Immodesty in Islamic Perspective

Immoral information should not be publicised
Islam wants modesty to prevail and it prevents from publicising the information related to immorality. It has prohibited a person to publicise evil if he happens to listen to or look at any. If a person is seen doing anything bad, he should be advised not to do so and his act should not be narrated to others, not to speak of making it a headline in newspapers or give it publicity by other means. To consider this as ‘freedom of journalism' is a term of those ignorant people who are involved in the optimism of the present era. Otherwise, who-being a truly intellectual will allow all this? To publicize immorality will only spread evilness. That is why it is required to conceal the immorality of a person, and while doing so, advise and exhort him not to indulge in such kind of acts. It is narrated in a Hadith:
مَنْ سَتَرَ مُسْلِمًا سَتَرَهُ اللَّهُ فِى الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ (مسلم)
"He who conceals (immoralities of) a Muslim, Allah will conceal him (i.e., his immoralities) in this world and the Hereafter". (Muslim)
Further more, it has been quoted in Abu Dawood and Nasa'ie that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
مَنْ رَأَى عَوْرَةً فَسَتَرَهَا كَانَ كَمَنْ أَحْيَا مَوْءُودَةً (أبو داؤد. نسائي)
"He who conceals (immoralities of) anybody, it is as if he resurrected a girl who was buried alive".
(Abu Dawood, Nasa'ie)
The affectionate and sympathetic Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) of the whole mankind directed that if there is any animal with whom a person, ignorant and unaware of the consequences, has committed an immoral act, it should be slaughtered. The reason behind this is that people should not be able to point at that animal and say it is with whom an immoral act was committed. It is quoted in Tirmidhi:
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مَنْ وَجَدْتُمُوهُ وَقَعَ عَلَى بَهِيمَةٍ فَاقْتُلُوهُ وَاقْتُلُوا الْبَهِيمَةَ (ترمزي. مسند أحمد)
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "whosoever you find has committed an immoral act with an animal, kill him and also slaughter that animal". (Tirmidhi, Musnad Ahmad)
The Islamic Shariah has commanded to slaughter such animal on the basis that its mere mention or the cause of mention also ceases to exist. But, the so-called civilized nations of the present era do not perceive any shame in these actions of immorality. Alas! Whereas these kind of actions are clear and manifest proof of stupidity. Imaam Ghazali (RA), in his famous book, ‘Ihya-ul-Uloom', writes:
When a person reaches to the extreme level of (sexual) passion, two third of his intellect departs.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to invoke this prayer:
أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ سَمْعِى وَ بَصَرِى وَ قَلْبِى وَ هَنِى و مَنِيِّى
"O Allah! I take refuge in You from the harm of my ear, eye, heart, private part and the sperm" (Ihya-ul-Uloom)
Allah Ta'ala has not granted the sexual appetite to man so that he may prove himself a devil or animal with it, but it has been created inside him for a particular purpose. In this connection, Imaam Ghazali (RA) writes:
اعلم أن شهوة الوقاع سلطنت على الإنسان لفائدتين أحدهما أن يدرك لذته فيقس به لذات الآخرة فإن لذة الوقاع لو دامت لكان أقوى لذات الأجساد كما أن النار و آلامها أعظم آلام الجسد و الترغيب و الترهيب يسوق الناس ألى سعادتهم و ليس ذالك إلا بألم محسوس و لذات محسوسة مدركة فإن مالا يدرك بالذوق لا يعظم إليه الشوق. ألفائدة الثانية بقاء الناس و دوام الوجود فهذه فائدتها (إحياء العلوم جزء ثالث القول في شهوة الفرج)
"Know that the sexual passion has been created inside human beings for two benefits. (i) He may gauge the pleasures of the Hereafter through sexual intercourse. If it were lasting, this pleasure would have been stronger than any other pleasure, as the physical pain inflicted by fire is greater than any other pain. To gain eternal fortune, warnings and arousal of interests are necessary for people and this necessity can be accomplished in its entirety only when a perceptible pain or a perceptible pleasure is made as its means. (2) The second benefit is preservation of mankind". (Ihya-ul-Uloom, Vol 111, ‘Sexual Passion')
Further, Imaam Bukhari (RA) narrates its different kinds in a very nice manner. He writes:
The sexual passion is half the army of devil and its another half is anger. It is because of these two that he conquers the hearts. The greatest of the passions is that of a woman. Like the passion of food, it has also three stages viz., high extremity, low extremity and moderateness.
