Mirror, Mirror on the wall…

As we approach the festive season and the end of a long eventful year, it’s time to ‘look in the mirror’ and reflect. Although, heartfelt prayers five times a day coupled with the reading of the Majestic Quran form the twin pillars of a believer’s daily life, looking in the mirror dozen or so times is a well-established ritual nowadays. So, here I reflect on the simple Prophetic manner of standing in front of a mirror.

Beauty is only skin deep, but that may be enough to determine the levels of our success, career prospects, and even the choice of a spouse. In fact, beauty can direct our entire lives, what a scary thought! But the fact is we’re basically stuck with outward levels of beauty of what Allah has given us. The human face is one of the great marvels of God’s creation, crafted with care and love, no wonder the Messenger of God (peace be upon him) taught us when you look in the mirror to say,

Lord, you have made me beautiful, now make my character beautiful too“.

Al Hisnul Hasin

What an uplifting message, giving hope, optimism and realism. After all what is more important, your looks or your inner character? The genes that Allah has given you can’t be changed, however your character can. Our wonderful teacher is helping us to believe that it’s your inner beauty that makes you look great, if you believe this you will be truly happy.

Today, it’s unfortunate that people can become consumed with their outward appearance, as a result of false comparison with airbrushed TV models; a goal that isn’t attainable. This unrealistic comparison can make you unhappy because you have failed to realise your true inner beauty and the purpose of your life, to worship Allah. Unfortunately, too many women think they are fat and unattractive and similarly too many men tend to think they are stunted, weak and feeble. Plastic surgery will not help you (or your pocket) either, you may as well accept yourself, live with what Allah has blessed you with and instead focus on your character. This is one thing that is lasting and wins you, friends and admirers. Remember, your value is not in your looks but in your character and the virtues you live by.

In this prayer, the beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) is teaching us to be thankful for how special Allah has made us, to thank him for giving you a beautiful, attractive face. One that is unique in this world. Remember, I’m not a product of an assembly line but the creation and handiwork of the great master, designer, architect and fashioner, the Lord of the universe. The Prophet of God (peace be upon him) spurs us to say “thank you Lord”. He has given you more than just your physical appearance and a strong body, he gave you powerful emotions, the capability of doing the most extraordinary things. Above all, he has given you intellect that can help you to develop and live a very purposeful, meaningful and prosperous life.

Your success depends on three characteristics

Physical looks and attractive appearance is not the key to success. Here are three tips that will help you be successful:

  1. Always be prepared to say yes. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), a disciple who served the Messenger (peace be upon him) for 11 years says that I never heard the Prophet saying “no”. In other words, the Messenger (peace be upon him) was always positive, optimistic and full of hope for a better future. This gave him the confidence to look forward to success.
  2. Be confident and reassured. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was digging the trenches before the battle of Khandaq, the disciples came across a rock, which they could not break. They asked the Messenger (peace be upon him) to come and help. So he (peace be upon him) took a pickaxe and struck it, a spark flew out he said, I saw the palaces of Rome; then he struck once more and as the rock splintered and sparks flew, he said I saw the palaces of Persia and then once more he said, I saw the palaces of Damascus. Now, this was the time when the Muslims in Medina were poor, poorly-equipped and not substantial in number but despite that, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was full of confidence that his mission would succeed.
  3. The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) also taught that “Allah does not look at your physical appearance nor at your wealth but he looks at your heart and works”. So, don’t be overly concerned about the outward beauty like having a fancy hairstyle, designer clothes or gold and silver jewellery. Since you are not here to impress others with your beautiful looks or charming eyes or curly locks, Allah does not see you in that way.

The next time you look in the mirror be grateful to Allah for how he has created you. Instead, wear a strong character. Let us devote our day, our life and everything to Allah.