“Don’t you see? She’s the one! The girl we have been waiting for! She has come to *break* the spell!”
“The best of my days is when I awaken and find my cupboards bare. For that is a day my reliance on Allah is complete.”
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (R)
I can’t help it when at times between rigorous study sessions I need some ‘entertainment’. Most of the time, I end up putting up a post here. Only today, I just felt like watching Beauty and the Beast. I hope it’s forgivable inshaa’Allah with all the muting when there were musicals. What can I do? I’m a girl after all and the enchanting worlds of Prince and Princesses just makes me feel so nice and warm inside. I need that feeling at times. That shows how much work I have to do on my Nafs.
I’m totally against allowing children to watch such cartoon movies because of the music and then the ‘fantasy’ feel to it. Children, especially young girls, grow up dreaming of things which are not possible to achieve in this life. A lot of people would say that it’s ‘just’ a cartoon but honestly, it affects the brain in ways we don’t even perceive. However, one can allow children to watch these cartoons with supervision, pausing whenever a lesson could be derived. One could even ask them all the things which are not according to Islam in the cartoons such as non-Mahram relationships before marriage. This curbs their thoughts and make them realize that ‘love’ that they see in these cartoons is not ‘real’ love which one has to build and maintain after marriage. And nobody gets married to a handsome Prince or a beautiful Princess because such characters and circumstances don’t exist for the average human being. That makes them stick to reality. Or so I hope inshaa’Allah.
There are several lessons I learned from Beauty and the Beast. I have so many quotes from it that I liked as well.
One particular scene that I really liked goes something like this:
Maurice (Belle’s father): ‘So did you have a good time today?’
Belle: ‘I got a new book.’
Then a few seconds later she asks her father, ‘Papa! Do you think I’m odd?’
Maurice: ‘Odd? Where’d you get an idea like that?’
Belle: ‘Oh, it’s just that I’m not sure that I fit in here. There’s no-one I can really talk to.’
The whole town thinks she’s a little odd because of her interest in things which most people in the cartoon are not ‘into’, namely books. What I liked about this scene in terms of Dawah-purposes is that it is something to what a lot of religiously-practising brothers and sisters can relate to. Most often they will feel like ‘social outcasts’ and lower their standards contrary to what Rasusalah SAW has encouraged when looking for a spouse. So they end up settling for ‘Gaston-like’ individuals because they fear that they wouldn’t find someone like them or even better. Now in this story the Beast was a rotten individual too. But he went through character transformation, admitted his weaknesses and became an excellent match for Belle. Throughout the middle of the story, his servants kept telling him that if he controlled his temper and was a bit gentle, he would win Belle’s heart. For the most part he was arrogant. Then slowly after he heard from Belle himself that he must control his temper because he scares her away, he began to realize his mistake and its consequences. He in turn changed himself which won him Belle’s affection which completely changed his destiny as the spell was now broken and he alhamdolilah transformed back to a human.
What I’m trying to say is that, when looking for a spouse:
- Don’t lose hope and settle down with someone with whom you can’t live.
- Give time because you never know maybe Allah SWT is transforming someone for you.
- Admit your weaknesses in your manners and change yourself which may help you find someone spiritually beautiful. In that case, maybe Allah SWT is transforming you (like the Prince in the story) for a better match such as Belle. Or He SWT is making you stronger in your good characteristics so that you could help transform someone else into a better person (like Belle did) and thus a better Muslim.
- Circumstances forced Belle to live with the Beast and she couldn’t really escape which gave her lots of time to see beyond the harsh behaviour of the Beast. I think this tells us that in relationships people may be harsh but there’s bound to be goodness in them if you allow them some time. So don’t be hasty if you feel you’re stuck with someone who’s not very warm and/or gentle by default.
- Insecurities are like fire which destroy everything in the way. The Beast (prince) had insecurities and fears which prevented him from believing that someone could see beyond his physical features. So what you may believe regarding yourself, may not necessarily be true. If it gets out of hands, it may make the other person dislike you so very much. So one must take care of their insecurities and never hurt someone else in order to fill the void the insecurities leave. For e.g. some men become extremely jealous that they start going overboard and become controlling in the sense that they hurt their wives emotionally by being suspicious when nothing really is the matter. Such men are insecure that they are not ‘good enough’ for their wives and so they start thinking that their wife would be doing something wrong when they themselves are at wrong. Get the picture?
- Words of appreciation go a long way. The Beast melted as soon as Belle thanked him for saving her life when she got lost in the woods and got attacked by a pack of wolves. Men need appreciation and like to feel like ‘heroes’ no matter how much they deny that fact. It gives them a confidence-boost and mothers of sons and wives should remember that. At the same time, women need reassurance all the time which gives them a confidence boost.
- Life is unpredictable. Who would’ve thought Belle would find her husband out in the enchanted castle? Like Sh. Riad said once that you may be whining over your destiny and you never know your spouse-to-be may be rolling in a barrel from China to (insert your location) just for you. Have some tawakul!
