The Excellence and the Qualities of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.)
Source: Ain-al-Hayat, By: Allama Muhammad Baqir Majlisi
Our Prophet, Muhammad Sal Allah Alaihi wa Aalehi wa Sallam, through the Nuss (Definitive word) of the Qur’an, is not only the Prophet (S) of the Humans and the Jinns but there is not going to be any other Prophet after him. He is totally free of any sins, minor or major, and is Masoom (innocent). There are reliable traditions to prove that from his first ancestors, Adam (as) and Eve, up to him, all the generations, were free of polytheism and infidelity. They have always been the noblest, respected and learned of all their contemporaries. Some vested interests, in order to protect their own leaders, have spread the calumny that some of the Prophet’s elders were kafir (infidels).
There are examples of people who have even gone to the extent of saying that some of the prophets were kafir and not innocent. The Jews too have blamed some of the prophets of committing maasi (minor sins) and, therefore the prophets too became sinners along with their own leaders who committed sins.
Bin Babawiyah narrates from Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) asked Hind bin Abi Hala about the appearance and personality of the Prophet (S). Hind said, “The Prophet (S) had an imposing personality. The face was radiant that it would put the full moon to shame! He was of average height--- neither too tall nor short. His head was neither big nor small and the hair was somewhat curly and soft. When the hair on his head used to grow, after tonsuring, he would part them in the middle to facilitate anointing while performing the ablution. Tonsuring of the head was not fashionable in Arabia of those days and, generally people did this during Haj and Umra.
The Prophet (S) had a fair complexion, wide forehead and pronounced eyebrows. There was a vein between the two eyebrows that used to become prominent when he was excited for something. His beard was dense and had an average sized mouth. Arabs don’t consider it good to have small mouths. The Prophet (S)’s teeth were very bright and beautiful. His teeth were having clefts between them. On his chest there was a growth of soft hair. His neck was bright and long and gave one the impression as if it is made of silver. His body was neither thin nor heavy. His bones were strong; his stomach and chest were flat.
The prophet (S)’s hands were long and big. His gait was neither that of a proud person nor feminist. He used to walk with gravity, poise and with slight bow of the head. While speaking with anyone, he would be polite and soft. While looking at anyone, he would have affection reflecting from his eyes. He used to take precedence in greeting others. His talk used to be short and meaningful. He used to refrain from unnecessary talk. He would be seldom angry on any one and was never profuse in praising good food. He used to thank Allah for every bounty, big or small. For upholding the truth, he would not have any consideration for a friend or foe.
While experiencing anything enjoyable, the Prophet (S) would be moderate in his praise. His laughter would be limited to a smile when a part of his bright teeth would be exposed to view.
Imam Husayn (as) says that he inquired of his father, Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as), about the treatment meted out by the Prophet (S) to his immediate kin. Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) replied, “At home the Prophet (S) would divide his time into three. One part he would spend in prayer. The second part was reserved for meeting the inmates of his house and the third part of his time was for rest and relaxation. In the time apportioned for relaxation, the Prophet (S) used to meet his companions and others who wished to seek clarifications from him on different matters of personal or general interest.
His practice was that he would give audition first to those companions who were more pious. He used to give profuse attention to the questions and demands made by his visitors. While giving advice on Spiritual and Religious matters, he would ask his visitors to disseminate the information to others in their circle. If a person is invalid and for some reason was unable to come personally to the Prophet (S), he asked his visitors to communicate his queries to him and take back the replies to the person. The Reward for this would not only be for the person who sought the clarifications but more for the person who had been the vehicle of carrying the information.”
Then Imam Husayn (as) inquired about the way the Prophet carried himself while going out of his residence.
Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) replied, “While away from home, the Prophet (S) would not talk much, except on matters of interest and benefit to people. He used to exhort people to maintain amity and affection amongst each other. When elders of other tribes visited, he would treat them with due respect. He used to give the tidings of Rewards for good acts to everyone. Praising the pious, he used to encourage them to more piety. He used to respect very much the persons who had sympathy for the Muslims. When he saw or heard about the sinful acts (ma-aasi) he used to express his sorrow and encourage the person to turn towards good deeds.”
Imam Husayn (as) then asked his father about how the Prophet (S) carried himself at group meetings. Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) replied, “While going for a meeting, and returning from one, the Prophet (S) would offer a Prayer. He never looked for any particular place to sit in a meeting. Wherever he found some space at the venue, he would squat.
Generally he liked to be in the last row. He also advised people not to vie with one another to get a vantage place to sit in a meeting. He used to deal with such affection with everyone at a meeting that they used to get overwhelmed with his personal attention. Those who asked questions, would never go d’Isappointed or d’Isatisfied. His behavior was such that all those who interacted with him, friends or foes, would praise him. He was kind on people the way a parent would be on his own children. His meetings would be highlighted with patience, straightforwardness, honesty and integrity. None was allowed to do backbiting of others at his meetings. There used to be a very high degree of amity and goodwill that people used to discuss each others’ problems and solve them with mutual help.”
