Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatallahi Wa Barakatu

Personal Bubble

Ever sat in a restaurant or some public place where all of a sudden you just “feel” someone is disturbing your personal bubble. Yes, even though you are in a public place, we all have our bubble—that internal privacy. This bubble is more defined as the boundary that limits the interaction between the public and yourself. Now after having this “feeling”, you try to affirm it by turning around, only to find a low-eyed loser staring right back at you. Then that spine-chilling wink comes. You quickly turn back around, but it’s too late. You already threw up a bit in your mouth. So long for keeping your lunch down. Now the only thing that’s going through your mind is that you wish you hadn’t turned around in the first place, and by doing so, you’ve now granted yourself a new ‘friend’, a possible stalker if you may.


We can change this scenario a bit and replace the creepy low-life into a stunning young chap. What then? Would you turn around again for a second look? Would you want to stare in his eyes and monitor his daily activities and then imagine yourself walking down the aisle with a bouquet of red roses in one arm and your other arm around his arm? But then before you plan out your life together, you have to find out what his name is, what his job is, how important religion is to him, if the beard is lack of hygiene or strength of faith, if he has money to support his future family, and….OH SNAP! What if he’s already engaged or married! With like 3 kids on the side! What if he’s not even Muslim?! But what if he is? What if he’s the dream guy? Then without anyone knowing yet, you give him a ‘codename’. This name could be ‘water’ or ‘sunshine’ or even ‘Amelia’, but you will always use something to cover up his true identity. Then you go and tell your friends about him and hang out at that same place again hoping to catch him. Heck! You might even be a stalker yourself! But you won’t realize that…yet.

We’ve all done it before. Whether you are a male wondering how a girl looks without her hijaab, or a female hoping the guy has a ‘sensitive’ side and making excuses for him when you don’t even know him, we’ve all been intrigued by the opposite gender. We’ve all sat hopelessly in a math lesson lost in thought with only one ‘important’ mathematical equation that is really trying to be solved: does Me + him/her = Lurveeeee ?

Lurveee equation

I’m sorry to say it folks, but this is the most pathetic side of a human being. At this point, one has pretty much—how shall I say this?—lost it.

Before you lose yourself thinking this is a topic about love, let me inform you that it’s not. It’s not about marriage or choosing the right spouse. It’s not about creepy guys/girls or attractive guys/girls. It’s not even about personal bubbles. What it is about, however, is the very basis of most desire: the gaze.

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.

And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty….[Quran 24:30-21]

Notice, that all the psychological, mental, and emotional feelings that are attributed to love or lust occur with just one glance or usually two.

Here’s the dealio, there are four desires in life that we strive to fulfil (in order):

1. The desire to eat/fulfill hunger
2. Sexual Desire
3. The desire for power and status
4. The desire of knowledge

Looking at this, straight away one might think that the desire to have power and status should be number two, but think about it. What is the real reason that we want to be popular and have ‘status’? It’s for sexual appeal. Yup. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t talk about this topic openly, but someone has to come out and say it. It’s all over the media anyway, its just hidden under disgusting images and words. Because we all know that materialistic objects catch the eye, many strive to look ‘pimped’.

All right, so what does Islam say about this? It’s just a glance, right? Right??

Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) narrated from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):‘Allaah has decreed for every son of Adam his share of zinaa, and there is no way to escape from it.

So there’s a word in here, ‘zinaa’. What is zinaa? Zinaa means ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ in Arabic. What does that have to do with a glance? Let’s read on:

The zinaa of the eye is a glance, the zinaa of the tongue is speaking, and the zinaa of the mind is wishing and hoping; then the private part either acts upon this or it does not.’” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 11/26; Muslim, 4/2046).

So in this context, zinaa has two meanings. The first denotation means direct unlawful sexual intercourse (as mentioned previously). The second denotation, mentioned in the second half of the hadith, pertains to indirect general zinaa.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Zinaa is not always associated with the private part itself, but may involve other faculties such as the eyes and so on.” Ibn Battaal (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “Looking and speaking are called zinaa because they lead to real zinaa. This is why he said that the private part either acts upon this or it does not”

There you go. Tell me that wasn’t simple enough to understand. All right, so going back to that first hadith, it mentions how the zinaa of the eye is a glance, the zinaa of the tongue is speaking, and the zinaa of the mind is wishing and hoping. Isn’t that true though? Even if we weren’t going to look at the hadith, isn’t it true that after the first glance we often wish to use our tongues to express what our eyes have seen, and after we have the “after-feelings”, don’t we start to wish, hope, dream, and desire what was not thought of previously? We begin to build castles in our heads that weren’t ever there before, and before we know it, it starts to really affect our life. There’s an excellent saying:“Away from the eyes, away from the mind.” If you don’t see it, you won’t think about it!

