when the eye looks at something, whether it wants to commit an act of betrayal or not. He knows, if you were able to, whether you would commit adultery with a woman or not!
Thereupon, one will not be capable of putting out the fire of lust and sinful desire unless he has the fear of Allah within his heart.
Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“But for he who has feared the position of his Lord are two gardens.” (Ar-Rahman 55: 46)
Mujahid said: This is the one who when intends to commit a sinful deed, he remembers the Status and High Position of Allah the Almighty and that He watches over him, then he abstains from committing that sinful deed!
- To compare this life with the hereafter
One who is preoccupied with looking at the women of this present world should occupy himself of thinking about the female companions with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes in Paradise and try to imagine the huge differences between both. One should always aspire for what is best and not to be dragged down to fulfill the lowly desires. One should aim high and hitch his wagon to a star!
Abu Al-Darda’, one of the Prophet’s noble companions, said: The one who abstains from looking at non-mahram (i.e. marriageable women) will be rewarded by getting married to whom he likes of the female companions with beautiful, big and lustrous eyes in Paradise.
- To stay away from stimulants
Stay away from and avoid all that may stimulate you and do not torture yourself more. So, any place or person that may seduce you not to lower your gaze, you should try your best to avoid it. Therefore, one should stay away from any bad company or indecent places and/or gatherings.
- To work out and practice sports
Besides the apparent and well known benefits of working out and doing sports, working out will definitely consume some of one’s energy and thus reduce his lust and desire for bad things.
- To increase your readings
Tackling the importance of reciting and memorizing the Qur’an goes beyond the scope of this short article. This requires not only an article or a couple of articles, but maybe volumes of books just to give the reader an idea about such benefits and advantages. For brevity, one can spend some of his time in doing useful things such as memorizing the Qur’an and/or reading useful books. Try to always keep your Mus-haf (copy of the Qur’an) or a good book with you all the time even when you move from one location to another using public transportation.
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator and researcher. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.