By Amal Al-Sibai
What is beauty? Who is considered beautiful?
Certain features are considered to be a sign of beauty, such as large eyes, long eyelashes, fuller lips, a large forehead, a small nose, long hair, and dimples.
Beauty differs from one culture to another. Some cultures find plump women to be more attractive while other cultures idealize thin women.
The problem with outward beauty is that it is totally relative; one person’s perception of beauty may be very different from another’s perception of beauty.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Physical beauty is superficial because it fades with age and a society’s perception of beauty continues to change as trends and times change. It is useless to chase after this type of beauty and it is costly.
In the seemingly insatiable search for beauty, cosmetic surgery is on the rise in Saudi Arabia and worldwide. Saudis spent $213 million dollars on plastic surgery in the year 2013. In the same year, more than 11 million cosmetic surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed by board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States, totaling more than 12 billion dollars.
According to the Ministry of Health, there are 316 plastic surgeons in the Kingdom who conducted about 144,000 plastic surgeries in five years.
If left unchecked, the desire for beauty can become an unhealthy obsession. It can be taken to an extreme, as is the case with Jenny Lee, a mother of two girls, who has undergone 59 procedures of cosmetic surgery.
Islam has set certain guidelines for resorting to plastic surgery. There are two categories for plastic surgery. The first is essential surgery which involves operations performed to remove faults or deformities that may have resulted from sickness, traffic accidents, burns, injuries, or to remove congenital defects, such as to remove an extra digit or separate fused digits. In these cases, the deformity causes extreme distress and/or pain, and this kind of operation is permissible.
The second type of plastic surgery is an elected procedure which is done primarily to improve the appearance. Examples are many, such as getting a nose job to make it look smaller, face lifts, making the breasts look larger or smaller. These procedures are considering tampering with the creation of Allah, because there is no necessary medical reason for surgery but the only purpose is the desire to look more beautiful.
Commenting on cosmetic procedures, Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said that those which are done to remove a fault resulting from an accident, there is nothing wrong with that. As for those which are unnecessary and are not done to remove a fault but rather to increase beauty, it is not permissible.
Rather than chase after this superficial and fleeting physical beauty, we should strive to beautify ourselves in our character. Inner beauty is the true beauty and it is more lasting, more powerful, and impressive than physical beauty. What good do perfect facial features do if a person is rude, obnoxious, and arrogant?
One report states that a woman spends on average, $2,000 a year on make-up and beauty products, like eyeliner, mascara, beauty blenders, a curling iron, lipstick, lip gloss, nail polish, foundation, and the list goes on.
We spend a lot of time and money on how we look on the outside. Are we spending enough time on trying to improve our inner beauty and our character?
There is a type of inner beauty; a radiance to the face and a glow that cannot be achieved through any face cream or beauty product, but through a spiritual connection with Allah.
The best prescription to get that glow in your face is to read the Holy Qur’an regularly, to wake up for Fajr prayer and pray it on time, and to do more good deeds in general. A constant awareness of Allah and remembrance of Allah, praising Him, glorifying Him, and asking for forgiveness will definitely add a light to the heart and face.
Known for his wisdom and maturity from a young age, the companion of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Abdullah ibn Abbas, said, “Verily, good deeds will brighten the face, enlighten the heart, expand provision, strengthen the body, and cause love in the hearts of the creation. Verily, evil deeds will blacken the face, darken the grave and the heart, weaken the body, restrict provision, and cause hatred in the hearts of the creation.”
Follow these beauty tips which will reflect on you, to achieve both inner and outer beauty. Readers too can add on their special tips for inner beauty.
Respect and honor all human beings irrespective of their religion, color, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession, job and so on.
Respect your elders.
Choose the best words to speak, and say them in the best possible way.
Do not shout. Speak politely, keeping your voice low.
Always speak the truth.
Do not be a bragger or boaster.
Do not be arrogant.
Lower your gaze.
When you hear something bad about someone, keep a favorable view about him/her until you attain full knowledge about the matter. Consider others innocent until they are proven guilty with solid and truthful evidence.
Do not backbite.
Do not make fun of others or ridicule people.
Do not defame others.
Do not insult others.
Greet one another with the greetings of peace.
Be of service to others.
Do not expect a return for your good behavior, not even thanks, for a rose gives its beautiful fragrance to all without getting anything in return.
Control your anger.
Fulfill your promises and commitments.
Do not be jealous of those who are blessed.
Never think that you have reached the final stage of knowledge, there is always room to learn more and to improve yourself.