IHYA ULUM AL-DIN
E. J. BRILL
PURPOSE OF THE IHYA’ ‘ULUM AL-DIN
Abu Hamid Muhammad al-Ghazali (450-508/1058-1111) 1 wrote
the Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din (The Revitalization of the Sciences of Religion) over a
number of years following his departure from
In the introduction to the Ihya’, where he gives his purpose, al - Ghazali states his rejection of the formalism which he found prevalent in the religious life of his time:
The guides of the path to the future life are the Learned (Ulama’), who are the heirs of the prophets. However, a great period of time has elapsed since them (the prophets), and there remain only the Formalists (Mutarassimun). These for the most part have been beguiled by Satan and have been led astray by their rebellion against God.
Moreover everyone, having become passionately enamoured (mashghuff) with his transitory pleasures, began to consider disallowed (mutnkar) that which is regarded as good (al-ma‘ruf) and they considered good (ma‘ruf) that which is regarded as disallowed (al-munkar). Thus the science of religion became obliterated, and the lights of guidance became effaced in the regions of the Earth. Furthermore, they became convinced that there is no science (‘ilm) except decisions of judicial authority … dialectic … and embellished, rhymed prose.
But as for the science of the path to the future life upon which the sound ancestors (al-Salaf al-Salih) walked, and which Allah called in his Book jurisprudence (fiqh), wisdom (hikma), knowledge (‘ilm), light (diya wa nur), and direction (hidaya wa rushd) , it has been rolled up and forgotten.
When this breach in religion had become momentous and ominous, I decided to compose this book to effect a revitalization of the sciences of religion, to disclose the welltraced paths of the previous Imams (religious leaders), and to give a clear explanation for him who wishes to attain the beneficial sciences of the prophets and sound ancestors.
The Ihya’ is not simply a manual of piety; it is a work which proposes to effect a fundamental revision of the Muslim attitude towards religion. Al-Ghazali, therefore, does not address himself exclusively to the Philosophers, to the Dogmatists, to the Legists, or to the Mystics. He addresses himself, rather, to the ordinary Muslim. In this al-Ghazali shows his basic optimism forwords the nature and potential of man-an optimism which is a consequence of his conception of the heart. Since this conception to a large extent dominates the content and structure of the Ihya and underlies the content of Book XX, we turn our attention to a discussion of al-Ghazali’s conception of the heart.
Al-Ghazali’s conception of the heart is intimately linked to his conception of man, the one concept being inseparable from the other. To al-Ghazali the heart does not signify the “cone shaped flesh in the left side of the chest”; it is rather a “transcendental spiritual subtlety which is connected to the physical heart; this subtlety is the essence of man, which comprehends, learns, and knows; and it is this which speaks, opposes, censures, and holds to account.” Moreover, this spiritual essence of man is similar to the essence of God, for God created man in His own image. Because of this relationship between man and God, every man, not only the prophets, can, but not necessarily does-for God’s grace is needed-reach the realization of the knowledge of God and the World. Moreover, it is man’s task and goal to let the Divine, i.e., the true essence of man become more vital and to bring to ever closer realization this divine potential of his nature. In this process of actualization, although man is born disposed to the faith, and the heart of the child is
a precious jewel, neutral, exempt of all impressions, susceptible of every impression and every inclination to which it is brought near; if one accustom it to good and teach it, the child will grow into a happy state in this and in the other world, and his parents and his educators will have part of this reward. But if one accustoms it to evil and the child be left to himself like the animals, he will be unhappy and he will go to perdition and his educators and teachers will bear the responsibility.
Thus the heart has to be educated; for
just as the body is not created perfect but its perfection is achieved by means of substances which make it strong and great as the soul (heart) is created imperfect, but is susceptible of perfection, which it can only attain by education, morals, and knowledge.
Because of man’s religious nature it is possible for him to act morally. Only by his practice of this religious power can this potential be actualized. This can be achieved because of the psycho-physical tie which exists between the heart and the body, namely, the heart influences the body and vice versa. If the heart realizes its perfection and purification, one’s actions are beautiful, and if the actions of the body are beautiful, they produce in the heart praiseworthy qualities.’ Thus movements of the external members produce an equal and corresponding aspect in the heart as the symmetrical mirror produces an exact image which is prepared to receive the realities in their true state.
Within this purview of al-Ghazali’s conception of the heart, the Ihya’ takes on its vital significance; for what is purposed is a revitalization of religion by the removal from the “mirror of the heart” that dross and rust which acts as a concealment of God and which prevents the seeker from attaining his true spiritual essence. Thus al-Ghazali states that the purpose of the Ihya’ is to deal with the ‘Ilm al-Muamala and not with the ‘Ilm al-Mukasha i.e. the practical science as against the theoretical science of religion; the science of action consisting of works of piety, spiritual exercises, asceticism, and acts which polish the “mirror of the heart,” as
against the mystical science.
BOOK XX OF THE IHYA’ ‘ULUM AL-DIN
FUNCTION OF BOOK XX
Al-Ghazali states in the introduction to Book XX that he first purposed to write a book which would comprise all the customs of living. However, having seen that the preceding books of the “Quarter of Customs” had already covered this quite well, he decided to restrict himself in Book XX to an account of the customs and character of Muhammad. He desired not merely to give a full account of Muhammad’s customs but also to strengthen the faith through the testimony of his noble nature and his miracles which corroborate Muhammad’s character and which remove all doubts regarding his prophetic mission. 1 In his account on Muhammad’s miracles, al-Ghazali reiterates the function of Muhammad’s character and miracles as evidence for the validity of his mission. Thus, it appears that Book XX has two aspects. or functions:
1. Didactic, in that the characterization of Muhammad serves to summarize and exemplify in finest form the rules for behavior already mentioned in Books XI-XIX; a Muhammad serves as the model to be imitated by all Muslims.
2. The apologetic or defensive. The composite “picture” of Muhammad consisting of his character, message, and miracles proves the validity of his mission and, therefore, of Islam.
The question arises how does Book XX differ from pre-Ghazalian attempts at the characterization of Muhammad having a didactic or apologetic end. If a comparison is made between Book XX and these works respecting the elements which form an integral part of their contents, namely, Muhammad’s character, miracles, and appearance, one is struck by the great similarity in detail and treatment. The difference, however, is to be found in al-Ghazali‘s conception of the imitation of Muhammad and of the validation of prophecy. For just as the Ihya’ has been colored and influenced by the ideas which he took over from the Sufis, e.g., the concept of the heart, his conception of imitation of Muhammad and the validation of prophecy is likewise so influenced. We therefore turn to a consideration of these concepts.
If Islam had kept itself to the evidence of history, Islam could not have proposed Muhammad as the ideal of the Moral Life, i.e., it could not have proposed the doctrine of the imitation of Muhammad. However, Islam was not influenced by this historic picture, and in its place there appeared the legend of the ideal Muhammad.
Muhammad is therefore not simply the instrument of divine revelation but is represented as a hero and as the most virtuous type of being. Moreover, it became the goal of the pious, in the first generation of Islam, to become as much as possible similar to Muhammad-this imitation being pushed to the minutest detail. Thus the practice of Muhammad (Sunna) ‘not only became the regulative principle in matters of ritual, social, and communal life, but the pious sought to find in the Sunna of the Prophet the regulative principles for the minutest details of private life. Even in regard to such questions as to whether one should wear a golden signet ring, one looked to the Sunna for guidance. Although the imitation of Muhammad became regarded as an established principle, there arose conflicting views centering chiefly around the question of what acts were to be imitated. Some held the view (e.g., al-Shafi, (d. 204 A.H.) and the Mu‘tazilites) that if an action can be shown not to belong to the exclusive privilege of Muhammad, then it must be imitated, for they regarded the imitation as a principle; others (e.g., the Ash‘arites) held that only an action which can be shown to be common to the Prophet and to the Community is to be imitated; and others (Malikites) held the view that it was an absolute duty to imitate the Prophet even in regard to those actions which were indifferent ethically.
However, this expression of excessive legalism and slavish imitation was to be challenged by the antinomianism which arose with the development of the mystical concepts in Sufism. The oldest type of Sufism in Islam was ascetic and devotional rather than speculative. There was no great difference between the Sufi and the pious orthodox Muslim, except that the Sufis attached extra-ordinary importance to certain doctrines, e.g., tawakkul (the absolute trust in God). However, the impact and influence of Hellenistic ideas on Islam reacted powerfully upon Sufism, so that in the third century of Islam (ninth century A.D.) ascetic exercises became regarded as having not as their end in future salvation or perdition, but were rather the means of purifying the soul in order that it may know and attain union with God. The concepts of Gnosis (Ma‘rifa), Mystical Union (Tawhid), and Path (Tariq) tended to undermine the Sunna and religious foundation of the Law (Shari’a). To the true Mystic the Sunna and the ritualistic way of living seemed essentially meaningless. For if religion deals with the internal relation of the soul to God, external actions only divert the heart from ’ true obedience. This antinomianism led many Sufis to disregard the question of whether their relation to the external law was legally adequate or not, and to regard the practices of the Sunna only as a starting point for those immature in religious matters.
Nevertheless, the Sufis in general refrained from openly opposing the practice of the Sunna and legal demands of the Law. Rather, instead of declaring the Law to be superfluous and without value, they wanted to add to the formalism of the Law the cooperation of the heart. They considered the heart rather than the members of the body as the organ of the religious life. This mode of Sufism, though claiming conformity to the Law, found the actualization of the religious life in the interiorization of its formal demands. Other Sufis who did not deny the relative value of legalism, regarded the legal prescriptions as symbols. The effect of this attempt of accommodation was that, while the Sufis also spoke of the imitation and following of the Prophet, this had a twofold character, an external imitation and an internal imitation. The external imitation consisted in copying Muhammad’s virtues, abstaining from this world, and in living for the future world; the internal imitation consisted in copying of Muhammad’s mystical stations (maqamat). Thus for the Sufi the meaning of the following of Muhammad lay in striving for the moral and, above all, to experience the mystical.
That this attempt at accommodation failed, and that Sufism had not succeeded in “passing itself off” as orthodox in the 10th - 11th century is evidenced by the efforts of the Sufis, up to the time of al-Ghazali, to establish a rapprochement between Sufism and orthodoxy by proving that the true doctrine of the Sufis, instead of being heretical, actually conformed to the standards of orthodoxy. Thus Abu Nasr al-Sarraj (d. 378/988) states that he wrote the Kitlib al-Luma (The Book of Illumination) to set forth the true principles of Sufism, to show that they agree with and are confirmed by the doctrines of the Qur’an and Tradition, and to show that Sufism involves the imitation of the Prophet as well as conformity with the religious practices of pious Muslims. Abu Nasr devotes a separate section to the imitation of the Apostle of Allah where he points out that Muhammad was sent to all mankind to teach them the “Book and Wisdom,” namely, the Qur’an and the Sunna. Furthermore, they who act in conformity with the Qur’an but do not follow the Sunna are at variance with the Qur’an for the imitation of the Prophet as regards his character, actions, and qualities is incumbent on his followers, except in those cases which the Qur’an or Tradition expressly mentions as exceptions to the general rule. Moreover, it is the Sufi, in contrast to the Legists and Theologians, who have laid upon themselves the duty of imitating Muhammad’s moral and spiritual character. It is significant to note that the short section devoted to the character, action, and qualities of Muhammad, except for an emphasis on Muhammad’s frugality and his unworldliness, agrees, if not entirely in detail, with that description found in non-Sufic works.
Abu Bakr al-Kalabadhi (d. 385/995), whose chief purpose is also to demonstrate the essential orthodoxy of the Sufic position, states in the chapter of the “Duties Imposed by God on Adults”:
The Sufis are agreed that all the ordinances imposed by God on His servants in His Book, and all the duties laid down by the Prophet in the Traditions, are a necessary obligation and a binding imposition for adults of mature intelligence; and that they may not be abandoned or forsaken in any way by any man, whether he be a true believer, or a saint, or a gnostic, even though he may have attained the furthest rank, the highest degree, the noblest station. They hold that there is no station in which a man may dispense with the prescription of the religious law the more inwardly pure a man is, the higher his rank and nobler his station, so much the more arduously he labours with sincerer performance and a greater fear of God.
The essential orthodoxy of Sufism is again later echoed by al-Hujwiri (d. 465-469 A.H.) who states, “So long as the human body remains in existence men are bound to keep the rules of obedience to God.” Regarding religion, he states, “They [good manners] consist in the observance of the Apostalic custom.” Finally al-Qushayri (d. 46511074) attempts to show that the true Sufi must be a true Muslim and he bewails the attempts of the Sufis to neglect the fulfilling of the religious duties because they pretend to have been liberated from the bonds of the Law by the truths which have been revealed to them in their union with God.
In addition to these efforts on the part of the Sufis to prove the orthodoxy of Sufism, this process of accommodation was also at work within the milieu of orthodox Islam. It is recorded that whenever the Imam al-Haramayn Abu 1-Ma‘ali al- Juwayni (d. 478/1085), one of al-Ghazali’s teachers, “entered into an explanation of the sciences peculiar to the Sufis and the state of ecstatic exaltation to which they sometimes reached, he would draw tears from all present.” The work of al-Ghazali is representative of this process of accommodation by means of the penetration of Sufic ideas into legal Islam.
As has been indicated above, al-Ghazali did not abandon the tenets of orthodox Islam after he became a Sufi. He only wanted to effect the revitalization of Islam by the introduction of those Sufic insights which he had found to be true in his search for the Truth. Of those, it is the conception of the heart and of prophecy which play a vital part in his conception of the imitation of Muhammad.
Analogizing between the health and sickness of the body and that of the spiritual heart al-Ghazali states:
Further it became plain to me that as the body has a health in which is its happiness and a sickness in which is its destruction, so the heart, similarly, has a health and a sickness That ignorance with regard to God is a destroying poison; and that disobedience to God, through following the lusts, is the heart’s grievous ailment ; that knowledge of God is its reviving remedy, and obedience to God in opposition to the lusts is its healing medicine; and that there is no way of treating it, to do away with its disease and to gain for it health, except by medicines; just as there is no way of treating the body except by the same.
Just as the medicines for the body produce an effect in gaining health through a property in them, to which the intellect cannot attain, but with regard to which physicians must be believed who have learned that property from the prohetic property, so it became plain to me that the intellect could not attain to the mode of the working of the medicines of the heart, which are exercises of devotion, in their definitions and amounts, defined and prescribed by the prophets, but that, with regard to this, the prophets must be followed who attained unto these properties by the light of prophecy and not by means of reason. And just as medicines are made up of kind and amount and some are double in weight and amount ; and as in the difference of these amounts their lies a secret belonging to their properties; so acts of devotion which are the medicines of the disease of the heart are compunded of actions, differing in kind or amount, as prostation is double of bowing, and the prayer of the dawn is half the prayer of the afternoon in amount; and in this there is a certain secret belonging to the properties which cannot be learned except by the light of prophecy . . .. In a word, the prophets are the physicians of the diseases of hearts; and the only use and authority for reason is that it should teach us this, and should bear witness to the truth of prophecy and to its own inability to attain to what the eye of prophecy can reach; and that is should taken us by our hands and commit us to prophecy, as the blind are committed to their guides and the sick to their physicians. This is the work and bound of reason, and beyond this it may not go, except to make known what the physician has taught it.
