An insight into the Prophet’s noble character, nature, and physical features
His parents were Sayyida Amina bint Wahb and Sidna Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, son of Abd Manaf, son of Ksay, son of Kilab, son of Murrah, son of Ka’b, son of Lu’ayy, son of Ghalib, son of Fihr, son of Malik, son of Nadir, son of Kinanah, son of Khuzayma, son of Ilyas, son of Mudar, son of Nizar, son of Ma’aad, son of Adnan, son of Udd, son of Udad, son of Al-Yasu, son of Yashub, son of Hamil, son of Kaydar, son of Prophet Sidna Ismail, son of Prophet Sidna Ibrahim, son of Azar, son of Tarikh, son of Yahur, son of Ushru, son of Arghu, son of Kalun, son of Faligh, son of Amir, son of Shaligh, son of Arfakhshad, son of Shem, son of Prophet Sidna Nuh, son of Malik, son of Mattushalakh, son of Akhnukh, son of Yard, son of Mahla’il, son of Kinan, son of Anush, son of Kinan, son of Shith, son of Prophet Sidna Adam, Peace be upon all the Prophets.
No written description of our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) can ever do justice to his exceptional beauty. Sayyida Aicha, the wife of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with her) described him as being more handsome than Prophet Joseph for whom the wives of Pharaoh’s ministers slit their hands on account of his handsome appearance.
She said “If the friends of Zulayka had seen the blessed face of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) they would have cut their hearts instead of their hands!” A portion of Prophet Mohammed’s inner beauty manifested itself externally and illuminated his very being. Kurtubi, a great scholar of Islam, said that if his entire beauty had been made manifest, it would have been impossible for anyone to look at him.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said “The prophets were shown to me. I saw Moses (peace be upon him) he had a slender body, like a man from the tribe of Shanuah. I saw Jesus (peace be upon him) from all those I have seen, he resembles Urwahibn Masud. I saw Abraham (peace be upon him) and from all those I have seen I most resemble him.”
His blessed face
His complexion has been described as being somewhat delicately wheaten in color or whitish with reddish tones. His face was luminous, almost round, but not round, and frequently compared to the beauty of the full moon when it reached its zenith. He had a broad forehead and his eyebrows were separate and thick with densely fine hair.
When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) became displeased a vein between his eyebrows became enlarged. His eyes were jet-black and his eyelashes long, mascared with kohl made from ithmid that he applied thrice to each eye before sleeping.
Our Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) tells us that “… kohl made from ithmid used on the eye brightens the eyesight. Also, it strengthens and increases the growth of the eye lashes.” His companions said that even when he did not use kohl, his eyes looked as if he had. His nose was prominently distinguished. His cheeks were smooth and well covered whilst his proportionally perfect mouth was neither large nor yet small.
His teeth were bright, slim and evenly spaced, however, the space between his front teeth was slightly larger. As for the thickness of his beard, it was dense. His hair was slightly wavy, sometimes it was cut short and at other times he wore it nearly shoulder length. When his hair had the tendency to part itself in the middle he wore it that way, otherwise he did not dress it in that fashion.
His habit was to use oil on his hair and in order not to soil his turban he would place a piece of cloth between it and his hair. When he went on pilgrimage to Mecca, he would shave his hair.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would dress his hair and his beard using his right hand. It was not his practice to dress his hair every day, in fact, he prohibited it, unless there was a valid reason, and would dress his hair every third day. In later life, the Prophet had several silver hairs on his temples. It has been reported that they ranged between fourteen and twenty.
The accuracy of these reports is equally valid as they came over a period of time. One day, when Abu Bakr first noticed the silver hairs, he said “O Messenger of Allah, you have become old,” whereupon the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said “The recitation of the chapters Hud, Waaki’ah, Mursalaat, ‘Amma and Kukkirah have made me old.” It was the practice of elderly men to dye their hair before they went off to fight to disguise their age.
According to the Shafi and Hanafi schools of jurisprudence, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) either forbade or disapproved the use of a completely black dye except in war but permitted the use of henna, which is a reddish dye, and approved its mixing with katm, which is a black dye extracted from a certain grass.
