Posts

When is it obligatory to lower one’s gaze? To what extent does the prohibition of looking at people doing haram apply?

Question Summary

When is it obligatory to lower one’s gaze? To what extent does the prohibition of looking at people doing haram apply?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Lowering the Gaze: A Sunna of the Prophet

It is a Sunna of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) to lower one’s gaze. The companions (Allah be pleased with them) describe the Prophet saying, “His gaze was to the ground longer than it was to the sky.” [Tirmidhi]

He (may Allah bless him and give him peace) would lower his gaze from everything and anything that did not concern him, thus allowing him to keep his heart focused on Allah Most High at all times.

When is Lowering the Gaze Obligatory?

In summary, one must divert their gaze from the nakedness of others and/or looking at another with sexual desire (excluding one’s spouse).

The following are examples of where this applies:

1) looking at anyone (regardless of where of their person) or anything, other than one’s spouse, with sexual desire
2) looking at that which is legally considered nakedness (‘awra) of anyone besides one’s spouse
3) looking at areas of another’s the person that is normally permissible to look at when one fears falling into sexual desire
[Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Legal Limits of Nakedness

The following limits set by the Sacred Law delineate the areas of nakedness. These areas are obligatory to cover and impermissible to show and/or look at (following exceptions apply):

Men

The area between the navel and the knees (knees are included) is considered nakedness for a male. [Ibid.]

Women

The entire body of the female is considered naked except for the face, hands, and feet. [Ibid.]

Men looking at Men

Men can see other men the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees (knees are included in the prohibition). [Ibid.]

Men looking at Women

A man can see of a non-direct relative woman only the face, hands, and feet. A man is permitted to see their spouse’s entire body, though propriety discourages any looking that goes against shyness – though it is not sinful. [Ibid.]

Women looking at women

Women may see another woman the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees. [Ibid.]

Note that it is not permissible for a Muslim woman to expose any part of her hair or other parts to a Non-Muslim woman or a corrupt Muslim woman, without need, as they may describe how she looks to others. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Women looking at Men

A woman can see a man the entire body except that which is between the navel and the knees. A woman is permitted to see their spouse’s entire body, though propriety discourages any looking that goes against shyness – though doing so is not sinful. [Ibid.]

Note that save the spouse’s looking at each other, and looking that is accompanied by sexual desire or that will likely lead to sexual desire is strictly prohibited regardless of where on the person one looks. [Ibid.]

Thus, if a woman looks at a man’s chest or a man looks at a woman’s hair with sexual desire, this is strictly prohibited (haram) even though that part of the body is not considered nakedness and would be permissible had there not been any sexual desire.

Note that sexual desire is far more than a mere noticing of beauty (istihsan). [Ibid.]

The Difference Between Seeing and Looking

Looking at the opposite gender in an impermissible way/area is a sin when done intentionally. The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us to divert our gaze if we see something impermissible and stated that we are not accountable for that first (unintentional) glance. Still, we are accountable if we look again.

Thus, unintentional glances and seeing something in our peripheral vision are excused, and everything goes back to one’s intention. For this reason, one should not be overwhelmed with their surroundings, as they are only accountable for looking, not merely seeing.

Seeing Prohibited Actions

Regarding your question about watching movies/tv, see the following link:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/living-religion/looking-at-women-not-wearing-hijab/

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Looking at Mahram without desire

Question Summary

Is it permissible for a man to look at a Non-Mahram woman, aside from her awra, if done without desire?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

It is permissible for a person to look at the non-awra parts of the opposite gender if there is no desire or reasonable fear of falling into desire. [Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-`Ala’iyya]

Though the above is permissible, it is still best not to look except when necessary, or there is a clear benefit in doing so. To lower one’s gaze when there is no need or foreseeable benefit is recommended. [Ibid.]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and some texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Looking at Women not wearing hijab

Question: Is it halal to look at a woman’s if she is not covering her hair?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

First of all, looking at any one of the opposite sex with lust, whether or not they are wearing a hijab, is forbidden. If one saw a woman, or the image of a woman, and felt attracted to her, one would have to look away. There is no discussion here. (Minhaj al-Talibin, Nawawi)

As for looking at a woman’s face or hands without lust, it is permissible. If she is not covering her hair or exposing some other part of her body that should be covered, one may not actively look at that part. That said, seeing something unintentionally is not one’s fault. Furthermore, it would also be challenging to ask people to lower their gaze all the time because in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike, we frequently have to work with women who do not cover properly.

