Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty.” [Sahīh Muslim] Some people who seek to be pious tend to underrate the value of beauty. They fail to recognize that beauty is an Islamic value. Allah intended for His Creation to contain beauty.
Allah says: “And He created the cattle for you; you have in them warm clothing and (many) advantages, and of them do you eat. And you have a sense of pride and beauty in them as ye drive them home in the evening, and as ye lead them forth to pasture in the morning.” [Sūrah al-Nahl: 5-6] He says: “And (He has created) horses, mules, and donkeys, for you to ride and use as an ornament for show; and He has created (other) things of which you have no knowledge.” [Sūrah al-Nahl: 8] Elsewhere in the Qur’ān, Allah speaks about the beauty of the heavens, the stars, of gardens and myriad other things.
Beauty stands in opposition to ugliness. Allah is beautiful in His essence, in His names and attributes, and in His actions. This is why the greatest of all pleasures in Paradise is to look upon Allah’s countenance. Allah says: “That day will faces be resplendent, looking to their Lord” [Sūrah al-Qiyāmah: 22-23]
Allah refers to His names as being beautiful: “Allah's are the most beautiful names.” [Sūrah al-A`rāf: 180] Likewise, His actions are beautiful. They are always within the context of His beneficence and grace, or His justice and wisdom. His actions are never in vain, never unjust, and never superfluous. “Perfected is the Word of your Lord in truth and justice.” [Sūrah al-An`ām: 115] Allah created everything with proficiency and He created the human being in the best of forms.
The beauty that exists in Creation – on land and at sea and in the heavens – attests to Allah’s beauty as well as His power. He who created beauty is most entitled to beauty. And indeed Paradise is adorned with beauty beyond imagining.
Allah’s beauty is also beyond our imagining. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) beseeched Allah with the following prayer: “I unable to extol all of Your praises. You are as You have extolled Yourself.” [Sahīh Muslim]
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also said: “His is a veil of light. If He were to remove it, the glory of His countenance would ignite everything of Creation as He looks upon it.” [Sahīh Muslim]
Our faith in Allah’s beauty strengthens our connection with our Lord. It increases our love for Him and our longing to return to Him. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to offer the following prayer: “I ask of You the joy of looking on Your noble countenance and of my longing to be with You.” [Sunan al-Nasā’ī (1305)]
Our faith in Allah’s beauty should also encourage us to concern ourselves with our appearance, dress, and decorum, as well as with the beauty of our words and deeds. This is something that Allah wants from us.
Someone once approached the Prophet (peace be upon him) and asked: “What if someone likes that his clothing and his shoes are beautiful?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “Allah loves to see the affects of His grace upon His servant.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī (2819)] The Prophet’s Companions, following the example that the Prophet set for them, took care of their appearance.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty,” this means that Allah blesses us for the beauty that we bring about through our good efforts. He loves beauty in us, just as He loves us to be possessed knowledge, generosity, clemency and purity.
We have already mentioned that beauty is among the purposes of Allah’s Creation. Allah says: “Is not He (best) Who created the heavens and the Earth, and sends down for you water from the sky wherewith We cause to spring forth beautiful orchards, whose trees it never has been yours to cause to grow?” [Sūrah al-Naml: 60]
“Surely We have made whatever is on the earth an embellishment for it, so that We may try them (as to) which of them is best in works.” [Sūrah al-Kahf: 7] “Know you (all), that the life of this world is but play, amusement, and embellishment.” [Sūrah al-Hadīd: 20]
Allah had given His prophet Joseph (peace be upon him) half of all human beauty. [Sahīh Muslim (162)] Likewise, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was blessed with a bright complexion and a handsome face, not to mention the beauty of his character as seen in his politeness, humility, patience, kindness and forbearance even with those who actively opposed him and the religion of Islam.