§13. Qutaybah bin Sa`îd narrated to us; al-Layth bin Sa`d informed us; from Abű az-Zubair; from Jâbir bin `Abdullâh (RA) that the Messenger of Allâh, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, said,
|The Prophets were presented to me: I saw Moses (AS), he was thin and resembled the tribe of Shanű`ah. I saw Jesus (AS) and the person I have seen who resembles him most is `Urwah bin Mas`űd. I saw Abraham (AS) and the person who resembles him most is your companion – i.e. himself - I saw Gabriel and the person who resembles him the most is Dihyâ. |
"The Prophets were presented to me," (Q) This contains an indication of his superiority, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, over them because he said this rather than, 'I was presented to the Prophets.' This is because they are like his entourage and the entourage is presented to the master and not vice-versa. This is why one of the Gnostics said, 'The Prophet, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, is like the heart of the army, the Prophets are the front guard and the Awliyâ´ are the rear guard, with the Angels aligning on the right and left, coming to their aid as Allâh says, "And the Angels moreover are his assistants," and the devils are the highway robbers of this religion.' The meaning of the word Prophets here is more general so as to include the Messengers. This presentation was done on the Night of al-Isrâ´ as is mentioned in other reports.
"I saw Moses (AS), he was thin and resembled the tribe of Shanű`ah," (Q) a well known Yemeni tribe (M) known for being of moderate build, neither too thin nor too fat. (Q) It is clear that the purpose of making this resemblance is to point out similarity in features, not to further consolidate his being thin. This is because the principle is that the possibility of deriving a new meaning takes precedence over the possibility of further consolidating an already existing meaning. However this hadîth seems to contradict what is reported in Bukhârî that Moses was heavily built with straight hair, but this is answered by saying that what is meant is that he was tall  and hence there is no inconsistency between being tall and being thin. It is also possible that he, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, saw Moses on two separate occasion of his life, and it is well known that physical bodies can alter from being heavily built to being thin over the vicissitudes of time.
"I saw Jesus (AS) and the person I have seen who resembles him most is `Urwah bin Mas`űd," (Q) He accepted Islâm in the ninth year of Hijrah after the Prophet, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, returned from Tâ´if and went back to his people to call them to Islâm, they refused however and he was killed when calling the adhân for prayer, or when he was calling his people to Islâm one of them shot him with an arrow and killed him. Not much more is known of `Urwah so as to know how Jesus looked but Muslim has the hadîth describing Jesus as being "of medium build, red skinned as if he had just come out of a bath." In another narration it is mentioned about him, "I saw a brown man, the best one can see amongst those of brown colour." These narrations are reconciled by saying that he had a redness and a brownness, but neither was so severe as to be predominate, as such sometimes he was described as being red and other times as brown; or they can be reconciled by saying that he, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, saw him on two separate occasions in two different situations, his actually colour being brown and his being described as red on another occasion was due to some external factor, such as exertion or the likes. In another narration it is mentioned, "Jesus was of medium build with curly hair," another narration has, "red skinned, curly haired, broad chested, not too tall." "I saw Abraham (AS) and the person who resembles him most is your companion," (Q) In another narration, "I am the one who resembles Abraham the most amongst his children." "– i.e. himself," (Q) These are the words of Jâbir or one of the other narrators of the hadîth. "I saw Gabriel," (Q) He has been mentioned amongst the Prophets because of his frequently mixing with their company because of his conveying revelation to them. "And the person who resembles him the most is Dihyâ," one of the senior Companions, he did not attend Badr but attended all the ensuing battles and was one of those who gave the pledge of allegiance under the tree. Similitudes would be propounded of him because of his great beauty. The Two Sahîhs mention that Jibrîl would come to the Messenger of Allâh, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, in the form of Dihyâ, i.e. frequently.
§14. Sufyân bin Wakî` and Muhammad bin Bashshâr narrated to us; Yazîd bin Hârűn narrated to us; from Sa`îd al-Jurayrî; I heard Abű at-Tufayl saying,
|‘I have seen the Messenger of Allâh, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, and not a single person remains on the face of this earth who has seen him other than me.’ I said, ‘Describe him to me.’ He said, ‘He was white skinned, handsome and of middle build and height.’ |
"I have seen the Messenger of Allâh, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, and not a single person," (Q) from amongst humans, from amongst his Companions, hence Angels and Jinn are not included. "Remains on the face of this earth," (Q) thereby omitting Jesus who saw him, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, while he was in the heaven. "Who has seen him other than me," (Q) meaning that he then is the most deserving of being asked to describe him, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, and thereby encouraging others to ask him to describe him, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam. "I said, ‘describe him to me.’ He said, ‘he was white skinned," (M) with a tinge of red as has preceded. "Handsome" (M) one of the meanings of this word is fat, and it was to clear the possibility of understanding it in this way that he followed this by saying, "and of middle build and height,’" (Q) al-Mîrak said, 'This hadîth clearly shows that he was the last of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, to die. He passed away in the year 110H according to the correct opinion, and this accords to the hadîth recorded in the Sahîh that the Prophet, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, said, a month before his passing away, "There is no breathing soul on this earth that will be alive in one hundred years time," in another narration that the Prophet, sallAllâhu `alayhi wa sallam, towards the end of his life, prayed `Ishâ´ after which he stood and said, "Do you see this night of yours? In one hundred years, there will not remain alive anybody who is alive on this earth today."
2. at-Taĥrım (66): 4
3. As mentioned in another report of Bukhārı [Kitāb al-Anbiyā'].
4. Reported by Muslim [al-Fadā'il], Abū Dāwūd [al-Adab].
5. Ĥadıth #1,2