Further in the twentieth book of the Kitab al-Arba‘in entitled “The Principle of Following the Sunna” al-Bazili states:
Know that the key to happiness is the following of the Sunna (itiba‘ l-Sunna) and the imitation of the Apostle of Allah (iqtida’ bi rasul Allah) in all his comings and goings, motions, and rests even in the aspect of his eating, rising, sleeping and speaking. I do not say this only in regard to his practice in the arts of worship (adab l-‘Abadat), for there is no reason for the neglecting of the practices (al-Sunan) which appear therein, rather I say this in all the matters of customs. Thus there results the absolute following (of Muhammad). Allah said, “If you love God, follow me; God will love YOU.” And Allah also said, “Whatever the Prophet gave you, take it, and whatever he forbids you, desist from it.” 3 It is incumbent upon you to put on full trousers (al-Sarawil) while sitting and to attire yourself with a turban while standing. It is also incumbent upon you that, when you put on your shoes, you begin with the right foot; that you eat with your right hand; that you cut your fingernails beginning with the forefinger of the right hand and ending with the thumb of the right hand; that you begin with the little toe with the right foot and finish with the little toe of the left foot. Thus in all your movements and rests.… Moreover you must not show levity in regard to these matters and say that these things appertain only to customs and that there is no meaning to follow these. For if you do this, there will close against you a great door of the doors of happiness.
In the following section al-Ghazali continues:
Perhaps you desire at this moment to know the reasons for striving for the following in regard to these activities and you may consider it farfetched to suppose that there is an important matter underlying this matter…. Know, therefore, that the mentioning of the secrets in regard to every one of these practices is long, and though it is not the purpose of this book to explain them, it is necessary that you understand that these secrets are restricted to three types.
The three secrets which al-Ghazali delineates deal with: (1) The attachment that exists between the visible world and the intelligible world (mulk wa malakut). The attachment between the productive members of the body and the heart. The modality of the influencing of the heart by the actions of the productive members of the body. The heart is like a mirror which can only reveal the reality of things by being polished. (2) The distinction between the influences on man which become known to him by a certain relation and analogy, and the influences which are to be explained only by certain principles and essences, e.g., the principle of medicine. Thus the influences on the heart which render it fit for future happiness or unhappiness are only known by means of the light of prophecy, and if the prophet chose to do one of two things, he did this because he knew the principle by means of prophecy. Hence man should follow even in regard to what he does not understand, since the principle was revealed to the Prophet. (3) Man, while he can resemble the angels by purifying his desire, can, if he follows his own lust, sink to the level of the animals. Thus man’s actions must be “bridled by a bridle” in order to keep him from forgetting his devotions and to keep to the right path. However, in this process of purification there is a secret, namely, that the benefit is achieved only by following the prescription of the law giver exactly in the manner in which he gave it, for the benefit changes as the manner changes. Therefore, in order that there be no error in man’s choice, he has to follow the manner exactly as given.
As in the case of the imitation of the Prophet, al-Ghazali’s conception of the validation of prophecy also shows Sufic influence in that it too has become subjectivized. For al-Ghazali, the question of the authority of revelation and the security of belief is not solved by an appeal to reason, but by an appeal to immediate insight which results from an inner subjective experience. The intuitive conviction has been substituted for the acceptance of objective
To al-Ghazali the detached miracle is not capable of convincing. Rather the revelation as a whole together with the personality of the Prophet, through whom the revelation has been conveyed, produces an irresistible impression resulting in belief in the Prophet. The argument from miracles becomes secondary to that of Muhammad’s personality and doctrine. His personality and doctrine will be its own proof. Thus it is neither the unique miracle of the Qur’an, as was the view of al-Baqillani (d. 403/1013), nor the multiple miracles ascribed to him by the Muslims who desired to make Muhammad compare favorably with Jesus, which are the proofs of Muhammad’s mission. Rather, certain knowledge (‘ilm daruri) respecting Muhammad’s prophetic mission is attained if one knows the real nature of prophecy, studies the Qur’an and the Traditions, and tests and verifies the truth of what Muhammad states regarding worship and its influence in purifying the heart. When this is done thousands of times, one has a certainty of which there is no doubt. One should follow this method, rather than to attempt to determine “whether a rod has been changed into a serpent, or whether the moon has been split in two.” A person’s belief should resemble the conviction of one who, having learned a fact from a group of people, cannot point to any particular person as his informant.
Al-Ghazali’s defense of the mechanical details of the Law and the imitation of Muhammad rests upon his theory of knowledge, namely, that the ultimate source of all knowledge is revelation from God. Relative to man, this knowledge revealed by the prophets serves as medicine for the heart and is essential for man’s actualizing his divine essence. The prophets in general and Muhammad in particular are the doctors of the heart whose prescriptions must be followed. They are the spiritual guides for the purification of the heart and for changing one’s bad qualities. Anyone who endeavors on whatever pretext to ignore the obligations of the Law is under Satanic influence. Even those who pretend to be “drowned in a sea of wonder,” i.e., the pseudo-Mystics, are to remember that they are the servants of God. ‘
In this context the account of the manners and customs of Book XX takes on its significance. Although al-Ghazali’s conception of imitation of Muhammad does not stress the internal aspect, i.e., the mystical, it manifests Sufic influence in that the imitation of Muhammad has become subjective, and as a particular manifestation of the religious life it has been linked to the heart. Moreover, Book XX contributes to al-Ghazali’s purpose of revitalization (Ihya) in that while he urges a return to the Sunna and the imitation of the Prophet, the Prophet is no longer simply a lawgiver, but a doctor of the heart, the Sunna no longer merely external forms, but medicines for the heart, morality no longer an end but a means of purifying the mirror of the heart.
Regarding the question of the validation of prophecy, al-Ghazali departs from the apologetic method current in his time. He resolves this problem by an appeal to an inner experience rather than by an appeal to reason. In a sense one has to “merge oneself in Muhammad’s peculiar personality, through the experience of an inner relationship. The truth of prophecy is authenticated by the moral influence it exercises on the soul.”
Al-Ghazali, feeling himself called to save the faith,
which was threatened with a slow destruction from inner decay and the external
decline of military power, tried to save Islam by infusing into it a new
spiritual life. This desire resulted from a conviction based on his own
personal experience, namely, that religion was essentially moral and a matter
of personal experience. Moreover, he felt that this could only be attained by
following the example of the Sufis. Yet he did not reject the doctrines of
orthodox Islam. He desired rather to reconcile
orthodox Islam with the mystical ideas of Sufism. The respect which al-Ghazali
enjoyed as a theologian and as a teacher amongst the Muslims, and the sincerity
of his teaching, which resulted from his own personal experience, favored the
success of his endeavor. However, within his own lifetime he was opposed,
because of his consistent support of the Sufic doctrine, and found it necessary
to compose an explanation of certain aspects of the Ihya’. More spectacularly,
because the Ihya’ was regarded as an attack against the study of handbooks of
the “branches of the Law” which had taken the place of the study of the Qur’an
and Hadith, the Ihya’ was burned in
However, such attempts were unable to prevent the Ihya’ from becoming recognized by the Muslim community as the most excellent book of religious science and almost equal to the Qur’an. The large number of summaries of the Ihya’ and the commentaries upon it indicate the profound impression which the Ihya’ made on the Muslim community.
Al-Ghazali’s influence on Islam may be said to be fourfold:
1. He led Islam from scholasticism and stress upon theological dogmas to a study of the Qur’an and Tradition.
2. In his teaching he reintroduced the element of fear.
3. It was by his influence that Sufism attained an assured position with Islam.
4. He brought philosophy and philosophical theology within the grasp of the ordinary Muslim.
Within the history of Sufism, al-Ghazali’s position is that of a thinker who, taking over the doctrines of his predecessors, systematized them and gave them clearness and precision. Furthermore, al-Ghazali’s teaching on the “Mystic Path” had a profound influence on the founders of the Sufic religious orders which were being established from the twelfth century onwards. Among these orders were the order of Qidiriya named after ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (d. 561/1166) and the order of Rifa‘iya whose founder was Ahmad al-Rifa‘i (d. 570/1182). Among the important writers on Sufism influenced by a l - a a d i were Abu Hafs ‘Umar al-Suhrawardi (d. 632/1234) and the famous Spanish mystic Muhyi I-Din ibn al-‘Arabi (d. 638/1240). e
An historian of the history of philosophy of Islam has given the following estimate of al-Ghazali’s:
Ghazali is without doubt the most remarkable figure in all Islam. His doctrine is the expression of his own personality. He abandoned the attempt to understand this world. But the religious problem he comprehended much more profoundly than did the philosophers of his time. These were intellectual in their methods, like their Greek predecessors, and consequently regarded the doctrines of Religion as merely the products of the conception or fancy or even the caprice of the lawgiver. According to them Religion was either blind obedience, or a kind of knowledge which contained truth of an inferior order. On the other hand, Ghazali represents Religion as the expression of his inner being. It is for him more than Law and more than Doctrine: it is the
TRANSLATION OF BOOK XX OF THE
IHYA ULUM AL-DIN
THE BOOK OF THE CONDUCT OF LIFE AS EXEMPLIFIED BY THE
PROPHETIC CHARACTER, WHICH IS THE TENTH BOOK OF THE
“QUARTER OF CUSTOMS’’ OF THE BOOK OF THE REVITALIZATION
OF THE SCIENCES OF RELIGION’
In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate.
Praised be Allah, who created the universe, embellished its form and order, and caused His prophet Muhammad-may Allah praise him and grant him peace-to be well mannered; and who, having adorned his conduct and purified his qualities and character, selected him as His chosen and His beloved. Praised be Allah who guides the copying of Muhammad’s attributes by them whose refinement he desires, and who prevents the assuming of his character by them whose debasement He desires. May Allah bless our lord Muhammad, the lord of the messengers, his good and chaste family, and may He grant (them) peace.
To begin : Verily one’s external manner is the mark of one’s inner manner, and the movements of the productive members of the body are the results of passing thoughts. Moreover, actions are the result of character, and fine breeding is the distillate of knowledge. Indeed, actions are rooted and originate in the innermost thoughts of the heart. [Verily] the innermost lights of the heart shine upon one’s external behavior, adorning and embellishing it, and substitute good qualities for disliked and evil ones. Furthermore he whose heart is not humbled, his external members are not humbled; and he whose chest is not the niche of the divine lights, there does not spread over his external features the beauty of the prophetic manner.
I had resolved to end the “Quarter of the Customs” of this Book with a comprehensive book dealing with the manners of living, in order that their deduction from the entirety of this book should not be difficult for the student. Then I realized, however, that each book of the “Quarter of Customs” had already dealt with a particular class of manners, and since I find the task of repetition painful and tedious-people being disposed to a dislike of the repetition of customs-I have decided to restrict myself in this book to the mention of the manner and character of the Apostle of Allah as related by tradition. In this, I will weave together the reports, section by section, without their isnads, in order that there be brought together in this book, in addition to the mention of the manners [of Muhammad], the restoration and strengthening of the faith through the testimony of Muhammad’s noble character; a fact to which the single traditions testify without a doubt, namely, that he was the most noble of Allah’s creations, and the most noble in rank and in power. Hence how much more so is this true when
they (the traditions) are all combined!
To the consideration of his character I will join the mention of his physical appearance. Then I will consider his miracles by which the reports are verified, since they (the miracles) speak clearly for the noble qualities of character and nature, and remove the lid of deafness from the ears of the deniers of his prophecy. Allah, the exalted, is the Lord who directs one’s imitation of the lord of the apostles, in regard to character, qualities, and the rest of the guideposts of religion. Verily, Allah is the guide of the perplexed and the answerer of the prayers of those in need.
We will first mention the account of Allah’s disciplining Muhammad by means of the Qur’an, then the accounts concisely summarizing the fine qualities of his character, his speech and laughter, his character and manner in regard to food, his character and manner in regard to dress, his pardoning although he had the power not to pardon, his aversion from whatever he disliked, his generosity and his liberality, bravery and courage, modesty, his external countenance and appearance, and his miracles and signs which point to his truth.
The Account of Allah’s Disciplining Muhammad,
His Friend and His
The Apostle of Allah was very humble and supplicatory of Allah, continuously asking Him to adorn him with fine qualities of breeding, and the noble qualities of character. While praying he used to say, “O Allah, embellish my external and internal natures;” and, “O Allah, cause me to shun the disapproved qualities of character.” Thereupon Allah answered his prayer-faithful to his statement, “If you will call me, I will answer you” -by sending down the Qur’an and disciplining him through its teaching, so that Muhammad’s nature was the Qur’an.
S‘ad ibn Hisham said, “I visited ‘A’isha, may Allah be pleased with her and her father, and asked her concerning the character of the Apostle of Allah. She said, ‘Do you not read the Qur’an?!’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Then she said, ‘the moral nature of the Apostle of Allah was the Qur’an.”
Only the Qur’an disciplined him by the examples of its word; e.g., “Take amnesty and command what is just and shun the ignorant.”
“Verily Allah ordered justice, the doing of good, and the giving of gifts to kindred, and He forbade wickedness, wrongdoing, and oppression.”
“Be patient in whatever shall betide thee; verily, this is a bounden duty.”
“And he who bears patiently and forgives-verily, this is a bounden duty.”
“Forgive them and overlook it. Verily, Allah loves those who act generously.”
“Let them rather pardon and pass over the offence. Do you not desire that Allah forgive you ?”
“Turn away evil by what is better, and lo! he who was thy enemy will be as though he were a warm friend.”
“And who masters his anger and forgives others-Allah loves the doers of good.”
“Avoid frequent suspicions, for some suspicions are crimes. Pry not, neither let one of you traduce another in his absence.”
When Muhammad’s two teeth were broken and he was wounded in the battle of Uhud, so that the blood flowed over his face, he wiped the blood saying, “How do a people who dye the face of their Prophet with blood succeed, while he calls them to their Lord!” Therewith Allah sent down the verse, “It is not your concern,” as a correction in regard to that-there being innumerable examples of these corrections in the Qur’an.
Muhammad was the first intended for (the function of) disciplining and refining. Then the light spread from him over the whole of creation, for he was disciplined by means of the Qur’an and he in turn disciplined creation. For this reason he said, “I was sent to complete the noble qualities of character.” Thereupon mankind became desirous of the fine qualities of character as we mentioned in the book Riyadat al-Nafs wa Tadhib al-Akhlaq (The Training of the Soul and the Refinement of Character), [a process] which we will not mention here.
