Immodesty in Islamic Perspective

Few incidents
It has been narrated that Hadhrat Sulaimaan bin Yassar (RA) was a very handsome man. A wonderful and surprising incident is related about him that once he along with his companion went to perform Haj from Madina. On reaching a place namely Abwa, they made a stay. His companion took a bag and went to the market for some purchasing and left Hadhrat Sulaimaan in the tent. A woman from certain village while passing through that place saw the good looking face of Hadhrat Sulaimaan and wholeheartedly fell in love with him. The tent of Hadhrat Sulaimaan was tied at the foot of a hill while that woman was at its peak. When she saw him, she came down and went straight into his tent. She had a veil on her face and her hands were in gloves. When she removed her veil, it appeared as if moon had come out of a cloud. She was extremely beautiful and attractive and asked Hadhrat Sulaimaan to give her something. He thought that she was asking for some food. He got up and took the left over from the dining cloth and offered it to her. She said, "I am not in need of any food, I only want that which takes place between a husband and a wife". Hadhrat Sulaimaan said, "Did the devil bring you here after seducing you?". He lowered his head into his knees and wept loudly. When she saw him weeping like this, she felt ashamed and left. After few moments, the companion of Hadhrat Sulaimaan came back from the market, he saw that the eyes of Hadhrat Sulaimaan had swelled up because of weeping. On asking the reason, Hadhrat Sulaimaan said that he badly missed his daughter. Not believing him, his companion said, "before this you never missed your daughter, what happened all of a sudden". When his companion stressed to know the reason, Hadhrat Sulaimaan narrated the whole episode to him. After listening, his companion started weeping. Hadhrat Sulaimah asked him the reason and he said, "I am weeping because had I been at your place, I would not have been able to reject her demand and thereby committed a sin". For some time they both wept and then again started their journey. When he reached Makkah and after performing Tawaaf (circumambulation of Ka'ba) and Sa'ee (running between Safa and Marwa), he wrapped up his garments and sat near Hajr-i-Aswad (the black stone). While staying there he was overwhelmed by sleep and had a dream in which he saw a tall handsome man from whose body a beautiful fragrance was erupting. He asked, "Who are you?". The young man replied, "I am Yousuf (AS)". He again asked, "Yousuf-i-Siddiq?" (the truthful Yousuf (AS)). He replied in affirmation. Hadhrat Sulaimaan said that your incident with Zulaikha is wonderful. On this, Hadhrat Yousuf (AS) said that your incident with the woman of Abwa is more wonderful than mine.
This is the status of a person who saves himself from adultery even when being in full control to commit it. Next to him is that person who saves his eyes from indulging in this crime (i.e., avoids to gaze at Gair-Mahram). It should be noted that the eye is a gateway that leads to adultery, and since it very difficult to stop it from looking, it become more necessary to save it. People have become careless in this regard and believe it to be of a trivial nature. We don't consider it so important though it is the basis of all the calamities. One is forgiven and wont be held accountable if he casts a look at someone the first time without any purpose or intention, but it is not so if he looks again.
Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
لك الأولى و عليك الآخرة (كنز العمال ج 5 ص 468)
"You will not be held accountable for the first gaze bur for the second, you will be answerable" (Kunzul Ummal)
Allaama Ibn Ziyaadah (RA) says, "Don't cast your looks on a woman's veil because this act will sow the seeds of lust in your eyes. It seldom happens that a person will not look again at a woman or a good looking juvenile after the first sight. If you unintentionally had the first look and then your temperament shows its desire for the next, establish this notion into you heart that to look again is foolishness because it will not liberate you even after that. In these situations it can happen that, either you may like that face or you may not like it. In the first case i.e., if you will like that face, your Nafs (inner self) will demand sex, and when you will not be able to fulfill it, nothing will fall into your hands except regret and deprivation. In the second case, the purpose itself will expire for which you had cast the second look i.e., to obtain enjoyment. You will not feel any attraction in an ugly face, but still there would be an addition of sin in your record book (i.e., Nama-Ae'mal). These type of sins are termed as joyless sins. So to say that by casting a second look either you will get regret or deprivation of enjoyment, and both these are useless and cause wrongdoing".

Significance of repentance (Tawbah)
If the eyes are protected by not looking at what is prohibited then the heart will remain safe from number of calamities and this is also the highest degree of Tawfeeq (Divine help) and a cause of extreme strength.