Imam Husayn (as) further asked about the treatment meted out by the Prophet (S) to those who were present at his meetings.
Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) said, “The Prophet (S) used to speak softly and kindly with everyone. He would never, overtly or covertly, hurt anyone’s feelings. He wouldn’t d’Isappoint or neglect even a sworn enemy who came to meet him. He disliked three things that he always refrained from, viz: debate (munazera), dispute (Mujadela) and unnecessary talk. He always tried to avoid tasks which were not beneficial.
The Prophet (S) also shunned three things about the people: 1. He never criticized anyone. 2. Never aired others failings. 3. Never chased others for their failings.
Whenever the Prophet (S) started speaking, he would have the rapt attention of the audience. People never found fault with whatever he spoke. His talk would be replete with good advice. Whenever a rustic person came to the meeting and behaved improperly, he used to ask his companions to bear with him. He gave particular attention to such persons to listen to them and to solve their problems. While others spoke, he would never intervene or interrupt till the persons completed their talk.”
Imam Husayn (as) also asked the reason for the tranquility and quiet of the Prophet.
Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) replied, “The Prophet (S)’s tranquility was of four types: When the other person was unreasonable, he would listen with patience. Whenever he felt that there was a chance of hurt in speaking out, he would maintain a discreet silence for the time. He had made such a good combination of patience and forbearance that he would never get angry for any reason whatsoever.
Besides the above, the Prophet (S) had four other very pronounced qualities:
• He would continue and perpetuate the good deeds that the people get motivated too to perform good deeds to emulate their Master.
• He shunned all undesirable acts and his followers did likewise.
• For the benefit of his following, he would uphold good counsel.
• He was steadfast on the path of good for this world and the Hereafter.
• Muhammad Yaqub Kulaini narrates from Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (as) that the Prophet (S) had three qualities that have never been found in anyone else:
• His body never cast a shadow.
• Wherever he went, he left behind a fragrance that lingered for the next three days. This was the sign for people to know that the Prophet (S) had passed that way.
• Whenever he passed near a rock or a tree, it appeared as if these things were prostrating before him.
Imam Ja’far As-Sadiq (as) says that in the darkness of night his face used to radiate like the full moon. Therefore whichever way he passed its environs would become bright.
It is narrated that one of his wives lost a needle in the night when it was dark. When the Prophet (S) came home, everything became bright in the surroundings and the needle was recovered. His sweat used to be so fragrant that sometimes it used to be difficult on the sense of smell. Whenever he rinsed his mouth, the water used for the purpose would become fragrant. No birds ever flew over his head. The Prophet (S) had a unique faculty of seeing things behind his back. Whenever he exposed the Seal of Prophet hood on his back, it used to shine like the sunlight. No one ever noticed his stools because the earth used to hide it. Whichever animal he used for his travelling, it never aged. Whenever the Prophet (S) passed near any tree, it used to bow down in obe’Isance. Flies and mosquitoes never sat on his body.
Amir’ul-Mu’mineen ‘Ali (as) says that the Prophet (S) had never eaten any bread made out of wheat. He did not eat bread made out of barley more than three times a day. At the time of the Prophet (S)’s death, his armour was under a mortgage with a Jew for four Dhiram. Although he was ruling over the entire Arabia he did not have any gold, silver or other valuables. One day the Prophet (S) distributed three hundred thousand dhiram received in reparation of war. In the night one needy person came and asked for help. The Prophet (S) said, “By Allah! Today in the house of Muhammad (S) there isn’t a single dhiram or a pound of barley!
It is said that the Prophet (S) used to ride on the naked backs of the horses. He used to repair his own foot ware. The Prophet (S) always used to take precedence in greeting others. He used to squat with the slaves on the ground and eat food with them. He used to say with pride that he was the biggest slave of his Creator, Allah, because He has endowed his choicest blessings on him. He took particular care to go and inquire about the health of indisposed beggars and slaves. He always made it a point to attend the burial of the dead.
Reliable sources narrate that once an Angel approached the Prophet (S) and conveyed Allah’s Message, “If you wish we shall convert the land of Mecca to gold for you!”
The Prophet (S) raised his head towards the sky and said, “O my Sustainer! It is the wish of Muhammad (S) that he gets sufficient nutrition at a time that he busies himself in Your worship and for the second meal he craved for your providing him sustenance to continue his supplications!”
The Prophet of Islam (S) has said, “After bearing witness to my Prophet hood the most important thing for my followers is the love and affection for my Ahl-ul-Bayt.” Therefore the verse of Tatheer has been revealed as a part of the Holy Qur’an in the praise of the Ahl-ul-Bayt.