True Beauty

27

Beauty lies, not in superficial appearances, but in the true beauty of our creation.

For all those beautiful women who remind us of The Most Beautiful:
—- 

Hair needs to be either dead straight or entwined in Goldilocks curls. Anything in between is a no-no. Waves signify complacency and let’s not even get started on the frizz.

Dare we tread on the face territory? Forehead, too big? Need a fringe to cover it. Too small, can’t wear a teeka to weddings (traditional jewelry hooked on the hair, worn on the forehead). Eyes, chalky? Need an eyeliner overdose. Should be almond shaped but not too almond shaped. Colored gets a bonus and an envy card. Eye lashes have to be carefully scrutinized, only long and batty cuts the cake, otherwise mascara saves the day. Dark circles are sin, in fact any blemish, freckle, or acne is a major felony. In extreme cases moles are cosmetically removed in case they do not quite find the right beauty spot. Excuse my makeup illiteracy, I cannot list the products used on the face. I’m sure you get the point.

Descending down the slender neck and raised pair of clavicles to each and every aesthetic bone in the body. They should protrude at the flattering places; sometimes palpable, sometimes visible. There is a stubborn ratio of muscle and soft tissue on these bones (girls get depressed if they use the word “fat”). There is always some problem area or another. The rule is: the scale is always leaner on the other side. Fad diets, starvation, green tea intoxication, walking dozens of kilometers a day, working out till they think they will collapse; whatever it takes. Beauty takes pain. Excruciating, overbearing, toe curling pain.

What’s next – clothes? There is only a tiny allowance for non-designer wear. Maybe once, or if times get desperate, twice a week are they allowed to wear something nameless and without a fashion heritage. On those days the girls tend to keep sitting and not walk around on campus. Shoes, bags, accessories, everything should be head turning, in style, and ‘vogue.’ There are grades to the perfect day.

Grade 4: You are the centre of attention; there is a crowd around you. You are basking in the spotlight.
Grade 3: You get lots of compliments individually.
Grade 2: Your friend gets more compliments than you. She makes you look bad. Mental note: do not hang out with friends who are prettier than you.
Grade 1: Just one compliment (not involving your body, but your attire).
Grade 0: Not a single compliment! Please skip the next day and spend time in the salon/mall/gym/crying in your room. Most importantly, THINK about what you are doing with your life.

This is the average day in my university. This is how conversations begin and end. When we can not walk out, we zone out. You know how some people can fall asleep with their eyes open in class? Over the years some of us have mastered the skill of undergoing an out of body experience when faced with such situations. We are there but our hearts are somewhere else. They are with a very special Someone who loves and adores us without looking at us. What?!

What is there to love and adore if not the looks?

There is a lot actually. Believe it or not, we are loved; in the most genuine of ways. We are not judged by our bad hair days or makeup-free faces. There is no fat versus bone density scan in our relationship. A button nose is not a deal breaker. In fact all these seeming vitals come no where on the list, not even way at the bottom. In reality, we are saved from the prying eyes and dehumanizing radars of the fashion police. Whatever types of crop we own are safely tucked away in our hijabs. Our bodies are a trust from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and are sheltered in our abayas. Our faces are the windows to our hearts and souls; the outlet for the light of our iman. And no one gets to degrade a Muslimah’s face: it is sacred, wrapped carefully behind the veil. How much thanks can a helpless slave offer to her Lord? How can we ever thank Him enough for this comfort and protection of this covering? Alhumdulillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen.

As ambassadors for the youth, we have downtrodden the essence of a woman’s body. For reasons of complete wisdom and understanding, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created man with His own Hands. His very own genius has been used to create the most perfect and remarkable woman; a woman who has been given the blessing of being the mode of birth itself. We are the means of sending life into this world, what a magnificent responsibility! Have we ever thought about the potential closeness we can develop to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala just by appreciating and being grateful for this gift? The fact that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is Al Khaaliq, The Creator, and He has made us ‘Ibaadul Khaaliq, the slaves of The Creator who have been assigned this beautiful role in the process of creation. SubhanAllah.

What have we done to deserve this honor and privilege? Absolutely nothing. And this is how we repay Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala? By being ungrateful of our bodies? By degrading our own selves? By lowering ourselves to this public, pathetic state of mere appearance? By taking the concept of a woman’s beauty to such exaggerated delusional heights? A woman’s beauty is in her imaan and akhlaaq. Remember how RasulAllah sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam advised for men to choose their wives?

The Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, A woman is married for four things: her wealth, her family status, her beauty, and her religion. So you should marry the religious woman otherwise you will be of the  losers. [Bukhari]

These are the compassionate teachings of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His Rasul sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. We are truly blessed to have been created women. And yes we are beautiful, internally and externally. Rightly so, we have been encouraged to dress up and look good for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala when we go to meet Him in salah, when we sit amongst our mahram men, when we interact with women, and for our own happiness. But not to such an extent that it clouds our reasoning, hardens our heart, and diverts our focus from the purpose for which we have been created for; to worship Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala grant us all the sweetness of faith. May He restore to us the hayaa that befits the daughters of this Ummah. May He beautify our hearts with His Remembrance. May the light of imaan radiate from our faces. May we be saved from betraying the trusts we have of our bodies. And may we be the ideal believing women of the Most Perfect Lord. Aameen.

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This one is for you mama and baba, for always showing me that true beauty lies within. Love you. Rabbirham humaa kamaa rabbayaani sagheera!

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