Numbers appearing in Brackets  are references and are included below.
The impulse for writing this article came from a conversation with a colleague who told me that while sitting with other colleagues, he had heard one of them repeat the statement that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was an ordinary human being like the rest of us, except that Allah had given him the Qur’ān. My friend knew very well that this kind of statement had been deliberately circulated among Muslims to detach them from their Prophet, thus cutting them off from the mercy of Allah that descends upon them through their love for him and close adherence to his teachings. This is part of an overall plan to destroy Islam from within, a plan that, we regret to say, is carried out by ignorant Muslims, misled by crude suggestions of the Devil that to love the Prophet and revere him is to worship him beside Allah. My friend told me he became quite angry and challenged our colleagues to take anything of the Prophet at random and compare it with themselves. He found himself saying, “Take his hand for instance!” Then he started discoursing about the special distinctions of the Prophet’s hand, talking for about twenty minutes, all the time aware that he had never spoken like that before. His colleagues listened silently, then when he was finished, begged him to carry on. These were educated people who already had much of this knowledge in their minds, but who had been too busy with worldly things to assemble and envisage their knowledge from that angle before, or to make the necessary effort in understanding how and why they had previously been misinformed.
It is for people like these, people whose hearts contain much love for Allah and His Prophet and who are honest enough to recognize the truth when they see it, that this article is written. My hope is that it will encourage them to find out more about their leader, teacher, good example, and intercessor. It is certainly not written for the narrow minded followers of the believers in a limited God, a God which they situate in space, located exclusively above the Throne. For such people, the absolute difference between Creator and created is blurred, for they mentally impose limits upon that which is beyond limits. This puts them in the false position of having to belittle the Best of Creation in order to keep Allah in His place as God.
We, the vast majority of Muslims, the Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jamā‘a, know that it is impossible for a Muslim to confuse the Creator with the created, however great the latter may be. We are therefore quite comfortable in our love for the Prophet and our extreme respect and veneration for him.
The Prophet himself has repeatedly said that those who do not love him more than their fathers, mothers, children, wealth, and their own selves, their faith is defective and their works in danger of being rejected by Allah.
It is deceitful to claim to love the Prophet but seek to deprive him of the sublime attributes that Allah bestowed upon him, prior to making him the Master of all Creation.
It is to be hoped that those who read this article will be spurred on to increase and complete their knowledge of our beloved Prophet from the sources, for such knowledge is an obligation upon each Muslim capable of acquiring it.
To begin, Allah, Exalted is He, says: “Those who swear allegiance to you are but swearing allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” [48:10]
Were those who insist on accepting nothing but the literal meaning of the Qur’ān and refuse all figurative interpretation to take this verse at face value, it would have to mean that the hand that gave allegiance to the Companions was that of Allah not that of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Those endowed with reason, however, will readily understand that because the Prophet is Allah’s representative on earth, swearing allegiance to him is in reality swearing allegiance to Allah, and the Prophet’s hand represents Allah’s Hand, just as the Black Stone represents it, but, in the Prophet’s case, eminently more deservedly.
The result of taking the Prophet’s hand and swearing allegiance to him–for they swore it to him–was that Allah was satisfied with them: “Allah was satisfied with the believers when they swore allegiance to you under the tree.” [48:18]
Allah’s satisfaction is in seeing that His slaves are obeying His injunctions, avoiding what He has forbidden them, and being satisfied with His decrees. This was the state of the Companions surrounding the Prophet under the tree in Hudaybiya. Their satisfaction with Allah’s decisions, their extinction of their individual wills in the Divine will made them as Allah says: “Allah was satisfied with them and they were satisfied with Him.” [58:22] It was to the Prophet’s everlasting honour and glory that his hand represented Allah’s on this and all other such occasions.
Another such occasion was recounted by Abdal-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf, “We were at the Messenger of Allah’s; nine, eight, or seven of us. He said, ‘Will you not swear allegiance?’ We had sworn allegiance only recently, so we said, ‘We have sworn allegiance to you, O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘Will you not swear allegiance to the Messenger of Allah?’ So we extended our hands saying, ‘To what shall we swear allegiance to you?’ He said, ‘To worship Allah and associate nothing with Him, perform the five prayers, obey,’ then he said something we did not hear, then continued, ‘and ask nothing of others!’ 
