We all know that one of the attributes of Allah is that He is beautiful. Most of us have also at some point heard the hadith, “Verily Allah is beautiful, and He loves beauty”. We usually like to quote that in defense of wearing pretty clothes – which is fine, but also a little sad, because the meaning of this hadith really runs so much deeper.
Have you ever thought about what Allah’s beauty really means? I know I hadn’t – not until I started to read this beautiful, beautiful chapter in Fiqh ul Quloob.
The author tells us:
وجماله سبحانه على أربع مراتب:جمال الذات.. وجمال الأسماء.. وجمال الصفات.. وجمال الأفعال.فأسماء الله عزَّ وجلَّ كلها حسنى، وصفاته كلها صفات كمال، وأفعاله كلها حكمة ومصلحة وعدل ورحمة
[Roughly translated] And His beauty, glorified is He, is on four levels: beauty of self, beauty of names, beauty of attributes, and beauty of action. Thus Allah’s names are all of them beautiful, and His attributes are all attributes of perfection, and His actions in totality are (based on) wisdom, expediency (maslihat), justice, and mercy.
We never look beyond someone’s face when judging their beauty, do we? But think about it – a really beautiful person isn’t one who’s just physically beautiful. That is only part of it. A really beautiful person is beautiful in personality, or self, in names and attributes (kind, just, intelligent and so on), and in action. Let’s see how.
Imagine a man who is extremely handsome, or a woman exceedingly pretty. Let’s say he or she is also very intelligent – perhaps an MIT or Stanford PhD – and can bestow great wisdom in a few well-chosen words: a personality to envy indeed. Additionally, this person is really, really kind – always smiling, always ready to help, always giving gifts to neighbors and kind advice to friends. Not only that, but this person’s entire life is one spree of productive, beneficial activities – building mosques, mentoring students, writing top-class books, volunteering at hospitals and elderly homes, you name it.
Next, imagine a different man or woman, just as beautiful as the previous, or even more so. But they’re rather coarse and shallow – you can’t make any intelligent conversation with them at all. Two minutes with them and you start to feel dull and bored. Furthermore, this person is just mean – yelling at children, gossiping about friends, and being downright cruel to servants. And not just that, but this person spends most of the day hanging around coffeehouses, smoking cigarettes, watching television, gossiping on the phone, and maybe lurking at the mall.
Who is really beautiful? Is beauty really only about how someone looks?
Allah swt even looks beautiful – although we can never imagine just how much or what it’s like. But it doesn’t end at that; He has every other possible measure of beauty, and to perfection! His names and attributes are beautiful – He is powerful, He is merciful, He is just, He is ever-living, and His knowledge is inifinite. For Him is all dignity and respect. For Him is ALL power, all of it. If a beautiful person has intelligence and mercy and wisdom, but no power to do anything in the world, and no strength, would we admire their beauty? Probably not for long. Real beauty, that which commands admiration, is composed of personal strength and dignity, kindness and mercy, perfection in all qualities, and wisdom and correctness of action.
Will our hearts then not melt, not submit in adoration, to our beautiful, beautiful Lord?