These days nearly everyone seems to be obsessed with physical beauty. One major indicator is the increasing rate at which beauty salons and treatment centers are being set up and now men’s salons’ are not considered unusual either. Furthermore cosmetic surgery has become very common as well. While it is good to look after one’s self, but the direction our society has taken is rather disconcerting.
Actually this emphasis on beautification of oneself is due to the continuous projection by the foreign media which has had a significant influence on our national media. As a result we are facing grave consequences because all this has really altered the thinking of our people. For instance one finds that at school/college level, our youth have become extremely image conscious, especially girls. One reason is because they have become very interested in the modeling profession, and these days they find ample opportunities to pursue that. And parents seem to be quite supportive of this trend. Then in the case of marriages, even if a person is happy with the way he/she looks, people still keep pointing out the shortcomings. Therefore if he/she chooses to live the way they are, they simply become social outcasts. So at some point in time the person may be forced to take action which is often quite drastic, because if you don’t fit a certain criterion, you are just not good enough. This mind-set has created so many problems such as inferiority complex, depression, frustration and a feeling of worthlessness particularly in females, and is one of the reasons why many remain unmarried these days till a late age.
While on the contrary character building seems to have lost its importance, although we all know that Islam lays a lot of emphasis on its enhancement. More importantly those who possess a high character are nearer to Allah, which alone is an excellent reason for wanting to develop it. However it is a difficult thing to do, so to simply avoid it seems the easier option. And this is the sole reason of the deteriorating state of our nation.
What we should remember is that beauty is not everlasting nor is human nature ever satisfied, for we constantly compare ourselves with others, continue to find flaws in our physical being and keep on wanting what others have. While character is something; that the more we nurture it, the better it becomes and also remains with us till the very end. So if only people would spend more time cultivating their character instead of wasting their time perfecting their physical appearance then this world would be a much better place to live in. As William Channing said “The great hope of society is in individual character”.
Therefore let us be happy the way we are, and let others be happy they way they are, for Allah has made each one of us unique. And if there is anything we should change then it should be ourselves i.e. our thoughts, our habits and our actions. Let them be of the highest standard, for that is the prerequisite for attaining an outstanding character.