High extremity is that the sexual passion overcomes the intellect and there remains no other aim before a person but to extract pleasure from women; and while in the company of such women possessing devilish attributes, it makes him unconcerned about the Hereafter, overpowers his Deen (religion) and keeps him busy in disapproved acts. The high and low extremity of sexual passion gives birth to number of immoralities e.g., the anxiety to look for the medicine that improves sexual potency; like the way some people take recourse to digestive powder or medicine to strengthen the stomach and the desire to eat more and more increases. The example of such a person is like the one who falls into the trap of beasts or snakes and when they become inattentive of him and give him a chance to run away, he in turn awakens and enrages them to attack him and when then do so, he tries to devise a method to save himself. The passion for food and sex is injurious and lethal like the beasts and snakes, and it should be considered a huge blessing if one is able to remain safe from them.
He further writes: Due to high extremity towards sexual passion some misguided people fall in love. These type of people do not know that the real purpose behind sexual intercourse is not mere pleasure but something else which they are unaware of, and in this, they have even taken the lead from the animals. Futher, an ‘Ashiq' (lover) is not able to satisfy his lust anywhere else than with a particular woman because he thinks that he will get satisfaction only after having sex with that woman. For this purpose he tolerates every kind of disgrace and invites infamy to himself to the extent that he even accepts slavery and surrenders his intellect and vision before his sexual passion. It is worth to mention here that the man was created for all creation to submit before him. He was not created to become servant of his sexual passion and leave no stone unturned while serving it. ‘Ishq' is another name given to the high extremity of sexual passion. It is the ailment of such a heart that is neither able to do any work and nor has any aim before it. It is at the beginning only that one can save himself from the severity of sexual passion by not looking again at any Gair-Mahram after the first unintentional look and continue with his ‘Fikr'-meditation. If the sexual passion gets aggravated, it is difficult to terminate it. Same is the case with the love of wealth, property and children that if it intensifies, it declines with difficulty. Further, up to extent, that so much interest is shown in the games like chess, dice and archery that a person does not pay due importance to any religious or worldly affair before these. These things make him uneasy and disturbed all the time. The person who cools down the fire of passion at the very beginning is like a person who does not want his horse to go inside a door and so whenever it tries to turn towards that door, he pulls it back by its rein. And the example of that person who wants to cool down the fire of passion after it blazes up is like the one who lets his horse to enter the door and then pulls it back by its tail and believes that it will not revolt. How much difference is there in these two examples as far as easiness and confusion is concerned? That is why it is better to stay cautious in the beginning itself. When an ailment attains severity, there is a need of much hard work and struggle to treat it and at times the treatment itself become so severe that it tells upon ones life. Anyway, it is very objectionable that the lust and passion overcome the intellect of a person to such an extent.
Now, the low extremity of sexual passion is that it ceases to exist i.e., a person becomes impotent and is not able to relish his wife. This is also disliked.
In between these two extremes lies the moderate way which is praiseworthy. The moderation is that a person does not adhere to sexual passion but the sexual passion itself remains obedient to the intellect and the Shariah, and while acting under their command, he restricts it by hunger and Nikaah.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) says:
يَا مَعْشَرَ الشَّبَابِ مَنِ اسْتَطَاعَ مِنْكُمُ الْبَاءَةَ فَلْيَتَزَوَّجْ ، وَمَنْ لَمْ يَسْتَطِعْ فَعَلَيْهِ بِالصَّوْمِ فَإِنَّهُ لَهُ وِجَاءٌ (بخاري)
"O young people! Whoever among you is able to marry, should marry, and whoever is not able to marry, is recommended to fast, as fasting will diminish his sexual passion". (Bukhari)
It is worth to mention here that usually it is not considered necessary to take precaution from two things, though, both of them are very necessary.
Firstly, the way it is necessary for men to observe Pardah by not looking at Gair-Mahram women, similarly it is necessary and important for women not to look at Gair-Mahram men. On this topic, there is a famous Hadith quoted in Abu Dawood, Nasa'ie and Tirmidhi, which says:
عَنْ أُمِّ سَلَمَةَ قَالَتْ كُنْتُ عِنْدَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَعِنْدَهُ مَيْمُونَةُ فَأَقْبَلَ ابْنُ أُمِّ مَكْتُومٍ وَذَلِكَ بَعْدَ أَنْ أُمِرْنَا بِالْحِجَابِ فَقَالَ النَّبِىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم احْتَجِبَا مِنْهُ فَقُلْنَا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَلَيْسَ أَعْمَى لاَ يُبْصِرُنَا وَلاَ يَعْرِفُنَا فَقَالَ النَّبِىُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَفَعَمْيَاوَانِ أَنْتُمَا أَلَسْتُمَا تُبْصِرَانِهِ (أبو داؤد. نسائي. ترمزي)
Hadhrat Umm-i-Salmah (RA) narrates that, "I was with the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) while Maymunah was with him. Then Ibn Umm Maktum came. This happened when we were ordered to observe veil (purdah). The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Observe veil from him. We asked: O Apostle of Allah! is he not blind? He can neither see us nor recognise us. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: Are both of you blind? Do you not see him? (Abu Dawood, Nasa'ie, Tirmidhi)
After quoting this Hadith, Imaam Ghazali (RA) writes:
This Hadith proves that it is not lawful for women to sit even in the company of blind men as is the common practice in occasions where women do not observe veil from such men. Similarly it is also Haraam for a blind man to stay in company of any Gair-Mahram woman.