Physically, the hands of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessing and peace be upon him, were as beautiful and pleasing to gaze upon as everything else about him. They were white and fleshy, with slightly tapering fingers. His boy-servant, Anas ibn Mālik, said on more than one occasion, “I have never touched any silk or brocade that is softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, nor have I ever smelled musk or scent more fragrant than the fragrance of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him.”
Wā’il ibn Hajar said, “Whenever I shook hands with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, or my skin touched his skin, I smelled the scent of musk on my hand for three days.” 
Another Companion, ‘Umayra daughter of Sahl, also a child at the time, recounted how her father once took her to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, asking him to touch her head and pray for both of them for baraka, since she was his only child. “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, placed his hands on my head. I swear by Allah that I could feel the coolness of the hand of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, in my liver!” 
Jābir ibn Samura said, “I prayed with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, the first prayer, then he went out and I went out with him. He was met by some children and rubbed their cheeks one by one. As for myself, he rubbed my cheek and I found that his hand was cool and fragrant, as if he had just taken it out of a perfume vendor’s bag.”
The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, used his right hand for his ritual purification, food, and beverage, and his left hand for less clean things. “He never touched the hand of a woman,” said the lady ‘Ā’isha, “when he accepted their allegiance, he accepted it verbally.”
In these hands of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, were placed the keys of the treasuries of the earth. Abū Hurayra said that he had heard the Messenger of Allah say, “I was sent with comprehensive speech, I was supported with terror, and, while I was asleep, I was brought the keys to the treasuries of the earth and they were placed in my hand.”
Having given him the keys, Allah left it to him to divide things among the people as he pleased. This is why he said, “Allah gives and I am the Divider!”
Allah had said to Sulaymān, may peace be upon him: “This is Our gift, so bestow or withhold without reckoning!” [38:39] And if Sulaymān had freedom to give or withhold at will, then how much more freedom did the Master of all Prophets have?
The baraka of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, radiated powerfully from his hand, so that when he placed it on the sick and the injured they were cured, when he touched food it increased manifold, when he placed it on someone’s chest he removed doubts and disbelief, when he gave his Companions dry, wooden sticks they turned into swords, when he threw gravel or dust at the face of the enemy, it separated into guided missiles striking their targets in the eyes.
When Qatāda ibn al-Nu‘mān was wounded in the eye by an arrow on the day of Uhud, his eyeball was dislodged and hung on his cheek. His companions wanted to cut it off, but decided to consult the Prophet first. He said, “No!” then ordered Qatāda brought to him, pushed his eyeball back into place with his hand, blowing some of his spittle on it then said, “O Allah, give him beauty!” It became Qatāda’s best eye and when the other eye suffered from infection, that one never did.
Abayd ibn Hammāl suffered from an illness that ate at his face. The Prophet passed his hand over his face and it disappeared without leaving a trace.
Shurahbīl al-Ju‘fī said, “I came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with a swelling on my palm and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! This swelling has tormented me and it prevents me form holding my sword or the reins of my mount!’ He blew on my palm, then put his palm on the swelling and went on grinding it until it disappeared.”
‘Abdallah ibn ‘Atīk went to Khaybar to kill the infamous Jew, Abū Rāfi‘, in the latter’s house. As he was leaving the house he fell and broke his ankle. He bandaged it and hobbled to his companions, then they rode back together to Madina. The Prophet said, “Stretch your leg!” He passed his hand over the broken bones and they mended there and then. 
‘Alī ibn al-Hakam jumped his horse over a ditch during an expedition with the Prophet. The horse failed to cross the trench and ‘Alī’s leg was crushed between the horse and the side of the trench. He went to the Prophet who said, “In the Name of Allah!” and passed his hand over it, curing it.
