People don’t fret too much about the amount of fabric covering their bodies. But they do worry sick about the make-up that conceals their face.

The billion dollar industry of cosmetics and dermatology products rests on the self-consciousness of women in particular but men are fast catching up as well. What are the common tag lines?

  • “Enhance your beauty.” (If I am beautiful, why do I need to enhance it?)
  • “Look naturally beautiful.” (So you mean to say I am ugly otherwise?)
  • “Feel confident.” (My confidence is wired to your shampoo and lipstick? Heaven help me!)

But the problem is that the standards of the world keep changing. Light is in, dark is out. Ultra-thin is in, normal thin is out. Wavy is in, straight is out. Phew! It’s impossible to catch up, let alone enjoy the moment.

What about the unsolicited advice coming from every direction? Use this for your pimples; apply that for your freckles. What if I actually love my pimples and adore my freckles? I know that that may sound absurd to many, but why can’t I make peace with the way I look? God made me, and He makes no mistakes. Strangely, people never see this connection. I have been advised a trillion times to straighten my curled locks. Each time I politely correct the person giving me such frivolous advice: “If God chose it for me, it must be the best look – I simply trust Him.”

An imperfect character and a blemished soul is a big problem! I would be highly conscious about that and, yes, even bite my nails over it, (though I keep them trimmed anyway). But people seem to have no issues with blemishes in their character. Why? You dare to walk out of the house with no make-up and everybody asks you, “Are you sick?” I feel like telling them: “Actually, I am sick of you! Leave me alone! Scram! Buzz off!” But then I remember the Prophet’s (sa) patience, courtesy, and endurance and simply smile: “Alhumdulillah, I am fine. Thanks for your concern.” Before you jump to conclusions, that’s not hypocrisy; it is called self-restraint and control over evil desires. See what Islam can do to you? It teaches you to behave honourably; otherwise, where would I be?

Allah (swt) has given each and every one of us something to be proud of. And I don’t just mean a pretty face or handsome looks. It’s not about our physical self. He has already done the makeover for us. We need to search for this treasure deep within ourselves. It can be a hidden quality, noble mannerisms, exceptional gift, etc. Our problem is that we never discover ourselves and simply start treading in other people’s footsteps, never questioning where they are headed. Do we even want to go that way?

Keep asking Allah (swt) to guide you to your objective in life. Ponder upon your own set of skills and qualities, and decide where they can be used. Ask someone who truly believes in you to help you grow in the right direction. The self-worth, assurance, and self-esteem will spring from there. Not from the selfie, not from the Facebook profile, and certainly not from painting your face for the world to view.

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” (Al-Hadid 57:20)