When Allah perfected his character, He praised him and said, “Verily you are of a noble nature.” Then Allah-how great is His state and how perfect is His bestowing of favor-viewing Muhammad‘s complete kindness and his great excellence-how munificently He bestowed-praised him. Furthermore, He [Allah] who had embellished him with the noble character added that praise and said, “Verily you are of a noble nature.” * Thereafter the Apostle of Allah explained to mankind that Allah loves the fine qualities of character and detests the bad qualities of character.
‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “How strange that a Muslim, when a fellow Muslim comes to him in need, does not regard himself obliged to bestow favor. For, even if he did not hope for reward and did not fear punishment, it still would have been necessary for him to hasten to act generously, since good actions point the path to salvation.” Then a man said to ‘Ali, “Did you hear this from the Apostle of Allah?” And ‘Ali said, “Yes, and that which is better than this. When the prisoners of Tayyi’ were brought, there arose a girl from amongst them who said, ‘O Muhammad, would that you free me and prevent the Arab tribes from rejoicing at my bad fortune; for, I am a daughter of the chief of my people, who defended the family, freed the captive, sated the hungry, fed, extended greetings, and never refused anyone who sought him in need. I am a daughter of Hatim al Tai. Then Muhammad said, ‘O girl, this us truly a description of the Muslims. If your father were a Muslim, we would say, ‘Allah have mercy on him.’ Free her! For her father loved the noble qualities of character, and verily Allah loves these qualities.’ Then Abu Burda ibn Niyar arose and said, ‘O Apostle of Allah, does Allah love the noble qualities of character ?’ And Muhammad replied, ‘By Him in whose hands is my life, no one shall enter paradise except he who is of good character.”’ And on the authority of Mu‘adh ibn Jabbel it is related that Muhammad said, “Verily Allah encompasses Islam with noble qualities of character and with fine deeds.”
Now amongst these qualities are : having pleasant social relations, doing noble actions, being submissive, bestowing favor, feeding others, extending greetings, visiting the sick Muslim whether he be pious or profligate, escorting the bier of a Muslim, protecting your neighbor whether he be a Muslim or a disbeliever, honoring the aged Muslim, answering the invitation to food, the inviting of others, bestowing pardon, making peace between people, liberality, nobility of character, forbearance, being the first to extend greeting, repressing anger, pardoning people, shunning what Islam forbids, namely, frivolous sport, vanity, song, all musical instruments, revenge, guile, slander, falsehood, avarice, niggardliness, rudeness, artifice, deception, calumny, wronging friendship, forsaking blood kindred, bad moral character, haughtiness, boasting, self-conceit, arrogance, pride, immoderation, foulness of language, rancour, envy, levity, injustice, oppression, and tyranny.
Anas ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Muhammad did not call out ‘a fine counsel’ without having induced and ordered us to follow it, not did he call out ‘fraud’ or say ‘vice’ or ‘disgraceful’ but that the cautioned and prohibited us in regard to it.” And this verse of the Qur’an will suffice for all of these maxims, “Verily Allah orders justice and good actions.”
Mu’adh ibn Jabal said, “The Apostle of Allah commanded me saying, ‘O, Mu‘adh, I command you to fear Allah, to report truthfully, to fulfill the oath, to act loyally, to avoid perfidious actions, to care for the neighbor, to have mercy on the orphan, to be soft spoken, to be liberal of extending greeting, to perform fine acts, to limit expectation, to cleave to the faith, to study the Qur’an, to love the other life, to be anxious in regard to the reckoning, to act humbly; I forbid you to abuse the learned, to accuse an honest man of lying, to obey the sinner, to disobey a just man, to put a land in disorder; and I command you to fear Allah at every stone, tree, or village, and that you show repentance for every sin, secret or public.” Thus Muhammad disciplined the servants of Allah and urged them to be well mannered and to possess the noble qualities of
WHICH CERTAIN OF THE LEARNED HAVE GATHERED
AND COLLECTED FROM THE REPORTS
Muhammad was the most forbearing, honest, just, and chaste of men. His hand never touched the hand of a woman over whom he did not have the right of control, with whom he did not have sexual relations, or who was unlawful for him to marry. He was the most generous of men. Neither a dinar nor a dirhem was left him in the evening. If something remained, and there was not anyone to whom he could give this excess-night having fallen unexpectedly-he did retire to his lodging until he was able to give this excess to who was in need of it.
Muhammad did not take of those things which Allah gave him, except his yearly provisions. He gave the remaining excess of his small quantity of dates and barley to chanty. He was never asked for anything but that he gave it [to him who asked]. Moreover he returned to his yearly provisions [which he stored for his family] and [taking of them] preferred him (the seeker) [over himself and his family]. Thus he was often in need before the end of the year, if nothing was presented to him. He patched his sandals and clothing, performed household duties, and ate meat with his women-folk.
Muhammad was the most bashful of men and did not stare into anyone’s face. He answered the invitation of the slave and the freeborn. He accepted presents, even if they consisted only of a draught of milk, or of a leg of rabbit; he ate them and requited equally for them. However, he did not eat of that which was offered to him as legal alms. He did not consider himself too great to answer the [ordinary] people and the poor. He became angry for Allah and not for his own sake. He exacted the truth even though it brought harm to him and his companions.
Muhammad, while fighting certain polytheists, was offered the help of other polytheists. However, he replied, “I do not seek assistance in conquest from a polytheist,” even though he was with few men and in need of anyone who could increase his numbers.
One of the most virtuous and best of his companions was found murdered amongst the Jews, but Muhammad did not hasten against them nor did he exceed the course of justice. Rather he accepted no more than the blood price of a hundred female camels although his companions needed a single male camel with which they would be strengthened.
Because of hunger he at times tightened a stone around his stomach. He often ate what was at hand, did not reject what was available, and did he refrain from lawful food. If there was available a date without bread, he ate it; if there was roast meat, he ate it; if there was wheat or barley bread, he ate it; if there was sweets or honey, he ate it; if there was milk without bread, he was content with it; if there was a melon or fresh dates, he ate it.
He did not eat reclining nor from a footed tray. He used his sole as a napkin. Until the time of his death, he did not dislike to eat wheat bread three days in succession as a sign that one
[should] choose neither poverty nor avarice.
He attended feasts, visited the sick, attended funerals, and walked alone without a guard amongst his enemies.
He was the humblest of men, the most silent without being insolent, and the most eloquent without being lengthy. He had the most joyful countenance, none of the affairs of the world awing him.
Muhammad wore what was at hand-at times a cloak covering
the whole body, at times a striped-cloth garment of
He mounted his servant and others behind him on the same beast. He rode whatever was possible for him. At different times he rode a horse, a male camel, a gray she mule, an ass; at times he walked on foot, barefoot without a cloak, turban, or cap.
He visited the sick in the farthest section in the city. He loved perfumes and disliked foul odors. He sat and ate with the poor. He showed regard to the people of virtue for their character and was intimate with the people of rank because of their piety. He did good for his kindred without preferring them to him who was more virtuous than they. He did not tyrannize anyone and accepted the excuse of him who begged his pardon.
He jested but he only spoke the truth. He laughed without bursting out into laughter. He witnessed the permitted games and did not disapprove of them. He raced sportingly with his family. Voices were raised against him, but he was patient.
His milk camels and sheep nourished him and his family with their milk, He did not eat better food nor wear better clothes than his male and female slave. A moment did not pass without his doing an action for Allah or [doing] that which was indispensable for the soundness of his soul. He went to the garden of his companions. He did not despise a poor man for his poverty and misfortune, nor he did not fear a king because of his power ; rather, he urged them equally to Allah.
Allah combined in him virtuous conduct and perfect rule of people, though he was untaught, unable to read or write, grew up poor amongst the shepherds in the land of ignorance and desert, and was an orphan without father and mother. Allah taught him all the fine qualities of character, the praiseworthy paths, the reports of the first and last affairs, and those matters through which there is [obtained] salvation and reward in the future life and happiness and reward in the world. Allah taught him to cleave to that which is as obligatory and to forsake the useless.
May Allah direct us to obey Muhammad in his commands and to imitate him in his actions. Amen, 0 Lord of the worlds.
Of that which Abu l-Bakhtari related, they said that the Apostle of Allah did not insult a Muslim but that he atoned for this and bestowed mercy. Moreover, he never cursed either a woman or a slave. While he was waging war it was said to him, “Would that you curse them (the enemy) O Apostle of Allah!” To which he responded, “I was sent to forgive not as a curser.” Whenever he was asked to wish evil against anyone whether he be a Muslim, a disbeliever, a man of the common people, or a man of worth, he turned from wishing him evil to blessing him.
Muhammad never struck anyone except for the sake of Allah; nor did he ever revenge himself for what was done to him except when the sanctity of Allah was violated. He never chose between two matters but that he chose the easier; not, however, when there was a sin in this choice, or which would result in the forsaking of kindred-Muhammad being furthest removed from that.
No person, whether he be free born, male or female, came to Muhammad but that he supported him in his need. Anas ibn Malik said, “By Him who sent him with the truth, Muhammad never said to me in regard to anything what he disapproved, ‘why did you do it? Moreover, his wives did not rebuke me but that he said, ‘let it be’; it was written in a book and fated.”
They said that the Apostle of Allah did not regard a bed as something amiss; for if they spread out a bed for him, he reclined upon i t ; if not, he reclined on the earth.
Allah had already described him in the Torah before he sent him in the first generation saying, “Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah; he is my chosen servant. He is neither harsh, coarse, nor clamorous in the market places. He does not reward evil with evil, but he forgives and examines the affair. He was born in Mecca, and his emigration was to Medina. His kingdom is in Syria. He and those with him clothe themselves with a waistband wrapper. Allah called him for the Qur’an and firm belief. He washes his extremities.” He is thus also described in the New Testament.
It was his nature to be the first to extend greetings to whomever he met. He was patient with anyone who asked him for help, to the point that he (Muhammad) was the one dismissed. While hand- shaking, Muhammad was never the first one to release his hand. When he met one of his companions he was first to commence handshaking; he then took his hand and clasped it, strengthening his grasp over his hand.
Muhammad did not rise or sit without the mentioning of Allah. No one sat in his company while he was praying but that he shortened his prayer and came forth to him and said, “Have you a need?” After satisfying his need, Muhammad returned to his prayer.
Muhammad sat most of the time with his feet together, grasping them like a cloth which is used as a support. His sitting place could not be distinguished from that of his companions because he sat in the last row of those assembled. He never was seen stretching his legs before his companions, lest he put anyone in a strait position the exception was when there was ample space in which there was no narrowness. Most of the time Muhammad sat facing in the direction of Mecca.
He used to show regard to his visitor to the point of often spreading his garment and seating upon it him who was neither a relative nor foster brother. He preferred his guest [over himself] by [offering him] the cushion on which he reclined; and if he refused, Muhammad urged him until he did accept it.
No one chose Muhammad as a friend, but that Muhammad regarded him as the most noble of men. He shared his attention with all his guests. Moreover he sat, listened, conversed, acted gracefully, directed himself to his guest, his company being, in spite of all that, modest, humble, and sincere. Allah said, “By the mercy of Allah, thou hast been mild towards them, but had’st thou been harsh and hard headed, they would have certainly dispersed from around thee.”
He called his companions by their “surnames” (Kunya) so as to honor and conciliate them. He surnamed whoever did not have a surname and called him by it. Muhammad also surnamed the women who did not have children. He surnamed the young boys, therewith softening their hearts.
Of all men he was the least angry and the readiest to be pleased. He was the most merciful, beneficial, and useful of men towards his fellow men.
No noise was raised in his company. When he arose he said, “Allah be praised, O Allah, I testify praising Thee that there is no God but Thou; I ask Thy pardon and repent to Thee.” Then he said, “Gabriel-may Allah bless him-taught me this.”
Of all men Muhammad had the most eloquent diction and the most pleasant speech. He said, “I am the most eloquent of the Arabs.” He also said that the people of Paradise speak the dialect of Muhammad. His speech was exiguous and compliant. When he spoke he was not a babbler. His speech was like a string of [matched] gems. ‘A’isha said, “He did not construct his speech the way you do; he spoke little, and you speak a great deal.” They said that of all men Muhammad’s speech was most concise, this quality having been brought to him by Gabriel. However, in spite of its concision his speech expressed all that he wanted to say. He used to speak comprehensively and concisely, neither exceeding nor falling short [from his purpose]. His sentences followed each other and were cohesive, so that his listener heard and understood him.
He had a powerful and most melodious voice. He was long silent, and did not speak without necessity. He did not say that which was forbidden to say. He only spoke the truth whether he was pleased or prone to anger. He avoided whoever spoke without eloquence. Moreover he used to express himself metonymically whenever he had to say anything which he loathed expressing.
When he was silent, his companions spoke. One did not argue in his presence. He warned by exhortation and by advice. Muhammad said, “Do not refute the Qur’an by comparing one part by another, for the Qur’an was sent down in various ways.”
He was the most smiling and laughing of men in the presence of his companions, admiring what they said, and mingling with them. He often laughed so that his molar teeth showed. The laughter of his companions in his presence, in imitation of him and as a sign of their regard for him, was a smile.
They said, “One day an Arab bedouin came to Muhammad while he was in a frame of mind of which his companions were ignorant; and he (the bedouin) desired to ask Muhammad something. Thereupon his companions said, ‘No, do not do it (ask him), O bedouin, for we do not know his frame of mind.’ The bedouin answered, ‘Let me! I swear by Him who sent Muhammad as a prophet that I shall not leave him until he smiles.’ Then he said, ‘O Apostle of Allah, it has reached us that the Anointed, meaning the Anti-Christ, has brought the people who were dying of hunger a bowl of soup. Do you think, you who are dearer to me than my father and mother, that I should desist from his soup, because of chastity and purity so that I die of emaciation, or do you think that I should take his soup so that when I am satiated I will believe in Allah and deny the Anti-Christ.’ Thereupon the Apostle of Allah laughed until his molar teeth showed, and said, ‘No, but Allah will reward you with that which he rewards the Believers.”’
They said that he was the most smiling and agreeable of men except when a revelation (Qur’an) was revealed to him, when he mentioned the hour of the Resurrection, and when he preached a sermon. When he rejoiced and was pleased, he was the most pleased of men. If he preached, he preached vigorously; if he were angered, being angered only for the sake of Allah, nothing could
withstand his anger. Thus he was in all his affairs.
When he undertook an affair, he entrusted the matter to Allah, renounced his strength and power, and asked for guidance, saying, “O Allah, show me the truth, qua truth, and I will follow it. Show me what is denied, qua denied, and cause me to shun it. Protect me, lest the truth become dubious to me, and I will follow my inclination without guidance from You. Cause my inclination to act in obedience to You, and may You be pleased with my soundness. Guide me correctly in regard to whatever I am, with Your permission, in doubt as to the truth. Verily You guide whomever You desire to the right path.”
The Apostle of Allah ate whatever was available. His most beloved food was that which was ‘a1a dafafin, which is defined as the multiplicity of hands upon the food (i.e., partaking of food with other people). When the table was set he said, “In the name of Allah, render the food favorable and praiseworthy and cause it to have the favor of Paradise.”
