إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
"Allah loves the Muhsineen" [2:195]
This may not hit many as much as it continues to hit me every day. However, I made it a year goal this past Muharram to discover the meaning of "Ihsaan" and every clue gets me closer to understanding it. This struggle to understand three letters has become the definition of my artwork this year and I think this is important to share.
ن س ح ha seen noon. The root word of Ihsaan means beauty/perfection/excellence/good. This root word, and alternatives of it make up many other words/names/titles such as,
Hassan - means beauty
Husain - means beauty
Muhsin - means striver of beauty
Umm Kulthum - means mother of beauty
Zainul Abideen - means beauty of the worshippers
Qamar bani hashim - means beauty/full face of the hashimites.
So if these personalities encompass "beauty", it makes Imam Ali the father of beauty, the father of the mother of beauty, the father of the beauty of the Hashimites, the father of the striver of beauty, the grandfather of the beauty of worshippers and it could go on. I mean, we're talking about Ameerul Mu'mineen, Asadullah, Abu Turab, Ali.
But "Zaynab"... This name means the "beauty of her father" only signifying that the two Zaynabs, daughters of Ali, are the beauty of Imam Ali. This is no interpretation of mine that the children of Ali and Fatimah are examples for us to become beautiful as well. We have hadith that the Prophet received revelations from Allah for the names of Hassan, Husain, and Zaynab.
The Ahlul Bayt are beauty upon beauty, huh? And even more beautiful are the women of the Ahlul Bayt, as ultimately the peak of beauty lies with Zahra (sa). She is Umme Abiha, the mother of her father Muhammad al-Mustafa (s) and Muhammad is the best of creation.
Ultimately, the owner of Beauty is Allah swt who is Beauty and loves beauty.