True Beauty

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In the ‘olden days’, the solution to cracked and chapped lips was a rusty yet trusty tub of Vaseline. Nowadays, we have a vast variety of lip balms, lip oils, lip butters and lip salves.

In the ‘olden days’, if you asked a person what he had on his foot, he would answer, “A shoe”. Nowadays, ask a person the same question, and the answer will vary between ‘pumps’, ‘heels’, ‘platforms’, ‘boots’, ‘sandals’, ‘takkies’, ‘sneakers’ and other forms of footwear that have walked onto the scene.

In the ‘olden days’, people’s day-to-day activities such as the household chores were sufficient to keep them occupied and also keep them in shape. Nowadays, there is no shortage of people signing up for Pilates, kickboxing, taibo, classes with a personal trainer, spinning classes, gym memberships and much more in the effort to stay ‘slim and trim’. 

Times have evidently changed, and with the commencement of the twenty first century, people have become more concerned about their appearance than ever before. In fact, people’s obsession over appearance has reached such proportions that on its strength alone, the cosmetic, clothing and fitness industries have flourished into multi-billion dollar enterprises.

When leaving home, they look into the mirror, when sitting in the car, they pull down the visor and look into the mirror, when walking through a department store, they pause for a moment to look into the mirror, and when seated with friends, they reach into their handbag to look into their compact mirror. In every case, they rely on the mirror to give them a sense of confidence and contentment by reassuring them that they are indeed ‘beautiful’.

Mirror mirror on the wall

How do I look today?

Will I turn the heads of one and all

or chase them far away?

Foundation will put my flaws behind

Cosmetics are really the key

Not a single blackhead or blemish you’ll find

Though sadly I’m not what you see!

When the foundation fades and is no more

I’ll be forced to flee and hide

My true colours will come to the fore

Is there any beauty inside?

Regrettably, the more we obsess over our appearance and stare at our reflection, the less we actually reflect over our ‘true beauty’ – the beauty which resides within the heart. The more we strive to ‘look good’, the less we strive to ‘be good’. The mirror is undoubtedly an excellent, impartial judge, as it shows us our every blemish, from a pimple on our cheek to food stuck in our teeth. However, the mirror can only show us the beauty which is skin deep. To see beyond the skin, we need to engage in reflection.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has taught us to recite the following du‘aa when looking into the mirror:

اَللّهُمَّ أَنْتَ حَسَّنْتَ خَلْقِيْ فَحَسِّنْ خُلُقِيْ

O Allah! You have beautified my physical creation (and appearance), so beautify my character.

In this du‘aa, we are given the very same message – turn your gaze inwards. Ponder and reflect over your internal state and make an effort to acquire TRUE BEAUTY – the beauty of the heart.

Alhamdulillah, Uswatul Muslimah has published a book entitled “Glimpses of True Beauty from the Lives of Pious Women.” This book contains a collection of selected stories of pious women taken from the ‘Pious Women’ category on the Uswatul Muslimah website. Studying the incidents of these personalities and pondering over the lessons learnt from their lives will assist us to reflect over our own lives and inspire us to acquire the TRUE BEAUTY with which they had been blessed.

May Allah Ta‘ala accept this effort, allow us to follow in the footsteps of these saintly souls and raise us with them on the Day of Qiyaamah, aameen.

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