How does the eye fast in Ramadan? The fast of the eye is to prevent it from seeing forbidden things and to prevent it from indecencies. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us in the Qur’an:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts)…”
We can see from this that they eye is the opening to the heart and a door to the spirit. Whoever does not lower their gaze will therefore be affected by four calamities:
1. The disposing of the heart in every direction and resulting inner turmoil. This weakens the heart and saps it of its power.
2. Punishment of the soul and training it with the loss of what it saw and did not get. The soul is therefore in constant turmoil.
3. Forbidden glances cause the sweetness of worship and obedience to be lost. If the eye is not disciplined and made to fast from unlawful sights, the light of faith will be eroded. The soul will not taste faith or conviction except through control of the eyes.
4. If we do not lower our gaze, we commit the sins of the violation of honour and privacy. No one ever fell into filth and perversion except that their eyes had first gone astray.
What our eyes fall upon has so many implications for our soul. In this day and age, when so many things are on display – bodies, advertising, television and internet -we are constantly exposed to fitnah for our eyes, body and soul. These things erode our iman even though we may not realise it. This can have seeping or immediate consequences. As one of our righteous predecessors said: “I once looked at something that was forbidden and I forgot the Qur’an”.
There are five benefits and honours to be gained from lowering the gaze:
1. Obedience to Allah Almighty’s command to lower the gaze. This by itself is enough of an honour and blessing in this world and the next.
2. Peace of the heart, its nourishment as well as its realization of its full potential, comfort, happiness and ease.
3. Avoidance of calamities and safety from trials and misdeeds.
4. Allah opens for His servant the doors of knowledge, understanding, success and uprightness; a fitting reward for his piety.
5. Allah will instill a sense of discernment in the heart of the learned and His perfect light into the souls of the truthful.
In Ramadan our eyes should fast in obedience to the Ever Living, the Self-Subsisting. Our hunger curtails the excesses of the eye and restrains misdeeds. Let us therefore fast from the sight of unlawful things this Ramadan, in the same way that we abstain from food and drink. Let our hearts be healthy and our spirits relax, so that we may be among those who:
“Allah saved them from the evil of that Day, and gave them Nadhrah (a light of beauty) and joy. And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient.”
FAST OF THE EAR:
What we hear will have to be accounted for on the Day of Judgement. Allah, all praises and glory be to Him, tells us in the Qur’an:
“Verily, the hearing, and the sight, and the heart of each of those ones will be questioned by Allah”
The righteous people are those who listen carefully to what is said of guidance and follow it. There will be regret for those turned away from hearing the guidance and closed their eyes from the voice of truth.
The ear in Ramadan fasts from listening to obscenities, music and all forms of lewd material. The ears of the righteous abstain from things at all other times as well. Those who are heedless to the ills of these things are described by Allah as follows:
“They have hearts wherewith they understand not, and they have eyes wherewith they see not, and they have ears wherewith they hear not (the truth). They are like cattle, nay even more astray; those! They are the heedless ones.”
They have ears, but they do not listen and ponder over advice. They are like cattle, with no remembrance and no reflection. Among them are those who fill their hearing with forbidden sounds and sinful words. They forbid their ears to listen to the Noble Qur’an.
Yet it is the Qur’an which bears the fruit of faith, guidance, light and prosperity. It fills the heart with wisdom, tranquility, intimacy and contentment. It is a source of protection from dangerous, deviant and sinful thoughts. Thus the power of the ears lies in remembrance, beneficial knowledge, good advice, good manners and righteous speech. Allah praises those who perfect their listening to the Qur’an:
“And when they listen to what has been sent down to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of the truth they have recognised.”
These are those who take the greatest benefit from the Qur’an. Their ears listen to what it tells them, their hearts are moved by the guidance and they act in obedience to its commands. The ears of those who fast from other things are tuned in to what is beautiful, whilst the ears of the foolish are trained to hear falsehood. Allah describes the two groups thus:
“And whenever there comes down a Surah some of them say: ‘Which of you has had his faith increased by it?’ As for those who believe, it had increased their Faith, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease (of doubt, disbelief and hypocrisy), it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt; and they die while they are disbelievers”
Listening to the truth increases the heart in steadfastness. It is, therefore, the duty of every Muslim to praise Allah for the blessing of hearing and to use it to gain the pleasure of Allah. Towards this end, the Muslim must engage more in reading the Qur’an, studying it and attending lectures to advance their wisdom. We should also ensure that we turn away from hearing all that is frivolous, as Allah advises us:
“And when they hear Al-Laghw (dirty, false, evil talk) they withdraw from it and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you your deeds. Peace be to you. We seek not (the way of) the ignorant.”