I am struggling to control my eyes. I find the environment we live in nowadays difficult to control my gaze. For example we are bombarded with all sorts of unlawful images and materialistic things through ads, TV, magazines and social media. Please could you share some practical advice so that I can complete the Eyes Task Sheet?
Walaykumsalam wa Rahmatullah,
Indeed, you are not alone in this battle. Many people experience difficulty in controlling their eyes especially in our current age of advanced media.
Let’s firstly remind ourselves what Allah ﷻ and His Last Messenger ﷺ advised us about the glances of the eyes.
“Say to the faithful that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and God is well-acquainted with all that they do”. (Nur, 30)
“To see things one should not see is one of the poisonous arrows of the Devils, whoever hides from this due to his love and fear of Me, I will give him such faith that his heart will be totally filled”. (Tabarani, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud)
“If one of you is struck by the beauty of a woman when you catch sight of her, if you protect your eye from lingering, God will consider your act as such a devotion that you will feel it in your heart”.
(Ahmad ibn Hanbal, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud)
Eyes, the gateway to lusts and desires
Human’s lust for things after he/she has seen it, a man/woman, a house, a car, clothes and so on.
In reality the ego is never satisfied so it lusts for everything that is outwardly pleasant without the consideration of the inward aspect. The ego doesn’t acknowledge the true worth of things and doesn’t analyse its benefits or harms. It doesn’t care, it just wants it.
So, the outward appearance of created things can promote deception, and can drive a person to ill imagination and to sinful behaviors.
Thus, the importance of monitoring one’s eyes and controlling the way we see things without distorting their reality through our imagination and interpretation of things is crucial.
In this regard we read from “The Path of Muhammad” by Imam Birghivi (RA) that:
“A pure man with an objective eye who knows that what he is looking at is a creation of God will not see any evil in the creation. But those whose eyes are blinded by their egos and the evil desire of their flesh cannot see the beauty of reality. Ugliness is in the eye, not outside it. It is the eyes that sins: sinfulness is not in what is seen. What a dirty eye sees is its own imagination. That is why God says:
“And pursue not that of which you have no knowledge; for every act of hearing, seeing, or feeling in the heart will be inquired into on the Day of Reckoning”. (Bani Isra’il 36)”
The author continues and states:
“The eyes are attracted to everything that moves. Imagination is as quick as the eyes, and is capable of changing the shape, color, and meaning of whatever the eyes sees. But the faithful should have the will to put a stop to imagination. That is what the Prophet ﷺ meant when he said:
O ‘Ali, do not let what you see first distorted by what you see later. You will not be responsible for what you see first, but your second impression will be judged”. (Abu Dawud, Buraydah)”
There are two major lessons from the above passage.
- Train your eyes to see with an ‘objective eye’
- Monitor your imagination after you see something because the harm is mostly caused by the imagination.
Cultivate an objective eye
An objective eye strives to see everything as the creation of God Almighty and realises its true worth beyond the mere perception of the eyes.
To see everything through the divine lens can be achieved by always striving to bring Allah ﷻ in mind and say to yourself, “Allah is with me, is watching me and is hearing me.”
This will help you to elevate every reaction of yours from the horizontal view of “Me vs Creation”, to the more Islamic triangular reaction of “Me-Allah-Creation” and vice versa.
Seeing everything as a triangle, forces you to ask yourself, how would Allah want me to react to this?
Solve this scenario
A man is walking down the street and sees an attractive woman. What should he immediately try to bring into his mind?
- ‘I like the way she looks’ – (Me vs Creation mindset)?
- ‘This woman is a creation of Allah ﷻ, she deserves respect, Allah ﷻ would be pleased if I lowered my gaze, He Almighty is with me, watching me, hearing me and this is simply a test in my path’ – (Me-Allah-creation mindset).
The correct mindset
This mindset will help you to lower your gaze and avoid falling into the traps of shaitan.
In reality, it is the lack of an objective eye that drives people to gaze excessively at worldliness of this world with a wish to attain it so deeply. Due to this they become distracted from the remembrance of Allah ﷻ which engenders the corruption of the heart.
In this regard, Imam Ibn-ul-Qayyim (RA) states:
“Allah has made eyes the mirror of the heart. So if the servant lowers his gaze, his heart lowers its desires, and if he lets his gaze loose, his heart lets its desires loose” (Rawdhatul-Muhibeen).
Here, it is important to mention that “to lower one’s gaze” does not always mean to cast down one’s eyes to the ground while walking in the street, but it could also mean to have “humility in one’s gaze,” meaning to not lust for worldly things or people when you happen to catch sight of them.
See, Look, or Stare!
Notice that, SEE, LOOK and STARE are distinct words.
