4 May 2013

Beauty and the Sunna

'Shall the reward of doing what is beautiful be other than doing what is beautiful?'
-Surah Ar-Rahman verse 60

In this khutba covering the topic of beauty, Sheikh Abdal Hakim Murad begins by noting that the connection linking us to Transcendent is the receptive affirmation of what is beautiful and indicates the Supernatural. To the extent that the sense of beauty, truth and order rules in our hearts, that is how in touch we are with reality. This apprehension is available to any person, no matter how young or unlettered they are.

Indeed the Sheikh notes that the life of the Prophet was a life lived intensely, passionately and lyrically in response to what is beautiful. As human beings we have two ways to respond to beauty; to turn inwards towards individualism, or outwards from our selves, to engage with the Ultimate. We are between tendency upwards, and the tendency down. Ugliness is always due to the engagement with the nafs, the downward. The arrival of the Prophet on the other hand affirms the universal other, not just of Arabs but of human beings as brothers everywhere. Earlier prophets were sent only to their people, but he was sent to all mankind. This is why his way is a path of beauty, and why the deen was able to spread and flourish so magnificently in the following centuries.

The Sheikh closes by telling us that the heart craves beauty. The Sharia makes outward judgements, and so inwardly does the soul. We are asked to live our lives making these soulful judgements, to follow those who act beautifully, and surround ourselves with those beautiful things that bring our hearts peace, for as the Qur'an says

'Verily in the remembrance of Allah do the hearts find rest!'

-Surah Ar-Ra'd verse 28

(The post above has been copied from here: cambridgekhutbasetc - visit the site for more Muslim sermons and talks in English.)

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