There are some people who say that it is permissible for a female to look at the face of a male religious preacher for the purpose of barakah. What do you advise?
Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullah,
Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala has mentioned in Surah Nur:
And say to mu’minaat to lower their gazes..
While explaining this ayah Allama Shihabud Deen al Alusi rahimahullah has mentioned from Ibn Hajar al Makki rahimahulla that, just as it is haram for a man to look at a woman, it is also haram for her to look at him even though it is without shahwah and there is no fear of fitna. Other scholars have opined that if she sees at the man with shahwah, then it will be haram and if she sees without shahwah then it will not be haram. Ofcourse to lower ones gaze from the non-mahram is better and most preferred. [i]
Also remember that Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam asked womenfolk to do hijab even from a blind person. When they said that a blind person cannot see them, he simply reminded them that although the blind is unable to see them, yet they perfectly able to see the non-mahram man. Hence they should adorn their hijab from him nonetheless.
What we understand from such brief snippets is that there is severe danger in disregarding the optimum and most preferred stance. One may feel that their act is in concordance of Islam, and become oblivious of the plot of shaytan. Seeking the face of an Alim to gain barakah is nothing but a plot of shaytan to lure one into going towards the doubtful areas. The injunctions of Quran are to safeguard our modesty and chastity. Security is in staying within the bounds and not traversing close to doubtful areas. Today, one will seek barakah from looking at his face, then soon enough shaytan will lure her into thinking about the sheikh. After all, what wrong could there be to remember a pious person, it will only remind oneself to do good. And before one knows it the person will spend secluded times thinking and fantasizing about the sheikh.Do not think that such things are farfetched. Such deviousness has happened before, and shaytan does not rest from spinning such webs to catch innocent muslims. It has become an increasing fad to adopt one particular sheikh of likeness, and then sit at length on youtube watching his videos. When they come to one’s city, girls leave the sanctuary of their homes, to take this very blessing from the company of these mashayikh. The Shuyookh may not have any ill intentions. The girls may also be void of any ill intentions, but the precursor of shaytan is laid out. Such unfortunate incidents came to light a couple of years back where girls openly admitted having crushes and fantasizing of marrying some shuyookh they felt infatuated with. Obviously, they did not start out as infatuation. The devious plot of shaytan works behind the scenes. The end result is worldly disrespect, spiritual death and distance from the Qurb of Allah and His Rasool salallahu alayhi wasallam. The very thing which one seeks, becomes the most distant mirage. May Allah save us all, Ameen.
I advise you to stick to the strict code of chastity by restricting your interaction to the opposite gender to bare minimum. While it may be juristically permissible for you to look at the face of a male, avoidance and abstaining from certain permissible acts to attain security and chastity is the essence of Taqwa. All that you seek, barakah, taqarrub (proximity) to Allah, obedience on commandments of deen, love fore the beloved Habeeb salallahu alayhi wasallam, and pure chastity, can all be achieved without having to look at some Sheikh. Allah Ta’ala has declared in the Qur’an:
Glorified is He in whose hand is the kingdom and He is able over everything. He is the one who has created death and life so that He may test you all, which of you will be the best in your deeds, and He is All Might, Oft Forgiving.
It is our test, as to how good we make our choices to be. Those who pass in the test will gain His pleasure, and those who loose will have to face His displeasure. And we seek refuge from His displeasure. Ameen.
Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi
وَقُلْ لِلْمُؤْمِناتِ يَغْضُضْنَ مِنْ أَبْصارِهِنَّ فلا ينظرن إلى ما لا يحل لهن النظر إليه كالعورات من الرجال والنساء وهي ما بين السرة والركبة، وفي الزواجر لابن حجر المكي كما يحرم نظر الرجل للمرأة يحرم نظرها إليه ولو بلا شهوة ولا خوف فتنة، نعم إن كان بينهما محرمية نسب أو رضاع أو مصاهرة نظر كل إلى ما عدا ما بين سرة الآخر وركبته. والمذكور في بعض كتب الأصحاب إن كان نظرها إلى ما عدا السرة والركبة بشهوة حرم وإن بدونها لا يحرم نعم غضها بصرها من الأجانب أصلا أولى بها وأحسن،
فقد أخرج أبو داود والترمذي وصححه. والنسائي. والبيهقي في سننه عن أم سلمة أنها كانت عند رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم وميمونة قالت: فبينما نحن عنده أقبل ابن أم مكتوم فدخل عليه الصلاة والسلام فقال رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وسلّم: احتجبا منه فقلت: يا رسول الله هو أعمى لا يبصر قال: أفعمياوان أنتما ألستما تبصرانه؟، واستدل به من قال بحرمة نظر المرأة إلى شيء من الرجل الأجنبي مطلقا، ولا يبعد القول بحرمة نظر المرأة المرأة إلى ما عدا ما بين السرة والركبة إذا كان بشهوة ولا تستبعد وقوع هذا النظر فإنه كثير ممن يستعملن السحاق من النساء والعياذ بالله تعالى (تفسير الألوسي – روح المعاني (9/ 334))