- I’m very sure Allah SWT gifted Belle with a great match for her patience and her good manners towards her father. She was a dutiful daughter who cared enough for her father to save him several times and never ever was rude to him. She even trusted his potential in his scientific endeavours and encouraged him that he’d be the ‘most famous’ inventor one day. The whole town called her father ‘lunatic’ but she never even once behaved as children today do by screaming back at their parents that ‘you embarrassed me in front of my friends’ etc. Worth thinking about, isn’t it?
- With hardship, comes ease. The more patient you are, the more rewarding will be your efforts.
- Affection always grants you victory. No matter how evil the other person is to you, just be gentle.
- No matter how much you dislike a situation, if Allah SWT decreed it for you, then there’s bound to be goodness (khayr) for you in it. Going back to the story, Belle felt terribly sad when she was forced to promise to stay with the Beast in exchange for her father’s release from the dungeons. However if that hadn’t happened to her, how would’ve had she been introduced to the Beast? Who by the way turned to be an amazing person for her. So certain circumstances may feel like calamities but in reality they are hidden blessings just like how the prison was the best place for Yusuf AS after being seduced by the wife of the ‘Azeez.
- When Gaston badmouths the Beast, Belle gets upset and claims that the Beast is her ‘friend’. Biggest mistake. A non-Mahram man and woman can never be ‘friends’. Shaytaan tricks a lot of people into thinking like that. As soon as you feel something like that, you must ward away the thoughts or take the necessary steps.
- To win someone’s heart, the best way is to gift them with something that they like and not something that you like. It could be something as simple as a good word or could be something big like anything big. Hehe. For example, the Beast gave Belle a surprise and that was his library of tens of thousands of books. Obviously that’s any girl’s dream come true.
- The Beast had an attitude of self-pity and if he didn’t have his servants to help him and motivate him, then most probably he would’ve been stuck as a ‘beast’. Self-pity always come in the way of your progress and one is not always lucky to have a bunch of caring supporters who’d motivate one towards good.
The biggest reason why most people watch such cartoon movies again and again is because it brings some kind of hope for everlasting happiness in them. With so much going wrong in this world from crimes at a community level to oppression within relationships, 99.9999% of the people have given up hope in a better life. But that’s where Islam gives us relief. Allah SWT has designed this world without everlasting happiness. True happiness and everlasting-everything from everlasting love to everlasting peace is only meant for Akhira. So when the going gets tough we as Muslims must have Tawakul in a ‘happily-ever-after’ in Jannah inshaa’Allah. And as we are alive in this dunia, we must have Tawakul in Allah SWT that He SWT can make the seemingly-impossible possible. That feeling of renewed Tawakul (reliance) and thus hope makes a lot of people watch such movies to make them believe in ‘change’ of destinies like from an ugly duckling to a swan kind of scenario.
So I’d like to remind myself and whoever reads this that we don’t need man-made things to rejuvenate our spirits about Qadr and having good expectations from Allah SWT. The fundamental component of our Tawheed is recognizing the Names and Attributes Allah Subhana! These very Names increase one’s Tawakul and gives a Mo’min the true ‘warm’ and ‘fuzzy’ feeling when the emptiness within a human is filled realistically.
The emotions that can be authentically evoked through remembering the Names and Attributes of Allah SWT will give us hope and satisfy in us the need to believe that despite all the struggles, there’s a God out there whom we can depend on. A lot of Muslims forget that and in turn start despairing.
Some of the Names and Attributes of Allah ‘azzawajall that make me feel great are as follows:
- Ar-RazzaaQ (The Provider): RizQ is everything that can be given to a human being from children, wealth to faith and beneficial knowledge. He’ll give you what you’re looking for, depend on it.
The One Who provides for all of His servants, there is not a creature on the earth except that Allaah provides for it. His providing for His servants is of two types:
(1) The general provision which extends to the righteous and the sinner, the first and the last. This is the provision that is required by the bodies.
(2) The specific provision – this being granted to the hearts, nourishing them with knowledge and faith. Also the lawful provision that has been appointed for the benefit of the religion, this being specific to the believers and apportioned in accordance to their differing levels and what His Wisdom and Mercy dictates.
“Say: Come I will recite to you what your Lord has prohibited you from: Join not anything in worship with Him; be good and dutiful to your parents; kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them; come not near shameful sins whether openly or secretly; kill not anyone who Allaah has forbidden except for a just cause. This He has commanded you that you may understand.” [Suratul An’aam,6:151]
“I created man and jinn only that they may worship Me. I seek not any provisions from them nor do I ask that they feed Me. Indeed Allaah is the Provider, Owner of Power – the Most Strong.” [Surat adh-Dhariyat, 51: 56-58]
“To Him belong the keys of the heavens and the earth, He enlarges provision for whom He wills, and straitens (it for whom He wills). Verily! He is the All-Knower of everything.” [Surat Ash-Shura, 42:12]
- Ash-Shaakir (The Recogniser and Rewarder of good), Ash-Shakoor (The Appreciative): He SWT knows all your hard work and patience. He SWT knows all the tears you shed and He SWT knows all the time you remembered Him before committing a sin. No one knows, only He does. No one can appreciate you or even recognize your efforts. Only He SWT does.
