A comprehensive and graceful account of the noble qualities, merciful disposition and distinctive traits of the Prophet's (peace be upon him) character has been left by Hind b. Abi Hala who described him as follows:
Whatever he said, it was always explicit and in plain terms. His speech was never long-winded nor unnecessarily concise. He was kindhearted and soft-spoken, never harsh or cold in his behaviour. He neither humiliated anyone nor himself liked to be treated with disrespect. The Prophet esteemed by every provision; even if it was small in quantity he never deprecated it. As for food, he never disapproved nor praised, nor did he show anger about anything of the world or what it stands for. However, whenever one failed to meet one's obligation to God, nothing could cool down his indignation until he had paid back in full measure. But, for the wrongs done to his own person, he would never become angry.
When he pointed out something, he did so with his whole hand; and when he was astonished he turned his hand over. In speaking with another man, he would strike the palm of the left on the thumb of his right hand. When angry, he would avert his face; joyful, he would look downwards. His laughter was but a smile, and when he laughed, his teeth used to appear white as hailstones.
He was predisposed to refrain from unseemly language, curses and revilings and deeds shameful; he never said or did anything improper; he never raised his voice in a marketplace, nor returned evil for evil; rather, he was given to forgive and forget. Never in his life he laid his hands on anyone save in a fight for the sake of God, nor did he ever strike anybody with his hand, neither a servant nor a woman. I never saw him exacting retribution for any offence or excess excepting when the honour of God was concerned or the limit set by God was transgressed, in which case the Prophet (peace be upon him) would become angrier than anybody else. If he had the choice between two courses, he would choose the easier one. When he came to his house, he engaged in the work of a commoner, cleaned his garments, milked the sheep and performed the household chores.
The Messenger of God (peace be upon him) was not given to idle talk; he spoke only when he was concerned and comforted the people instead of giving them a scare through his speech. If a man of rank or nobility called upon him from another tribe, he showed him due honour and appointed him to some respectable post. He was always as cautious in his dealings with the people as he was overcareful in forming an estimate about them, although he never denied anyone his courtesy and sweet temper. He kept his companions always posted with the events and happenings and used to ask them about their affairs.
He commended what was good and deprecated what was bad or vile; strengthened the one and weakened the other; was always moderate and steadfast without going back and forth; never allowed anything to escape his attention lest others should become negligent or get distracted; took care to possess the means for meeting every contingency; and was never found wanting in doing what was right and proper but in no wise he ever exceeded the limits. Those who kept his company were all virtuous and the elect; he was the best in his estimation who was the most benign and courteous to all; and he was the most esteemed in his eyes who excelled others in benevolence and kindliness and in doing a favour to others.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) would stand up with the name of God on his lips and so he sat down. Wherever he went, he sat down in the rear and instructed others to do the same. He paid such attention to everyone attending his meetings that everybody thought that none attracted his notice like himself. If anybody asked him to sit down or spoke of his affair, the Prophet (peace be upon him) listened to him patiently and gave heed to him until he had finished his talk and departed. If anybody asked for something or wanted his help, he never allowed him to leave without disposing of his business or at least comforted him with words kind and sweet. Such was his grace and kindness to one and all that everybody took him as his father. In regard to what was right and proper, he regarded all on the same plane. His were the gatherings of knowledge and edification, of seemliness and modesty, of earnestness and probity. Neither anybody talked in a loud voice, nor censured others, nor cast a reflection on anybody, nor found fault with others; all were equal on even ground, and only those enjoyed a privilege who were more pious and God-fearing.
In his meetings, the elders were held in reverence, the youngers were treated kindly, those in need were given preference by all and the wayfarers and strangers were afforded protection and looked after.
Of cheerful disposition, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was always bright and radiant; he was tenderhearted and sweet tempered; not stern by nature, he never spoke harshly; nor was he accustomed to speaking loudly; nor to saying anything unseemly or lewed; nor yet he found fault with others; he was not stingy or miser; if he disliked the request made to him, he simply ignored it and instead of refusing it outright he gave no reply. From the three things he always kept aloof; one was squabble, the other, arrogance, and the third, dabbling in a futile task. And, the three things he spared others were that he never spoke ill of anyone, nor maligned anybody, nor pried into anyone's failings. He addressed only the things which were decent. When he spoke, all those present listened to him attentively lowering their heads as if birds were sitting on their heads. Others spoke only when the Prophet (peace be upon him) had finished his talk, nobody joined issue with others in his presence and when anybody said something, others kept quiet until he had finished his talk.
The Prophet of God (peace be upon him) used to smile on the remarks which made others laugh and expressed surprise over things which astonished others. He always gave heed to the wayfarers and used to put up patiently with the rudeness of strangers until his companions diverted the attention of such persons. He used to say: 'Help those whom you find in need.' He gave ears only to such tributes as were modestly worded and never interrupted nor cut in the talk of others. If anybody exceeded the limits, he either forbade him or got up to cut short such prattle.
He was the most generous, largehearted, truthful, clement, lenient and amiable person. One who saw him for the first time was overawed, but when one kept his company and came to know him intimately, one became attached to him like an inseparable companion. Those who had seen him say that they never saw a man like him either before or after him—May God have peace and blessings on His Prophet (peace be upon him).
God had endowed His Prophet (peace be upon him) with an impressive personality. His features displayed a harmonious blending of a lovely elegance and grace, sublime splendour and impressiveness. Says Hind b. Abi Hala: "He was self-respecting, graceful and splendid—pleasing to the eyes set on him. His face had the brilliance of a full moon."
Bara' b. 'Azib relates, "God's Messenger (peace be upon him) was of medium height. I had seen him once wearing a red robe and had never seen anyone more beautiful than he."
Abu Huraira says: "The Prophet (peace be upon him) was of a moderate size, a bit more tall than short. His complexion was very fair, his beard was black, the mouth was of moderate size and of good appearance, his eye-lashes were long, his shoulders were broad— I have never seen a man like him either before or after him."
Anas reports, "I have not touched any brocade or silk which was softer than the palm of God's Messenger (peace be upon him), nor smelt anything sweeter than the Prophet's (peace be upon him) scent."