‘Abdallah ibn Rawāha went to the Prophet saying, “O Messenger of Allah, I suffer from a molar tooth that pains me greatly!” The Prophet put his hand on his cheek saying, “O Allah, remove from him the pain he suffers and the distress, by the prayer of Your Blessed Prophet, whose rank is high with You!” He repeated this prayer seven times. Ibn Rawāha left the Prophet’s presence completely cured.
Asmā’, daughter of Abū Bakr, complained one day that her head and face were swollen. The Prophet put his hand on her head then her face, above her veil, repeating three times, “In the Name of Allah! Remove from her the pain she suffers and the distress, by the prayer of Your Blessed Prophet, whose rank is high with You!” The swelling subsided.
‘Amr ibn Hurayth said, “My mother took me to the Messenger of Allah, he passed his hand over my head and prayed for me to remain [well] provisioned.”
‘Amr ibn Tha‘laba said, “I met the Messenger of Allah at Sāla and became a Muslim. He passed his hand over my head.” Ibn Tha‘laba lived to be a hundred years old but the place that the Prophet had touched never turned grey.
Al-Sā’ib ibn Yazīd was asked by his servant, ‘Atā, why his beard and part of his head were white. The latter replied, “Shall I tell you my son?” “Indeed!” he replied. “I was playing with other boys,” he said, “When the Messenger of Allah passed by. I walked up to him and greeted him, he returned my salām then said, ‘Who are you?’ I said, ‘I am al-Sā’ib ibn Yazīd, son of al-Nimr ibn Qāsit’s sister.’ The Messenger of Allah passed his hand over my head saying, ‘May Allah bless you!’ By Allah! It will never go white and will remain like this perpetually!” 
Muhammad ibn Fudāla al-Zafarī said, “The Messenger of Allah came when I was two weeks old. I was brought to him, he passed his hand over my head saying, ‘Call him by my name, but do not call him by my kunya!’ I was taken along to perform the Farewell Pilgrimage with him when I was ten years old.” Muhammad ibn Fudāla’s life was long, his hair turned white, but not where the hand of the Prophet had touched it.
Mālik ibn ‘Umayr was present at the conquest of Macca, then at the campaigns of Hunayn and Tā’if. He was a poet. He asked the Messenger of Allah about poetry and was told, “For you to be filled with pus from your throat to your pubis is better than to be filled by poetry!” He said, “O Messenger of Allah, pass your hand over my head!” He did and Mālik never said a verse after this. He lived long, his head and beard turned white, except the place touched by the Prophet. 
Bashīr ibn ‘Aqraba al-Juhanī said, “‘Aqraba went to the Messenger of Allah, may God’s blessings and peace be upon him, who said, ‘Who is this with you O ‘Aqraba?’ ‘My son Bahīr,’ he replied. He said, ‘Come nearer!’ I did and sat on his right. He passed his hand over my head. ‘What is your name?’ he asked. ‘Bahīr O Messenger of Allah,’ I replied. He said, ‘No, but your name is Bashīr!’ My tongue was tied, the Prophet blew into my mouth and it was undone. All my hair turned white except where he had put his hand, this part remained black.”
The Prophet also passed his hand over ‘Ubada ibn Sa‘d al-Zurqī’s head and prayed for him. He lived to be eighty, but his hair remained black.
Abū Zayd al-Ansārī said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, passed his hand over my head, saying, ‘O Allah, make him fair looking and preserve the fairness!’” He lived until he was well over a hundred years old without any grey hairs appearing in his beard. His face remained smooth until he died.
Al-Wāzi‘ took a son of his who had become mad to the Prophet who passed his hand over his face and prayed for him. Thereafter none was more rational than he.
Jābir ibn ‘Abdallāh said, “The Messenger of Allah, may blessings and peace be upon him, visited me in Banī Salima and found me semi conscious. He asked for water, made his wudū’ then sprinkled some of the water over me and I came to.”
The Prophet used to pat children on the head, pray for them, joke with them, and sometimes wind a turban round their heads.