While he sat eating, he frequently joined his knees and feet just as he who prays, except that one knee was over the other knee and one foot over the other foot, and said, “I am only a servant; I eat and sit as he does.”
He did not eat very hot food, in regard to which he said, “It is without blessing; verily Allah did not feed us fire, therefore cool it.” He ate whatever was within his reach, eating with his three fingers. Sometimes he used a fourth finger but he did not eat with two finger for he said, “That is the way Satan eats.”
Uthman ibn ‘Affan brought Muhammad a sweetmeat (made of starch, water and honey), and Muhammad said, “What is this, O ‘Abd Allah ? ” ‘Uthman answered, “You who are dearer to me than my father and mother, we put butter and honey in the stone cooking pot, put it over the fire, and boil. Then we take the purest part of wheat when it is milled, and roast it over the butter and honey in the pot. It is then mixed until it is thoroughly cooked, and the result is what you see.” Thereupon Muhammad said, “This food is good.”
He ate bread made of unsifted barley and cucumbers with dates and with salt. His favorite fresh fruit were the melon and the grape.
He ate the melon with bread and sugar; he often ate it with dates, using his two hands. One day, while he was eating the dates in his right hand and storing the date stones in his left hand, an ewe passed. Muhammad showed her the date stones, and the ewe began eating out of his left hand while he ate with his right hand. When he finished eating, the ewe left.
He frequently ate grapes by putting the bunch in his mouth and drawing forth its stalk bare; [in doing this] the foam on his beard appeared as shining beads. His most frequent food consisted of water and dates. He mixed milk and dates and called them “the two best.”
His favorite food was meat, of which he said, “It is beyond fame; it is the lord of food in this world and in the next; and if I were to ask Allah to feed it to me every day, he would do so.” He used to eat soup with meat and pumpkins. In regard to pumpkins, which he loved, he said, “It is the tree of my brother Yunus.”
‘A’isha relates that Muhammad used to say, “O, A’isha, when you cook a pottage put in plenty of gourds, for verily it strengthens the heart of the grieved.” He used to eat meat of hunted birds. However, he did not follow a hunt. Rather he preferred that it be hunted and brought to him; then he ate of it.
When he ate meat, he did not lean over it. Instead he lifted the meat to his mouth and then bit into it with his front teeth. He ate bread and butter, and liked the forearm and shoulder of sheep. Of pottage, he loved gourds; of seasoning, he loved vinegar; of dates, he loved those of Medina (al-‘Ajwa), which he named “The Blessed.” Moreover he said, “It (the dates of Medina) is of Paradise and is a remedy for poison and magic.” Of vegetables, he liked the endive, mountain balm, and garden purslane, which is called al-rijla. He disliked the kidneys because of their proximity to the urine. He did not eat seven parts of the ewe, namely, the male organ, ovaries, knees, gall vesicle, goitre, vulva, and the blood, since he disliked them. He did not eat garlic, onions, or leek.
Muhammad never found fault with food. If he was pleased with it, he ate of it; if he disliked it, he neglected it; if he discarded it, he did not render it hateful to another person. He disliked the lizard and the spleen but did not declare them forbidden.
He used to wipe clean the dish with his fingers saying, “The last portion of food is very much blessed.” Moreover he licked his fingers until they became red. He did not wipe his hand with a towel until he licked his fingers one by one, saying that he did not know in which morsel of food was the blessing. When he finished he said, “Praise be to Allah! Allah, Thou art worthy to be praised. Thou hast fed, sated, given drink, and quenched thirst; praise belongs to Thee, who cannot be denied, who is eternally present, and who is indispensable.” When he ate bread and especially meat, he washed his hands vigorously and wiped his face with the excess water.
He used to drink in three portions, invoking Allah thrice. When he finished he praised Allah thrice. He sucked the water and did not gulp it.
Muhammad gave the excess of his food to him who was on his right side. If there was someone on his left, who was more illustrious as to rank, he said to him who was on his right, “It is the custom that it be given to you, but if you wish I will prefer them ?”
He sometimes drank with one breath until he was finished. He did not drink from the vessel without separating it from his mouth; rather, he avoided doing it.
There was brought to him a vase in which there was honey and milk, and he refused to drink it saying, “There are two draughts in one, and two foods in one vase.” Then he said, “I do not forbid it, but I dislike boasting in respect to the excesses of the world and calculating regarding them for the morrow; rather I love humility. For, verily, whoever is humble before Allah, Allah will extol him.”
In his house he was more modest than his freed servants. He did not ask them for food, nor did he importune them with requests for food. If they fed him, he ate. He ate whatever they fed him, and drank whatever they gave him to drink. He often rose and took that which he ate and drank (i.e., he served himself).
The Apostle of Allah used to wear whatever was at hand: e.g., a wrapper (izar), an outer wrapping garment (rida), a long shirt gown (qamis), an upper gown with full sleeves (jubba), or other garments. He used to admire green garments. He wore white garments most frequently, saying, “Wear them while you are living and shroud yourself in them when you die.” Muhammad wore a padded tunic (qaba’) for battle and for other occasions.
He had a tunic (qaba’) of fine silk brocade which was very becoming to him because of his white complexion. All of his garments were tucked up above his ankles; his waist wrapper over them (his garments) reached to the middle of his shank. His long shirt gown (qamis) was fastened by buttons, which he often unfastened during prayer and on other occasions. He had a saffron dyed cloak (milhafa) in which, wearing nothing else, he led prayer. He sometimes wore a single piece garment (kisa’) wearing nothing else. He had a padded garment (kisa’ mullabad) which he used to wear saying, “I am only a slave. I dress as the slave dresses.” He had two special garments for Friday prayer, excluding his other garments which he wore otherwise.
On occasion he only wore the waist wrapper ( izar) , tying the two ends between his shoulder blades; and so dressed, he led the people in funeral prayer. Sometimes he prayed in his house wearing the single waist wrapper, tying its two ends crosswise. Moreover he wore that particular garment on the day in which he had sexual relations. Muhammad sometimes prayed during the night in a waist wrapper, wrapping himself with the end part of the garment, which was in his reach, and laying the remainder over his wife.
Muhammad gave away a black single piece garment (Kisa’). Thereupon Umm Salama said, “You who are dearer to me than my father and mother, what happened to that black garment?” Muhammad answered, “I clothed someone with it.” Then she said, “I never saw anything which was more becoming than your whiteness against its blackness.”
Anas ibn Malik said, “I sometimes saw him lead us in prayer; his back [was] in a cloak the two ends of which he tied in a knot.” He used to wear a ring on his finger, and sometimes he went out with a string tied to his ring, thereby reminding himself of things. Muhammad used to put his seal on letters saying, “A seal on a letter is better than suspicion.” He used to wear the cap (qalanis) beneath his turban (‘imama) and without a turban. He sometimes removed his cap from his head and making it a covering before him prayed towards it. At times, when he had no turban, he tied a black kerchief over his head and forehead. Muhammad had a turban called al-Sahib (the cloud) which he received from ‘Ali. At times ‘Ali went out wearing it, and Muhammad said, “‘Ali comes to you in a cloud.”
When he dressed, he dressed from his right side saying, “Praise to Allah who clothed me with that which I conceal my nakedness and with which I adorn myself amongst the people.” When he took off his clothing, he removed it from his left side. If Muhammad put on a new garment, he gave his shabby garment to a poor man and said, “There is not a Muslim who clothes another Muslim with his worn out clothes, doing so for the sake of Allah, but that he (the giver) partakes in the security, refuge, and benefit of Allah, whilst living or dead.”
He had a mat (bed) of skins, which was stuffed with palm fibers; its length was approximately two cubits, and its width was approximately a cubit and a span. He had a wide outer garment (‘aba’), which was spread out for him wherever it was carried and which he folded into layers. Muhammad slept on the ground with nothing else beneath him.
It was Muhammad’s habit to name his beasts of burden, his weapons, and his belongings. The name of his banner was al-‘Iqab (the eagle) ; the name of his sword with which he faced battle was dhu’ l-Faqar (possessor of vertebrae). He had a sword which was called al-Midham (the cutting sword), another called al-Rusub (the steady), and another called al-Qadib (the sharp). The handle of his sword was adorned with silver. Muhammad used to wear a belt made of skins in which were three rings of silver. The name of his bow was al-Katum (the unbroken), and the name of his quivers was al-Kafur (camphor). The name of his female camel was al-Qaswa’ (the clipped ear); it is she whom he called al-‘Adba’ (the slit ear). The name of his she-mule was al-Duldul (the hedgehog); the name of his ass was Yafur (gazelle) ; the name of the ewe whose milk he drank was ‘ina (choice).
Muhammad had a vessel for ablutions made of baked clay from which he washed and drank. The people sent to him their young children who had just reached the age of understanding. They visited the Apostle of Allah and did not quit him. When they found water in the vessel they drank from it and wiped their faces and bodies with the water. In so doing they desired the blessing [therein] for themselves.
The Apostle of Allah was the most forbearing of men and most desirous of pardoning, notwithstanding his power not to. When he divided a necklace of gold and silver amongst his companions there arose a bedouin who said, “O Muhammad, by Allah, verily, He [Allah] commanded that you act justly; whereas, I do not see you act thus.” Thereupon Muhammad said, “Woe to you; who will act equitably to you after me?” When the bedouin turned away, Muhammad said, “Bring him back to me gently.”
Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah a related that the Apostle of Allah, in a wet garment, was giving people silver on the Day of Khaybar. Thereupon a man said to him, “O Apostle of Allah, act justly!” Then the Apostle of Allah said, “Woe to you; who will act justly if I do not act justly? in that case I would have failed and lost, if I did not act equitably.” When ‘Umar ibn al-Batt5.b rose and said, “Shall I not strike his neck, for verily he is a hypocrite ?” To which the Apostle of Allah answered, “God forbid, that the people should relate that I kill my companions!”
The Apostle of Allah was in battle, and there was observed a carelessness amongst the Muslims, so that a man advanced against the Apostle of Allah with a sword saying, “Who will defend you against me ?” Muhammad said, “Allah,” and the sword fell from his hand. Seizing the sword Muhammad said, “Who will defend you against me?” And the man replied, “Be quick about it;” to which Muhammad said, “Say, I testify that there is no God other than Allah and that I am the Apostle of Allah!” The man replied, “No, I only say that I will not fight you, nor will I be with you, nor will I be with a people who will fight you.” Thereupon Muhammad released him. When Muhammad came back to his companions he said, “I come to you from the presence of the best of men.”
Anas ibn Malik related that a Jewish woman brought the Prophet a poisoned ewe in order that he eat from it. She was then brought to the Prophet who asked her in regard to this matter. She said, “I desired to kill you;” then Muhammad said, “Allah did not empower you over that.” Thereupon they asked, “Shall we not kill her?” and he said, “No.”
A certain Jew bewitched Muhammad, and Gabriel informed him of that. Thereupon he drew forth (the charm) and untied the knots so that the sorcery was removed. However, Muhammad did not mention nor reveal this matter to the Jew.
‘Ali said, “The Apostle of Allah sent for me, al-Zubayr [ibn al-‘Awwam] and Miqdad [ibn ‘Amr al-Aswad] and said, ‘Go until you come to Raudat Khakh, where you will find a woman whose husband has left her. In her possession there is a letter. Take it from her.’ We went until we reached Raudat Khakh, and we said [to the woman], ‘Bring forth the letter,’ to which she replied, ‘I have no letter.’ Then we said, ‘Bring forth the letter or we will take off your garments.’ Therewith she brought out the letter from her plaited hair. When we brought the letter to the Prophet, behold there was contained therein a missile of Hatib ibn Abi Balta‘a to certain polytheists in Mecca, which informed them of one of the affairs of the Prophet. Then Muhammad said to him, ‘O Hatib, what is this?’ to which he replied, ‘O Apostle of Allah, do not hasten against me. Verily, I was a man who was adopted amongst my people, and there are amongst the refugees with you those who have relatives in Mecca who protect their families. I desired, since I was unrelated to them, to choose amongst them a hand with which my kindred would be protected. However, I did not do that out of unbelief, or preferring unbelief after being a Muslim, or out of apostasy.’ Thereupon ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, ‘Let me kill the hypocrite’; and Muhammad replied, ‘Verily he was at Badr, and how do you know, perhaps Allah examined the people of Badr and said, ‘Do you what you will, I have already forgiven you.” The Apostle of Allah distributed allotments, and one of the Ansar 3 said, “This is a distribution by means of which the pleasure of Allah is not intended.” When this was mentioned to the Prophet, his face reddened and he said, ‘‘Allah have mercy; my brother Moses had suffered more than this, and he was patient.” Muhammad used to say, “Let no one of you inform me of anything [unfavorable] regarding one of my companions, for I like to go out to you with a sound heart.”
The Apostle of Allah had thin skin and was delicate internally and externally, so that his anger and his pleasure was visible in his face. When he became very excited, he touched his noble beard frequently. He id not talk with anyone in regard to what he disliked. When he was visited by a person who was wearing a yellow dye, which he disliked, he did not say anything to him until he left. Then he said to certain of people, “Would that you tell this man that he forego this (i.e. the yellow dye).” When a bedouin urinated in the mosque in his presence, and his companions intended to prevent him, Muhammad said, “Do not stop him.” Then Muhammad said to him, “These mosques are not suited to serve as places of urination, excretion, or of any foul matter.” In certain accounts it is stated, “Draw [people] close and do not scare [them] away.”
One day a bedouin came to Muhammad and asked him for something. Muhammad gave it to him and said, “Have I done well by you?” To which the bedouin answered, “No, nor have you acted decently.” Upon this reply the Muslims became angered and rose against the bedouin. At this point, however, Muhammad advised them to desist. Later, Muhammad rose and went to his lodging and sent a further amount to the bedouin and said to him, “Have I done well by you? To which the bedouin answered, “Yes, may Allah reward you with well being of family and tribe.” In reply, the Prophet said to him, “You have made a certain statement and something of that has remained in the minds of my companions. Hence would you like to say before them what you said before me, so that they would remove from their chests (hearts) what they have against you.” Thereupon the bedouin answered, “Yes.” When it was dusk or the next day, the bedouin came, and the Prophet said, “Verily this bedouin said what he said, and we increased his amount so that he asserted that he was pleased. Is that so? And the bedouin answered, “Yes, may Allah reward you with well being of family and tribe.” Then Muhammad said, “Verily the narrative of myself and this bedouin is as the narrative of the man who had a female camel which only caused her to be more frightened. Then the owner of the camel called the people and said to then, ‘Leave me and my camel alone, for verily I am gentle with her and have more understanding.’ He turned to the camel, took some sweepings for her, and returned her gently until she kneeled. Then he saddled her and sat upon her. Now, verily, if I forsook you when the bedouin said what he said, and you had killed him, he would have entered the Fire.”
