The Messenger of God( pbuh ) and Beauty

0 38

’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, ‘God is beautiful and loves beauty. This is not arrogance. Arrogance is rejecting the truth and looking down upon others.’ (Muslim, Faith 39/147-149 (91); Tirmidhi, Virtue 61 (1999))

Beauty in İslam

The quest for beauty, the understanding of beauty, and the curiosity to find the ultimate beauty in humans, who are created in the most beautiful form among beings, naturally began from the moment of their creation. Indeed, the fact that humankind has been bestowed with the title of the most beautiful in form and character should be seen as the starting point of their journey toward this pursuit of beauty. As long as a person strives to discover and know all the beauties manifested by their Lord, who has honored them with “the best pattern of creation” (ahsan al-taqwim), they preserve and multiply all the material and spiritual beauties granted to them and add beauty to their surroundings.

Recognizing beauty, understanding beauty, and contemplating beauty are important for understanding both existence and its Creator. In the micro and macro realms, everything is a manifestation of His Essence, Attributes, and the most beautiful Names. Everything is an endowment from the Exalted Artist to His servants and serves as the most eloquent witnesses to His existence, unity, and supreme artistry. From the tiniest particle to the sun, every being owes its existence, beauty, charm, and value to Him. All beauties belong to Him and originate from Him; all beautiful Names are His; He is the owner of all eternal and everlasting beauties.

The Most Beautiful Names Belong to Him

The Qur’an introduces our Lord to us through many Names and Attributes that reveal His infinite Qualities of Divinity and Lordship. The verses state (ﻟﻪ ﺍﻷﺳﻤﺎﺀ ﺍﻟﺤﺴﻨﻲ), meaning “All the most beautiful Names belong to Him/are His.” Thus, it is emphasized that all of the Names of the Exalted Creator are beautiful, drawing attention to the fact that He is the true source of all beauty. These Names signify the most beautiful meanings and are the Names that will connect His servants to His essence through all beauties and values.

The term al-Asma al-Husna is mentioned four times in the Qur’an and is used exclusively in reference to Allah. In the phrase found in Surah Al-A’raf, it is stated that one should pray to Him using these Names and that acting according to personal whims and desires regarding these Names is prohibited: “The most beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them. And leave those who practice deviation concerning His Names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.” (Al-A’raf, 7:180)

The second verse that mentions al-Asma al-Husna is found in Surah Taha, where Allah is described as the Creator and Sovereign of the heavens and the earth, and everything between and within them; it clearly states that everything belongs to Him and that He knows the most hidden secrets: “To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and on the earth, and whatever is between them, and whatever is beneath the soil. And if you speak aloud—then indeed, He knows the secret and what is even more hidden. Allah—there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best Names.” (Ta-Ha, 20:6-8) All the Prophets and Divine scriptures have expressed this truth and have established a belief system based on these fundamental principles. Allah is the sole possessor of the most perfect Attributes and the highest Qualities. The superiority of Allah’s Names in terms of beauty over all other Names is attributed to the fact that they embody holiness, greatness, sublimity, and lordship, expressing infinity in beauty. (See: Zamakhshari, Al-Kashshaf, 2/537)

The third verse concerning al-Asma al-Husna is found in Surah Al-Isra: “Say, ‘Call upon Allah or call upon the All-Merciful. Whichever [Name] you call – to Him belong the best Names…’” (Al-Isra, 17:110). To convey the universal principles of Islamic belief to communities with different cultures, languages, and faiths, it may be necessary to refer to Allah by various Names and

Attributes. Whether you pray to Him as “Allah” or “Rahman,” or use other Names such as “Rab, Qadir, Aziz, Alim, Hakim, Mujib, Hayy, Quddus, Malik, Qarib,” it makes no difference. All Attributes and Names that express grandeur and beauty belong to Him.

During the period when the Qur’an was being revealed, the term “Rahman” was used in the region of Yemen as a Name for a deity. The polytheists of Mecca, who were unaware of this Name, found it strange that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) used this Name in his prayers and supplications, and they claimed that this behavior contradicted the monotheistic understanding he professed. In response, this verse was revealed (see: Ibn Kathir, commentary on the relevant verse), informing the polytheists, and through them all believers and humanity, that the Name Rahman is among His beautiful Names and can be used to pray to Him.

The fourth verse on this subject appears in a passage where our Exalted Lord mentions several of His Names in succession: “He is Allah, the Creator (Al-Khaliq), the Inventor (Al-Bari), the Fashioner (Al-Musawwir); to Him belong the best Names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth exalts Him. And He is the Exalted in Might (Al-Aziz), the Wise (Al-Hakim).” (Al-Hashr, 59:24)

The Creator of Majesty, who creates the first examples of all beings in both the micro and macro worlds (Al-Bari), and the Fashioner (Al-Musawwir), who bestows the necessary equipment to those first examples and gives them the most beautiful forms. He creates everything in the most perfect manner, endows beings with their distinctive features, and continues to create them in an orderly, healthy, harmonious, and balanced manner. He gives to everyone and everything the desired form, limbs, appearance, and body.

The phrase “al-Asma al-Husna” appears with the emphatic particle “ﻟﻪ” (to Him alone) in all four occurrences in the Qur’an, indicating exclusivity to Him. The transcendent and absolute existence has conveyed knowledge about His essence to human comprehension through His Names. He has provided answers through His Names to what should come to mind when one says “Allah.” Human comprehension cannot grasp the Absolute in all its reality. Therefore, starting questioning from Allah is starting from the wrong place. The Most Beautiful Names draw a path from consciousness towards the unknown. Divine Names are therefore allegorical. The phrase “al-Asma al-Husna” emphasizes absolute perfection as well. (Mustafa İslamoğlu, translation of Surah Al-Hashr, verse 24).

