Why do we need to change the way we look?
NOT so long ago, it was easy to discern between Arab and non-Arab women when walking down the street. That is no longer the case. I, personally, find it hard to distinguish between Arabs and non-Arabs these days.
The reason being is that an alarming number of Arab women have gone to extreme lengths to look just like their Western counterparts. They undergo injections or surgeries to alter their faces, bleach their skin white, pluck their eyebrows razor-thin, dye their hair blonde and wear coloured contact lenses in shades of emerald green and sapphire blue. Apparently brown hair, brown eyes and honey-coloured skin are no longer ‘fashionable’ to them! What’s even worse is that a lot of these women are Muslims. They have opted to remove their hijabs in favour of making their long and well cared for manes their most prized accessory on display for the world to see. They shellac the make-up on because they care so much about what people think of their appearance when in reality they should care about being obedient to Allah. Truly, they are slaves to fashion and are going against the spirit of Islam and the teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with maintaining your beauty. In fact, Muslim women are encouraged to do so in order to be more pleasing to the eyes of their husbands. However, there is a fine line between simply donning a face or hair mask every now and then and changing the creation of Allah. Women who chemically or surgically alter their appearance are considered to have changed what Allah has created. No human has the right to change the creation. These women are cursed.
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“Allah has cursed the women who make tattoos and the women who have this done, the women who pluck facial hair and the women who have this done, and women who widen the gap between their own or others’ teeth for the sake of beauty, changing what Allah has created.” (Saheeh Muslim)
It’s also considered, by Islamic standards, to be a dishonest practice. Concealing the age with injections and surgeries. Creating a face that bears no resemblance to your original face or dyeing the hair a colour that is a stark contrast to what your hair colour naturally is. In addition, the chemicals and poisons used to maintain youth and beauty are detrimental to the health of humans. Look at Botox, for example, it is made of one of the deadliest substances on Earth – Botulism. And the latest beauty regimens contain the cells of animals and, in some cases, human embryonic stem cells. There are several places in the Holy Quran where Allah tells humans not to harm themselves in any way shape or form.
“Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allah hath been to you most merciful!”(4:29)
“And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good.”(2:195)
Injecting harmful substances or going under the knife for a quick ‘Nip/Tuck’ are definitely considered to be destructive practices. Besides that, it is also a way for the Devil to get the upper hand on humans to lead them away from Allah and right to hell along with him.
Allah reveals the devil’s promise in the Holy Quran: "I will mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and to deface the (fair) nature created by Allah." Whoever, forsaking Allah, takes Satan for a friend, hath of a surety suffered a loss that is manifest. (4:119)
The creation of Allah is beautiful. A woman might be deemed to be ugly because her skin is dark or her nose is crooked. But the imperfections are not with the woman herself but rather with our misperceptions of what constitutes beauty. The same woman might be the most beautiful creature in the sight of God and humans are simply too self-obsessed to see it.
Altering the Creation of Allah is something new to the Muslim world. With the advent of the Internet, satellite TV and glossy magazines littering the entire landscape of the Middle East, it is no surprise that many Muslim women are in a race with non-Muslim women to follow their every beauty procedure no matter how risky or how contrary to Islam it may be. More than 1,400 years ago the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), who was gifted with many prophesies of the future through Allah’s Mercy, warned that one day some Muslims would follow the ways of Jews and Christians instead of what Allah has decreed.
The Prophet Muhammad. (peace be upon him) said:
"You will follow the ways of those nations which were before you, span by span and cubit by cubit (inch by inch) so much so that even if they entered a hole of a mastigure, you would follow them. We said: "O Allah's Apostle! (Do you mean) the Jews and the Christians?" He said: "Whom else?"
By following the non-Muslims in affairs of vanity, the Muslim opens his heart to following them in other ways like ascribing partners to Allah or committing forbidden actions like adultery for example. The Holy Quran and the Sunnah are perfect guides for the lives for all Muslims. Nothing should get in the way of being obedient to Allah and seeking His mercy especially not something as trivial as a few lines and wrinkles.
Sumayyah Meehan is a Kuwait-based American writer who embraced Islam. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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