The Prophet Described (Part-1)

Selections of the ahadith below are from Shama’il Tirmidhi by Imam al-Tirmidhi, commentary by Muhammad Zakariyyah Kandhelwi, translated by Muhammad ibn ‘Abdur-Rahman Ibraheem, published by Islamic Book Service, New Delhi – 110 002, India.  Notes are by the compiler and the numbers at the end of the hadith are those in the original.

[1] ‘A’ishah says: “I used to comb the hair of the Prophet, peace be upon him, even when I was in the state of menstruation.” [31]


Generally, menstruating women are frowned upon, considered impure, and quarantined.  In Islam, she’s in a “state of impurity” and not impure.

‘A’ishah, the favourite and the only previously unmarried wife of the Prophet, mentions, when she was in that state, the Prophet resting his head on her lap recited the Qur’an. The Prophet also mentions that when a woman is menstruating, “everything is allowed except intercourse.”  But, taking into consideration man’s impatience, it’s better to give his sex-life a holiday.  “Truly man was created, very impatient; fretful when evil touches him; and niggardly when good reaches him.”  [The Qur’an, Chapter 70, Verses 19-21]

[2] Anas ibn-Malik reports: “I did not count more than fourteen white hair on the head and beard of the Prophet.” [37]


What other man has been observed so meticulously?

[3] Abu-Hurayrah was asked: “Did the Prophet use dye?”  He replied: “Yes.” [45]


It’s the natural dye made from plant known as henna.  The commercially made dyes contain ingredients, which are harmful in many ways.

[4] Ibn-‘Abbas says that the Prophet used to say: “Choose white clothing, as it is the best clothing. White clothing should be worn whilst living, and the dead should be buried in white.” [65]


Many incidents are spoken of regarding the angels appearing dressed in white.

[5] Abu-Juhayfah says: “The Prophet said: ‘I do not lean and eat’.” [132]


Generally, it is not allowed to lean and eat, except the sick, who usually need support.

[6] Abu-Umamah al-Bahili says: “Bread made of barley was never left over in the house of the Prophet.” [136]


It can be taken to mean that prepare for a day what is necessary but a little extra, so as to distribute it to the neighbours, or the needy, so as to avoid wastage, as the Prophet said, add some more water to the broth and give some to the neighbour. Or as the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) said, take what is necessary and let the grains remain in their husk, at the time when Egypt was undergoing seven-long years of famine immediately after seven-long years of bumper harvest.

[7] Ibn-‘Abbas reports that: “The Prophet and his family spent many consecutive nights without food, because there would be no supper.  The bread of the Prophet was mostly made of barley.” [137


Although the Prophet, subsisting on brackish water and dates, the undisputed head of the world, could easily live with comfort and ease, he preferred poverty to riches; observed long vigils at nights resulting in his feet being swollen, and date-palm mats for his bed which left their mark on his body than on a cozy one. When asked why, he said, “Should not I be a grateful servant of Allah?”  Would a fake Prophet say this?

Contrasting this, the Prophet said that one’s wealth should reflect reasonably on ones necessity, this being also one of the ways of thanking Allah.  Hence, many a Companions were rich and religious at the same time, of course, there were many “below-the-poverty-line”-Companions, especially the Ahl-as-Suffah, who were knowledgeable par excellence. Remember Abu-Hurayrah?