The Description of the Prophet (sa) by an Uneducated, Desert Woman
When Abu Maabad (ra) returned with his flock of sheep, he was startled finding a vessel full of milk. He inquired where it came from, since he had not left any animal behind that gave milk. The wife narrated to him the interesting incident that had happened moments ago. Abu Maabad (ra) asked for the man’s description.
Umm Maabad (ra) replied:
“Radiant colour, glowing countenance, beautifully proportioned.
Neither blemished by a protruding belly nor disfigured by an unusually small head.
Deep black eyes, long eyelashes, coarse voice and a long neck.
The pupils of his eyes are very dark while the area around them is extremely white;
Thick eyebrows that meet each other.
Dark, shiny hair.
When he is silent, he is stately and composed,
And when he speaks, his appearance is impressive.
He is the most beautiful and striking man from afar,
And the most pleasant and stunning when near.
Sweetness in speech, clear and concise;
Neither too little nor nonsense.
Words flowing forth like a perfect string of pearls.
Of moderate height
Neither too tall that it displeases the eye
Nor too short that the eye does not behold
A branch between two branches
Radiant and beholding to the eye
(Meaning: A stately man in the company of two other stately men. He is the most prominent among them and the most well-respected.)
Companions who surround him,
If he speaks, they listen to him attentively,
If he commands, they hasten to honour it.
Well-served and attended,
Neither harsh nor utters Laghw [futile] speech
Hearing the description of the Prophet (sa), Abu Maabad (ra) cried out that this was the man the Quraysh had been looking for. He exclaimed that if he met the Prophet (sa), he will follow him. The couple then went to Madinah, embraced Islam and pledged their allegiance.
Later, when Umm Maabad (ra) was complimented on her beautiful description of the Prophet (sa) she replied that it was natural. As a woman she was a keen observer and sensitive. She scrutinized everything in detail.
Lessons to draw: Umm Maabad (ra) was an uneducated and ordinary, desert woman. At her description, the Companions (ra) commented that despite their being close to the Prophet (sa) they could not describe him with such grace and eloquence.
Tongue is a powerful weapon. It can melt hearts or estrange ties. The tongue that could have been occupied in the remembrance of Allah (swt) and spreading goodness, is often found engaged in character assassination and tale-bearing. We return from gatherings and get busy in gossips and backbiting. Other people’s lives, their clothing, their children, their career choices, and their relationships are often the topics of our discussion and scrutiny.
Umm Maabad (ra) asserts that she was able to give such an illustrious description of the Prophet (sa) because being a woman she was more observant than men. She saw the Prophet (sa) only once and observed all his distinguishing features. Why is it that when we meet people our focus is on their flaws and not their excellences?
As mothers, it is important that we keep our tongues in check. Our little apprentices that spend most of their early years with the mother are observing our each move and taking a note of the words that we utter. Our grievances, our tantrums, and our opinions about other people or life in general, leave a mark on the children. Their opinions are formed based on what they have heard or seen in their early years. While some children get rid of their early opinions, many do not. Let us not be unaware of our conduct.
Umm Maabad (ra) has done us a great favour. We have no way of seeing our beloved (sa) other than waiting for Jannah (may Allah swt make us from the people of Paradise, ameen.). Through this description, we can visualize the Prophet (sa). Let us look at our skills, aim to refine them and use them for serving Allah’s religion and spreading goodness.
(Adapted from the book: Seerat e Sahabiyat k Darakshan Pehlu by and the lectures of Dr. Farhat Hashmi: Seerat e Sahabiyat)