‘Abdallāh ibn Bisr said, “My mother sent me to the Prophet with a bunch of grapes. I ate some of them before reaching him. He passed his hand over my head saying, ‘Traitor!’” Later on Ibn Bisr used to show them a mark on his forelocks, saying, “This is where the Messenger of Allah put his hand when he said, ‘He will reach the century!”
Hanzala ibn Juzaym al-Tamīmī was brought to the Prophet by his father. The latter said, “O Messenger of Allah, I have sons with beards, this is the youngest, pray Allah for him!” The Prophet passed his hand over his head, then said, “May Allah bless you!” Thereafter whenever a sick man with a swollen face or an animal with a swollen udder were brought to Hanzala, he blew in his hands, saying, “In the Name of Allah!” then placed his hand on his own head where the Prophet’s palm had touched it,saying, ” Where the hand of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was placed,” then rubbed the swelling and cured it.
As for Abū Mahdhūra, he had allowed his forelock to grow so long that when he sat down it reached the ground. When they asked him, “Will you not cut it?” He replied, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, passed his hand over it, I am not one to cut it till I die!”
‘Abdallāh ibn Hilāl al-Ansārī said, “My father took me to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, pray Allah for him!’ I have not forgotten, the Messenger of Allah placed his hand over my head until I felt its coolness, then he prayed for me and blessed me!” ‘Abdallāh lived long, both his head and his beard turned white, he could hardly comb them because of his age, yet he still fasted by day and prayed all night. 
Abū Attiya al-Bakrī was taken by his parents to the Prophet. He was a young man at the time. The Prophet passed his hand over his head. When he was a hundred years old his head and beard were still black.
Al-‘Ā’idh ibn ‘Amr al-Muznī said, “An arrow struck my face as I was fighting before the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, on the day of Hunayn. Blood flowed over my face, beard, and chest. The Prophet wiped off the blood from my face and chest down to my breast with his hand and prayed for me.” When ‘Ā’idh died, those who had heard this from him looked at his chest and found the trace of the Prophet’s hand on it. They likened it to the white blaze on a horse’s forehead.
‘Ā’idh’s wife also said that he had once gone to the Prophet to ask him to pass his hand over his face and pray for him for baraka. She added that the Prophet did and since then she saw her husband wake up from sleep [fresh] as if he had rubbed his face with oil. She also remarked that he needed no more than a few dates to sustain him.
Abul ‘Alā’ ibn ‘Umayr said, “I was visiting Qatāda ibn Milhān when he was ill. A man passed by the far end of the house and I saw him reflected in Qatāda’s face [so shiny it was], for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, had passed his hand over his face. Whenever I saw him it was as if he had rubbed his face with oil.”
Usayd ibn Abī Unās was one of those whose life the Prophet had declared could be taken with impunity, after the conquest of Macca, when he had accorded immunity to all the Maccans. Usayd came to the Prophet, asking whether he would accept Usayd should he come to him as a Muslim? The Prophet having answered affirmatively, Usayd took his hand saying, “This is my hand in yours, I testify that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I testify that there is no God other than Allah!” The Prophet immediately ordered a crier to announce that Usayd had accepted Islam and was henceforth immune. Then he passed his hand over his face, then placed it on his chest. From then on, whenever Usayd entered a dark house the light radiating from him illuminated it.
‘Utba ibn Farqad had four wives who competed with each other, each seeking to smell better than her companions. One of them said that ‘Utba always smelled better than they, even though he never used perfume. Furthermore, people always remarked on his fragrance, so much so that his wives asked him how this had come to be. He replied, “I suffered from an ailment in the days of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I complained to him about it. He told me to remove my clothes, which I did, sitting before him with my clothes covering my private parts. He blew into his hand then placed it on my back and belly. This fragrance has been there since.”
Two tribesmen brought their sons to the Prophet, asking him to bless them by passing his hand over their faces, which he did. The white mark where he had touched them remained on their faces till the end of their lives.
