By Fareed Ahmad
I was listening to a commentary about the verses of Surah an-Noor where Allah sends down commandments, addressing the believing men and women separately:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to protect their private parts..” (Surah an-Noor, ayah 30)
And for the women,
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to protect their private parts..” (Surah an-Noor, ayah 31)
Although these verses refer mostly to protecting our gazes from looking at the opposite sex, my mind started wandering in another direction.
Look at us, the youth. When we start staring at something, the problem starts right there and then, even if the ‘something’ is permissible such as the latest gadgets, accessories or cellphones. The desire for obtaining that object takes root in our heart and we start pining for it, and may even resort to unlawful means to obtain in.
A young boy or girl might keep looking at some expensive items which his/her parents can`t afford.
“Oh! I want to have this.”
“ I wish I could buy that.”
Then they find ways to seek it. They might resort to scheming or stealing or misbehaving with their parents and forcing them to buy that thing.
Advertisements of smoking and drinking can attract the youth to such an extent that they adopt this filth for the sake of style or thrill. The problem again starts when they keep on looking intently at what is portrayed in these advertisements.
Girls watch dramas and films, and their hearts desire to wear the vulgar dresses worn by the actresses and models.
Some women waste a lot of time doing window shopping in high-end branded shops, and then quarrel with their husbands for more money, causing major disputes at home.
I can keep on giving similar examples. The point is that if we chose to ignore and look away from the thing in question, everything would remain fine. But when we keep on looking it, it becomes the centre of our life and we want to get it through hook or crook.
It is just as a wise man aptly summed up:
“What the eyes admire, the heart desires.”
Coming back to the original context in Surah an-Noor, this may be an important reason why Allah orders us to lower our gaze from the opposite gender too. You could say that:
“When the eyes won`t admire, the heart won`t desire.”
Intently watching celebrities from the opposite gender like Hollywood Stars and legendary sports heroes engraves the love of their appearance and dressing in the hearts, which leads to fan following and ends up at Hero-worshipping. Many times people fall in love with random people whom they interact with routinely just because they are not careful about the storm of desire being stirred in the heart because of what the eyes admire. This storm can wreak havoc, leading to extramarital affairs and widespread corruption and destruction in families.
Allah gave you two eyes and a hearts and a brain. To see or not to see? That is the question, and the choice is yours.
The writer can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org