Friday, January 20, 2006

How did Prophet Muhammad look?

Many of you know that even though Prophet Muhammad came about 570 years after Jesus, but there is no picture, portrait or statue found of Prophet. This is because he strongly encouraged the faithful follower not to fall into the same mistake as Christians fell into by making statues and images, finally worshiping Jesus Christ instead of One God (violating the Commandments of God). Many non-muslims find it fascinating and strange. (infact any Art historian can tell that the image of Jesus Christ is not his actual one, but copied many years later from the potrait of Apollo, the mythical sun god of Roman local religion. That's why in most depiction Christ look like an european white man with blue eyes and blonde hair whereas in reality he was semitic in race, the same race that Arabs are in root and obviously with black flowing hair. Thus none of his idolized or pictorial depiction are true and authentic at all).

On the contrary even though pictorial depiction is not used, but historical sketch of Prophet Muhammad, his character and appearance to minute details are authentic and accurately preserved. Here is a description of how Prophet Muhammad looks like. Here is some of his description:

Muhammad (peace be upon him) was of a height a little above the average. He was of sturdy build with long muscular limbs and tapering fingers. The hair of his head was long and thick with some waves in them. His forehead was large and prominent, his eyelashes were long and thick, his nose was sloping, his mouth was somewhat large and his teeth were well set. His cheeks were spare and he had a pleasant smile. His eyes were large and black with a touch of brown. His beard was thick and at the time of his death, he had seventeen gray hairs in it. He had a thin line of fine hair over his neck and chest. He was fair of complexion and altogether was so handsome that Abu Bakr composed this couplet on him:
"as there is no darkness in the moonlit night so is Mustafa, the well-wisher, bright."
His gait was firm and he walked so fast that others found it difficult to keep pace with him. His face was genial but at times, when he was deep in thought, there there were long periods of silence, yet he always kept himself busy with something. He did not speak unnecessarily and what he said was always to the point and without any padding. At times he would make his meaning clear by slowly repeating what he had said. His laugh was mostly a smile. He kept his feelings under firm control - when annoyed, he would turn aside or keep silent, when pleased he would lower his eyes (Shamail Tirmizi).

He was always the first to greet another and would not withdraw his hand from a handshake till the other man withdrew his. If one wanted to say something in his ears, he would not turn away till one had finished (Abu Dawud, Tirmizi). Those who have seen him, in describing him they always described him as someone in appearance whom they never saw before, and never saw even after his death.

He was especially fond of children and used to get into the spirit of childish games in their company. He would have fun with the children who had come back from Abyssinia and tried to speak in Abyssinian with them. It was his practice to give lifts on his camel to children when he returned from journeys (Bukhari, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2 pg.886). He would pick up children in his arms, play with them, and kiss them.

Read more here. // :: Credit: Source 1, Source 2
:: [The Description of the Prophet] Excerpt from Book, 'The Message of Mohammad' by Athar Husain


He who sees my hilye (description) after me, it is as if he had actually seen me, and he who sees it out of love and desire for me, God will forbid the fire of Hell to touch him. He will be safe from the trials of the grave, and he will not be sent forth naked on the day of resurrection. - Prophet Muhammad, blessed be his soul. (ref. Tirmidhi).

Transmitted from Ali, may God be pleased with him, who, when asked to describe the Prophet, peace be upon him, would say: He was not too tall nor too short. He was medium sized. His hair was not short and curly, nor was it lank, but in between. His face was not narrow, nor was it fully round, but there was a roundness to it. His skin was white. His eyes were black. He had long eyelashes. He was big-boned and had wide shoulders. ... When he looked at someone, he looked at them in full face.

Between his shoulders was the seal of prophecy, the sign that he was the last of the prophets. He was the most generous-hearted of men, the most truthful of them in speech, the most mild-tempered of them, and the noblest of them in lineage. Whoever saw him unexpectedly was in awe of him. And whoever associated with him familiarly, loved him.

Anyone who would describe him would say, I never saw, before him or after him, the like of him. Peace be upon him.

Al-Hasan, son of Ali [May God be pleased with both of them] said: “I asked my uncle Hind, son of Abu Hala about the hilye [description] of the Prophet of God, my peace and blessings be upon him. Hind was known to be a prolific describer of the Prophet, and I wished him to relate some of it for me so I might hold fast to it.”

Al-Hasan said to Hind, “Describe to me the way he spoke.”

Hind said, “The Prophet of God, peace and blessings be upon him, was continually full of concern. He was constantly deep in thought. He had no rest, and would not speak without a reason. He would be silent for long periods of time. He would begin conversations, and end them clearly and distinctly and would speak in a way that combined many meanings in few words. He spoke with excellence, and there was no excess in it, nor unnatural brevity.

