It’s common that every time something happens in our lives we take a picture and put it up on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. “Watch out and be careful”, says Mufti Ismail Menk, “People are suffering and struggling. Why? The evil eye is the truth. You are inviting people to have the evil eye on you.”
‘Look what I ate’, ‘Look at what I bought’, ‘Look I spent my time doing’.
At every meal time some people post a picture or change their profile picture. Every day there’s a new picture of what they are wearing and how they look. Everywhere they go, they share it with the world on social media. In Surah Yusuf twice there is a lesson for us to learn says Mufti.
“And he said, ‘Oh my sons, do not enter from one gate but enter from different gates.”
The first was when the brothers were entering the particular palace or ministry in order to get their food, the father tells them to enter separately and one of the reasons mentioned in the books of Tafsir is so that the people’s eye does not catch them all and affect them.
“He said, ‘Oh my son do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan.”
Here as well the father says, ‘do not relate this dream to your brothers.”
It is important to think before we upload pictures of ourselves, our children, the food we eat, the places we visit or the things we buy. This is not a suggestion to divorce oneself completely from technology but to use it responsibly. “Make the best use of it but do not use it to destroy your own self.”
Sometimes social media users post dozens of pictures of something that another is wishing for and working towards their whole life and they have gained it with so much ease. “This is not so easily digested by some. There will come a time in their life when they start feeling something towards you.”
“Imagine if we were to put up pictures and profiles about the bad things that happen in our lives all the time? We would be living in gloom and doom.” The nature of man is such that he wants a good picture and image of himself to be seen. Portraying this image does not need to extend into revealing the finer details of your life. Leave that between you and your loved ones and those who shared it.
The evil eye, Ayn-al-hasad in Arabic, refers to the gaze of one person on another which may cause affliction or ill-luck. These gazes are associated with envy, jealousy or even extreme admiration. Ibn al-Qayyim RA said, “Everyone who gives the evil eye is jealous, but not everyone who is jealous gives the evil eye…” Then he said, “It begins when the person likes something, then his evil soul dwells on the matter, and by continually looking at the person who has the thing of which he feels jealous, he directs his venom towards him.”The gaze can be intentional or unintentional.
“And verily, those who disbelieve would almost make you slip with their eyes…” [Surah Al-Qalam, verse 51]
Ibn Abbas (radiallahu anhu) and others have said: ‘would make you slip‘, in order to have some (bad) effect on you. “With eyes” means ‘they will affect you by looking at you with their eyes’.
Abu Hurairah (radiallahu anhu) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said, “The evil eye is real.” [Hadith 3879, Book of Medicines, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 4].
Although it is correct that the evil eye comes from people who feel jealous, it may also come from a person who is not jealous but has an inclination to something. “Whoever among you sees something in himself or in his possessions or in his brother that he likes, let him pray for blessing for it, because the evil eye is real.” [Narrated by Ibn al-Sunni in ‘Aml al-Yawm wa’l-Laylah]
While it is essential to always be mindful of one’s gaze, it is also important not to feed others gazes. A person may harm himself or his wealth – and no one feels jealous of himself – but he may harm himself with the evil eye by admiring himself.