Now one may be thinking, so what is the adab of the eyes?
First of all let us ponder on the actual Arabic word Adab and although there is probably no words in English that can best describe Arabic words, due to being the most eloquent and high ranking of all languages, the simplest meaning would be “the right way of doing something” the root of this word can be related to many things, such that it relates to courtesy, having great knowledge – because one who has knowledge tends to adopt adab, it can relate to nourishment of the body and through morphology can thus relate also to nourishment of the mind and thus the soul.
Adab As-suhba (Proper manners of Companionship) by Imaam Abdur-rahman As-sulami a great scholar in spirituality teaches us:
“the proper manners of the limbs outwardly and inwardly, know that each limb has proper manners specific to it”
and goes on to say:
“Adab al ayn – manners of the eyes, to look at your brethren with the eye of affection and love such that they know how you feel about them and this should also be known to others in the gathering”
One does not realise how important it is to show ones feelings to others, especially so in this day and age, where showing ones feeling is thought to be a sign of weakness. One may feel humility or embarrassment to express ones feelings, however there is certainly a thin line here, that verges on the the border of arrogance. Shayk faraz Rabbanni says it is infact Sunnah to be expressive with our emotions with respect to others, and this applies to the relationship with Allah as well as his creation. When one makes dua, one is advised by the prophet (saw) to cry, and if you cannot cry then to make yourself cry. Why would this be so? Perhaps the point is that even if you do not have the feeling or emotion to cry, make yourself cry – do the action and the feeling will come eventually. This infact has been studied in psychology, and studies have shown that when one smiles (even a fake smile), one automatically feels happier and thus would also be so for the opposite effect. It has also been studied that when one is happy, the people around them also become happy. Your expression could infact be a key to leading a beautiful life and happy relationship with others because, the ones who have a sparkling relationship with others are the ones that put the effort in to create that spark.
The Prophet (saw) when turning/talking to others, he turned to them completely with full attention and gaze. Every person he addressed was looked at with the proper adab al ayn – with love and compassion, respect and mercy and that is why every single sahaba (companion) thought that the Prophet (saw) loved them most. Nowadays when one talks to family/friends, the conversation may be there but the attention isnt, one tends to be distracted perhaps looking at something “more interesting” on the laptop, like how Kobe Bryant scored that last goal, or maybe starring in the mirror wondering whether ones butt looks big in ones new dress. This distraction when interacting with others is infact abuse to onself – one is not fulfilling the rights of others nor the rights of your own body. We are in essence enemies of ourselves, Allah has built us with tools of mercy yet we have no idea how to use them.
Furthermore, the Prophet (saw) treated people and looked at them in such a gentle way, their only reaction is to give the same gentle treatment. Because again it has also been psychologically studied, that when one is aggressive to others, they will tend to be aggressive back and when one is soft and gently to others they are also treated in the same manner. Review how you treat others, you may think you are calm and soft natured, but really look deeply at how you treat people, how do you look at them? How is your tone of voice? How is your body language? Is it loving, soft, caring and respectful with gentleness and compassion? Because this is the way to catch peoples hearts, like our Blessed Prophet (saw) when he made da'wah to non-muslims, when teaching his companions and when being with his wives. Not only was he like this with people inside his household but also with people outside the household. Most people have perfect manners with outside people i.e. their friends or stangers but when coming home the adab tends to drop because one does not feel its needed as much to the ones close to them. Infact, because of this reason, one needs to be even more aware of the adab at home and fullfill them more here, more than anywhere else. If not then what makes these people different to the tyrants in the middle east who are perfectly mannered, doing all they can to keep good ties with western countries however, are withdrawing the rights of their own people and shooting them down within their own countries – its double standards, is it not?
And finally, it is the right of the limbs, whether it be the eyes or ears, or any other part of the body, to be used in the proper way (uphold adab) the way allah wanted us to, and the way of using them in the right way with the utmost reward is related to fulfilling the rights of others. A great imaam of the Salaf once said that not fulfilling the rights of ones brethren is a form of abasement - to upkeep your honour/dignity/ loyalty is to rush to fullfill the needs of others. This in turn will give us fulfilment of inner and outer happiness and thus nourishment of the mind and body, making us closer to Allah, which should be the desire of every soul.
Smiling face – with love,
(just incase you didnt get the picture!)