The Prophet’s Attributes And Manners
(An excerpt from the author’s book “Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum” (The Sealed Nectar) published by the Darusalam Publishers and Distributors in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1995.)
Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) combined both perfection of creation and perfection of manners. This impression on people can be deduced by the bliss that overwhelmed their hearts and filled them with dignity. Men’s dignity, devotion and estimation of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) were unique and matchless. No other man in the whole world has been so honored and beloved. Those who knew him well, were fascinated and enchanted by him. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving a nail of his from hurt or injury. Being privileged by lots of prerogatives of perfection that no one else had been endowed with, his Companions found that he was peerless and so they loved him.
Here we list a brief summary of the versions about his beauty and perfection. To encompass all which is, admittedly, beyond our power.
Beauty of Creation:
Describing Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.), who passed by her tent on his journey of migration, Umm Ma‘bad Al-Khuza‘iyah said to her husband:
“He was innocently bright and had broad countenance. His manners were fine. Neither was his belly bulging out nor was his head deprived of hair. He had black attractive eyes finely arched by continuous eyebrows. His hair glossy and black, inclined to curl, he wore long. His voice was extremely commanding. His head was large, well formed and set on a slender neck. His expression was pensive and contemplative, serene and sublime. The stranger was fascinated from the distance, but no sooner he became intimate with him than this fascination was changed into attachment and respect. His expression was very sweet and distinct. His speech was well set and free from the use of superfluous words, as if it were a rosary of beads. His stature was neither too high nor too small to look repulsive. He was a twig amongst the two, singularly bright and fresh. He was always surrounded by his Companions. Whenever he uttered something, the listeners would hear him with rapt attention and whenever he issued any command, they vied with each other in carrying it out. He was a master and a commander. His utterances were marked by truth and sincerity, free from all kinds of falsehoods and lies.”
‘Ali bin Abi Talib describing him said: “Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) was neither excessively tall nor extremely short. He was medium height among his friends. His hair was neither curly nor wavy. It was in between. It was not too curly nor was it plain straight. It was both curly and wavy combined. His face was not swollen or meaty-compact. It was fairly round. His mouth was white. He had black and large eyes with long haired eyelids. His joints (limbs) and shoulder joints were rather big. He had a rod-like little hair extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. He had thick hand palms and thick fingers and toes. At walking, he lifted his feet off the ground as if he had been walking in a muddy remainder of water. When he turned, he turned all. The Prophethood Seal was between his shoulders. He is the Seal of Prophets, the most generous and the bravest of all.
His speech was the most reliable. He was the keenest and the most attentive to people’s trust and was very careful to pay people’s due in full. The Prophet (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was the most tractable and the most yielding companion, seeing him unexpectedly you fear him and venerate him. He who has acquaintance with him will like him. He who describes him says:
“I have never seen such a person neither before nor after seeing him.”
Jabir bin Samurah reported that Allâh’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) had a broad face with reddish (wide) eyes and lean heels.
Abu At-Tufail said: “He was white, good-looking. He was neither fat nor thin; neither tall nor short.”
Anas bin Malik said: “He had unfolded hands and was pink-colored. He was neither white nor brown. He was rather whitish. In both his head and beard there were as many as twenty gray hairs, besides some gray hairs at his temples.” In another version: “and some scattered white hairs in his head.”
Abu Juhaifa said: “I have seen some gray color under his lower lip.” Al-Bara’ said: “He was of medium height, broad-shouldered, his hair went up to his earlobes. I saw him dressed in a red garment and I (assure you) I have never seen someone more handsome. At first he used to let his hair loose so as to be in compliance with the people of the Book; but later on he used to part it.”
Al-Bara’ also said: “He had the most handsome face and the best character.” When he was asked: “Was the Messenger’s face sword-like?” “No,” he said: “it was moon-like.” But in another version: he said, “His face was round.” Ar-Rabi‘ bint Muawwidh said: “Had you seen him, you would have felt that the sun was shining.” Jabir bin Samurah said, “I saw him at one full-moony night. I looked at him. He was dressed in a red garment. I compared him with the moon and found that he was better than the moon.”
Abu Huraira said: “I have never seen a thing nicer than Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.). It seems as if the sunlight were moving within his face. I have never seen one who is faster in pace than Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.). It seemed as if the earth had folded itself up to shorten the distance for him. For we used to wear ourselves out while he was at full ease.”
Ka‘b bin Malik said: “When he was pleased, his face would shine with so bright light that you would believe that it was a moon-piece.” Once he sweated hot at ‘Aishah’s, and the features of his face twinkled; so I recited a poem by Abu Kabeer Al-Hudhali:
“If you watch his face-features, you will see them twinkling like the lightning of an approaching rain.”
Whenever Abu Bakr saw him he would say:
“He is faithful, chosen (by Allâh), and calls for forgiveness. He shines like a full-moon light when it is far from dark (clouds).”
‘Umar used to recite verses by Zuhair describing Haram bin Sinan:
“Were you other than a human being, you would be a lighted moon at a full-moon night.” Then he would add: “Thus was Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.).
When he got angry his face would go so red that you would think it were “an inflected red skin-spot with pomegranate grains on both cheeks.” Jabir bin Samurah said: “His legs were gentle, delicate and in conformity. His laughter is no more than smiling. Looking at him will make you say ‘He is black-eyed though he is not so.’”
Ibn Al-‘Abbas said: “His two front teeth were splinted so whenever he speaks, light goes through them. His neck was as pure and silvery as a neck of doll. His eyelids were long haired but his beard was thick. His forehead was broad; but his eyebrows were like the metal piece attached to a lance, but they were unhorned. His nose was high-tipped, middle-cambered with narrow nostrils. His cheeks were plain, but he had (little hair) running down like a rod from his throat to his navel. He had hair neither on his abdomen nor on his chest except some on his arms and shoulders. His chest was broad and flatted. He had long forearms with expansive palms of the hand. His legs were plain straight and stretching down. His other limbs were straight too. The two hollows of his soles hardly touch the ground. When he walks away he vanishes soon; but he walks at ease (when he is not in a hurry). The way he walks seems similar to one who is leaning forwards and is about to fall down.”
Anas said: “I have never touched silk or a silky garment softer than the palm of the Prophet’s (Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him); nor have I smelt a perfume or any scent nicer than his.” In another version, “I have never smelt ambergris nor musk nor any other thing sweeter than the scent and the smell of Allah’s Messenger(Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).”
Abu Juhaifa said: “I took his hand and put it on my head and I found that it was colder than ice and better scented than the musk perfume.”
Jabir bin Samurah — who was a little child then — said: “When he wiped my cheek, I felt it was cold and scented as if it had been taken out of a shop of a perfume workshop.”
Anas said, “His sweat was pearl-like.” Umm Sulaim said: “His sweat smelt nicer than the nicest perfume.”
Jabir said: “Whoever pursues a road that has been trodden by Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.s.) will certainly scent his smell and will be quite sure that Allah’s Messenger(Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has already passed it.” The Seal of Prophethood, which was similar in size to a pigeon’s egg, was between his shoulders on the left side having spots on it like moles.