“Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do”. (Qur’an 24 : 30)
Here “lowering the gaze” are first ordained onto “Men” and in the very next verse same orders were prescribed onto the believing women. The concept of modesty applies to men as much as it does to women. As modesty is a significant part and highly relative to our culture and society.
It is not lawful for a man to cast a full gaze at the other women except at his own wife or the Mahram women of his family. An unintentional look is pardonable but not a second look which is casted when one feels lured to an object or body.
The Prophet pbuh instructed Ali RA : “O Ali, do not cast a second look after the first look. The first look is pardonable but not the second one”. (Tirmizi; Ahmad, Abu Daud).
The Prophet pbuh has termed such gazing and glancing as wickedness of the eyes. He has said that man commits adultery with all his sensory organs. The evil look at the other woman is the adultery of the eyes; lustful talk is the adultery of the tongue; relishing the other woman’s voice is adultery of the ears; and touching her body with the hand or walking for an unlawful purpose is adultery of the hands and feet. After these preliminaries the sexual organs either bring the act of adultery to completion or leave it incomplete. (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud).
For males, the Satar (those parts of man which is essential to be covered) is the part of the body from the navel to the knee, and it is not permissible to expose that part of the body intentionally before anybody except one’s own wife. (Daraqutni, Baihaqi).
Jarhad Aslami states that once he was sitting in the company of the Prophet pbuh with his thigh exposed. The Prophet pbuh said: Do you not know that the thigh has to be kept concealed. (Tirmizi, Abu Daud, Muatta).
AIi RA, reports that the Prophet pbuh said: Do not expose your thigh. (Abu Daud, Ibn Majah).
As a matter of fact, we see many adult boys and men who don’t follow these commands due to the culture of the society. They wear shorts exposing their Sattar (cover, protect the body parts).
As parents instruct their daughters not to look at males but forgot to teach their sons that they too are strictly prohibited by Allah not to stare and raise their gaze towards females. Today, Muslim societies are ruined and going onto the verge of disaster due to neglecting these important duties. This is the crux of the matter if we give a serious thought. Society is formed by men and women and respect and honour each other can build an exemplary society. Sadly, it’s deficient in today’s world where delusion of equality and freedom empowers our mind. On the other hand, even shaking hand, hug, unnecessary chat or talk or inter mingling with NA-MEHRAM woman (prohibited relations) is not allowed except for some reason.
These concepts and commands should be established first in children’s heart and conscience then it will be easy to follow and adopt them. They are taught not only to lower their gaze but also teaches them to be modest in their attitude and behaviour towards females. When women are being respected and honoured then there will be no question of female abuse, harrasments and molestation in society. Recently in Dhaka, Bangladesh a schoolgirl was burned to death on the orders of her head teacher after she reported him for sexually harassing her. It’s really disheartening to see where our society is heading towards.
The Prophet Mohammad pbuh stressed on the importance of Social behaviour, conduct, manners of Muslims. Islam aims at character building of its followers and focuses on attaining righteous Characters. Prophet Muhammad pbuh was the epitome of modesty. He demonstrated the wonderful example for us to follow. The Qur’an was revealed by Allah in order for mankind to be guided and how to live their lives as per ordained by Allah. As He is all-wise and all-knowing.