1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet


The Last Brick

Sayings and Deeds of the ProphetMuhammad, we are told, was a handsome man.

Narrated Al-Bara:

The Prophet was of moderate height having broad shoulders (long) hair reaching his ear-lobes. Once I saw him in a red cloak and I had never seen a more handsome [man] than him."

Bukhari 56.751

He was also a potent man.

Narrated Qatada:

Anas bin Malik said, "The Prophet used to visit all his wives in a round, during the day and night and they were eleven in number."

I asked Anas, "Had the Prophet the strength for it?"

Anas replied, "We used to say that the Prophet was given the strength of thirty (men)."

And Sa'id said on the authority of Qatada that Anas had told him about nine wives only (not eleven).

Bukhari 5.268

Muhammad may have had more body hair than most men.

Narrated Abu Ja'far:

Jabir bin Abdullah said to me, "Your cousin (Hasan bin Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiya) came to me and asked about the bath of Janaba. I replied, 'The Prophet use to take three handfuls of water, pour them on his head and then pour more water over his body.'

Al-Hasan said to me, 'I am a hairy man.'

I replied, 'The Prophet had more hair than you'."

Bukhari 5.256

Muhammad had shoulder-length hair.

Narrated Anas:

The hair of the Prophet used to hang down up to his shoulders.

Bukhari 72.790

Muhammad probably still parted his hair at the time of his death.

Narrated Ibn Abbas:

Allah's Apostle used to let his hair hang down while the infidels used to part their hair. The people of the Scriptures were used to letting their hair hang down and Allah's Apostle liked to follow the people of the Scriptures in the matters about which he was not instructed otherwise. Then Allah's Apostle parted his hair.

Bukhari 56.758

Muhammad undoubtedly did not needlessly expose his face to harmful UV rays.

Narrated Abu Ishaq:

Al-Bara was asked, "Was the face of the Prophet (as bright) as a sword?"

He said, "No, but (as bright) as a moon."

Bukhari 56.752

A dark beard sparingly peppered with white bristles did not obscure Muhammad's resemblance to his grandson Al-Hasan bin 'Ali.

Narrated Isma'il bin Abi Khalid:

I heard Abii Juhaifa saying, "I saw the Prophet, and Al-Hasan bin Ali resembled him."

I said to Abu- Juhaifa, "Describe him for me."

He said, "He was white and his beard was black with some white hair. He promised to give us 13 young she-camels, but he expired before we could get them."

Bukhari 56.744

A bit of fuzz between the lower lip and the chin is normal for an old man.

Narrated Hariz bin Uthman:

That he asked Abdullah bin Busr (i.e. the companion of the Prophet), "Did you see the Prophet when he was old?"

He said, "He had a few white hairs between the lower lip and the chin."

Bukhari 56.746

The scent referred to in the following hadith is probably henna, which Muhammad used to dye strands of his beard an orangey-red.

Narrated Rabia bin Abi Abdur-Rahman:

I heard Anas bin Malik describing the Prophet saying, "He was of medium height amongst the people, neither tall nor short; he had a rosy color, neither absolutely white nor deep brown; his hair was neither completely curly nor quite lank. Divine Inspiration was revealed to him when he was forty years old. He stayed ten years in Mecca receiving the Divine Inspiration, and stayed in Medina for ten more years. When he expired, he had scarcely twenty white hairs in his head and beard."

Rabi'a said, "I saw some of his hairs and it was red. When I asked about that, I was told that it turned red because of scent."

Bukhari 56.747

Muhammad dyed his beard, but not his hair.

Narrated Qatada:

I asked Anas, "Did the Prophet use to dye (his) hair?"

He said, "No, for there were only a few white hairs on his temples."

Bukhari 56.750

Except in the conduct of religious affairs and in the pursuit of Allah enemies, Muhammad was not the assertive type. For example, he had to depend on God to tell members of his audience to keep quiet.

Narrated Ibn Abi Mulaika:

The two righteous persons were about to be ruined. They were Abu Bakr and Umar who raised their voices in the presence of the Prophet when a mission from Bani Tamim came to him.

One of the two recommended Al-Aqra' bin Habeas, the brother of Bani Mujashi (to be their governor) while the other recommended somebody else.

