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In His Eyes: A Reflection on Beauty


In His eyes, she was beautiful.

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Meena is a writer, podcaster, high school English teacher, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US and is also studying the Asharah Qira'aat/10 Recitations. Check out her podcast and website Brown Teacher Reads: the brown literature circle you always wanted to be in. (



  1. Pingback: In His Eyes: A Reflection on Beauty | | Beauty Advisory

  2. Afshan

    November 26, 2010 at 5:17 AM

    As salaamuallykum,

    Great post.It brought tears to my eyes as mine is a similar story and i guess,every hijabi has something similar to this to say.

  3. africana

    November 26, 2010 at 5:42 AM

    Ma sha Allah!

  4. Rafa

    November 26, 2010 at 8:09 AM

    The story of every Muslimah’s life.
    The best part about life’s struggles is realizing you’re never the only one. There’s always someone who will understand.
    Jazak Allah for the beautiful article. May we all become beautiful in Allah’s eyes.

  5. Ify Okoye

    November 26, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Masha’Allah tabarak’Allah, beautiful. Glad you’ve found a home for your writing here at Muslim Matters.

    • Meena Malik

      November 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

      Glad to be home :) There’s no place like it ;)

  6. Mariam E.

    November 26, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Asalamu Alikum,

    MashaAllah, beautifully written. Jazaki Allah khayr.

  7. Ayesha

    November 27, 2010 at 5:56 AM

    In His eyes, it was beautiful that her face should appear in its natural state.
    As for uncovering the hair, wearing figure hugging clothes & doing the eyebrows ….I agree these ARE prohibited in Islam….but whats the evidence that a woman not wearing make up is more pleasing to Allah than the one who does???….

    • Meena Malik

      November 27, 2010 at 12:50 PM

      Asa Ayesha

      In short, it seems like the more modest your appearance is, the more pleasing it is to Allah. So even without considering any evidences/fiqh/fatwas and using my own judgment and common sense, it seems as if not using make-up is more modest than using make-up, and since Allah likes what is more modes, it is more pleasing to Allah.

      The long-winded version is below :)

      When I took the AlMaghrib Fiqh of Food and Clothing class, I was under the impression that it is not permissible to use make-up in public. I looked up an answer for you really quickly on SunniPath. just so you’d have something concrete to look at.

      “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss”. (Qur’an 24:31).

      I have been taught that women should only display their beauty to their husbands, and this display of beauty includes “adorning” yourself. I consider any form of make-up as unnatural and undue adornment, something that enhances beauty. That is the purpose of make-up to “mask imperfections” and “enhance features” that a person already has. Especially as a young/single sister myself, I think this issue is more important for me to follow.

      Personal Opinion
      Without considering the Islamic view point on modesty, I am personally against using make-up and have always hated it. After watching girls doing their make-up in the bathroom an hour before school and during class, while waiting at stoplights, and other places, I’ve come to hate the fact that people think they need to add anything to their face, not even to really make themselves apear beautiful, but to appear “normal” even. The idea of using make-up everyday is something that I don’t understand, especially when people take it beyond simple eye make-up and go out with a full face of powder/foundation. My skin is far from perfect, and I don’t think it’s necessary for anyone to slap a mask on their face every time they go out of the house. Plus–trying to do wudu while wearing make-up comes with too many complications.

      Compared to everyday make-up use, of course, using make-up on special occasions comes with its own set of problems.

      So in order to answer your question more directly and concisely, I think that not wearing make-up is more pleasing to Allah because He has asked us to not display our beauty in public or do things to make ourselves look more beautiful/change our appearance. It seems like the more modest your appearance is, the more pleasing it is to Allah. So even without considering any evidences/fiqh/fatwas and using my own judgment and common sense, it seems as if not using make-up is more modest than using make-up, and since Allah likes what is more modes, it is more pleasing to Allah.

      The reason why I don’t use make-up, the reason why I follow all the “extras” as they have been called by the “others”, is because I want to appear beautiful according to Allah’s standards. I want to follow every small detail of what He’s asked me to do, because I want to be the most beautiful in His eyes. I’m personally trying to achieve the peak of beauty, and I don’t want to fall short.

      The way we dress and what we do to our faces is something we have direct control over, and to be honest, it’s pretty easy to follow, it’s just like a checklist for a dress code at school. I want to try to get at least one thing right in my actions, and as difficult as it is to focus during salah or to always use the best manners or to recite the Quran with amazing tajweed, the physical act of dressing right is so easy. It’s just the mindset that is difficult to overcome.

      My personal conviction in the way I dress is a mix between understand and wanting to follow what is an obligation on me religiously (like rulings and etc.), and my own need/desire to appear beautiful. I’ve just chosen Who I dress up for every day, that’s all :)

      • Meena Malik

        November 27, 2010 at 1:11 PM

        And I do believe there is an article about make-up that should be out on this site within the next 2 weeks iA!

        • shiney

          November 27, 2010 at 1:34 PM

          omg even i took the Precious Provisions class! so you also agree that make-up is haram in front of non-mahrams?

