In Search of the Body
no limit nowadays to the extent that women (and men) are prepared
to go to for that 'perfect look'. Forget false eyelashes and wigs,
we are now talking scalpels, implants and liposuction!
amongst film actresses has been commonplace for quite some time
now, but these days, we wouldn't be too hard pressed to find ordinary
women on the street who are more plastic than real! Indeed, in some
circles, having multiple facelifts has become a status symbol: the
more you have, the higher you are in the status rankings.
whether cosmetic surgery was Islamically correct or not, then without
doubt, most Muslims would instinctively respond by saying that it
isn't, for the simple reason that it would be interfering with Allah's
creation. And certainly, this would be the correct response. [Scholars
have noted several exceptions to this general rule if there is a
genuine medical need for it. - Ed.]
Ibn Mas'ood radiaIaahu 'anhu, once said (quoting what he had heard
the Prophet, sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam say): Allah has cursed
the tattooers and those who have themselves tattooed, and those
women who have their teeth filed for beauty and those who have their
[facial] hair plucked and thus alter Allah's creation. A woman
remarked, "What's all this?" So Ibn Mas'ood - radiAllahu 'anhu -said:
"Should I not curse one whom Allah's Messenger cursed? And it is
in the Book of Allah." She said: "I have read the Qur'an from cover
to cover but I did not find that in it." He replied: "If you had
read it thoroughly you would have found it. Allah says:
the Messenger gives you take it; and whatever he has forbidden,
refrain from it. [Qur'an ul-Hashr (59):7]"
So the Prophet
Muhammad, sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam forbade women from performing
these three practices which the women commonly did for the sake
of beauty in those days - seemingly 'insignificant' practices for
which they would incur the curse of Allah. And this forbiddance
isn't just restricted to the procedures mentioned in the hadeeth.
Because Allah says in more general terms in His Book: So
set your face truly to the faith, Allah's handiwork according to
the pattern on which He has made mankind; [Let there be] no change
in the creation of Allah. [Qur'an Ar-Room (30):30].
is obligatory for us to accept the creation of Allah as it is, not
making any alterations to it. More importantly though, it is also
obligatory for us to believe that all of Allah's creation is beautiful,
because Allah, the Khaaliq (Creator) does not create anything except
with beauty and perfection, which is why He says to mankind: You
can see no fault in the creation of Ar-Rahmaan [the Most
Merciful]. Then look again: Can you see any rifts? Then look -
and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation
and worn out. [Qur'an Al-MuIk (67): 3-4].
all sound quite strange when we consider how often we hear women
complaining about their appearance. In fact, it is estimated that
over half of the Western women today actually perceive themselves
to be ugly. In addition, surveys show that nearly all women feel
under pressure to "look good". As a result, the quest for beauty
has become a serious preoccupation for many women. Open up any women’s
magazine and you will not fail to find a single one which doesn't
contain tips on how to 'look good", or which don't contain huge
advertisements promoting new creams that halt the aging process
or concealers to hide wrinkles etc.
is big business. Beauty contests are very profitable and - contrary
to popular belief - more are spawned every year. The cosmetics market
is a multi-billion dollar industry; the demand for cosmetic surgery
is growing at a tremendous rate. All three industries promote the
same notions of beauty that woman everywhere are expected to meet:
mainly a white, European, "Barbie-doll" like standard. The pressures
on women to conform to these standards are enormous and few are
able to withstand them. (Please
read the follow-up to this article below-Ed.)
The fact is
that Western women today may complain that they are not treated
with equality and respect, but it is they themselves who have made
it acceptable for society worldwide to see women merely as beauty-objects
who are there to be ogled by the men who in turn are the (im) polite
voyeurs. When viewed in this light, we find that beauty contests
are not too dissimilar to reality itself: just as the tallest, slimmest
blonde girl gets the title in the beauty contest, in the real world
it's the tallest, slimmest blonde girl who gets the man!
