Thursday, 9 February 2012

Two Types of Beauty

I have extracted and translated the following  from Rowdhatul Muhibeen by Ibnul Qayyim rahimahullah:

Know that beauty is divided in to two types: (1) exoteric (outward) beauty (2) intrinsic (inward) beauty.

The inward beauty is loved because of itself (i.e. if a person was only inwardly beautiful, that would be enough for him to become loved also). And inward beauty compromises of knowledge, intelligence, generosity, chastity, courage etc. The inward beauty in essence is what Allah Ta’ala focuses upon in relation to his slave and it is the object of His (Allah’s Ta’ala) love. This has been related in the Sahih Hadith, “Indeed, Allah Ta’ala does not look at your appearance or your wealth but rather, he looks at your hearts and your deeds.” (Muslim)

Thereafter, there is the outward appearance; It is the beauty that Allah Ta’ala has specifically given to some (in their appearance) in preference of others. This is known as the increase in mould/creation as Allah Ta’ala says, “And He increases in creation what He wills” (Surah Fatir). Outward beauty compromises of a beautiful voice, a beautiful appearance. It has been narrated in Sahih Muslim from Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam that “A person who has an iota of pride will not enter Jannah.” The companions radiallahu anhum said, “O Rasulullah! Is it considered pride if a man loves that his shoes are nice and that his clothes are nice?” Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam said, “Indeed Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Pride is to turn away from the truth and to belittle people.”

In the way inward beauty is a bounty from Allah, in the same way outward beauty is also a great bounty from Allah Ta’ala. It is something which requires a person to make thanks to Allah Ta’ala for. If the slave thanks Allah Ta’ala by preserving himself and being fearful of falling into Haraam, his beauty will increase. If he uses his beauty in sinful activities than this will affect his outward appearance in some way in the worldly life before the hereafter: His beauty will change into ugliness, whosoever sees him will immediately hate him. Every single person who does not dear Allah ‘azza wa jal in regards to his beauty will find it changed to ugliness in front of the people.

Indeed, inward beauty prevails over being outwardly ugly and this inward beauty guises the ugliness (i.e. nobody realises how ugly the person is because they recognise his character to be so good). And indeed, being inwardly ugly prevails over outward beauty as it guises the outward beauty (i.e. it does not matter how beautiful a person is, if his intrinsic qualities are bad then despite his beauty, everyone will recognise him to be a arrogant pretty boy etc).

A poet says:

“O the one who is beautiful faced, stay away from vulgarity. Do not change your beauty with ugliness.

O the one who is ugly faced, at least be of good character! Do not collect two repulsive attributes together!”

May Allah Ta’ala give us the ability to be inwardly beautiful and use our outward beauty correctly. Ameen. Ya Rabbal Alameen.

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