Sight

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Last seminar we discussed the significance of sight and beauty in relation to God – his glory is reflected in the beauty of all things, even to the point of beauty being mirrored in every smallest atom, and only the perceptive person is able to see this. This outward beauty is seen by some merely as an external attribute that causes in them bodily desire, lust, and other wrongful fancies. Sight is the sense that allows someone to appreciate beauty, and if misused, it can easily be “a path leading to error”. In Zulaikha’s case, her sense of sight led to two errors: her inappropriate desire for Yusuf’s beauty, and her idol that she had worshipped all her life.

The “jewel of [her] sight” was Yusuf, but she only saw and desired for his physical beauty because she only saw beauty to be an external attribute without further importance; she did not realize or care for the God of whose beauty Yusuf is a manifestation of. Instead, her internal and spiritual sight was set on her idol. The significance of this idol can be linked back to a previous scene in which the idol is seen hidden behind a curtain as Zulaikha had attempted to seduce Yusuf. There, Zulaikha was aware of her act being immoral, yet believed that as long as a curtain hid her from her idol, it would not know of her “impious deed” and she would be safe. We can see from here that she understands sight to be simply physical, and this signifies her lack of belief in the all-seeing, true God. Furthermore, her idol is physically beautiful to the extreme – “it is made of gold and has eyes of pearl”. This emphasizes the point that she believes beauty to be all about what is external, as she is unable to worship or deem worthy anything that is physically unaesthetic to her even though the true God made every atom reflect His beauty; therefore, she has not yet reached the state of the perceptive person who can see not only every being, but every thing, on Earth to be equally beautiful and worthy. Her smashing of the idol later on is not only metaphorical of her breaking her incorrect faith in order to take up the religion of the right God, but it is also representative of her renouncing her belief that external physical beauty, such as that of her idol, is what determines worth. In other words, she had opened up her eyes and is now able to see beauty the right way and as more than just physicality, which is why God gives her back her sight to see Yusuf.

868 thoughts on “Sight

  1. Tee

    Hey Mei! I was going to blog on this topic but you've done a great job of doing so, so I think I'll just comment here. Another significant episode in the theme of sight is how Zuliakha blinds herself in the ending throes of the story. Beyond an expression of extreme grief, the blinding also finally redeems Zulaikha - as her sight, and thus her obsession with Yusuf and earthly beauty, ironically is the thing that blinds her to God’s Truth and love. Her renunciation of her sight by the visceral action of tearing out her eyes - just as she enunciates the idol behind the veil - ultimately frees her and allows her to transcend earthly beauty and desires, just as death brings her closer to God.

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