"Allah does not look at your outward appearance; He looks at your hearts and your deeds." What does the hadith above mean? Will you explain it?

Details of the Question
"Allah does not look at your outward appearance; He looks at your hearts and your deeds." What does the hadith above mean? Will you explain it?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following:

"Allah does not look at your outward appearance and your goods. He looks only at your hearts and your deeds." (Muslim, Birr, 33; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 9; Ahmad b. Hanbal, 2/285, 539)

Man has outer beauty and inner beauty. Outer beauty disappears after a while. If a person is engaged in this outer beauty and thinks that he will be valuable due to it, he is bound to lose it and become valueless. However, if the inner beauty is taken into consideration and the beauty of ethics, knowledge, skill and attitude is given importance, the beauty that increases as one gets old is aimed. The dignity of such a person increases as he gets old and becomes more beautiful.   

The following statement of Hz. Ali expresses this fact:

"The outer beauty obtained by clothes and adornment is not permanent beauty. The real beauty is the beauty of ethics and manners; a person with such beauty is loved by the people around and by the Creator."

To sum up, we can say that man should not be engaged in outer beauty very much; he should give importance to inner beauty; and he should want the maturity that will last throughout life.  

However, it does not mean that outer beauty should not be given any importance.

Allah sees, hears and knows everything. The word "does not look" used in the hadith means "does not give importance"; it is not important in the eye of Allah. That is, if a girl is chosen miss universe, if she has a very beautiful face and perfect body, she does not have much importance. If she has an ill heart, has no belief or if she has bad intentions, the shape of her face, the beauty of her body, her power, posture and symmetry have no importance. Allah does not look at, that is, does not give importance to, outward appearance. He looks at a person's heart and his deeds. That is, He gives importance to his heart and intention.

Allah looks at this aspect of man. That is, He looks at his intentions in his heart and mind, his ideas and thoughts: What is the mentality of this man? How does he use his mind? What is his intention? What does he want to do?

A person sometimes does something bad while trying to do something good. He says, "O! I did not want to do so but it happened like that."  In such a case, he will not be held responsible inshaallah since his intention is not bad.

Allah rewards man for things done with good intentions. Something done with a bad intention may seem good in appearance but since the intention is bad, Allah does not give any rewards for it because He knows the real intention.

Look at this example:

A man approaches an old person in order to steal his money.

He says, "Can I help you to cross the street? You are an old man. You may fall, etc." He helps the old man cross the street.

The old man says, "Thank you very much. That is very kind of you."

When the old man crosses the street, he checks his wallet; it is gone. Why did the pickpocket help him? He helped him to steal his money. His intention was to steal his wallet.

That is, Allah does not like a deed that may seem good but if its doer has a bad intention. As a matter of fact, when the Prophet (pbuh) migrated to Madinah, he called the Muslims to come to Madinah. For, a new society was going to be formed there. Madinah was going to be the stronghold of the Muslims. Allah ordered all of the Muslims to gather around the Prophet (pbuh); some verses were sent down. It was necessary for the other Muslims to migrate to Madinah just like the Prophet (pbuh), to gather around him and to work under his command.  

That is, you need to take care of yourself and question yourself all the time:

"What is my intention now? What is my mentality?

What is my aim in life?

What do I do and why?

Am I doing something good? Is the deed I am doing good or bad?

Where am I going? I am at this age; what will happen to me?

How am I spending my life?

What will my life be like from now on?

How many more days do I have to live?

What will I say when I die and stand before Allah? What will I say if Allah says, "You did not do what I ordered"?  

How will I spend the rest of my life?"

Man needs to ask himself those questions and take care of himself; he needs to correct what he is doing, follow the right path and walk in the right path. 

It is possible to assess the hadith in the question in several ways like the ones above.

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