Extracted from the Sealed Nectar (ar-Raheek al-Makhtum), biography/seerah of the beloved Messenger of Allah.
The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, had both perfection of features and perfection of manners. The impression of them on people can be deduced by the bliss that overwhelmed their hearts and filled them with dignity.
Men’s respect, devotion and esteem of Allah’s Messenger were unique and matchless. No other man in the whole world has been so honoured and beloved.
Those who knew him well were fascinated and enchanted by him. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving a nail of his from hurt or injury.
Being privileged by lots of excellences that no one else had been endowed with, his Companions found that he was peerless and so they loved him.
Here we list a brief summary of the versions about his beauty and perfection. To encompass all is, admittedly, beyond our power.
His Physical Appearance
Describing Allah’s Messenger who passed by her tent on his journey of emigration, Umm Ma’bad Al-Khuza’iyah, may Allah be pleased with her, said to her husband: “He was innocently bright and had a broad face. His manners were fine. Neither was his belly bulging out nor was his head deprived of hair. He had black attractive eyes finely arched by continuous eyebrows. His hair was glossy and black, inclined to curl, he wore it long. His voice was extremely commanding. His head was large, well formed and set on a slender neck. His expression was reflective and thoughtful, composed and inspiring.
The stranger was fascinated from the distance, but the closer he was the more respect he observed. His expression was very sweet and distinct. His speech was well set and free from the use of superfluous words, as if it were a chain of beads. His stature was neither too high nor too small to look odd. He was a twig amongst the two, singularly bright and fresh. He was always surrounded by his Companions. Whenever he uttered something, the listeners would listen to him with attention and whenever he issued any command, they competed with each other in carrying it out. He was a master and a commander. His utterances were marked by truth and sincerity, free from all kinds of falsehoods and lies.” 1
‘Ali bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, described him: “Allah’s Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was neither excessively tall nor extremely short. He was of medium height among his friends. His hair not too curly nor was it too straight. It was both curly and wavy combined. His cheeks were not fleshy, chin was not small and forehead was not narrow. His face was fairly round. His mouth was white. He had black, large eyes, with long eyelashes. His limbs and shoulder joints were rather big. He had a fine line of little hair extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. He had thick palms and thick fingers and toes.
While walking, he lifted his feet off the ground as if he had been walking on a slope. When he turned, he turned completely. The Seal of Prophethood was between his shoulders. He is the Last of Prophets, the most generous and the bravest of all. His speech was the most reliable. He was the keenest and the most attentive to people’s trust, and was very careful to pay people’s due in full. The Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, was the most gentle and the most polite companion, seeing him unexpectedly you would fear him and revere him. He who had acquaintance with him would like him. He who describes him says: ‘I have never seen such a person neither before nor after seeing him.’” 2
Jabir bin Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him, reported that Allah’s Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, had abroad face with reddish (wide) eyes and lean heels.3
Abu At-Tufail, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “He was white and good-looking. He was neither fat nor thin; neither tall nor short.”
1 Zadul-Ma’ad 2/45.
2 Ibn Hisham 1/401, Jami At-Tirmidhi 4/303.
3 Sahih Al-Muslim 2/258.
Ka’b bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “When he was pleased, his face would shine with so bright a light that you would believe it was a piece of the moon.’ 4
Once he was with ‘Aishah, may Allah be pleased with her, the features of his face twinkledwhile sweating; she recited a verse by Abu Kabir Al-Hudhali:
“If you watch his face, you will see it twinkling like the lightning of an approaching rain.” 5
Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, would say this verse upon seeing him:
“He is faithful, chosen (by Allah), and calls for forgiveness.
He shines like a moonlit night while it is far from dark.” 6
‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, used to recite a verse by Zuhair describing Haram bin Sinan:
“Were you other than a human being, you would be a lighted moon on a moonlit night,”
Then he would add: “Thus was Allah’s Messenger.” 7
When he got angry, his face would turn so red that you would think it were as if pomegranate has been squeezed on both his cheeks. 8
Jabir bin Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “His legs were gentle, delicate and in conformity. His laughter was no more than smiling. Looking at him will make you say ‘He is black-eyed’, though he is not so.” 9
4 Sahih al-Bukhari 1/502
5 Rahmatul-lil-Alamin 2/72.
6 Khulasatus-Siyar p. 20.
8 Mishkatul-Masabih 1/22.
9 Jami’ At-Tirmidhi 4/306.
Ibn Al-‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “His two front teeth were separated so whenever he spoke, it was as if light came through them.”
His neck was as pure and silvery as a neck of doll. His eyelashes were long and his beard was thick. His forehead was broad; separate eyebrows finely joined together. His nose was high-tipped. His cheeks were plain. He had a fine line of hair running down to his navel. He had hair neither on his abdomen nor on his chest except some on his arms and shoulders. His chest was broad and flatted. He had long forearms with expansive palms. His legs were plain, straight, and stretched. His other limbs were also large. The two hollows of his soles hardly touch the ground. He used to walk with ease slightly leaning forward. 10
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I have never touched silk or a silky garment softer than the palm of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him; nor have I smelt a perfume or any scent nicer than his.” In another version; “I have never smelt ambergris, nor musk, nor any other thing sweeter than the scent and the smell of Allah’s Messenger.”
Abu Juhaifah, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “I took his hand and put it on my face and I found that it was colder than ice and better scented than the perfume of musk.” 11
Jabir bin Samurah, may Allah be pleased with him, who was a little child then, said; “When he wiped my cheek, I felt it was cold and scented as if it had been taken out of a shop of a perfume workshop.” 12
Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said; “His sweat was pearl-like.”
Umm Sulaim, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “His sweat smelt nicer than the nicest perfume.”
Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, said; “Whenever Allah’s Messenger, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him,passed by a road, and after him some other person used the same road, he would quite easily find out by the fragrance of his scent that the Prophet had passed through it.”
10 Khulasatus-Siyar p. 19, 20.
11 Sahih al-Bukhari 1/503.
12 Sahih Muslim 2/256.