Letter to Zayb: Thre is no Shade of Beauty
After much deliberation and requests from my friends and readers, I have decided to share some of the letters I write to my daughter Zayb. I have created an email id for her since when she was a few months old and keep writing to her about things I want her to know, Things I wish I knew earlier. Today I am sharing a letter I wrote to her 1 year ago on my view about beauty.
My little Zayb,
Today I write to tell you how beautiful you are. Inside and out. Before that I want to tell you my story and confess to you how petty I have been all these years. Substituting fairness for beauty.
Since I was a little girl my pet name at home has been Kalia. I was teased at home, in the family circle, at school for being dark skinned. Obviously no one did this with malice and it was all in fun. But I would feel ugly and not as pretty as beautiful and fair Masima. I grew up with this complex which heightened during my teen years. I would pray everyday on the musalla for lighter skin. I would read every magazine for home recipes for lighter skin and try them. There was a point when my skin had so many reactions but I continued with my experiments as I felt that my skin was lightening. But those days are behind me now (somewhat ;) ) and I never want you to go through that. Today I feel beautiful and I want to share with you what I think of the word ‘beautiful’. Perhaps this may help you skip this phase of self hate and superficial beauty.
I see you welcoming our guests with so much love and warmth and I see beauty, I see you kissing Affan gently with compassion and I see beauty, I see you smile at me with love when I return from work and I see beauty. Beauty lies in compassion, kindness, respect, wisdom, generosity. It is this kind of beauty that enchants the soul and makes one appear truly beautiful. And I see beauty in you. I pray to Allah that he give me the strength and wisdom to raise you such that you remain beautiful inside and out. Having said this, one should also look after ones self, ones health and ones appearance. The body has been given to us by Allah to treat and use with respect. But one shouldn’t pay too much emphasis on ones external beauty and neglect ones internal beauty. One should not worship beauty and become the slave of beauty. After all beauty doesn’t feed your soul....only your eyes.
Love you to the moon and back ..