IN SEARCH OF BODY BEAUTIFUL
There seems 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!
Cosmetic surgery 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.
If questioned 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.] The companion, Ibn Mas’ood radiaIaahu ‘anhu, once said (quoting what he had heard the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam say): Allaah 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 – radiallaahu ‘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’aan 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: Whatever the Messenger gives you, take it; and whatever he has forbidden, refrain from it. [Sooratul-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. [Ar-Room (30):30].
Therefore, it 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 – again and yet again, your sight will return to you in a state of humiliation and worn out. [Al-MuIk (67): 3-4].
This may 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 womenâ€™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.
Beauty today 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 women 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]! [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 sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam would say: ‘O Allah, as You have made my appearance beautiful, likewise make my character beautiful. – (‘Allahumma kama hassanta khalaqee fa hassin khuluqee”).
As Muslims, 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: O ‘Amr! Verily Allah Azza wa Jal has created everything in the best form.
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 hijaabs 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’aan): Surely 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. [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.
This article was originally published in 1995 in Ad-Daâ€™wah Ilallaah â€“ The Magazine Featuring Womenâ€™s Issues
May Allah reward sister â€˜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 Sisterâ€™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 womanâ€™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..
Dethroned Miss Croatia Hurt But Optimistic
ZAGREB, 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.
There 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.
And 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 blood.”
Calling 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 said.
Lejla 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 Sehovic.
The 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.
I 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.
Meanwhile, 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.
The 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, 45.
But 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 best.
“I 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”).
Unfortunately, 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 daughtersâ€™ 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.
There are many ahaadeeth which forbid women to wear perfume when they go out of their houses. We will quote here some of those which have saheeh isnaads:
Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who puts on perfume then passes by people so that they can smell her fragrance, is an adulteress.”
Zaynab al-Thaqafiyyah reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “If any one of you (women) goes out to the mosque, let her not touch any perfume.”
Abu Hurayrah said: the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Any woman who has scented herself with bakhoor (incense), let her not attend ‘Ishaa’ prayers with us.”
Moosa ibn Yassaar said that a woman passed by Abu Hurayrah and her scent was overpowering. He said, “O female slave of al-Jabbaar, are you going to the mosque?” She said, “Yes,” He said, “And have you put on perfume because of that?” She said, “Yes.” He said, “Go back and wash yourself, for I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: ‘If a woman comes out to the mosque and her fragrance is overpowering, Allaah will not accept any prayer from her until she goes home and washes herself.’”
These ahaadeeth are general in implication. Just as the prohibition covers perfume applied to the body, it also covers perfume applied to the clothes, especially in the third hadeeth, where bakhoor (incense) is mentioned, because incense is used specifically to perfume the clothes.
The reason for this prohibition is quite clear, which is that women’s fragrance may cause undue provocation of desires. The scholars also included other things under this heading of things to be avoided by women who want to go to the mosque, such as beautiful clothes, jewellery that can be seen, excessive adornments and mingling with men. See Fath al-Baari, 2/279.
Ibn Daqeeq al-‘Eed said: This indicates that it is forbidden for a woman who wants to go to the mosque to wear perfume, because this causes provocation of men’s desires. This was reported by al-Manaawi in Fayd al-Qadeer, in the commentary on the first hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah quoted above.
Wearing perfume is permissible for women if they are at home or among other women. If it is done in order to please her husband, then it is mustahabb(recommended), because it is part of being a good wife. But if a woman puts on perfume and goes out with the purpose of letting non-mahram men smell it, then it becomes haraam, and she is a sinner if she does that, because that involves causing fitnah (temptation) to men.
By the way, we recently read that biologists have discovered a sexual gland in the nose, i.e., there is a direct connection between the sense of smell and the provocation of desire. If this is true, then it is one of the signs that prove even to the kuffaar how precise are the rulings of this sharee’ah which came to preserve chastity and to block the ways that lead to immorality.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS REGARDING TATTOOS
By Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Uthaymeen
Q1. Shaykh Mohammed, we have Questions: There is many new Muslims from America and from the West who have tattoos on their bodies from the Jahilia (ignorant ages). And we want to know what should they do about these tattoos?
A1. Praise be to the Lord of the whole universe (worlds) peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammed, his family and all of his companions.
