The Test of the Beauty of this world
There are many places in the Qur’an in which Allah uses the word beauty to describe this world, and it truly is beautiful. There are many types of beauty in this world, including pure beauty, deceptive beauty and tempting beauty. In this section, we will look at the different ways in which beauty is a test.
Pure beauty refers to the Halal and beneficial things of this world like Halal wealth, children, a beautiful spouse, a beautiful home or nature in general. These are things which Allah created and made beautiful for the believers to enjoy. The test in these cases is to thank Allah for these gifts and not allow them to distract us from obeying Him.
Regarding this, Allah warns us:
Say: If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your kindred, the wealth that you have gained, the commerce in which you fear a decline, and the dwellings in which you delight, are dearer to you than Allah and His Messenger, and striving hard in His Cause , then wait until Allah brings about His Decision (torment). And Allah does not guide a rebellious people.
All of the things listed in this verse are Halal and good things. Yet, loving any of them more than Allah and His Messenger is problematic as it corrupts our intentions and goals, and it diverts us from the purpose of life. In this way, the good things in our life are a test.
Deceptive beauty refers to the evils of this world that are disguised as beautiful. The modern marketing industry is famous for this. It packages all forms of sin as good and beautiful and this leads many people down the wrong path towards self-harm and destruction. The test here is to recognize the evil hidden underneath the layers of beautiful wrapping and to avoid it as much as possible. Do not fall for the devil’s deception, as it will lead you down a part to darkness.
Allah warns us about this and says:
And I have appointed for them companions (from among the devils) who made their past and future sins seem attractive.
The beautified deception
The worldly life has been beautified for those who disbelieve, and they mock the believers. But those who believe will rise above them on the Day of Resurrection, and Allah provides for whom He wills without restrictions.
Tempting beauty are things of this world which are indeed beautiful, but their beauty might be so overpowering that people are willing to violate the laws of Allah to have it. The two most common scenarios are women and wealth. Men are tempted to have beautiful women, and many do not have the confidence to do it the right way by marrying them and treating them equally, so they go down the path of evil to get what they want.
Likewise, people desire wealth and many don’t have the patience and trust in Allah to earn it the Halal way, so they take Haram shortcuts like dealing with Riba; and they end up with cursed wealth devoid of any blessings.
Yes, this world is beautiful but in this is a test for mankind. We are to enjoy the pure beauty of this world moderately, and to be patient with the prohibited. This patience will lead to even greater and more beautiful things in Paradise.
Allah says about this:
For mankind, (Allah has) beautified a strong love and desire for women, children, heaps of gold and silver, fine branded horses, cattle and tilled land. That is the enjoyment of the worldly life, but Allah has with Him the best return.
Say: Shall I inform you of something better than that? For those who fear Allah will be gardens in the presence of their Lord, beneath which rivers flow. They will dwell therein forever, and have purified spouses and Allah’s pleasure. And Allah is All-Seeing over His Servants.
Extract from Best Of Creation: An Islamic Guide to Self-Confidence. Purchase the full eBook here.
 Surah At-Tawba 9:24
 Surah Al-Fussilat 41:25
 Surah Al-Baqarah 2:212
 Interest-based transactions
 In modern terms, this would include expensive cars, instead of horses, and stock and businesses in place of farms and cattle
 Surah Aal-Imraan 3:14-15