However, the katm must be used in a lessor quantity in order that the hair does not become totally black, rather, a darker tone of red. Scholars are uncertain whether or nor the Prophet dyed his hair. Some say that he did so occasionally but not regularly. The reason given for their doubt as to whether or not he used a dye is that very often before dark hair changes color it turns reddish, therefore the reddish hair mentioned in several Hadith could have been natural, and not a dye.
His blessed neck, shoulders, seal and torso
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had well-covered broad shoulders and between them lay the Seal of his prophethood. The seal was a piece of raised flesh approximately the size of a pigeon’s egg surrounded by hair. Between his broad chest and navel grew a fine line of hair, as for his bones they were large and well proportioned. He was a man of medium stature, neither thin nor fat.
His blessed feet
The soles of his feet were fully fleshed whereas his heels were slim.
His blessed manner of walking
The Prophet’s walk is described in the Hadith as being “Yatakaffau“. The scholars of Islam interpret this word in three ways. There are those who are of the opinion that it means he walked at a fast pace, whilst others say it means he leaned forward a little as he walked; and the third opinion is that he lifted his leg forcefully.
We also learn from the Hadiths that he walked quickly and took long strides rather than short ones. We do know that he never walked haughtily with his chest puffed out with pride, nor did he scuff his feet as he walked. When walking with his companions he always asked them to walk in front of him on account of his modesty.
When he was on a journey he rode at the back so that he could be with the weak or bereaved. Whenever he met someone, he was always the first person to greet with peace.
His blessed manner of looking
One Hadith informs us that it was his custom to always look down towards the ground, and another says that he gazed up towards the sky. The Ahadith do no contradict one another as the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) in day-to-day affairs, modestly looked towards the ground whereas when he awaited a Revelation he would look towards to sky. He never stared at anything.
His blessed height
It has been reported that he was a little taller than the average man, however, when he was amongst tall people his height was miraculous altered so that he became taller than those in his company.
His blessed age
There are authentic Ahadith that differ concerning his age. However, the scholars of Islam are of the opinion that this difference arose on account of some companions not counting the year he was born and the year he died. The consensus is that he was sixty-three years old when he was laid to rest.
His blessed bathing
None of the wives of the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him and his family, saw his private parts, neither did he see theirs.
His blessed manner of communication
When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) spoke to anyone, he would not just turn his face in order to converse, rather, he would either turn his whole body towards that person, or turn his face and torso in order to speak to the person directly; he was not proud man.
It was not his practice to glance to the side when he spoke with anyone. His speech was deliberate and clear so that those sitting in his blessed company would remember what he said. When he wished to stress a point, he would repeat it three times. It was not his custom to indulge in frivolous talk.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would often tell his wives stories and each story contained a guiding moral.
His blessed manner of learning
It has been reported that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would lean against a pillow placed on his left side, however, he never leaned against anything whilst eating. During his last illness, Fadl entered his room and found him wearing a yellow band around his forehead. After they had exchanged greetings he asked Fadl to tighten the band around his noble head, which he did.
Then, he sat up and stood up supporting himself on Fadl’s shoulder and entered the Mosque. When the Messenger of Allah, praise and peace be upon, was ill he would rest his head against one of his wives or companions. When he passed away, his head was leaning upon Sayyida Aicha, may Allah be pleased with her.
His blessed manner of eating and drinking
He ate with his right hand and would lick his fingers clean. Sometimes he used three fingers, at others five. He never ate food from a table, nor a small plate, nor did he eat pita type bread. He ate from a leather cloth and did not cut his meat with a knife, rather, he would bite off a piece and chew it.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) drank from a large wooden cup with a metal lining. He also drank from a water-skin with a cleaned spout. When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) drank from the water of Zamzam, he stood. However, on most occasions he sat.
He advocated drinking in smallish sips rather than gulping down all at once. This blessed advice not to drink in one gulp is now proven to be detrimental to the liver and stomach.
