Ali S. Asani, Professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic Religion and Cultures (FAS), delivered the following remarks at Morning Prayers in Harvard’s Memorial Church on September 19, 2019.
There are many forms of beauty, just as there are many forms of hate, intolerance, and bigotry. We live in a world obsessed by perceived and accepted forms of what is beautiful—and what is not. Indeed, not everyone sees beauty in exactly the same way. As we all know from hidden treasures discovered in nature, beauty can sometimes be disguised, misleading, veiled, and even terrifying. There are those who enjoy sunny days best, but there are also those—called “pluviophiles”—who enjoy the rain, thunder, and lightning over anything the sun may offer. To them, grey and rainy days are beautiful and welcoming, intimate and deeply spiritual. Indeed, as stated in the Qur’an, all of Creation, as a manifestation of the Divine, is beautiful, even in the face of our own partialities. Can any of us imagine such a static world where there be only one form of anything, especially beauty? We are all different for a reason and for a purpose. We all have our contributions to make, if only we are given the freedom and allow others to explore the same freedoms. Freedom itself is beautiful. Respect of that freedom even more so.
Read more at the source: https://hds.harvard.edu/news/2019/09/19/ali-asani-beauty