Shaykh AbdulKarim Yahya shares a valuable gem from Habib Umar’s lessons on lowering the gaze.
The following question was asked at one of the Red Sulfur lessons a couple of weeks back. Please benefit and share with others.
A male university student complained about the mixing of men and women in the university and the negative effects it has. He asked some advice from Sayyidi al-Habib Umar on his weekly internet lesson. This is a summary of Habib’s answer to the brother’s question. His answer deals with the brother’s situation in particular but both men and women can apply it to their own situation.
Habib Umar said that this is a common complaint. The fact that it is common, however, is not an excuse for believers to make light of the issue. The one who is sincere with Allah in dealing with this issue is considered someone that strives in the way of Allah. The believer must first lower his gaze and not allow it to become fixed upon that which is unlawful. He will then taste the sweetness of faith (as is narrated in the hadith).
He must concentrate on strengthening the realities of faith in his heart and reject completely the base desires of the lower self, in awareness of Allah’s saying: He knows the treachery of the eyes and that which the hearts conceal. He must hate to see acts of disobedience to Allah and must wish to change the situation if he were able to do so. If the opportunity arises he must give good advice if it is likely to be accepted.
Many women, both Muslim and non-Muslim have been deceived into thinking that for them to expose their bodies is an expression of their freedom. This is not progress as people claim but rather a return to the pre-Islamic days of ignorance. As Allah says Do not show off your beauty in public, as was done in the times of ignorance.
For protection from falling into disobedience a believer should read the following Prophetic supplication 19 times before entering a place where disobedience is likely to occur:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم اللَّهم يا حَيُّ يَا قَيَّومُ برحمتِكَ أسْتَغِيْثُ ومِن عَذابِكَ أسْتَجِيرُ أَصْلِحْ لِي شَأنِي كُلَّهُ ولاَ تَكِلْنِي إلى نَفْسِي وَلا إِلى أحَدٍ مِن خَلقِكَ طَرفَةَ عَينٍ
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim Allahumma Ya Hayyu ya Qayyum birahmatik astaghithu wa min `adhabika astajir. Aslih li sh’ani kullahu wa la takilni ila nafsi wa ila ahadin min khalqika tarfata `ayn
In the name of Allah, O Allah, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate. O Living! O Sustainer! I call upon Your Mercy for assistance, and from Your chastisement I seek refuge! Make good all my affairs and do not entrust me to myself or any of Your creation for the blink of an eye.
He should also repeat this supplication if any bad thoughts come to mind. The one who is sincere will be assisted by Allah. Even if he is in a place where the curse of Allah is descending, only mercy will descend upon him. However if he is content for Allah to be disobeyed or worse takes part in it he will expose himself to the wrath of Allah, may Allah protect us from that!
The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, counselled his beloved daughter al-Sayyida Fatima, Allah be well-pleased with her, to read this morning and evening. It is narrated by Ibn al-Sunni, Nasa’i and Bazar. Haythami said it is sahih. It can be found in the Wird al-Latif of Imam al-Haddad.
Born and raised in berkeley, California, Shaykh AbdulKarim Yahya, by the Grace of Allah, embraced Islam in 1989 in his home city. In 1996, having been inspired to study religious knowledge by the books of Imam Ghazali (Allah be pleased with him) and the call for the revival of Islamic knowledge, he traveled with his family to Damascus, Syria where he embarked on a course of active pursuit of knowledge. During his two-year stay in Damascus he focused his attention on the acquisition of an elementary knowledge of the Arabic language and Quranic recitation, studying the latter under the tutelage of the highly respected Shaykh of Qur’an Abu Anas (Allah preserve him) at the Rawda Mosque in Damascus. Thereafter he moved on with his family to Tarim, Hadramaut where he currently resides.
As a student at Dar al-Mustafa he has primarily turned his efforts towards keeping the company of his Shaykhs’ from the noble prophetic descendents of Ba Alawi and their lovers as well as attaining a knowledge of the Islamic Sciences. Specializing in jurisprudence according to the school of Muhammad Bin Idris al-Shafi’i (Allah be pleased with him), Shaykh AbdulKarim has studied the curriculum of jurisprudence at Dar al-Mustafa all the way to the Minhaj of Imam Nawawi (Allah be pleased him).
Since 1998, Shaykh AbdulKarim has been studying at the hands of Habib Umar and his older brother Habib Mashhour, the two sons of the late Habib Muhammad Bin Salim Bin Hafiz, as well as the other teachers of Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim, Hadramaut. Shaykh AbdulKarim has been given permission to answer questions according to the Shafi’i School as well as to teach jurisprudence, Arabic Grammar, and other disciplines by his Shaykh Habib Umar, Allah preserve him. He has also worked extensively as a translator For Habib Umar Bin Hafiz and Habib Ali al-Jifri (Allah preserve both of them).
Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum artwork taken from Deviant Art