The Beautiful Veil of Knowledge
Beauty in Islam
(khutba) article is essentially about the concept of beauty in Islam. It is of
particular relevance to women for example who are sought for their beauty in
marriage and knowledge of it is indeed a blessing from Allah. (It is envisaged
it can serve as a speech as in Hadith 5146 in the Book Of Wedlock for
marriages.) Thus beauty is a complex interdimentional terminology for the
Muslim to study, discuss and discover. Here, in this article I seek to outline
and elaborate on the Islamic, Koranic and Hadith explanations and definitions
of beauty, and its relevance to modern Muslim society.
creation of Allah and a gift bestowed from him can refer to many types of
beauty, including the gift of beauty for women children and man and as it is
popularly referred to, as well as the Organic definitions of beauty, the Hadith
concerning beauty, the elucidation of it’s meaning and scope in Islam, and its
importance from an Islamic perspective.
beauty is revealed to us in the Koran, in four main sections. The first
concerns the beautiful names of Allah, the second a call towards beautiful
preaching, the third a reservation of women’s beauty for their husbands and
finally the reward in paradise for Allah’s true servants of spouses that are
modest of gaze and beautiful of eye.
are references to general verses in the Koran that help to protect sustain and
maintain beauty. Thus for example Surat 4 Ayat 34 elaborates that men are the
protectors and maintainers of women and that includes her beauty needs, wishes
and desires. So we must realise that there is a heavy interconnection in the
Koran with the development of the Islamic concept of beauty. Thus the closely
related verses of the Koran and Hadith will also be looked at. I will now turn
to each Ayat(Koranic section) in turn.
The Heights, at ayat 180, it is stated;
“The most beautiful
names belong to Allah; use them to call on him, and keep away from those who
abuse them – they will be requited for what they do.”
the Koran we are first introduced to a most potent form of beauty, that which
is contained in Allah’s names. Thus Allah’s ninety-nine names contain serious
depths of beauty that mankind can learn, appreciate and comprehend as acts of
we see multifarious depths of beauty if we look at the name Al Wadud. This name
of Allah’s, the God of love describes to us beauty for instance in family law,
beautiful wives and children with love placed between us. We can see the depths
of the beauty of love that Allah has created in our hearts. The feelings and
emotions of love and those that beauty arouses.
If we look
to the name of Al Khalique, the creator, we see the beauty of creation. Beautiful
landscapes, countryside, animals, plants, flowers and creatures that Allah has
created for us to understand the beauty of creation.
We see also
the connection to the creation of health that beauty has. Thus beautiful hair,
teeth, skin and nails are examples of beauty from an Islamic medicinal
viewpoint. Also, the use of for example, honey and black seed oil as
traditional Islamic remedies in the beauty industry relate it closely to
The name of
the All Knowing, Al Alim can describe to us the beauty of religious knowledge.
Thus the beauty of the Koran as knowledge from Allah is appreciated as
containing verses of magnificent beauty and eloquence.
Dhu’I Jalal Wa’l-Ikram shows us the Lord of Majesty and generosity. Thus we can
appreciate how generous Allah is in creating beauty throughout the world. Closely
linked to this are the names of Al Hamid, the praiseworthy one and Al Karim the
generous whereby people can see that as Muslims they can pray for gifts of
beauty from Allah’s bounty that he generously bestows upon mankind.
The Inner, begins to allow us to appreciate the hidden depths of beauty that is
the development of qualities and components of beauty that mankind comes to possess.
Al Maghni, The Enricher, can enrich people’s lives with beauty, and Al Baqi the
everlasting shows us that it is within Allah’s capabilities to grant us
Also in the
name Al Wali the protector, we see for instance that Allah is the protector of
beauty for example in revealing to us verses on the veil, and Allah also
protects beautiful women and children through giving this protective
responsibility to men.
Thus we can
see through examples the meaning and scope of the beautiful names of Allah. We
must not underestimate however that these names serve as an explanation and
encouragement to worship the true Allah, so we are told to call on him through
his names and appreciate this bounty and
develop responses for prayer through beautiful
We are also
warned to stay away from those who abuse his names. The most striking example
of this being the name of Al Wahid, The One, through which we are warned to
keep away from idolatrous practices and people and those who associate with
Allah such as the Christians. Thus the beautiful names of Allah require
ayat, contained in Surat 16, the Bee, in ayat 125 exhorts the Muslims to beautiful
people to the way of your lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching. Argue with
them in the most courteous way, for your Lord knows best who has strayed from
his way and who is rightly guided.”
see the call to the muslim people to preach the Islamic way of Allah with
wisdom, such as intelligence and beautiful preaching. We can see many multifarious
types of beautiful preaching that muslim people have developed as a result of
Khutba’s that Imam’s recite, the Islamic art forms such as Islamic poetry and
Islamic art that contain revealed verses as well as Islamic literature and
historical developments as well as developments such as legal case law are all
cited as examples of beautiful preaching. We see the conveyance of the quality
of beauty in a striking calligraphic design of Islamic art for example as an
example of beautiful preaching.
reminded to argue in the most courteous manner especially with people who do
not yet believe, and Allah reinforces his omnipotence in the matter by stating
he knows best who has strayed and who is rightly guided.
through the Prophet Mohammed PBUH we are deliverers of a warning for all mankind that we must argue in
order to convince the non-believer to belief, but must do so in a courteous
manner, neither raising voices, tempers , using violence (except for jihad) or
causing a commotion that could bring impressions of Islam into disrepute.
We are also
told to try to convince and convert the non-believer and as beacons of the
muslim way we convey this dua in a form that is both supplemented and rooted in
the twin virtues of wisdom and beautiful eloquence in the style of preaching.
