Chapter on the Noble Features of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Shamaail

Musjid MinaretThe author has quoted in this chapter those Ahaadith that have been narrated on the noble features of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It is impossible to accurately describe the actual beauty and elegance of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). To capture and describe in words his appearance is beyond one’s capability, but the Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) have endeavoured, according to their capabilities, to preserve what little they could, of which some is written here. Qurtubi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) writes: “The full beauty and elegance of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has not been made manifest to the people of this world, otherwise it would not have been possible for man to look at him.” The Sahaabah (Radiyallahu Anhum) have one the ummah an immense favour by conveying to them the perfect attributes, qualities and knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), as well as explained to them his apparent beauty and grandeur. When an unfulfilled lover is deprived of meeting the beloved, then he stands in front of the beloved’s house remembering the features of his beloved, in an attempt to gain some solace. It is from habits and features that the heart is appeased.

Imaam Tirmizi (Rahmatullahi Alaihi) has collected about 400 Ahaadith and divided them into 55 chapters. In the first chapter, 14 Ahaadith are quoted.

عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال: كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ليس بالطويل البائن ولا بالقصير ولا بالأبيض الأمهق ولا بالآدم ولا بالجعد القطط ولا بالسبط بعثه الله على رأس أربعين سنة فأقام بمكة عشر سنين وبالمدينة عشرا وتوفاه الله على رأس ستين سنة وليس في رأسه ولحيته عشرون شعرة بيضاء.  قال أبو عيسى هذا حديث حسن صحيح

Hadhrat Anas (Radiyallahu Anhu) reports: Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was neither very tall nor was he short (like a dwarf or midget). In complexion he was neither extremely white (like lime), nor wheat brown (or so brown inclining towards a dark complexion). Rather Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam)’s mubaarak countenance and body was full of noor (illumination), even more than the noor of the 14th moon). The hair of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was neither very straight nor very curly (but slightly curly and wavy). When he reached the age of forty, Allah Ta’ala granted him nubuwwah. He lived in Makkah Mukarramah for ten years (the complete explanation will be given in the commentary), and in Madinah Munawwarah for ten years. He passed away at the age of sixty. At that time there was not even twenty strands of white hair on his mubaarak hair and beard.

Commentary

Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was of a medium stature, but slightly taller than the medium height. This has been clearly reported in a narration from Sayyidina Hind bin Abi Haalah (Radiyallahu Anhu) and others. An objection may arise concerning these two Ahaadith, that it is stated in one hadith that when Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) used to stand up in a group, he appeared to be the tallest amongst them. However, this was not due to his height, but was a result of a mu’jizah (miracle). This miracle was in order that no one could be seen greater than Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in his outward, external beauty as no one was equal to him in his inward splendour and beauty.

It is stated in the above-mentioned hadith that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) lived after nubuwwah in Makkah Mukarramah for ten years. For this reason it is stated that he attained the age of sixty years. However this is contrary to what has been reported in the other Ahaadith, where it is stated that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) lived there for thirteen years and attained the age of sixty three years. In some Ahaadith it is stated that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) attained the age of sixty five years. At the end of this kitaab (Shamaail Tirmizi), Imaam Tirmizi will mention all three ahaadith with the chain of narrators. Imaam Bukhaari (Rahmatullahi Alaih) says: ‘Most narrations show that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) lived for sixty three years.’

The ulama have presented two explanations in order to reconcile these Ahaadith:

The first explanation is that Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) received Nubuwwah at the age of forty and Risaalah three years later, and thereafter he lived for ten years in Makkah Mukarramah. According to this, the three years between the time he received Nubuwwah and Risaalah have been omitted in the Hadith under discussion.

The second explanation is that among the Arabs, generally when counting and calculating, they used to omit the fractions and round off the number. For this reason, Sayyiduna Anas (Radiyallahu Anhu) has only calculated in tens in his narration and omitted the units.

 In the hadith where the age of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) is shown as sixty five, then the reason is that the years of birth and death have been counted separately. In short, the content of all the Ahaadith is the same. According to most authentic Ahaaadith, the age of Sayyiduna Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) was sixty three years, therefore all the other Ahaadith will corroborate this.  

يَا رَبِّ صَلِّ وَ سَلِّمْ دَائِمًا أَبَدًا عَلَى حَبِيبِكَ خَيرِ الخَلْقِ كُلِّهِمِ

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