Ramadan Reflection Day 10: Eye on the Prize

Photo by banoootah_qtr


Lets call a spade a spade: the eyes have desires that we (Muslims and non-Muslims) have a great tendency to fulfill, as if there’s a gravity-like force that pulls our sight to the things that we shouldn’t be looking at. Like gravity, those who resist will feel the force acting on them while those who just go with the flow will feel little or nothing at all. Like gravity, it takes a lot of strength to escape it.

One of the desires of the eyes is the sexual desire. Some are following this desire willy-nilly, some are struggling to keep the gaze down, and others are somewhere in between the spectrum.

From the eyes, to the heart?

In Malay, we have this saying that goes something like this, “From the eyes, to the heart.” Someone I know made a slight addition to the saying and said, “But really, from the eyes, it goes to somewhere further south than the heart.”

If you catch his drift.

He was being witty of course, but the message he’s trying to send is serious and worthy of our attention. There is somewhat a direct connection between the gaze and the sexual desire. In fact, the Quran makes this connection.

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” (Surah an-Nur: 30)

There are 4 interesting points that I would like to point out about this verse:

1. “…protect their private parts.”

Not only does the Quran made the connection between the gaze and sexual desires, the Quran made the connection in an explicit manner. There is no fluff in this topic; straight to the point: “lower your gaze and protect your private parts.” The Quran specifies the bodily organs responsible for sexual desires – the private parts.

To me, the explicit nature of the verse above should catch our attention and should make us realize the seriousness of the topic.

The crime of the private parts i.e. fornication starts from a gaze.

2. “Tell the believing men…”

Nothing in the Quran is a coincidence, not even the sequence of verses or even the sequence within the verses. Allah commands the men to lower their gaze first, before the command is given to the women.

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.” (Surah an-Nur: 30)

“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts…” (Surah an-Nur: 31)

Here’s the thing: I am upset when I hear people putting the responsibility of protecting men on the women.

“Well, the women should cover themselves up to protect the men.”

Women cover themselves up not to protect the men. That’s not their job. The men should protect themselves!

We speak a lot about modesty for women. Well, I think we should speak more about modesty for men.

3. “That is purer for them.”

When Allah said “purer”, I ask myself, “Purer than what?”

Like I said before, we have the tendency to fulfill the desire of the gaze. I’m not going to lie, fulfilling that desire feels good – otherwise we wouldn’t have the tendency to do it. Some men even do it as a leisure activity.

“Got nothing to do? Lets go check out some chicks!” Astaghfirullah. It amazes me that you don’t hear people call that oppression of women.

No matter how pleasurable the gaze is, Allah promises us something purer. Don’t look at what you’re not suppose to look at. Save your gaze for a sight that’s better and more rewarding. Don’t sell your gaze at a very cheap price.

Keep your eye on the prize. Not the temporary prize, but the ultimate Prize.

Imagine this: our eyes were created by Allah to enjoy the best sight ever – the sight of Allah’s Face. If we want to witness that magnificent sight, then we have to keep our lenses clean.

4. “Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.”

Being humans, it goes without saying that we are not immune from mistakes and that includes mistakes of the eyes. I feel kind of guilty writing this post because my eyes have their share of mistakes. May Allah forgive me. Ameen. So I am writing this for myself, first and foremost.

Lowering the gaze is hard enough as it is, but it becomes especially hard when you see inappropriate images wherever direction you place your sight to. They’re practically everywhere, sometimes even on the ground!

Alhamdulillah, it is by the Mercy of Allah that an unintentional sight is excused. But be aware of the second sight – that might not be “unintentional” anymore.

Don’t steal a gaze. You might be able to do it beyond the awareness of people, but do you really think that you can do it beyond the awareness of Allah – who is All-Aware?