Hence, we must remain intellectually Islamically astute and also very talented
in the art of beautifully communicating the message of Islam to such an extent
that it leads to the belief of mankind in the faith of Allah as our Lord.
16 The Bee Ayat 125 helps us to develop and understand as well as grow in the
quality of Islamic beauty.
in Surat 24, the Light in Ayat 31 is revealed to us an ayat containing revelation
regarding the beauty of Women, and the reasons for it, as well as the Islamic
sharia law regarding it. Thus;
believing women that they should lower their glances, guard their private
parts, and not display their charms beyond what it is acceptable to reveal;
they should let their headscarves fall to cover their necklines and not reveal
their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands fathers,
their sons, their husbands sons, their brothers, their brothers sons, their
sisters sons, their womenfolk, their slaves , such men who attend to them who
have no sexual desire, or children who are not yet aware of women’s nakedness;
they should hot stamp their feet so as to draw attention to any hidden beauty;
Believers, all of you, turn to Allah so you may prosper.”
Koranic injunction that regulates women’s beauty is revealed. Hence, beauty of
women is a precious gift to be protected both by Allah and by mankind. Such
prevalent abuses of women’s beauty as exist today, such as its propagation for
immoral and unchaste evils are abhorred and forbidden. The strict regulation of
women’s beauty thus serves to preserve the chastity, dignity and respect and
thankfulness of Allah’s favour of beauty to women.
It is of
course recognised that beauty is attractive to men; this is part of its
creation, to please the spouse in his appreciation and viewing through the
medium of the eye. Yet beauty is also something that must be protected from
unfamiliar male members of the opposite sex, who may try to abuse it. Thus
strict observance of chastity requirements to help to protect and preserve the
creation of female beauty.
This is not
to underestimate the celebration and appreciation of beauty by women. Thus
female beauty is restricted to a protective domain, such as female only
organisational appreciation of beauty. Such events as female only fashion
shows, female only beauty salons and female only shopping and advertising of beauty
products all allow for the preservation of beauty in its private form.
are the one’s who the beauty can be
primarily directed to of women. This of course includes all of the legally
sanctioned through sharia Ayats and verses of proper Islamic marriages that
bless women with strong iman (faith) in Islam e.g. the Hadith to seek women
through their fathers leads to the opposing of corruption and afflictions, two
very anti-Islamic evils that the obedient women will be blessed with acting
against for example through their offspring.
properly constituted Islamic marriages, which do not abuse beauty or chastity,
bring with them many rewards. Here, women are also reminded in the wearing of
jewellery and beautiful adornments not to clatter or make noise that may
attract the attention of men, thus putting them in danger. Hence, women are
taught to be modest in their beauty rather that gregarious.
last Koranic revelation concerning beauty is found in Surat 37 Ranged in Rows;
ayat 48, where it is revealed concerning Allah’s true servants;
will be spouses- modest of gaze and beautiful of eye.”
That such a
reward is available in the hereafter to both men and women is interesting in
that men too please women in their attractiveness as Allah wishes this. Thus to
be one of Allah’s true servants, that is to have adhered to and believed in the
truthful revelation of the Koran, and to have served Allah in some way are the
requirements for this reward in the hereafter. We see then this ayat arranged
to encourage iman through preaching of the Koran and the service of Allah and
the reward in the hereafter of a beautiful spouse is indeed one to adhere to
and seek, as Allah specifically makes provision for it.
also mentioned in several of the Prophet’s Hadith, and these merit discussion.
The majority are found in the Book of Wedlock, and this confirms their
importance in the Islamic marriage
in Hadith 5064, men are warned to act justly to orphan girls whose beauty they
are attracted to, by granting them a fair Mahr as a marriage gift. Therefore the
beauty of vulnerable women such as orphans is protected by Allah and the
Prophet Mohammed PBUH.
Prophet’s important transmition in Hadith 5090 is a firm testimony to those
seeking the institution of an Islamic marriage. The Hadith 5090 is primarily
directed at men, and reminds them to prefer women of faith to those of beauty.
Whilst this is superior, the other three qualities of wealth, family linage and
beauty are also considered subserviently important to mankind although faith is
of primacy. Hence the women whose beauty is also a testimony to her faith, is
indeed the most blessed one.
Hadith 5140 we see the explanation by Aisha through the Hadith not to seek to
abuse the beautiful orphan girl by reducing her mahr. This reminder also serves
for all women, who are to be dealt with in a just manner by the muslim men, who
are to pay them adequate mahr for marriage. Therefore the strengthening of
justice to women through this example.
Hadith 5248, we see some communication regarding Surat 24 ayat 31 that women
were not to reveal adornments except to husbands. Here we see Fatima and Ali
performing medical services to the Prophet and this Hadith reminds women to
remain covered around non-permitted males.
see, through our discussion of beauty as an Islamic concept as revealed in the
Koran both stipulations and revelations as to its meaning and scope for the Muslim
and how through faith to relate to the concept of beauty as Allah desires.
must understand the interconnectedness of this concept and bounty from Allah by
treating it alternately as a bounty and reward, and aspiration of the Muslim to
achieve through worship. Thus the close connectedness to Ayats in Surat’s that
offer this understanding and appreciation
of beauty through Allah as rewards and gifts of beauty for example in Surat 4 the Women Ayat 32 and Surat 4 the
Women Ayat 173.
conclusion, we can see how we can attain and understand a level of beauty that
belongs to and is derived from Koranic revelation. Thus, a truly beautiful
person is one who invokes Allah’s names and preaches them, preaches with wisdom
and beautiful preaching, guards their chastity and acts modestly, serves Allah
and preaches the Koran, and the one who obeys the negative injunctions in the
revealed verses such as staying away from those who abuse Allah’s names. These
are the one’s who truly become beautiful people, and are blessed with the gift
of beauty from Allah and the understanding of it.
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