Are there any Hadith giving the description of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in detail?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

There are a few Hadith giving the description of the Prophet ﷺ. The Hadith of Umm Ma’bad (below) is amongst the most well known and most authentic.

عَنْ أَبِيهِ هِشَامِ بْنِ حُبَيْشِ بْنِ خُوَيْلِدٍ صَاحِبِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خَرَجَ مِنْ مَكَّةَ مُهَاجِرًا إِلَى الْمَدِينَةِ، وَأَبُو بَكْرٍ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ، وَمَوْلَى أَبِي بَكْرٍ عَامِرُ بْنُ فُهَيْرَةَ، وَدَلِيلُهُمَا اللَّيْثِيُّ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أُرَيْقِطٍ مَرُّوا عَلَى خَيْمَتِيْ أُمِّ مَعْبَدٍ الْخُزَاعِيَّةِ، وَكَانَتِ امْرَأَةً بَرْزَةً جَلْدَةً تَحْتَبِي بِفِنَاءِ الْخَيْمَةِ، ثُمَّ تَسْقِي وَتُطْعِمُ، فَسَأَلُوهَا لَحْمًا وَتَمْرًا لِيَشْتَرُوا مِنْهَا، فَلَمْ يُصِيبُوا عِنْدَهَا شَيْئًا مِنْ ذَلِكَ، وَكَانَ الْقَوْمُ مُرْمِلِينَ مُسْنِتِينَ، فَنَظَرَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَى شَاةٍ فِي كَسْرِ الْخَيْمَةِ، فَقَالَ: «مَا هَذِهِ الشَّاةُ يَا أُمَّ مَعْبَدٍ؟» قَالَتْ: شَاةٌ خَلَّفَهَا الْجَهْدُ عَنِ الْغَنَمِ، قَالَ: «هَلْ بِهَا مِنْ لَبَنٍ؟» قَالَتْ: هِيَ أَجْهَدُ مِنْ ذَلِكَ، قَالَ: «أَتَأْذَنِينَ لِي أَنْ أَحْلُبَهَا؟» قَالَتْ: بِأَبِي أَنْتَ وَأُمِّي، إِنْ رَأَيْتَ بِهَا حَلْبًا فَاحْلُبْهَا، فَدَعَا بِهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَمَسَحَ بِيَدِهِ ضَرْعَهَا، وَسَمَّى اللَّهُ تَعَالَى، وَدَعَا لَهَا فِي شَاتِهَا، فَتَفَاجَّتْ عَلَيْهِ وَدَرَّتْ، فَاجْتَرَّتْ فَدَعَا بِإِنَاءٍ يَرْبِضُ الرَّهْطُ فَحَلَبَ فِيهِ ثَجًّا حَتَّى عَلَاهُ الْبَهَاءُ، ثُمَّ سَقَاهَا حَتَّى رَوِيَتْ وَسَقَى أَصْحَابَهُ حَتَّى رَوَوْا وَشَرِبَ آخِرَهُمْ حَتَّى أَرَاضُوا، ثُمَّ حَلَبَ فِيهِ الثَّانِيَةَ عَلَى هَدَّةٍ حَتَّى مَلَأَ الْإِنَاءَ، ثُمَّ غَادَرَهُ عِنْدَهَا، ثُمَّ بَايَعَهَا وَارْتَحَلُوا عَنْهَا، فَقَلَّ مَا لَبِثَتْ حَتَّى جَاءَهَا زَوْجُهَا أَبُو مَعْبَدٍ لِيَسُوقَ أَعْنُزًا عِجَافًا يَتَسَاوَكْنَ هُزَالًا مُخُّهُنَّ قَلِيلٌ، فَلَمَّا رَأَى أَبُو مَعْبَدٍ اللَّبَنَ أَعْجَبَهُ، قَالَ: مِنْ أَيْنَ لَكِ هَذَا يَا أُمَّ مَعْبَدٍ وَالشَّاءُ عَازِبٌ حَائِلٌ، وَلَا حلوبَ فِي الْبَيْتِ؟ قَالَتْ: لَا وَاللَّهِ إِلَّا أَنَّهُ مَرَّ بِنَا رَجُلٌ مُبَارَكٌ مِنْ حَالِهِ كَذَا وَكَذَا، قَالَ: صِفِيهِ لِي يَا أُمَّ مَعْبَدٍ، قَالَتْ:رَأَيْتُ رَجُلًا ظَاهِرَ الْوَضَاءَةِ، أَبْلَجَ الْوَجْهِ، حَسَنَ الْخَلْقِ، لَمْ تَعِبْهُ ثَجْلَةٌ، وَلَمْ تُزْرِيهِ صَعْلَةٌ، وَسِيمٌ قَسِيمٌ، فِي عَيْنَيْهِ دَعِجٌ، وَفِي أَشْفَارِهِ وَطَفٌ، وَفِي صَوْتِهِ صَهَلٌ، وَفِي عُنُقِهِ سَطَعٌ، وَفِي لِحْيَتِهِ كَثَاثَةٌ، أَزَجُّ أَقْرَنُ، إِنْ صَمَتَ فَعَلَيْهِ الْوَقَارُ، وَإِنْ تَكَلَّمَ سَمَاهُ وَعَلَاهُ الْبَهَاءُ، أَجْمَلُ النَّاسِ وَأَبْهَاهُ مِنْ بَعِيدٍ، وَأَحْسَنُهُ وَأَجْمَلُهُ مِنْ قَرِيبٍ، حُلْوُ الْمَنْطِقِ فَصْلًا، لَا نَزْرٌ وَلَا هَذْرٌ، كَأَنَّ مَنْطِقَهُ خَرَزَاتُ نَظْمٍ، يَتَحَدَّرْنَ رَبْعَةٌ لَا تَشْنَأَهُ مِنْ طُولٍ، وَلَا تَقْتَحِمُهُ عَيْنٌ مِنْ قِصَرٍ، غُصْنٌ بَيْنَ غُصْنَيْنِ، فَهُوَ أَنْضَرُ الثَّلَاثَةِ مَنْظَرًا وَأَحْسَنُهُمْ، قَدْرًا لَهُ رُفَقَاءُ يَحُفُّونَ بِهِ، إِنْ قَالَ: سَمِعُوا لِقَوْلِهِ، وَإِنْ أَمَرَ تَبَادَرُوا إِلَى أَمْرِهِ، مَحْفُودٌ مَحْشُودٌ لَا عَابِسٌ وَلَا مُفَنَّدٌ، قَالَ أَبُو مَعْبَدٍ: هَذَا وَاللَّهِ صَاحِبُ قُرَيْشٍ الَّذِي ذُكِرَ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِهِ مَا ذُكِرَ، وَلَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ أَصْحَبَهُ، وَلَأَفْعَلَنَّ إِنْ وَجَدْتُ إِلَى ذَلِكَ سَبِيلًا.