          • Meena Malik

            November 27, 2010 at 1:41 PM

            Makruh/haram, I dunno what the technicalities of it would be, but yes, I do consider it a “no” in front of non-mahrams.

            WAllahualim, I’m no shaykh.

        • Ayesha

          November 28, 2010 at 5:03 AM

          “I have been taught that women should only display their beauty to their husbands, ”
          well thats ironic coz jus before you mention this, you have quoted Surah Nur which permits one to beautify themselves for ones mahram even other than their husbands…
          getting back to the topic of “make up”…looks like your speaking of doing make up in public and not in front of ones mahrams ..Yea??(which I dont think you specified in your post)…Yes, of cource that IS haram…I do agree with you..

          • Meena

            November 28, 2010 at 1:14 PM

            Yes, I meant using make-up in public. Sorry for the confusion. It was implied throughout this that this post that this is the way I dress in public.

  8. sara

    November 27, 2010 at 7:49 AM

    mashallah, very powerful

  9. anonymous

    November 27, 2010 at 12:49 PM

    masha’allah! this was so beautifully written! May Allah Bless You and I wish everyone thought the same way! Inner beauty is so much more! and I’m so glad you mentioned the shaping eyebrow part as I have issues with my own lol!

    • Meena Malik

      November 27, 2010 at 1:05 PM


      Lol :) I know…the eyebrows part was hard for me to get over, and especially because culturally both here in the States and “back home” getting your eyebrows done is something that is considered a basic necessity.

      I feel like no one ever talks about it because it’s the one thing that people just won’t give up, even worse than trying to convince people to not use make-up. When I learned that there was a hadith that states that “Allah has cursed those women who modify their eyebrows or ask others to do it for them” (Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim). I decided to stop incurring Allah’s curse…probably a wise decision lol.

      aH :) There is a level of respect I have for anyone who decides to not get their eyebrows done! May Allah bless you and your loved ones!

      *for the sake of anyone else reading this response, the ruling on eyebrow/hair removal:

  10. anonymous

    November 27, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    a quote to share: “Life is beautiful because it was initiated by God, and I am beautiful because I was created by God.” Despite my own flaws, I one day made up this quote while sitting in the car enjoying the sunshine and thinking about Allah. I have self-esteem issues and I was so used to calling myself ugly then I learned that none of Allah’s creation can be called ugly. Then, I was thought that I’m beautiful because Allah made me and alhamdulillah, it has helped so much!

    Also, the Prophet (SAW) used to say when he looked in the mirror: “Allahumma ahsantu khalqi (or wajhi) fa ahsin khuluqi” which means, “O Allah! the way you have made my creation (or face) beautiful, make my character beautiful.”

    It’s a beautiful du’a and now I always say it when I look in the mirror.

    • HadithCheck

      December 3, 2010 at 6:05 PM

      Also, the Prophet (SAW) used to say when he looked in the mirror: “Allahumma ahsantu khalqi (or wajhi) fa ahsin khuluqi” which means, “O Allah! the way you have made my creation (or face) beautiful, make my character beautiful.”

      It’s a beautiful du’a and now I always say it when I look in the mirror.

      Assalamu Alaikum

      The narration which states that the Prophet peace be upon him used to say this du’a when he looked at himself in the mirror is weak. However, this du’a is mentioned in another narration which is authentic, but the authentic hadith does not say anything about when looking in the mirror specifically. Therefore, this du’a should be said in general, but not specifically when looking in the mirror because this is not established in the authentic sunnah.

      اللهم كما أحسنت خَلقي فأحسن خُلقي

      Allahumma kama ahsanta khalqi fa ahsin khuluqi

      Oh Allah, as you have perfected my creation, so too perfect my character

    • HadithCheck

      December 3, 2010 at 6:24 PM

      a quote to share: “Life is beautiful because it was initiated by God, and I am beautiful because I was created by God.” Despite my own flaws, I one day made up this quote while sitting in the car enjoying the sunshine and thinking about Allah.

      There is actually a hadith of the Prophet peace be upon him that says: All of the creation of Allah is hasan (beautiful).

      • anonymous

        December 6, 2010 at 6:47 PM

        jazakallah khair for the corrections! i appreciate it=)

  11. Muslim

    November 29, 2010 at 9:06 AM

    mashAllah, I make dua for one of these women. truely beautiful

  12. mohamed

    November 30, 2010 at 8:55 AM

    masha’allah! Thank you for writing this article, and may Allah make it easy for all of you =)

    It is true, all of Allah’s creation is beautiful, just look at all the animals! Its amazing how the socially constructed norm of beauty just falls away when we see an animal with facial features that would be unacceptable on a human, but still can’t help but accept that its beautiful. Maybe I’m just being weird lol, but that’s something I think about!

  13. Haseeb

    November 30, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    Barakullah fi
    the article was a great read mashallah , it is humbling that there are sisters who take heed to covering and show sincerity as brothers who take heed to lowering their eyes.

    Just a quick question, it was mentioned above in the article that upon covering more a sister is in fact fighting her desire. What is this desire? Do girls today actually desire to wear revealing cloths?

