Q: Shaykh last time you spoke about vision that eyes are the windows to the heart, now when a person’s sight falls on a women unintentionally or intentionally would this be regarded as a minor sin or a major sin
Gist of the answer:The questioner has asked two separate things – unintentionally and intentionally
1. Unintentionally would be the notion of that first gaze that is not punishable as a sin but again can have a spiritually harmful effect therefore a person should make istighfaar not because they did an intentional sin but istighfar to wipe away any effect of it. Just like when we accidentally spill something on our clothes, you still have to wash off the stain.
2. If somebody intentionally looks at an unlawful image or picture or something in real life – then obviously that is a greater sin – that needs to be also wiped off and it can be wiped off through true taubah and istighfar.
Taken from CII Tazkiya talk QnA, 01-04-2010