Question 245: There are hadith that state that you can recognize a mumin by characteristics of his face. Are these physical characteristics or more of the metaphysical realm that only one on the same level could recognize? I have heard that praying fajr prayer on time causes a light/glow to emit from one’s face. Is this referring to the energetic attraction we feel towards others as their spirit uplifts ours?
Answer 245: According to Islam, beauty is divided into two divisions: Spiritual and material. Getting the spiritual beauty has been more emphasized by Islam, though the material beauty has also been recommended.
An important thing that should be taken into consideration is that the spiritual beauty can be accessible by spiritual affairs like prayers and the material beauty would be available by some material affairs.
The following are some recommendations our Infallibles (pbuth) have suggested us to observe:
– Imam Ali (as) has said, “The beauty of a man can be seen in his patience, because, the patience gives our soul tranquility by which our ethics and behavior would become beautiful and brilliant if it is faced with afflictions and difficulties.”
– Imam Ali (as) has said, “The beauty of a believer is his\her self-restraint, virtue and piety.”
– The Holy Prophet of Islam (saws) has said, “Whomever offers Salatul Tahajjod, his\her face would become brilliant in the day.”
– Imam Ali (as) has said, “Night prayer (salatul tahajjod) makes the face brilliant.”
– Imam Sadiq (as) has said, “The night prayer can make our face look bright.”
– Imam Sadiq (as) has said, “The repetition of performing wudu, upon the last wudu is like the light (noor) upon light.”
– Imam Ali (as) has said, “If you sleep less at night and worship Allah (swt) the Almighty during the night, your face would become brilliant.”
– The Imam (as) has also said, “The believers brilliant face is because of the kindness that Allah (swt) has given him. If you seek Allahs (swt) goodness, you have to worship Him by doing the righteous deeds and avoiding forbidden acts.”
Note: The Holy Qur’an says, “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire. Light upon light. Allah guides to His light to whom He wills. And Allah presents examples for the people, and Allah is knowing of all things.”
There is a special light that Allah (swt) gives believers in order to become brilliant if they do the righteous deeds. This light is the light of knowledge. The method in which we can get such divine light, is to do what Allah (swt), the Almighty bids us and avoid of what Allah (swt) forbids us.
When Muslims want to describe the spiritual characteristics of a believer, they say we see the light of faith in his face. According to this definition, it doesn’t matter which color your skin is, if you are white or black, red or yellow, if you act based on the above recommendations, your face would get the light of faith.
This is not physical light that we can see easily. This is the light of knowledge that anyone with any skin color can have, if given by Allah (swt), the Almighty. Anyone, even those who have the lowest level of faith, can recognize it.
As you know, Hazrat Adam and the Holy Prophet (pbuth) had tawny skin. Luqman Hakeem from Ethiopia was a black man and Imam Jawad (as) had dark-colored skin, however all people became captivated when they saw them. It’s because of the light of faith.
Let’s mention some recommendations of Practical Irfan that Imam Ali (as) has suggested us to observe:
– Imam Ali (as) explained the concept of spiritual wayfaring with such words, “The true arif is the one who has enlivened his intellect and who has mortified his desires, till the point where his coarseness has become broken and his severity has been softened. A luminous light is lit for him which illuminates the path towards God for him and under its guidance he goes forward…”
– Imam Ali (as) has also said, “O’ creatures of Allah! The most of Allah is he whom Allah has given power (to act) against his passions, so that his inner side is (submerged in) grief and the outer side is covered with fear. The lamp of guidance is burning in his heart. He has provided provisions for the day that is to befall him.”
For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:
Index: The night prayer or Salat al-Layl (Tahajjud, Night Prayer), answer 234.
Index: Whoever knows himself knows his Lord / Man Arafa Nafsahu, Faqad Arafa Rabbahu, answer 274.
Index: Making Wudu when you are going to bed, answer 032.
 . Tamimi Amedi, Abdul Wahed bin Muhammad, Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 285, H. 6392, office of Tablighat publication, Qom, 1987.
 . Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 269, Hadith 5862.
 . Toosi, Abu Jafar, Muhammad bin Hasan, Tahdhib al-Ahkam, Vol. 2, Pg. 119, Hadith 217, Darel Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, fourth edition, 1407 A.H. «مَنْ صَلَّى بِاللَّيْلِ حَسُنَ وَجْهُهُ بِالنَّهَارِ».
 . Shaeeri, Tajuddeen, Jame’ al-Akhbar, Pg. 72, Radhi Publication, Qom, 1984.
 . Hurr Ameli, Muhammad bin Hasan, Wasael al-Shia, Vol. 8, Pgs. 151 – 152, Hadith 10278.
 . Ibn Babawayh, Muhammad bin Ali, Man la Yahdhuruhul Faqih, Vol. 1, Pg. 41, Office of Islamic Publication, Qom, second edition, 1413 A.H.
 . Mustadrak al-Wasael, Vol. 6, Pg. 340.
 . Ghurarul Hikam, Pg. 346.
 . Surah Noor, verse 35.
 . Tafseer al-Mizan, Vol. 15, Pg. 168.
 . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 210.
 . Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 86.