Our eyes may be a small part of our bodies, but they sure are a very important part of our physical makeup; they are our gateways to the world. The influx of data from our eyes is incomparable to any other sense. As much as they are a way to learn about our world around us, they can also be a source of distraction. In this article we will be addressing the issue of our sight during prayer as we climb the ladder to improve our Khushu.
Firstly, we should know that it is detestable to turn one’s face and chest away from the Qibla.
Secondly, it is forbidden for us to raise our sight towards the sky during prayer for the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) entered the mosque and saw there some people praying raising their hand towards the heaven. He said, “People must stop raising their eyes to the heaven.” The narrator Musaddad said: “During prayer, otherwise their sight will be taken away.” (Abu Dawud, Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)
Likewise, one should not let his sight wander for it is likely he will be distracted by what he sees and will lose concentration.
Narrated A’isha, I asked the Prophet (ﷺ) about one’s looking here and there during the prayer. He replied, “It is what Satan steals from the prayer of any one of you.” (Bukhari)
So how do we maintain our gaze during prayer?
Can we close our eyes to protect our sight and Khushu? The scholars are in agreement that it is disliked to close one’s eyes in prayer, for all our limbs have a role in our acts of worship, and each one may incur a reward. Moreover, to close one’s eyes in prayer is a Jewish practice, and as muslims we do not imitate the different nations. However, it is permissible for one to close one’s eyes if one fears he may see something impermissible or which may distract him from his prayer. See https://islamqa.info/en/22174 for more details on the subject of closing one’s eyes in prayer.
The solution then is simple, one should look at the place of prostration. The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him used to look at his place of prostration in every position in prayer,
A’ishah said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) entered the Ka’bah and his gaze did not go beyond the site of his prostration until he came out.” (Ibn Hibban and Al-Hakim, Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)
The next time you intend to pray, hold your gaze fixed at your place of prostration, do not let your sight wander, for you may end up drawing patterns with your eyes, tracing seams in your garments, or analysing how dirty the carpet is all while you are supposed to be in deep conversation with the Lord of the Worlds. May Allah make it easy for us.