Friday, June 12, 2009

Do you ‘see’ Allah?

Who doesn’t enjoy beholding something beautiful? So much of our time is spent in beautifying things, places and our bodies, that it must indeed be worth the extra effort to incorporate beauty into any endeavor. Whether it is a bunch of cilantro leaves adorning a dish, a long-stemmed rose in a vase accentuating a dining table, a scenic watercolor painting giving life to a bland room, or blooming flowers livening up a lush green garden during spring, a thing of beauty, as they say, is “a joy forever.” So much so that, one of the best traits of a believing Muslim wife is that when her husband beholds her, he is pleased.

This point – beauty in people – invites us to ponder on what really beautifies a human being? Apart from physical appearance and inherent qualities of character and etiquette, it is Ihsan, as our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained in the Hadith of Jibreel:
“(Ihsan) is that you should serve Allah as though you see Him, for though you cannot see Him, yet He sees you.” (Sahih Muslim)

The root of the Arabic word “ihsan” comprises of the letters ‘ha-seen-noon’, which also forms the root of the word “husn”, or ‘beauty.’ Allah says in the Qur’an, that “He loves those who do ihsan.” (Qur’an, 2:195). Ihsan is, therefore, the epitome of good Islamic behavior and action. If a believer were to truly incorporate ihsan in himself, the first and foremost requirement of that would be, to live as though they “see” Allah.

The obvious question that crops up is, “But Allah can never be seen in this life?!” True. Since Allah cannot be seen by anyone in this world, a believer’s actions reach the lofty state of ihsan when he worships Allah at such a high level of consciousness that it is as if he sees Allah. For more read here.

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