A brief guide to understanding “lower your gaze”.

400601_10151439490713737_1968418704_n1st picture. There are things which you cannot help seeing and things which you would never see if you avoided certain things.

“I asked Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) about the sudden glance (that is cast) on the face (of a non-Mahram). He commanded me that I should turn away my eyes.”

–[Sahih Muslim 5372, Narrated Jabir ibn Abdullah]–

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: A man should not look at the private parts of another man, and a woman should not look at the private parts of another woman.”

–[Sunan of Abu Dawood, #4007, Narrated Abu Sa’id al-Khudri]–

2nd picture. There are CERTAIN things you look at briefly, and the first glance is forgiven you, as per the hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu `alayhi wasallam) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.”

-[Reported by al-Tirmidhi]–

3rd picture. When you start watching non-mahrahms and searching for haraam things to gaze at, there is a problem, as per the ayah

“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.) and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over Juyubihinna and not to reveal their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husband’s fathers, their sons, their husband’s sons, their brothers or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their (Muslim) women (i.e. their sisters in Islam , or the (female) slaves whom their right hands possess, or old male servants who lack vigour, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.”

—[Qur’an: Surah An Noor, ayah 30]—

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