Man is created without any flaws

Updated 03 December 2015

Man is created without any flaws

We find ourselves living in an era where physical looks are taken very seriously. All over the media we notice commercials for hair, skin, teeth, and nail products; advertisements of make-up for every conceivable fold of facial skin; and the list goes on and on. The real question is: “Is it all worth it?” How much does physical beauty actually impact our lives, careers, relationships, happiness and peace in both the worlds?
Cosmetic surgeries have taken their toll on the youth like never before. I was especially shocked recently when I read about this young girl in the West who underwent a rib removal surgery and had six ribs removed to have a thinner waist along with a number of other surgeries to appear more beautiful. But rib removal to look pretty?!
We were created by our Lord in the most perfect of forms. He created each and every one of us beautiful, without any flaws. We need to understand that beauty is more than just appearance; it’s more about our personality, our nature and our dealings with the people around us. Our beauty lies in our level of confidence too, and confidence arises when there’s an appropriate amount of self-love, self-esteem and self-respect. Being content with our appearance and focusing on improving our character is the key to a happy life. It is true that we live in a society that portrays a certain type of beauty as being the ultimate aspect of beauty, but nobody said we have to agree and abide by those illogical concepts. By being comfortable with who we are, we will not only enjoy our life more, we will become everything that God has created us to be!
Everything that exists is created by Allah Who calls Himself: Al Khaliq (The Creator) and Al Musawwir (the One Who creates various forms and shapes). He created us and He is the Bestower of forms and He does not make any errors. His creation is as He wills, and He is the One Who formed and gave shape to all that exists. Allah says: “It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wills. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Al Qur’an, 3:6)
And He also says: “He formed you and perfected your forms and provided you with good things. That is Allah, your Lord; then blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds.” (Al Qur’an 40:64) He has given everything its own form and distinct shape, even though His creation is so great and so varied, He has favored human beings and made them special and unique. Glorified and Exalted is He who says: “We have certainly created man in the best of stature.” (Al-Qur’an 95:4)
Along with being created as the most beautiful creature on earth, man has been given the power of reasoning and insight. This is what differentiates him from all other created beings — the power to choose and make sensible decisions. And removing parts from our perfectly created bodies to look beautiful does not come under ‘being sensible’...rather it’s harming oneself, gaining the anger of our Creator and hence, destroying our fate in this world and the Hereafter.
One should know and understand the fact that his body is an amanah, a trust from Allah, and so he is obligated to take care of it and honor it as it should be honored. Appearance and wealth are the criteria by which Shaytan misguides man. He leads him astray by making him think he is unworthy in the sight of everyone hence makes him take steps toward changing or distorting the creation of Allah. This can either be through sins like plucking eyebrows, getting tattooed, or by way of extreme cosmetic surgeries and the like. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Allah cursed him (Shaytan). And he [Shaytan] had said, “I will surely take from among Your servants a specific portion. And I will mislead them, and I will arouse in them (sinful) desires, and I will command them so they will slit the ears of cattle, and I will command them so they will change the creation of Allah.” And whoever takes Shaytan as an ally instead of Allah has certainly sustained a clear loss.” (Al Qur’an 4:118-119)
In Islam physical beauty is not considered to be a measure of virtue among people; rather the standard on which distinctions are made is taqwa (piety, fear of Allah). We will be judged by our Creator on what we do to draw closer to Him. The thing He appreciates about His servants is their effort in improving their faith, their characters and their deeds. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Allah does not look at your figures, nor at your attire but He looks at your hearts (and deeds).” (Related by Muslim-1356)
Sheikh Ibn Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) says in his explanation of this Hadith: "This Hadith points to what Allah says in the verse: ‘O mankind! surely We have created you of a male and a female, and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you; surely Allah is Knowing, Aware (Al-Qur’an 49:13)
Allah does not look at the figures of His servants, if they are big or small, healthy or sick, nor at their looks if they are beautiful or not. He does not look at their lineage, whether it is prestigious or not, nor does He look at their wealth, or any of these factors at all. The only connection between Allah and His servants is through Taqwa (righteousness), so whoever has more Taqwa of Allah is closer and more honorable in the sight of Allah. So do not be proud of your wealth, your beauty and body, your children, your mansions or cars.
As believers we have to understand that this worldly life is temporary and there will come a day when physical beauty will carry no value to us. We must worry over our state in the Hereafter. Allah says: “(Some) faces, that Day, will be bright — Laughing, rejoicing at good news. And (other) faces, that Day, will have upon them dust. Blackness will cover them.” (Al Qur’an 80:38-41)
So let’s try our best to be content and be grateful to Al-Musawwir, Who shaped us by His ultimate wisdom. If Shaytan tempts us to feel insecure about any of our facial or body features, let’s remember the Day of Judgment when nothing but our deeds will matter.


