The Prophet Described

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, # 2241, Kucha Chellan Darya Ganj, New Delhi – 110 002, India.  Notes are by the compiler and the numbers at the end of the hadith are those in the original.

Prologue, Author:

The hadith selections herewith are those especially dealing with the last of the Messenger and Prophet of Allah, Muhammad, with some reports about other Messengers and/or Prophets before him.  The hadith collections in this work is a biography (Seerah) of the Prophet in hadith perspective, narrated by the Prophet himself, his wives, and his Companions, etc.

Born in Khurasan, the author, Muhammad b. ‘Isa b. Saura b. Musa b. al-Dahhak at-Tirmidhi, (209-279 A[after] H[ijrah]).  “… Was very much influenced by Bukhari, as in his book ‘Ilal’ he explicitly states that he did not find one like Bukhari in Iraq or Khurasan.”  [Azami, M. M., Studies in Hadith Methodology and Literature, American Trust Publications, Indianapolis: USA, p. 103]

1] Anas1reports: “The Prophet, peace be upon him, was neither tall nor was he short.  In complexion, he was neither very white like lime, nor very dark, nor brown, which results in darkness.  The hair on his head was neither very straight nor very curly.  [1]


1. A domestic of the Prophet, he was often mistaken by the visitors to be a member of the household, and such was the treatment he meted out to the servants!

2] Anas ibn-Malik reports: The Prophet was of a medium stature, he was neither very tall nor short.  He was very handsome, of medium built and his hair was neither very curly nor very straight.  He had a wheat-coloured complexion.  When he walked, he leaned forward slightly.”  [2]

3] It is reported from ‘Ali1 “The Prophet was neither very tall nor short.  The soles of both his feet were fully fleshed.  He had a large head.  The joints of the bones were also large.  There was a thin line of hair from the chest to the navel.  When the Prophet walked, it appeared as if he was descending from a high place.”  ‘Ali further says, “I did not see anyone like him neither before him, nor after him.”  [5]


1. Father of Hasan and Husayn, husband of Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet and his first wife Khadijah, he was the fourth of the “Rightly-guided Caliphs” (Khulafa al-Rasheedun).

4] Abu-Hurayrah1 says: “The Prophet was so clean, clear, beautiful and handsome, as though his body was covered and moulded in silver.  His hair was slightly curled.”  [11]


1. The very name is so famous that we tend to forget his real name.  Originally ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn-Sakr, one of the “People of the Platform” (Ahl-al-Suffah), “… got married to the woman whom he used to serve, and he was later appointed governor of Bahrayn and Madinah.”  [Sieny, Muhammad Ismail, Prof., Heroes of Islam, Darussalam: KSA, p. 80]  He belonged to the tribe of Tihamah on the south coast of Red Sea.  He narrated 5,374 Prophet’s Sayings (Ahadith); the largest number by a single narrator, although he knew the Prophet only for 4 years!

“His title “abu-Hurayrah”, “father of the kitten”, was due to his fondness for cats.”  [Hitti, Philip, K., History of the Arabs, Macmillan: London, p. 394]

5] Jaabir ibn-‘Abdullah narrates from the Prophet that he said: “The Prophets and Messengers were shown to me.  I saw Musa (Moses), he had a thin body, like one from among the tribe of Shanu’ah.  I saw ‘Isa (Jesus).  From among all those whom I have seen, he somewhat resembled ‘Urwah ibn-Mas’ud.  I saw Ibraheem (Abraham).  From among all those that I have seen, I, more a less, look like him.  In the same manner I saw Jibra-eel (Archangel Gabriel).  From among all those I had seen, he more or less looked like Dihyah Kalbi.”  [12]

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