Hisham bin Hubaysh bin Khuwaylid (May Allah Most High be pleased with him), the companion of the Prophet (peace be upon him) narrated, The Prophet (peace be upon him) left Makkah migrating to Madinah. (The Prophet), Abu Bakr (May Allah Most High be pleased with him), the freed slave of Abu Bakr, Amir bin Fuhayrah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him), and their guide passed by the tent of Umm Ma’bad al-Khuzaiyah. She was a bold and strong woman. She was taking shelter under her tent. She would supply food and water (to travelers), so they asked to purchase meat and dates from her. However, she did not have it. Supplies were depleted and they were hungry.

So, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) looked to a sheep (or goat) in the corner of the tent and asked, ‘What is the matter with this sheep O Umm Ma’bad?’ She said this animal is too weak to go with the flock. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘Does it have any milk?’ She replied, it is too weak for that. He (peace be upon him) said, ‘Do you permit me to milk it? She said, Yes may my father and mother be your ransom. If you think there will be milk present, then milk it. So, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) called for it, then massaged the udders with his hands, and took the name of Allah (Most High). Then he (peace be upon him) supplicated for her regarding her sheep. So, it (the sheep) stood for milking and filled with milk. He (peace be upon him) called for a container which would suffice for the group. Then he (peace be upon him) milked into it plentifully until it was brimming with pristine milk. Then he (peace be upon him) gave her to drink until she was quenched, then to his companions until they were quenched, he drank last such that they were all satiated. Then he (peace be upon him) milked it a second time, the container echoed as he done so. He filled the container and left it with her. Then he purchased from her and they left.

Not long passed before Abu Ma’bad returned to her guiding the goats, they were all emaciated. When Abu Ma’bad saw the milk, he was surprised. He asked, where did you get this from O Umm Ma’bad? The sheep is young with contracted udders and has not been mounted. And there was no milk.  Umm Ma’bad replied, nay by Allah (Most High), indeed a blessed man passed by us and he was like this and this (she provided some description). He (Abu Ma’bad) said, describe him (in more detail) for me O Umm Ma’bad. She said, ‘I saw a man of immense radiance. His face was luminous. Beautiful of appearance. He did not have a protruding stomach, nor did he have a small head. Handsome and well proportioned. His eyes had wideness. His eyelashes were long. His voice was strong. His neck was long. His beard was thick. He had long and thin eyebrows. The eyebrows (seemed to) join. When he was silent he would be enveloped in an aura of majesty. When he spoke, light emanated from him. The most beautiful and striking of people from afar, and the most perfect and stunning from close. Eloquent and measured, neither deficient nor long winded in speech. His speech was like a perfect string of pearls flowing forth. Medium of height, neither unagreeably tall nor troubling to the eye due to shortness. Rather a branch between two branches. Among the three he was the most radiant in appearance, the most exceptional of them in stature. His companions are at hand, when he speaks they listen (attentively) to his speech,  and if he commands they hasten to fulfil it. He is well served and attended, neither frowning nor obstinate. Abu Ma’bad said, this is the companion of Quraysh who was mentioned to us. Indeed I want to accompany him, and indeed I will do so when I find an opportunity. (Mustadrak al-Hakim 4274, Sahih according to Imam al-Dhahabi)

There are many words and terms used in the Hadith that are open to interpretation. In translating I referred to many classical works of language and Ghareeb, a list has been provided below:

  • al-Qamoos al-Muheet, al-Fayrozabadi
  • Tadheeb al-Lughah, Abu Mansoor al-Harawi
  • Taaj al-Aroos, Al-Zabeedi
  • Ghareeb al-Hadeeth, Ibn Qutaybah
  • Ghareeb al-Hadith, Ibn Jowzi
  • Kitaab al-Ayn, Khalil bin Ahmad al-Faraaheedi
  • Lisaan al-Arab, Ibn Mandhoor
  • al-Nihayah, Ibn Atheer
  • Sharh al-Muwata, Hisham bin Ahmad
  • Mu’jam Maqayes al-Lughah, Al-Qazwini

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (29.10.2021)

See also:

Explanation of Hadith authenticity terminology

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