His blessed manner of bread and food
His bread was made from stone ground barley flour, which has a coarse texture. A sieve was never used to refine the flour therefore large particles of grain often remained which were extracted. As for the quantity of bread, there was never sufficient bread in his household with which to fill his stomach.
Many a night he and his family would go to bed without having eaten because there was no food. It was the custom of the Holy Family to give away their food to those in need, seeking a reward from Allah, the Most High. He advocated the use of olive oil not only for cooking but for massage. He also used vinegar and would eat the meat of fowl. He ate honey, the meat of goat and lamb with a preference for the meat of a shoulder of lamb.
Amongst the other things he ate were dates. One day the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) found some dates that had fallen on the ground. He told his companions he would have eaten them if he could have been sure they were not originally intended to be given in charity, for it is forbidden that he or his family should eat from charity. He also ate cucumber and water-melon with dates.
Dates were also soaked in water to provide a sweet drink, however, they were never left long enough to ferment. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would drink water and milk. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that he liked a drink that was cold and sweet.
When he was given milk he would supplicate saying “O Allah, grant us blessing in it and increase it for us.” He also told his companions that there is nothing that serves both as food and water other than milk. It was the custom of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to feed his companions before he, himself ate.
His blessed manner before and after eating
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) always said “Bismillah” before he partook of his food. One day as he and his companions were eating a hungry man joined them and forgot to say Bismillah, as he was about to take the last bite he remembered and said “Bismillah in its beginning at end”, whereupon the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) informed that until that point satan, the stoned and cursed, had been eating with him, but when he heard him say this he vomited all that he had eaten.
One day Omar, Abi Salamah’s son entered while food was being served. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) invited him to sit down and told him “O my son, come near and recite Bismillah and eat with your right hand from the portion which is in front of you.” He also told his companions to use their right hand alone to eat and drink with as satan eats and drinks with his left hand.
After he finished eating he would thank Allah saying “Praise be to Allah who fed us, and given us drink, and made us Muslims.”
Each night before he slept, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would lay down on his right side and supplicate “O Allah, in Your Name I live and die.” When he awoke he would supplicate “Praise be to Allah, who restored to us life, having caused us to die and to Him shall be the Resurrection.”
Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that before he slept he would cup his hands together, blow on them then recite the chapters Al-Ikhlas, Al-Falak, and An-Naas then wipe his hands over the parts of his body he could reach, this he did three times starting with the head, then his face, followed by the front part of his body.
Everything our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did was an act of worship, and the following are but a few of the numerous examples. Although he was absolutely sinless and promised the highest rank in Paradise, a rank in which no other prophet has attained, it did not prevent him from offering a magnitude of voluntary prayers, which is an indication of our own need to increase and maintain the number of voluntary prayers we offer.
The importance for us to offer voluntary prayer was often stressed by the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him. Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would offer such long prayers that his legs became swollen. One of his Companions asked him why he offered such lengthy prayers when Allah had forgiven him all his sins. The Prophet replied “Should I not be a grateful worshipper?”
It was his practice to sleep after the Isha prayer for the first portion of the night, then awake to offer his voluntary prayers until the time one would take breakfast before fasting. At that time he would offer the last prayer of the night, which is the Witr prayer. Then, he would return to his apartment and sleep until the call for the Dawn prayer was made, when he would make either the major or minor ablution in readiness for the prayer.
The voluntary night prayers of the Prophet would commence with two short units of prayer followed by very long units of prayer that varied in number. Sometimes he would offer ten units of prayer followed by the Witr making a total of thirteen — this number was never exceeded — then other times he would offer eight units of prayer followed by the Witr prayer.
Whenever he was unable to offer his prayer during the night, Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that he would offer twelve units of prayer before mid-day. She also commented that he offered his prayers in the most perfect manner. There was a time when she asked him “O Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) do you sleep before you offer Witr?” He replied “O Ayesha, my eyes sleep, but my heart remains awake.” This blessed state is a special gift bestowed upon the prophets.
During Ramadan he would offer many of the Tarawih prayers in the Mosque, and told his companions that those who stand with sincere faith and hope in prayer during the Night of Al-Qadrwill have their sins forgiven. When he did not offer his Tarawih prayer with the congregation he would offer them at home.