(Nafi', the sub-narrator said, "I do not remember his name").

Abu Bakr said to Umar, "You wanted nothing but to oppose me!"

Umar said, "I did not intend to oppose you."

Their voices grew loud in that argument, so Allah revealed: "O you who believe! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet."(49:2)

Ibn Az-Zubair said, "Since the revelation of this Verse, Umar used to speak in such a low tone that the Prophet had to ask him to repeat his statements."

Bukhari 60.368

Muhammad was a creature of habit with many of his routines, especially those relating to prayers, e.g., ablution, becoming the rituals of Islam.

Narrated Maimuna:

I placed water for the bath of the Prophet. He washed his hands twice or thrice and then poured water on his left hand and washed his private parts. He rubbed his hands over the earth (and cleaned them), rinsed his mouth, washed his nose by putting water in it and blowing it out, washed his face and both forearms and then poured water over his body. Then he withdrew from that place and washed his feet.

Bukhari 5.257

Muhammad's habits included starting everything from the right. Only those intent on doing evil started from the left.

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet used to start everything from the right (for good things) whenever it was possible in all his affairs; for example: in washing, combing or wearing shoes.

Bukhari 8.418

For Muhammad there was a right and a wrong way to do everything, even the order in which you put on and took off your shoes.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "If you want to put on your shoes, put on the right shoe first; and if you want to take them off, take the left one first. Let the right shoe be the first to be put on and the last to be taken off."

Bukhari 72.747

He even had instructions as to the length of an Izar, a type of wrap-around garment worn by men and women.

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot while we were Junub. During the menses, he used to order me to put on an izar (dress worn below the waist) and used to fondle me.

While in Itikaf, he used to bring his head near me and I would wash it while I used to be in my periods (menses).

Bukhari 6.298

In the following, you have a reminder that failure to take God’s spokesperson’s most mundane observations seriously could have serious consequences in the Hereafter.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "The part of an Izar which hangs below the ankles is in the Fire."

Bukhari 72.678

Muhammad's preference for bland clothing would become a fashion standard for believers to this day.

Narrated Aisha:

Allah's Apostle offered prayer while he was wearing a Khamisa of his that had printed marks. He looked at its marks and when he finished prayer, he said, "Take this Khamisa of mine to Abu Jahm, for it has just now diverted my attention from my prayer, and bring to me the Anbijania (a plain thick sheet) of Abu Jahm bin Hudhaifa bin Ghanim who belonged to Bani Adi bin Ka'b."

Bukhari 72.708

Muhammad's affinity for the less flamboyant did not extend to extravagances such as rings, as long as they were not gold rings. On one finger, he slipped a ring made of silver with a very unique insert and engraving.

Narrated Anas:

The ring of the Prophet was of silver, and its stone was of silver too.

Bukhari 72.759

Narrated Anas bin Malik:

Allah's Apostle wanted to write a letter to a group of people or some non-Arabs. It was said to him, "They do not accept any letter unless it is stamped." So the Prophet had a silver ring made for himself, and on it was engraved: 'Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah'.

[It is] as if I am now looking at the glitter of the ring on the finger (or in the palm) of the Prophet.

Bukhari 72.761

Muhammad smiled but seldom laughed, and clouds made him wary, in part because of the wind that carried them. A famous pre-Islamic town in the Koran by the name of 'Ad was destroyed by strong winds which may explain the Prophet's unease at seeing clouds on the horizon.

Narrated Aisha:

I never saw Allah's Apostle laughing loudly enough to enable me to see his uvula, but he used to smile only. And whenever he saw clouds or winds, signs of deep concern would appear on his face.

I said, "O Allah's Apostle! When people see clouds they usually feel happy, hoping that it would rain, while I see that when you see clouds, one could notice signs of dissatisfaction on your face."

He said, "O Aisha! What is the guarantee for me that there will be no punishment in it, since some people were punished with a wind? Verily, some people saw (received) the punishment, but (while seeing the cloud) they said, 'This cloud will give us rain.'"

Bukhari 60.353

Muhammad would change the names of things on the spur of the moment, which his followers took as a revelation from Allah.