The beauty of prayer in Islam

Updated 23 September 2016

The beauty of prayer in Islam

GOING deeper into our spiritual state during prayers (salah) requires that we have a presence of heart and are mindful of the words being said during the prayers.
Our prayer will feel shorter, yet when we look at how much time we actually spent, we will think, “Did I just spend 10 minutes?” or even 15 and 20 minutes.
A person who began applying this said he wished the prayer would never end.
A feeling that Ibn Al-Qayyim describes as “what the competitors compete for… it is nourishment for the soul and the delight of the eyes,” and he also said, “If this feeling leaves the heart, it is as though it is a body with no soul.”

The love of Allah
Some people’s relationship with Allah is limited to following orders and leaving prohibitions, so that one does not enter hell. Of course, we must follow orders and leave prohibitions, but it needs to be done out of more than fear and hope; it should also be done out of love for Allah. Allah says in the Qur’an: “… Allah will bring forth [in place of them] a people He will love and who will love Him.” (Qur’an, 5:54)
We often find that when a lover meets the beloved, hearts are stirred and there is warmth in that meeting. Yet when we meet Allah, there is not even an ounce of this same feeling. Allah says in the Qur’an: “And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.” (Qur’an, 2:165)
And those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. There should be a feeling of longing, and when we raise our hands to start the prayer, warmth and love should fill our hearts because we are now meeting with Allah. A dua of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “O Allah, I ask You for the longing to meet You” (An-Nisa’i, Al-Hakim)
Ibn Al-Qayyim says in his book Tareeq Al-Hijratain that Allah loves His Messengers and His believing servants, and they love Him and nothing is more beloved to them than Him. The love of one’s parents has a certain type of sweetness, as does the love of one’s children, but the love of Allah far supersedes any of that. The Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Any person who combines these three qualities will experience the sweetness of faith: 1) that God and His messenger are dearer to him than anything else; 2) that his love of others is purely for God’s sake; and 3) that he hates to relapse into disbelief as much as he hates to be thrown in the fire.” (Bukhari)
Thus, the first thing he mentioned was: “… that God and His messenger are more beloved to him than anything else…”
Ibn Al-Qayyim says: “Since ‘there is nothing like unto Him’ (Qur’an, 42:11), there is nothing like experiencing love for Him.”
If you feel this love for Him, it will be a feeling so intense, so sweet, that you would wish the prayer would never ever end.
Do you truly want to feel this love? Then ask yourself: ‘why do you or should you love Allah?’
Know that you love people for one (or all, in varying degrees) of three reasons: For their beauty, because of their exalted character or/and because they have done good to you. And know that Allah combines all of these three to the utmost degree.

All-embracing beauty
We’ve all been touched by beauty. It is almost fitrah (natural disposition) to love what is beautiful. Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, said about the Prophet, peace be upon him, that it was “as if the sun is shining from his face.” Jabir (may God be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah was more handsome, beautiful, and radiant than the full moon” (Tirmidhi)
Allah made all His Prophets have a certain beauty so that people would have a natural inclination toward them.
And beauty is more than what is in the face, because beauty is in all of creation and somehow has the ability to take our breath away and give us peace simultaneously. The glimmer of the crescent moon on a calm night, the intensity of a waterfall as the water drops for thousands of feet, the sunset by the sea … certain scenes of natural unspoiled beauty stirs something in us. As Allah is the One Who made it beautiful, so what of Allah’s beauty?
Ibn Al-Qayyim said: “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This fitrah for loving what is beautiful is because Allah is beautiful. One of His Names is Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful). Ibn Al-Qayyim states that the beauty of Allah is something that a person cannot imagine and only He knows it. There is nothing of it in creation save for glimpses.
Ibn Al-Qayyim says if all of creation were the most beautiful they could be (so let’s imagine, ever single human being looked as beautiful as Yusuf, peace be upon him, and the whole world was like Paradise), and all of them combined from the beginning of time until the Day of Judgment, they would not even be like a ray in comparison to the sun when compared to Allah. Allah’s beauty is so intense that we will not even be able to take it in this life. In the Qur’an, Allah describes Musa’s (peace be upon him) request: “And when Moses arrived at Our appointed time and his Lord spoke to him, he said, ‘My Lord, show me (Yourself) that I may look at You.’ (Allah) said: ‘You will not see Me but look at the mountain; if it should remain in place, then you will see Me.’ But when his Lord appeared to the mountain He rendered it level, and Moses fell unconscious.” (Qur’an, 7:143)
Even the mountain could not bear the beauty of Allah and crumbled, and when Musa, peace be upon him, saw this (he did not even see Allah), he fell unconscious. This is why on the Day of Judgment it is Allah’s light that will shine on everything. We talk about breathtaking beauty, but we have yet to experience Allah’s beauty. While things in this world can be beautiful or majestic or if they combine both they are finite, true majesty and beauty are for Allah: “And there will remain the Face of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.” (Qur’an, 55:27)
Keeping all of this in mind, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: “Allah directs His Face toward the face of His servant who is praying, as long as he does not turn away” (Tirmidhi).
Remember this in your prayer, and ask Allah to allow you the joy of seeing Him in Paradise.