It is reported that there was once a muazzin named Saalih in the city of Baghdad. He was known for his piety and was blessed to call out the azaan for forty years!
However, it was a single, poisonous glance that destroyed this man and rendered his forty years of calling out the azaan worthless. His lamentable downfall transpired in the following manner:
One day, while Saalih was climbing the minaret to call out the azaan, his gaze fell on the daughter of the Christian neighbour whose home was adjacent to the musjid. As soon as his gaze fell on her, he became infatuated and fell in love with her.
He thus came to her house and knocked on the door. The girl called out from inside the home, “Who is there?” he replied, “Saalih, the muazzin.”
When the girl opened the door, he entered the home and embraced her. The Christian girl was shocked and exclaimed, “You people (i.e. the Muslims) are the ones in whom people trust, so how is it that you are behaving in this deceitful manner?”
He replied, “I really want to be with you and marry you, and if you do not agree to marry me, then I will kill you.”
The girl retorted saying, “I am only prepared to marry you if you leave your religion.” There and then, the muazzin left Islam and declared, “I disassociate myself from Islam and from the deen which Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) brought.”
However, the girl was still not satisfied and said, “You only spoke these words so that you can have your way with me. After you are done with me, you will return to your Deen. To prove that you truly wish to be with me, eat some pork.”
Without hesitating, Saalih placed the pork into his mouth and consumed it. The girl then requested him to consume wine, and he willingly did so.
Finally, as the wine affected his mind and intoxicated him, he tried to approach her. However, she went into a room and locked the door. She then called out to him and said, “Climb onto the roof of the house and wait for my father to come. When he arrives then he will perform our nikaah.”
Saalih then climbed onto the roof, but due to his intoxicated state, he fell to the ground and died.
The girl came out and concealed his body with a cloth. Later on, when her father arrived and she informed him of what had transpired, they took the body at night and dumped it in the street.
Thereafter, when the people learnt of the fate of the muazzin, and his reneging from Islam, they dumped his body at a rubbish pile.
From this incident, we understand the sad plight and lamentable outcome of the person who called out the azaan for forty years.
When we examine this incident, we find that the point of failure came when he did not observe strict purdah, and perhaps had the evil habit of looking at women.
This, in turn, led to him falling in love with the girl and then bringing upon himself the evil consequences which we have seen, the worst of which was him leaving the fold of Islam.
The Seed of Sin Planted through the Lustful Glance
Hazrat Zun Noon Misri (rahimahullah) was a great saint of his era and was endowed with great wisdom and knowledge from the side of Allah Ta‘ala.
Once, a certain person asked him, “What is the root cause for a person to fall into sin?” Hazrat Zun Noon (rahimahullah) explained:
“Sinning commences with a lustful glance. The lustful glance leads to (haraam) feelings and thoughts being created in the mind. If one treats and remedies the haraam thoughts by turning to Allah Ta‘ala in repentance, the haraam thoughts will cease and disappear.
“If not, they will progress until they are accompanied by whispers and insinuations of shaitaan towards evil and sin. This, in turn, gives rise to feelings of lust.
“All of this transpires internally (in the mind), and (until this point,) the action of sin and evil has not yet manifested through the action of the limbs.
“If the lust is remedied and addressed (through sincere taubah and reforming oneself, one will be safe,) but if not, then it will progress until it becomes a strong, irresistible urge to commit the sin, and if this urge is not remedied then one’s entire mind will become engulfed in thoughts of haraam and sin (thereafter, the actual sin of zina takes place).”