By Yahya Ibrahim
From a distance you notice his eyes – piercing, brilliant and engaging. The choicest Praise and Mercy of Allah be upon him. Muhammed, the Praised one is Ahmed, the greatest in Praise of Allah; sublimely appropriate. Al-Mustafa, the Divinely Chosen, is real. He was flesh and blood. Human.
In a world of distortion, where truth is overcome by fiction, the full moon rises. Although obscured by shadows or an overcast sky, the moon remains. Such is the fame and honour of Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Of average height, he towers above the elite of history. He would stand fully erect without a lazy slump. He was powerful, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. His chest was broad with a dusting of hair that extended vertically in a thin line down to his flat stomach, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Any kind of hardships you can envision and pray to never face was shouldered by him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, simultaneously.
He experienced in his 63 years of blessed life more tribulation than a cohort. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was an orphan, a widower, battle scarred, and unjustly outcast. He outlived many of his children and buried some of his grandchildren. His uncle, the Mercy of Allah be upon him, was martyred and his body desecrated. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was defamed, mocked, lied to and lied about. He was poisoned, stoned, and had to witness his companions tortured on account of their faith in his Message, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.,
Sabraan, remain steadfast in patience, O Family of Yasser; your destination is Paradise. His teaching was simple. Allah, the All Mighty, is the only One deserving of worship and devotion. All that we encounter is by His Command. No harm can befall without His Permission.
His hair, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was black and wavy. He liked to keep it longer in length, usually not past his earlobes. It contained a few gray strands, about 23 in number. With dark irises he could, by Divine Permission, view a world that was unseen. He had long, dark eyelashes that from a distance could be mistaken for kohl. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, would not avert his attention from a petitioner until their voice fell silent. His eyes would sleep but his heart was awake. His eyes never betrayed or invited treachery, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
The weakest, poorest and socially downtrodden would access him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, as readily as the chieftains. He sheltered the needy, fed the hungry, protected the vulnerable, guarded the secrets and instructed the uninformed. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was calm when others were agitated, loving when others were filled with hate, and polite when shown contempt. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, is the highest standard of character and the spring of Divinely ordained etiquette.
His skin, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was soft and naturally fragrant. His blessed hands were softer than silk and gave off the scent of aromatic musk. He was reddish in colour. He was not dark, nor was he pale. His skin was blemished with the seal of prophethood between his shoulder blades. He was proportional in all respects, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
In his prayer, he found comfort and pleasure. His voice quivered in awe of the All Mighty. When leading others, he would, for the most part, recite from al-Qisar (the short chapters). If he heard a child crying, he would cut the recitation short to relieve the parent of any distress. His, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, grandchildren would ride atop his back during his prostration, and he would not move until they felt content. His voice was measured, and he paused at the end of every verse. He would recite the Quran in various accents to accommodate all the dialects of his companions. When alone at night, he would pray. He would remain vigilant for half the night, sometimes more, sometimes less. When he recited a passage addressing Allah’s Divine Mercy, he would stop and ask for it. If one of torment, he would seek protection from it, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
His face, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was manifest beauty. His eyes were well set apart and covered by full brows. They were not sunk into his face or overtly protruding. His mouth smelled sweet, and his teeth were always clean and white. His saliva was a medicine and blessing, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. By the Grace of Allah, it was a cure to the blind, increase in food to the poor, and an ointment to the disfigured. He had a full, dark beard that obscured his slender long neck from a distance. His smile was radiant, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
He was soft spoken except when he sermonised on Friday. His voice was melodious and captivating. He spoke only when necessary and refrained from idle chit-chat. His, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, tongue was true. He loved to listen and would ask questions of those whom he instructed. He was modest and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. He smiled and laughed often, seldom loudly.
When he, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was displeased, it could be read from his face. He never raised his hand against another living creature except during Divinely ordained battle. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was courageous and led from the forefront. He stood in the ranks of his soldiers and faced the hardship they endured. He ate what they ate, slept where they slept and dressed as they dressed. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was a man unlike the world has ever seen.
He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, dressed similar to his compatriots. He never owned a throne or regal markings to distinguish himself, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, from others. He would walk without an escort and disliked sentries being placed to guard him. He preferred neutral shades of white, green and black to clothe himself with. When he ate, it was never to his fill, and he always ate while sharing his food with others. He loved milk, dates and honey. His favourite dish was tharrid – roasted mutton on buttered bread and broth.
He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, cared for the earth and despised wastefulness and corruption. He was a tree hugger – LITERALLY. He loved animals and instructed his companions to show kindness to them. When a camel wept, he would stroke it and speak to it in hushed tones. When the tree whimpered, he paused his sermon and embraced its trunk, whispering to it soothing words of comfort. Animals took comfort in him, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.
Today, his modality of life and tradition remain intact, preserved not only in print, but in conscious spirit.
He loved us so much, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He would think of those who would believe in him many generations after his generation and weep in longing and hope. He loved us more than some care to consider. Every Messenger of God was allowed a request that would be answered by Allah. All the Messengers utilised their invocation in the worldly life except for Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, preserved his invocation to be intercession on the Day of Judgement for those who accept his message!
None can truly claim faith until Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam is more beloved to them than their parents, spouse and children. To know him is to love him. To love him is to obey him. If he, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, was to walk into your life now, what would he think?
O you who believe, send your greetings to Muhammed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam.