§7. Aĥmad bin `Abdah ad-Dabbî al-Baŝrî narrated to us, as did `Alî bin Ĥujr and Abû Ja`far Muĥammad bin al-Ĥusayn – i.e. ibn Abî Ĥalîmah – with different wordings but the same meaning; `Isâ bin Yûnus narrated to us; from `Umar bin `Abdullâh the servant of Ghufrah; Ibrâhım bin Muĥammad – one of the sons of `Alî bin Abû Ţâlib (RA) – narrated to me that when `Alî (RA) described the Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, he would say,The Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, was neither extremely tall nor extremely short, rather he was of a medium stature amongst the people. His hair was neither curly nor completely straight, rather in between. He did not have a very fleshy face, neither was it completely round, rather it was only slightly so. He was white skinned, having a reddish tinge. His eyes were large with jet black pupils and his lashes, long. His joints were large as was his upper back. He did not have hair all over his body but had a line of fine hair extending from his chest to his navel. When he walked, he would walk briskly as if descending a slope. When he turned, he would turn his whole body and between his two shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood. He was the Seal of the Prophets; he had the most giving of hearts; he was the most truthful of people, the best of them in temperament, and the most sociable amongst them. Whoever unexpectedly saw him would stand in awe of him and whoever accompanied him and got to know him would love him. Those who described him would say, ‘I have never seen anyone, before him or after him, who was comparable to him.’ (Q,M) `Umar bin `Abdullâh, the servant of Ghufrah: he was declared thiqah by ibn Mas`ûd but da`ıf by ibn Ma`ın and an-Nasâ´ı; Aĥmad said that he narrated many mursal reports. "The Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, was neither extremely tall nor extremely short, rather he was of a medium stature amongst the people. His hair was neither curly nor completely straight, rather in between. He did not have a very fleshy face, neither was it completely round, rather it was only slightly so. He was white skinned, having a reddish tinge. His eyes were large with jet black pupils and his lashes, long. His joints were large as was his upper back. He did not have hair all over his body," (Q) This description also holds true for someone who has hair on parts of his body and hence does not contradict the description that he, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, had hair on his shins, forearms and a line of hair from chest to navel. "But had a line of fine hair extending from his chest to his navel. When he walked, he would walk briskly as if descending a slope," (Q) Meaning that he walked with strength of purpose, lifting each foot clearly off the ground, not like those who walk with an air of ostentation – walking in small steps like women. "When he turned, he would turn his whole body," (Q) Meaning that he did not steal any glances. It is said that it means that he did not turn his head left or right when looking at something because this is the mannerism of those frivolous and thoughtless, having no sense of purpose; instead he would turn his whole body to one who addressed him, showing his complete concern to what he was saying and would turn his whole body away upon finishing. Therefore when he was talking to someone or other such things, he would turn his entire body to him and not just turn his head as this is the manner of the arrogant. This last meaning is the clearest due to the ensuing description that most of the time he would merely glance at things [i.e. when not addressing them].
"Between his two shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood," a discussion of this follows in the next chapter inshâAllâh. "He was the Seal of the Prophets; he had the most giving of hearts," (Q) Meaning he would never miserly withhold any of the effects of this world or any knowledge concerning his Lord. His generosity did not come about through effort, neither was it hard upon him, rather it naturally arose due to the purity of his soul and gentleness of spirit. (B) Ibn `Abbâs reports that the Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, was the most generous of people, and he was never so generous as he was in the month of Ramadân when he met with Jibrıl. Jibrıl would meet him every night of Ramadan and revise the Qur´ân with him. He, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, was more generous than a brisk breeze. (Q) It is also said that it means that he had the largest heart, i.e. his heart never held back or grieved him. This is supported by the report of ibn Sa`d with this isnâd with the words, ‘the most giving of people and the largest of heart.’ It is also said that it means that he had the best of hearts, i.e. he was free of all lowly traits and how could this be otherwise when Jibrıl cut open his heart, took out of a morsel of flesh, placed it in a golden tray and washed it with Zamzam water. (IQ) He had the most giving of hearts by virtue of the righteousness of his heart and the great good contained therein. Good would pour out of his heart for it was enveloped in every beautiful moral and in every good. Some of the People of Knowledge said, 'There is not a single place in the entire world that had more good than the heart of the Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, all good was gathered together and placed in his heart.' (B) Anas reports that although the eyes of the Prophet, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, slept, his heart would always be awake.
