Being exposed to the ever-alluring representation of “A Perfect Body” in media through the picture of celebrities and actors, we inevitably grow more careful about our own body and try to compare ourselves with that unrealistic image that is made real for us. And the only remedy we find to get closer to that so-called norm is to change our appearances with the help of cosmetic surgeries.
Some people see a perfect correspondence between their physical features and inner confidence and instead of working on their inner abilities to elevate their character, try to make a better look. But there may be cases in which one is forced to undergo this kind of surgery out of necessity. What is Islam’s view about this matter on the whole? Are we allowed to have cosmetic surgeries or not? What are the conditions?
In what follows we will try to find the answers to these questions.
Beauty is a very relative concept and can at least be divided into two kinds: the beauty of the body vs. the beauty of the soul. In Islam, both of these aspects are given importance. However the latter is regarded as being superior to the former; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says in a narration that, “Allah does not look at your faces but your hearts and deeds” .
The beauty of your character and the purity of your soul which is born with you and then can be elevated by following Allah’s guidance is far more valuable than your beautiful body. What gets you closer to Allah is your pious deeds, since: “…Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah is the most God wary among you” (49:13).
Nevertheless, Islam is a religion that pays careful attention to the matter of personal hygiene and appearance. We have many narrations that emphasize this issue. For instance, Imam Sadeq (AS) always recommended his followers to “be neat and orderly, since Allah is beautiful and loves that which is beautifully provided that it is lawful (Halal)”.
As the best example of practicing Islamic teachings in its ideal form, prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) always appeared in his best shape both in society and at home and in this way showed Islam’s concern about the matter of appearance and outer beauty.
Having said all of the above, the idea of beautifying yourself through cosmetic surgery remains unresolved. According to most Islamic jurists, having this kind of operation is not forbidden (Haram) in itself, provided that it is done for medical treatment such as removing a burn mark or curing a deformed part of the body .
However, undergoing cosmetics surgery just for the sake of beauty and without any purpose of medical treatment is only allowed if it is done by a doctor of the same gender since it is not out of necessity. This is because in Islam patients can refer to a doctor of the opposite gender, only when no same-gender doctor is available, or his proficiency is lower than a doctor of the opposite gender. To have a better view of “Islamic Etiquette of Looking” as well as the matter of Mahrams, you can refer to the related articles.
It has been proved by many psychologists that having a better life, more often, is not related to your outward appearance; in other words, being beautiful does not necessarily make you happy. Instead, working on the inner beauty and elevating your soul leads you to a beautiful perception. However, this does not mean that Islam gives no importance to personal appearance and physical beauty. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) always rejected the notion of abandoning worldly pleasures altogether in favor of a solitary and monastic lifestyle [i].
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “ There is no monasticism in Islam” .
- Mustadrak al Wassail, Vol 11, p. 264
- sul al Kafi , Vol 6 , p.442
- medical issue
- Na’aman Ibn Muhammad Tamimi Maqribi, Daaem Al-Islam, Egypt: Dar Almaaref ,Vol. 2, p.193
In the first part of the article, some stress relieving practices were discussed. Here we complete the list with other advises proposed for facing stress in Islam.
Isolation is undoubtedly the worst way to deal with depression, although some have a completely opposite view on this matter. In general, upholding kinship with relatives and visiting them regularly, benefits one from their social and emotional support . And particularly, in the case of having a problem as serious as depression, they will not leave their loved ones alone and will help to find the resources to get him/her treated. That’s why keeping family ties is strongly emphasized and recommended in Islamic teachings .
Gathering frequently with supportive friends can also play a big role in making depression more manageable and relieving stress in Islam. In Islamic resources, trustworthy friends are known to be like one’s eyes and hands, and family and properties of a person; they are rare and invaluable , and they can help a lot to deal with such disorders.
It is stated in Surah Rum that God has created mates for the human beings which are the source of solace and comfort to them (30:21). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that after Islam, nothing is more beneficial than a righteous, kind, Muslim wife who brings a smile to the face when looking at her . That is within a lawful (Halal) marriage that both sides receive pure affection and emotional support from each other; respond safely to their sexual urge; help and encourage each other to achieve their goals, promote their social statue and get a better economic situation. Moreover, the researchers suggest that marriage provides the companionship and emotional support needed to help alleviate depression . Hence, many of one’s worries might fade in a successful marriage .
Looking clean and nice is one of the manners of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It makes one look good, feel good, be confident and attract the company of people and their respect which consequently helps one’s stress to be healed. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to put on perfume and always advised others to do so . On the contrary, looking disheveled has always been blamed in Islamic teachings and narrations since it is believed that one should make the most of the blessings of life . The effect of having a clean and nice appearance and smelling good manifests itself in a healthy, joyful individual .
Doing sport and healthy entertainments are highly advised in Islam due to its wonderful benefits on one’s peace and success. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that a wise person divides his daily schedule to four parts and dedicates one of them to lawful (Halal) and healthy entertainment which comforts heart and mind . Imam Ali (AS) has emphasized the impacts of cheerful moments and the state of being happy on one’s soul and mind, too [11, 12]. However, entertainment should not be confused with useless activities. Doing sports especially horse riding, shooting and swimming are encouraged in Islam [13, 14]. On the contrary, playing marbles, gambling or any kind of activity with the intent of winning money or material goods , and any entertainment which is a waste of time (like sitting in front of the TV all day and doing nothing else) are absolutely forbidden. That is due to the fact that one gains nothing for doing such activities but loses time and energy, and Muslims are warned neither to lose nor to cause damage.