The One Who recognises and rewards the small quantity of action, Who forgives the large quantity of sins. He is the One Who multiplies the rewards of His sincere servants manifold without any measure. He is the One Who recognises and rewards those who give thanks to Him and remembers the one who remembers Him. Whosoever seeks to get close to Him by doing any righteous action, Allaah draws close to Him by a greater degree.
“Indeed Safa and Marwa are two of the symbols of Allaah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or Umrah to perform the going between them. And whoever does good voluntarily, then Allaah is the Recogniser, the All-Knowing.” [Suratul BaQarah,2:158]
“Indeed those who recite the Book of Allaah, and establish the prayers and spend out of that which we have provided them, secretly and openly, hope for a sure trade-gain that will never perish. That He may pay them in full and give them even more out of His Grace. He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Appreciative.” [Surat Fatir, 35:29-30]
- Al-Kaafee (The Sufficient): He SWT is enough for you even if the whole world is against you. When He SWT is on your side, there’s no room for loneliness. Just need to connect your soul to His Remembrance and you are in no need of this world and anything/anyone in it.
The One Who suffices His servants in everything that they are in need of. The One Who suffices, in a specific sense, those who believe in Him, put their trust in Him and seek their worldly and religious needs from Him.
“Allaah drove back those who disbelieved in their rage and they gained no advantage. Allaah sufficed for the believers in the fighting. Allaah is the Strong, the Mighty.” [Suratul Ahzab,33:25]
“Is not Allaah sufficient for His servant? Yet they try to frighten you with those who they worship besides Him! And whomsoever Allaah sends astray, for him there will be no guide.” [Surat Az-Zumar,39:36]
- Al-Hakeem (the All-Wise): There’s a reason for every single thing that happened in your life. There’s a reason why you were blessed with those moments of happiness and the moments of sadness. There’s a reason why some people came in your life and left you before you expected. And there’s a reason why some people will come into your life from unexpected means and will stay in your life forever. There’s wisdom in how the clouds come and go and there’s wisdom in why the ants can never touch the skies. Allah SWT knows but we do not.
He is the One to Whom belongs the highest wisdom, the One Who is All-Wise in His creating and commanding, Who perfected everything He created, “and Who is better than Allaah in judgement for a people who have firm faith?” [Suratul Maidah, 5:50]. Therefore He has created nothing out of mere frivolity and He has legislated nothing that is vain and of no use. The One to Whom belongs wisdom in the beginning and the end. He has three areas of ruling which nothing else has a share in: He rules between His servants with respect to His Law, His Decree and His Recompense. Wisdom is to place something in its correct place.
“For those who believe not in the Hereafter is an evil description and for Allaah is the highest description. He is the All-Mighty, All-Wise.” [Surat an-Nahl,16:60]
“It is He Who is the only God worshipped in the heaven and the on the earth. He is the All-Wise, the All-Knowing.” [Surat Az-Zukhruf, 43:84]
- Al-Wakeel (The Disposer of Affairs, the One Who is relied upon): all of us have someone in our heart whom we think we can trust if not fully at least partially. Then what about Allah SWT, who’s one entire Name is Al-Wakeel? He’s the Friends of friends! Surely we can whole-heartedly trust Him to take care of everything. Recall all the times you felt that you were doomed and He SWT saved you just in time! All those times you thought that your life was going to end, He SWT lifted you from the darknesses of sadness to the Light of His Guidance…
The One Who has the responsibility to dispose the affairs of the creation in accordance with His Knowledge, perfect Power and all-encompassing Wisdom. The One who looks after His friends and makes the good easy for them, preserves them from the evil and suffices for them in all of their affairs. Therefore the one who takes Him as One to be relied upon, He suffices him, “Allaah is the Friend of those who believe, He guides them from the darknesses into the light.” [Suratul BaQarah, after Ayatul Kursi]
“Such is Allaah your Lord! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Creator of all things. So worship Him Alone, and He is the Disposer of all affairs.” [Suratul An’aam,6:102]
“And put your trust in Allaah, and Allaah is Sufficient as a Disposer of Affairs.” [Surat az-Zumar,39:62]
SubhanAllah these Names are enough to inspire someone to such an extent that this world’s struggles become a walk in the park. And I haven’t even mentioned the most Beautiful of His Names and Attributes yet. So before you feel that you need a ‘Tawakul-refill’, just go through His Names and Attributes and you’re good to go inshaa’Allah. Almost instantly you’ll be in that ‘bring-it-on’ mode when difficulties knock on your door.
And Allah SWT knows best.
May Allah SWT make us live and die like a true Muwahid.Ameen.