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Mirror Reflections
by Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel Saheb (rahmatullah alayh)

It is said : ”The room in which there is no mirror, is worse than a prison-cell for a woman”…Of course, the same can be said about many, many men, who spend hours in front of the mirror for the sole purpose of beautification.

This statement is to give us an idea as to how often a person looks into the mirror; so much so, that one will say that the mirror is indispensable.

…To look into a mirror, comb one’s hair, etc. is not Haraam (forbidden). In fact, to do so is the Sunnah of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam). We will also find in the duas of Nabi (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam), the dua when looking into a mirror:

“O Allah, You have beautified my features, so beautify my character as well.”

Even so, the mirror must not become an obsession.

The efforts made in beautifying the face and maintaining the physical body in good shape, have turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. The interest and concern is directed towards something that will inevitably turn to dust; whereas we have not been created for just the beautification of the face and body; that from the morning until the night, the person is fixated with nothing but his physical appearance.

Be that as it may, we find that there are various kinds of mirrors : There are those mirrors that give a true and correct reflection, then there are mirrors that magnify the person’s features, and there are even mirrors that reflect a distorted or twisted image. …The face may be the same, but the reflection is dependent on the type of mirror looked into.

Then again, there are times when a person’s beauty is affected by other factors.

…When we traveled by train, in India, we traveled in third class coaches and sometimes long distance. Due to some of the windows of the carriage left open, or due to the windows being broken, dust would cover the carriage. We would be covered with dust from head to toe. Anyone seeing us would see a different appearance. Accordingly, certain factors, like sickness, sleep, travel, etc. have an effect on a person’s appearance.

Similarly, the same can be said about our physical hearts, as well as our spiritual hearts. The spiritual heart is also not always in the same condition. In fact, the heart is called ‘qalb’ in the Arabic language due to the fact that it is perpetually in a state of change.

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam) explained the likeness of the heart as: ‘The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the base of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.’

‘The heart of the son of Aadam changes more quickly than a pan of rapidly boiling water.’

Just as we are conscious of maintaining the beauty of our appearance and physique, there has to be a sense of consciousness, more so, in maintaining the beauty of the spiritual heart.

As a poet aptly says :

We looked into the mirror for blemishes on the face,                                      
 But we did not look at all the blemishes of the heart.

The mirrors for the spiritual heart are the Qur`aan Sharief, Ahadith of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam) and the advice of the Ahlullah (People of Allah).

Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa-Sallam)  has also informed us :

 ‘A Believer is the mirror for a Believer.’

Whilst a mirror discloses any defect in our physique; these mirrors disclose to us, the neglect and weakness of our spiritual hearts. We are thus able to gauge our spiritual condition. We are able to see the blemishes of our hearts in these mirrors.

As I have said, there are some mirrors that give a magnified and enlarged reflection, or they give a distorted, twisted or skewed image – so then this is not a true and honest reflection of the person standing in front of that mirror. Similarly, there are Muslims who do not give a true reflection: If a Muslim is of bad character, and his actions are “twisted” and “distorted” due to his indulgence in sins, then he will not offer a proper reflection.

Just as we appreciate that the mirror which gives a true reflection, draws our attention to that part of our face or body that requires cleaning or improvement, we should be grateful to be afforded these spiritual mirrors – of the Qur`aan Sharief, Ahadith, wise teachings of the learned, and advice of righteous and sincere Muslims – by which we can clean, improve and beautify our spiritual hearts.

…If we are assuming the role of the mirror, then we should keep in mind that a good mirror only discloses weakness or defect. A good mirror does not criticize, exaggerate and advertise to all and sundry, another person’s weakness.

Being a “mirror” to another could also be taken to mean that a person should become righteous so that whoever sees him will be encouraged to do good deeds; like a person who looks into a mirror, and then tries to perfect his appearance. For example : A Muslim who wears the Sunnah dressing, will Insha-Allah, be a means of guidance and encouragement to those who see him and who are not dressed accordingly. They will be more conscious of their Muslim identity, and will, Insha-Allah, adopt the correct attire. The same would follow in respect to good actions, behaviour, dealings and so forth.

If we are concerned about the beautification of our Imaan, we will make every effort to remove any trace of ‘unsightliness’ (i.e. pride, show, vanity, jealousy, malice, etc.) or even sins such as lying, cursing, casting evil gazes, interest, fraud and so forth.

In the beauty industry, we will find all kinds of products, together with innumerable beauticians and consultants offering various treatments and packages. There are so many different kinds of washes, scrubs, lotions and creams advertised for facial and body beauty - “detoxifying wash, day cream, night cream, nourishing cream, replenishing cream, moisturising cream” and what not…. So in the spiritual industry, we will also find beauty “products”.

Just as many use detoxifying washes and scrubs to clean the skin, so should we be giving our spiritual hearts an invigorating detoxifying wash and scrub, with sincere taubah and Istighfaar.

Likewise, we will find the various spiritual “lotions” and “creams” for day, night, for different conditions and for all types of situations : The duas of morning and evening, Zikrullah, Tilawat of the Qur`aan Sharief, Durud Sharief, Ishraaq, Dhuhaa, Awwabeen, Tahajjud … all of which enhance the spiritual beauty during the day and replenish it during the night.

Added to this, we should also enhance our inner beauty by ‘applying’ the qualities of piety, generosity, forgiveness, tolerance, patience and other virtues, like how so many women and so many men apply all kinds of creams, make-up and perfumes to enhance their physical beauty.

Furthermore, there are so many who are particular about using “Sun block” to protect themselves against the harmful effects of sun exposure, using those lotions and creams which offer, as they say, “broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection”. Allah Ta’ala has also granted us a “Broad Spectrum Sin Protection” – and it is ‘marketed’ as “TAQWA”.

This Taqwa blocks us from the harmful effects of sin exposure. The instruction in its use is simple : Apply it generously, all over one’s heart, body and soul, for maximum protection against sins: i.e. fear Allah in every sphere of life. And this is one “block” we cannot remain without.

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