What is Treachery of the Eyes?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Safia Kemal

يَعْلَمُ خَائِنَةَ الْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِي الصُّدُورُ

He knows that which deceives the eyes and what the breasts conceal.
[Al-Qur’an: Surah Al-Ghafir (The Forgiver): 19]

“Treachery is one thing that I don’t do,” is usually our first and instant reaction when faced with this ayah.  But when we sit down and analyze ourselves, we realize that, more often than not, our eyes have fallen into sin.

TV and Magazines
When we watch programs on TV that promote ideas contrary to the teachings of Islam, which also broadcast images that spread immorality, we allow our eyes to be witnesses to things that displease Allah  (سبحانه وتعالى). Sadly, today the media is full of such exposure, and one has to train oneself to quickly bypass such channels without letting the eyes linger on the screen long enough to develop an interest in the program. This very same concept is applicable when flipping through the pages of a magazine – especially English magazines, as these are more bold and “liberal” in content.

A simple exercise of checking one’s email can lead to unwittingly seeing images on the Web that can affect one’s level of eemaan (faith) adversely. The culture of the West is in complete contrast to Islamic teachings, hence in a virtual world that is dominated by it, it is very easy to defocus from the ultimate goal and have the eyes wander in directions that are not liked by Allah (سبحانه وتعالى). Being focused and consciously sticking to the maqsad (purpose) for which one has come online for will help keep the eyes from sinning.

I also find searching for images online to be somewhat disturbing, because the search results often display images that are of indecent nature, which can lead to treachery of the eyes.

Lowering the Gaze from the Opposite Sex
Surah An-Nur, with its concept of “ghadd-al-basar” (lowering of the gaze), contained a meaningful lesson for me:

قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَلِكَ أَزْكَى لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ

“The believing men to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.”
[Al-Qur’an- Surah An-Nur (The Light): 30]

The ayah that comes after this commands women to do the exact same thing, followed by additional steps to ensure their safety and respect in society.

So the windows to the soul are indeed the eyes. We have to lower them in order to avoid any sort of fitnah (trial). I realize the significance of this ruling and how essential it is for us to implement it. When we lower our gazes, we are automatically redirected towards becoming focused on the Siraat-ul-Mustaqeem (Straight Path)!

The Women of Jannah guard their gazes too
One of the traits of the women of Jannah (Paradise) is that they guard their gazes. This is a reflection of what they used to practice in the dunya (worldly life). They reserve their glances for only those whom it is lawful for them to look at, i.e. their spouses. Remembering this ayah motivates a woman to become more like the women of Jannah:

وَعِندَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ أَتْرَابٌ

“And with them will be women limiting [their] glances and of equal age.”
[Al-Qur’an- Surah Sad: 52)

Khiyanah in Prayer
Another area where we do khiyanah (treachery) of the eyes is during salah (prayer). We think it is all right to take sneak peaks here and there while reciting our oft-repeated surahs (chapters) in salah. Stealing from prayer is a grave sin.

The Messenger of Allah (صلي اللهُ عليهِ وسلم) said: “The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.” The people asked, “O Messenger of Allah, how can a person steal from his prayer?” He said: “By not doing rukoo’ (bowing) and sujood (prostration) properly.”

(Reported by Imaam Ahmad, 5/310; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 997).

And on the same note:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ1

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ َ2

“Successful indeed are the believers. Those who perform their Salah with all solemnity and full submissiveness.”
[Al-Qur’an – Surah Al-Muminun: 1-2]

About Quran Reflections

Al-Huda's branch at Khayaban-e-Sehar is one of the few Quran courses being regularly conducted in Karachi, Pakistan, where the mode of instruction and examination is English. The students and teachers have decided to upload their reflections on the Quran and class notes on this blog, in order to be available to a global audience for the latter's benefit and inspiration.
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4 Responses to What is Treachery of the Eyes?

  1. Asa, a prefect article written. Really, this is some thing very much important to look out as it effects directly our emaan (faith). Also we have been told via masnoon duas to take refuge from the evil of hearing, evil of sight and evil of tongue as well as evil of heart. 🙂

  2. Kulsoom says:

    Assaalam Alakum, Excellent article which tells us the things which are considered haram in Islam. We should avoid seeing, doing, hearing things which will make Allah angry at us and should try to do the things which makes Allah happy. We should increase our knowledge on Islam and we should read the hadith of the Prophet (pbuh). We should also purify our sins and heart by asking Allah’s forgiveness and mercy.

  3. Yousuf Rafi says:

    subhanALLAH beautiful thought sweet sis…. as Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) said there will be a time when sins will be to such an extent that they will feel it was part of their Life (not the actual words but the summary of Hadith)… now a days we all consider it normal… gazing is considered as form of entertainment… our minds are surely corrupted by our media… sins are so openly displayed that our generation consider it normal…. From Quran I find Surah Naas to be very very effective as a form of protection…

    Western people are very strict for their moral values… In their movies they strictly mention rating system to keep the minds of younger generation safe…. Google also uses a function called Safe Search…. very very effective tool to prevent this issue…. this is how you can enable the feature

    SafeSearch for Google Images

    May ALLAH Subhan o Tala protect us from all evil and guide us in the part of sirat e mustaqeem Ameen Sume Ameen

  4. Safia Kemal says:

    Asa – Just wanted to also share this hadith also since it is relevant to the topic:

    It’s reported that Abu Rayhana (radi Allahu anhu) said, ‘The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ said: “Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which wept out of the Fear and Awe of Allah. Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which stayed awake and vigilant (through the night) in the Way of Allah. Hellfire has been made forbidden for the eye which looked away from that which has been forbidden by Allah.” [Narrated in Hakim, authentic according to Shaykh al-Albani]

    Jkk for the comments.

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