What makes us beautiful?

This is a chapter from my fourth book called When hunger yearns

I was swiping through Instagram stories and one story came on with the Ed Sheeran song "Beautiful People" playing. I love that song but also I asked myself, what makes us beautiful? According to Rolling Stone magazine, "The tune is about remaining true to yourself and not trying to become one of those so-called "beautiful people" obsessed with material things and stature." While I understand the message of the song, I think it is important for me in trying to make sense of this question and answering this question not to be critical of what others see as beautiful. What others value. What others choose to do with their time. What others aspire to be. I want to answer this question in a way that is embracing like a beautiful hug. I want my answer to open like a beautiful flower in our minds.

They say that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What I find beautiful might not be beautiful to someone else. This is also telling us that beauty can be external and internal. Everyone wants to be loved and appreciated. To be valued. To find their space in this world. The world loves beauty. We love feeling beautiful. We often hear that it is what is on the inside that counts. Beautiful should not be an ideal that is hard to define and reach. We are perfectly imperfect. We are all products of circumstances. We are all human. We are all beautiful. I think if more people saw how beautiful they are there would be less bad in this world. We would value each other. We would value life. We would value peace. We would see the beauty in doing good. In being good. In thinking good thoughts.

How does Islam answer the question? I went looking and found one perspective in an article I found online. In the article the writer shared a poem that I found out was written by Shaikh Sa'di Shirazi.

أيُّهَا الشَّاكِي   وَمَا بِكَ دَاءُ   كُنْ جَمِيلاً   تَرَ الوُجُودَ جَمِيلاَ

O complainant,
what is your ailment?
Imbibe beauty
and you will see beauty everywhere.

The writer tells us that true beauty should drive us closer to God. It should unite us instead of divide us. Islam is a way of life that emphasizes moral and spiritual beauty. The writer concludes by telling us better than I could, "If only we strive more to beautify our characters and hearts, I believe beauty, as conceptualized by our religion, will start to become more apparent. The light that is emitted from beauty will be radiated everywhere. Love, peace, and calmness will become the norm. How beautiful life on Earth will be. Truly, it will be. God willing."

God made us all beautiful. God is the source of all that is beautiful. Gratitude is beautiful. Honesty is beautiful. Patience is beautiful. Sharing your food with someone is beautiful. Walking home is beautiful. Staring at the sky is beautiful. Dancing in the rain is beautiful. Beautiful is a smile. Beauty is all around us. How we see ourselves is how we see the world. How we treat ourselves is how we treat others. Maya Angelou said, "The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself." Beautiful is that all us are trying to make it through life. We are all trying to make sense of our existence. We are trying to be better versions of ourselves. We are all part of the same humanity. We are more the same than different. We have to work together to make it in this life. Pablo Picasso said, "The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." Does that not paint a beautiful picture of life? What makes us beautiful is how we pursue a meaningful life guided by purpose and sharing and caring for others and that gets us closer to God. The more I reread this chapter to get to the message of what I have written the more beautiful it becomes to me. This chapter is worth reading a few times.


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