In Islam, beauty
is not just in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is in the whole of
creation, because Allah - the One free of all imperfections - is
the one responsible for it. And as Allah says: Your
Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses: no choice have they.
SubhaanAllah! And far removed is He from the partners they ascribe
[to Him]! [Qur'an Al-Qasas 28:68].
So it is from
the wisdom of Allah that He has chosen to create some of us short,
others tall, some fat, some thin, some dark-colored, some light
- all are beautiful and perfect in their own right. That is why
we are taught from the Sunnah, the beautiful du'aa (supplication)
that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wa sallam would say:
as You have made my appearance beautiful, likewise make my character
beautiful. - ('Allahumma kama hassanta khalaqee fa hassin khuluqee").
we must believe that evil and imperfection cannot be attributed
to Allah. The desire to change any aspect of ourselves means, in
effect, that we are dissatisfied with Allah's choice and His handiwork,
and that there is imperfection in what He has created. Thus to say
about ourselves, or anyone else, that we or they are ugly is a great
sin. This point was reinforced by the Prophet, sallallahu 'alaihi
wa sallam when he once saw the Companion, 'Amr Ibn Fulaan Al-Ansaaree
radiallahu 'anhu, whose izaar (lower garment) was hanging low (to
the ground), so he, sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam, ordered that he
raise it. 'Amr made an excuse saying that he had skinny shins (i.e.
he was embarrassed to show them), so the Prophet responded by saying:
'Amr! Verily Allah Azza wa Jal has created everything in the best
All this is
certainly not intended to discourage women to look after themselves
and adorn themselves in lawful ways (e.g. wearing nice clothes,
having nicely done hair etc.). Indeed, adorning oneself is something
that the wives are obliged to do for their husbands and Allah rewards
the woman who pleases the husband when he looks at her. But with
these tremendous pressures on women to conform to the ideals set
by the marketing media, it may be hard for Muslim women to resist
feeling insecure or uncomfortable about their appearance. Consequently,
many Muslim women have shed their hijabs for the sake of following
fashion; Muslim women too develop inferiority complexes about themselves.
We must bear
in mind that this search for the 'body beautiful' is, in reality,
a deception from Shaytaan. Shaytaan has vowed that he will create
such false desires in mankind. He has said (as stated in the Qur'an):
I will arouse in them (mankind] false desires; and certainly I will
order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them
to change the nature created by Allah. [Qur'an An-Nisaa (4): 119].
May Allah always
keep us safe from the false promises of Shaytaan, for verily Allah
is the One Who guides to the Truth.
was originally published in 1995 in Ad-Da’wah IlAllah – The Magazine
Featuring Women’s Issues
May Allah reward
sister ‘Ifrat for her thoughts and effort. We provide the following
item taken from the October 19, 1998 issue of the English
language daily Arab News published in Saudi Arabia. This is for
anyone who has followed the articles in "From The Sister’s Pens"
for the past several issues and has some doubt as to what the authors
of those articles have expressed regarding the all-out battle for
the Muslim woman’s heart and soul and ruination of her Islamic character.
The article is a stark example of what occurs when Muslims are totally
separated from any real understanding of their religion and being
a Muslim merely represents an "ethnicity" and not a way of life
to be learned, treasured and adhered to.
Miss Croatia Hurt But Optimistic
Oct. l8 (AEP) Beauty queen Lejla Sehovic, who was stripped of
her title of Miss Croatia on Friday for being Muslim, is hurt
but optimistic in her determination to press charges for religious
discrimination. "I was very hurt by all of this, but now I am
pretty relaxed after these last frantic days. I am an optimist
and I hope for the best," 22-year-old Sehovic told Agence France-Presse
in a telephone interview from her hotel room in Zagreb. Beauty
contest director Milan Seckovic deposed Sehovic on Friday and
proclaimed runner-up Ivana Petkovic, 17, as Croatia’s candidate
in the next Miss World competition.
