The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said to Ali (radi Allahu anhu): “O Ali! You have a large share in Paradise. Do not look at a non-Mahram again after the first unintentional look. The unintentional look is forgiven.” [Musnad Bazzar]
In this Hadith the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) is telling us that if we unintentionally look at a non-Mahram, Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) will forgive us for it, but not for continuing to look or looking intentionally. We are so weak! May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) help us to seek His pleasure.
From this Hadith we also learn one of the precious ways in which the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would correct and advise people. We see that he (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) started by giving Ali (radi Allahu anhu) good news. By telling him of a large share in Paradise for him he was indirectly complimenting him. Then he proceeded to tell him how to guard his good fortune by refraining from the sin of looking at non-Mahram women.
Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) and His Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) have taught us all the wisdom (Hikmah) that humanity can possibly attain to. It is our foolishness that makes us turn towards others and look elsewhere for it.
Let us also practice this tip, if the need arises to correct someone’s un-Islamic behavior. Praise the person sincerely and truthfully, everybody has some good in them. This will make them more receptive to advice and eager to do even better since they have been praised.