As humans come to know the Supreme Creator through His Names and Attributes, they will love Him; they will be morally uplifted by Divine ethics; they will deepen their knowledge of God and, accordingly, become more beautiful inwardly and outwardly; their words, actions, and behaviors will become worthy of Paradise. Indeed, the Prophet of God (peace and blessings be upon him) drew attention to this truth in one of his sayings: “Allah has ninety-nine Names. Whoever fulfills the rights and acts according to these Names will enter Paradise. And He is One, He loves unity.” (Bukhari, Daawat 67 (6410); Muslim, Dhikr and Dua 2/5, 6 (2677))

God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty

All the beautiful Names and Attributes belong to God, just as He loves all forms of beauty. In a saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he stated: ‘Whoever has even a speck of arrogance in their heart will not enter Paradise.’ In response to this, a man asked, ‘But Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him), a person desires for their clothes and shoes to be beautiful.’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, ‘God is beautiful and loves beauty. This is not arrogance. Arrogance is rejecting the truth and looking down upon others.’ (Muslim, Faith 39/147-149 (91); Tirmidhi, Virtue 61 (1999)) During this conversation, Abu Rayhan said, ‘O Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him)! I also enjoy having my clothes clean, my hair oiled, and my shoes new.’ He even mentioned the adornment of his whip’s handle and asked, ‘Do these things constitute arrogance?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clarified to him that none of these things constitute arrogance; rather, they are all elements of beauty.” (See: al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak (69); Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad (3789, 17369); Haythami, Zawaid, 1/103)

Abdullah ibn Amr once asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), “O Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him), is wearing fine clothes a sign of arrogance?” The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him) replied to him, “God is beautiful and loves beauty.” (Al-Hakim, Al-Mustadrak (70); Al-Wadi’i, As-Sahihul-Musnad, (810)). With this response, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) clearly indicated that dressing nicely and elegantly is not contrary to the humility of Islam.

Once, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Nothing with even a speck of arrogance will enter Paradise.” In response, a Companion said, “O Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him), I enjoy adorning myself from the handle of my whip to the laces of my shoes.” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) reiterated the standard but also added this explanation: “Indeed, this is not arrogance. God is Beautiful and Loves Beauty. He also loves to see His blessings upon His servants. However, arrogance is rejecting the truth and looking down upon others.” (Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Awsat, 5/60 (4668); Haythami, Zawaid, 5/135, 136)

In another hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) adds further explanation: “God is beautiful and loves beauty. He loves excellent character and the doing of any deed in the most beautiful manner. However, He does not love bad character or bad deeds.” (Haythami, Zawaid, /191; Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Awsat, 7/78; Al-Albani, Sahihul-Jami’ (1743))

With these words, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) clarified that dressing cleanly and beautifully is not forbidden; rather, it is a behavior that pleases God. However, he did not permit following brands, models, or fashion trends to show off. While prohibiting this, he used a prevalent custom of his time as an example: “Whoever walks arrogantly, with pride and showing off in his garment, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Judgment.” (Bukhari, Dress 1 (5783, 5791); Muslim, Dress and Adornment 9/42-48 (2085)) Indeed, when the respected Abu Bakr asked the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) about his lower garment sometimes trailing or touching the ground, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “You are not one of those who do it out of arrogance.” (Bukhari, Dress 2 (5784)) He emphasized the intention in the heart. He warned that arrogance and looking down on others would alienate a person from beauty and lead them towards ugliness.

Therefore, those who seek to show off and be seen in society are punished by being deprived of God’s gaze upon them in the Hereafter, as the punishment fits the type of action. Those who consider everything they possess and all beauties as blessings from God, and who reflect His beauty through their kind words, clean and modest attire, and mature behavior, receive their rewards in full. In fact, as stated in the Qur’an, their rewards are multiplied, and they also behold the beauty of God: “For those who do good deeds, there will be the best reward and even more. They will also be granted the privilege of beholding the beauty of God. Moreover, their faces will not be darkened with any sins or disgrace. Indeed, they are the inhabitants of Paradise, and they will abide therein eternally.” (Yunus, 10/26).

At this point, arrogance and ostentation are dangerous, but “self-admiration” or vanity is equally perilous. Therefore, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) addressed the issue not only in its outward appearance but also in its inward aspect and warned against it: “A man from the previous nations, who was well-dressed and had beautifully groomed hair, was sunk into the earth, and he will continue sinking until the Day of Judgment due to his vanity.” (Bukhari, Dress 5 (5789)).

In this context, an incident sheds light on an important point: “One day, a very handsome man came before the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and said, ‘O Messenger of God! (peace and blessings be upon him) I am someone who loves beauty very much. As you see, I have also been endowed with beauty. Even if it’s just the beauty of the laces of my shoes, I wouldn’t want anyone to be superior to me in beauty. Would this attitude and behavior of mine be considered arrogance?’ The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), the Most Beautiful, replied, ‘No! Arrogance is refusing the truth and looking down upon others.’” (Abu Dawud, Dress 27 (4092)).

Therefore, an important aspect in an aesthetic perspective is for a person not to admire themselves excessively, not to turn away from reality, to consider themselves as one among people, and not to look down on others. From this perspective, one of the most prominent qualities of a muslim artist is inner beauty; faith, humility, and modesty.

You might also like
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.