Muhammad was the most generous and liberal of men. In the month of Ramadan he was like the “Sent-Wind,’’ a withholding nothing. ‘Ali, when he described the Prophet, used to say, “Of all men, he was the most liberal handed, the most open hearted, the most truthful, the most fulfilling of promise, the gentlest of temper, and the noblest toward kindred. Whoever saw him unexpectedly, was awed by him, and whoever was his intimate, loved him.” ‘Ali said, describing him, “I did not see his likeness before or after him.” Muhammad was never asked for anything for Islam but that he gave it. When a man came to Muhammad asking for something, Muhammad gave him a flock which closed the breach between two mountains. Then the man returned to his people and said, “Accept Islam, for Muhammad gives the gift of one who does not fear poverty.” * Muhammad never said, “No” when he was asked for something. Having put on the earth ninety thousand dirhem which were brought to him, he rose and divided it, not refusing anyone who asked until there was no longer any [dirhems] to distribute.
A man came and asked him for something. Muhammad, having nothing with him, said, “Buy, making me responsible, and when we will have something we will pay for it.” Thereupon ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “0 Apostle of Allah, Allah did not impose upon you what you cannot do.” This answer having displeased Muhammad, the man said, “Spend graciously, and do not fear from Allah a diminution.” The Prophet then smiled and the joy was noticeable on his face.
When he returned from Hunayn the Arabs came to him and persisted in asking until they compelled him to climb up a tree, his cloak having been snatched from him. Then the Apostle of Allah stood up and said, “Give me my cloak. If I had camels equal to the number of these trees, I would divide them amongst you; moreover you will not find me avaricious, a liar, or a coward.”
Muhammad was the most gallant and the bravest of men. ‘Ali said, “You have indeed seen me at Badr at the time when we were taking refuge in the Prophet of Allah, who was closest to the enemy. Muhammad was on that day the most courageous of men.” ‘Ali also said, “When there was intense adversity, and the people encountered each other, we preserved ourselves by the Apostle of Allah, there being no one closer to the enemy than he.”
I t is said that Muhammad spoke little. But when he ordered the people to fight, he tucked up his garments and went quickly. He was the bravest of men. The courageous person was one who was close to Muhammad in battle, because of Muhammad’s proximity to the enemy. ‘Imran ibn al-Husayn said, “The Apostle of Allah did not come upon a squadron but that he was the first to strike.” They said that he was very courageous. When the polytheists approached him, he alighted from his male camel and said, “I am the prophet; there is no falsehood in what I say. I am the grandson of ‘Abd al-Muttalib.” On that day there was not seen anyone who was more vehement than he.
Muhammad was the most modest of men regarding his noble origin. Ibn ‘Amar said, “I saw him throw stones riding on a gray camel; he did not strike, nor whip, nor did he say ‘betake yourself!’” He rode on an ass on which there was packed a hairy cloth; Muhammad, notwithstanding that, asked one to ride behind him. Muhammad used to visit the sick, follow the funeral bier, answer the call of the slave, and patch his shoes and garments. In his house he did the family duties together with the rest of the family. His companions did not rise for him because they knew that he disliked that.
When he passed young boys, he greeted them. When a man frightened by his reverential fear of Muhammad was brought to him, Muhammad said to him, “Be at rest. I am not a king. I am only the son of a woman of Quraysh, who eats dried meat.”
He sat amongst his companions conversing with them, as if he were one of them. When a stranger came, not knowing which one of them was Muhammad, he asked concerning him until the companions asked Muhammad to sit in a way in which the stranger could distinguish him from the rest. Later he sat on a mud bench which they built for him.
‘Aisha said to Muhammad, “Eat, may Allah make me thy ransom, reclining; it is easier for you.” Muhammad replied, inclining his head until his forehead almost touched the ground, “On the contrary, I eat as the slave eats sit as the slave sits.” Muhammad, until he died, did not eat off a tray, from a saucer, or from a bowl.
No one of his companions called him but that he said, “At thy service.” 3 When he sat with the people, if they spoke regarding the future world, he participated with them; if they spoke regarding food and drink, he did likewise; if they spoke regarding worldly matters, he did likewise, gently and modestly. They used to recite poetry for a period of time before him and used to mention matters which occurred in the “State of Ignorance.” Muhammad smiled when they laughed; and he did not restrain them except from that which was sinful.
There is a description of the Apostle of Allah wherein he is described as not being excessively short or tall. Rather, he was middle stature, when he walked by himself. However, there was not a tall person who walked with him, but that Muhammad appeared as tall as he. Very often two tall men flanked him, and he appeared as tall as they; but when they left him, they were tall, and Muhammad again appeared to be middle stature. Muhammad said, “The best [men] were of moderate stature.”
His complexion was azhar, neither brown nor very white. As for the term “azhar,” it is defined as pure white unmixed with red or yellow or any other color. Moreover, Muhammad’s uncle Abu Talib described him saying, “White, with his face the clouds were asked for rain. A feeder of the orphan, a protection for the widow.”
Some described him as being of a reddish hue; and they explained, however, that only those parts which were exposed to the wind and sun, such as face and neck, were of a reddish color. However, the color of the parts of his body which were not exposed was pure azhar unmixed with any red tint.
His beads of sweat on his face were like pearls; they were more fragrant than the most pungent musk. As for his hair, he had beautiful curly hair, which was neither lank nor short and woolly. When he combed his hair, it appeared as streaks of sand. It is said that his hair touched his shoulders; whereas, most of the reports state that his hair reached the lobe of his ear. Muhammad used to make four plaits with each ear exposed between two plaits. He sometimes put his hair over his ears, so that the locks of hair on his temples appeared to be shining. The total number of white hair on his head and his beard did not exceed seventeen.
Muhammad was the most handsome and luminous of men. No one described him but that he likened him to the moon on the night of Badr. His anger and pleasure were seen in his face because of the purity of his skin. They said that he was as his friend Abu Bakr al-Siddiq described him when he said, “Loyal, pure, calling to good, as the moonlight of Badr, darkness was removed from him.”
Muhammad had a wide forehead and very long arched eyebrows. The brightness [of the gap] between his two eyebrows was as if the space was made of pure silver. His eyes were very wide, black of pupil, and had a reddish tint. He had long eyelashes so that one was almost dubious of their length. The upper part of his nose was hooked, i.e., his nose was not humped. There was a space between his teeth, i.e., they were separated; and when he showed his teeth while laughing, they flashed like lightning.
He had the most beautiful lips and the most delicate closed mouth of all of the servants of Allah. He had broad even cheeks. He was not long or round faced. He had a thick beard which he let grow. He clipped his mustache. He had the most beautiful neck of all the servants of Allah-a neck that was neither long nor short. However, that part of his neck which was exposed to the sun and wind was like a kettle of silver mixed with gold, glistening because of the whiteness of the silver and the redness of the gold.
Muhammad had a broad chest, and his skin did not overlap. His chest was like a mirror in its evenness and the moon in its whiteness. Between his navel and upper chest there was a single hair which was stretched like a sword, there being no other hair on his chest or stomach. He had three belly folds; one of them was covered by the waist band, while the other two were visible. He had big, hairy shoulders; his chief bones were well covered with flesh, that is, for example, the shoulders, elbows, and hips. He had a wide back; between his shoulder blades there was the “seal of prophecy,” which was adjacent to his right shoulder. In this place there was a black mole inclining toward yellow; around it were continuous hairs, as if they were from a mane of a horse.
He was bulky of upper arm and forearm, and the bones of the forearm, i.e., his radius and ulna, were long. He was broad of palm and long of extremities. His fingers were as rods of silver. His palm was softer than silk; it was (his palm) as the perfumed hand of a perfumer, whether he did or did not perfume it. If someone shook his hand, when night fell the odor was still present. Muhammad put his hand on a boy’s head, and this boy distinguishable from his fellows by the odor of his head.
Muhammad was bulky of those parts of the body which are beneath the waist wrapper, i.e., of thigh and shank. He was well proportioned as regards fat. He became stout at the end of his life, but his flesh was almost as compact as formerly age, not having injured it.
As regards his walk, it was as though he fell off a rocky place or walked down a declivity. He walked inclined and walked the huwayna without swaggering. The huwayna is defined as bringing one’s footsteps close together.
Muhammad used to say, “I most resemble Adam, and my father Ibrahim most resembled me in external appearance and moral nature.” He also used to say, “Before my Lord I have ten names: Muhammad, Ahmad, the Abolisher through whom Allah abolishes disbelief, the Last, there being no one after him; the Assembler, God assembles them after my step; I am the Apostle of mercy, the Apostle of repentance, the Apostle of war, the Follower, I follow all the people (Prophets); I am al-Qutham.” Abu l-Bakhtari said that al-Qutham is defined as the complete perfect person. Allah knows whether this is correct.
Know, that if one witnessed Muhammad’s qualities and heard the reports which deal with his character, actions, qualities, habits, natural disposition, his ruling the various classes of people, his guiding their organization, his acquaintance with the various classes of people, leading them to obey him, together with what is related of his wondrous answers in regard to perplexing questions, his wondrous manner of maintaining the well being of the people, his excellent indications in regard to the details of the outer law, its most elementary subtleties being beyond the grasp of the legists and the wise men although it take their entire lifetime, there could not remain for him the slightest doubt or suspicion that all this was not acquired by human means. Rather, all this cannot be conceived except by seeking heavenly help and divine power, nor could all this be conceived by a liar or by a confused person. Moreover, Muhammad’s good qualities and his virtues were absolute testimony of his truth, so much so that when a true-born Arab saw him he said, “By Allah, this is not the face of a liar.” If his good qualities alone were testimony to this truth, how much more so is his truth validated by the testimony of one who witnessed his character and studied his qualities in all his dealings!
We, however, only presented some aspects of his character in order that the fine quality of his character may become known, and in order that one become mindful of his truth, of his high rank, and his great place with Allah. Moreover Allah bestowed all that upon him, even though he was untaught, did not occupy himself with learning, did not examine books, did not set out in search of learning, did not cease being an orphan, and was weak and regarded as weak amongst the chiefs of the Arabs. Hence from where did he obtain the fine qualities of character and manner, the knowledge of the workings of jurisprudence only for example, besides the other sciences, not to mention his true knowledge of Allah, His angels and His books, the special properties of prophecy, were it not revelation? From whence can the human faculty do this by itself ? Furthermore, if only these matters were attributed to Muhammad, it would be enough. Whereas there were revealed his signs and miracles, which the scholar cannot doubt.
We will mention of their totality those signs and miracles which the reports have spread far and wide and which are contained in the “sound books,” as an indication of their great quantity, without, however, going into the detailed narrative. Allah changed the customary course of events through the agency of Muhammad more than once:
[1.] The moon was split at Mecca when he was asked for a sign.
[2.] He fed the great party of men in the house of Jabir [ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari].
[3.] He fed the great party of men in the house of Abu Talha [Zayd ibn Sahl].
[4.] He fed the great party of men at the battle of Bandaq [the ditch.]
[5.] Once he fed eighty people from four mudd (5 ½ pints) of barley and a she kid, which is one of the children of goats and superior to the yearling goat.
[6.] He fed more than eighty men from four round cakes of barley which h a s [ibn Malik] carried in his hand.
[7.] He fed the army from a small quantity of dates which the daughter of Bashir [ibn Sa‘d] 4 carried in her hand; moreover, after they all ate and were satiated there still remained an excess.
[8.] They washed from a small bowl, which was so narrow that Muhammad could not stretch his hand inside.
[9.] The water emerged from between his fingers, and the whole thirsting army, drank.
[10.] There being no water, he caused the water of ablution to pour forth at ‘Ayn Tabuk, and another time a t the well of Hudaybiya so that they both swelled with water. Furthermore the army at ‘Ayn Tabuk which numbered in the thousands drank until they quenched their thirst ; whereas one thousand five hundred drank from the well of Hudaybiya, 2 a well which previously had no water.
[11.] Muhammad ordered ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab to feed four hundred riders from dates which were arranged in the form of camel lying on its breast, which is the place of its kneeling. Thereupon ‘Umar fed all of them, and there remained some dates which he kept.
[12.] He threw a handful of dust against the army (foe) and their eyes were blinded; the Qur’an was revealed in regard to that stating, “You did not throw when you threw, but Allah threw.”
[13.] Allah abolished the practice of divination by sending Muhammad. Thus the practice of divination ceased to exist, although, formerly, it existed openly.
[14.] When the platform was made for him , the beam, by which he supported himself while speaking, squeaked, so that all of his companions heard what seemed like a camel sound. Thereupon Muhammad grasped the beam, and it became silent.
[15.] He urged the Jews to covet death but a t the same time informing them that they did not wish it. An obstacle intervened between them and their speech, and they were unable to utter their desire for death. And this is what is mentioned in a verse which is read publicly on Friday in all the mosques of Islam from East to West, as an exaltation for the sign therein.
[16.] Muhammad related the affairs which were beyond the reach of sensual or mental perception.
[17.] He warned ‘Uthman [ibn ‘Affan] that a clamity would overtake him, after which he would enter Paradise.
[18.] He warned ‘Ammar [ibn Yasir] that the party of unjust men will kill him.
[19.] Muhammad related that Allah would make peace between the two great Muslim parties through the agency of al-Hasan [ibn ‘Ali].
[20.] Muhammad related concerning a man who fought for the sake of Allah that he was of the people of Hell; this became evident because that man killed himself. Now these are all divine matters which certainly cannot be known by any of the ways through which knowledge was promoted not by the stars, by inspecting the shoulder, by twisting the hair, by lines on sand, nor by the auguring of birds, but by Allah’s teaching and revelation.
[21.] Suraqa ibn Malik pursued Muhammad. But the feet of his horse sank, and the dust followed him in his steps until he asked for help. Then Muhammad wished him Well and freed his horse; at the same time he told him that he would wear on his forearms the bracelets of Khosroes; and it was so.
[22.] Muhammad, on the night when the murder took place, reported the murder and the name of the murderer of al-Aswad al-‘Ansi the Liar who was in San‘a’ in Yemen.
[23.] He attacked one hundred of the Quraysh who were awaiting him. He cast dust over their heads and they did not see him.
[24.] A male camel complained, but became submissive to Muhammad in the presence of his companions.
[25.] He said to a group of his companions who were gathered, “The tooth of one of you is in the fire similar to Uhud;” they all died on the right path; but one of them apostasized and was killed for his apostasy.
[26.] Muhammad said to another group, “The last one of you is dead in fire,” and the last one of them fell lifeless into the fire, where he burned and died.
[27.] He called two trees; thereupon they came to him and joined; then he ordered them, and they separated.
[28.] Muhammad was of medium-stature, but when he walked with tall people he was as tall as they.
[29.] Muhammad urged the Christians to imprecate him, but they refused. Moreover, Muhammad informed them that if they did imprecate, they would die, and since they knew the truth of his statement they refused.
[30.] Amir ibn Tufayl’ and Arbad ibn Qays, who were the two horsemen and the scorners of the law of the Arabs, came to him and intended to kill him. However, an obstacle intervened, and Muhammad cursed them. The result was that Amir was killed by a plague and Arbad was killed by a thunderbolt which burned him.
