Hilya-i Sa’âdat describes the appearance of Habîb-i akram sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam. Scholars of Islam have openly written all the visible limbs of Muhammad ’alaihissalâm, his shape, attributes, beautiful habits and his entire life in detail, by indicating proofs and documents. This knowledge had been collected from the hadîth-i sherîfs, which are his sayings and from those conveyed by his Companions. The books, which contain them, are called siyar books. The most well-known books,
which explain our Master, the Prophet’s Hilya-i Sa’âdat, of these thousands of siyar books, are “Ash-Shamâil-ur-Rasûl” by Imâm-i Tirmizî, “Shifâ-i sharîf” of Qadi Iyâd, “Dalâil-un Nubuwwa” books by Imâm Bayhaqî and Abû Nuaym Isfahânî and “Mawâhib-i Ladunniya” by Hadrat Imâm-i Qastalânî. Hilya-i Sa’âdat of our beloved Prophet is described in the hadîth-i sherîfs and in the reports conveyed by his Companions as below:
The blessed face and all the blessed limbs and the blessed voice of Fakhr-i kâinât (our beloved Prophet Hadrat Muhammad [sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam]) were more beautiful than the faces and limbs and voices of all other people. His blessed face was roundish. When he was cheerful, his blessed face used to shine like the moon. It would be evident by his blessed forehead that he was pleased. Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) used to see during the night just as well as he saw during the day.
He used to see what was behind him just as he saw what was in front of him. When he would look towards one side or look around, he used to turn with all his body and then look. He used to look at the earth more than he looked at the sky. His blessed eyes were large. His blessed eye-lashes were long. There was a certain amount of reddish color in the white of his blessed eyes. The iris of his blessed eye was extremely black. At nights he used to put kohl on his blessed eyes. Fakhr-i âlam had a broad forehead.
His blessed eye brows were thin. His eye-brows were apart from each other. The vein between his two eyebrows used to swell when he became angry. His blessed nose was extremely beautiful and was a little higher in the middle. His blessed head was large.
His blessed mouth was not small. His blessed teeth were white. His blessed front teeth were amply spaced. When he would speak, it used to sound as if radiance (nur) was coming from between his teeth. Among the slaves of Allahu ta’âlâ, no one has been seen with a more eloquent or sweeter speech than his. His blessed words used to be understood easily, pleasing hearts and attracting souls. When he spoke, his words used to string like pearls. Had someone wanted to count his words, it would have been possible to count them. Sometimes, he used to repeat something three times in order that it might be understood well. In Paradise everybody will speak like Hadrat Muhammad ‘alalihis-salâm. His blessed voice could reach a distance which no one else’s could.
Fakhr-i âlam (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) was affable. He used to smile pleasantly. When he smiled, his blessed front teeth used to be seen. When he smiled, his blessed radiance used to enlighten the walls. His weeping was silent like his smiling.
As he never burst out laughing, so he never used to cry loudly; but when he became sad, his blessed eyes would shed tears and the sound of his blessed chest would be heard. He used to weep when thinking of the sins of his Ummat [that is, Muslims], and
he used to weep out of fear of Allahu ta’âlâ. He also wept when he heard the Qur’ân al-karîm and, sometimes, when performing namâz (ritual prayer).
Fakhr-i âlam’s (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) blessed fingers were large. His blessed arms were fleshy. His blessed palms were wide. The scent of his entire body was more odorous than the most beautiful musk. His blessed body was both soft and strong. Anas bin Mâlik says, “I served Rasûlullah for ten years. His blessed hands were softer than silk. His blessed sweat was more odorous than the most fragrant scent or than any flower. His blessed arms, feet and fingers were long. His blessed toes were large. The arch of his foot was not too high and was soft. His blessed abdomen was wide and his chest and his abdomen did not exceed each other. The bone at the point of his shoulder was big. His blessed chest was wide; his qalb-i sharîf (blessed heart) was nazargâh-i ilâhî (a place of Divine Sight).”
Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) was not too tall, nor was he short. When someone came near him, Rasûlullah would look taller than that person. When he sat, his blessed shoulders would he higher than all of those who sat near him. His hair and the hairs of his beard were not too curly, nor too straight, but they were undulate from his creation. His blessed hair was long. Formerly he used to have a ringlet of hair in front, later he parted his hair into two. Sometimes he used to grow his blessed hair long, and sometimes he used to have it cut and shortened. He didn’t use to dye his hair and beard. When he passed away the white hairs in his hair and beard were less than twenty. He used to trim his blessed moustache. The length and the shape of his moustache were as much as and like his blessed eye brows. He had private barbers in his service. He used to look in a mirror when he combed his bless ed hair and beard. Fakhr-i kâinat used to walk fast while looking down at the ground in front of him. When he went past a place, he would be recognized by his odorous scent. Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) always had his miswâk and his comb with him. He (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) was an Arab. Fakhr-i âlam had a white complexion mixed with red, and was extremely handsome with a blessed and lovable appearance. If a person says that the Prophet was black, he becomes a disbeliever. The lexical meaning of “Arab” is “beautiful.” For instance, “lisân-i Arab” means “beautiful language”. In the geographical sense, “Arab” means the person who was born on the Arabian Peninsula and who grew up in its climate with its water and food and who is of the blood of its people. As those of Anatolian blood are called Turks, those who are born and raised in Bulgaria are called Bulgarians and those in Germany German; likewise, Rasûlullah is an Arab because he was born in Arabia. Arabs were white, a wheat colored complexion. Especially the family of our Prophet (Muhammad ’alaihi’s-salâm) was white and very beautiful. As a matter of fact, their ancestor Hadrat Ibrâhîm (Abraham) had a white complexion and was the son of a believer named Târuh, who was one of the inhabitants of the city of Basra. Âzer, who was a disbeliever, was not Hadrat Ibrâhim’s (’alaihi’s-salâm) father. He was his uncle and stepfather.
The fame of Rasûlullah’s (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) father, Abdullah, had spread outward even to Egypt due to his beauty and owing to the blessed light on his forehead; almost two hundred girls had come to Mecca in order to marry him. But, Hadrat Muhammad’s sacred light fell to Âmina’s lot.
His uncle Abbâs and Abbâs’ son Abdullah shared his white complexion. Also, our Prophet’s descendants until the end of the world will be beautiful and white. Rasûlullah’s Ashâb were white and beautiful, too. Hadrat ’Uthmân was white with blond hair. Dihya-i Kelebî, the ambassador whom Rasûlullah used to send to the Emperor of Byzantium, Heraclius, was very handsome, and as he went around on the streets of Istanbul, the Byzantine girls used to rush out into the streets in order to see his face. Hadrat Jabrâil (Gabriel) usually came in the guise of Hadrat Dihya (radî- Allâhu ’anh). The natives of Egypt, Syria, Africa, Sicily and Spain are not Arabs. But, since the Arabs came to these places after having migrated from the Arabian Peninsula in order to spread Islam all over the world, there are Arabs in these lands, too. Likewise, they exist in Anatolia, India and other countries. But, today, none of the citizens of these countries can be called Arabs.
The people of Egypt have a slightly dark complexion. The people of Ethiopia are black and are called Habesha. The people of Zanzibar are called Zanzibaris, and they are also black. It is an act of worship to love and respect our Prophet’s relatives, descendants. Every Muslim loves them. Black people who came to Asia Minor as visitors, introduced themselves as Arabs in order to receive respect and kindness, and the credulous Anatolian Muslims believed and loved them. This was due to the fact that black and the white weren’t looked upon differently in terms of this love. A black Muslim is far more superior, dearer, and more lovable than a white disbeliever. To be black does not diminish the value of îmân (faith) for any person. Some of Rasûlullah’s Ashâb were black. Hadrat Bilâl-i Habashî and Usâma, whom the Prophet loved very much, were black. But such disbelievers as Abû Lahab and Abû Jahl, whose evil and baseness are known by everybody, were white. Allahu ta’âlâ judges a man not with regard to his color, but with respect to the strength of his îmân and taqwâ (Taqwâ is to abstain from harâms by fearing Allahu ta’âlâ). However, the enemies of Islam, the Jews, introduced blacks as if they are of a low class and horrible. They used them as slaves. On the other hand, by calling black pets such as cats and dogs ‘Arab’ and by referring to the blacks in their pictures, cartoons, magazines and newspapers as Arabs, they tried to misrepresent the Arabs to our youth as badly as they could in order to alienate Muslim children from our Prophet (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam).
