الْعَيْنُ وِكَاءُ السَّهِ۔
The eye is the strap of the rear.
— Imam Ali a.s.
(Nahj al-Balagha — Peak of Eloquence: Hadith #466)
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our beloved Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), his pure progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, and his noble companions.
The Arabic Hadith of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) states, "الْعَيْنُ وِكَاءُ السَّهِ۔" This Hadith can be translated into English as,
The eye is the strap of the rear.
To understand the connotation behind this statement, let us delve into the important words used in this Hadith.
The word (eye) "عَيْنُ" refers to the physical organ of sight. However, in this context, it signifies the act of looking or observing. It represents the way we perceive the world around us and how we choose to focus our attention. The word (strap) "وِكَاءُ" refers to something that holds or binds things together. It is used metaphorically here to symbolize the control or restraint that our eyes have over our actions and behaviors. Finally, the word (rear) "السَّهِ" refers to the back or the posterior part of something.
To shed light on the deeper meaning of this Hadith, let us turn to the Quran for guidance. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says in Surah An-Nur (24:30),
Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and guard their private parts. That is purer for them. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what they do.
This verse emphasizes the importance of controlling our gaze and not allowing our eyes to wander towards inappropriate sights. It teaches us that restraining our eyes from looking at what is forbidden is a means of purifying our hearts and protecting our modesty.
Furthermore, in Surah Al-Isra (17:36), Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) says,
And do not follow that of which you have no knowledge. Indeed, the hearing, the sight, and the heart - about all those [one] will be questioned.
This verse highlights the accountability we have for our actions, including what we choose to look at. It reminds us that our eyes are not mere passive observers but active participants in our decision-making process. We will be questioned about how we utilized our sight and whether we used it in a way that was pleasing to Allah.
Now, let us reflect on the beautiful message conveyed by Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) in this Hadith. He is reminding us that our eyes have a significant influence on our actions and behaviors. Just as a strap holds something in place, our eyes have the power to either restrain us from engaging in sinful acts or lead us towards them. If we allow our eyes to freely wander and indulge in looking at what is forbidden, it will eventually lead us towards immoral actions and corrupt our souls.
Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) is urging us to exercise control over our gaze and be mindful of what we choose to observe. By restraining our eyes from looking at what is prohibited, we can protect ourselves from falling into sin and maintain our moral integrity. This Hadith serves as a reminder that our eyes are not mere passive organs but powerful tools that can shape our character and determine our destiny.
Let us strive to follow the guidance of the Quran and the teachings of Imam Ali (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ) by guarding our gaze and using our sight in a way that pleases Allah. May we be conscious of the impact our eyes have on our actions and strive to purify our hearts through the restraint of our gaze. By doing so, we can strengthen our relationship with Allah and protect ourselves from the pitfalls of immorality.
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