The mosque of the Prophet in Madina had been built with palm trunks. The Prophet used to stand before or lean on one particular trunk when delivering the Friday sermon. When they made the pulpit for him and he climbed on it, the palm trunk whimpered like a pregnant she-camel. All the Companions in the mosque heard it. The Prophet came down from the pulpit and placed his hand on it, or as related in another version, put his arms around it and it calmed down and stopped crying.
Many years earlier, when the elders of Quraysh realized that they were reaching the limits of what was possible to prevent the Prophet from conveying his Lord’s message, they sat in council and Satan himself joined them in the form of an old Najdi man. Each suggestion they put forward he rejected, until Abū Jahl suggested that if they wanted to murder Muhammad, but were worried about the revenge sure to be exacted by his clan and their allies, then they should choose forty men, one from each clan, to attack him as one man, so that his clan and their allies would find it impossible to exact revenge from all of them and their allies banded together. This proposition was strongly supported by Satan and adopted unanimously by the elders.
Gabriel came to the Prophet, saying, “Sleep not tonight in the bed in which you usually sleep!”
When the night grew dark the assassins gathered before his house, waiting for the Prophet to sleep so that they could rush him. The Prophet saw them and said to ‘Alī, “Sleep on my bed and cover yourself with this, my green Hadrami cloak. Sleep in it, nothing unpleasant will reach you from them!” The Prophet gave ‘Alī the cloak he usually wrapped himself in when he slept.
At the door Abū Jahl was saying, “Muhammad claims that if you follow him you will become the kings of both Arabs and non-Arabs, then you will be resurrected after you die, and gardens will be yours like the gardens of Jordan. But if you do not, he will [one day] cut your throats, then you will be resurrected after your death, then yours will be a fire in which you will burn!” The Prophet came out, took a handful of dust in his blessed hand and said, “Yes I say this! You are one of them!” Allah took away their eyesight so they did not see him. He sprinkled dust over their heads reciting these verses from sūra Yā-Sīn: “Yā-Sīn, and the Wise Qur’ān, you are truly one of the Messengers, on a straight path, a sending down from the August, the Wise…” till “…and We have covered them so that they do not see.” [36:9] By the time the Prophet had recited these verses, every one of them had dust upon his head, then he departed. A man arrived and seeing them standing there asked, “What are you waiting here for?” “Muhammad!” they replied. “May Allah make you fail! By Allah, Muhammad has gone out and he left no man among you but he put dust on his head, then he walked away to his purpose, can you not see what has happened to you?” Each of them put his hand on his head only to find it covered with dust.
As for the effects of the Prophet placing his noble hand on someone’s chest, many traditions describe them.
‘Alī, may Allah ennoble his countenance, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, sent me to Yemen. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you send me, while I am still young, to judge amongst them, and I know not how to judge!’ He struck my chest with his hand saying, ‘O Allah! Guide his heart and strengthen his tongue!’ By He Who split the grain! Thereafter I never doubted how to judge between two people!”
Abū Hurayra said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I often hear you speak but I forget!’ He said, ‘Spread out your garment!’ I spread it out, he [made as if he] scooped [something] with his hand and poured it in it, then he said, ‘fold it up!’ I did and thereafter forgot nothing he ever said.”
‘Uthmān ibn Abul-‘Ās said, “I used to forget the Qur’ān, so I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I forget the Qur’ān!’ He struck my chest [with his hand] then said, ‘Come out O Shaytān from the chest of ‘Uthmān!’ Following that I never forgot anything I wished to remember!”
‘Uthmān son of Abul-‘Ās also said, “The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, told me to lead my people in prayer. I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I find in myself something!’ [meaning there were things in his heart which prevented him from doing so] He said, ‘Come near!’ He made me sit before him, placed his hand on my chest, then said, ‘Turn around!’ then he placed it on my back between my two shoulders, then he said, ‘Lead your people in prayer! He who leads people in prayer should lighten [the prayer] for among them will be the elderly, the sick, the weak, and he who has something to attend to. But it one of you is praying alone, let him pray as he wishes.’”
