While the beauty, fashion and entertainment industries make big money on selling the newest standards of beauty and physical appeal, we as a society are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with our appearances. We are feeling more self-conscious, more deficient and even less beautiful. Why?
Because we’re being told—implicitly or explicitly— that we are not enough. We’re not good enough, thin enough, or attractive enough; that our skin does not look young or light enough. We are always broken, blemished, or scarred, and we need fixing. There is always a new standard or method for enhancing everything from our skin, hair, lips and nails, to almost every inch of our body—and it’s impossible to keep up. So many succumb to society’s pressure to conform, and they go to great lengths to surgically alter their bodies, inject foreign objects in them, starve themselves or follow strict diets or exercise programs—all in an effort to look more beautiful and desirable.
Islam encourages outward beauty, cleanliness and beautiful dress. We adorn our bodies with nice clothes and maintain good hygiene because this is what God loves. We also do our best to eat healthy and stay fit because our bodies are an amanah (trust) from God, and because better health gives us more energy to serve God and society better. These are all admirable efforts, when done moderately. What I am addressing here is how we view the natural physical form of our bodies; what we were born with or what developed over time because of genetic influences.
It is important to remember that God is our Maker—He made you the way you are—your unique colour, shape, hair and facial features. In His eyes, you are beautiful—no matter what society says. He says,
Surely, we have created the human being in the finest stature.” Qur’an | 95:4
He fashioned you in your mother’s womb, brought you into this world knowing nothing, and then beautified your heart and mind with faith, wisdom and intelligence. Even before you were born, He honoured you; He created your father, Adam, with His Own Blessed Two Hands, breathed His spirit into him, and made the Angels prostrate to him out of respect.
Throughout your life, He showers you with beautiful gifts; He provides you with experiences that inspire you, teach you, and make you feel joy, connectedness and love towards Him and others. He gives you a lifetime to invest in the beauty of the Eternal life with gorgeous homes, companions, flowing rivers, and blessings that you cannot even imagine. Now, who could dare touch your feelings of self-worth after that?
Underneath the superficial layers of different physical features, skin colours and types of dress, all of us have hearts and souls that long and plead for the same deep connection with their Creator. As Ibn Al-Qayyim (may God have mercy on him) says,
“Truly, in the heart there is a void that cannot be removed except with the company of God; and in it there is a sadness that cannot be removed except with the happiness of knowing God and being true to Him; and in it there is an emptiness that cannot be filled except with love for Him and turning to Him and always remembering Him; and if a person were given the entire world and what is in it, it would never fill that emptiness.”
So no matter how much we alter and reshape our physical form, it will not fill the void in our hearts that is reserved for God. When we follow our desires and the ever-changing whims of creation, we chain our souls down to the lowly, fleeting life—and away from God. But when we connect our hearts and minds to the Eternally Permanent One, Al-Baqi, our souls are freer to draw closer to Him. Reflect for a moment on this hadith (narration) of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him):
“Prayer is light; charity is a proof, patience is illumination; and the Qur’an is an argument for or against you. Everyone starts his/her day and is a vendor of his/her soul, either freeing it or bringing about its ruin.” [Muslim]
When our souls are liberated, we see Reality for what it really is; that physical beauty fades, and that the beauty and light of our faith, character and actions are what bring us true bliss and deeply satisfying relationships in this life, along with a more permanent relationship with God and eternal bliss and in the Hereafter. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ would supplicate,
“O Allah, as You have made my appearance beautiful, make my character beautiful,” (Allahumma anta hassanta khalqi fa hassin khuluqi)
Beautiful character is in sincere intentions, in our positive attitude, and in a graceful smile. It’s in showing abundant gratitude and forgiveness, in overlooking people’s faults, in giving generously of your love and time to support others, and in treating people with respect, mercy and gentleness. As Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said,
“Gentleness is not in something except that it adorns it, and it is not stripped from something except that it ruins it.” [Muslim]
So, rather than striving to perfect a body that will, one day, end up covered in dirt, how about we turn to what truly matters? Instead of facelifts and breast enhancements, perhaps we ought to focus more on uplifting our faith and morality; and instead of dwelling over fat layers and contemplating liposuction, we might want to work on suctioning the arrogance, pride and anger from our hearts; and instead of eyelid surgeries—yes, those exist—we would prosper more if we considered the virtues of lowering our gazes and turning our faces and hearts toward God’s light and guidance. These are the changes that yield the most beautiful, long-lasting effects in this life and the Next.
“So direct your face toward the religion, with pure faith. This is the natural disposition God instilled in mankind—there is no altering God’s creation. This is the upright religion, though most people do not realize it.” Qur’an | 30:30
We recently received a message from a muzmatch user about body image and body shaming. If you would like to write for us, email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Body Shaming and Online Dating
My experience: I hit it off great with this guy. He and I had a good thing going. We met in person, everything was great. Until he began ignoring me. After a race to talk to him, during the conversation it was deduced that it was my thin figure that was the ‘problem’. I even got the classic it’s not you, it’s me.