See – When you see it is ok because most of time you have no control over what you see first. It can be a fleeting glance.
Look – It might not be ok. Consider the advice of Imam Ghazali (RA) and assume that it was by accident then look away and move along with your day.
Stare – When you unleash your gaze and stare it is not ok. When staring at a non-Mahram, every worldly adornments or glittering things that you see, blame yourself! And remember that Allah ﷻ said:
“Indeed, We have made that which is on earth adornment for it (or glittering show) that We may test them [as to] which of them is best in conduct.” (18:7)
So, how can Prophetic Path help in purifying the gaze?
Firstly you should know that the ultimate aim of the ‘Eyes Task Sheet’ is to help you develop an objective eye upon the completion of 30 consecutive days streak.
The major cause of sinful gazing is because you become heedless with the forgetfulness that Allah ﷻ is always with you, seeing and watching you.
The opposite of heedlessness is of course mindfulness. The Eyes Task sheet is designed to give you the mindfulness you need to avoid sinful gaze in order to complete the 30 days’ challenge of monitoring your eyes.
When you are sincere and strive daily to complete the Eyes task, Allah ﷻ will for sure grant you the mindfulness to develop an objective eye when dealing with the people of the world. Allah ﷻ promised in the Glorious Quran:
“As for those who strive in Us, We surely guide them to Our paths, and lo! Allah is with the good.” (29: 69)
The Mind Task Sheet on Prophetic Path to monitor the imagination of the ego
Know that the ego is blind and deaf to reality, and it loves to fancy and fantasize everything that the eyes see. Thus, you should know the hidden call of your ego and always put a stop to lustful imagination after you catch sight with mundane things or people. Also, seek refuge in Allah ﷻ from Satan the accursed by saying:
“A’udhu bi-Llahi min ash-shaytan ar-rajim. Amantu billahi wa Rasuluhi
(I seek refuge with Allah from the accursed satan. I believe in Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ)
In fact, the distortion of reality by the imagination of the ego leads people to see the opposite gender and undress the person in their mind with fantasies, which creates unnecessary cravings and the urge to commit sinful behaviors such as masturbation, viewing porn or adultery.
It leads people to possess pride when they see those below them instead of having compassion upon them. Or it makes some look at the good things other people have and envy them. This envy makes people lose their self-esteem, leading to ugly feelings such as depression and anxiety.
Sometimes even worse, it makes others compromise the rules of God Almighty to seek to attain through unlawful means mundane things that the eyes see.
To refine your eyes is indeed a very important matter for your salvation in the Hereafter.
You can control the lustful imagination of your ego by utilizing the Mind Sheet on Prophetic Path. Contact your mentor today to discuss this task further.
Daily Visualization to purify your gaze
It is important to mention that images that you see often or exposed to, have a powerful influence on your being because images are the language of the primitive or the subconscious mind. Images can fashion your purpose of life.
The more you are exposed to dirty and mundane images, the more you’ll have materialistic and impure thoughts badgering and influencing your choice and decision in life.
Modern experts in marketing have understood this reality and that is why we are being bombarded with ads and all sort of images leading people to consumerism and sinful habits.
The daily visualization of the image of the Glorious name of Allah ﷻ will help you to counterattack this sort of indoctrination and uphold Allah ﷻ in mind and heart as your real purpose of life. In other words, visualizing the Holy name of Allah ﷻ daily will Inshallah help you to purify your gaze and mind from the dirty and materialistic images we are exposed to in our current shameless and uncivilized modernity.
With Prophetic Path you can use your eyes positively – Learn How!
Don’t always be defensive towards Shaitan. Become bold enough to proactively go on the offensive against the devil.
How? Easy! Once you have purified your eyes from the violations it can commit begin to use your eyes for the positive pleasure of Allah ﷻ. Here are few positive ways of using one’s eyes or to cultivate an objective eye:
- Use your eyes to lower your gaze even at lawful means.
- Teach your eyes to obey you, don’t let them drift in different directions.
- Try not to open your eyes wide in full view of seeing any lawful means.
- Whenever you observe the world, use it to remember Allah ﷻ and the Hereafter. Be it the blessings of Allah ﷻ or the reminders of the Hereafter.
- Use your eyes to see through the eyes of remembrance.
- Look through the eyes of Mercy. Be forgiving towards each other.
- Look beyond the faults and look at the light of the goodness of people
- In your free time, practice to deliberately open and close your eyes, then observe and feel the qualities of the names 99 names of Allah ﷻ.
What to do now?
Nothing other than signing up and starting your own journey to purifying your gaze, of course!
“He will indeed be successful who purifies it. And he will indeed fail who corrupts it.” (91:9, 10)