When he was ill, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would offer his prayer sitting down until between thirty and forty verses remained when he would stand and recite them, then he would bow and prostrate, he did the same in the second unit of prayer. Sidna Omar reports him as having offered two units of prayer before and after the mid-day prayer, and two units of prayer after the evening prayer and two units of prayer after the night prayer with the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him.
Other than the obligatory fast of Ramadan, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) observed voluntary fasts. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that after the migration to Medina the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did not fast an entire month except for the month of Ramadan.
She also says in another Prophetic quotation (Ahadith) that he would fast most of the month of Shabaan. We are also told that he would fast some days of a month and none at all in another. Of the days he is known to have fasted Monday and Thursday received his special attention. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) saying “I was born on a Monday, and the sending down of the Koran commenced on a Monday.”
Abu Hurayrah, may Allah have mercy on him, said “Deeds are presented (to Allah, the Most High) on Mondays and Thursday. I desire that my deeds be presented whilst I am fasting.” Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said “Some months he would fast on Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, whereas in other months he would fast on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.” She also said that he did not fast on specific days, but whenever suitable. Abdullah the son of Masood reported that he seldom fasted on a Friday.
He would also fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th day of the Islamic month, also on the tenth of Muharram and the 10th of Dhul Hijjah. After the Prophet’s migration he observed some Jews observing the fast on the tenth of Muharram, which is the fast of Ashura.
He asked them why they were fasting and was told that it was the day on which Allah, the Most High, saved Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) from Pharaoh, and that it was also the day on which Allah, the Most High, drowned Pharaoh. They told the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) that Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) would fast that day out of gratitude and happiness whereupon our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said “We are more entitled than you to follow Moses, peace be upon him.”
Thereafter the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) ordered his followers to fast on that day. This fast was obligatory until the command came to fast the month of Ramadan, thereafter the Prophet said it was voluntary. To distance the Islamic fast of Ashura from that of the Jews, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would fast either the day before Ashura or the day after.
His recitation of the Holy Koran
Sayyida Umm Salamah (may Allah be pleased with her) said “He recited every word separately and distinctly.” She also said “He recited ‘Praise be to Allah, Lord of the worlds’ and paused, then recited, ‘the Merciful, the Most Merciful and paused. He paused again after ‘Owner of the Day of Recompense.'”
When Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) was asked whether the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him recited softly or audibly, she replied that he recited both ways. One day Umm Hani who lived in Mecca, said she heard the recitation of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) from the roof-top of her house. Scholars say this was due to the stillness of the night the voice travels further.
When he opened Mecca, he rode his camel, Kaswa, reciting the following verses repeatedly [Indeed We have opened for you a clear opening, that Allah forgives your past and future sin, and completes His Favor to you, and guides you on a Straight Path.] (481-2). Muaawiyah ibn Korrah, who was one of the narrators of this Prophetic Hadith said that if he had not feared that people would surround him, he would have recited it in the same tone.
The companion, Katadah, said that Allah gave every one of His prophets a beautiful feature and a beautiful voice, and that our Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had both beautiful features and voice, but he did not recite in a melodious tone as is the custom of singers.
As previously explained, everything our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did was out of humility, sincerity and love of Allah as well as seeking mercy for us. His crying was the same. One day Abdullahibn Masood, was asked by the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to recite some of the Koran to him, whereupon Abdullah asked “O Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) should I recite it to you when it has been sent down to you?”
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) said “I love to hear it from another person.” So Abdullah started to recite the chapter “Nisa” When he reached the verse 41 [How then shall it be when We bring forward from every nation a witness, and bring you to witness against those!]’ tears flowed from both the Prophet’s eyes.
Upon the death of one of the Prophet’s daughters, Barakah, the longtime maid of the Prophet who was with him when his mother died, started to weep loudly. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) drew her attention to it, for uncontrolled weeping is forbidden. Whereupon she said “Do I not see you crying?” he replied “This crying is not prohibited, it is a mercy from Allah.” Then he said “A Muslim is at peace at all times, even when his soul is being taken away, he is busy uttering the praise of Allah.”
A taste of his humility and blessed characters
Almighty Allah, Himself testifies to the magnitude of the Prophet’s character in the chapter “The Pen”, verse 4 [Indeed, you are upon a mighty morality.] Although our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) was chosen by Allah, the Most High, to be the His greatest prophet he remained a very humble person.
He never disdained to visit the sick, attend funerals, ride a donkey, nor did he looked down upon using a rein woven from palm fiber or sitting upon a saddle of palm leaves at the Battle of Krayzah. He would accept invitations, even the invitation of those we called slaves, such was his manner that he would never refer to them as “slaves” but rather as being “youths” and so placate their heart.
He never hesitated to accept the invitation of the poor; even when they served bread and old fat he neither refused nor offended them. Unlike emperors, kings and leaders, our beloved Prophet disliked it if any one stood up when he entered.
When he entered his house he would divide his time into three portions, one portion for Allah, another for his family, and the other for himself, yet from his own portion he would give half of his time to his close companions who would visit him and ask questions, convey messages or requests from others.
He taught his close companions things that were beneficial for his entire nation and told them to convey whatsoever he taught them, and encouraged them to ask on behalf of those less able to present their question, and never withheld a reply. He told his companions that whosoever informs a king of the need of another unable to express his need, Allah, the Most High, will keep that person steadfast on the Day of Judgment.
He never wasted time listening to gossip, but as a matter of etiquette he would join in the conversation of his companions, no matter if they were speaking about religious or worldly affairs. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that he never hit anyone except in Jihad. Neither did he hit women.
He respected and honored those who were respected and honored in their nation. He warned them of the punishment of Allah, mediated between people, praised and encouraged good deeds. He explained the harmful effects of bad things, removed and prevented them. He followed the middle course in all matters and never neglected to guide his followers.
He was always truthful, and when he spoke to anyone that person felt the most honored. When he was asked for something, he never refused, and when he had nothing to give he would speak with kind words to the asker. He never refused to answer the question of a traveler and would say “When you see someone in need, help them.
One day a needy person went to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and asked for something. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) did not have anything to give him at that time, so he told him to go and purchase whatever he needed and charge it to him.
Omar heard the conversation and reminded him that he had already given away everything he possessed and told him that Allah had not made him responsible for that which was beyond his means. Without hesitation, an Ansar spoke up saying “O Messenger of Allah, spend whatever you will, do not fear any decrease from the Lord of the Throne”, whereupon the Prophet smiled and said “Allah, the Most High, has commanded me to do this.”
One day Rubayyi, the daughter of Muawwidh took the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) some fresh dates and small cucumbers. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had just been given some jewelry so he gave her either a handful of jewelry or gold. When someone joined him for any reason he would remain seated until that person left.
His endearing disposition was not just for a few, but for everyone, he was like a father to them. He never thought it to be beneath him to mend his clothes nor help with the daily chores, and was always kind to children and would ask Allah to bless them.
It was not his custom to concern himself in idle conversation nor yet to interrupt when someone was speaking. His gatherings were full of knowledge, modesty, patience and honesty. He neither degraded nor disgraced anyone. If someone had sinned, it was not made public. Little ones were loved, the needy given preference whilst strangers and travelers were cared for.
Those in his household loved him dearly, not once did he rebuke them for not having done a certain thing, nor did he ever ask why someone had done such a thing. He never used obscene language, nor did he shout and talk in the bazaars. It was not his way to avenge a bad deed with a similar deed, rather, he would forgive it and it would not be mentioned thereafter. He never sought the faults in anyone.
Everyone received their rights, whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims. Even the unbelievers of Mecca testified to his honesty. He was never short-tempered, nor did he humiliate anyone. He always greatly appreciated the blessings of Allah no matter whether they were small or great. He did not criticize his food, nor over-praise it. He never became angered over any materialistic matter.
When someone exceeded the limits in religious matters or against the truth, he became angry in a way that no one could endure, and turn away. He either forgave the offender or paid no attention to him. When he was happy, it was as if he almost closed his eyes, as for his laugh, it was for the most part a smile in which his blessed front teeth glittered like shining white hailstones.
