Brutality in Beauty

 Ifrith Islam::

Cover-StoryMost of the people on the planet are not ugly, are they? We think they aren’t. Most of them haven’t bloated and asymmetrical faces and physical appearances. Rather majority of them have got their own physical cuteness and smartness as well. Don’t forget about the beauty of mind. Without the beauty of mind a physically pleasing person can’t go far, can they? Most would agree s/he can’t. So beautiful mind is beautiful even if it is deprived of physical charm. What about soul? Can it stay apart from the body? In no way. In fact beauty lies in one’s body mind and soul. That’s perfect beauty. May Prophet Yusuf or Josef (peace be upon him) was the most handsome guy the planet has ever seen. Some may argue his Prophet Dawud or David (peace be upon him) or some Muslims may argue Muhammad (peace be upon him) was the smartest male of the world. Who is the all-time most beautiful woman in the world may be equally debated. Cleopatra, Maryam, Queen of Sheba of old days and Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor may compete each other. Oops! From the beauty pageant we forgot to cite the cuteness of Julaikha who being devoid of spiritual beauty failed to entice Yousef with all her physical beauty. The sooner we quit beauty pageantry the better for the unmarried guys along with immoral married event managers who are the best consumers of such products of the modern world. Anyway as most of the people are beautifully created so they need to identify latent uniqueness and beautify them accordingly.
Beautification may sometime wrong. Suppose a man of white complexion looks handsome in a black shirt. Another man of dark complexion thinks he will look equally smart in the black dress is a completely wrong beautification. Colour, complexion, matching or contrasting, weather, nature of events etc. mean a lot for looking smart.  There is no harm even if you make mistake while choosing them. But popular proverb goes: when in Rome act like a Roman. It won’t be even brutal.
But have you ever thought about sharp knife, pointed needle, blood, sterilization equipment, operation theatre and a table in your dressing room? At the dressing table you are supposed to have cream, comb, clip, scents and such like. But for brutal beautification the following things are used:
The piercing needle, colour, indwelling cannula, catheter which is a hollow plastic tube placed at the end of the needle, dermal punch (used to remove a circular area of tissue, into which jewellery is placed, and may be useful for larger cartilage piercings) piercing gun (originally developed for tagging livestock), cork (used on the opposite side of the body part being pierced to receive the needle) Forceps or clamps, (used to hold and stabilize the tissue to be pierced),needle receiving tubes (hollow tube made of metal, shatter-resistant glass or plastic, needle receiving tubes, like forceps, are used to support the tissue at the piercing site and are common in septum and some cartilage piercings), anaesthesia.
Ugliness is a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon and results in a highly unfavourable evaluation. To be ugly is to be aesthetically unattractive, repulsive, or offensive and ugly peopleearn10 to 15 percent less per year than similar workers. But some ugly Jean-Paul Sartre had a lazy eye and a bloated, asymmetrical face, and he attributed many of his philosophical ideas to his lifelong struggle to come to terms with his self-described ugliness.Socrates, Abraham Lincoln. However, Lincoln’s looks proved to be an asset in his personal and political relationships.
Piercing to some extent was permitted throughout the history. Ear piercing and nose piercing are two of them. They have been particularly widespread and are well represented in historical records and among grave goods. The oldest mummified remains ever discovered were sporting earrings, attesting to the existence of the practice more than 5,000 years ago. Nose piercing is documented as far back as 1500 BC. Piercings of these types have been documented globally, while lip and tongue piercings were historically found in African and American tribal cultures. Nipple and genital piercing have also been practiced by various cultures, with nipple piercing dating back at least to Ancient Rome while genital piercing is described in Ancient India c. 320 to 550 CE. The history of navel piercing is less clear. The practice of body piercing has waxed and waned in Western culture, but it has experienced an increase of popularity since World War II, with sites other than the ears gaining subcultural popularity in the 1970s and spreading to mainstream in the 1990s.

The reasons for piercing or not piercing are varied. Some people pierce for religious or spiritual reasons, while others pierce for self-expression, for aesthetic value, for sexual pleasure, to conform to their culture or to rebel against it. Some forms of piercing remain controversial, particularly when applied to youth. The display or placement of piercings have been restricted by schools, employers and religious groups. In spite of the controversy, some people have practiced extreme forms of body piercing, with Guinness bestowing World Records on individuals with hundreds and even thousands of permanent and temporary piercings.

A 2005 survey of 10,503 people in England over the age of 16 found that approximately 10% (1,049) had body piercings in sites other than the earlobe, with a heavy representation of women aged 16–24 (46.2% piercing in that demographic). Among the most common body sites, the navel was top at 33%, with the nose and ear (other than lobe) following at 19% and 13%. The tongue and nipple tied at 9%. The eyebrow, lip and genitals were 8%, 4% and 2%, respectively. Preference among women followed closely on that ranking, though eyebrow piercings were more common than nipple piercings. Among male responders, the order was significantly different, descending in popularity from nipple, eyebrow, ear, tongue, nose, lip and genitals. A cross-cultural study published in 2011 found that individuals with piercings were likely to be involved in other forms of countercultural expression as well.

While body piercing has grown more widespread, it can remain controversial, particularly in youth. Some countries Scotland, Wales, Western Australia many states in the US like Crothersville, Indiana put some conditions for skin art, body piercing, body modifications. Even some corporates like Starbucks, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts limit display of tattoos and body piercing.

Health Risks and Trauma
Body piercing is an invasive procedure with risks. In a 2005 survey of 10,503 persons over the age of 16 in England, complications were reported in 31% of piercings, with professional help being necessary in 15.2%. 0.9% had complications serious enough to require hospitalization.

