Beauty of Souls
I was riding in the car with my grandson to our granddaughter 7th birthday, and he said: “I am older than 9 years, as I was in my mother’s womb for 9 months too!” I said yes, that’s a brilliant observation, and that in fact, you were around as a soul before you were selected to go to Planet Earth for a predetermined stay, different for everyone. And that’s where we all go back to, our souls that is.
As our shaikh reminds us of, our body is just the temporary container for our soul, which lasts forever. Hence, we should pay attention to it as much as to our body. This is an important reminder in our age of body self-image and its constant preservation. The other day I had to get a passport photo taken, and I forgot to put on eye makeup. When I saw the photo, I had the biggest shock to my self-image. I couldn’t believe it! And of course, a long self-lecture and prayers later, I shifted from unpleasant realization to gratitude for my life so far and acceptance of changing looks. I liked this lesson in humility.
Of course, the act of looking beautiful is a form of worship as well, as we take care of what we are given. My father, bless his soul, took cold showers every morning and dressed up early, whether workday or holiday in the finest clothes, which enhanced his already tall and handsome looks. Beautifying everything around us, from form to language to behavior is what we are taught.
Our shaikh is always initiating projects to enhance the beauty and ambiance of the mosque and surrounding gardens. A new pond has been added recently, gardens are always beautiful and gazebos and even a library in the woods adorns the grounds. The interior has the most beautiful calligraphy, framed, and hung up, and carpets, cushions and divan like floor seating. There is a big library along one wall, and neatly arranged books are always for sale on one side of it.
And that’s where nurturing the soul comes in. Being surrounded by beauty nurtures the soul. And it reminds us to practice noble human values. All we must do is let it speak to us silently. Reflection is also a form of prayer and reflecting on the incredible magical beauty of life itself reminds us to keep beautifying, not detracting from the beauty. So, if we let the soul drive our ego, and not the other way around, we practice more of these beautiful behaviors. We stop looking to be right, look good and all the other ego obsessions, or at least reduce its power on us. May we all continue to nourish our souls so this world is more beautiful, and may we be allowed to feel the presence of all the souls of our loved ones, Inshallah.