When he gestured towards something he would do so with his hand rather than by just pointing with one finger. The scholars say that this was yet another act of his humility as he would raise one finger as reference to Allah. When he was surprised by something he would turn his hand. He often spoke and used his hands. Sometimes he would hit the palm of his right hand with the underside of his left thumb.
As for his modesty, he was more bashful than a virgin behind her veil. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said that neither did she see his private parts nor he hers.
There was a time when the companions went to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) complaining of their severe pangs of hunger and showed him the stones they had strapped against their stomach to stop it from swelling whereupon the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) showed them the two stones strapped to his.
There was also the time when the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and seven of his companions had nothing to eat except leaves. As a result their mouths became very ulcerated. When a young Jewish boy was taken seriously ill, he went to visit him and through his kindness towards him the boy embraced Islam before he died and saved from the fires of Hell. He even visited the hypocrite Abdullahibn Ubay, who had for a long time gone out of his way to try to ridicule the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him.
There is a beautiful Prophetic Quotation (Ahadith) that tells the story of a Jewish rabbi. After the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) migrated to Medina some of the sincere and knowledgeable Jews embraced Islam. Zaydibn Sanah was a knowledgeable Jew, he had studied his Scriptures well that described the time of the next prophet’s appearance together with his characteristics and so he had awaited the coming of a new prophet.
When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) arrived in Medina he was able to recognize all but two of the prophesied fine characteristic in the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and up until that time remained unsure as to his prophethood. The signs were that his gentleness would overcome his anger and that the more foolish a person acted towards him, the more patient he would become.
One day as he was with the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) a Bedouin came to him in a distressed state telling him that his tribe had embraced Islam, and that he had told them that if they became Muslims they would never again go hungry.
Now that drought had stricken his land and food was in very short supply he told the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) he feared they would leave Islam on account of his promise and so he had come to ask the Prophet for his help. Rather than rebuking the man for giving such an unprecedented promise, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) turned to a companion who informed him that there was nothing left to give.
Zayd had been listening intently to the conversation and told the Prophet that he knew of a date palm grove from which he could purchase in advance, dates, that could be harvested when ripe and that the Prophet could repay him later. In the meantime he gave the Bedouin some gold to buy food for his tribe to tide them over until the date harvest, with the instruction to deal fairly with it.
Some time later, after the dates had been harvested and given to the Bedouin, Zayd went to the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him. The Prophet had just returned for attending the funeral of one of his companions and was sitting near a well when Zayd went up to him, tugged at the hem of his robe and chided him for not having repaid his debt and accused all of Abdul Muttalib’s children as being poor payers.
Omar happened to be present and jumped to the Prophet’s defense saying “O enemy of Allah, what are you mumbling. I swear by Allah, that if I did not fear I would have your head severed!” The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) looked up and smiled at Omar and told him “Omar, this person and I are in need of something more.
He should have told me to take care to fulfill his rights, and should have advised in a better manner when putting forward his claim. Go, take him and fulfill his rights, and because he was scolded give him in its place twenty extra measurements of dates as his right.
Omar and Zayd went together and as Zayd received his rights he asked “What is the reason for the excess amount of dates?” Omar replied “The Messenger of Allah has commanded me to give it to you.” Then Zayd asked Omar if he knew who he was and Omar replied that he did not, so he replied “I am Zaydibn Sanah” whereupon Omar asked “The learned man of the Jews?” whereupon Zayd told him he was the very same.
Then Omar asked him what had caused him to behave in such a bad manner towards the Prophet, praise and peace be upon him. He replied “Two signs from the signs of the Prophethood were left which I was not able to examine. The first was the gentleness of the Prophet that overrides his anger. The second was that the more foolishly a person acts towards him the more tolerant he becomes.
Now I have examined both, therefore I make you a witness to my acceptance of Islam and give half my wealth to the nation of Prophet Mohammed, praise and peace be upon him. Omar and Zayd returned to the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) and Zayd embraced Islam. Later on he became a martyr.