[31.] Muhammad related that he would kill Ubayy ibn Khalaf al-Jumahi. At the battle of Uhud Muhammad scratched him slightly, and Ubayy died thereof.
 Muhammad was fed a poisoned shoulder with the result that the one who ate it with him died; however, Muhammad continued to live for forty years thereafter. Moreover the poisoned shoulder spoke to him, i.e., it informed him that it was poisoned.
[33.] He related at the battle of Badr the slaughtering places of the chiefs of Quraysh; he furthermore acquainted them man after man of their respective places; not one of them deviated from that place.
[34.] Muhammad warned that a portion of his nation would raid by sea; and it was so.
[35.] The earth was rolled up for him and he was shown its eastern parts and its western parts. Muhammad reported that a king of his nation would reach those areas collected for him. And it was so, for a king of his nation did reach from the beginning of the East, i.e., from the land of the Turks, to the extreme west, i.e., the sea of Spain and the land of the Berbers. However, they did not spread out in the South and in the North, exactly as Muhammad had related.
[36.] He told his daughter Fatima that she would be the first of his family to reach him (i.e., die); and it was so.
[37.] Muhammad told his wives that she who had the longest hand would be the quickest to reach him (die). And it was Zaynab bint Jahsh, who was the longest of hand in regard to alms, i.e., most generous, who was the first to reach him.
[38.] He stroked the udder of a barren ewe which gave no milk, and she gave milk; this was the cause of Ibn Mas‘ud becoming a Muslim. Muhammad did this another time in the tent of Umm Ma‘bad the Khuza‘ite.
[39.] The eye of a certain of his companions was dislodged and fell. Thereupon Muhammad restored it with his hand, and it became the handsomer and sounder of his two eyes.
[40.] Muhammad spit into the eye of ‘Ali who had an eye sickness at the battle of Baybar and it became sound; then Muhammad dispatched him with the banner.
[41.] They used to hear the food, which was before Muhammad, praise Allah.
[42.] The foot of a certain of his companions was smitten. Muhammad rubbed the foot with his hand, and from that moment it was well.
[43.] The provisions of the army with Muhammad having become small in quantity, Muhammad called for all that remained. When the very small quantity was collected, he blessed it and ordered them to take of it: This they did, and there was not a vessel in the camp but that it was full.
[44 ] Al-Hakam ibn al-‘As ibn Wa’il imitated Muhammad’s gait in a derisive manner. Thereupon Muhammad said, “Become like that;” and until he died, al-Hakam did not stop trembling.
[45.] Muhammad asked a woman in marriage. Her father said to him, “Verily she has leprosy,” as an excuse and as an obstacle. The truth being, however, that she was not leprous. Thereupon Muhammad said, “Be so,” and she became leprous. This woman was the mother of Sahih ibn al-Barsa’ the poet. Etc.
We have confined ourselves to those reports which are spread widely. He who suspects Muhammad upsetting the customary course of events and asserts that the reports of these occurrences were not transmitted by several independent sources and that only the Qur’an is to be regarded as mutawtir, 1 is like the one who doubts the bravery of ‘Ali and the munificence of Hatim al-Ta’i. Whereas, it is known that though the single reports of their occurrence is not mutawtir, the sum total of the occurrences gives certain knowledge. Moreover, he will not have doubts concerning the independent consecutive transmission of the Qur’an, which is the greatest everlasting miracle among mankind-there not being any other everlasting miracle by any prophet other than Muhammad. Furthermore, the Apostle of Allah contended with the orators of the people and with the eloquent men of the Arabs by means of the Qur’an, the Arab peninsula at this time being filled with thousands of them and with their oratory which was their method of boasting and vying. Furthermore, Muhammad called them to produce its likeness, or ten suras or even one sura like the Qur’an, if they doubted him. Muhammad said to them, “Say, indeed, if mankind and the Jinn should conspire to produce the like of this, they could not produce its likeness, although the one should help the other,” saying that to baffle them. The result was that they were unable to produce its likeness, and they turned away from him until they exposed themselves to slaughter and their wives and children to capture. Moreover they were unable to match or to impugn its (the Qur’an) chaste language and its beauty. And it (the Qur’an) was spread after Muhammad’s [time] throughout the zones of the world, east and west, generation after generation, age after age-there having elapsed close to five hundred years and yet no one was able to match it. Hence, how great is the ignorance of one who, reflecting upon Muhammad’s qualities, sayings, deeds, character, miracles, the continuance of his law till the present, its spreading throughout the zones of the world, the submission rendered to it by the kings of the earth in Muhammad’s own age and in the following ages, notwithstanding his being weak and an orphan, still doubts his truth after that! And how great is the salvation of one who believes Muhammad, has faith in him, and follows him in regard to all his doings.
We ask Allah to help us imitate Muhammad’s character, actions, qualities, and sayings, through His grace and the ampleness of His generosity.
The book of the “Conduct of Life as exemplified by the Prophetic Character” is ended with praise of Allah, by means of His help, His grace, His generosity. And there will follow it, if Allah will, the book of “The Exposition of the Wonders of the Heart” of the “Quarter of the Causes of Perdition.”
ABSTRACTS OF MATERIAL FROM
1. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, I, part I
P. 96. When he was born, there arose a light from his mother which illuminated the castles of Syria.
Pp. 96-97. His skin is split and there is removed from his heart a black clotted lump. His heart and insides are washed with snow.
P. 98. He produces water in a miraculous way for his uncle Abu Talib.
P. 99. Two monks recognize Muhammad as a prophet.
P. 101. Miracles on his business trip to Syria.
P. 102. Trees and stones greet him.
Pp. 103-105. Muhammad is predicted by Samuel and others.
P. 106. A monk predicts the return of the religion of Abraham through Muhammad.
A Jew predicts the birth of Muhammad.
P. 107. Signs by the stars in Heaven.
P. 111. Food miracles. As a child he was neither hungry nor thirsty.
P. 112. A tree greets him. Two trees come together a t his call.
P. 113. He sees into the heavens.
His eyes slept but not his heart.
He sees Gabriel and Michael in his dreams.
Pp. 113-114. A poisoned sheep tells him that it is poisoned.
P. 114. Food miracle, i.e., he increases the amount of food.
A wolf tells a man regarding his wondrous powers.
P. 115. Muhammad answers questions posed to him by the Jews.
P. 116. An ass goes faster than usual because of Muhammad.
P. 117. He produces rain to save the crops.
He feeds a great multitude.
He puts his hand in a vessel and produces sufficient water for all present.
P. 118. Water flows from between his fingers.
P. 119. He feeds a great multitude from a small quantity of dates.
Pp. 119-120. He slakes the thirst of a multitude with the water in a small drinking cup.
P. 121. A palm tree answers his call. He provides water at Hudaybiya.
P. 122. He causes a barren ewe to give milk. This causes Ibn Mas‘ud to become a Muslim.
P. 123. He increases the amount of gold at hand.
A Jewish boy testifies that he is described in the Torah.
He causes a sheep to give milk in the home of Umm Ma’bad.
P. 124. He saves a camel from slaughter and indicates the cause of its coming to him.
Food miracle, i.e., there is an increase in food at hand.
P. 125. He puts back the fallen eye of one of his companions, and it becomes the best and handsomest of his two eyes.
He changes a branch into a sword.
He causes a beam to cease making noise.
He causes the legs of Suraqa ibn Malik’s horse to become stuck in the mud.
PP. 125-126. He reveals that the ban by which the Band Hisham were prevented from engaging in commercial and social relations was destroyed by worms.
P. 126. A woman is visited by a bird telling her that a prophet was sent in Mecca.
2. Abu Nu‘aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa
There are the following chapters dealing with various classes of Muhammed’s miracles:
Chap. 15. The speaking of birds and animals.
Chap. 16. The approaching of trees.
Chap. 17. The greeting of trees.
Chap. 18. The “wailing” of the wooden pillar.
Chap. 19. The flowing of water from between his fingers.
Chap. 20. The increase in food.
Chap. 21. Food saying “God be praised.”
Chap. 22. Miracles which occurred during his battles.
Chap. 23. His reporting of hidden matters and their verification.
Chap. 24. Miracles at his death.
Chap. 25. Parallelism between the prophets in respect to their excellencies and miracles.
3. al-Buakhari, Sahih-Katib Manaqib
P. 396. He fills the empty water bags of a woman. This quenches the thirst of forty men and causes of the woman and her family to become Muslims.
P. 397. Water pours forth from his fingers Water miracle repeated at Hudaybiya [there are seven accounts of water miracles].
P. 398. He feeds seventy people in the house of Abu Talha.
P. 399. The food proclaims the majesty of God while it is eaten.
Muhammad causes the palm tree to produce enough dates to pay the debt of one of his companions.
P. 400. The feeding of many in the house of Abu Bakr.
He causes the rain to fall and prevents a drought.
He silences the “wailing” of the palm-tree trunk [there are four traditions of this].
P. 401. Muhammad says that the “Final Hour” will not come until the Muslims will fight a people whose shoes are made of hair, the Turks, and those who have small eyes and brown faces, short noses, and faces like shields covered with skin.
Muhammad said that the worst of those before Islam will be the best during Islam, and to see him will be better than to have family and wealth.
P. 402. The “Final Hour” will not come until the Muslims fight the Persians.
The Muslims will fight the Jews and they will be victorious.
P. 403. The Muslims will carry away the treasure of Khosroes.
P. 404. Muhammad predicts disaster. The pious will be killed when the people’s sins will have increased.
He predicts a time when sheep will be considered the greatest wealth, and one will flee from troubles.
P. 405. He predicts the death of his people through certain members of Quraysh.
Muhammad predicts the disasters to befall Islam. He advises one to be loyal to the Community and to the Imam. If there is no Community and no Imam, he urges one to flee and to cling to the root of the three until death.
P. 406. The “Last Day” will not come until many imposters will assert that they are prophets of God.
P. 407. Certain people will come and speak the words of the Prophet, and they are to be killed.
the debt of one of his companions.
P. 408. He prevents Suraqa ibn Malik from chasing him by causing his horse to fall in the mire.
P. 409. The corpse of a converted Christian, who served as his secretary and who claimed that Muhammad only knew what he wrote for him, was cast up by the earth and could not be buried by the Christians.
Muhammad says that after the death of Khosroes, there will not be any other Khosroes after him; and after the death of Caesar there will not be any Caesar.
Pp. 409-410. He dreams of two impostors al-‘Ansi and Musaylima.
P. 410. He dreams the foreshadowing of the defeat at Uhud and the victory at Mecca.
Muhammad informs Fatima that she will be the first of his family to die after him.
P. 411. He predicts that al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali will bring peace between two groups of Muslims.
He announces the death of people before it is reported.
P. 412. He predicts that a certain Muslim will cause the death of another Muslim.
P. 413. Muhammad’s view regarding adultery as stated in the Torah, when challenged by Jews, is verified on inspection of the Torah.
Muhammad shows his opponents the split moon.
P. 414. Two separate “lamps” light the way of two of Muhammad’s companions when they leave him during a dark night. When the two go their separate ways, each of the “lamps” precedes them until they reach their respective houses.
P. 38. Water flows from between his fingers.
P. 40. Food miracle; he feeds many with little.
P. 41. Water miracle.
P. 42. He predicts exactly the total produce of a date garden.
P. 44. God protects him from those who wish to slay him.
P. 45. He is protected on a journey.
P. 66. The angels Michael and Gabriel fight with him in battle of Uhud.
P. 110. There was a stone in Mecca which used to greet him.
P. 111. Trees and mountains greet the Prophet.
The pillar of wood made noise and Muhammad silenced it.
pp. 111-112. Dates fall from palm tree and come to him; and they return when ordered.
P. 112. The Prophet put his hand over someone and blessed him; the person lived 120 years and there were only two white hairs on his head.
P. 113. Muhammad increases the amount of food so that 70-80 people eat.
P. 114. Water flows from between his fingers.
One heard the food say, “Praised be God.” Another saw water flow through his fingers.
I. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, Vol. I, Part I1
P. 90. His moral nature was the Qur’an (account of Sa‘d ibn Hisham). He had the best moral nature.
P. 91. He was the mildest and noblest of men; he used to smile; he was in the service of his family; he mended his shoes and clothes.
Muhammad never was given the choice between two things but that he chose the easier as long as there was a lot a sin involved, and he was the farthest from that. He did not avenge himself except when the honor of God was violated.
P. 92. He was more generous than the “Sent-Wind.’’
He never struck anyone except in the way of God.
Muhammad was more modest than a virgin in her boudoir.
When he liked something, it was known in his face.
P. 93. He was never asked for something to which he said, “No.”
He used to wash after urination and elimination.
P. 94. He used to give the alms himself and did not entrust the giving of them to another. He used to wash himself and did not delegate this to another.
Muhammad rode the ass and answered the call of the slaves [repeated seven times].
He used to make another person ride behind him on the same animal. He rode an ass which had no covering over it.
P. 95. He visited the sick and attended the bier.
He sat and ate off the ground. He ate and sat as a slave, saying that he was only a servant.
He used to lick his fingers after eating.
P. 96. Muhammad used to listen to the companions recite poetry and mention things of the “Days of Ignorance.” When they laughed, he smiled.
He was the bravest, the most generous, and the most courageous of men.
P. 98. He said, “O, God, enhance my moral character as you have enhanced my external appearance.”
P. 99. He was neither profligate nor immoral.
He gave everyone who asked him in the month Ramadan.
He was the most patient [person] in regard to the faults of the people.
He used to keep himself removed from a liar until he (the liar) repented.
Muhammad used to keep the handshake of the one he met until the other person let go of his hand; he continued to speak with the other person until he finished.
He never extended his knees before his guests.
When he worked at a thing, he worked stopped alternately.
P. 102. Muhammad used to greet the young children.
He never said to anyone, “Why did you do this ?”
He had a most pleasant odor.
He used to initiate poetic verses.
He used to enter for his personal needs (urination) as though he were entering his lodging.
P. 103. He did not urinate standing.
2 . Abu Nu’aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa
P. 57. The moral character of the Prophet was the Qur’an. None had a more excellent character than he. No one called him, i.e., of his companions and family, but that he said, “At thy service.” Therefore, the Qur’an was revealed stating, “Verily you are of a great moral character.”
In all his concerns he was governed by the Qur’an. He was the gentlest of men. He did not refuse the water brought to him by a male or female servant for a blessing even on a cold day. A person never asked him anything but he hearkened to him.
Muhammad never departed from anyone until the other person departed first. No one took his hand but that he offered it to him; and he did not let go of it until the other person let go.
The Prophet was never given a choice between two matters but that he chose the easier of the two, except when there was a sin involved; and he was the furthest removed from that. He did not take revenge for anything, except when the honor of Allah was violated. He never struck anyone except in the way of Allah.
The Prophet, according to Anas ibn Malik, did not slander, beat, upbraid, frown, and was never angry with him when he delayed doing what he ordered him to do. When one of Muhammad’s family became angry with him, he said, “Let him be, for if a thing is determined, it will be.”
When he was told by a woman that she had business with him, he told her to choose the way and he would go with her. He went alone with her to discuss her needs until they were resolved.
P. 58. Muhammad was asked by a bedouin, who so tugged at his garment that the end piece was ripped, to give him his wealth. Thereupon Muhammad laughing ordered that it be given to the bedouin.
P. 227. The Prophet was burdened with sorrows and cares from which there was no respite. He was continuously reflecting, long silent, and spoke only when it was necessary. He spoke fluently and concisely. He separated his speech and spoke neither more nor less than was sufficient. Muhammad was mild tempered, civil, and did not insult anyone. He respected wealth and well-being; but if it became diminished, he did not find fault with it. He neither praised nor blamed what he tasted. Worldly matters did not rouse him to anger. When he quarreled about the truth, no one knew him, nor could one withstand his anger until he won. He neither got angry for himself nor did he win for himself. When he showed anyone a place he pointed with his whole hand. When he admired something he turned the flatness of his hands up, i.e., he turned his palms up. When he spoke, he joined his hands and stuck the inner palm of his right hand with the inner palm of his left hand. When he became angry, he turned and averted h i s gaze). He used to smile. When he was happy, he lowered his glance. When he smiled he showed his teeth which were like hailstones [in their whiteness]. He divided his possessions into three parts: a portion to Allah, a portion to the family, and a portion to himself. Then he divided his portion between himself and the common people. He used to prefer the family of excellence and divided among them according to their excellence in religion, there being amongst them those who had many needs. Muhammad busied himself with the welfare of the people and told them what it was necessary for them to do. He kept silent except in what concerned the people. He frequented their society and did not neglect them. He honored the noble people and appointed them over the rest. He was wary of people and guarded against them without, however, removing his countenance and joyful expression from them. Muhammad regretted the absence of his companions; he asked people regarding their affairs. He liked the beautiful and loathed the shameful. He was moderate without disagreeing. He was not unmindful since he feared that the people would be careless or that they would hesitate. He was prepared for all circumstances. He did not diminish or exceed the truth.
The Prophet did not stand or sit except by mentioning God. He did not choose a special sitting place for himself, but sat in the last row of those assembled. He gave his attention to all his guests, and his guest did not think that anyone was more honored than himself. He sat, stood, and had patience with one in need until he (Muhammad) was the one who was left. Whenever he was asked for anything, he never refused. He was a father to his people. His character and open handedness held the people. His conduct in company was moderate, patient, and sincere. No noise was raised in his presence. That which was forbidden was ignored. The mistakes of his assembly were not mentioned. They contended with him equally with regard to the fear of God, and modestly they honored the great and expressed pity for the small. They preferred the one in need and remembered the one absent.
Muhammad was always joyful, easy going, and compliant. He was neither harsh nor rude. He was neither clamorous in the market place, gross, fault finding, nor a jester. He was unmindful of that which he did not covet nor did he despair of it or express disappointment. He neither blamed, reviled, nor sought out one’s mistakes or one’s shame. He only spoke in regard to that which he hoped for a reward. When he spoke, his guests remained silent with their eyes cast down, at though their was a bird on their heads. When he was silent, they spoke. They did not disagree or argue in his presence. When anyone spoke, they listened to him until he finished. He laughed at whatever they laughed at and admired whatever they admired. Muhammad was patient with any stranger who came to him, even though he was vulgar and that the company had to turn him away. He told his companions that if they saw anyone in need they should direct him properly. He did not receive praise except when it seemed appropriate. He did not curtail anyone’s speech until it exceeded [propriety]. (p. 229) Then, however, he interrupted him prudently. His silence was fourfold:
(1) for forbearance, (2) as a warning, (3) as a valuation, and (4) as reflection.
3. al-Bukhari, Sahih-Kitaib Manaqib
P. 393. The Prophet was the most generous of men. His generosity was greatest in Ramadan because Gabriel visited during the night and taught him the Qur’an. He was more liberal than the “Sent-Wind” [which is the precursor of the refreshing rain].
When he was happy, his face lit up and resembled the moon.
Muhammad said he was sent to complete his mission from the best eras from the time of Adam ’ti1 the present, i.e., he was predestined at the time of Adam.
The Prophet let his hair fall loose on his brow, while the polytheists parted their hair. The “People of the Book”, i.e., the Jews and Christians used to let their hair fall in front of their brow, and Muhammad liked to follow the “People of the Book” in regard to that in which there was no order not to. Later, however, he parted his hair.
P. 394. The Prophet was never immoral, gross, or profligate. He said that the best amongst the people are those with the best character.
Muhammad was never given a choice between two things, but that he chose the easier as long as there was no sin involved. If there was, he was the most removed from that. He did not revenge
himself for anything done him except when the honor of God was slighted.
The Prophet was more bashful than a young virgin in her boudoir.
When he was displeased, it was visible in his face.
He never criticized food; if the food was desirable, he ate it; if not, he left it alone.
When the Prophet bowed down in prayer, he widened his arms so that one saw the whiteness of his armpits.
He did not raise his hands very much during prayer except during the prayer for rain. Then he raised his hands so high that one saw the whiteness of his armpits.
He spoke so that one could count his words. He did not speak the way other men spoke.
4. Muslim, Sahih-Kitaib Fada’il
Pp. 48-49. Muhammad’s mercy.
P. 51. Muhammad is the last of the prophets.
Pp. 53-66. Muhammad is compared to one who is first to give water to those who come to the basin.
Pp. 67-68. Muhammad’s courage is manifested when he urges people of Medina not to be frightened by sounds.
Pp. 68-69. He was the most generous of men, and most generous in the month of Ramadan. He was more generous than the “Sent-Wind.”
P. 69. Anas ibn Mdik reports that while serving Muhammad for ten years, Muhammad never said to him why he did or did not do a certain thing.
P. 70. He never found fault with anything.
He had the finest character.
P. 71. Muhammad was never asked for anything to which he said, “No.”
P. 72. He gives a bedouin enough sheep to fill the gap between two mountains. This bedouin goes to his tribe and says, “Become Muslims, for Muhammad gives and does not fear poverty.”
P. 74. His tenderness for children is shown when he weeps over the death of his son Ibrahim.
P. 76. He used to kiss al-Hasan saying, “He who does not show tenderness, no tenderness will be shown him.
Muhammad was more modest than the young virgin in her boudoir.
P. 78. When he did not like anything, it was seen in his face.
P. 79. He was neither gross nor profligate. He said that the best amongst his companions was he who had the best character.
Muhammad used to converse with his companions regarding the matters of the “Days of Ignorance”; and he used to laugh and smile.
P. 80. Muhammad was tender to women. He ordered the camel driver to slow his pace so that the women would not be hurt by the camel’s speed.
P. 81. The people used to seek blessings by having him put his hand in the pitchers of water which were brought to him. Moreover, he did this even on a cold day.
The people used to collect his hair when his head was shaved.
P. 83. Muhammad walked with a woman who came to him in need until her affair was resolved.
He never took revenge for anything except when the honor of God was violated. He never was given the choice between two things but that he chose the easier, except when there was sin
P. 84. Muhammad never struck anyone with his hand, neither male nor female servants, except when he exerted himself in the way of Allah.
P. 85. His hand was softer than silk and was perfumed.
P. 86. His compaction was azhar, i.e., luminous; his beads of sweat were like pearls. When he walked he swaggered.
P. 87. They used to make perfume with his sweat and considered it a blessing for the children. .
5. al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Shama’il
Pp. 59-60. The Prophet was burdened with sorrow and cares from which there was no respite. He was continuously reflecting, long silent, and spoke only when it was necessary. He spoke fluently and concisely. He separated his speech and spoke neither more nor less than was sufficient. Muhammad was mild tempered, civil, and did not insult anyone. He respected wealth and well-being; but if it became diminished, he did not find fault with it. He neither praised nor blamed what he tasted. Worldly matters did not rouse him to anger. When he was quarreling about the truth, no one knew him, nor could one withstand his anger until he won. He did
not get angry for himself nor did he win for himself. When he admired something, he turned the flat part of his hands up. When he spoke, he joined his hands and hands and stuck the inner palm
of his right hand with the inner palm of his left hand. When he became angry, he shunned and averted [his gaze]. He used to smile. When he was happy he lowered his glance. When he smiled he showed his teeth which were like hailstones [in their whiteness].
P. 96. Muhammad said, “Do not lavish praises on me the way the Christians do with Jesus. I am only a servant of God and His messenger. ”
A woman came to him in need and he said to her, “Sit in any of the paths of the city, and I will grant you an audience.”
He visited the sick and followed the funeral bier.
Muhammad rode an ass and answered the call of the slaves.
Pp. 98-100. He divided his possessions into three parts: a portion to God, a portion to the family, and a portion to himself. He divided his portion between himself and the common people. He used to prefer the family of excellence and to divide amongst them according to their excellence in religion, there being among them those who had many needs. He busied himself with the welfare of the people and told them what it was necessary for them to do. He kept silent except in what concerned the people. He frequented their society and did not neglect them. Muhammad honored the noble people and appointed them over the rest. He was wary of people and guarded against them without, however, removing his countenance and joyful expression from them. He regretted the absence of his companions. He asked people in regard to their concerns. He liked the beautiful and loathed the shameful. He was moderate without disagreeing. He was not unmindful, since he feared that the people would be careless or that they would hesitate. He was prepared for all circumstances. He did not diminish or exceed the truth.
The Prophet did not stand or sit except by mentioning Allah. He did not choose a special sitting place for himself. He sat in the last row of those assembled. Muhammad gave his attention to all his guests, and a guest did not think that anyone was more honored than himself. He sat, stood, and had patience with one in need, until he was the one who was left. Whenever he was asked for anything, he never refused. He was a father to his people. His character and openhandedness held the people.
His conduct in company was moderate, patient, and sincere. No noise was raised in his presence. That which was forbidden was ignored. The mistakes of his assembly were not mentioned. They contended equally with him with regard to the fear of Allah, and modestly they honored the great and expressed pity for the small. They preferred the one in need and remembered the one absent.
P. 101. Muhammad used to remember the Qur’an at all times.
P. 102. He never asked Anas ibn Malik who served him for ten years why he neglected to do anything. He had the best character.
P. 103. His odor was more perfumed than musk. He had the softest palm.
He did not tell a person who had a yellow dye to remove it, rather when he left he told others to tell that person to remove it.
Muhammad was not a profligate and was not boisterous in the market; he did not requite evil for evil instead he forgave.
He never struck anyone except in the way of God.
P. 104. He never revenged himself for an evil done him except when the honor of Allah was violated.
He never chose between two things but that he chose the easier of the two so long as there was not a sin involved.
Pp. 104-105. Muhammad was always joyful, easy going, compliant; he was neither harsh nor rude. He was neither clamorous in the market place, gross, fault finding, nor a jester. He was unmindful of that which he did not covet, nor did he despair of it or express disappointment. He neither blamed, reviled, nor sought out one’s shame or one’s mistakes. He only spoke in regard to that which he hoped for a divine reward. When Muhammad spoke, his guests remained silent with their eyes cast down, as though there was a bird on their heads. When he was silent, they spoke. They did not disagree or litigate in his presence. When anyone spoke, they listened to him until he finished. He laughed at whatever they laughed at and admired what they admired. He was patient with any stranger who came to him, even though he was vulgar and the company had to turn him away. He told his companions that if they saw anyone in need they should direct him properly. He did not receive praise except when it was appropriate. He did not curtail anyone’s speech until it exceeded propriety; then he interrupted him prudently or he stood up.
P. 105. Muhammad never said, “No” to anything which he was asked.
He was the kindest in the month of Ramadan.
P. 106. A man came to Muhammad and asked him for something. Thereupon he replied, “I have not anything with me but go and buy a making responsible for it.” Then ‘Umar said, “You have already given him, and Allah did not impose upon you that which you are not able to do.” Muhammad became angry, and a man from the Ansar said, “Give, and do not fear from Allah a diminution.”
He used to take gifts and requited for them.
P. 107. He was more modest than a virgin in her boudoir.
6. Abu Nasr al-Sarraj, Kitab al-Luma’, Chap. XLVIII
P. 96. Muhammad said, “Allah disciplined me and embellished my manners”; he also said, “I am the most knowing and most fearing of God.”
Muhammad was given the choice of being a prophet who was also king or a prophet who was a servant, and he chose to be a prophet who was a servant who would be sated one day and hungry the next.
Muhammad refused the world which was presented to him. Muhammad said, “If I had gold the height of Mt. Uhud, I would spend it for the sake of Allah, except that portion reserved for debts held against me.”
Muhammad did not store anything for the morrow. He only once stored the yearly food for the sake of his family and for the envoys which might come to him.
He did not have two long shirt gowns (qamis). Muhammad was not particular regarding food. Until he died he never ate his fill of wheat bread-a matter which he did by his own choice rather than by necessity.
He said to one of his companions that he spend and not fear from God a diminution.
P. 97. He also told a woman not to store up her food for the morrow for God grants sustenance for every day. Muhammad never declared food to be defective; if he desired it, he ate it; if he did not, he left it.
Muhammad never was given the choice between two things but he chose the easier of the two.
He was neither a sower, merchant, nor a cultivator. He wore woolen garments, patched his sandals, milked the ewe, soled his shoes, and patched his clothing. He did not disdain to ride an ass and to put someone in back. Muhammad disliked the rich and did not fear poverty. Months used to pass and a light was not lit in his house for cooking food; his food consisted of dates and water. Muhammad used to say, “O Allah, cause me to live and die poor. Place me in the company of the poor. Sustain the family of Muhammad with its food day by day.”
Muhammad used to shackle the male camel and feed water carrying animals. He swept the house, soled his shoes, patched his garments, milked the ewe, ate with the servants, ground wheat when the female servant was tired, and carried his wares from the market place to his family. He shook hands with the rich and the poor. Muhammad was the first to extend greeting. He did not refuse one who called him and did not regard as paltry an invitation even if he was invited to eat dates of bad quality.
Muhammad was easy going, had a noble nature, was graceful in social relations, and cheerful. He smiled without laughing, was grieved without frowning, moderate without weakness, and generous without being a squanderer.
P. 98. He was soft hearted. He was continuously [silent] with his eyes cast downward; he was merciful to every Muslim. He never belched from satiety, nor did he stretch out his hand to food [variant: or to anything he coveted].
‘Aisha said, “He was more generous then the ‘Sent-Wind’.’’
Muhammad gave a man enough sheep to fill the space between two mountains. This man then went to his tribe and said, “Indeed Muhammad gives as one who does not fear poverty.”
Muhammad was not a blusterer nor a profligate. He sat and ate on the earth.
He wore the woolen striped cloak (suf), sat with the poor, walked in the markets, rested his head upon his hand. He allowed one to revenge himself on him. He was not seen laughing with his mouth full. He never ate by himself. He never struck his servant nor did he strike anyone with his hand except for the sake of Allah.