All the beautiful habits were accumulated in Rasûlullah. His beautiful habitsiş were given to him by Allahu ta’âlâ; he did not acquire them later by striving. He never cursed a Muslim by mentioning his name, nor did he hit anybody with his blessed
hand. He never took revenge for himself. He used to avenge for Allah’s sake. He used to treat his relatives, companions and servants well and modestly. He was very mild and cheerful in his home. He used to visit the sick and attend funerals. He used to help his companions with their work and take their children on his lap. Yet his heart wasn’t busy with them. His blessed soul was in the world of angels. Fear would grasp a person who saw Rasûlullah suddenly. If he hadn’t behaved mildly, no one could have sat near him, no one could have had the strength to listen to him, owing to his state of being a prophet. However, out of bashfulness, he himself would never look at anybody in the face with his blessed eyes. Fakhr-i âlam (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) was the most generous of human beings. He had never been heard to say, “I don’t have,” about something asked from him. If he had the thing asked for, he gave it; if he didn’t have it, he didn’t answer. The Prophet had so many great attributes and had done so many favors for so many people that the Eastern Roman emperors, the Persian shahs and any other ruler could not do enough to compete with him. But he himself liked to live in inconvenience. He led such a life that he would not even remember to eat or drink. He never used words like “Bring something to eat,” or “Cook such and such food.” He used to eat when they brought the meal to him, and he used to accept whatever fruit they gave him. Sometimes he ate very little for months, and he liked hunger. And sometimes he ate much. He wouldn’t drink water after meals. He used to drink water while sitting. When he ate with others, he used to stop eating after everybody had finished. He used to accept presents from everybody. In response to someone who had brought him a present, he used to give much more. It was his habit to wear various clothes. When ambassadors from foreign countries came, he used to adorn himself. That is, he used to wear precious and beautiful clothes and expose his beautiful face. He wore a silver ring with an agate. He used his ring as a seal. “Muhammadun Rasûlullah” was written on his ring. His bed was made of leather filled with shredding from palm date trees. Sometimes he laid on the bed and sometimes on leather laid on the ground, on a mat and sometimes on dry soil. He laid on his right side putting his blessed palm under his right cheek. Rasûlullah (sall- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) didn’t accept zakât, and he didn’t eat such things as raw onions or garlic, and he didn’t recite poems.
Sarwar-î âlam’s (Muhammad ’alaihi’s-salâm) blessed eyes used to sleep, but his blessed heart would not sleep. He used to go to bed hungry, but he would feel satiated when he got up. He never yawned. His blessed body was luminous, and he never cast a shadow on the ground. Flies didn’t alight on his clothes, nor would mosquitoes or other insects suck his blessed blood. When he was informed Allahu ta’âlâ that he is Rasûlullah (Allah’s Messenger), satans could not ascend to the sky and could no longer get any news, nor could soothsayers make omens. Our Master Sarwar-i âlam (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) is now alive in a life we do not understand. His blessed body never decays. An angel stays in his tomb and informs him of the prayers which his Ummat (Muslims) say for him. Between his pulpit and his blessed tomb is a place called Rawda-i-mutahhara. This place is one of the gardens of Paradise. It is one of the greatest and most valuable of worships to visit his blessed tomb.
Notables of the Ashâb-i kirâm related the beauty of our Master, the Prophet as below:
Abû Hurayra said, “I have never seen anybody more beautiful than Rasûlullah. It was as if the sun was shining on his face with all its radiance. When he smiled, his blessed teeth would enlighten the walls.” Ibn-i Abî Hâla said, “The blessed face of our Master, the Prophet used to shine like the full moon.”
Hadrat Ali said, “Fear would grasp a person who saw Rasûlullah suddenly. Those who had conversation and became acquainted with him would soon warm towards him?
Jâbir bin Samura said, “Rasûlullah rubbed his blessed hand on my face. His hand, as if it had been newly taken out of the sack of an herbalist, had a beautiful scent which cooled me. If our Master Rasûlullah would touch his hand to someone else’s hand formusâfaha (shaking hands in a manner prescribed by Islam), that beautiful scent would not remove from that person’s hand that day.”
Our mother Hadrat Âisha said, “When Rasûlullah caressed a child’s hair, that child would be distinguished amongst others, due to his scent.”
One day, Rasûlullah (sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam) was sleeping at home. Anas bin Mâlik’s mother, Umm-i Sulaym, came. While sleeping, drops of sweat appeared on the blessed face of our Master Rasûlullah. Then Umm-i Sulaym started to wipe the blessed sweat of our Master, the Prophet. When our Master, the Prophet woke up and asked why she was doing so; Umm-i Sulaym, the sister of our Prophet’s wet nurse said, “We are adding it to our scents. Your sweat is the most beautiful and pleasant-smelling one among the scents.” Abû Hurayra said, “I have never seen anybody who walked faster than Rasûlullah. As if the ground would roll up to him. While walking with him, we would exert ourselves.” Our Master, the Prophet used to speak very well. He knew perfectly how to start and finish his speaking. His words were so clear in his manner of speaking and eminently fluent. The truth of the meaning in his speech and words would always reveal themselves. Since his words had high power of expression, he would never be tired or have trouble expressing himself.