Just watched a Quran Weekly video by Nouman Ali Khan and thought I’d transcribe it here for my own notes. Feel free to read and may it benefit you as it did me:
وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا (Surah Al ‘Isra’, Verse 32).
Wala taqraboo azzinainnahu kana fahishatan wasaa sabeela
“Do not draw near to fornication, for it is an indecency, and its way is evil.”
This ayah belongs to a passage in the Quran that are kind of the equivalent to the ten commandments, and some Sahaba called them the equivalent of what the essential teachings that were given to Musa alahyi salam.
In this particular ayah, Allah says don’t even go near fornication (zina). He doesn’t say la ta zinuhu, which means “don’t do adultery” or “commit adultery”, He says don’t go near it. In other words, there’s the act itself and then there is a series of smaller acts that lead to it, it’s got a perimeter around it, and you can’t even go close to it. One has to understand the language of the Qur’an and the sensitivity in which it deals with this subject, to appreciate the wisdom of Allah azza wa jal and how he’s counseling us in dealing with this problem. He is telling us there are certain things that in and of themselves are not “haram”, you’re not going to be able to pinpoint them and say “it is wrong”. But, when you get involved it in, you’re going to get sucked into a gravitational field, and it will pull you in slowly and surely, little by little and eventually, it will get you.
Gem #1: The Command of Shaytan
One of the things we learned about Shaytan, that is remarkable, is that he’s extremely patient. He won’t get you in one shot. He’ll come at you and put a little bit and a little bit until he destroys your character. He won’t come and make you do the wrong thing right away. Even in the story of Adam alayhi salam and Hawwa, in Surah al Araf the way the Shaytan approached them was really interesting because he was extremely relentless. He didn’t just approach them once. He kept at it and he built this idea in them until they would think it’s their idea. This is the same surah in which Allah says “My slaves, you’re not going to have any authority over them” (referring to the inability of Shaytan having any authority over Allah’s salves). In other words, people who really submit to Allah, shaytan will not have authority over them. But for others, Shaytan will command you to do shamelessness.
When you listen to him a little bit, you’ve granted him a little bit of power. When you listen to him a little more, you’ve granted him a little more power. And if you keep on listening to him, he gets to the point where he can command you. You will find yourself helpless and addicted to doing or committing shamelessness. When you see yourself not even being able to control your gaze, or what you watch on the internet or which chat rooms you log into, it will be then when you know that the Shaytan has a pretty solid hold on you.
Gem #2: Hard Heart
Every time you’re exposed to filth, more dirt, more blackness are poured on top of your heart and it keeps on pouring to the point where you listen to the word of Allah and you can’t even shed a single tear. It won’t come, because your heart has been made so hard through all the exposure to filth and all the sin that your eyes are taking in all the time. You won’t even care anymore. A good heart, when it sees something inappropriate, something that doesn’t coincide with the commandments of Allah, it is disturbed. It’s not attracted, it squirms. It says no, that’s wrong. Immediately the conscience kicks in, the alarm goes off. But when you’re at the point when you’re by yourself and you feel no guilt doing it. the only thing you might be thinking when you stare at a sister for example, would be to look around and check if someone was watching you do it. The only fear you have left is for the seeing, there’s no more fear for the unseen anymore. Allah swt knows the stealing of the eyes, the little glance you caught. He knows what the chests are hiding.
This particular ayah, He describes zina as fahisha, which has always been considered a leud, shameless act. Wasaa sabeela means He describes it as an evil path. In other words, a path is made up of steps. You have to identify which step you’re in. For most of you this is a process, this is a cycle. Whether it is that you’re in a room by yourself, or you have a couple hours before your parents come home, or you’re among a couple of friends that don’t have any standards. You have to identify what leads you to this sin every time and you have to cut in its tracks.
Gem #3: Physical Murder vs Spiritual Murder
What’s amazing about this ayah is where it’s situated. Right after this ayah Allah says “And do not kill anyone which Allah has forbidden”. Allah mentioned zina first and murder second. We think of murder as this huge crime, but Allah says, you violate the dignity of a human being (fahisha), and when you kill a person you violate the physical part (the right to life). So there’s the spiritual murder (fahisha) and then there’s the physicial murder (killing). But the spiritual murder of yourself and others? That is first.
Gem #4: Culture’s ever changing morals
Our standards have gone so low. A movie comes out, you see a couple of trailers and say to yourself
“eh it’s not so bad.”
“It’s PG13, it’s not rated R!”
What used to be rated R ten years ago is now PG 13. What used to be PG 13 is now PG. They put filthy scenes in everything now and we don’t even care about the spiritual price we’re paying. It’s affecting our prayer, it’s affecting our dua, it’s affecting our character, it’s affecting our family life. And we think “Hey that’s life bro, come on live in the times. It’s all right. That’s just what it is now, what can we do? It starts with the eyes. The zina of the eyes, and then everything else goes from there.
Gem #5: Animal Behavior
The arabic language has roots that are close to each other: “Wa hash” and “fa hash”. Wa hash actually means wild animal. Fa hash means someone who acts like a wild animal. Fa hash is the root word of fahisha (shamelessness, vulgarity). Shameless is described as a behavior that is close to animal behavior. Allah has dignified us as human beings. A punishment on Adam alahyi salam was that his clothes were removed. Our mother’s and our father’s clothes were removed and that was a punishment from Allah. And immediately they recognized that they need to cover themselves. They didn’t learn to cover themselves from a society. We are supposed to be people who guard ourselves by covering. And we dignify others by not looking at them. Even if they don’t have dignity for themselves, we should have dignity for them because in the end they are a creation of Allah, be it a disappointing one, we shouldn’t look anyways.
May Allah make us spiritually healthy and alleviate us from this growing and ever increasing spiritual problem of not being able to lower our eyes. May Allah not allow us to be in company and in situations or invovled in activities that lead us more to a horrible horrible path. may allah clean our ways and ease our way to a pure and healthier spiritual life.