Sayyiduna Buraidah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that on one occasion, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “O ‘Ali! Do not follow the first (accidental) glance with a second glance, as the first (accidental) glance was not a sin for you, whereas the second is a sin for you.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #2149)

In the Quraan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala commands the believing men and women alike to guard their gazes and lower their sight. (Surah Noor v30-31) Hence, every man and woman must strive and make an effort to avoid looking at that which is impermissible (e.g. looking at non-mahrams, etc.).

It must be borne in mind that just as it is impermissible for a man to look at a non-mahram woman, it is similarly impermissible for a woman to look at a non-mahram man when there is even the slightest degree of any wrong feeling or any inclination. Since the wrong feelings are often very subtle and not even realized, one must therefore totally refrain from looking at non-mahrams. Hence, in the case where a woman views pictures of non-mahram men on Instagram, Facebook, etc., or vice versa, it is even more serious, as the sin of viewing animate pictures is then compounded with the sin of looking at non-mahrams.

Guarding the gaze demands that we avoid all avenues where we know that we will probably see that which is impermissible.

If a person takes all the necessary precautions, but somehow, the gaze unintentionally falls on something impermissible, then one should immediately divert one’s gaze and look away. Since one had taken precautions and also diverted one’s gaze, one will be forgiven by Allah Ta‘ala and will not be taken to task for this gaze. However, one should not look for a second time, as this gaze is now intentional and will thus incur sin.

Often, people think that since the first gaze, which is unintentional, does not incur sin, then one should prolong that gaze and take maximum ‘enjoyment’ from it. However, in another hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) instructed Sayyiduna Jareer (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that if his gaze unintentionally fell onto something impermissible, then he should immediately divert his gaze. (Sunan Abi Dawood #2148) Hence, if one prolongs the gaze, then one is failing to uphold the command of diverting his gaze, and one will thus be sinful, since prolonging the gaze after the first moment itself becomes the second gaze.

May Allah Ta‘ala assist us all to guard our gazes and avoid all avenues of sin, aameen.