Simultaneously, one should be honest with oneself regarding whether or not one is looking with lust and the difference between looking and seeing. Allah Most High says, ‘Allah knows the sly glances of the eyes and whatever the hearts conceal.’ (Qur’an, 40: 19)

It may often be the case that one has to change jobs, or work in a different sector, etc., if one feels that working with women who do not dress properly is too difficult for one. One has to know oneself, know one’s weaknesses, and have one’s finger on one’s own moral pulse. ‘Ask your heart. Ask your heart. Ask your heart … even if people say it is okay, even if they all say it is okay!’ (Ahmad and others)

Regarding television, we have to acknowledge that sex is one of the world’s biggest industries, and female (and male) actors and TV presenters are usually chosen for their looks. This means that most of the time, watching your average film or TV series is usually going to be sinful because you know very well there will be sexually enticing images throughout. Watching a documentary of genuine benefit in which there are no sexually attractive images of the opposite sex is okay. Again, on the proviso, one does not look at anything other than the face and hands of any women presented. One looks away from any other part of their body.

One practical tip might be to have one’s wife or female relative screen something before watching it oneself to make sure there are no sexually provocative images of the opposite sex in it. It would also be wise to keep one’s television viewing to an absolute minimum. One scholar in the West was asked about what kind of television he watches when there is a need with his family, and he replied that he only watches nature documentaries. Clearly, he chose something where sinful images would be infrequent, and the benefit is great.

Please also see:
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/featured-articles/on-lowering-the-gaze-habib-umar/
https://seekersguidance.org/articles/social-issues/lower-your-gaze-shaykh-abdulkarim-yahya/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFGh0rV-4BE

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years, he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.

Is It Permissible To Be Alone With the Children’s Nanny?

Question:
Is it permissible to be alone with the children’s nanny?
Answer:
Dear questioner,
Thank you for your important question.
May Allah, Most High reward you for your desire to increase in knowledge.
A man should never be in seclusion with a strange woman, and a woman should never be alone with a strange man.
The Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:
“Whenever a man is alone with a woman the devil makes a third.” [Tirmidhi, al-Sunan]
“No man should be alone with a woman except when there is a Mahram with her.” [Muslim, al-Sahih]
The legal ruling of seclusion is lifted when there is a family member of the woman present, another man is present, or there is a barrier between them. The presence of children does not lift the ruling of seclusion.
It is permissible for you to be in the same house with the nanny as long as you are in different rooms.
[Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
When there is a need to speak to the nanny, you should do so by phone or while you are in different rooms. Let the nanny know of your preferences so that it becomes an easy process for both of you.
Outwardly, this may seem like something quite difficult and overbearing. However, Islam seeks to prevent all possible harm before it can occur.
Having someone other than the parents look after the children is a big step. Please see:
And Allah alone knows best,
[Ustadh] Omar Popal
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

What Is the Ruling On Complimenting the Beauty Of a Potential Spouse?

Question: What is the ruling on complimenting the beauty of a potential spouse?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

The general ruling with regards to interacting/speaking with the opposite gender is that the interaction must be done  (a) when there is need or likely benefit and (b) to the extent of the need and in a formal manner.

Due to the above principle, speaking to a potential spouse is indeed a need with likely benefit. However, the interaction must not become too informal or lighthearted that could lead to the stirring-up of desires and flirting.

