بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ
The Veracity of True Beauty
All praise is for Allah, The Mighty, the Most High, and may His peace and blessings be upon His final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and upon his family and companions.
Beauty in Islam is measured by the degree of faith in one’s heart and his/her ability to communicate that beauty and grace through their character and demeanor. As the saying goes: “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within”-Elisabeth Kubler-Ross.
Contrary to what many believe, beauty is not determined by the orientation of the external appearance, which can be manipulated to give the impression of beauty, just like beauty is not the image of yourself that is reflected in the mirror when you look at it, but, in fact, beauty is the perception of yourself that is in your mind when you look at yourself the mirror. And no matter how many glimpses of yourself you take, no matter how many blemishes you are able to cover, you will never alter the true image of yourself until you change the condition of your heart. This is why Prophet Muhammad used to supplicate with the following when he would look at himself in the mirror: “O Allah (i.e. God) beautify my inward (i.e. heart) as you have beautified my outward (i.e. physical appearance).”
In the religion of Islam we are taught that Allah (i.e. god) is beautiful, rather one of His names is Jameel (i.e. The Beautiful), and although we can’t see Him in this life, for our eyes would never have the capacity to contain the magnitude His beauty, we suffice ourselves with the beauty that manifests itself through His actions. There is a verse in the Qur’an where Prophet Musa (i.e. Moses) asked Allah: “O my Lord show me yourself so that I can look upon you.” This was out of an ardent desire to witness the essence of His beauty, grace and grandeur, which is the direct source of the beauty he witnessed when pondering and reflecting on His creation.
Allah responded to Musa by saying: “You cannot see me (e.g. in this life), but look upon the mountain; if it remains in its place then you shall see Me.” So when Allah showed a reflection of Himself to the mountain equivalent to upper part of the thumb, as Prophet Muhammad explained, it crumbled to dust, inept of containing the beauty of Allah, and Musa (i.e. Moses) fell down unconscious. And when Musa (i.e. Moses) regained consciousness he said, out of regret for his request and reaffirming his faith: “Glory be to You, I turn to You in repentance and I am the first of those who believe!”
The beauty of Allah manifests itself in His actions very clearly for the one who is in pursuit thereof. For every beauty there is an eye to see it. For every truth there is an ear to hear it and for every love there is a heart somewhere to receive it. One of such manifestations is in the fact that Allah clarifies to the human being through revelation the perilous nature of sin, and then instructs us to stay away from it. And even though we are given to our own weaknesses and succumb to the power that we give Shaytan (i.e. Satan) over us, Allah still guides us to repent and atone for what we did and then forgives us for the sin that He knew we were going to commit from the beginning. There is nothing more beautiful than this.
Another manifestation of His beauty is in the creation of Eve (i.e. Hawwah) the wife of Adam. Allah created her from the rib of Adam, and designed every inch of her, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to compliment any insecurity or inadequacy Adam may find in himself. The primary function of the ribcage is to protect the two most important and vital organs in the body i.e. the heart and lungs. However the dilemma with the rib is that it is curved in nature and fragile beyond measure and the smallest amount of force will fracture it and straightening it will break it.
Consequently the only way to draw any benefit from the rib is by leaving it as it is, for you don’t love a woman because she is beautiful, but she is beautiful because you love her just as she is. However when we lose consciousness of this, focusing on the more superficial aspects of beauty, that will eventually fade away with time, we objectify something that should have never become the standard by which beauty is determined. “Truly it is not the eyes that go blind but the hearts that are in the chests.” (22:46)
May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His final Messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and upon his family and companions. Written by Shadeed Muhammad on Thursday April 26th 2012 in the City of Philadelphia.