"He was the most truthful of people," (IQ) This was something that even his enemies testified to and not one of his enemies could ever say that they had seen him lying, not even once, leave alone the testimony of all his friends and followers! The people of the earth fought him employing all the various forms of warfare yet none of them ever accused him lying, not a serious lie or even a minor, insignificant one! al-Miswarah bin Makhramah said, 'I asked Abû Jahl, my uncle, "O uncle! Did you ever accuse Muĥammad of lying before he came with his message?" he replied, "Son of my sister, by Allâh, while he was yet young, Muĥammad would be called al-Amîn (the truthful) by us. Even when his hair started turning white, he would still not lie." I asked, "O uncle of mine! So why don’t you follow him?" He replied, "Son of my sister, we and Banû Hâshim were always competing with each other for nobility, they fed people and so we did too, they gave others drink and so we did too, they granted protection and so we did too. We've kept pace with each other like two race horses, then they said, 'A Prophet has arisen from us', how could we possibly compete in this?"' Allâh, Exalted is He says, consoling him, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, "We know that what they say distresses you. It is not that they are calling you a liar; the wrongdoers are just denying the signs of Allâh. Messengers before you were also denied but they were steadfast in the face of the denial and injury they suffered until Our help arrived. There is no changing the Words of Allâh and news of other Messengers has come to you." "The best of them in temperament," (IQ) meaning that he was easy going, soft, close to people, he answered the calls of those who called him, judged those who required judgment, fulfilled the need of those who asked of him – never preventing them from asking him and never letting them go disappointed or empty handed. When his Companions desired a matter from him, he would agree with them and follow them, if he determined to do something, he would consult them. He, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, would accept their good from them and overlook the actions of those of them who did evil. "And the most sociable amongst them," (IQ) meaning that he would interact with those who sat with him in the best of ways, he would never frown at them, treat them harshly or turn away from them, he would not point out slips of the tongue nor reprimand him for any coarseness in speech or the likes, and make excuses for them as much as possible. Whoever mixed with him would think that he was the most beloved person to him due to the attention he received, his kindness and the sincere advice he was given. There is no better way of dealing with people than this! (Q) In some texts the wording is ‘the best of them in lineage’ and both descriptions hold true of him, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam. (B) Abû Hurayrah reports that the Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, said, "I was passed through the best generations of the children of آdam, generation after generation, until I reached the generation in which I came." (SM) Wâthila bin al-Asqa` reports that the Messenger of Allâh, ŝallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, said, "Allâh chose Kinânah from amongst the descendants of Ismâ`îl, He chose the Quraysh from amongst the descendants of Kinâna, from the Quraysh he chose Banû Hâshim, and me from Banû Hâshim."
"Whoever unexpectedly saw him would stand in awe of him," (M) This due to his exceptional descriptions, his heavenly sense of gravity, dignity, and appearance and deluge of spirituality. "Whoever accompanied him and got to know him would love him," (M) to the point that that he became more beloved to him than his father, his child and indeed the whole of mankind. This was due to the clear manifestation and existence of all that would necessitate love such as perfect morals and manners, sweeping compassion and kindness, innate humility and his captivating hearts and uniting them. Ibn al-Qayyim said while explaining the difference between arrogance (kibr) and carrying oneself with an air of dignity and self-respect (mahâbah), ‘Dignity and self-respect arise from a heart that is filled with the glorification of Allâh, with love of Him and magnification of Him. When the heart is filled with this it becomes inundated with light, tranquillity descends upon it, one is clothed with the garments of gravity, dignity and inspiring awe, and his face displays a sense of sweetness and pureness. Hearts love him and stand in awe of him; they are drawn to him and are comforted by his presence. His speech is light, his entrance is light, his leaving is light and his actions are light. When he is quiet, a sense of dignity and gravity overcomes him, and when he speaks, he captures heart, ear and sight. As for arrogance then it arises from self-conceit and transgression from a heart that is filled with ignorance and oppression. Servitude leaves such a person and displeasure descends upon him. When he looks at people, he looks askance, when he walks amongst them, he struts. He deals with them as one who gives himself preference in all things rather than giving them preference. He does not commence by giving people the salâm, and if he replies to a salâm, he acts as if he has granted them a great favour. He does not display a cheerful face to them and his manners do not accommodate them. Allâh has protected His beloved from all of these vile mannerisms.’ "Those who described him would say," (Q) i.e. by way of generalisation because of the inability to truly describe his beauty and perfection in detail. "I have never seen anyone, before him or after him, who was comparable to him."
1 Reported by at-Tirmidhī [al-Manāqib]. (A) da'ıf, its isnād is munqati' and contains 'Umar bin 'Abdullāh who is da'ıf.
2 Ibn al-Qayyim, Jalā' al-Afhām.
3 al-An'ām (6): 33-34