I felt awful about myself, like I wasn’t good enough. After a lot of tears and pep talks, I learned that this guy was right about one thing: it’s not me, it really is him. A huge lesson I learnt: whether you’re a guy or a girl, don’t ever let someone bring you down to the point where they are making you question your worth and value. Allah (swt) created all of us in different shapes and forms. Nobody is perfect.
It may sound cliche, but what matters on the inside goes a longer way than what is on the outside because as time goes on, we’re all going to change externally. It’s called life.
But just remember – Allah has created us in pairs. We will all find that right person insha’Allah. Sometimes it’s a struggle and feelings get hurt, but in the end when we find the right person, we will be grateful for past relationships not working out. And if you’re reading this and nobody has told you: you are beautiful whether you’re short, tall, thick, thin, dark, pale. And if someone thinks otherwise, then they are not for you!
Source of inspiration for this article: Virtual Mosque
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So you’ve matched with a guy on muzmatch, and after a while of getting to know each other and talking to your wali, you’ve both agreed it’s time for you to meet his family. This is a really exciting moment, but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. A million questions might whizz through your head the night before like ‘will they like me?’ and ‘what will I wear?’
Having a bit of anxiety about what to wear is totally normal! After all, that first impression counts. But choosing an outfit doesn’t have to be a draining experience. Blogger Zaynah let us peep into her wardrobe for some inspiration on how to dress for one of the most important days on your journey to marriage. Here are 5 modest, comfortable, and stylish outfits to help you slay with grace.
The scenario: on the first-ever marriage meeting, your potential family-in-law have planned an intricate 3-course meal, On the inside, you’re shaking like a leaf in the winter wind. On the outside, you at least want to look like you’re calm and collected.
The look: light, cool tones. Colours have an effect on our energy. Light colours such as pastel blues, cream and white will help you exude serenity. If you don’t want to faff around with multiple pieces to your outfit, you may want to choose a dress for this occasion. Accessorise with a simple bag in a light or neutral colour and let the dress take centre stage
The scenario: your potential’s family have invited you out for a casual meal on the weekend. It’s a crisp autumnal day so you know a single layer won’t cut it. As much as you want to be casual, you don’t want to be underdressed either. Finding that fine line will be a challenge!
The look: layer knitted pieces in complementary neutral tones for an elegant but cosy look. Longline cardigans are an easy way to stay warm but keep your outfit loose and modest. If you’re a trainer girl, wear your trainers! Inject your own personal style into the look. Zaynah was finished went for classic a pair of white Nike airforces.
The scenario: you’re planning on meeting your potential’s family on a weeknight after work. You’re not sure what to wear since you’re not exactly planning on turning up to work in a shalwar kameez or a floor-sweeping abaya. Ideally, you want something suitable for both day and night.
The look: a smart co-ord. This tunic and trouser set with an asymmetric hem is a fashionable and modest choice for both work and meeting the parents. You can add an extra layer with a long coat or even an open abaya later in the day to make that transition from the office. Accessorise with a pair of pointy flats to match the asymmetric lines of the outfit.
The scenario: so you’re getting pretty comfortable with your potential’s family now and you’re starting to see them more like family. They’ve called you over for their big Sunday roast and you know there will be lots of carbs involved, with a possible food baby as a result! A silky dress isn’t going to cut it.
The look: picture the warmest, most stylish roll neck jumper dress you can find! Pair it up with a pleated midi skirt to give it a more playful and feminine upgrade.
The scenario: to say things are getting pretty serious would be an understatement at this point. Your families have had a series of discussions over endless cups of tea and you’ve even witnessed your dad and potential father-in-law almost come to blows over nikah negotiations. Regardless, you’re playing it cool because you’re almost at the finish line. You need an outfit for that final meeting before the nikah.
The look: you can’t go wrong with an iconic open abaya. Pair it with heels if you’re about that life, or opt for some comfortable flats. Underneath you can wear anything loose and elegant like a slip dress or a smart two-piece.
So there you have it! 5 looks for 5 different occasions. Modesty doesn't mean having to compromise your personal style or personality. It doesn't mean having to orchestrate a complete overhaul on who you were when you were single. Remember to have tawakkul, give yourself plenty of time to get ready and b r e a t h e.
For more fabulous outfits and beautiful photos, check out Zaynah's Instagram.
And that's a wrap! On our TfL tube ads that is, not Brexit. Unfortunately, we've got a looooong way to go with that one still.
Here's a few of our favourite mentions on social media about our ads that either made us chuckle or cry.
(This one wins btw 😂)
For years I scrolled past the pictures of succulent steaks from this place, so I grabbed the chance to dine here with some colleagues.
Since it was all going on the company tab, I decided to go all out with a t-bone steak and hand-cut chips accompanied by chocolate fondant cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The glaze on the steak was unlike anything I have ever tasted before! The meat itself was cooked to a tender medium served with peppercorn sauce. In line with the spectacular standard of food, I expected nothing less from the service. You’re made to feel welcome from the moment you’re shown your table.The waiter carefully ensured that we understood the menu and checked on us every so often.