Thus, if the above guidelines are not upheld, such interaction may be considered a precursor to fornication. All precursors to fornication are prohibited by the explicit verse of the Qur’an. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Allah Most High says, “Do not go near adultery. It is truly a shameful deed and an evil way.” [Qur’an; 17:32]

Here Allah Most High not only prohibits adultery itself but He prohibits going near adultery. From this, the scholars have extended the prohibition to anything that could potentially lead to adultery/fornication. [Abu Sa’ud, Tafsir Irshad al-‘Aql al-Salim]

 

Formal Does Not Mean Harsh

Though the discussion between potential spouses should be kept to formal discourse with regards to the style and topics of discussion, it is permissible to speak in a manner that customarily constitutes good etiquette and comportment.

Thus, certain niceties will be allowed if such niceties are not customarily considered flirting. If however, such statements are customarily used flirtatiously, one must refrain from doing so.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.

Is It Haram To See a Woman’s Face?

Question:  Assalamu ‘alaykum. I have heard that it is haram to look at the faces of women. If so, how can I find a wife? What about if I am not wanting to marry someone, but I see her face?

Answer:

Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

 

Looking At Potential Spouses Is Permissible

No, it is not haram to look at the face of someone you are considering for marriage. In fact, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised Mughira b. Shu’ba to look at a prospective spouse saying, “It is more likely that there will be an intimate connection between you two.” [Tirmidhi]

 

Looking At Non-Potentials

As for ladies, one is not intending to marry, such as someone you see on the bus or at the supermarket checkout, merely seeing them is not a sin. A repeated lustful gaze is sinful. As for seeing someone in your field of view or someone you have to interact with, such as a colleague, it is not sinful.

If one fears that there could be some attraction then modest, dignified behavior is needed. One should lower the gaze as much as possible in a dignified way.

Look at how religious, righteous people interact with the opposite gender and base your interaction on that.

 

Please see:

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/what-are-the-principles-of-gender-interaction-in-islam/

https://seekersguidance.org/answers/marriage/istikhara-prayer-for-marriage/

 

May Allah facilitate all matters for you.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

How Do I Address My Homosexual Feelings?

Question: I am a 27-year-old single guy. I have had homosexual feelings for a long time, which I have kept under control. But for the last two years, I am not able to do that. I understand it is totally wrong, but the feeling is growing stronger. I am really worried about my faith. I have never discussed this issue before because of the fear of being judged. I need guidance and want to leave this, but I am not able to. Please save me from this Hellfire.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. The absolute best and most comprehensive advice that I can give you is here:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/tackling-homosexual-feelings-supplication-repentance-and-going-cold-turkey/

Tackling homosexual feelings is no laughing matter, and you deserve all the support that you can get. Allah has truly favored you by blessing you with complete obedience and keeping you from committing a sin. That must seem like a mountain to climb, and I pray that Allah grants you even more strength until you marry.

 

Support

Is there a Muslim counselor, upright scholar, trusted friend, or Muslim teacher that you can be open with? Being able to talk about your suffering while not being able to express it physically is a good step. You will recognize your own strength, and rest assured that your reward with Allah will be formidable, in Sha Allah. I do fear that if you do not find someone to talk to that your desires might turn into sin, so please seek out someone. You are welcome to ask more questions here.

 

Staying Away From Boys

It is not haram to be near men, even though you are attracted to them, but it would be wise and better for you to restrict any type of interaction that might arouse you. You say that you fear for your faith, but I believe that your faith is as strong as ever, as you have refused to act upon your feelings out of your love for Allah and His messenger. Please consider marriage soon because it will help in releasing your sexual frustration, even if different from what you desire.

 

Turn To Allah

Pray to Allah that He helps you reconcile these feelings and makes it easy for you to subdue them. I do not want you to marry living a life of multiple identities and then end up unhappy, adulterous, or even divorced. Express your pain through du’a and ask Allah to help you, guide you, and give you the very best outcome. Allah is always there to listen and loves to be asked. No condition is too difficult for Him to change, as long as you want to change it yourself.

The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “When half of the night or two-third of it is over. Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven and says: ‘Is there any beggar so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues it saying) till it is daybreak.'” [Muslim]

May Allah reward you for your efforts and give you the best in this world and the next.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

How Do I Handle My Feelings For My Wife’s Sister?

