Saturday, 2 June 2012

Vanity & Its Harms

You know you have a problem when you can’t stop looking at yourself in the reflection of car windows! When it comes to those people who are beautiful to some degree; people are of perhaps two types. The first type of people are those who are quite simply not bothered by their beauty. They don’t spend hours in front of the mirror grooming themselves; they are happy enough to roll out of bed and go to the shops to pick up a pint of milk. Then there is the second type; those people who cannot leave the house without making sure every inch of their body looks attractive. He/she constantly feels the need to look in the mirror every minute (literally).

The reality is, it is not a bad thing to look good. Rather, it is something that we should give some degree of importance too. As Muslims we are given the example of Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam who would always look good and presentable. He would make sure that his blessed body is well fragranced, that his blessed teeth are clean, that his clothes are sparkling and the examples are many.

However, a problem can arise in a person when he becomes obsessed with his/her own looks. Keeping oneself represent able is a good thing but when a person becomes incredibly vain and over taken by one’s own features, it is not something which is lauded. Rather, it can give rise to many negative traits within one’s own self. Vanity can give rise to arrogance; when a person feels he/she is too pretty, they may begin to feel superior to anybody else. This can be seen at the time of marriage; a person might get a proposal from a nice, good looking girl but the boy (who considers himself handsome) will reject her simply because she is not as ‘beautiful’ as he is. When Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam was asked, “What is pride/arrogance?” He replied, “It is to turn away from the truth and to look down on people (i.e. belittle them).” (Bukhari).  Thus, vanity can lead a person to think much in regards to himself and as a result, his ego inflates like a balloon. And just like a balloon, his feet do not remain on the ground.

Secondly, it could cause envy within oneself and within others which doesn’t do one any favours. For example, when a handsome person sees someone who is even more beautiful than he is, he gets jealous and envious. Take the example of a person who is considered beautiful by his community and is constantly praised by the other gender, if another person entered that same community and stole the attention, the vain person would become extremely envious. When a person becomes envious, he may do anything to destroy the other person. Similarly, if a person is regularly trying to look good, he could at times get the wrong attention from the wrong people which could in effect, give him problems. i.e. the entire situation could be reversed and someone may get jealous on him.

Vanity could also bring anger within a person. There are many people who buy rare garments etc and they believe it to be exclusive to themselves. However, one day, they bump in to another person who has the exact same garments and as a result, they become extremely angry. They feel that that particular piece of clothing was meant to be exclusive and as a result, they go ballistic! 

Finally, vanity brings love for this world into the hearts of people.  Once, Malik ibn Dinar rahimahullah asked, "In what lies the corruption of the people?" Hasan al Basi rahimahullah replied, “In the death of the heart." Malik ibn Dinar rahimahullah said, "What is the death of the heart?" Hasan: "The love of the world.” When a person becomes too engaged in materialistic goods he becomes a chamcha for the worldly life, thus, a person loses characteristics of abstinence in his life and the transition from this life to the hereafter becomes harder.

So what can a person do to take vanity out of himself?

1. One should spend very little time in front of the mirror. Literally, force oneself to limit this time.
2. One should leave one’s house without applying makeup/gel etc etc
3. One should try to avoid wearing brand name clothing.
4. Hang around with those people who aren’t vain.

May Allah Ta’ala give us the ability to rectify ourselves. Ameen.

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