Hadhrat Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Muzni (RA) says that a butcher fell in love with the daughter of his neighbour. Once, the parents of this girl sent her to a neighbouring colony for some job. When the butcher came to know this, he followed and stopped her at roadside and then provoked her to commit sin with him. The girl advised him not to do so and also said to him, "I have more love for you in my heart then you have for me, but I fear Allah". The butcher said, "If you fear Allah, why shouldn't I, how can that be?". He repented at that place and turned back. On his way back, he felt thirsty and his thirst intensified to such an extent that he was about to die. Meanwhile, an envoy of a Prophet from among the Prophets of Bani-Isra'eel passed by and he enquired about his condition. The butcher said, "I am thirsty". The envoy said to him, "Let's invoke together that until we reach that particular village, the shadow of a cloud may remain on us". The butcher said, "I don't have any good deed that I will invoke through, so I request you to invoke". The envoy said, "Alright! I will invoke, but you should say Amin". The envoy started invoking and the butcher kept on saying Amin until a big lump of cloud cast its shadow on them and they started their journey. After reaching their destination, when they started to depart from each other, the lump of cloud moved along with the butcher. The envoy on seeing this asked him the reason behind it. The butcher narrated to him the incident of his repentance.
A famous noble man Hadhrat Ahmad bin Sa'eed (RA) narrates from his father that in Kufa there lived an extremely devout young man who usually spent his time in Jama Masjid. He was very tall, handsome and of very high character. A woman saw him and she fell in love with him at the first sight. For a long time the spark of love kept blowing inside her heart but she couldn't get any opportunity to express it. One day while going to the Musjid, this woman held his way and said, "O young man! First listen to me then do whatever you wish to do". But this young man did not say anything and moved on until he reached the Musjid. On his return, she was still there waiting for him and when this young man reached near her, she tried to talk to him. The young man said, "This is a place of ill-repute and I don't want anybody to see me with you and defame me, so don't hold my path and let me go". She said, "By Allah, I didn't stand up here because I am not aware of your status, or that I don't know that this is a place of ill-repute. May Allah not let the people become suspicious about me. But in this very matter, the issue that incited me to meet you is that the people exaggerate any small thing, and the devout people like you are just like a mirror which gets affected even by a small cloud of dust. I just want to make a very reasonable point that I am passionately in love with you and it is only Allah Who may decide the affair between you and me". The narrator says that the young man went straight to his home without saying any word. After reaching his home, he tried to offer Salaah but was unable concentrate on it. Under compulsion he took his pen and wrote down few lines on a piece of paper to this woman. After writing down, he came out of his home and saw that she was still there. He threw this piece of paper towards her and quickly went back inside. It was written:
"O lady! You should know that when a slave disobeys Allah, He forgives him. When he again indulges in this, He keeps it secret. When he makes it an amusement, then He sends down such a wrath that the land and the sky, the trees and the stones and even the animals shiver up. Who is there who can handle His displeasure? Whatever you said, if it is wrong, then remember the day on which the sky will melt like copper, the earth will become like carded cotton and all the mankind will fall in prostration before the Jabbar-i-Azim (The Mighty Subduer). I swear by Allah, my own condition is that I am unable to reform my own Nafs and in such a situation it is not possible for me to reform others. And if you are speaking truth, I will convey you the address of such a Tabeeb (physician) who is able to treat satisfactorily and remedially every kind of injury and ailment, and that Tabeeb is Allah, who is the Sustainer of all the world. Submit before Him and ask your desire to Him. I can't do anything for you except to recite this Aayat:
وَأَنْذِرْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْآزِفَةِ إِذِ الْقُلُوبُ لَدَى الْحَنَاجِرِ كَاظِمِينَ مَا لِلظَّالِمِينَ مِنْ حَمِيمٍ وَلَا شَفِيعٍ يُطَاعُ () يَعْلَمُ خَائِنَةَ الْأَعْيُنِ وَمَا تُخْفِي الصُّدُورُ ()
"And warn them of the day that draws near, when hearts shall rise up to the throats, grieving inwardly; the unjust shall not have any compassionate friend nor any intercessor who should be obeyed. He knows the stealthy looks and that which the breasts conceal". (40:18-19)
After few days that woman was again seen on the road side, when he saw her, he intended to turn back but she called him and asked, "Why are you turning back, this is the last meeting and after this we will meet only before Allah". She wept profusely and said, "I pray to Allah in Whose hands your heart is to make it easy the difficulty that confronts you because of me". After this she requested him for an advice. The young man said, "I only advise you to keep yourself safe from your Nafs and always remember this Aayah:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ بِاللَّيْلِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا جَرَحْتُمْ بِالنَّهَارِ
"And He it is Who takes your souls at night (in sleep), and He knows what you acquire in the day" (6:60)
The narrator says that after listening to this advise she wept profusely for a long time and when she recovered, she went to her home, prayed for a while and then died. After this the young man used to remember her and weep. The people used to say to him, what is the benefit of weeping now when previously you disappointed her. He used to reply, "I had slaughtered her desire on the very first day and I had the belief that this act will be my provision for the Hereafter, but now I fear that this provision may not turn back on me".