After the conquest of Macca, the Prophet was circumambulating the house when Fudāla ibn ‘Umayr decided to kill him. He drew near to him. The Prophet said, “Fudāla?” He replied, “Yes! Fudāla, O Messenger of Allah!” He said, “What were you saying to yourself?” “Nothing!” He said, “I was invoking Allah!” The Prophet laughed then said, “Ask Allah for forgiveness!” Then he placed his hand on his chest and there was peace in his heart. Fudāla used to say later on, “By Allah! By the time he took his hand off my chest, none of Allah’s creation was dearer to me than him! As I was returning to my family I passed by a woman I used to converse with, she said, “Come over!” I said, “No, Allah will not allow it, nor Islam!”
During the battle of Hunayn two further incidents happened. ‘Uthmān ibn Shayba, whose father, uncle, and cousin had been killed in Badr, recounted the first of these thus: “When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was in Hunayn, I remembered my father and my uncle, and how ‘Alī and Hamza had killed them, and I thought, ‘Today I will avenge myself from Muhammad!’ I approached him from behind till all that remained for me to do was to strike him with the sword, when a flash of fire shot like lighting between me and him, I stepped back, he turned around saying, ‘O ‘Uthmān, come nearer!’ Then he placed his hand on my chest, Allah removed the devil from my heart, I looked up at him and he was dearer to me than my hearing and eyesight!”
Shayba ibn ‘Uthmān al-Hajbī recounted the second incident thus: “I went out with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, on the day of Hunayn. By Allah! I had not gone out for Islam, but to prevent Hawāzin from gaining the upper hand on Quraysh! By Allah! As I was standing with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, I said, ‘O Prophet of Allah, I see piebald horses!’ He said, ‘O Shayba, only a disbeliever can see them!’ Then he struck my chest with his hand saying, ‘O Allah, guide Shayba!’ This he repeated twice more. No sooner had he taken his hand off my chest the third time that none in Allah’s creation was dearer to me than him!”
Jābir ibn ‘Abdallāh said, “As the trench was being dug I noticed that the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, suffered from severe hunger. I returned to my wife saying, ‘Do you have anything, for I have noticed that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, suffers severe hunger.’ She brought out a bag with some barley in it and we had a small sheep in the house. We slaughtered the animal and ground the barley, then I returned to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and spoke to him secretly, ‘O Messenger of Allah, we have slaughtered an animal we had and have ground a measure of barley. Please come with a few people!’ The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, raised his voice saying, ‘O People of the Trench! Jābir has prepared some food, you are all welcome!’ Then he said, ‘Do not take the pot off the fire and do not bake your dough until I come!’ When he arrived he proceeded to break the bread, and put the meat on it. He took some food out of the pot and served his Companions, keeping both the pot and the oven covered. He went on breaking the bread, putting the meat on top of it and serving his Companions until they were all satiated, then he said, ‘Eat and give to other people for they have suffered hunger!’”
Wāthila ibn al-Asqa‘ said that he had been one of Ahl al-Suffa. They were hungry and delegated him to go to the Prophet and inform him about it. This he did and the Prophet turned to ‘Ā’isha, “Do you have anything?” he asked. She replied, “O Messenger of Allah, I have nothing but a few crumbs of bread.” “Bring them!” he said. He emptied the crumbs into a plate and went on arranging them with his hand while they increased until the plate was full. “O Wāthila!” he said, “Go and fetch ten of my Companions, you being the tenth!” Wāthila called his companions. The Prophet said, “Sit and eat in the Name of Allah. Take from the edges and do not take from the top, for baraka descends on the top!” They ate to satiety, then rose leaving the plate as full as when they sat down. The Prophet kept on handling the food then said, “O Wāthila, go and fetch another ten of your companions!” After these ten ate to satiety the whole sequence was repeated once more, after which the Prophet asked, “Anyone left?” “Yes, ten more,” replied Wāthila. “Go fetch them!” he said. When these were finished, the plate was still as full as at the beginning, and the Prophet said, “O Wāthila, take this to ‘Ā’isha!”
