Connecting To The Divine: Finding Beauty

By Romina Afghan

“Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty”

From ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood, who narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “No one will enter Paradise who has an atom’s-weight of pride in his heart.” A man said, “What if a man likes his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allaah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means denying the truth and looking down on people.” (narrated by Muslim in his Saheeh, no. 131)

There is a natural instinct inside each of us that draws us towards beauty. The beauty of the world around us, the earth that we inhabit, calls out to the very essence of our soul- whether that be the mountains and lakes, desert landscapes or forests and gardens. Witnessing the beauty of the creation of Allaah gives rise to a certain tranquility and feeling of connection; the creation of the natural world around us has been designed to draw our soul in, to make us ponder over the source of this beauty, to point us in the direction of submitting to the natural order and beauty of the universe, to be in alignment with all of creation who declare His Perfection and beauty, even though we may not understand it,

“The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His Praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving” [al-Isra’ 17:44]

Just to witness this beauty is a rahmah, a mercy from Allaah. And just as we witness the beauty of the natural environment around us, so it is equally important that we witness the beauty within ourselves, through the gifts He has endowed each of us with; it is important that we acknowledge them and use them to come closer to His Beautiful Presence.

In a similar way, there is beauty in every single situation that Allaah places us in, in the unfolding of our lives through events which He has designed, in order to help us to learn, to become better, to purify ourselves from the impurities that cloud our potential inner beauty. Seeing that beauty in those events, looking for them, even hunting for them when they seem to elude us, whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, and being able to do so despite the pain we may also be experiencing, will bring us closer to the eternal beauty that we seek in Jannah.

“Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty”

There is beauty in everything He Creates – there is beauty in it even when there may be temporary pain; there is beauty in it’s justice, it’s order, it’s purpose. When we have internalised that, then beauty becomes the order of our lives, beauty becomes the vision we live for and the clothing of our hearts.

“Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty”

But what is the beauty that Allaah loves ? It is the beautification of the heart, the beautification of the character, of the soul-  by dampening its own selfish desires and cultivating it upon the beauty of what your Lord has commanded and loves.

This is the beauty of the soul that shines forth as a metaphorical light in this world, that makes a person seem so irresistibly attractive and beautiful to the eyes that see with the heart of the soul. This is the true beauty that each of us wishes to see in another when they look for a friend or a companion, and it is this beauty that we are encouraged to beautify ourselves with.

The surface beauty that western society is obsessed with is just a measure of how far we have come from the higher nature that Allaah created us in; it is just a masking of other ugliness and shortcomings that we hope will make us beautiful so that we will be loved or can feel better about ourselves;  but which really does not lead to love or lead to feeling better about ourselves if this is the primary tool with which we are seeking to address this deficiency in our hearts. How many are the famous who spend their whole lives beautifying their exterior shells while the inside rots in neglect, and how many are tormented by the feelings of worthlessness and despair, as they have put the emphasis on superficial beauty and forgotten about the substance of beauty which actually nourishes the soul.

Addressing the outer aspects of beauty alone cannot heal the scars or dispel the feelings of unworthiness or of being unwhole, and may even exacerbate them, as a person who is occupied in covering blemishes and flaws fails to see or acknowledge the real beauty that has been gifted to them. So if you see yourself being drawn in to this, ask yourself if there is a deeper need that is being masked, ask yourself where is the best place to fulfil or heal that need, ask yourself if your focus is on the beauty that Allaah has gifted you with, and ask yourself if you are occupied  with the beauty that He loves…

And then there are those whose outer shell is plain and yet you find them so beautiful, so attractive to your soul- their beauty pours out in every smile, in every look of kindness, in every salaam and every moment of even just sitting with them. This is because when a container is filled with the light and perfume of correct guidance and love for Allaah, that light and perfume cannot be restricted or contained within, and instead pours out of every pore and wafts around every movement, and infuses the very air around this person.

The true beauty is the one that illuminates in this world and the next– when the metaphorical light that they cultivated in their lives through their striving with their desires, will become an actual light that shines forth from the hands, the feet and the faces:

On that Day you will see believing men and women with their light shining ahead of them and on their right. ˹They will be told,˺ “Today you have good news of Gardens, under which rivers flow, ˹for you˺ to stay in forever. This is ˹truly˺ the ultimate triumph.”

“Allaah is beautiful and He loves beauty”

Allaah, Al-Jameel loves beauty, so the question I ask myself, is “How can I infuse the knowledge of His Beauty into my daily life?” The answer that springs forth for me is, ” I can live by this name by making all of my actions as beautiful as they can be…”

And what is beauty? Beauty is a thing which is not marred by deficiencies- so my actions must be pure in the sense they are for Allaah alone, they must be beautiful and pure in that they are not done to show off or impress anyone else, or gain favour with a certain group of people; they must be done out of a pure love for my Creator, out of a pure desire to please Him before pleasing anyone or anything else, as Ibn al Qayyim, the famous scholar said:

“Whoever desires to purify his heart, then let him prefer Allah to his desires.” – Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimahullah)

Purifying our heart is what makes it beautiful – so we can live with integrity to this description of Allaah by constantly beautifying our characters upon patience, kindness, empathy, love, magnanimity, reliance upon Allaah, trust in Him, hope in Him, and by removing all the bad characteristics that mar that beauty such as anger, hatred, jealousy, impatience, and all the other faults that we harbour to a more or lesser extent in our souls.

“Allah loves from His slave that he beautifies his tongue with the truth, and his heart with Ikhlaas ( sincerity) and love, turning repentantly to and having reliance upon Allah.”- Ibn Al Qayyim (rahimahullah)

How can we do this?

These lofty ideals may seem so far away, like they belong to a different person or a different time. I am so far away from that, my life is nowhere near that reality, so it feels insincere and almost impossible to even begin that journey, to even say that I want it…yet I cannot despair because I am not trusting in my own ability to get me there, I am trusting that al-Jameel, who wants me to establish this beauty in my life, will lead me to it, step by perfect, beautiful step. Even when that process may be unsightly to watch
and experience, I trust in Him to bring it to full beauty in a way that He
knows best, and I trust that He will guide me to it.

So, one of the practical ways to inculcate beauty into our lives is to simply identify one good quality we wish to have, and the situation where we wish to have it. Then we can assess where we currently are, on a scale of 1-10, 1 being lowest and 10 being best. Identify what  the next step up would look like for you. Make a heartfelt duaa to al Jameel to help you beautify your character in this area,  then have an action plan for that week to achieve that goal and move forward one step in that area. After one week, assess if you have gone up in your ratings.  You could even add to be brave and share your goal with someone very close to you, to see if they actually see a living difference?

For example, I wish to embody beauty through having a beautiful patience. The situation I want to have more patience in, is with my children. I am at a number 3 with a certain child, and I want to get better. To be one step better for me, is to not shout when the chores do not get done by the time I had specified. My du’aa will be to ask Al-Jameel to guide me to a beautiful patience, to beautify my character with the patience that He loves and that will bring me closer to Him; and my goal will then be to remove myself from that situation before I shout with a 5 minute timeout, and to tell that child I will discuss the situation and consequences with them later. In that time out, I will sit down and make thikr, and remember one thing I am grateful to Allaah for about that child, and make duaa that Allaah guides that child to be the best of His Slaves.

Then the following week, I can assess my ratings again, and do the same until I have embodied patience in that particular situation which I felt needed addressing.

Now we can do the same and go through the steps for one bad characteristic that we wish to remove in order to increase the beauty of our character…

If we work on improving ourselves, one small step at a time, one characteristic at a time, inshaaAllaah we will soon see progress and build beautiful character into our lives. Connect to Al-Jameel who will grant you the beauty of the character of the Prophet sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallaam, who endowed you with so much beauty and who enriched our lives and our world with beauty in so many different aspects.

About the author:

Romina is a happy mother to four children, a Master NLP-practitioner in training, part-time teacher and passionate believer in unlocking the wonderful potential of each and every soul by connecting them to Allaah and His Book. She has been blessed to be a  part of Solace for some years now, and loves connecting with sisters everywhere, so if you happen to come to a Solace event where she is, come on over and introduce yourself!

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