Saturday, July 28, 2012

What does "lowering the gaze" exactly mean? Part 2

I'll post two fatwas (from the same site) concerning the same issue.
Here's the first:

There seems to be something of a fashion nowadays for sisters to give talks in front of men at Islamic events (without barrier). is this permissible in light of shariah? many of these female speakers are young, and not ugly (speaking honestly). that aside, it doesn't 'feel' right - isn't this going against modesty, which rasoolallah (SAW) said was the sign of our deen? whatever happened to lowering the gaze, or does that only applies to wonder bra adverts now?

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
Note that women speaking on stage does not mean that you are now somehow allowed to look with desire.
Given this, the obligation of lowering one’s gaze does not apply only to bra ads: it applies any time you fear that your looking is with desire (i.e. inclination of the heart in a physical way). [Nabulsi, Sharh al-Tariqa]
Faraz Rabbani

And now the second:

What is the popular position in regards to looking at the non-awrat parts of a woman (face and the hands)? (i.e. if I look at a [non-mahram] woman's face more than once)

Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
1. In the Hanafi school, it is permitted (though disliked without need) for a man to look towards the face or hands of a woman, and for a woman to look towards the non-nakedness of a man, if there is no fear of desire or physical inclining.
2. If one looks out of physical desire or inclining, or fears this, then it is unlawful to look.
3. The exception is in cases when it is unavoidable, such as for witnesses in court or to look at someone one is intending to marry when there is hope of the marriage taking place, but only if one’s intention is to fulfill one’s objective, even with desire, not to fulfill one’s desires.
4. The definition of ‘desire’ is: any physical inclination of the heart.
5. It is not a condition that it be strong physical desire, or that it be accompanied by sexual thoughts or physical arousal.
6. Lack of desire is that one looks towards them as one would towards one’s child or towards a beautiful tree.
[Source: al-Fatawa al-Hindiyya (5.329-330); Ibn Abidin/Haskafi, Radd al-Muhtar `ala al-Durr al-Mukhtar (bab shurut al-salat )]

More proof lowering the gaze refers to when lust is felt:

"If any Muslim happens to look at a woman's beauties and then lowers his eyes, Allah will produce for him an act of worship whose sweetness he will experience." (Al-Tirmidhi #3124)

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