It is known that this tattoo was not done with their choice, and if it happens with their choice, it happens before they converted to Islam. And the one who embraces Islam, all of what he have done in Jahilia (sins or others) will be forgiven, hence Allaah says: “Say O ye disbeliever’s, if thee terminate, thou will be forgiven what preceded, but if ye return, the way of foremost people has already passed.” But if the effects of this sin remained as the case in tattoo (effects remain). So it is necessary (Wajib) to be removed, but with two conditions:-
1. He must be capable to remove it (i.e., He must have the enough wealth to remove it).
2. There is no harm like deformation in the skin or ulcers or other looks like.
If he is disabled, removing is not necessary (Wajib), Hence Allaah (Subhanahu Wata’ala) says: “On no soul does Allaah place a burden greater than it can bear” (2:286). But if he is able but he is afraid of harm, It is also not necessary (Wajib), hence Allaah says: “And make not your own hands contribute to your destruction” (2:195), “Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily Allaah has been to you Most Merciful” (4:29).
But he should hide (cover) it as much as he can.
Q2. Shaykh Mohammed, should a Muslim have to suffer pain and pay money for something that he did in the Jahiliya, even though Allaah (Subhanahu Wata’ala) He has forgiven him for this?
A2. I have already mentioned that no offense, if he is not able to remove it, or he is fear of harmful effects if he tried to remove. So if the case as mentioned above, he has not to be disappointed, but he has to praise Allaah (Subhanahu Wata’ala) and be happy for his ease.
Q3. Shaykh Mohammed, most of the tattoos they are of animals or humans (people) so if the tattoo is too large to remove it one time by surgery, should we have the face removed and deface the tattoo?
A3. Yes, if he can remove anything of it (the tattoo), it is necessary (Wajib) for him to remove what he can remove hence Allaah says: “Fear Allaah as much as you can” (64:16). So if he can, he should removed the face. The matter will be much easier if the new Muslim can get the ways and the means to remove the tattoos
Q4. . Do the tattoos have to be covered with clothing during Salat, during all the prayers?
A4. He can pray while the tattoos are present, that does not affect anything in his prayer since he is not able to remove them. But as I said (at the beginning), he has to cover it as much as possible.
Q5. How about the prayers in the night in your house?
A5. He can pray at home in a short sleeve (uncovered ), there is no objection to it. But my say: There’s no objection to it, doesn’t mean: Covering and uncovering are same. However covering is better and more complete.
Q6. How about the rest of the time outside the prayers?
A6. No, covering (of the tattoos) isn’t necessary (Wajib) but it is better:- Firstly, to hide the tattoos. Secondly, so anybody saw it, would not think that this tattoo is lawful (Halal). Because he confirmed it by showing it.
Q7. When we make Tawaf at the K’aba in Umra, the right arm (shoulder) is supposed to be uncovered by Ihram what if you have tattoo on your right arm (shoulder)? Can we keep it covered?
A7. Firstly, uncovering the right shoulder is not in the three circles (Ashwatt), however it is in all circulations of Tawaf. All the seven circles he uncovers the right shoulder, and if there is (on the right shoulder) tattoo as he said in a picture of an animal or a human or a snake or what look likes, he must cover it because covering has priority to uncovering. Uncovering it will show the tattoos, perhaps this will engage the pilgrims looking to it, so he has to cover it. If he covered it, there is nothing more than leaving a Sunna in account of what’s more important.
Q8. When you go for Hajj, your Ihram for a long period of time, can you use Henna like paint over the tattoos to make them difficult to see (be seen)?
A8-a. Yes, this is good.
A8-b. He reminded me now that he could remove tattoos, by getting another tattoo, making it one piece without shape, understood! Another tattoo without picture, like a spot (that will cover the old tattoo with another heavy color) as if he stained it on a paper.
Q9. Is it not Haram to get another tattoo on top of the tattoo?
A9. The later tattoo is not considered as tattoo, because it is not for beauty, it will stain the old one (e.g., black or green or what looks like).
Q10. Because a Saheeh Hadeeth, Rasool Allaah (Sala Allaahu Alaihi Wasalam) he said the meaning in English “the cursed is the one who gets a tattoo and who does make tattoos.”
A10. This tattoo that we will make, on account to get rid of a worse one (to get rid of the picture). Our aim from the later tattoo is not enhancement or for beauty, but it is to remove the existed tattoos.