One of the psychological impacts of giving charity is the joy that the donor will experience in his/her heart. Acts of charity and helping others might happen in several forms, like watering a plant, teaching, helping deaf (without nagging and complaining) to communicate with others and being tolerant towards people . In Surah Baqara, it is said that those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah, will be surely rewarded by their Lord. Moreover, they will not fear, nor will they grieve (2:262).
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 216.
- what does islam say about maintaining family ties
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 2, p. 248.
- Shaykh Tusi, “Tahdhib al-ahkam fi sharh al-muqni'a”. vol. 7, p. 278, T. 4.
- Frech, A. and Williams, K., 2007. Depression and the psychological benefits of entering marriage. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 48(2), pp.149-163.
- stress in life
- M. al-Kulaynī, “Al-Kafi”, vol. 6, p. 510.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 164.
- H. F. Tabarsi, “Makarim al-akhlaq”, p. 42.
- Shaykh Sadouq, “Ma'ani l-akhbar”, p. 334.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3992.
- “Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim”, T. 3993.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 38.
- Al Suyuti, “Jami al-saghir”, vol. 1, p. 627.
- Ibn Babawayh, “Al-Khisal”, p. 331.
- A. Javadi Amoli, “Mafatih al-hayat”, p. 547.
Those who do not know Islam very well and those who follow the propaganda of the media, especially in this period of time when several terrorist attacks have been committed by pseudo-Muslim groups, which do not have anything to do with Islam, accuse Islam of encouraging violence and terror. That is absolutely wrong. Islam is the religion of peace and intrinsically promotes peace. The reasons for that will be reviewed next.
The greatest miracle of Islam is the Quran; a Book. Books are among the most efficient and prominent means of connecting thoughts and minds. This means that Islam has chosen a very civilized way of communication with human beings; by having dialogues with them. By the means of the Quran, Islam, in the first place, deals with the thinking power of humans and then their emotions. In other words, Islam tries to communicate with people through common sense, mutual understanding, logic and reasoning which consequently prevents harshness or sudden actions caused by the outpouring of emotions. That is while “Book” and “communicating through words” did not serve like that regarding the previous divine religions [i].
According to Islam, one should truly believe in the Islamic principles and axioms. It means that one should accept these Islamic facts by reasoning and rational search and demonstrate his\her belief in every act and deed; otherwise, if one has not really changed his\her mind to accept Islam or accepts Islam in words but do not practice it, he\she will be a “Muslim” but not a “believer” (Mu'min). This shows that Islam educates the people who are adherent to rational and commonsensical rules and regulations and consequently prevents apostasy and chaos.
Many suppose that Immanuel Kant was the first who formed and introduced the Golden Rule, a rule of ethical conduct, while this ethical code has been among the teachings of Islam since 1400 years ago. Imam Ali (AS) and other Imams (AS) have emphasized this ethical advice by words and acts and encouraged people not to consider themselves superior to others or do not prefer their benefits to others .
Imam Ali (AS) has addressed Imam Hassan (AS) as such: “What you prefer for yourself, prefer for others; what you find objectionable for yourself, treat as such for others. Don’t wrong to anyone, just as you don't like to be wronged; do good to others just as you would like others to do good to you; that which you consider immoral for others, consider immoral for yourself” . There is no sign of injustice or cruelty among these words. On the contrary, this is an invitation to get along with others, to respect their preferences and not to expect too much from them. This is simply an encouragement to peace.
When hearing about Jihad, the first thing that strikes to mind is Al-Qaeda, ISIS and fire, and blood. Many people think that Jihad equals aggression, but that is wrong. Jihad has a clear definition. There exist two types of Jihad in Islam: Defensive and Offensive. Defensive Jihad, as can be guessed from the name, is for the aim of defending the Islamic territory against the assaults and intrusions of outsiders and invaders.
Offensive Jihad aims at liberating people from unjust oppressive regimes and allowing them to search, read and choose the right religion and lifestyle. Many Islamic jurists believe that the Offensive Jihad to invite to Islam is only allowed under certain circumstances; i.e. in the presence of the Imams (AS) and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Otherwise, only Defensive Jihad is permitted which is actually obligatory to all Muslims in whatever condition. No one in the whole wide world would admit that defending oneself is aggression; Neither do the Muslims. Then, it is clear that unlike a widespread thought nowadays, Islam is against war and violence.
There is a theory in Islam: any harm to others or oneself is banned. It explains that a Muslim does not cause any harm to other people or do not misuse rules to cause harm to them . Through this theory, Islam protects the benefits and rights of others. This includes any individual or any group of people. It also covers both Muslim and non-Muslim societies and people, hence, this theory, in fact, reinforces and advertises the peace all around the world.
It was explained above that Islam also bans any harm to oneself. In this regard, suicide is illegal (Haram) in Islam. Some might suppose that they own their physical body while it is a divine trust offered to us to do good deeds (16:97), worship God (51:56) and practice the religion. This is another means by which Islam promotes peace all around the world.
Considering the Islamic approach described above in interaction with the humans, the efforts to establish ethical standards and to form the interrelationship among humans demonstrate the contribution and role of Islam to create a peaceful world.
[i] While Old Testament and New Testament are written by humans, the Quran is the divine revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
[ii] Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated.
- Nahj al-Balaqa, Letter 31.
- peace in islam