were "irregularities in the voting process," Seckovic told a press
conference where Sehovic showed up uninvited, stunning organizers
and getting applause from journalists. "I could never have believed
such a thing could happen to me: that on a beauty contest one’s
religion is checked. If I had known the ‘right’ religion was needed,
I would never have applied," Sehovic said.
she added: ‘I feel terrible when people look at me as if I was
from another planet. I am just a human being made of flesh and
the contest "an absolute disgrace", Sehovic’s lawyer Vesna Alaburic
told AFP she had requested Seckovic to hand over his evidence
for dethroning Lejla. "We are going to press charges against the
organizers, if it appears that Lejla was disqualified on the basis
of religious discrimination. We will inform the world: From all
legal institutions in the country, including the president, and
human rights groups, up to the European human rights court," Alaburic
Sehovic was born and raised in Croatia’s southern city of Dubrovnik
where her parents moved from Sarajevo in 1975. Her father Esad
died when she was nine, leaving her and two other sisters, Anela
and Djana. She is the niece of an eminent Sarajevo writer, Fedja
election of a Muslim girl is seen as embarrassing to President
Franjo Tudjman’s ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), which
backed Bosnian Croats against Muslims during the recent Bosnian
war. But in Dubrovnik, where the opposition won local by-elections
last Sunday - the same day Sehovic was elected Miss Croatia -
local people as well as her family support her, she said.
was told that a big welcome party will be organized," she added.
"Now I see how many people stand by me. My mum told me that the
phone has not stopped ringing: everyone is calling, even the mayor,
and people are calling local radio stations requesting songs for
me," Sehovic said.
runner-up Ivana Petkovic has not said whether she accepts Sehovic’s
crown. Her family said she would go public in the next few days.
"I will let Ivana decide. I think this is a very tricky situation
for both of us," Sehovic said.
incident has split public opinion in Croatia. "Because Croatia
is predominantly Catholic, I believe we should be very proud of
having a non-Catholic girl as our miss," said Davor Brezicevic,
another woman, who gave her name as Marija, 25, said Sehovic’s
crown should be taken from her, "for even on her face you can
see that she is not a true Croatian girl." Sehovic whose plans
include, besides hanging on to her crown, following a management
course in Dubrovnik, is confident things will work out for the
am the moral winner," she told AFP. "The things that do not kill
you in life will only make you stronger."
We hate to disagree
with Miss Sehovic’s last statement because it is obvious that her
morals are at a great loss as are those of other Muslim women who
have been totally reconstructed to hardly resemble anything Islamic!
Of course such a condition did not come about overnight but rather
it has been a long historical process. This story should however
verify to any thinking Muslim the truth of the ideological battleground
referred to in our last issue (see Vol. 2, Issue 10 ‘Fataawa’) and
the warnings and concern expressed by Nawaal Abdullah in her articles
(see Vol. 2, Issues 8 – 10, ‘Sister’s Pens’).
Miss Sehovic is not in the least unique, because we find beauty
pageants held in different parts of the Muslim world with indeed
Muslim women parading themselves in the most indecent of manner
while their families take pride in their daughters’ achievements!
Certain Muslim countries pride themselves on their liberality when
it comes to women and one may witness women participating in any
range of activities dressed in clothing that leaves nothing to the
imagination! You may recall that the top fashion "supermodel" a
while back was a statuesque Somali beauty ironically called Iman,
and she was often described as being a "devout Moslem". She later
married the British rock star David Bowie (who last time we heard
had not converted to Islam). Throughout the Muslim world, you will
find dozens of magazines featuring Arabian looking damsels on their
covers (and I dare not look inside), in most of these countries.
Such is the
sad reality, but perhaps even sadder is if any Muslims who read
the article above are more upset by the blatant discrimination of
the Croatian pageant authorities than the fact that a Muslim woman
was participating in the first place! We are not sorry she was dethroned
and we pray for her guidance and victory of the Muslims over their
enemies for surely her loss on the Day of Resurrection is liable
to be far greater than that of a crown.
taken from the following website