Q11. OK. Ye Shaykh: If you get the ways and the means to remove just one tattoo, because of the high cost of removing tattoos, should we have a certain priority of the tattoos should be removed before other tattoos, like some tattoos with crosses, or women or snakes or…etc?
A11. The worse one,e.g. cross is the most worse and severer, because it is the symbol of Christian so removing it is of first priority. (Yes, use priority by removing the worst tattoo first).
Q12. Shaykh, can we use Sadaqat or Zakat to cover the high cost of removing tattoos for new Muslim?
A12. Yes, they can be paid from Zakat and Sadaqat if they don’t have anything to be spent removing this thing. But it must be noticed what I have mentioned at the beginning there should be no harm.
Q13. Shaykh, the last question I have for tattoos is:- What should a new Muslim say when his brother Muslim asks him about his tattoos and why to has tattoos?
A13. He replies them; that this was done in Jahiliya and done while he was a child if it was done at childhood, and like this well raise the burden.
This recording was taken on the 25th of Shawal 1413 after Hejrah in Al-Jame’a al-Kabeer Masjid in O’niza-Alqaseem, Saudi Arabia.
Alhamdulillah, and may His peace and blessings be upon His final Prophet and Messenger, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, his family, his companions, and those who follow them in righteousness until the Last Day.
Alhamdulillah, all of us most likely have at least a passing acquaintance with lawsonia inermis (L. alba; L. Lythraceae): that is to say, henna. It is well known as a conditioner and dye for hair, as well as for use as a temporary dye substance for decorating one’s hands and feet. Mash’Allah, it is currently faddish among the disbelieving women- they have finally picked up on what Middle Eastern women have known as a method of beautification for thousands of years, one used by Muslim women for centuries!
Native to the Middle East, North Africa, and the Indo-Pak subcontinent, henna is a heavily scented evergreen tree or shrub that may grow up to twenty feet tall. It blooms with small, fragrant, pink or white flowers, and produces blue-black berries. The part of the plant most widely used is the leaf; these are cultivated during the plant’s growing seasons and dried. According to Juliette de Bairacli Levy, “The whole shrub, skin of roots, bark of trunk and branches, and fresh berries yield henna, the alcanna of the Arabs. This herb is extremely penetrative and therefore a very effective and very popular dye.” (Levy; 78) Chemically, henna is known to contain coumarins, naphthaquiinones (including lawsone), flavenoids, sterols, and tannins. (Chevalier; 225)
Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyya mentions henna several times in his “Medicine of the Prophet”. As for its use as a dye, he mentions “Al-Bukhari related in his Sahih, from ‘Uthman b. ‘Abd-Allah b. Mawhab: We went in to Umm Salma, and she brought out for us some of the hair of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu aleihi wa salam), and lo, it was dyed with henna and indigo.” (Bukhari, Libas, 66) And in the four sunan, from the Prophet (sal Allahu aleihi wa salam), it is related that he said, ‘The best you can use for changing the color of white hair are henna and katam.’ (Tirmidhi, Libas, 20) In the two books of the Sahih, from Anas, it is quoted that Abu Bakr used hair dye of both henna and katam. (Muslim, Fada’il, 100)” (Ibn Qayyim; 259) There are many different ways to use henna as a hair dye, and every woman seems to have one that they recommend as the best.
Here are some tips from Sumayyah’s Garden for making the most of your henna application “Do NOT use metal bowls or utensils with henna, and if you don’t want stained hands (another method of beautification, actually) you should wear plastic or rubber gloves throughout the following process. 1 cup of henna powder (adjust to length of hair) ½ cup boiling water (again, you will have to adjust to reach the consistency needed to apply to hair) Put the henna in a bowl and stir in the boiling water until you have a thick, mud-like paste. (It will be green, but don’t worry, your hair won’t be, insh’Allah)! Apply the henna paste to dry, clean hair, covering your entire head with the paste, massaging it through to the roots and ends. It may help to ensure coverage if you have assistance with this step. Put on a plastic shower cap, or wrap you hair in plastic wrap. Now, keep your hair warm. If possible, sit in the sun, or use a blow dryer set on a low or medium setting. You may also wrap your head in a warm, damp towel, though this can be a bit uncomfortable and messy.
