2) Are we allowed to watch a man doing Bayaan despite alternatives being available?
The answer to this question is almost answered in the first question which was regarding watching the new on television. I will explain a few differences from this question and the previous question whilst bringing answers from the previous question.
As mentioned before, questions regarding the watching of general television are occasional. The majority of Muslims will readily and whole heartedly agree that the viewing of the television will be impermissible in Islam due to many reasons.
However, from time to time we will see questions that are regarding specific viewing of the television and utilising it under different circumstances. For instance, the first question was regarding watching news on television whilst this question is regarding the watching of a male person or a female person giving a Bayaan (lecture) on television.
The reason why these questions usually have to be asked is because we fail to understand the reason of the impermissibility of watching the television in the first place.
In the previous question this topic was dealt with in much detail where I explained how any person is not allowed to see someone whom he/she is allowed to marry, known is Islam as a Ghair Mahram. Whilst taking this into consideration and other factors such as nudity, vulgar scenes and language, music etc, we class television as forbidden under the Islamic Law.
Nevertheless, the confusion will arise when the matter is religiously related or specific reasons are not present. For example, if someone was to watch a lecture (Bayaan) taking place on television then it would certainly remove the obscene language, nudity, vulgar scenes and music from being present. However, it is vital to ascertain whether all forbidden factors are removed.
Regarding the news it was explained that the Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم had instructed as to lower our gazes and restrain ourselves from the viewing of Ghair Mahrams. This is the same instruction given to us by Allah Ta’ala in the Qur’an and it is the same for both men and women:
“Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do.”
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze, protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent and to draw their veils all over bodies and not to reveal their adornment… And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And all of you beg Allah to forgive you all, O believers, that you may be successful.”
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies. That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
In these verses both the men and the women are clearly told to lower their gazes without any exception.
It is essential that we fully understand the Shari’ah (Islamic Law) in order to be able to follow it correctly. It is the way of Shaytaan not to stop a person from doing good but to make him think he is doing good when actually what he is doing is totally against the teachings of our Beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم. Furthermore, when we do a good deed, he makes it his mission to omit that good by making us sin thereafter.
Thus we should see how the companions of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم would seek knowledge and deduce from their actions whether or not it would be permissible to gaze at a Ghair Mahram in order to seek the knowledge of Islam.
“It is narrated by Aisha رضي الله عنها that a woman made a sign from behind a curtain to indicate that she had a letter for the Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم. The Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم closed his hand, saying: I do not know whether this is a man’s or a woman’s hand. She said: No, a woman. He صلي الله عليه و سلم said: If you were a woman, you would make a difference to your nails, meaning with henna.”
This Hadeeth clearly indicates that even when women approached our Beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم they did so through a veil or a curtain. There is no doubt in the fact that the companions of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم were amongst the best of creations and there is no question about the innocence and purity of the Prophets عليهم السلام let alone our Beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم. Despite the ranks of these people we can see that even the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم wanted the women to veil from him even if it was regarding Islamic understanding and knowledge, for it was this reason that the companions would approach the Prophet of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم.
This was also the case when the companions of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم approached the Mothers of all the believers, the wives of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم.
“And when you ask them (the wives of the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم) for anything you want, ask them from behind a veil; this is purer for your hearts and for their hearts.”
This is another example where Allah Ta’ala is commanding us to ask for anything from behind a veil, even if it be from the wives of the Beloved Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم for this is purer for our hearts.
Returning to the original question, we must realise that there is no one purer than the Prophet صلي الله عليه و سلم, his wives and his companions رضي الله عنهم; despite this they were instructed to interact from behind veils and curtains. Therefore, when the matter comes in regards to us it is even more essential to oblige to this order of Allah and be alert when interacting with the opposite gender and Ghair Mahrams.
Seeking knowledge is essential in Islam, but to seek the knowledge of Islam correctly is also as essential. Therefore, we should ensure that we are not misguided into thinking we are receiving rewards by listening to lectures whilst in reality we are going against the core principle taught to us by the Prophet صلي الله اليه و سلم.
Once again, I hope that this answers your question and if there are any further queries or questions please do not hesitate to ask me. I would also advise that the previous question be read so that a full understanding can be gained regarding the issue of television.
May Allah give us all the understanding of Islam and may He give us the courage to endure all the hardships that occur in the effort to seek the knowledge of Islam. May He save us from misunderstandings and deception and the trickery of Shaytaan. Aameen.