At the same time each year, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would suffer from the reoccurrence of the poisoned meat he had been given by a Jewess in Khybar. Its reoccurrence in the year in which he passed away was more severe than ever before.
His illness began on the day in which he spent in Sayyida Aicha’s apartment with a headache. A day or so later when he was in the apartment of Sayyida Maymouna (may Allah be pleased with her) his illness worsened and knowing that he would feel better in the apartment of Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) his wives were happy to have him taken to her apartment and relinquish their rights.
Due to the severity of his illness, he was unable to lead his followers in prayer so he appointed Abu Bakr to lead them instead. A few days before he passed away, although it was obvious he was weak from his suffering, he felt a little better and asked to be assisted into the Mosque.
When the congregation realized he was amongst them great happiness spread throughout the Mosque as they thought he must be recovering. After having offered his prayer sitting down he was taken back to Sayyida Aicha’s apartment for the last time.
On a Monday, ten or eleven days later, our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) passed away after having dipped his hands in a cup of water that was beside him and wiped them over his blessed face as his head rested upon the either Sayyida Aicha’s chest or lap. As soon as Abu Bakr learned of his death he made haste to his daughter’s apartment, and kissed the blessed forehead.
It was the saddest day of all time. The companions did not know where to bury him, some thought it should be in Mecca whilst others thought differently. Then, one of the companions informed them that the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had told him that a Prophet is buried where he died, and so he was laid to rest in Sayyida Aicha’s apartment.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) left but a few worldly goods behind, one of which was a suit of armor pawned to a Jew, a donkey, and a piece of land which he had said was to be charity and the ring which he used as a seal. When Abu Bakr became caliph the ring was given to him and passed in succession to Othman during whose time it was lost. The donkey, duldul, pined so much for her master that she threw herself into a well and died.
The Prophet’s possessions and clothing his bed
Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) slept upon a hard leather mattress stuffed with the fiber of palm trees. The mattress was so hard that the palm fiber marks left welt marks upon his blessed body when he arose. One night Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) decided to fold the mattress in four so as to make it a little more comfortable. The next morning the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) asked what she had spread out for him that night, so Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) told him what she had done. The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) told her to return it to had it had been because its softness deprived him from his voluntary prayers — this was because the softer mattress had caused him to sleep more soundly than when he slept on a hard mattress.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) would clean his teeth with the splayed end of a miswaak twig.
His natural fragrance and use of perfume
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) was blessed with a natural fragrance quite unlike any other in the world. It has been described as being nicer than either amber or musk. Such was its sweetness that when he perspired, his wives collected his perspiration and used it to perfume themselves.
He recommended the use of perfume to his companions saying “The perfume of a man is a fragrance that spreads and has less color. The perfume of women has more color and is less fragrant.” The scholars explain this to mean that men should wear a heavy fragrance whereas women should use a light fragrance but should avoid wearing it when going out.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) preferred to wear a cotton thowb, which is a long gown. Sometimes the sleeves would be long, reaching as far as his wrist, but never covered his fingers. Other times the sleeves would be shorter, as for its length he would either wear one that reached to just above his ankles or one that reached halfway down his calf. He did not have two thawbs at the same time.
We are also told that the waist wrap he liked most was one made from printed Yemeni cloth that is reported as being green. His waist wraps would never exceed the length of his ankles. It is also forbidden for a man to wear his clothes longer than this. At another time he wore a red garment, however it was a color for him alone to wear because he forbade other men to wear red garments.
As for garments dyed a saffron color, he forbade their wearing, however, if a saffron color garment becomes so very faded that no trace of the color remains, it can be worn, as the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) once wore such a sheet. Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported that one day the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) left the house in morning wearing a sheet made of black hair.
The Prophet, praise and peace be upon him said “Choose white clothing, as it is the best clothing. White clothing should be worn whilst living, and the dead should be buried in white.” During an illness as he was assisted by Anas to leave his apartment he wore a patterned Yemeni shawl. When he received a new garment he would supplicate saying “O Allah, all praise and thanks to You for clothing me with this.