Narrated Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra's father:

Once the Prophet was riding his camel and a man was holding its rein. The Prophet asked, "What is the day today?"

We kept quiet, thinking that he might give that day another name.

He said, "Isn't it the day of Nahr (slaughtering of the animals of sacrifice)"

We replied, "Yes."

He further asked, "Which month is this?"

We again kept quiet, thinking that he might give it another name.

Then he said, "Isn't it the month of Dhul-Hijja?"

We replied, "Yes."

He said, "Verily! Your blood, property and honor are sacred to one another (i.e. Muslims) like the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this city of yours. It is incumbent upon those who are present to inform those who are absent because those who are absent might comprehend (what I have said) better than the present audience."

Bukhari 3.67

Muhammad would even change the names of people.

Narrated Al-Musaiyab:

That his father (Hazn bin Wahb) went to the Prophet and the Prophet asked (him), "What is your name?"

He replied, "My name is Hazn."

The Prophet said, "You are Sahl."

Hazn said, "I will not change the name with which my father has named me."

Ibn Al-Musaiyab added: We have had roughness (in character) ever since.

Bukhari 73.209

Many of the sayings of Muhammad read like something you might find in the Koran, and exhibit the same lack of a consistent timeframe. For example, whom did Allah show Mercy to in the following hadith, since He created his Throne before He created Adam, whose descendants would be the recipients of His anger?

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "When Allah had finished His creation, He wrote over his Throne: 'My Mercy preceded My Anger.'"

Bukhari 93.518

Muhammad, we are told was an easy going person, unless you transgressed against Allah. If you did, as Allah’s spokesperson, he felt it was his duty to take revenge on behalf of a god who shied away from doing His own dirty work.

Narrated Aisha:

Whenever Allah's Apostle was given the choice of one of two matters, he would choose the easier of the two, as long as it was not sinful to do so, but if it was sinful to do so, he would not approach it.

Allah's Apostle never took revenge (over anybody) for his own sake but (he did) only when Allah's Legal Bindings were outraged in which case he would take revenge for Allah's Sake.

Bukhari 56.760

Muhammad disliked people who disagreed with him and so did Allah.

Narrated Aisha:

The Prophet said, "The most hated person in the sight of Allah is the most quarrelsome person."

Bukhari 43.637

Muhammad's dislike for dogs extended to making illegal the proceeds from the sale of man's best friend.

Narrated Abu Masud Al-Ansari:

Allah's Apostle regarded illegal the price of a dog, the earnings of a prostitute, and the charges taken by a soothsayer.

Bukhari 36.482

Keeping a dog as a pet, he warned, increased your odds of going to Hell.

Narrated Sufyan bin Abi Zuhair Ash-Shani:

That he heard Allah's Apostle saying, "If somebody keeps a dog that is neither used for farm work nor for guarding the livestock, he will lose one Qirat (of the reward) of his good deeds every day."

Bukhari 54.542

Muhammad was very much into deprecating generalizations. As an example, the following is a sweeping statement about people in debt.

Narrated Aisha:

Allah's Apostle used to invoke Allah in the prayer saying, "O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all sins, and from being in debt."

Someone said, O Allah's Apostle! (I see you) very often you seek refuge with Allah from being in debt.

He replied, "If a person is in debt, he tells lies when he speaks, and breaks his promises when he promises."

Bukhari 41.582

A debtor could, however, still use a mortgaged animal as if it was his.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "One can ride the mortgaged animal because of what one spends on it, and one can drink the milk of a milch animal as long as it is mortgaged."

Bukhari 45.688

Muhammad was not shy about offering binding advice on anything that had to do with sex, including how many days a newly married man should spend with a bride who is a virgin, and one who is not.

Narrated Anas:

The tradition, (of the Prophet) is that if someone marries a virgin and he has already a matron wife (with him), then he should stay with the virgin for seven days; and if someone marries a matron (and he has already a virgin wife with him) then he should stay with her for three days.

Bukhari 62.140

Muhammad had an opinion on just about everything, from eye cleansers and picking your teeth with a toothpick to the correct way to relieve and wipe yourself. Not often was he not categorical about how something should be done.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If anyone applies collyrium, he should do it an odd number of times. If he does so, he has done well; but if not, there is no harm.