Question: My wife’s sister and I have developed feelings for each other, and we have been living this secrecy for 3 years. This is affecting my marriage as my wife has suspected this, but we have denied it. I need to do right by both women as I feel my love for my wife has been affected. I do not want to take steps to divorce and then marry her sister because there would be sin for us both.

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. I will attempt to clarify this for you, honestly and boldly.

 

Cut Her Off

You have absolutely no choice but to cut her sister off. You must not speak to her, you must eliminate all contact, and you must be a man. You must not get her hopes up, you must not pretend that you can make her sister happy. You must run away as though your house is on fire. There is no other way. I want to remind you that there is no way to marry her either because it is prohibited to be married to two sisters at once.

 

Respect Your Wife

Give your wife some respect and love. Bond with her. If your love for her has been compromised, you are mostly to blame, and I suggest that you start taking action to become close to her, communicate better, and spend more quality time together. Never tell her about your illicit feelings as this would be heartbreaking and foolish.

Please consider the effect that your behavior will have on your children. You would be a role model of cowardliness, selfishness, foolishness, and you would teach them to follow their whims instead of being loyal, faithful, and honest. Consider how you would feel if your son-in-law did this to your daughter? Would you support your son-in-law’s newfound love for your other daughter? Or would you chase him out of the house with his tail between legs?

 

Gender Interaction

Allah put the rules of gender interaction into this world for this very reason. The in-laws were specifically mentioned in hadith and this is exactly the pit that you have fallen into. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Beware of entering upon the ladies.“ A man from the Ansar said, ‘Allah’s Apostle! What about Al-Hamu the in-laws of the wife (the brothers of her husband or his nephews etc.)?’ The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, replied ‘The in-laws of the wife are death itself.'” [Bukhari] This hadith also applies to the in-laws of the husband.

Please see the rules of gender interaction and resolve to apply these rules with any non-mahram lady that you ever meet in the future, no matter who she is. Please see the links below:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/a-reader-on-gender-interaction/
https://seekersguidance.org/tag/falling-in-love/

May Allah reward you for looking for direction and for striving to do the right thing.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

Is It Permissible For Men To Act As a Personal Trainer For Women?

Question: Is it permissible for a male to act as a personal trainer for a woman or to be a makeup artist for a woman?

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,

It is not permissible for a male to be a personal trainer for a woman if doing so entails his touching her or being alone with her in a private room such that a third party could not enter unannounced. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar; Ala’ al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-‘Ala’iyya]

Likewise, it is not permissible for a man to be a makeup artist for women for the same two aforementioned reasons. Furthermore, applying makeup for the woman could entail assisting her in provocative displays of beauty which the Qur’an prohibits. [Ibid.]

The exception to the above is if the man is an unmarriageable relative of the woman and her makeup is only meant for a display to her husband.

I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences

Should I Tell My Husband That I Am Attracted To Other Men?

Question: I sometimes get feelings of attraction for other men besides my husband without any bad intention, which leads me to feel extreme guilt.
Should I tell my husband about them? Is it his right to know? Is it considered cheating?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

 

Attraction

The attraction between the sexes is a very natural and normal thing, but we are expected to behave correctly when such things happen.

-First, take the means to lower your gaze from the opposite gender and make it a habit. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace,  said, “Do not follow one glance with another; you may be allowed the first but not the second.“ [Musnad of Ahmad]

-Never be alone with or touch the opposite gender, not even shaking hands. Keep a respectful and cordial distance. See this link:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/hadith-about-seclusion-khalwa-and-unmarriageable-kin-mahram/

-Minimize gender interaction with men according to the rules, see this collection of answers:
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/a-reader-on-gender-interaction/

 

Telling Your Husband

There is no need to tell your husband that you are attracted to anybody. It is not his right, and he does not need to know. It will cause strain on the marriage, and these small personal challenges should not be shared with him. How would you feel if he told you that he found “such and such woman“ to be beautiful? This is not akin to cheating, but rather, this is only the Devil whispering doubts to you and making you believe that it is bigger than it really is. Deal with the attraction accordingly and squash it. May Allah reward you for your effort.

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.