A Portrait of the Prophet (SAW) As Seen by His Contemporaries

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  • Author: Imam Muhammad ibn 'Isa at-Tirmidhi
  • ISBN: 9781887752930

A Portrait of the Prophet ash-Shama'il al-Muhammadiyya
English Translation by Muhtar Holland
Fons Vitae.


In Islam, two sources are used to explain the religion and its laws: the Qur'an, a revered text, and the hadith, the sayings and activities of the Prophet Muhammad as reported by friends and followers during his lifetime.

This skilled translation, which includes the Arabic of one of the key Islamic texts, long-awaited in English, presents a fascinating selection of hadith compiled by the ninth-century scholar at-Tirmidhi that humanizes the Prophet for modern audiences, presenting him through the eyes of contemporaries who comment not only on his spiritual demeanor and qualities but also on his physical appearance and mannerisms-including his hairdressing, his sitting posture, his sandals and turban, his armor, his favorite condiments, and his jests and laughter.


You were created innocent of every blemish, as if you were created just as you would wish.


As for the special value and tremendous importance of this work by Imam at-TirmidhI, I could do nothing better than echo the words of the erudite scholars whose introductions are included in this translated edition.
Let me simply repeat the statement: "The Book of the Virtues"... is a book unique of its kind, unequaled in its arrangement and its comprehensiveness. No one has produced anything resembling it or comparable to it." I trust that my English translation - in spite of its inevitable imperfections, for which I beg forgiveness - will convey the essential meanings of the original text. - Muhtar Holland (from the Translator's Foreword)

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