Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
Somebody mentioned to me that pious people are able to take their eyes out when worshipping Allah.
What’s all this about? Is this true or false? And if true, what do they achieve by doing this?
To me, it sounds like fantasy, but I thought I’d ask you first.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I pray and hope you are well.
There are three things, possibly, that can be affected by a person to person. One is negative, and two are positive. One is the evil eye (‘ayn), and the two positives are spiritual attention (tawajjuh) and firasat (spiritual insight).
Evil Eye (‘Ayn)
The eye is a means of seeing all things physical, but it can bring about a negative effect by looking. The term nadhar, isabat al-‘ayn (evil eye) is referred to it as mentioned in many a hadith.
Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah bless him and give him peace) reported: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The evil eye is real. If anything could precede the divine decree, it would be preceded by the evil eye. When you are asked to perform a ritual bath, then do so.” [Muslim]
Umm Salama reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw a servant girl in her house whose face had become discolored. The Prophet said, “Treat her with protective recitations, as she has been afflicted by an evil stare.”
Ibn ‘Abbas reported: The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The evil eye is real. If anything could precede the divine decree, it would be preceded by the evil eye. When you are asked to perform a ritual bath, then do so.”
Spiritual Attention (tawajjuh)
Spiritual attention (tawajjuh) is when the spiritual mentor directs his attention to someone and gives him a positive effect on this person’s heart and spirit.
The following incident was related by Ubayy ibn Ka’b (Allah be pleased with him), “I was in the mosque when a man entered and prayed and recited the Quran in a style to which I objected. Then another man entered (the mosque) and recited in a style different from that of his companion. When we had finished the prayer, we all went to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and give peace) and said to him: This man recited in a style to which I objected, and the other entered and recited in a style different from that of his companion.
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give peace) asked them to recite, and so they recited, and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give peace)) expressed approval of their affairs (their modes of recitation). There occurred in my mind a sort of denial which did not occur even during the Days of Ignorance. When the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give peace) saw how I was affected (by a wrong idea), he struck my chest, whereupon I broke into sweating and felt as though I were looking at Allah with fear.
He said to me, ‘Ubayy, a message was sent to me to recite the Quran in one dialect, and I replied: “Make (things) easy for my people.” It was conveyed to me for the second time that it should be recited in two dialects. I again replied to him: “Make affairs easy for my people.” It was again conveyed to me for the third time to recite in seven dialects and (I was further told): “You have got a seeking for every reply that I sent you, which you should seek from Me.” I said: “O Allah! Forgive my people, forgive my people, and I have deferred the third one for the day on which the entire creation will turn to me, including even Ibrahim (peace be upon him) (for intercession).”’” [Muslim]
When the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) saw his state and struck his hand on my chest, all the heedlessness and rejection was removed, and he entered into a state of fear with the divine presence and upholding Him.
This is spiritual attention (tawajjuh) which is mentioned by people who have insight, like the Sufis, etc. [‘Abd al-Haqq al-Dahlawi, Lama‘at al-Tanqih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih; Ali al-Qari, Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih]
Spiritual Insight (Firasa)
It is a light that Allah bestows in the heart of his servant, by which he distinguishes between truth and falsehood, advantage and disadvantage, the honest and the liar.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) reported, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Beware of the insight of the believer. Verily, he sees with the light of Allah.” Then, the Prophet recited the verse, “Verily, in that are signs for those of discernment.” (15:75) [Tirmidhi]
The perceptive power of each and every Muslim and believer corresponds to his depth of faith (iman). This is why the hadith mentions, the word, ‘beware’ as a caution against disrespecting any believer, let alone pious scholars, friends of Allah (awliya). Having a maturity of faith, the perceptive powers of pious believers therefore exceed that of other Muslims. They will sense that which one tries to keep hidden. External veils are parted for those who have deep faith and good works. We should always try to have utmost respect of believing men and women and keep hold of our tongue in their presence. [Nahlawi, al-Durar al-Mubaha; Khadimi, Al-Bariqa al-Mahmudiyya, Sharh al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiya]
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I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.
He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.
He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.
He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.