We live in the world of Brazilian weaves, long, fake lashes, artificial nails, whitenicious, age defying make up, skimpy, revealing clothes and bum shorts. We live in a world where people attain celebrity status just for being beautiful and rake in millions of dollars in the process. Men and also women place beauty over substance. Is true beauty all about light complexion, pink lips, pointed nose and a round killer arse? Or is it about our character, intellect, our essence or being a true Muslim? What is your definition of beauty? Is it Miss World? Who is beautiful? What is beauty? Contrary to what some might think, outward beauty is important in Islam.
At the very basic level is cleanliness. We are told "Cleanliness is half of faith" [Muslim]. People are for example discouraged from attending the mosque if they have eaten garlic or onion because the odour may bother other people. At the aesthetic level, we are encouraged to be well-dressed and presentable. Dressing well is not considered showing off, unless it is done for that purpose or to show that one is better than others. The Prophet (pbuh) said "Allah loves to see the affects of His grace upon His servant." [Tirmidhi]. We are all inclined towards that kind of beauty, in one way or the other. The outer beauty is what draws attention to ones' self and portrays us in either a positive or negative way. The inner beauty is what makes us the person we are. Our inner beauty cannot be taken away from us and if anything, it grows with time. It may not be physically observable but its presence could be felt. It’s a shame that society does not judge us or address us by our character, our personality, our essence and lifestyle but by mere appearance. I will say beauty is more than meets the eye. It goes beyond the physical to the spirit and the soul.
Being beautiful is not just about the body but mostly it is about our inner self. Just as a flower withers, physical beauty fades, it could all go in one terrible accident, what remains is usually our core person, our character, our spirit, our strength. The society has to see people beyond the physical appearance. I am not saying appearance doesn't matter, dressing well is a sign of dignity and grace which is expected of every Muslim. But the extent at which people concentrate on the outward rather than inner is somewhat disheartening. There is a lady, who the average person would consider as ugly. She is a hijabi and I must say her attitude and morals is one of a kind. She is the most caring and loving person I know. She has a big personality and an even bigger heart. We all need people like that around us. She is a good friend, has a listening hear and offers a shoulder to cry on always. When she visits, she will cook, clean, bake, take care of the kids and make a real difference in one's life. When one of the kids was ill, she recited the Qur'an almost all night. This lady is the most beautiful person there is. Within all the ugliness' lies an angel, a real angel. She won my heart even though she is 33, single and has no man on the horizons. It would take a discerning man to discover her, but they hardly exist.
The more beautiful, horrible ladies are married. Typical! How many of us have met people whose inner light shines through? The Prophet (pbuh) describes a "seemingly disheveled, dusty, negligible person, but if he would swear to God, He would respond to him," (Tirmidhi). These are the people of true beauty to Allah (swt) because of the beauty in their hearts. They are a people who love to spend time with Allah, and when they are with people, they are at their service. If your mind is so unclean and wicked, would I consider you to be beautiful? No. The Prophet (pbuh) also says "Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds." The real beauty that should be evident to anyone is the inner beauty. If the inside is beautiful, it beautifies what is outside. My dear brothers and sisters, look good is wonderful, it builds confidence and it is sunnah, but it is best to be kind and respectful to people whilst being conscious of Allah always. That is true beauty. Let us beautify ourselves outwardly for His sake by being clean and presentable after all we are ambassadors of Islam. Let us also beautify ourselves inwardly by adorning ourselves with God-consciousness and good manners and lets stop judging a book by its cover only. Salaam Alaikun Waramotullahi Wabarakatuh.
Ganiyah Kareem is a scientist and a make up artist