Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Physical Description of the Prophet (s.a.w.)
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
The following are found mostly in the manaqib in Sunan at-Tirmidzi. They are descriptions of the Prophet (s.a.w.).
‘Ali (k.w.) said, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) was neither tall nor short. He had thick-set fingers and toes. He had a large head and joints. He had a long line of thin chest-to-lower-navel hair. When he walked, he would literally lean forward, as if descending from a higher place to a lower one. I never saw anyone like him before or after.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said this hadits is hasan swahih. Imam Ahmad (r.a.) in his narration recorded instead, “He was large of head and beard.”
Shaykh Ibrahim ibn Muhammad (r.a.), one of ‘Ali’s (k.w.) grandchildren, said that ‘Ali (k.w.) would say upon describing the Prophet (s.a.w.), “He was neither immoderately tall nor particularly short. He was well-proportioned among people. His hair was neither extremely curly nor straight, but slightly waved. He was neither stocky nor plump. There was roundness in his face. He was fair with redness in his complexion. His eyes were very black and his eyelashes very long. He had a large back and shoulder-joints. His body was not hairy but he had a line of hair extending from the chest to below the navel. He had thick-set fingers and toes. When he walked he would lift his feet with vigour, as if walking down a slope. When he turned towards a person, he would turn with his entire body. Between his shoulder- blades was the seal of prophethood, and he himself is the Seal of Prophets. He was the most generous of people without exception, the most accepting and gracious of manners, the most truthful in speech, the softest of voice, and the noblest of company. Whoever saw him from a distance stood awed by him, and whoever shared familiarity with him, loved him. Whoever described him said, ‘I never saw anyone like him before or after him.’” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said this hadits is hasan gharib and its chain is not linked back to ‘Ali (k.w.).
Shaykh Hasan ibn ‘Ali (r.a.) said, “I queried my maternal uncle, Hind ibn Abi Halah, who was skilled at describing the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) appearance, and told him that I longed to hear him describe me something of it to which I could hold on. He said, ‘The Prophet (s.a.w.) was magnificent and he was considered magnificent. His face shone pearl-like, similar to the full Moon. He was taller than average, but smaller than a tall man. He had a large head. His hair was wavy. If it parted naturally, he parted it, otherwise not. It reached past his ear- lobes when he wore it long. He had a rosy complexion, a wide forehead, beautifully arched, dense eyebrows that did not meet in the middle. Between them there was a vein which thickened when he was angry. He had an aquiline nose touched with a light that raised it so that at first sight it seemed higher than it was. He had a thick, dense beard, expanded, not elevated cheeks, a strong mouth with a gap between his front teeth. There was sparse hair on his chest. His neck seemed like that of a statue moulded in silver. His body was well-proportioned, stout and muscular, of equal belly and chest. He was wide-shouldered, big- jointed. When he disrobed, his limbs emanated light. There was a thread-like line of hair between his chest and his navel, but none on his breasts and belly other than that. There was hair on his arms, shoulders, and upper torso. His forearms were long, his palms wide, his fingers and toes thick-set and extended. The middle of his soles rose moderately from the ground. His feet were so smooth that water rolled off them. When he walked, he lifted his feet with vigour, leaned slightly forward, and tread gently on the ground. When he turned (to look), he turned his whole body. His gaze was lowered and he looked at the ground more often than he looked at the sky. He glanced at things rather than stared. He would ask his companions to walk in front of him. He would always be the first to greet those he met with salam.’” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) narrated it in his Shama’il but not in the Sunan.
Shaykh Sammak ibn Harb (r.a.) narrated to Shaykh Shu’bah (r.a.), a hadits he had heard from Jabir ibn Samurah (r.a.), and he explained that the Prophet (s.a.w.) had a wide mouth and wide eyes, and that he had not fleshy heels. Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said it is hasan swahih.
Jabir ibn Samurah (r.a.) also narrated that he once saw the Prophet (s.a.w.) on a night of full Moon wearing a red mantle. He said, “I began to look at him, then at the Moon. Verily he seemed to me more beautiful than the Moon itself.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said this hadits is hasan gharib. Its chain contains Shaykh al-Ash’ats (r.a.), whom some declared weak. However, Imam adz- Dzahabi (r.a.) declared him fair and truthful in his hadits, hasan swadiq al-hadits.
al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib (r.a.) confirmed the above by relating, “I have never seen someone whose hair reached to his ear-lobes and wearing red clothing, more handsome than Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.). His hair reached his shoulders. He was very broad-shouldered, neither short nor tall.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said it is hasan swahih.
al-Bara’ ibn ‘Azib (r.a.) was once asked, “Was the Prophet’s (s.a.w.) face like a sword?” meaning if it was glistening like steel, or elongated.
He replied, “No, it was like the Moon,” meaning it was shining with light, and round. Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said it is hasan swahih.
‘Abdullah ibn al-Harits ibn Hazm (r.a.) said, “I never saw anyone that smiled more than Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.).” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said this hadits is hasan gharib.
The same narrator also related, “The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) laughter consisted entirely in smiling.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) said this hadits is swahih gharib.
ibn ‘Abbas (r.a.) said, “The Prophet’s (s.a.w.) two front teeth were slightly spaced in between. Whenever he spoke, something like light would be seen issuing from between them.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) narrated it in his Shama’il but not in the Sunan.
Anas ibn Malik (r.a.) said, “Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.) was well-proportioned, neither tall nor short, handsome of body, and his hair was neither curly nor straight. He was of tawny complexion. When he walked, he leaned forward slightly." Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) related it in the Kitab al-Libas and said it is hasan swahih.
Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) said, “The Prophet (s.a.w.) was fair-skinned, as if he had been moulded in silver (completely unblemished, shining), and he had wavy hair.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) narrated it in his Shama’il but not in the Sunan.
Abu at-Tufayl (r.a.), the last of the companions to pass away, said, “I saw the Prophet (s.a.w.) and there is no one left on earth who saw him other than myself.”
Shaykh Sa`id al-Jurayri (r.a.) asked, “Describe him.”
He replied, “He was fair-skinned, handsome and engaging, and neither corpulent nor thin.” Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) narrated it in his Shama’il but not in the Sunan.