Abū Talha said, “I once entered the mosque and recognized hunger in the face of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I left and went to Umm Salīm, Anas ibn Mālik’s mother, and said, ‘O Umm Salīm, I have recognized hunger in the face of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. Do you have anything?’ ‘I have something,’ she said, showing her palm [meaning that it was only a little]. ‘Prepare it and do it well!’ I said. Then I sent Anas to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘Speak secretly into his ear and invite him!’ As soon as Anas arrived the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said, ‘My son, your father has sent you to invite us!’ Then he said to his Companions, ‘Come in the Name of Allah!’ Anas hastened back to Abū Talha saying, ‘Here comes the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with the people!’ I came out and met the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, at the door, on the landing, and said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, what have you done to us? It is but that I recognized hunger in your face so we prepared something for you to eat!’ He said, ‘Go in and be of good cheer!’ The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, took whatever was there, he gathered it in the plate with his hand, arranged it, then asked, ‘Is there any?’ meaning fat. We brought him our container, where there may or may not have been something, [meaning that even if there had been something in it, it was insignificant] the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, squeezed it with his hand then poured fat from it saying, ‘Send in ten after ten!’ They all ate to satiety, then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said about what remained, ‘Eat together with your children!’ So we ate and were satiated.’”
Safiyya, the Prophet’s wife, said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, came one day and asked, ‘O Daughter of Huyay, do you have anything, for I am hungry.’ I said, ‘No by Allah, O Messenger of Allah, save two measures of flour.’ ‘Cook it!’ he said. I put it in the pot, cooked it, then said, ‘It is cooked O Messenger of Allah!’ He said, ‘Do you know if there is anything in the fat container of the daughter of Abū bakr?’ I said, ‘I know not O Messenger of Allah!’ He went himself to her house and said, ‘Anything in your fat container O daughter of Abū Bakr?’ ‘Nothing but a little,’ she said. He brought it back, squeezed it into the pot until I saw something coming out. He put his hand [on it] saying, ‘In the Name of Allah, invite your sisters for I know they feel as I do!’ I invited them and we ate until satiated. Then Abū Bakr came and entered, then ‘Umar came and entered, then a man came. They all ate to satiety and some still remained.”
Abū Hurayra said, “One night I missed supper with the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and also missed being invited by one of our companions. I prayed ‘Ishā’ then tried to sleep but could not. Then I tried to pray, but could not. There was a man standing near the apartment of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I walked up to him and it was the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, praying. He prayed, then, leaning against the palm trunk he had been praying toward, said, ‘Who is this? Abū Hurayra?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘You missed supper with us tonight?’ I said, ‘Yes!’ He said, ‘Go to the house and say: Bring the food you have!’ [I did and] they gave me a plate in which was a paste made with dates. I took it to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and placed it before him. He said, ‘Call those in the mosque!’ I said to myself, ‘Woe to me, for I can see the food is so little, and woe to me from disobedience!’ I came to men asleep and awakened them saying, ‘Respond!’ and I came to men praying and said, ‘Respond!’ until they all gathered near the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He thrust his fingers into it and pressed around the edge, then said, ‘Eat in the Name of Allah!’ They ate to satiety and I ate to satiety. Then he said, ‘Take it Abū Hurayra and return it to the family of Muhammad, for there is no food with the family of Muhammad that one possessed of a liver [meaning a living being] can eat but this. It was offered to us by one of the Helpers.’ I took the plate and lifted it up, and it was as it had been when I had placed it there, except for the marks of the fingers of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him.”
Ziyād ibn al-Hārith recounted how, as they were travelling with the Prophet, morning found them without water. “Any water?” the Prophet asked him. “Only a little that will not suffice you, O Messenger of Allah!” he replied. “Put it in a vessel and bring it!” he said. He put his hand in the water and they saw water gushing from between two of his fingers. He said, “Call my Companions, whoever needs water!” He called them and they came and each took what he needed. [Seeing this] they said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have a well that suffices us with water during the winter, and we gather around it. But in the summer the water becomes scarce and we have to scatter to the surroundings wells. However. Now that we are Muslims, everyone around us is an enemy. So pray Allah for our well so that its water may suffice us, so that we remain gathered around it.” The Prophet asked for seven pebbles, rubbed them between his fingers, prayed to Allah, then said, “Go with these pebbles, when you reach the well throw them in one by one, invoking the Name of Allah!” They did and the well remained so full of water that they never saw its bottom again.