I ask You for the good of it and the good of what it was made for, and I ask Your protection from the evil of it and the evil of what it was made for.” Sayyida Aicha (may Allah be pleased with her) said ” … he possessed only one of each, a thawb, body wrap, shoes or any other clothing, he never had two of anything (at one time).”
His leather socks
Our beloved Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) wore different types of leather socks. One day when he and some of his companions were in a wooded area he took off his leather socks and placed them to one side. After a while he put his right sock on and was about to put on the left one when a crow swooped down, flew away with it and then dropped it.
Unobserved by everyone, a snake had found its way into the sock and when the crow dropped the sock the snake fell out. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) praised Allah and from that time onward warned that socks should be checked before putting them on. There were occasions when, after the Prophet had made wudu (ablution) he put on a pair of leather socks. When the next time for prayer arrived and it was necessary for him to renew his ablution, he did not remove his socks but wiped his damped hands over the top of them.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) wore sandals with leather soles and two straps. At that time, it was common for sandals to be made without removing the hair of the animal. We are told by Anass, one of his companions, had seen his shoes and there was no hair on them. He warned not to wear just one shoe by itself and told his companions to either wear a pair of shoes or none at all.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had two sizes of turbans. One was smaller than the other. The length of material in the smaller of the two was six cubits, whereas the material in the larger one was twelve. (A cubit is the approximate length of the forearm). At the opening of Mecca, the Prophet was seen wearing a black turban as he entered the City. More often than not, he would wear his turban with the end piece hanging down at the back, however, he would sometimes wear it with the end piece hang over his right shoulder. He also wore a yellow turban.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had a silver ring with a gemstone from Abyssinia which he used as a seal. There was a time when he did not have a ring. However, when Islam started to spread and he began to write letters of invitation to Islam to the Emperor of Rome, the King of Persia, and so on, he was informed that none of these heads of state would accept a letter unless it bore a seal.
The ring was made in either the 6th or 7th year after his migration to Medina. His ring was inscribed on three lines, the first inscription read “Mohammed”, the second “Messenger” and the third “Allah”. The scholars are of the opinion that he was given several rings, however, he did not wear a ring every day and would remove his ring when praying. When he wore the ring which had the Name of Allah inscribed upon it he would remove it from his finger before going to the toilet. When he wore an ordinary ring he would sometimes wear it on either his right or left hand. Before it was forbidden for a man to wear gold, the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) had a ring made of gold, as did some of his companions. When the injunction came, he said “I will never wear it again.”
When the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) passed away, the ring bearing the seal was passed on to Abu Bakr, then subsequently to Omar and then Othman. During the caliphate of Sidna Uthman, Muaykeeb was entrusted with its safekeeping. One day as Uthman and Muaykeeb were sitting by the well of Arees, near the Mosque at Kuba, Muaykeeb handed the ring to Othman however the ring fell from their hands into the well.
Othman immediately ordered the well to be searched but to no avail. Water was hauled up for two days but there was no sign of the ring, it had been lost for ever.
It was the custom of the Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) to name things. He named his sword “Dulfikkar” and its hilt was made from silver. The sword was liked those of the tribe of Hanifah who were famous for the sword making skills.
The Prophet (peace and blessing be upon him) possessed seven suits of armor all of which were given a name Dhaatul Fadl, Dhaatul Hawaashi, Dhaatul Wishaah, Fiddah, Saghhdiyyah, Tabraa and Kharnag. At the time of the Prophet’s death, Dhaatul Fadl was in pawn to a Jew. At the Battle of Uhud, which was a very fierce battle, he wore two suits of armor, one on top of the other, they were those he named Dhaatul Fudl and Fiddah. He also wore a helmet.
All those blessed to see Prophet Sidna Mohammed (peace and blessing be upon him) could only describe his noble, blessed features by saying “I have not seen anyone like the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him) neither before nor after him.” Therefore, it is impossible for us in this day and age to comprehend the magnitude of his beauty, either physically or inwardly.
By attempting to mirror his ways there are tremendous blessings that are rich in reward. May Allah praise and venerate our beloved Prophet Mohammed, the best of all His creation.