He was gentle by nature and not coarse, nor was he contemptuous of anyone. He would extol the favors he received, even when they were few and small. He never found fault with them. He never criticized the food or drink that was prepared for him, nor did he overly praise it. No one would stand against his anger when matters of the Lord’s truth were opposed, until he had triumphed, but he would never get angry for his own sake, nor would he ever seek to win such an argument. He would gesture with his whole palm, to point. When he was astonished, he would make his palm face upwards. He used his hands frequently as he spoke, and would strike his left palm with his right thumb.

When he would get angry, he would turn away and avert his gaze, and when he was full of joy he would lower his eyes. Most of his laughing was as smiling; when he did laugh, it was not loud, and he would show his teeth a bit like they were hailstones.”

Al-Husayn said, “I asked my father [Ali], may God be pleased with him, about how the Prophet of God, peace be upon him, was at home.”

He [Ali] said, “He always asked permission to enter his home, from God, and those within. When at home, he would divide his time into three parts, one for God, one for his family, and one for himself. Then he would divide his own portion between himself and the people. His elite companions would mostly share this time with him, and they would convey his words to the common people. He would hold nothing back from them, neither knowledge or worldly things.

... he would never withhold from anyone his open-faced friendliness and fine personality.

Everything he did was in moderation, without excess or contrariness. He was not thoughtless, out of fear that those who came to him would become unmindful or weary. He was prepared for every situation in this world and the next. He didn’t fail to fulfill what was right, and he didn’t overstep his authority in regards to those near him.

Then Al-Husayn said, “Then I asked him [Ali] about his gatherings and about what he did in them, and he said: “The Prophet of God, peace be upon him, did not sit down or stand up without mentioning God, nor did he reserve for himself fixed places among the people to be seated, and he forbade others also to reserve places for themselves [especially in mosques and public gatherings]. When he would go to visit a group, he would sit in the nearest available spot, and ordered that others follow this practice. He would give those seated near him his full share of attention in such a way that no one would think others had been given precedence over him. Whenever someone he would be sitting with would tell him of his needs, he would bear with that person until that person left him. When someone would ask him to solve a problem, he would not turn him away without solving it for him, if possible, or saying a comforting word or a prayer for its fulfillment.

His cheerfulness and open personality were felt by all the people, and he became like a father to them. They came to have the right of mercy and compassion from him, as they were close, like the relation of parent and child, distinguished only by virtue and devotion to God. And in another narrative, they became equals regarding their rights in his eyes.

And then I asked him [Ali] about the Messenger’s conduct among his close associates and servants. [Ali] said: “The Prophet of God, peace be upon him, was unfailingly cheerful, easy going by nature, and mild mannered. He was neither crude nor coarse . He was not a clamorous loud mouth, nor a repeater of obscenities. He was not one to find faults in others, nor did he overly praise them either. He was unconcerned about what he did not want, and this did not bother him.

He allowed his soul no portion of three things – hypocrisy, acquisitiveness, and that which did not concern him. He did not allow himself to engage in three things regarding people – he would not criticize others, he would not revile anyone, and he would not seek out others’ faults. He would speak of nothing unless he hoped a reward from God for it. When he would talk, the ones sitting with him would be so still and quiet, you would imagine birds were sitting on their heads. When he was silent, they would talk, but not quarrel in his presence. When one of them would talk, they would all listen attentively until he had finished. They would speak about a subject that was brought up by the first to speak until they had finished with it. He would laugh at what they laughed at, and he would be amazed by what amazed them.

He was patient with the stranger who had roughness in his speech. He would say, ‘Whenever you see someone seeking to solve a problem, help him out.’ He did not seek praise, except to be spoken of appropriately. He wouldn’t interrupt another’s speech unless it got excessive or too long, then he would end it or get up to leave.

It was asked to Ali, “What was the silence of the Prophet of God [peace upon him] like?”

He said, “His silences were for four situations: forbearance, caution, estimation, and contemplation. As for his estimation, it was to take an impartial study of events and listen to the people in order to be just. As for his contemplation, it was about what was eternal and what was transitory.

His forbearance was part of his patience, he was not angered by that which was provocative. His caution was for four reasons – taking good speech or action into consideration so he might use it in an exemplary way; abjuring the ugly and bad so it would be left alone; exerting his judgment to improve the situation of his community; [and] establishing ways to maintain the good order of his community in regard to this world and the next.”

excerpts only :: Credit and to read in details, click here

:: Related Post: Description of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Mohammad)
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