Continue this for fifteen to forty five minutes- remember, the longer the henna is left in the darker it will become. (Note: some sisters leave it in for five to ten hours- you have to experiment to find what works best for you.) Rinse your hair thoroughly with warm water until the water is free of henna. Now you may shampoo your hair, but use a very mild shampoo. You may use a light conditioner as well. Dry and style hair as you usually do. Optional Enhancers: Add 1 whole raw egg to the henna paste before applying it to hair for extra conditioning. Add 2 tablespoons (or more) plain yogurt to the henna paste before application for more conditioning. For highlights and a nice smell, add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of ginger, nutmeg or cinnamon to the paste. For copper or more golden highlights, add 3 tablespoons vinegar (preferably apple cider) to the paste before application.
You may also use different teas instead of water to mix with the henna. Use three tea bags. Black is good for brunettes, chamomile for blondes.” Juliette Levy adds, “Its one fault as a hair dye is its astringency and therefore after applications of henna, oil should be rubbed into the hair (preferably a bland oil such as corn or sunflower).” (Levy; 78) Henna, when applied externally as a plaster, is useful as a treatment for skin diseases such as fungal infections, acne, and boils. (Chevallier; 225).
A sister on the From the Tayyibaat maillist also recommends it as a general skin conditioner, saying, “I have come across a traditional use of henna (here in Tunisia) as a facial treatment! After having tried it myself (I have a sensitive skin with both dry spots and oily parts) I can heartily recommend it. Mix your ordinary paste – for facials, I just use henna and water – until you get a “porridgy” consistency and leave to swell for a while. Rub this porridge all over your face; add a few drops of water on your hands if the mixture keeps falling off your face. At this point, it feels like a peeling cream, and really does give a nice peeling effect. Cover your face with a thin layer and leave to dry for a few minutes. If you’re scared of turning out to have an orange face, start out with just a few moments, and leave the henna on your face just a little bit longer the next time when you’ve had a chance to ascertain how your skin reacts. Ideally, the henna will leave you with a hint of a light suntan, just like creams designed to give you an artificial suntan. Remember to rub the henna evenly on the whole of the face, not forgetting your hairline, under the ears, and your neck! I have spoken to many women who use henna for facials and no one has reported any side effects, although -as always- persons with particularly sensitive skin should make a skin test before actually applying the facial. I have found henna to be helpful with skin blemishes, “blackheads”, as well as dry spots, and love the way it leaves my face feeling fresh and smooth mash’Allah.” Henna has medicinal properties as well.
Ibn Qayyim says, “When headache is from a burning heat and is not from some substance which must be evacuated, henna has a very evident benefit. When it is pounded and applied to the forehead as a dressing with vinegar, it calms the headache. It contains a power which is appropriate to the nerves; when it is applied as a poultice it calms these pains. This is not specifically for pain in the head but is generally for all the limbs. It has a constringent property whereby the limbs are strengthened, and when applies as a dressing to the site of the burning inflammation, it calms it.” (Ibn Qayyim; 64) He goes on to state, “Al Bukhari relates, in his History, and Abu Dawud in his sunan, that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu aleihi wa salam), if anyone ever complained to him of a pain in the head, would say, ‘Have yourself cupped.’ If anyone complained to him of a pain in the legs, he told them ‘Anoint yourself with henna’ (Abu Dawud, Tarajjul, 188, 19; Talaq 46).
Among its advantages is that it is a useful dissoluent for burns by fire. When used as a poultice, it has a power appropriate to the nerves; when chewed, it is beneficial for ulcers of the mouth and any blisters which occur in it. It heals thrush which occurs in the mouths of children. Bandaging with it is beneficial for hot inflammations, and its effect on abscesses is similar to that of dragon’s blood plant. When its flowers are mixed with warm wax and rose oil, it is good for pains of the side. When its flowers are put between the folds of woolen clothing, they scent it and keep moths away…When fingernails are smeared with henna paste, it improves and benefits them. When made into a dough with ghee, it can be used as a dressing for the vestiges of hot inflammation which exude yellow liquid, and it is beneficial for them…It causes the hair to grow, strengthens and beautifies it, and strengthens the head. It is good for blisters and pustules occurring on the legs and feet and the rest of the body. (Ibn Qayyim; 65)
In this same line, Juliette Levy says, “Henna not only tints the hair, it is also a hair and scalp tonic. Also a skin dye: Arabs henna the palms of their hands and the soles of their feet; they find it cooling as well as beautiful. As a pack applied upon the head and over the forehead, in headaches and fevers. Applied like clay over the feet and ankles, henna will reduce swelling and soothe aching, burning feet. As with many astringent herbs, henna is also most cooling, and therefore is used to allay high fevers and in jaundice cases. To draw impurities from the body: apply to the navel. It is also a useful application in insect bites. (Levy; 78) Andrew Chevallier says, “Used mainly within Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, henna leaves are commonly taken as a gargle for sore throats, and as an infusion or decoction for diarrhea and dysentery. The leaves are astringent, preventing hemorrhaging, and promote menstrual flow. A decoction of leaves is used to treat liver problems.” (Chevallier; 224)
Insh’Allah, always try to get the best quality, freshest henna you can find, from a reliable source, to achieve the best results. Old, pale henna will not give you the effect that fresh, vibrant- looking henna will. It should also be quite aromatic- this indicates freshness as well. Shop around and purchase the fresh, high quality henna and your experiments will be much more successful and gratifying, insh’Allah. Alhamdulillah, as we can see from the above, henna is truly a blessing from Allah, a gift with many benefits beyond mere beautification! Subhanaka Allahumma wa Bihamdik, wa la il aha ila anta wa astaghfiruka wa utoobu alaik.