This would be suitable for special occasions with your spouse or if you really wanted to treat a loved one to something unique.
Years have gone by and I haven’t changed my order at the Banc: a Beef cheeseburger costing roughly £12-£14 plus an additional topping of caramelised onions.
The burger is by far the best beef burger I’ve ever had in my life. You can see the oozing sauce they used to flavour the burger when you take a look inside of its perfectly layered cross-section! And the caramelised onions offer just the right sweetness to bring it altogether
The service has always been 10/10 whenever I’ve been, and if on the rare occasion something isn’t up to scratch, they make sure they rectify it quickly.
The atmosphere of this place is lively as it does get really busy most evenings so it’s best to book ahead of time. Remember to note that the restaurant has a no tracksuit policy, so opt for something smarter. This is suitable option for date nights and special occasions with your other half.
When I saw this pop up on my Instagram feed from other bloggers I had to try it ASAP! My platter featured a bit of everything. but the real star of the show was the brisket burger.
Platters here vary in cost, depending on what you want, but expect a bill of roughly £15-£30. Individual items on the menu are around £10 with sides ranging between £3-£6
The combination of slowly smoked meat with a subtly sweet jalapeño jam and bbq sauce is a beautiful combination that's hard to find elsewhere.
The owners wander around the restaurant offering the best care and will go out of their way to cater for bespoke needs. This place is suitable for dates with your other half, as well as a family outing.
I had never heard of a halal Venezuelan food in London before I went to this restaurant. I was curious about the cuisine, so I had to go and check it out.
I opted for the beef pabellon rice box with slow cooked brisket, costing between £8-£12. This meat is absolutely sensational. Juicy, flavoursome meat is combined with seasoned avocados, plantains and salsa, and then topped off with house sauce. One spoonful made me go WOW!
It's a homely vibe as it is owned by a husband and wife who make guests feel like family.
This is a street food vendor, however, the market they’re in has plenty of seating so I would say it’s suitable for a lunch date or even casual get together with friends,
I was eager to try an authentic Mexican restaurant and steer away from the casual takeaway joints. So of course I went for steak tacos & a beef chimichanga. A squeeze of lime unlocked the flavour in the tacos and cleared my palette for the next round.. Everything inside was just tender, juicy and full of flavour.
The service here was impeccable and timely. The restaurant takes a no-frills approach to interior design, with casual seating and decor
This would suit for various occasions such as date nights & family events/parties & special occasions or even a casual get together with friends/family.
It was well documented that this place is known for their steaks and burgers, so I had to swing by
I ordered a customised brisket burger, but standard meals range from £15-30 per person. Occasionally, you may find a deal for under £10.
The brisket melted in my mouth as the chilli gave it a gentle kick. You can really taste the quality of the brisket owing to the careful smoking process.
The rustic decor make it ideal for date nights, special occasions & casual get togethers & it’s good value with decent portions as well.
Malaysian food with halal duck and beef rendang is a triple threat. I got the roast duck dish with a side of rice which roughly came to around £7-£8 and the beef rendang around the same price which is an absolute bargain in Central London. The aromatic duck mixed with rice was a match made in heaven. The beef was just as soft; with a rich, creamy, texture and the right level of heat running throughout.
It was ridiculously busy which is a testament to how good the food is. It's normal to have to queue outside, but I was seated quickly regardless. The atmosphere here is buzzing as it gets packed & everyone is talking amongst one another.
This would be ideal for lunch with the significant other should you wish to try something different to steaks & burgers which is very common.
I was told this place would challenge my views on Turkish food so I approached it with anticipation and took a few good friends.
The food was succulent and full of flavour. This place definitely transformed my views on Turkish cuisine as every mouthful was flavoursome and intricate. We got the jumbo platter which came up to roughly £62, but bear in mind there was 5 of us. This platter came with assorted meats and rice.
To avoid disappointment, it is best to book ahead as it gets very busy most nights. The atmosphere here it is relaxed with a slight buzz and very efficient service.
This place is ideal for dates with your spouse, family/friends gatherings whether it be a small or large gathering.
I was looking for a nice change from the typical English breakfast, so after I heard how much people were hyping this spot, I decided to give it a try.
I always end up with the desi breakfast which includes masala egg (a choice of scrambled or omelette style) batakani potatoes, lamb Keema, and parathas/rotis. The food was so good it was as though a relative lovingly prepared it. The keema was delicious and had just the right amount of spice suitable for breakfast (or lunch). As you eat, you'll start to plan your subsequent return.
The atmosphere in here is relaxed as families with kids dine here regularly, he simplicity of the decor lets the food take centre stage.
The service during busy times can be a little on the slow side, but rest assured that everything is made fresh making it worth the wait.
It’s perfect for families or couples who want a hearty meal in a relaxed environment.