Now ok. So let’s say you’ve glanced once, twice, three times, four, however many times you did, I recommend you read this ayah:

“And come not near to unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is a faahishah [anything that transgresses its limits – a great sin], and an evil way (that leads one to Hell unless Allaah forgives him).” [al-Isra’ 17:32]

Before you go, “I didn’t have sex, so this doesn’t pertain to me,” think again.

Zooming in on the part that says “and come not near sexual intercourse” Imam Al Qurbati (May Allah have peace on him) mentioned that the ‘ulama (scholars) have said that this phrase isn’t just stating not to have sexual intercourse, but rather it is articulating that we shouldn’t even come near it! This pertains to anything that may get close to/ lead to zinaa, for instance, being alone with a nonmahram, taking lustful glances, touching, looking, or even going to places where such things may occur.

But lo! There are those that go farther. Yes, even Muslims make mistakes, but aha! If you’re reading this, you may be saved…or something.

Anyways, you may see some brother walking with a sister or some woman around his arm. Obviously this person isn’t his sister, aunt, or close relative. Nor do you know of the brother being married to this girl, but as a good Muslim should be, you may want to confront the brother before raising suspicions.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) explained: “If one of you were to be stabbed in the head with a piece of iron it would be better for him than if he were to touch a woman whom it is not permissible for him to touch.”(Reported by al-Tabaraani; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5045).

Ouch! Would you rather be stabbed in the head or hold back on your desires for a bit until you get yourself a real woman? If you chose the former, please see a doctor.

This hadith refers to the punishment of touching a woman. No not accidentally bumping into her, but more like holding hands, or flirtatiously “hitting” or whatever it is some think is giggly fun. If that punishment is just for touching, what do you think the punishment is for kissing, embracing, or even…zinaa. By the way, zinaa is the third major sin. Refrain from it!! Surely in the hereafter, the punishment is far greater than the ordered punishment of this world (i.e. the punishment set out by Islam for zinaa is one hundred lashes and a year’s exile for one who is unmarried, and stoning for one who is married)!

In essence, the gaze itself is a form of zinaa, and it leads to sexual intercourse. If you are a male with friends who are girls, or if you are a female with boys as friends, fear Allah. You do not have control over their feelings and rarely are we able to even control our own, so Allahu a’lem what fitnah is occurring in such situation. Sometimes, the gaze isn’t even what sparks a relationship, for even the blind can fall into zinaa.

Returning to the very first scenario, just lower your gaze and say astughfirallah. If you have strong desires and can’t lower your gaze, leave the area. We like to use an excuse that blames the other person for dressing, speaking, or doing things that are seductive/perverted, but truly we can’t control what they do, but we can certainly control what we ourselves do.

There are also those that may have girlfriends/boyfriends and plan to get married to them one day. If you truly love someone and plan to be with him or her, do not steal away from what should be saved for marriage, if you steal away from that, then you are stealing away from half of your deen (religion) as well. What’s going to be left for marriage and if you all of a sudden become ‘religious’, you will regret what you’ve done. Why make your life difficult? Take the example from a typical western society, marriages last 50% of the time now a days. That’s sad and pathetic. But its no wonder they do, once you’ve slept with more than one person and then left him/her, what’s going to make the one you marry any better? Nothing much really.

One of the important principles which the salaf (may Allaah have mercy on them) pointed out is that the sincere believer who truly hopes for Allaah and the Hereafter should not look at whether the sin is major or minor, or whether it carries a punishment (hadd) or not.

It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with them both) said: “There is no major sin if one asks for forgiveness, and there is no minor sin if one persists in repeating it.” Someone else said: “If you want to disobey Allaah, do not think about the smallness of the sin, think about the greatness of the One Whom you are disobeying.”

So there you have it. When you know of someone that has a problem with lowering their gaze, tell them to fear Allah in these instances. Those who guard themselves from what is forbidden in this life, will be free to do all that they desired to do in the gardens of Paradise bi’idnillahi wa ta’ala. Believe me, when you strive to do things for the sake of Allah, nothing is impossible.

This is just a reminder and a path for correct guidance. May we all succeed as an Ummah and make our Lord proud of us and may we strive to walk upon siratul mustaqeem (the straight path) ameen.

fi aman Allah
Walaikum Assalaam