A LETTER TO THE CULTURE THAT RAISED ME
By Yasmin Mogahed (Monday June 20th 2005)
Growing up, you read me the Ugly Duckling. And for years I believed that was me. I am a woman – that ugly duckling among men. For so long you taught me I was nothing more than a bad copy of the standard.
I couldn’t run as fast or lift as much. I didn’t make the same money and I cried too often. I grew up in a man’s world where I didn’t belong.
And when I couldn’t be him, I wanted only to please him. I put on your make-up and wore your short skirts. I gave my life, my body, my dignity, for the cause of being pretty. I knew that no matter what I did, I was worthy only to the degree that I could please and be beautiful for my master. And so I spent my life on the cover of Cosmo and gave my body for you to sell.
I was a slave, but you taught me I was free. I was your object, but you swore it was success. You taught me that my purpose in life was to be on display, to attract, and be beautiful for men. You had me believe that my body was created to market your cars. And you raised me to think I was an ugly duckling. But you lied.
Islaam tells me, I’m a swan. I’m different – it’s meant to be that way. And my body, my soul, was created for something more.
Allaah says in the Qur’aan: “O mankind, We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another (not that you may despise each other). Verily, the most honoured of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous.” (49:13)
So I am honoured. But it is not by my relationship to men. My value as a woman is not measured by the size of my waist or the number of men who like me. My worth as a human being is measured on a higher scale: A scale of righteousness and piety. And my purpose in life – despite what the fashion magazines say – is something more sublime than just looking good for men.
And so Allaah tells me to cover myself, to hide my beauty and to tell the world that I’m not here to please men with my body; I’m here to please Allaah. Allaah elevates the dignity of a woman’s body by commanding that it be respected and covered, shown only to the deserving – only to the man I marry.
So to those who wish to “liberate” me, I have only one thing to say: Thanks, but no thanks.
I’m not here to be on display. And my body is not for public consumption. I will not be reduced to an object, or a pair of legs to sell shoes. I’m a soul, a mind, a servant of Allaah. My worth is defined by the beauty of my soul, my heart, my moral character. So, I won’t worship your beauty standards, and I don’t submit to your fashion sense. My submission is to something higher.
With my veil I put my faith on display – rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with Allaah, not by my looks. So I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don’t see a body. You view me only for what I am: A servant of my Creator.
So you see, as a Muslim woman, I’ve been liberated from a silent kind of bondage. I don’t answer to the slaves of God on earth. I answer to their King.
UNDERGOING PLASTIC SURGERY
By Shaykh Saailh ibn Fowzaan
Taken from Al-Muntaqaa min Fataawa Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan – Volume 5, Page 338, Fatwa No.455
Question: What is the ruling regarding undergoing plastic surgery?
Response: Plastic surgery as applied in (the field of) medicine is divided into two categories:
One of them (is that which) is beautifying (oneself) by removing a defect which a person incurs as a result of an accident or other than that, wherein there is no (legal) harm (prohibition) in (doing so) because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) permitted a man whose nose was cut off during battle (to replace his nose, but) not to take on a (replacement) nose (made) from gold. (Refer to the hadeeth of ‘Urfujah bin As’ad (radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhu) in the Sunan of Abu Daawood, at-Tirmidhee and an-Nasaa.ee)