The majestic elegance of Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the lofty devotedness of Abubakr(ra) – A former Non-Muslim’s testimony.

The majestic elegance of Prophet Muhammad(saw) and the lofty devotedness of Abubakr(ra) – A former Non-Muslim’s testimony.

Umm Mabad's descrp

‘Aatikah bint Ka’ab al-Khuza’iyyah; her nick name was Umm Ma’bad. We find her name mentioned and connected to one of the greatest event in the Prophet’s(saw) life, the Hijrah(migration) from Makkah to Madeenah.

She was a famous, chaste, strong and courageous woman and had a camp in Qudayd. She would sit down in the courtyard of her camp wrapped-up in her garment, generously providing food and drink to the travellers who passed by. Umm Ma’bad’s brother, was Khunays (or Hubaysh) ibn Khalid al-Khuza’ee who became a companion of Prophet Muhammad(saw), it was he who reported Umm Ma’bad’s story. His narration of her story is related by many narrators, and thus has been recorded in many books of seerah .

On his way to Madinah during migration(hijrah), The Messenger of Allah(saw) and his companions Abu Bakr, ‘Aamir ibn Fuhayrah, a freed slave of Abu Bakr and their guide, ‘Abdullah ibn Urayqit (who was then a polytheist who was hired by Abu Bakr), once rested in Umm Ma’bad’s camp. This was the event after which Umm Ma’bad described Prophet Muhammad(saw) and his companions to her husband, Aktham ibn Abi al-Jawn al-Khuza’i, as they had left from there.

Before we read Umm Ma’bad’s description of the Prophet Muhammad(saw), it is important to note that even though many of the companions have described the Messenger of Allah(saw), such as ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s comprehensive and detailed description of him (bearing in mind that he had enjoyed the companionship of the Prophet for a lengthy period of time and that he was very eloquent), no-one matched Umm Ma’bad’s description of him. Umm Ma’bad described Prophet Muhammad(saw) to her husband in the most eloquent, precise and befitting manner. This is because out of wonderment she had observed the Prophet(saw) meticulously, as a result of which she had fully retained his picture in her mind.

The following is Umm Ma’bad’s description of the Messenger of Allah(saw) , She said:

I saw a man who was patently handsome and whose face was radiant; and he had good manners. He was not skinny or emaciated, and he can overall be described as being handsome. His eyes were da’aj(i.e the black part of his eyes was extremely black and the white part of them was extremely white), and his eyelashes were long. His voice was not strident, his neck was long, and his beard was thick. The hairs of his eyebrows were thin and long, and both eyebrows were joined together. If he remained silent, then there was a sense of dignity about him; and if he spoke he would be covered by beauty and radiance. Seen at a distance, he is the most handsome and magnificent of people. And from up close, he is the sweetest and the best of people. His speech is sweet and positively true; he speaks moderately, neither too much nor too little. He is of medium height; neither is he taller than most people nor is he so short as to be disparaged(for being short). He was most radiant of three in appearance and the most esteemed as well. He had companions who surrounded him. If he spoke, they listened attentively. And if he commanded, they hurried to execute his command. He is well served and attended. He neither frowns nor nags.”


This hadîth is related by al-Hâkim in al-Mustadrak (3/9-10), al-Tabarânî in al-Mu`jam al-Kabîr (3605), Abû Nu`aym in Dalâ’il al-Nubuwwah (282-278), and al-Lâlikâ’î in I`tiqâd Ahl al-Sunnah (1434-1437). Also refer, Al-hijrah An-Nabawiyyah Al-Mubarakah, (page 107).

There are other narrations that support this hadîth, like the one narrated by Jâbir which is related by al-Bazzâr (Kashf al-Astâr: 1742) and the hadîth of Abû Ma`bad al-Khuzâ`î, related by al-Bayhaqî as mentioned by Ibn Khathîr in al-Sîrah (2/258 and 262) and Ibn Sa`d in al-Tabaqât (1/230-233). There is one more supporting narration mentioned by al-Bayhaqî in his Dalâ’il al-Nubuwwah (2/491).

By taking into consideration all of its chains of transmission, this hadîth can be graded as being a good hadîth.


1. From this report of Umm Ma’bad who was a non-muslim at that time, we came to know the majestic elegance of Prophet Muhammad(saw).

2. Umm Ma’bad also described the lofty devotedness of the companions of Prophet(saw), that is Abu Bakr(ra) and ‘Aamir ibn Fuhayrah(ra), the slave of Abu Bakr. As for Abdullah ibn Urayqit he was a polytheist at that time, and was hired only as a guide. Also, one version of this description states:{“He is neither too tall nor overly short, a stately man in the company of two other stately men}. Hence Abdullah ibn Urayqit isn’t among those two devoted companions, who were described by Umm Ma’bad.

3. As for the doubt of some people, that why was Abu Bakr(ra) was chosen by Prophet(saw) to accompany him in Hijrah, then it was due to the command of Allah for the Prophet(saw) to migrate alongwith Abu Bakr(ra), this is not only documented in Sunni books, but even in Shi’ee books, we read:

302 – الإمام أبو محمد العسكري – عليه السلام -: إن الله تعالى [قد] (2) أوحى إليه: يا محمد إن العلي الاعلى يقرأ عليك السلام، ويقول لك: إن أبا جهل والملا من قريش قد دبروا يريدون قتلك، وآمرك أن تبيت عليا في موضعك، وقال لك: إن منزلته منزلة إسماعيل الذبيح من إبراهيم الخليل، يجعل نفسه لنفسك فداء، وروحه لروحك وقاءا “، وآمرك أن تستصحب أبا بكر، فإنه إن آنسك وساعدك وآزرك وثبت على ما يعاهدك (3) ويعاقدك كان في الجنة من رفقائك، وفي غرفاتها من خلصائك

Imam Abu Muhammad al-Askari(as) – Allah Revealed unto him: ‘O Muhammad saww! The Most High Sends to you His Salutations and Says that Abu Jahl and the Chiefs of the Qureish have plotted to kill you and Commands you to make Ali sleep in your place and Says to you that his status with you saww is that of Ismail as the Slaughtered, with Ibrahim as the Friend, who will give his self for your self and his soul for your saww soul. And Orders you to take your companion Abu Bakr with you, for if he were to love you and help you and remain steadfast on your covenant and believe in you, he will be in Paradise from your friends, and in lofty places from your special one. (Shia book, Madinatul Muajiz Vol. 1 p. 454)

4. Umm Ma’bad who was a Non-Muslim that time, testifies the lofty devotedness of Imam Abu Bakr(ra), he is the one who listens to Prophet(saw) attentively, and is quick in executing the command of Prophet(saw). He serves and attends Prophet(saw) in a well manner. The reason we singled out Abu Bakr(ra), though Aamir ibn Fuhayrah(ra) was also with them, is because the people who were influenced by the ideology of Abdullah ibn Saba(la), slander Abu Bakr(ra) for many things, such as not obeying Prophet Muhammad(saw), however, the reality was described by an eye-witness who was a Non-Muslim, and later accepted Islam.

May Allah’s (swt) blessings be upon His Messenger, his household, and his companions.

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