Is looking at the beautiful a good deed, how should we understand that word?
Looking at a woman (here “woman” is not our wife) like that is evaluated in accordance with the reason and the manner of the look.It is one of the most misunderstood proverbs. Looking at the beautiful is a good deed!
Yes, looking at the beautiful and the beauty is a good deed if your intention is tafakkur (meditation and contemplation on Allahs creation).
However, as a disorder of our time, when the word beautiful means looking at a woman with sexual thoughts and looking at the nudity, the answer will be different of course. Then it is not a good deed but a sin.
Looking at a woman (here woman is not our wife) like that is evaluated in accordance with the reason and the manner of the look.
1. If we see a woman with a low-cut dress suddenly when we are walking and turn our eyes towards another direction thinking our creators word (a verse of the Quran) Keep your eyes away from the sin! and being sorry for what we have just done with the fear of Allah, then that awareness keeps us away from the sins and makes us gain rewards.
2. The first look at the nudity, i.e. the look without awareness, is not a sin.
3. Latter looks are sins because they are intentional. Those looks are against the verse keep your eyes away from the sin.
4. In addition, there are necessary looks in order to identify a person; those looks may not be a sin if we keep them at the minimum remembering the above verse.
Here we will leave the fatwa (religious opinion on Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar) and fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) part of the issue to the experts of the topic; and we will explain the phrase look in tafakkur based on the saying Describing the wrong in detail misleads clean minds.
When the word beautiful is used, we should remember the natural and halal (permissible, legitimate) beauties. Not the nudity/sins.
Tafakkur is thinking about the meanings and the messages that are in the background of those beauties and exploring the reflections of al-asma al-husna (God's most beautiful names) that are on that creation or occurrence.
Some of these beauties are:
The rose is beautiful, the violet is beautiful, clove, narcissus, hyacinth, lily, magnolia and all the countless flowers are beautiful.
Spring is beautiful, trees are beautiful, mountains, rivers, streams, waterfalls, seas, lakes, jungles and all the sceneries are beautiful.
Life is beautiful, health is beautiful, spouse, child, grandchild, family, our neighborhood, our homeland is beautiful, stars in the night, the sun and the planets and all the creations are beautiful.
The nightingale is beautiful, parrot, canary, peafowl and all the birds are beautiful. The rabbit is beautiful, the squirrel, cat, tiger, penguin, giraffe, gazelle, butterfly, bee, ladybug and all the animals are beautiful.
The cherry is beautiful, the orange, strawberry, watermelon, apricot, peach and all the fruits are beautiful.
Divine words are beautiful, listening to the Quran, advice and lecture is beautiful. Bird voices, water and waterfall sounds are all beautiful.
Macro and micro cosmos are beautiful, the Milky Way, nebulas and the entire universe are beautiful.
Atom and subatomic particles are beautiful, molecules, elements, matters, cells, tissues, organs and all humans are beautiful with their perfect creation.
So why are we caught by the flesh while there are countless beauties? While thinking on the reflections of al-asma al-husna on all of those beauties (i.e. tafakkur) only for an hour makes us gain a reward equal to one year of worship (salah, fast, dhikr etc.), it is not reasonable to be interested in the sensual and futile beauties.
QUESTION: How can we think on the reflections of al-asma al-husna (Gods names and attributes) by looking at those beauties?
When we look at a daisy flower with tafakkur:
1 - The beauty on the colorful parts of the flower, the harmony of the colors and the symmetry, show the art of decoration and are the reflections of the name Muzayyin (decorating the best way). They tell about Him.
2 - It shouts the name Qadir (the able, omnipotent), which can make a plant cell out of various atoms and elements in the soil by making the synthesis of them and sorting them in the accurate order, decorating them by putting on pigments, putting the smell on it, which can compose such a beauty placing the cells onto the best proper locations, and which presents that beauty every season on all continents as trillions of copies.
3 - It shows the science and knowledge -which is boundless and surrounds everything- definitely required even only to produce that flower and presents the name Alim (the all knowing, the omniscient) to the ones who do tafakkur.
4 - It is necessary to make a design of it before producing that flower (think of artificial florists). So, that flower tells us about the Musawwir (the fashioner of forms, designing the best way) name.
5 - We cannot find any imperfection even if we explore only one flower kind... The rose in Malaysia and the rose in Korea are in the same helical and the same format. The daisy in Turkey and the daisy in China are in the same geometrical form. Flawless... i.e. it cries out a Bari (the maker of order, creating as if using a template).
6 - Every flower is spick and span (as long as no man and civilization waste interfere). It tells about a Quddus (very clean and cleaner).
7 - Some flowers are created as food for some insects, birds and many animals. Feeding all of those animals, and the flowers, tells us about a Razzaq (the ever providing) and Rahim (the most merciful).
8 - We know that many flowers and especially the daisy have healing effects on important diseases. And it tells us about a compassionate Shafi (giving health).
9 - The protection of every flower with their seeds to carry on their breed tells us about Al-Hafiz (The Preserver)...
You can continue listing the reflections of Allahs names and attributes that we tried to list some in this limited context.
So if the beautiful and the looking in the saying looking at the beautiful is a good deed are like that, then of course it is a good deed. Moreover, it makes us gain so much reward that looking at those beauties and contemplating in tafakkur for one hour, makes us gain a reward of one year of worship.
And here is the source: Hazrat Muhammad gives the good news. One hour of tafakkur is more valuable than one year of (extra, optional) worship. (See Imam Gazali, Ihya'ul Ulumuddin (The Revival of Religious Sciences) 4/409; Al-Haysami, Mayma al-Zavaid 1/78.)
Halal pleasures and tastes are enough for enjoyment, NO NEED TO COMMIT SINS.
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