Some risks of note include:
l    Allergic reaction to the metal in the piercing jewellery, particularly nickel. This risk can be minimized by using high quality jewellery manufactured from titanium or niobium or similar inert metals.
l    Infection, bacterial or viral, particularly from Staphylococcus aureus, group a streptococcus and Pseudomonas spp. Reports at the 16th European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in 2006 indicated that bacterial infections are seldom serious, but that ten to twenty percent of piercings result in local benign bacterial infection. The Mayo Clinic estimates 30%. Risk of infection is greatest among those with congenital heart disease, who have a much higher chance of developing life-threateninginfective endocarditis, haemophiliacs and diabetics, as well as those taking corticosteroids. In 2006, a diabetic woman in Indianalost a breast due to an infection from a nipple piercing. Viral infections may include hepatitis B, hepatitis C and, potentially, HIV, although as of 2009 there had been no documented cases of HIV caused by piercing. While rare, infection due to piercing of the tongue can be fatal. Higher prevalence of colonization of Candida albicans was reported in young individuals with tongue piercing, in comparison to non-tongue-pierced matched individuals.
l    Excess scar tissue, including hypertrophic scar and keloid formation. While piercings can be removed, they may leave a hole, mark or scar.
l    Physical trauma including tearing, friction or bumping of the piercing site, which may cause eczema and delay healing. The risks can be minimized by wearing properly sized jewellery and not changing it unnecessarily, by not touching the piercing more than required for aftercare, and by being conscious of environmental factors (such as clothing) that may impact the piercing.
l    Oral trauma, including recession of gingival tissue and dental fracture and wear. Recession of gingival tissue affects 19% to 68% of subjects with lip and/or intra-oral ornaments. In some cases, the alveolar tooth-bearing bone is also involved, jeopardizing the stability and durability of the teeth in place and requiring a periodontal regeneration surgery. Dental fracture and wear affects 14% to 41% of subjects with lip and/or intra-oral ornaments.

Religious notes
Not too many religions elaborately focus on tattooing or scarification or body piercing. Body piercing in some religions is held to be destructive to the body. Some passages of the Bible, including Leviticus 19:28, have been interpreted as prohibiting body modification because the body is held to be the property of God.Wearing of very large nose rings on Shabbat is forbidden by the Talmud.But relatively modern religions are supposed to have indication about such outrageous practices among the mankind. Islam clearly articulates this harmful and risky body art may be on the ground of injustice. Injustice in anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. In the Quran Allah says ‘lakad khalanal insana fi ahsani taqweem’ that means ‘Verily We have created man in the stature (At-Tin95:4).’
But Allah has endeared the Faith to you and has made it beautiful in your hearts (Al-Hujurat 49:7).
It is narrated that ‘Abdallah ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “May Allah curse the women who do tattoos and those for whom tattoos are done, those who pluck their eyebrows and those who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification and alter the creation of Allah.” (Bukhari, 5587; Muslim, 5538).
It was narrated that Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cursed the one who does tattoos, the one who has a tattoo done….”  (Bukhari, 5032).
So having tattoos done and tattooing is a major sin. The reason for it being haram has not been given but some scholars believe that it may be because it is changing the creation of Allah.The curse is not permanent but it is lifted when a person sincerely repents to Allah for this mistake. So one should not feel doomed because they committed this mistake when they were in days of ignorance.
As for things which are not permanent such as henna painting on women’s hands, feet and so on, they are not regarded as tattoos and are allowed in Islam.
It was narrated that ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: When Allah put Islam in my heart, I went to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my oath of allegiance.” So he held out his hand, but I held my hand back. He said, “What is the matter, O ‘Amr?” I said, “I want to make a condition.” He said, “What is your condition?” I said, “That I be forgiven.” He said, “Do you not know that Islam wipes out whatever came before it, and that hijrah wipes out whatever came before it, and that Hajj wipes out whatever came before it?” (Muslim, 121).
Prophet (PBUH) once stopped the advance of an army out of concern for a bird grieving for its babies that had been captured by some soldiers. The army resumed its advance only when the baby birds were returned to their mother.
He indulged children and joked with them. Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reportedly said, “The Prophet used to mix with us [children] to the extent that he would say to a younger brother of mine [bantering him], ‘Ia aba umayr ma faalan nugair’ or ‘O Father of `Umayr! What did the birdie do?'” (Al-Bukhari).
He approved and allowed for recreation in his own house. `A’ishah (RA) was reported to have said, “I used to play with dolls in the Prophet’s house, and my girl peers also used to play with me. Whenever the Prophet entered [my dwelling place], they would hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me” (Al-Bukhari).
He reportedly said, “None of you should say, ‘My soul has become evil,’ but he should rather say, ‘My soul has become remorseless'” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Ibn Hajar, in Al-Fath, quoted Al-Khattabi as saying:
Evil and remorseless are close in meaning, but the Prophet disliked the eviladjective and opted for the safer expression remorseless. Indeed, it was his habit to substitute an unpleasant name with a more refined one. This hadith implies that unpleasant vocabulary should be avoided.

The following hadiths are a clear manifestation of one’s self:
“O Allah! Bestow on me the gift of loving You, loving those who love You, and loving the deeds that bring me closer to Your love.” (Al-Bukhari)
Thus John Keats says, ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all/ Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ The beauty of smiling, wearing beautiful clothes, handsome appearance, using perfume, avoidance of going outside eating onions or garlic. The beauty of gentle attitude, beauty of tenderness are equally appreciated. But brutality in beautification can’t be beneficial to human body. Nor it bodes well for the mind and soul. No prophet did such a tortuous activities on their bodies. Modern Oxford etymologists think tattooing is two hundred year old term. It is not. During 6th century pagan people of Asia used to tattoo or pierce their bodies. Beauty at the expense of brutality is not boon rather bane for the children Adam.

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