    Wallahu alim

    • Meena

      November 30, 2010 at 6:23 PM

      The desire here is to be beautiful. It isn’t a desire just for Muslim women, it is for all women, and even for men (although I’m not sure to what extent.) I think an important detail to mention is that I, as an individual with my own preferences, can dress in a way that I personally think is beautiful, as long as it remains within the bounds that Allah has set. I’m not trying to discredit the idea of physical beauty at all. Physical beauty is something that everyone pursues. Normally we always hear “it’s all about internal beauty.” Well, it’s not JUST about internal beauty, it’s about physical beauty as well, let’s be honest! So as a Muslimah who is practicing hijab/”jilbab” fully and as a Muslimah who is covering correctly, there is still that room and space to pursue phsyical beauty.

      The conflict comes about when we try to define beauty. What is beauty? Who do we give the power do define it? There is an internal and an external struggle.

      Internal: To completely submit to what Allah has decreed (this is a whole topic in and of itself), this includes what has been defined as beautiful. Every person has their own likes and dislikes. This is the reason why people style their hair/hijab a certain way or dress a certain way. When it comes to dressing, I have certain preferences in what I chose to wear and how I chose to appear, depending on how something physically looks and how comfortable wearing something is, etc. etc. I am not necessarily saying that I, or any other sister, want to dress in a revealing way. It’s just about giving up what you want to do or what you like to do. Personally, I feel the most comfortable wearing T-shirts, and not long-sleeves. That is something that I have given up wearing in public. Personally, I like the way shaped eyebrows look. That is also something that I have given up. So, as you can see, there isn’t really a desire to dress scandalously, more just like to dress the way you feel like dressing, whatever is most comfortable and whatever you personally like the best.

      To a large degree, a person’s likes/dislikes is formed and shaped by external pressures.

      So this brings us to the issue of the external conflict. We are told, everywhere we turn, what is beautiful and how we should look. We find these messages from the TV, from our peers, from Muslims, from non-Muslims, from Western culture, from a “back home” culture, etc. These external pressures continue to build upon a person’s own desires, and all of these contend with what Allah has asked us to do.

      • Haseeb

        November 30, 2010 at 9:19 PM


      • Hena Zuberi

        December 2, 2010 at 1:32 AM

        MashaAllah Meena
        salaams I read this while it was on the pending queue- one of the perks of being a part of MM :) and was waiting for it to go online to tell you-what a “beautiful” way to tell us about your journey- one that many young women take (in these times of hyper-sexualization of women) to hijab & beyond- what she goes through and what it takes to look beautiful for her Lord.

        I want every girl who have self esteem issues to read this. As well as many who are struggling to finally cover. I am surely going to pass it along to my youth group. May Allah help your words make their journey easier. Knowing the one who loves you the most created you as HE wishes and that you are beautiful no matter what. Knowing that you are pleasing Him, whose pleasure will never ever go to waste.


        • Meena

          December 2, 2010 at 2:47 PM


          Thank you so much :) I can only hope that by sharing something so personal with others that there may be some sort of benefit that can come about with it. All of the realizations I had, the pain I experienced, the struggles that I went through–I hope that others can relate to them, and from the feedback from this post, I think they do, aH.

          If you’re planning on sharing this with your Youth Group, I also would suggest sharing this spoken word poem by Boonaa Mohammed called “Beautiful”
          It came out a few days before I wrote this story/reflection, and it was actually the thing that directly inspired me and pushed me to take the last 2 years of my life and write it down. (If they really like that one, then you should also share his piece “For the Love,” it also influenced the structure of my story.)

          I’m loving MM and the MM community :D Alhamdulillah, I’m so happy to be on board :)

  14. alla

    December 4, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Being a Christian, I can say that this is one of the most beautiful love stories

    • Amad

      December 5, 2010 at 12:15 AM

      kind of you to say that, alla.

  15. Nabi

    December 4, 2010 at 2:16 PM

  16. Mohammad irshad khan

    December 6, 2010 at 5:52 AM

    No comments when somebody give reference of Quran & Hadith it is absolutely right

  17. Pingback: In His Eyes: A Reflection on Beauty

  18. Rabia

    March 27, 2011 at 2:02 AM

    MashhhAAAllllaahh, sister! A story of great value, something I needed at the right time.It reminded me that I should not conform to others and their commands to satisfy them, yet it is only Allah that I need to keep content. inshAllah.


  19. AnonyMouse

    May 19, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    Masha’Allah… this absolutely floored me. I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!
    It’s great to share with youth girls =)

  20. Pingback: Sneak Peak & Behind the Scences of My Play “Crowned” « imeanking

  21. Marlyn Manan

    May 18, 2012 at 10:02 AM

    I would like to say, Jazakillah khair, for this article since it helps voice out what some of us are currently trying to achieve in such a beautiful way! It also helps to remind us of who we should be pleasing and that we should pray for others as well. You have helped made my day, Alhamdulillah. I pray that you will continue to inspire others for Allah’s sake, Aamiin! <3

  22. bash

    August 21, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    beautiful article,
    absolutely amazing!
    may Allah grant you the highest jannah

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