If anyone cleanses himself with pebbles, he should use an odd number. If he does so, he has done well; but if not, there is no harm.

If anyone eats, he should throw away what he removes with a toothpick and swallow what sticks to his tongue. If he does so, he has done well; if not, there is no harm.

If anyone goes to relieve himself, he should conceal himself, and if all he can do is to collect a heap of sand, he should sit with his back to it, for the devil makes sport with the posteriors of the children of Adam. If he does so, he has done well; but if not, there is no harm.

Abu Dawud 1.35

Muhammad never overstayed his welcome, whether he had been invited or not.

Narrated Abu Talha:

Whenever the Prophet conquered some people, he would stay in their town for three days.

Bukhari 52.300

Muhammad had a practical side.

Narrated Abdullah bin Abbas:

Once Allah's Apostle passed by a dead sheep and said to the people, "Wouldn't you benefit by its skin?"

The people replied that it was dead.

The Prophet said, "But its eating only is illegal."

Bukhari 34.424

More often it was the impractical side—some would say nonsensical, dogmatic side—which most often showed up. Consider the man who would pay to get back a horse given in charity because it was not well looked after.

Narrated Umar bin Al-Khattab:

I gave a horse in Allah's Cause. The person to whom it was given, did not look after it. I intended to buy it from him, thinking that he would sell it cheap. When I asked the Prophet he said, "Don't buy it, even if he gives it to you for one Dirham, as the person who takes back what he has given in charity, is like a dog that swallows back its vomit."

Bukhari 47.792

On the surface, many of Muhammad's verdicts and oversimplifications seem to make sense. Consider his ruling about lost and found things and animals: if it’s a thing, you look for the owner; if it's a sheep you can eat it; and if it’s a camel, you do nothing.

Narrated Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani:

A man asked the Prophet about the picking up of a "Luqata" (fallen lost thing).

The Prophet replied, "Recognize and remember its tying material and its container, and make public announcement (about it) for one year, then utilize it but give it to its owner if he comes."

Then the person asked about the lost camel.

On that, the Prophet got angry and his cheeks or his face became red and he said, "You have no concern with it as it has its water container, and its feet and it will reach water, and eat (the leaves) of trees till its owner finds it."

The man then asked about the lost sheep. The Prophet replied, "It is either for you, for your brother (another person) or for the wolf."

Bukhari 3.91

Muhammad believed that an animal hearing a recitation of the Koran experienced a change of behaviour, which he equated with a state of tranquility, even when the outward behaviour would indicate the animal was spooked by what it heard.

Narrated Al-Bara:

While a man from the companions of the Prophet was reciting (Quran) and his horse was tied in the house, the horse got startled and started jumping. The man came out, looked around but could not find anything, yet the horse went on jumping. The next morning he mentioned that to the Prophet.

The Prophet said, "That was the tranquility (calmness) which descended because of the recitation of the Quran."

Bukhari 60.363

Muhammad, being a believer in and a transmitter of revealed truths, had little faith that real knowledge would progress beyond what he knew to be true at the time.

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Allah's Apostle (p.b.u.h) said, "Keys of the unseen knowledge are five which nobody knows but Allah . . . nobody knows what will happen tomorrow; nobody knows what is in the womb; nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow; nobody knows at what place he will die; and nobody knows when it will rain."

Bukhari 17.149

The “religious learned” make better leaders.

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al As:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying, "Allah does not take away the knowledge, by taking it away from (the hearts of) the people, but takes it away by the death of the religious learned men till when none of the (religious learned men) remains, people will take as their leaders ignorant persons who when consulted will give their verdict without knowledge. So they will go astray and will lead the people astray."

Bukhari 3.99

In what he asked his followers to do and believe, Muhammad borrowed heavily from the Torah and rituals of the pagan Arabs, which he Islamisized—but imitation has its limits!

Narrated Abaya bin Rafa'a bin Raft bin Khadij:

My grandfather said, "We were in the company of the Prophet at Dhul-Hulaifa. The people felt hungry and captured some camels and sheep (as booty). The Prophet was behind the people. They hurried and slaughtered the animals and put their meat in pots and started cooking it.

