Jan 18, 2013

Satisfaction & Shukr To Al-Musawwir

By Amal S


I think many of us are prone to smiling at the beauty of a newly blossomed rose, gazing in awe at the pink streaked skies after Fajr and at Maghrib, appreciating a star-lit night, examining the wonder of a new baby – but when it comes to looking at other sign of Allah Subhaanahu wa ta’aala, your own reflection staring back at you in the mirror – we can be more prone to ingratitude than shukr. Maybe some of us will feel unsatisfied, sad, even depressed about their looks. While the media and fashion industry plays a big role, we have to take control of our attitude and perspectives.

If we let it, fashion magazines, celebrities, and TV shows will feed you a list of negative questions, all pointing to what could be ‘wrong’ with you.

We have heard it before but it needs to be drilled into our minds, especially the young women, that there is not one formula of beauty – the colour of your eyes, the texture of your hair, the shape of your nose, etc. are all beautiful. How do I know, you may ask - Because while I do not know you, I know that Allah Subhaanahu wa ta’aala created and fashioned you as He willed. Because Allah Subhaanahu wa ta’aala created you and designed you in the manner that He Subhaanahu wa ta’aala did, it is right no matter what the media/fashion/beauty industry would like you to believe this month or when it changes next year.

There is no denying the reality that there are obviously different levels of beauty among people. Rather I hope this article helps each one of us to take steps to appreciate how Allah Ta’ala created us specifically, and to refocus our perspective on what is more pressing inshaAllah.

(1) Know Allah is the Creator and you are the creation Allah is Al-Khaaliq, and He is also Al-Musawwir.

“He is Allah, Al-Khaaliq, Al-Baari’, Al-Musawwir; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
(Surah Al-Hashr 59:24) 

· “Khâliq denotes the One who creates with precise plan and measure and has the power to change things from one state to another.”

· “Musawwir denotes the One who arranges the forms of things in the best order (sizes, colours, etc.). It denotes being the shaper of beauty and fashioning things in an order that cannot be questioned.”

· The next time each one of us stares in the mirror, I am not suggesting we become conceited and arrogant, but rather that we try to be satisfied and appreciative - with knowledge that Allah, Al-Khaaliq, Al-Musawwir made me this way.

Here is a nice du’a that helps bring the favor of Allah to mind and remember what is of much more significance:

Allaahumma anta hassanta khalqee, fahassin khuluqee. 
“O Allaah, You beautified my body, so do beautify my character.” [1]

(2) Look at those who have less to reignite shukr
While some of us are obsessing over a pimple, or whatever else, we should strive to remind ourselves there are people with serious physical impediments that actually affect their life. When we remember that there is someone who has faced serious burns, or has missing limbs, etc. it should make us feel ashamed for the trivial things we were concerned with and for stooping to such pathetic levels of ingratitude when we cannot show enough gratitude to our Rabb if we spent every second of our whole lives in sujood or in worship.

So as the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam advised:

“If one of you look at a person who is better than him in wealth and body (charm), 
let him look at the people beneath him.” [2]

Al Munawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“If someone looks at the people above him (in wealth and worldly affairs), he will belittle the provisions of Allah on him and he will aim for more. The way to cure such condition is to look at people beneath him (in wealth and worldly affairs). Thus, he will be please and grateful, and his greed (in wealth and world) will be decreased. If one often looks at the people above him, he will be dissatisfied with his provisions from Allah. But if he switches his gaze to the people beneath him, it will make him please and be grateful of Allah’s provisions upon him. ”

“Look at the people beneath you (in wealth and worldly affairs) and do not gaze the ones above you (in this matter). By this, you will not underestimate the bounty of Allah bestowed upon you.” [3]

(3) The truth about dunya
It will fade. Seeing old women struggling off the bus usually reminds me of this. Sometimes I think about how this woman who is now frail, wrinkled, and weak was once young, full of energy, with looks – but no matter what one does, if they reach old age, they will look old.

Our personality, our character and manners, who we are is much more important to our family and friends and to a current/future/ prospective spouse. Looks are not everything and most people are not as superficial as the media makes them out to be.

The only thing in the grave that will be of benefit is our actions – how did we live our life. The things many people deem so important and cling onto are fleeting – with us today, gone tomorrow. So really why do we grieve and obsessing over what will fade, when we could be working towards our real life, the life that never ends, a life of eternal bliss and happiness and pleasure.

(4) Put things in perspective: to Him is the return!
“He created the heavens and earth in truth and formed you and perfected your forms; 
and to Him is the [final] destination.”
(Surah At-Taghabun 64:3) 

Yes, the skies and earth are beautiful, as are your forms – all the creation of Allah is amazingly designed. But ultimately, this earth is temporary and our bodies will die – the end destination, the ultimate goal, the eternal life is in the Hereafter . So we must remind ourselves about the Day of Judgment and our relationship with Allah Subhaanahu wa ta’aala.

The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam told us about the signs of a person’s success:

“Allaah does not look at the outward appearance or wealth of any one of you, but He looks at your hearts and deeds.” [4] 

“The heart is the seat of taqwa and a man's essential qualities and the treasures of knowledge, and deeds are the balance in which people will be weighed before Allaah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):” [5] 

“…Verily, the most honourable of you with Allaah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwaa…” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:13) 

Our piety, our level of ‘ibadah (quantity and quality of worship), our character and heart is what really counts.

· Your Value = Your Heart & Deeds – Case Study: Ibn Mas’ud

Many of us have heard this name - Ibn Mas’ud (may Allah be pleased with him) is a famous companion of the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam said:

“Take the Qur’an from four: Abdullah (i.e. Ibn Mas’ud), Salim the client of Abu Hudhaifa, Muaadh ibn Jabal and Ubayy ibn Kaab.” [6] 

“Whoever loves to recite the Qur’an fresh, just as it was revealed, then he should copy the recitation of Ibn Umm ‘Abd.” [7] 

Ibn Mas’ud also related more than 800 hadith. This gives us some insight into the high status and knowledge of Ibn Mas’ud.

When the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam once ordered him to fetch something, he climbed a tree to get something from the tree top for the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam  While climbing, his legs became exposed and some of Companions saw how thin they were and this caused them to laugh. The Messenger of Allah sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said what means:

“What are you laughing at? Verily, Abdullah's leg will be heavier on the scale on the day of resurrection than Mount Uhud” [8] 

To read another story with similar moral, look up the story of the Sahabi, Julaybib (may Allah be pleased with him).

To end: “So it is strange indeed that a person would pay attention to how he appears to others, and wash and adorn himself lest there appears to be anything wrong with him, then he does not pay any attention to his heart which is what the Creator looks at, and he does not purify and adorn his heart.” [9]

So let us say Alhamdulillah for all the blessings and incline towards shukr (gratitude), and refocus the lenses through which we view ourselves and our priorities.

[1] Ibn Hibban
[2] Bukhari and Muslim
[3] Bukhari and Muslim
[4] Muslim
[5] Excerpt from http://islamqa.info/en/ref/5555
[6] Bukhari
[7] Ibn Maajah
[8] Ahmad
[9] Excerpt from http://islamqa.info/en/ref/5555

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


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