Hadith #2: Jibreel’s Appearance


This is a continuation of my An-Nawawi series. We already began discussing hadith #2 – the hadith of Jibreel/Gabriel.

I have already done a post for the narrator of this hadith – ‘Umar ibn al Khattaab – alhamdulillah. So there is no need to repeat that 🙂

Today, we will take a look at just the coming of Jibreel ‘alayhis salaam. We can learn so much from just the appearance and mannerism of the Angel Jibreel/Gabriel.

“extremely white clothing and extremely black hair”

The first thing to notice is how clean Gabriel’s appearance was. The scholars understand by this that  it is recommended to have a good appearance and be clean. This is especially true when one is going to the  masjid or to attain knowledge.

White clothing is preferred, especially for people of knowledge. Cleanlisnness is an important characterisitc of the true Muslim, and like all other characteristics of true Muslims, should be more emphasized for the scholars and students of knowledge. They should set the example for others.

“no signs of travel”

He was not from the people of Madinah, and yet there were no signs of travel on him. This made the Angel’s appearance special and immediately attracted the people’s attention to him.

“He supported his knees against the Prophet’s knees…”

This should be the attitude of the Muslim who wants to learn and seek knowledge – to get as close to the teacher as possible so they can understand and hear everything the teacher says correctly.

“put his hands on his thighs”

There are different opinions amongst the scholars regarding this:

  1. This is the way a student should sit in front of the teacher. The questioner should be humble and polite before the one he is questioning.
  2. This abrupt manner may have been a way of showing himself to be a rough bedouin and attracting the people’s attention.

“He said ‘O Muhammad…'”

Allah says in the Qur’an: “Make not the calling of the Messenger among you as your calling of each other.” (al-Noor, 63). In this hadith, the Angel addresses the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by saying, “O Muhammad.’  This has caused some concern – how is that the angel addressed him in such a way? There are three answers that have been given to this question:

  1. The prohibition applies to humans only and not to the angels.
  2. This even occurred before the prohibition of such an address (although this explanation seems unlikely since the event took place so late in the Prophet’s life.)
  3. This was done to further the appearance that he was a Bedouin Arab.

“Tell me about Islam”

In this narration, the angels first asks about Islam. In other narrations, he first asks about Iman. There are some who argue that asking about Iman should be first because it is more consistent with the Quranic presentation of such topics (see 2:177 and ayahs at the beginning of al-Anfal). And that is why, inshaAllah, we shall begin by discussing Iman 🙂

mashaAllah the author goes into mui detail regarding Iman. It’s almost like a crash course on aqeedah. Therefore, I will be summarizing a LOT in the next few posts.

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