“It was then i came to the realization: our society teaches us to be obsessed with appearance.” – Na’ima B. Robert (excerpt from, From my sister’s lips)
A typical saturday morning, I woke up, made my breakfast, made my coffee and sat down with the book I’m currently reading and today I came across this particular line. It really hit home, and I knew I would have to make a post about this.
There is so much truth, so much significance enclosed in such a simple and obvious observation, “Society teaches us to be obsessed with appearance.” This is an incredibly immense issue that needs to addressed, it is disturbing, how sexualized and objectified society has made women.
I have story that I would like to share before I continue, and I believe it is pertinent to this matter and In sha Allah will be beneficial to many people, especially young girls.
When I entered high school, my outlook on life, my self esteem, everything was shattered. I was plunged into this alien planet, my high school and my middle school were on totally separate wavelengths. Back in middle school there was tons of hijabis and everyone wore uniform, it was really comfortable, but my high school, all of sudden I was surrounded by these beautiful, westernized girls, wearing clothes that accentuated their statuesque figures, their gorgeous hair flowing, and their porcelain skin. Truthfully, I was intimidated and I did something, I’m not proud of, I took off my hijab and conformed to their standards. The environment I was apart of, 5 days a week, for 8-9 hours a day, was toxic, and putting aside the people I was surrounded by and their morals and their ideas of beauty and “feminism,” everywhere I looked, on T.V, online, even the music I listened to, billboard ADs, this idea of the perfect body was everywhere. I remember one day on the train, I saw an ad that to this day still sickens me, it was an AD for breast augmentation, anyone could do it, wow subhnAllah what a world we live in, its easy for anyone to distort, Allah swts creation. I was weak and I regret falling for their hyper sexualized concept of beauty and degrading standards so much but AllhumdulilAllah, Allah swt has given more strength than I could’ve ever imagined myself having, in these past couple of years.
I put so much effort into my appearance, my makeup, my hair, my clothes, my body, why? To impress a few boys? To impress the beautiful girls and be on their “level”? Was it worth it? Are these people going to intercede for me on the Day of judgement?
One day, a friend of mine, was telling me that I could get a job at Hollister, and she says, “Oh you’re pretty, you will definitely get the job.” What? I’m sitting there thinking, so what if I wasn’t their idea of “pretty,” I have to look a certain way to sell clothes? SubhnAllah. It still baffles me.
We have been reduced to nothing but, perfect skin, large breasts and a large ass. From my beloved Quran, I was taught, my value is measured by my piety, my character, my deeds, my manners NOT these superficial, trivial, things, we so desperately occupy our time with, aiming for that “perfect body.”
You can do all the plastic surgery you want, all the botox you want, all the makeup you want, spend your precious hours perfecting your worldly shell, in the end, you will age, you will sag, and you will get wrinkles and inevitably you will die.
This doesn’t mean, don’t take care of yourself and let yourself go. Absolutely not, take care of your skin, eat well, keep your body in shape, be healthy stay clean and presentable, wear makeup if you feel like it (with the right intentions of course), this body and beauty we have its temporary like everything on this dunya, but its a gift from Allah swt and we should take care of it to the best of our abilities, just do not allow it to distract you from the goal, do not allow it to cost you, your akirah.
We are all made of clay, all this beauty that we spend our time fretting over will be buried 6 ft under the earth, forgotten by all the people who we tried in vain to allure. We dream of airbrushed skin and to have all the right curves in all the right places, in this ephemeral life of ours, but imagine, the inhabitants, of Jannah, their faces will be glowing with Noor, they will have eternal beauty, earned because, of how much time they spent, reciting Quran, doing salah, immersing themselves into the deen, because of their deeds done in the name of Allah swt, because of their treatment of others, envision imperishable beauty.
We are all just clay waiting to meet the Lord of the universe.