“Your face was brighter than the sun
Your beauty equaled by none
You are Allah’s Chosen One
Muhammad Khaira Khalqillah...”
We all know this song. We have already memorised the lyric by-heart. Some of us might even go as far as re-playing the music video spontaneously in their brains scene by scene whenever the song is on the radio. This song, without doubt is a good song. A wonderful wasilah or approach to attract modern audience especially the younger generation to know more about the personalities and character of our beloved Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Sometimes, we whine, why do youngsters nowadays know more about singers, pop stars and celebrities more than they do of Rasululllah? Isn’t Rasulullah the one we Muslims should idolised? Isn’t his the kind of lifestyle and personality we should look up to? Isn’t he the best of mankind?
Please, do not put the entire blame on them. The reality of today’s so-called modern world which prioritizes hedonism over anything else does not seem to help the young muslims to truly adore the Prophet. The slanders and propaganda made by the Western media in effort to jeopardise the image of Rasulullah further exacerbates the situation. But hang on, before we start wildly pointing our fingers and blame the West for everything, let’s look at ourselves and reflect. Do we really know Rasulullah? When we say “Your beauty equalled by none”, do we really mean it, or is it just because the words are there in the lyric? How do we know he is indeed wonderful? Have we met him? Do we really love him? How do we love someone without knowing how he looks like, how his voice sounds like, how he speaks, how he eats, how he treat others? Imagine falling in love with the air. How can you develop feelings for an entity you cannot even visualise? And, true indeed that the key to love is none other than understanding.
Is there any way we can understand Rasulullah? Of course there is. Like the saying goes, whenever when there is the will, there is the way. Apart from our main source, al Kitab al-Quranul Karim, there are numerous hadiths depicting the personal life of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. In this humble, short article, I would like to introduce you to an interesting work written by Imam Tirmizi radhiallah Anhu. The title is simple, yet meaningful - Syamail Muhammadiyah. Literally it means ‘the Characteristics of the Prophet’. This book presents in great details of how Rasulullah physically looked like, his behaviour, his lifestyle down to his favourite perfume and his preferred types of food. Also included in this wonderful log are the kinds of ibadah the Prophet pbuh frequented, his other names and a brief discussion of his entire life from birth till his last day. Now, are you ready to explore the personality of Prophet Muhammad sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam and along the way, fall in love with his beautiful way of life? I take that as a perfect ‘yes’.
How Rasulullah sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam looks like? Is he good-looking? Well, it is undeniable that the Prophet was indeed one of the most eligible bachelors among his people. As narrated by a companion Al-Bara’ bin Azib r.a.,
“ Rasulullah was a man of average built ( neither too tall nor too short), the distance between his two shoulders was wide ( his shoulder was broad). His thick hair fell down to his ears. When he dressed in red, I had never seen anyone as handsome.”
Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib Karamallahuwajhah, the Prophet’s cousin who was also Rasulullah’s son-in-law described Rasulullah’s physical look in a very detailed manner.
“Rasulullah was not too tall nor he too short. He was a man of average height among his people. His hair was neither curly, nor was it plain straight but in between. He did not have a very fleshy face, neither was it completely round, rather it was only slightly so.”
He further added, “He was white skinned, having a reddish tinge. His eyes were large with jet black pupils and his lashes were long. His joints were large as was his upper back. He did not have hair all over his body but had a line of fine hair extending from his chest to his navel. When he walked, he would walk briskly as if descending a slope. When he turned, he would turn his whole body and between his two shoulders was the Seal of Prophethood ( khatamun-nubuwwah ).”
On Rasulullah’s social life, he narrated, “He was the Seal of the Prophets; he had the most giving of hearts; he was the most truthful of people, the best of them in temperament, and the most sociable amongst them. Whoever unexpectedly saw him would stand in awe of him and whoever accompanied him and got to know him would love him. Those who described him would say, ‘I have never seen anyone, before him or after him, who was comparable to him.”
Adding to Messenger of Allah’s fine features was a description by Jabir bin Samurah r.a, “I saw the Rasulullah, sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, on a clear night wearing a red dress and I paused and looked at him and then the moon and found that, in my view, he was more beautiful than the moon..”
Physical aside, let’s look at Rasulullah’s preferences in daily life. The Ummul-Mukmineen Ummu Salamah r.a. stated that the Prophet’s most preferred clothing was the qamis. Asma’ bin Yazid further related that the sleeves of Rasulullah’s qamis reached his wrists. Anas bin Malik r.a said,
“The sheet (body wrap) most liked by Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam was Al-hibarah ( a Yamaani printed sheet made from cotton)."