Another issue in relation to which necessary caution is required is the connection and attachment with juvenile, as this can also involve one in a trial. At times, a person gets involved in serious misforture because of slight carelessness. Imaam Ghazali (RA) has very nicely interpreted this, he writes:
The vice of juveniles is more serious than that of women, because of that fact that if a person gets attracted towards a woman, he can get her by performing Nikaah and satisfy his desire through lawful manner. But, it is in no way lawful to satisfy sexual passion with a juvenile. It is Haraam even to look at a juvenile. The nice looking juveniles are a medium of serious tests and tribulations. Some people possessing weak Imaan get inclined towards them and find attraction in their faces. They find it pleasing to look at the beardless faces rather than those with beard. All these are matters of tests and tribulations and one is supposed to stay away from them. (Ihya-ul-Uloom)

Calamity of sight
While commenting on the calamity of sight, he further writes:
To stare with lustful eyes is Haraam. Some people while taking it as an ordinary issue neglect it and this ogling unintentionally and unconsciously pollutes them with sins.
A Taaba'ee says:
I think that an ascetic (Zaahid) and devout (Aabid) young man will not be harmed by a beast as much as he will be by the company of a juvenile.
A very famous Muhaddith-Sufiyaan-i-Thouri (RA) says:
If a person plays with the finger or two of a juvenile's feet with sexual passion, he will be considered a sodomist.
It is quoted from some grand predecessors that there will be three types of sodomists in this Ummah. One-those who will only ogle, two-those who will limit themselves with just touching and handshaking, three-those who will indulge in the sinful act. This proves that the calamity of sight is most severe than any other calamities. (Ihya-ul-Uloom, Vol-3)
May Allah save His slaves from this wicked calamity. It is necessary for a Muslim to adopt chastity and virtuousness and save himself from everything contrary to this, because this is what the Imaan demands and in this lies the prosperity. At this juncture, I would like to quote the summary of a topic from the book ‘Ihya-ul-Uloom' of Hujjatul Islam Imaam Ghazali (RA), in which he has explained the virtues of saving oneself from the adultery of sex organ and that of eye, and also narrated few episodes. He says:
Know that from among all the passions, the most overwhelming passion on a man is sexual passion, and at the time of excitement, the most disobedient to intellect. Besides, the repercussions of this act are very bad up to the limit of disgracefulness and the one who indulges in it feels shame and fear. Most of the people who don't indulge in this act is because of their weakness, fear, shame or safety of their body. None of these reasons can become a means of Thawaab (reward), because to stay away from indulging in adultery on account of these reasons is to give precedence to one pleasure out of the two. This is better than committing a sin but that pleasure is not in itself worth of Thawaab. The virtue and Thawaab is on that safety whose driving force is the fear of Allah, and this fear should evolve at such a situation when one has full control and ability to do the act, no obstacle of any kind exists and especially when he is in a state of true sexual passion. This is the status of Saadiqeen (truthful people). This is why Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
من عيش فكتم و عفّ فمات فهو شهيد (جامع صغير)
"He who fell in love, then concealed it and adopted virtuousness and then died, he is a Shaheed (martyr)". (Jaam'e Sageer)
It is narrated in a Hadith that seven persons are such on whom Allah Ta'ala will provide a place under the shade of Arsh on the day when there will be no other shade i.e., the day of Qiyaamah. The one among these seven as narrated in the Hadith is:
وَرَجُلٌ دَعَتْهُ امْرَأَةٌ ذَاتُ مَنْصِبٍ وَجَمَالٍ فَقَالَ إِنِّى أَخَافُ اللَّهَ (بخاري)
"A man who is invited by a beautiful and respectable woman towards herself and he refuses her invitation by saying, I fear Allah". (Bukhari)
The incident of Hadhrat Yousuf (AS) is very famous, who while having full control along with the desire and wish of Zulaikha, did not take even a step forward. This supreme character of Hadhrat Yousuf (AS) has been appreciated in the Holy Qur'an. As far as the chastity and virtuousness is concerned, he was the Imaam of whole mankind.