Abstaining from Fāhīsha

Fāhīsha (فاحشة) is the Arabic word used to specify heinous or shameful acts & activities such as ill-mannered sexual desires, not lowering the gaze, watching Pornography, or taking part in Zināʾ (fornication, unlawful sex, etc.) It is roughly translated as meaning “lewdness” and “indecency”. Fāhīsha has become common in recent times & has taken toll upon a vast majority of communities all over the world leading it to becoming extremely prevalent, most notably among the youth.

As Muslims, it is our duty & an obligation for us to stray away from these illicit acts as much as possible & seek the Dhikr & aid of Allāh. It is one of the grievous ways Shayṭān destroys us & our ʾĪmān, & one of the greatest crimes in the religion of Islām, as Allāh states:

وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ ٱلزِّنَىٰٓۖ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ فَٰحِشَةٗ وَسَآءَ سَبِيلٗا
“And come not near to unlawful sex. Verily, it is a Fāhīsha, and an evil way.”
: Sūrah al-Isrāʼ, ʾĀyah 32

Allāh continues to speak on Fāhīsha & it’s punishment in such ʾĀyāt:

قُل لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ يَغُضُّواْ مِنۡ أَبۡصَٰرِهِمۡ وَيَحۡفَظُواْ فُرُوجَهُمۡۚ ذَٰلِكَ أَزۡكَىٰ لَهُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ خَبِيرُۢ بِمَا يَصۡنَعُونَ
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze (from looking at forbidden things), and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts.) That is purer for them. Verily, Allāh is All-Acquainted with what they do.
– al-Qurʼān: Sūrah ’an-Nūr, ʾĀyah 30

ٱلزَّانِيَةُ وَٱلزَّانِي فَٱجۡلِدُواْ كُلَّ وَٰحِدٖ مِّنۡهُمَا مِاْئَةَ جَلۡدَةٖۖ وَلَا تَأۡخُذۡكُم بِهِمَا رَأۡفَةٞ فِي دِينِ ٱللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمۡ تُؤۡمِنُونَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۖ وَلۡيَشۡهَدۡ عَذَابَهُمَا طَآئِفَةٞ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ
The fornicatress and the fornicator, flog each of them with a hundred stripes. Let not pity withhold you in their case, in a punishment prescribed by Allāh, if you believe in Allāh and the Last Day. And let a party of the believers witness their punishment.

al-Qurʼān: Sūrah ’an-Nūr, ʾĀyah 2

ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyya رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ‎ speaks relating to Fāhīsha in his book ad-Dā’ī wa Dawā: “As for the glance (not lowering the gaze), it is the director and guide for desires, and safeguarding it is the starting point for safeguarding the private parts, because whoever is careless in their glances shall find that they lead them to ruin.” [Page 341]

Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ speaks relating to Fāhīsha in the selected Aḥādīth:

  • Do not follow one (unlawful) glance with the other, the first (accidental) one is for you (unaccounted for) and the second is not.” [Sunan Abī Dāwūd 2149]
  • The (unlawful) glance is a poisoned arrow from the arrows of Iblīs. Whoever diverts their gaze from the appearances of women for the sake of Allāh, Allāh will cast sweetness in their heart until the day he meets Him.” [ad-Dā’i wa Dawā Page 341, Ḍaʻīf Jiddan]
  • “Divert your gaze and safeguard your private parts.” [Musnad Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal 22757]
  • It is better that you be struck on your head with an iron needle than to touch a woman you are not allowed to.” [al-Mu’jām al-Kabīr 486]
  • The thing(s) that mostly casts the people into the Hellfire are the mouth and the private parts.” [Jamiʽ at-Tirmidhī 2004]

ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyya رَحِمَهُ ٱللَّٰهُ‎ continues: “The glances are the initial foundation for the incidents that affect an individual, because the glance gives rise to a thought, then the thought gives birth to an idea, an idea evokes a desire and the desire develops a crave, then this craving intensifies and becomes resolute conviction which inevitably results in the action as there is no intervention. In this regard, it has been said: ‘Patience upon lowering the gaze is easier than patience upon the pain of what happens after it (feeling shame for the sin).’[Page 342]

May Allāh keep us firm upon His path & protect us from such acts.

All praise is due to Allāh, may His peace & blessings be upon our final Prophet Muḥammad, his family, his companions, & all those who follow him in guidance.

ad-Dā’ī wa Dawā (الداء والدواء
) by ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyya | Pages 341, 342
Sunan Abī Dāwūd (سنن أبي داود
) by Abū Dāwūd as-Sijistānī | Ḥadīth #2149
Musnad Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal (مسند أحمد بن حنبل
) by Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal | Ḥadīth #22757
al-Mu’jām al-Kabīr (المعجم الكبير‎
) by a-Ṭabarāni | Ḥadīth #486
Jamiʽ at-Tirmidhī (جامع الترمذي) by at-Tirmidhī | Ḥadīth #2004

Update (10/14/2021):
After going through books of Takhrīj, I’ve realized that the above mentioned Ḥadīth cited in ad-Dā’i wa Dawā Page 341 is deemed “Very weak” according to numerous scholars such as al-Haytamī, adh-Dhahabī, & others.

Ṣafīullāh Labīb ibn Salīm ʿAbd al-Malik
29th of Dhū al-Hijjah 1442