The Handsome Eyes of Our Beloved Prophet

ان کی آنکھوں پہ وہ سایہ افگن مژہ ۔ ۔ ۔ ظلہ قصر رحمت پہ لاکھوں سلام
اشکباری مژگاں پہ برسے درود ۔ ۔ ۔ سلک در شفاعت پہ لاکھوں سلام
معنی قد رائ مقصد ما طغی ۔ ۔ ۔ نرگس باغ قدرت پہ لاکھوں سلام
جس طرح اٹھ گئی دم میں دم آگیا ۔ ۔ ۔ اس نگاہ عنایت پہ لاکھوں سلام
نیچی نظروں کی شرم وحیا پر درود ۔ ۔ ۔ اونچی بینی کی رفعت پہ لاکھوں سلام

In the following piece of work, We have given a detailed description of the gorgeous eyes of our Noble Prophet Muhammad (May Allah give him peace & blessings) that were described by many of his companions, and We have explained the Arabic terms used in Arabic to describe them:

1. The beautiful eyes were “wide” and “large” described as [1]”عظيمُ العَينَيْن” and [2]”كانتْ عَينَاهُ نَجْلَاوَين”.

2. The Iris was “extremely black” described as [3]”أدْعَجُ العَين” and [4] “أسودُ الحَدَقًة” however the former more precisely means “a large eye with a dark black Iris having an extremely white sclera” “أدعج العين شديد سواد حدقتهما لكن قيد مع سعة العين وشدة بياضهما “.[5]

3. The sclera -white part of the eye- had a touch of redness in it described as [6]”أشْكًلُ العَيْن”, [7]”مُشرّبُ العَينِ بِحُمْرَة” and “كانَ فِي عَينَيْهِ تَمَزُّجٌ من حُمْرَة”.

Shu`ba once asked Simak about the meaning of “أشْكًلُ العَيْن” to which he said: “an eye that has a long eyelashes”. Qadhi `Iyyadh commented: this is a misapprehension (wahm) by Simak and the sound view is that the word “شَكلًة” in Arabic means to have a complexion of redness in the eye as the entire scholars have agreed to and this is what the entire scholars of the science of unusual Arabic literary (al-Gharib) have concurred on. The word “شَهلَة” is used to describe a touch of redness in the Iris. Redness in the eye is a praiseworthy attribute and a handsome quality according to the Arabs.[8]

Hafiz al-`Iraqi considered this redness one of the signs of the Prophet hood. When the Noble Prophet travelled with Maysara to Basra, Rahib questioned him whether he had some redness in his eyes, upon knowing, he affirmed that he is the promised Messenger.[9]

4. The eyelashes were “long” and “full” described as “أًَهْدَبُ الأَشفار” .[10]

5. The eyelashes were naturally dark black as if kuhl had been applied to them described as “أكْحل العَينَين” [11]

6. The blessed eyebrows were “long” and shaped like a “bow” described as”أزَجّ الحَواجِب” [12]. Al-Qamus defines “azajj” as “bow shaped and long” and al-Sihah defines it as “thin and long”. [13] Al-Fa’q defines it as “fine eyebrows that lead onto the end of the eye”.[14] Munawi adds “plenteous in hair and far stretched”.[15]

7. The eyebrows were “fine” and not “thick” described as “دَقِيقَ الحَاجِبَين”.

8. The eyebrows were “perfect” and “never met in the middle” above the nose, described as “سَوابِغَ في غيرِ قَرَن”[16].

Sayyiduna `Ali, Umm Ma`bad and Suwayd bin Gafalah reported that the Noble Prophet’s eyebrows (upon him be peace & blessings) did meet, giving the Arabic description “مقرُونَ الحاجِبَين”. However, the scholars have explained the sound view is that they “did not” meet and reconciled between the two reports by saying that if one was to “attentively” look at the eyebrows, he would realise that there was a “thin white gap” between them, otherwise it appeared as if they met.[17] The word that describes the non-meeting of the eyebrows in Arabic is “بَلج” and thus “أبلَج الحواجب”.[18]

9. In the affairs of Allah, the beloved’s anger would appear as such that a vane would clearly appear filled by blood in between his eyebrows rising over his forehead, described as “بَينهما عِرقٌ يُدِرُّه الغَضَب”.

Our Beloved Prophet’s eyes (upon him be peace & blessing) were mentioned by many poets in Persian, Arabic and Urdu. Among the great Gnostics who often made mention of the precise details of the eyes were Pir Sayyid Mehr `Ali Shah in his Punjabi odes which he penned after seeing the Noble Mustafa in just outside Madina in Wadiy Hamra, and the great Mujaddid Imam Ahmad Ridha especially in his Qasida Salamiya, in which he described the entire hilya. The people of the subcontinent are always overwhelmed by these odes as much that my personal experience is that hair lifts up on my skin and tears fill my eyes when passionately sang.

Pir Sayyid Mehr Ali Shah says;

“The Beloved’s bow-shaped eyebrows appeared before me
And it seemed though the lashes were firing arrows”


[1] Narrated Bayhaqi on the authority of Sayyiduna `Ali ibn Abi Taalib & cited by `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il (1:55)
[2] Qadhi Yusuf Nabhani cited this wording in Wasa’il al-Wusul p63
[3] As in a narration of `Umar bin Khattab and `Ali ibn Abi Talib
[4] As in a narration of Sayyiduna `Ali ibn Abi Talib
[5] Mulla `Ali Qari, Jam` al-Wasa’il (1: 31)
[6] Narrated by Tirmidhi in his Shama’il on the authority of Jabir ibn Samura. Ibn al-Athir also affirmed that Ashkal means “a touch of redness” in al-Nihaya.
[7] Narrated by Bayhaqi on the authority of Sayyiduna `Ali ibn Abi Taalib & cited by `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il (1:55)
[8] `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il and Munawi in Sharh al-Shama’il (1: 55)
[9] Munawi’s Sharh al-Shama’il, 1:55
[10] This explanation to the word “أهدَب” was given by `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il (1: 32) and is also understood by the following narration cited by Yusuf al-Nabhani in Wasa’il al-Wusul p63: “وكان أهدب الأشفار حتي تكاد تلتبس من كثرتها”. This description was given by Sayyiduna `Ali in the popular narration of the Hilya narrated by Tirmidhi.
[11] In a narration of Abu Hurayrah, and narration of Jabir bin Samurah cited by Tirmidhi
[12] In the popular Hilya narration by Hind bin Abi Haala cited by Tirmidhi.
[13] `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il (1:43)
[14] Munawi in Sharh al-Shama’il (1:43)
[15] Ibid
[16] In the popular Hilya narration of Hind bin Abi Haala cited by Tirmidhi.
[17] Ibn al-Athir in al-Nihaya, Yusuf al-Nabhani in Wasa’il al-Wusul p 73, `Ali Qari in Jam` al-Wasa’il (1:44)
[18] `Ali Qari, Jam` al-Wasa’il (1:44)

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