(When the Prophet came) he ordered the pots to be upset and then he distributed the animals (of the booty), regarding ten sheep as equal to one camel.

One of the camels fled and the people ran after it till they were exhausted. At that time there were few horses. A man threw an arrow at the camel, and Allah stopped the camel with it.

The Prophet said, "Some of these animals are like wild animals, so if you lose control over one of these animals, treat it in this way (i.e. shoot it with an arrow)."

Before distributing them among the soldiers my grandfather said, "We may meet the enemies in the future and have no knives; can we slaughter the animals with reeds?"

The Prophet said, "Use whatever causes blood to flow, and eat the animals if the name of Allah has been mentioned on slaughtering them. Do not slaughter with teeth or fingernails and I will tell you why: It is because teeth are bones (i.e. cannot cut properly) and fingernails are the tools used by the Ethiopians (whom we should not imitate for they are infidels)."

Bukhari 43.668

You could argue that, considering a believer's wife owns basically nothing except her dowry and that she must defer to her husband for whatever goes on in his home, including fasting, it is only logical for the reward of the charity she performs to be half credited to him. 

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "It is not lawful for a lady to fast (Nawafil) without the permission of her husband when he is at home; and she should not allow anyone to enter his house except with his permission; and if she spends of his wealth (on charitable purposes) without being ordered by him, he will get half of the reward."

Bukhari 62.123

Muhammad formulated what could be considered the golden rule of Islam: do only what you know is legal, and you will avoid that which is illegal. With over six thousand revelations and more than ten thousand sayings and examples of Muhammad to inform a believer's every waking moment, this is actually not bad advice. Islam is fortunate to have so many scholars who devote their lives to acquainting themselves with this plethora of legal rulings and precedents; so that a believer who is unsure about doing the right thing has many a religious expert to turn to.

Narrated An-Nu'man bin Bashir:

The Prophet said "Both legal and illegal things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So who-ever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and who-ever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah's Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment."

Bukhari 34.267

Muhammad, before he discovered his true calling at age forty-something, was for more than twenty years a merchant and a trader. The merchant’s mentality is very much evident in hundreds, if not thousands, of hadiths, e.g., the merchant's calculating mind, attention to every detail of a transaction (whether it be a transaction involving animals, durable goods or human chattel), an appreciation of the value of things he trades and accumulates. It may be the merchant in the man who elevated a property owner who dies defending his possessions to the rank of a martyr.

Narrated Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-'As:

I heard the Prophet saying, "Whoever is killed while protecting his property then he is a martyr."

Bukhari 43.660

Muhammad is said to have anticipated an event which the Koran verses 54:1-2 says will be part of the Judgement Day spectacle: the splitting of the moon. It is the one miracle that the man who boasted he was not capable of such a thing is alleged to have agreed to perform.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The Prophet said, "Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed, but what I have been given, is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other Prophets on the Day of Resurrection."

Bukhari 61.504

The splitting of the moon should have been observable by people liv-ng thousands of miles from where Muhammad stood, but we have only the hadiths as evidence. Believe what you will!

Narrated Anas:

That the Meccan people requested Allah's Apostle to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.

Bukhari 56.831

The correct way to invoke Allah's blessing on His ultimate spokesperson involves remembering to repeat your request that He bless Muhammad's offspring as He did those of Abraham, i.e., the Jews.

Narrated Abu Humaid As-Sa'idi:

The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How shall we (ask Allah to) send blessings on you?"

Allah's Apostle replied, "Say: O Allah! Send Your Mercy on Muhammad and on his wives and on his offspring, as You sent Your Mercy on Abraham's family; and send Your Blessings on Muhammad and on his offspring, as You sent Your Blessings on Abraham's family, for You are the Most Praise-worthy, the Most Glorious."

Bukhari 55.588

The last brick!

Narrated Abu Huraira:

Allah's Apostle said, "My similitude in comparison with the other prophets before me, is that of a man who has built a house nicely and beautifully, except for a place of one brick in a corner. The people go about it and wonder at its beauty, but say: 'Would that this brick be put in its place!' So I am that brick, and I am the last of the Prophets."

Bukhari 56.735