He did not sit cross legged not did he eat reclined. Muhammad said, “I eat and sit as the servant.” Because of hunger he used to bind a stone around his stomach.
Muhammad wore a napkin which was ornamented. Later, however, he threw it away.
Muhammad said that he was the son of a woman who ate dried meat.
He said, “Do not regard me to be superior to Yunus ibn Matta.”
P. 99. He also said, “I am the lord of the children of Adam, and it is not a boast.”
Muhammad said that he gave to some and not to others; but those to whom he gave were not more beloved to him than those from whom he withheld giving.
Muhammad said that the first to enter paradise are the poor of the Ansar, Moreover the poor will enter paradise five hundred years before the rich.
He said, “What have I to do with the earthly matters ?” Muhammad said that religious men suffer tribulation, the prophets most of all.
He withdrew himself from the world, and he did not accumulate wealth. When he died, his breast plate was held by a Jewess as a pledge for a measure of barley. He did not leave a dinar nor a dirhem; he did not distribute an inheritance. Muhammad used to receive presents. However, he did not eat of the legal alms.
He said, “Verily, Allah loves the fine qualities of character and detests the bad qualities of character.”
P. 100. Muhammad was modest, liberal, trusting in Allah, easily pleased, mindful of Allah, thankful, forbearing, patient, forgiving, compassionate, friendly, faithful of council, calm, meek, modest, poor, generous, obedient, vigorous, courageous, gentle, sincere, abstemious, truthful, humble, fearful, honored, showed regard to others, prayed, had hope and fear, sought refuge in Allgh prayed in need, pitied, and waged battle against the nonbelievers. He was continuously preoccupied with sorrow.
Muhammad prayed until his feet swelled; and when he was asked why he did this, he said, “I am a thankful servant.”
Muhammad used to forgive those who injured him. He never took revenge for something done to him. He never got angry for his own sake, but only when the honor of Allah was violated. To the widow he was as a compassionate husband, and to the orphan he was a merciful father.
Muhammad said, “O Allah, I am a man, and I get angry as a man gets angry. Whomever I may have wounded or cursed, make it as an atonement for him.”
Anas ibn Malik said, “I served the Apostle of Allah for ten years and he did not beat or oppress me; he did not ask me regarding that which I did why I did it, nor regarding that which I did not do why did not do it.” Muhammad was lenient with the Meccans in spite of their previous treatment of him and his followers.
I. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, Vol. I, Part 11
P. 120. His complexion was white mixed with red. He had wide black eyes, straight hair, thick beard, and smooth cheeks. He had thin hair on his chest. His neck was like a pot of silver. There was a hair, running from the upper part of his chest to his navel, which was like a cutting sword; there was no other hair on his chest or belly. He had thick palms and feet. He walked as if he went down a declivity. The perspiration on his face was like pearls and more pleasant than musk. He was neither tall nor short.
P. 121. He had a thick head, big eyes, long eyelashes. His eyes had a reddish tint. His complexion was azhar. He had a thick beard.
Pp. 121-122. [Description of him by ‘Ali]. He was middle sized. He did not have lank or short curly hair. He was not fat, had a white circular face, thick palms and feet, and walked as if he were walking down a declivity. He had the “seal of prophecy” between his shoulder blades. He was the most truthful man in regard to tongue, the gentlest in respect to temper, the most generous of men, and noblest in regard to sociability. When one saw him unawares, one feared him; but he who spoke to him as a friend loved him. I [‘Ali] never saw anyone like him before or after him.
P. 123. His hand was smoother than silk and more pleasant than musk.
P. 125. His face was like the moon and sun. He was broad shouldered.
P. 127. Description of the whiteness of his armpits.
2. Abu Nu‘aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa
P. 227. He was bulky. His face shone like the moon on the night of Badr. He was taller than middling stature and shorter than conspicuous tallness. He was thick headed and had curly hair; the plaids of his hair were parted. His hair reached beyond the lobe of his ear. His complexion was azhar. He had a wide forehead and fine, long, arched eyebrows which did not meet. Between his eyebrows there was a vein which distended when he was angry. The upper part of his nose was hooked. He was thick bearded. He had smooth cheeks, a strong mouth, and his teeth were set apart. He had thin hair on his chest; his neck was like the neck of an ivory statue with the purity of [the whiteness] silver. He was proportionate, stout, firm gripped, even of belly and chest, broad chested, and broad shouldered. He was heavy of the bone which were well covered with meat. He was bright of part of his body which was unclad. There was joined between his navel and the upper part of his breast a hair like a sword, there being no other hair besides this. He was hairy of forearm and shoulders. He had a high chest, long forearms, and a broad palm. He had fine bones of hand and leg, was thick of palm and feet, and had long extremities. The part of the foot which does not cleave to the ground while walking was very much removed from the ground. He had smooth legs off which water glanced. Muhammad walked quickly, inclined, staidly, and long spaced. He walked as though he went down a declivity. When he turned toward someone, his head and body turned together. He used to cast his eyes downward; and he looked to the earth more than he looked to heaven. His most frequent glance was one of observation and consideration. He urged his companions on. He was the first to commence greeting when he met anyone.
P. 231. Description of Muhammad by ‘Aisha:
He was not exceedingly tall or slender, not was he exceedingly short; he was rather middle sized. Nevertheless, there was not a tall person who walked with him but that Muhammad appeared as tall as he was. Very often two tall men walked with him, and the Prophet was as tall as they; but when they left him they were tall and Muhammad again appeared to be of middle stature. Furthermore, Muhammad said, “The best [men] were of moderate stature.”
His complexion was not dead white, i.e., a whiteness which inclines to gray. He was brown; he was azhar, which is defined as pure whiteness unmixed with yellow, red, or any other color-and some so described him. He was only mixed of color of that part which was exposed to the sun and wind, and that part was of a reddish hue. The part of his body which was beneath his clothing was also azhar. His complexion regarding which there was no doubt was azhar white. There was only a redness from the sun and wind.
His beads of sweat on his face were like pearls and more fragrant than the most pungent musk.
He had beautiful hair, which was neither straight nor woolly. It appeared as streaks of sand and like writing which is on hard ground when the wind blows. When Muhammad combed his hair, he took one part upon the other and made his hair like a ring. At first it was his practice to let his hair fall between his eyes as a forelock of a horse. However, Gabriel came to him and told him to part his hair.
His hair reached his shoulders and sometimes to the lobe of his ear. He used to plaid his hair so that his left and right ear appeared between two locks. His locks pressed against the ear so that if one focused upon his ears between the black locks, they seemed as the light of glistening stars. Most of the whiteness of his hair was on his temples; and most of the whiteness on his beard was around the chin. His white hairs were like strands of silver glistening between the black hair. When he put yellow dye on his hair, which he was very much in the habit of doing, they (the white hairs) were like golden hair glistening between the untouched black hair.
Muhammad was the most handsome and luminous of men. No one described him but that they likened him to the moon on the night of Badr.
He was more handsome in the eyes of the people than the bright-faced moon; his face glistened like the moon.
Muhammad’s happiness and pleasure were visible in his face. When he was pleased, his face was like a mirror; and when he was angered his face became colored and his eye became red.
The Prophet, when pleased, was as his companion Abu Bakr described him, “Loyal, pure, calling to good, as the moonslight of Badr, darkness was removed from him.”
P. 232. Description of Muhammad by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab:
“If I were not a man, I would be like the light of the night of Badr.”
Poem of Muhammad’s Aunt:
“Let my eye cast forth tears on the chosen of the family of Hisham who is like Badr.
On the one who approves of fidelity, justice, fear, religion, and the world; the sustainer of the guideposts.
On the honest, truthful, wise, and forbearing.
The possessor of virtue; he calls to goodness and mercy.”
He was broad of palm and long of extremities; his fingers were as rods of silver. His palm was softer than silk; (his palm) being as the perfumed hand of a perfumer whether he did or didn’t perfume it. If someone shook his hand, when night fell, the odor was still present.
He had a broad chest; there was joined between his navel and upper part of his chest a single hair which was stretched like a sword.
He had a bright forehead. When his forehead became visible, it was like the brightness of a lamp. He had even and broad cheeks. He did not have a long or thick face. He had a thick beard. The tuft of hair between his lower lip and chin projected. The two extremities of the lower jaw around the tuft were like the whiteness of pearls. At the lower edge of the tuft there was a pliancy which made the tuft seem to be part of the beard.
Muhammad had the handsomest neck of the servants of Allah. It was neither long nor short. However, that part of his neck which was exposed to the sun and wind was like a kettle of silver mixed with gold, glistening because of the whiteness of the silver and the redness of the gold. That part which was beneath his clothing was like the moon at the night of Badr.
Muhammad put his hand on a boy’s head with the result that this boy was distinguishable from his fellows.
Muhammad was handsome of those parts of the body which are beneath the wast wrapper, namely, thigh and shank. He was well proportioned.
When he walked it was as though he fell off or walked down a declivity; he walked inclined, leisurely, and without swaggering. He took small steps and walked modestly. The people started out first when he walked to do good or hastened to do it ; but he drove them [to greater speed] while he did not reach his slow walk. [Literally, when he did not hasten to his leisurely walk.]
Muhammad used to say, “I most resemble Adam, and my father Ibrahim most resembled me in external appearance and moral nature.
3. al-Bukhari, Sahih-Kitab Manaqib
Pp. 391-392. al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali most resembled Muhammad. Muhammad had a white complexion. He was medium-sized. He had a bright face which was neither dead white nor brown. He did not have short, woolly or straight hair. Revelation came to him when he was forty. Muhammad received revelation for ten years in Medina and for ten years in Mecca. He did not have more than twenty white hairs in his head and beard. He was the handsomest in face and bearing. Muhammad did not dye his hair. He was thick set, had broad shoulders, and his hair reached the lobe of his ear. His face was like the moon, not like a sword. His hand was colder than snow and more perfumed than musk.
P. 394. His palm was softer than silk and satin. He had the most pleasant odor.
4 . Muslim, Sahih-Kitab Fada’il
P. 90. Muhammad used to let his hair fall on his brow as did the “People of the Book.” Whereas the polytheists used to part their hair. He did this since he liked to imitate the “People of the Book” in that which it was not ordered not to. Later, however, he parted his hair.
P. 91. He was of medium build, broad shouldered, and his hair reached the lobe of his ear. When he wore a certain red garment, they said that to one was ever so handsome.
His hair reached his shoulders. He was neither short nor tall.
P. 92. He was the most handsome in countenance and face. His hair was curly, neither wooley nor straight.
P. 93. Muhammad had a firm mouth, a reddish hue in his eye, and little flesh on his heels. He was white, handsome, and middle-sized.
P. 94. He did not dye his white hair. He had only two white hairs in his beard.
P. 95. He had a few white haits.
P. 96. He disliked for a man to pluck his white hair from his head and beard.
There was a whiteness in the tuft of hair between the lower lip and chin and at his temples.
P. 97. al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali resembled Muhammad.
When he greased his hair, no white hair was seen; but when he did not they were visible. The fore part of his head and beard were hoary. He had a thick beard. His face was like the sun and moon and round shaped. The “seal of prophecy” was like the egg of a bird.
P. 98. The seal was like a button of a palanquin.
P. 99. The seal was a mole like a nipple or wart.
P. 100. He was neither very tall nor short. He was neither dead white nor brown. He did not have straight or wooly hair. His mission began when he was forty. Muhammad lived in Mecca for ten years and in Medina for ten years and died at sixty. There were not more than twenty white hairs in his head or beard.
P. 101. His complexion was azhar.
5 . al-Tirmidhi, Sahih-Kitab Manaqib
P. 116. His hair reached his shoulders; he was broad-shouldered; he was neither tall nor short. His face was like the moon. He had thick palms and feet, bulky head and bones, long hair on his breast. He walked quickly.
P. 117. He was middle-sized, did not have lank or short curly hair, was not fat, had a white circular face, thick palms and feet, and walked as if he were walking down a declivity. He had the “seal of prophecy” between his shoulder blades. Muhammad was the most truthful man in regard to tongue, the gentlest in respect to temper, the most generous of men, and the noblest in regard to sociability. When one saw him unawares, one feared him; but one who spoke to him as a intimate friend, loved him.
6. al-Tirmidhi, Kitab Sama’il
P. 1. He was not very tall nor very short. His complexion was neither dead white nor brown. He did not have straight or crisp hair. Allah sent him as a prophet in his fortieth year; he remained ten years in Mecca and ten years in Medina. He died when he was sixty. There were not twenty white hairs in his head and beard.
P. 2. He had a brownish complexion; he walked inclined; he was middle sized, broad shouldered, and had luxuriant hair which reached the lobe of his ear. His hair reached his shoulder blades. He was most handsome in a certain red cloak. [Description by ‘Ali]. He was not tall or short. He was thick of palm and foot, thick headed, and heavy of bones, which were well covered with meat. He had long hair on his breast; while walking he inclined as though he went down a declivity. I never saw anyone like him before or after him.
P. 3. [Another description by ‘Ali]. Muhammad was middle sized, did not have lank or crisp hair, was not fat, had a white circular face, wide black eyes, and long eyelashes. When he walked, he walked as though he went down a declivity. He had the “seal of prophecy” between his shoulder blades. He was the most truthful in regard to tongue. Muhammad was most generous, the gentlest, and the noblest of men. When one saw him unawares, one feared him; but one who spoke to him as an intimate, loved him.
Pp. 4-5. He was bulky. His face shone like the moon on the night of Badr. He was taller than middling stature but shorter than conspicuous tallness. He was thick headed and had curly hair. The plaids of his hair were parted. His hair reached beyond the lobe of his ear. His complexion was azhar. Muhammad had a wide forehead and fine, long, arched eyebrows which did not meet. Between his eyebrows there was a vein which distended when he was angry. The upper part of his nose was hooked; he was thick bearded, had smooth cheeks, a strong mouth, and his teeth were set apart. He had thin hair on his chest. His neck was like the neck of an ivory statue, with the purity of [the whiteness] silver. Muhammad was proportionate, stout, firm gripped, even of belly and chest, broad-chested and broad shouldered. He was heavy of bone which was well covered with meat. He was bright of that part of his body which was unclad. There was joined between his navel and the upper part of his breast a hair which resembled a sword; there was not another hair besides this. He was hairy of forearms and of shoulders; he had a high chest, long forearms, and a broad palm. He had fine bones of hand and leg, was thick of palm and feet, and had long extremities. The part of the foot which does not cleave to the ground while walking was very much removed from the ground. He had smooth legs off which water glanced. Muhammad walked quickly, inclined, staid, and long spaced. He walked as though he went down a declivity. When he turned toward someone, his head and body turned together. He used to cast his eyes downward; and he looked to the earth more than he looked to heaven. His most frequent glance was one of observation and consideration. He urged his companions on. He was the first to commence greeting when he met anyone.
P. 6. His face was not like a sword but like the moon. Muhammad most closely resembled Abraham.
P. 7. His teeth were set apart; and when he smiled, it seemed as though light came from his teeth.