Zaman Stanizai

God is Beautiful and He Loves Beauty

Allah jamil wa yuhibu jammal

Her love shines on my heart before I open my eyes to the earliest awakened moment of consciousness every morning.  She was so aptly named Jahantab, ‘shining over the world.’ That sun never sits on this heartland of mine. Her love fills every moment of my life in thought, in being, and the immersion of its presence. Her voice echoes my zikr, the constant conscious remembrance of the Divine.

In Islamic spirituality, just as for Diotima in the Platonic sense, the most genuine use of the love of another is to direct the mind to love the Supreme Consciousness through the beauty that inspires the mind and the soul. Thus, love, if correctly understood is the highest form of worship.  Not of another, but the love of God through another who can mirror the intensity of the deepest emotions humans can express.

The very essence of our being is love as we have been created out of His desire to be loved Fa ahbabtu lekai u’rafa, 'For He loved to be known out of love,' and not obligation. It is in the human heart that He created the most sacred sanctuary—the sacred temple of love where God’s glory is reflected in the perpetual emanation of luminosity that the mystics call tajaliat al mashsha’i also referred to as iman.

It wasn’t for not that one third of God’s attributes, sifaat jamali, are the attributes of beauty, and beauty is the integral flip side of love. It was the absence and negligence of this aspect of faith that the Prophet was most concerned about as his favorite and most repeated prayer was: Subhaanaka maa ‘arafnaaka, ’O God we have not been able to know You as You deserve to be known.‘ None of the attributes of God we humans have on loan, are ours.  Thus, any beauty you see must of necessity be the beauty of God.

I saw the reflection such Divine beauty in the form and face of Jahan 40 years ago.  Little I knew that there was much more depth, intensity, and commitment to her outer beauty.  My description of her is not to be taken lightly.  She is

wife and life and mother

the voice of bold reasoning 

and daring conviction

the defender of blunt honesty 

and no-nonsense truth-telling 

the paragon of perfection 

and the epitome of charm and elegance

First I loved her, but soon I lived her as I live her now.

She took my breath away at first sight and hasn’t given it back.


Beyond the pretense of this active denial, your presence defies the past tense in my language as in the heart of every unborn moment your thought, your being, your presence, and your love permeates the fiber of my expectations.

I live you.

I love you.

For ever.