The abstract of the topic
Man is a human being and hence prone to mistakes, but the sensible one is he who recognizes his mistake, repents from it and strives to reform himself. Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said:
عَنْ أَنَسٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم كُلُّ بَنِى آدَمَ خَطَّاءٌ وَخَيْرُ الْخَطَّائِينَ التَّوَّابُونَ (ابن ماجه. مشكاة)
Hadhrat Anas (RA) narrated that Rasululah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "Every person is a mischief-maker and the best mischief-maker is he who repents in abundance" (Ibn Majah, Mishkaat)
The most important thing in this is that a person should never consider his sin as ordinary. Imaam Bukhari (RA) quoted a Hadith on the authority of Abdullah bin Anas (RA):
إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ يَرَى ذُنُوبَهُ كَأَنَّهُ قَاعِدٌ تَحْتَ جَبَلٍ يَخَافُ أَنْ يَقَعَ عَلَيْهِ ، وَإِنَّ الْفَاجِرَ يَرَى ذُنُوبَهُ كَذُبَابٍ مَرَّ عَلَى أَنْفِهِ. (بخاري)
"A believer considers his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away". (Bukhari)
So, it is necessary for a believer to repent before Allah and after that resolve firmly to desist from all kinds of sins. What a favour this is from Allah that He Himself prepares His slaves to perform Tawbah, in spite of that fact that His grandeur is Ghani (The Self Sufficient, without want) and anyone's sins don't concern Him anyway. If the whole world gets submerged into the sins, it will in no way matter Allah, but it is His Mercy and Kindness that He Himself induces his slaves to perform Tawbah and narrates His promises in this respect and also expresses His happiness. Look and contemplate on the following Aayaat (verses) how mercifully Allah Ta'ala invites his slaves towards Tawbah and assures His forgiveness.
اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا
"Ask forgiveness of your Lord, surely He is the most Forgiving." (71:10)
Again, He says at another place:
وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ سُوءًا أَوْ يَظْلِمْ نَفْسَهُ ثُمَّ يَسْتَغْفِرِ اللَّهَ يَجِدِ اللَّهَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا
And whoever does evil or acts unjustly to his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, he shall find Allah Forgiving, Merciful. (4:110)
While commenting on this Aayat Allaama Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani (RA) writes:
سوء and ظلم denote the minor and major sins respectively or سوء means those sins which agonise others e.g., to defame someone; and ظلم is-the evil of which is confined to ones own self only. Anyway, of whichever nature the sin may be, its remedy is ‘Istigfaar' (to ask forgiveness) and Tawbah (repentance). Allah Ta'ala forgives the sins of one who repents. If some people prove innocence of a criminal deliberately by fraud or prove him guiltless by mistake, it cannot reduce his crime, but if he repents, he can be forgiven.
وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ ()
"And He it is Who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do". (42:25)
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَةِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
"Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He is the Forgiving the Merciful". (39:53)
أَفَلَا يَتُوبُونَ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَهُ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ
"Will they not then turn to Allah and ask His forgiveness? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful". (5:74)
أَلَمْ يَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَأْخُذُ الصَّدَقَاتِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ
"Do they not know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes the alms, and that Allah is the Oft-returning (to mercy), the Merciful?" (9:104)
وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِمَنْ تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَى
"And most surely I am most Forgiving to him who repents and believes and does good, then continues to follow the right direction". (20:82)
Allaama Shabbir Ahmad Uthmani (RA) writes in its commentary:
How big a criminal may be, if he repents with a true heart and adopts the path of belief and righteousness and remains steadfast until death, there will be no dearth of forgiveness and mercy from Allah.
