عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَال كُلُّ عَيْنٍ زَانِيَةٌ وَالْمَرْأَةُ إِذَا اسْتَعْطَرَتْ فَمَرَّتْ بِالْمَجْلِسِ فَهِيَ كَذَا وَكَذَا يَعْنِي زَانِيَةً
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said, “Every eye [which casts lustful glances] is a zaaniyah (fornicator). And when a woman puts on perfume and then passes by a gathering, then she is such-and-such” i.e. a zaaniyah.
Another narration of this hadith is related by Abu Dawud, with a slightly different wording. The explanation of these two ahadith, from the texts Tuhfadhul Ahwadhi and ‘Awn al-Ma’bood, clarifies a few things. Those of you who can understand Arabic, please click on the links provided so you can check it for yourself.
- The eye which is a zaaniyah is the one which looks at a non-mahram woman with lust and desire;
- The type of perfume is one where its smell is readily apparent and obvious;
- The gathering she passes by is a gathering of men;
- The narration of Abu Dawud has the wording, “in order that they might smell her scent“. This makes it clear as to what motivates her to do this and what her intention is – she wants men to notice her;
- Such a woman is regarded as a zaaniyah because she aroused the desire of the men, and prompted them to look at her. And each one of them who looks at her, commits zina with his eyes. She is the cause of this zina of the eyes, and therefore she is sinful and regarded as a zaaniyah.
From reading the hadith alone, it might seem to be blaming women only, but when read with its explanation it’s clear that this isn’t the case. The men too are at fault: they are commanded in the Qur’an to lower their gaze and in failing to do so, they commit zina of the eyes and thus are sinful. The woman, by doing what she did, is the cause of that sin happening, and so she too is sinful. The situation is worse for the woman however. Each of the men would only be sinning once. But if the gathering numbered ten men for example, then the sin she would be getting is tenfold that of the men, once for each person who looks at her (and Allah knows best)!
From the explanation given it also seems to me, and Allah knows best, that this scenario need not only apply to the case of a perfumed woman. For example, if in place of putting on perfume she wears a mini-skirt instead and then walks by a group of men, the same thing would play out. The desire of the men would be aroused, they would commit the sin of zina of the eyes, and thus she would be regarded as a zaaniyah, due to being the cause of that. Or if she were to take pictures of herself in which her ‘awrah is uncovered, and then make it available for other people to view, the same thing would apply again.
And how many times don’t we find that happening, especially on sites such as Facebook? How many Muslimahs aren’t there on there, with pictures of themselves in which they are not covered properly? And how many male Muslims aren’t there, who fall into the sin of zina of the eyes by looking at such pictures?
Someone once asked me if I have a problem with Facebook. I do. And it’s because of exactly all of this. It has snatched the veil of modesty away from us and caused behaviour which normally would be regarded as unacceptable, to become commonplace. The sinfulness is so prevalent and widespread that we don’t even think of it as being a big deal anymore, we just accept the situation as it is. There are some women who wouldn’t go outside dressed improperly but don’t seem to have a problem uploading such improper pictures. Just because it is the virtual world, doesn’t make it OK.
For the female Muslims: don’t use Facebook to commit zina! Don’t upload any pictures of yourself in which you are not covered properly, regardless of whether or not your intention is to attract the attention of men. This act is far more dangerous than that of the woman described in the hadith, because in that scenario there is only a limited amount of people in that gathering who would see her. But on the internet!? There are literally millions and millions of people who could potentially commit this sin with you, and on account of which you would be gaining sins. Wallahul musta’an!
For the male Muslims: don’t use Facebook to commit zina! Don’t go on there to look at pictures of non-mahram women. And it’s bad enough committing this sin of zina of the eyes when it is with a kaafir woman; it’s so much more worse when it’s done with a Muslim woman – since she is your sister in faith. At least desist from that, if you cannot desist from it altogether.
If any of us may have been guilty of the above in the past, then it is necessary to make tawbah for that and turn to Allah in sincere repentance. But there are three conditions attached to tawbah:
- One should desist from the sin. For example, one cannot ask for forgiveness for having uploaded pictures she shouldn’t have while still leaving them up there for all to view. They need to be deleted.
- One should feel remorse and regret for having committed the sin.
- One should make a firm determination not to return to the sin. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will never slip back into the sin in the future. What it does mean is that you should sincerely want to not return to it. Should it happen that you do fall back into it, you should make tawbah once again, and maintain your hope in the Most Merciful. This should be repeated each and every time you return to the sin.
May Allah ta’ala have mercy on us all, forgive us all of our sins, avert from us evil and sinful behaviour, make it easy for us to resist all the temptations that surround us, and grant us to turn to Him in sincere repentance.
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَى أَنْفُسهمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِنْ رَحْمَة اللَّه إِنَّ اللَّه يَغْفِر الذُّنُوب جَمِيعًا إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُور الرَّحِيم
“Say, ‘O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves, do not despair of the Mercy of Allah; indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.’”
نَبِّئْ عِبَادِي أَنِّي أَنَا الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ وَأَنَّ عَذَابِي هُوَ الْعَذَابُ الْأَلِيمُ
“Inform my slaves that I, I am the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful; and that My punishment is the painful punishment.”
(al-Hijr: 49 – 50)
وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي ۚ إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلَّا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي ۚ إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“And I do not absolve my inner self of blame. Surely, man‘s inner self often incites to evil, unless my Lord shows mercy.
Certainly, my Lord is the Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.”
Disclaimer: before anyone responds with all the benefits of Facebook and all the good things that it can be used to achieve, please read the article carefully. It is not saying “Don’t use Facebook!” or “Facebook is haram!” or “All Facebook users are sinful!“. It is simply saying not to use it for wrong things and to engage in acts which Allah ta’ala has prohibited.