Beauty is modest.
Beauty – true beauty – is modest. The more modest a person is, the more beautiful she is. And that is why the most beautiful women walking the face of the earth are those who don the niqab – because there is no dress more modest than that. This is not my sentiment alone. Rather, it finds its basis in the utterance of the Truthful one who said, “Wa maa kaanal hayaa’u fee shai’in illaa zaanahu – And modesty is never part of anything, except that it beautifies it.” (Sunan Tirmidhi) Reflect on that: when modesty becomes part of something, it adorns that thing. Therefore, naturally, the more modesty a person possesses, the more her beauty is intensified.
All those women out there: the pop stars, the singers, the actresses, the celebrities – those who top the polls of the most beautiful women and whom society deem to be pretty – in reality they have no share of beauty at all. They may do more to inflame and ignite the desire and lust of men yes, but that does not make them beautiful. Their lack of beauty is due to the fact that they are the most depraved and shameless of all people. They strip themselves of all dignity and honour and self-respect and parade themselves before the world, revealing everything and hiding nothing. And that is ugliness. Even the most intimate of acts they make a display of… They cast themselves into destruction and drag others along with them.
In truth, such women are pitiful creatures. They have surrendered and given other people power and control over their lives. They do not determine their own worth and self-esteem but instead allow it to be dictated to them by others. Their view and perception of themselves is no longer their own; it is dependent on what others think of them. If people are attracted to them and compliment their beauty then they become pleased and happy. If not, then they are discontented.
And so they suffer. They suffer for “beauty”. They wear killer heels although it kills their feet; they starve themselves and deny themselves of things they love despite their cravings for it; and they wear revealing clothes in the depths of the freezing cold. And this suffering for beauty, what is it really for? We all know and can appreciate the fact that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. There is thus no objective standard against which beauty can be measured. So what these women are suffering for is not beauty, but simply for what others think of them and tell them is beautiful. The sad irony of it all is that that image which everyone regards as being beautiful fades so very quickly. Then as they age, they heap upon themselves ugliness upon ugliness and humiliation upon humiliation. They cling desperately to their outward appearance as they fight an inevitable losing battle against the inexorable march of time. What could possibly be more unsightly than an old, decrepit woman caked with make-up and dressed like a twenty-year old!?
Even more unfortunate than those poor souls are those who do not have what they have – those who have no claim to fame and celebrity status – yet that is what they crave. And so they follow the same route shown to them by those women and go through all the things that they do, but receive none of the adulation that the pop stars get. These girls have been deceived and fed a lie. They’ve been led to believe that such a lifestyle is what they should aspire to, that it is what will bring them joy and contentment when in reality it offers nothing but misery and humiliation.
At a school in which I taught for a short while there were two girls who wore niqab. I asked the learners in a different class whether or not they were beautiful. One girl replied and said that we don’t know – because we can’t see them. A sad response, but can anyone blame her? Because this is what the world we’re living in tells us: that beauty is not determined by your character or your behaviour or your personality but is based on looks and looks alone.
But in a world obsessed with appearance, know that Allah doesn’t care what you look like. Why should He, when He is the very one who has bestowed you with the looks that you’ve been blessed with? He is the one who created you and fashioned you and all that you have is a result of His favours upon you. Why then do you think He would be impressed with something that was not of your doing but which came from Him?
It is only people who care about your appearance. It is only they who will judge and appraise you according to that standard. But for Allah ‘azza wa jall, what matters is not what your outward form looks like but what the state of your heart is. Is it beautified and illuminated with praiseworthy qualities or is it darkened and perverted with the stains of sinfulness? He appraises and ranks us not according to how we look, but according to the level of taqwa that we have. So if appearances matter so little, why do we allow it to dominate our lives so much?
May Allah ta’ala adorn the hearts of the believing women and the believing men with the garb of modesty, and may He protect us from shamelessness and obscenity.