There are number of Aayaat that mention this topic but here only few have been quoted. Now, some Ahaadith are being mentioned below:
عَنْ أَبِى مُوسَى عَنِ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ يَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِاللَّيْلِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِىءُ النَّهَارِ وَيَبْسُطُ يَدَهُ بِالنَّهَارِ لِيَتُوبَ مُسِىءُ اللَّيْلِ حَتَّى تَطْلُعَ الشَّمْسُ مِنْ مَغْرِبِهَا (مسلم)
Hadhrat Abu Musa (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "Allah spreads His hand during the night so that the one who committed sins during the day may repent, and spreads His hand during the day so that the one who committed sins during the night may repent (this will continue) until the sun rises from the west" (Muslim)
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ زَوْجِ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا اعْتَرَفَ بِذَنْبِهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ (مسند أحمد. بيهقي)
Hadhrat Ayesha (RA) says that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "When a slave admits his sins and then repents, Allah Ta'ala accepts his repentance" (Musnad Ahmad, Baihaqi)
How much kindness, generosity and beneficence is it that not only the sin of a person is forgiven because of repentance, but he becomes so pure and clean after it as if he has not committed any sin i.e., even the stain of that sin is washed away from his heart. A Hadith says:
عَبْدِ اللَّهِ مَسعُودٍ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم التَّائِبُ مِنَ الذَّنْبِ كَمَنْ لاَ ذَنْبَ لَهُ (رواه ابن ماجه و البيهقي في شعب الإيمان)
Hadhrat Abdullah bin Masood (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "A repentant from a sin is like the one who has not committed any sin". (Ibn Majah, Baihaqi)
Different types of words have been narrated for repentance. The main purpose is to repent, so in whichever language anyone repents, it is correct. But, here it is worth to mention the invocation of repentance which has been declared as "Sayyidul Istigfaar" in the Hadith, and with it I end this topic.
سيد الاستغفار
عَنْ بُشَيْرِ بْنِ كَعْبٍ الْعَدَوِىِّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنِى شَدَّادُ بْنُ أَوْسٍ رضى الله عنه عَنِ النَّبِىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم سَيِّدُ الاِسْتِغْفَارِ أَنْ تَقُولَ اللَّهُمَّ أَنْتَ رَبِّى ، لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ ، خَلَقْتَنِى وَأَنَا عَبْدُكَ ، وَأَنَا عَلَى عَهْدِكَ وَوَعْدِكَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُ ، أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ شَرِّ مَا صَنَعْتُ ، أَبُوءُ لَكَ بِنِعْمَتِكَ عَلَىَّ وَأَبُوءُ بِذَنْبِى ، اغْفِرْ لِى ، فَإِنَّهُ لاَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلاَّ أَنْتَ
Hadhrat Shaddad bin Aus (RA) narrated that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, "The superior ‘Istigfaar' is that you say أللهم أنت ربي up to إلا أنت (translation) O Allah! You are my Lord and there is no god but You; it is You Who created me. I am your slave and in agreement and promise with You in conformity to my strength; I take refuge in You from the evils I have done. I admit the blessing that you have showered on me and I admit my sin that I have committed. Forgive me, there is none else who can forgive than You".
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Cont'd from page 20
قَالَ وَمَنْ قَالَهَا مِنَ النَّهَارِ مُوقِنًا بِهَا ، فَمَاتَ مِنْ يَوْمِهِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُمْسِىَ ، فَهُوَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ ، وَمَنْ قَالَهَا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ وَهْوَ مُوقِنٌ بِهَا ، فَمَاتَ قَبْلَ أَنْ يُصْبِحَ ، فَهْوَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ (بخاري)
"If somebody recites it during the day with firm faith in it, and dies on the same day before the evening, he will be among the dwellers of Paradise; and if somebody recites it at night with firm faith in it, and dies before the morning, he will be among the dwellers of Paradise." (Bukhari)