Staring at Women
We need to understand one thing that it is not prohibited to look at women in the first place. However, as a matter of fact, looking at their bodies, scanning their figure, staring at their private parts etc. is not a suitable approach. Quran has not completely prohibited looking at women; therefore, at times, we do look at our “Mahram” women as well when we speak to them. When Quran has given this order about guarding our sight, the words used by Allah SWT in Surah Al Noor Ayah No 30 are يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ meaning “Tell the believing men to lower some of their gaze and guard their private parts”. This clearly means that Allah SWT orders to lower “some” of their gaze instead of saying to entirely lower the gaze. It explains that it is not totally forbidden to look at women but looking at them to scan their bodies inappropriately is forbidden. Men should look at them with an element of respect and dignity in their eyes.
Above, we have tried to explain the fine line between both approaches which needs to be understood. If someone is working as a sales person or dealing with public affairs, the nature of work is that he needs to communicate and look at women. This person can easily communicate to women while having a decent approach. As far as other scenarios are concerned as watching TV, movies and inappropriate stuff, the basic principle remains the same. If we haven’t learnt the basic principle, then we will unnecessarily feel the burden of sin and guilt. The heart is the main scale of differentiating between right and wrong. If we commit a sin, the heart feels it right away. Therefore, the moment we realize that we are not looking at something right, our heart would signal us and that is the time we must take the warning of our heart. We must force our eyes to look away. It might be a challenge for some in the beginning but if we force and train ourselves, it will become far easier to stay away from looking at the filthy stuff on TV as well. We must remind ourselves that if I am staying away from this right now, I will be eligible for great rewards from my Master in the Hereafter. There is a beautiful narration in this regards. As far as the chain of narrators are concerned, this narration is a weak one but the message is really strong. “Sight is one of the poisonous arrows of the Devils, whoever controls it will be given such faith that his heart will feel it”. So whosoever starts controlling himself will receive extraordinary blessings from Allah SWT.
We need to clearly understand this thing that in fact it is a difficult task for men to control themselves from watching and observing but if we succeed in doing so, then the satisfaction and peace attained is unexplainable. Contrary to this, if we choose to continue to do that, then it is like a skin itching disease and the characteristics of itching is that it needs scratching. The more you scratch the more there is an urge to keep scratching that leads to agony and pain. The end result will be a vicious cycle of scratching and scooting leading to more irritation. If we start looking at things from this angle, gathering the courage to refrain from it in the first place will be far easier.
For a person who is facing this kind of issues and is in the process of improving his personality, the best solution to begin with would be to avoid the scenarios which are giving an urge to look at women inappropriately or other inappropriate stuff. One time strong determination will make things far easier. If TV or a particular program, movies or market places and malls are causing trouble and creating problems then try to avoid them for sometime. These guidelines of avoidance are for those who are trying to improve and mold their personalities. For those whose work requirements do not allow to follow the above principle of avoidance, emphasis should be on self training. With strong determination, things will start working out inshallah.