EYES are a precious gift from Allah, without which we cannot see anything. They help us to see the external environment all around us.
We perceive up to 80 per cent of all impressions through our eyes. If other senses such as taste or smell stop working, it is the eye that protects us from danger. Therefore, eyes are the most important organs of our senses.
The function of the eyes is far superior in scope to any of the other senses. We usually apprehend the existence of each individual thing through our eyes. All the other senses are subordinate to it.
They are mainly responsible for vision, differentiation of colours and maintaining the biological clock of the human body. With the help of eyes, we remember and recognise the faces of near and dear ones around us while also appreciating the wonders of Allah’s creation.
Allah says “Have We not made for him a pair of eyes?” (90:8). Therefore, we must thank Allah for rewarding us with an important organ. We mostly think of the world in terms of visual images and the large number of pictures which enter our memory and imagination are visual ones.
Eyes have a fundamental role in building character.
Eyes signal the emotional condition of an individual. If a person is upset, feeling pain or undergoing trauma, the eyes shed tears and indicate the level of pain, demonstrating how much the person is emotionally disturbed. Similarly, if a person is happy, his eyes glow and indicate his happiness. There are other irritants when the eyes shed tears — such as when one is cutting onions or standing in the midst of a smoke-filled room etc. Similarly, when a person is acrimoniously arguing over some matter, his wide-open eyes reflect his level of anger, or if a person is in front of his seniors, he lowers his eyes in humbleness.
Eyes also have a fundamental role in character building. What we see through our eyes the heart preserves and that ultimately impacts our character. For example, if one constantly watches negative things such as violence, indecency, killings and other crimes directly in society or indirectly through movies and pictures, this will make an adverse impact on his character and eventually become a part of his personality, desensitising him to those things that are hazardous.
According to the Quran (25:74), one of the attributes of believers is that they seek comfort and coolness of the eyes of their family members — spouse and offspring. This is a much-needed element for a happy, prosperous, stable and peaceful life. This makes their living worthwhile and enhances their quality of life.
Reflecting on the nature of the environment we live in, one can say that this world has two types of things — visible and invisible. If we meet a person, we see his body, face, clothes and movements but cannot see his soul, intellect, heart and thoughts.
Modern science has discovered that all visible things have inner aspects, invisible to our physical eyes. For example, we see water as liquid but inwardly water is a combination of two gases called hydrogen and oxygen. Sometimes, human eyes do not see things as they really are. We perceive things according to our inclination and make judgements. Unless our inner eye is open, we may not be in a position to see things as they really are. Here one should remember the powerful prayer, attributed to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) saying “O’ Allah! Show me the things [as] they really are”.
In order to see things as they are, the Holy Quran has emphasised that one should observe and reflect on the workings of nature; this would pave the way to discovering the truth.
A disciple goes to seek the blessing of his Sufi master. During the visit the master inquires about his daily routine. The disciple says that he has many free hours as he does not have a busy schedule. However, he wants to spend his time in some useful way.
The Sufi master advises him to see the beauties of this world, the exquisite scenery of various places that invite us to reflect. You may visit places of scenic beauty, lush green meadows etc, to gain perspective and an understanding of faith.
In the Quran, Allah describes the great signs of nature for reflection. He says: “Do they not look at the Camels how they are made? And the Sky, how it is raised high? And at the Mountains, how they are fixed firm? And at the Earth, how it is spread out?” (88:17-20).
The master says that if someone observes nature and reflects on it, this will lead to the discovery of truth. It will enable him to see things as they really are. Therefore, reflection is a part of faith and it must never be forsaken.
The writer is an educationist with an interest in religion.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2021