Apart from qamis, Rasulullah was also reported of putting on other types of garments as reported by Aisyah r.a. , “Rasulullah once left the house in the morning, wearing a sheet made of black fur.” Mughirah bin Shu'bah stated that at the time of Ghazwah Tabuk, Rasulullah wore a Roman jubbah with narrow sleeves. Regardless the types of clothing, Rasulullah always express his gratitude to Allah subhanawataala. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri r.a recalled,
“When Rasulullah s.a.w put on a new garment, he would in happiness mention that garment's name, such as turban, qamis or sheet. Then, he would recite the du’a:
'Allahumma lakal hamdu kama kasauw- tanihi, as-aluka khayrahu wa-khayra ma-suni'a lahu wa-a'u- dhu bika min sharrihi wa-sharri ma-suni'a lahu'.
“Oh Allah, all praise and thanks to You for clothing me with this (garment). I ask You for the good of it and the good of what it was made for, and I ask Your protection from the evil of it and the evil of what it was made for.”
Prophet Muhammad s.a.w loved to apply kohl on his eyelids, and the type of kohl he preferred the most was ithmid. From Ibnu Abbas r.a., Yazid bin Harun said,
“ Rasulullah had a container for kohl he applied every time he went to bed, three times on each eye.”
As reported by Jabir bin Abdullah r.a., Rasulullah encouraged applying kohl on the eyes as it brightens the eyesight and facilitates the growth of eyelashes. As for shoes, Rasulullah once had a pair of jet-black shoes given to him by King an-Najasyi. When he took wudhu’ Rasulullah just spread some water on the shoes. Rasullah also wore sandals. As narrated by Aisyah r.a., Rasulullah always liked to begin with the right while combing his hair, while putting on his sandals and while performing wudhu’.
It is interesting to know the type of food that the Messenger of Allah consumed. Ummul Mukmineen Aisyah r.a. recalled that, “the family members of Rasulullah s.a.w never eat wheat bread till full for two consecutive days until his demise.” Ibnu Abbas added,
“ Rasulullah and his family once had to endure starvation for several nights as they were out of food. The type of bread they ate was bread made of wheat called sya’ir.
Sya’ir was a type of wheat bread of lower quality compared to other types of bread. From Aisyah r.a., it was known that Rasulullah liked vinegar and recommended olive oil in food and cooking.
Anas bin Malik r.a related, “Rasulullah liked pumpkins. When food was served or when there was any invitation, I would follow him and served him the pumpkins as I knew he loved them.” Anas bin Malik also narrated in another hadith how he saw Rasulullah s.a.w was looking for pumpkins in his plate. In addition to those, Aisya r.a. described the Prophet’s liking for halwa’ (sweet things) and honey. A hadith from Abu Hurairah r.a. described a very interesting preference of Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
“ Rasulullah was once served a meat. The forequarter (the leg portion) of the meat was given to him. It was his favourite portion. Therefore he ate it.”
As for drinks Aisyah r.a. reported that Rasulullah liked sweet and cold drinks. =)
I leave the rest of other beautiful and interesting characteristics of Rasulullah for you to unravel from the book. There are numerous other facts about our Prophet that majority of Muslims do not know and supposed to be highlighted. I believe that as you journey through the pages of this book, you can slowly beginning to see the Messenger of Allah from a new, better perspective. Learn about him, know him, understand him, see the world as he saw it, and live the life as he lead it. In the meantime, keep your heart widely open to fill it with your love for him. At the end of your reading, you may, insya-Allah have Rasulullah s.a.w in a special place inside your heart. All due to blessings from Allah the Almighty. Before I end this simple article, I would like to deeply apologize for the slightly misleading title. As you can see, there is nothing related to munakahat in this article. Now, I challenge you to pick up this special book, Syamail Muhammadiyah by Imam Tirmizi and ask yourself – ‘ Are you ready to fall in love?’
Msoc Comittee 2011/12,
July 7, 2012
based on Syamail Muhammadiyah by Imam Tirmizi, PTS ISLAMIKA Sdn Bhd, 2011.
- The song lyrics at the beginning of the article is from the Chosen One by Maher Zain. (in case there are people who don’t know…)
- Ghazwah Tabuk: Battle of Tabuk
- Kohl: a type traditional cosmetic, similar to eyeliner. (in BM: celak..)
- Qamis: the Arabic dress, jubbah, similar to shalwar kameez
- halwa’ or halva: sweets made from honey or dates.