Anas ibn Mālik said, “I once saw the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, when it was time for ‘Asr prayer and people looked for water for their ablutions and found none. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was brought some water, he put his hand in the vessel and told the people to make their ablutions from it. I watched the water gushing from under his fingers while people made their ablutions, till the last one of them had done!”
And in another version of the same incident he said, “I reckoned between sixty and eighty [men], I watched water gushing from between his fingers.”
Anas recounted another similar incident thus, “Once when the Prophet of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and his Companions were at al-Zawrā’, and al-Zawrā’ is in Madina near the market and the mosque, he called for a cup partly filled with water, put his hand in it and water started gushing from between his fingers so that all his Companions made their ablutions.” “How many were they, O Abū Hamza?” he was asked. “They were about three hundred,” he replied.
Mu’ādh ibn Jabal said, “We went out with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, the year of the Tabūk expedition. He joined his prayers so that he prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr together and Maghrib and ‘Ishā’ together. One day when he had thus delayed the prayer he came out, prayed Zuhr and ‘Asr together, then went in, then came out again, prayed Maghrib and ‘Ishā together, then said, ‘Tomorrow, Allah willing, you will come upon the spring of Tabūk. You will reach it only by mid-morning. He who reaches it let him not touch any of its water until I arrive.’ When we reached it two men were already there and in the spring there was little water. The Messenger of Allah asked them, ‘Have you touched any of its water?’ ‘Yes!’ they said. He rebuked them and spoke to them as Allah willed him to speak, then we scooped out little water by little in our palms until some was collected in something [a vessel or a cup] then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, washed his hands and face in it, then returned it into the spring, at which it gushed forth with profuse water, so that the people all took their fill. ‘O Mu‘ādh,’ he said, ‘if your life be prolonged, you will see this place full of gardens!’
Ibn ‘Abbās said, “Morning came upon the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, and there was no water. ‘Is there any water?’ he asked. They said, ‘No!’ ‘Is there a waterskin?’ he asked, so they brought one and placed if before the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He placed both hands on it, then spread his fingers and water gushed, as with Moses’ staff, from the fingers of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He said, ‘O Bilāl! Call the people to their ablutions!’ They came and did their ablutions from between the fingers of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, except ibn Mas‘ūd who was more intent on drinking. Having made their ablutions, they prayed Subh, then he sat for the people and said, ‘O people, whose faith is the most wondrous?’ ‘The angels,’ they replied. ‘How can the angels not believe, when they can witness the matter?’ he said. ‘The Prophets, O Messenger of Allah!’ they said. ‘How can the Prophets not believe,’ he said, ‘when revelation alights upon them from heaven?’ ‘Your Companions then, O Messenger of Allah!’ ‘How can my Companions not believe,’ he said, ‘when they are witnessing what they are witnessing? But the most wondrous in faith are people who will come after me, who have faith in me even though they have not seen me, who believe me even though they have not seen me. They are my brothers!’”
Al-Barā’ ibn ‘Āzib said, “We were on an expedition with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. We came upon a well where the water was scarce. Six of us descended into it. A bucket was sent down to us, while the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, stood at the rim of the well. We filled half or two thirds of it, then it was pulled up to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He put his hand into it saying whatever Allah willed him to say, then the bucket was sent back to us with the water in it. [They poured the water in the well and the water began rising.] I saw the last one of us being dragged out in a hurry for fear of him drowning. Then it flowed [over the ground like] a river.”
Anas ibn Mālik said that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, sent a force against the pagans which included Abū Bakr, ‘Umar and many other people. He said to them, “March diligently, for between you and the pagans is water, if they outstrip you to this water people will suffer hardship, you will be severely thirsty and so will your animals.” The Messenger of Allah, together with eight men, remained behind. He said to his Companions, “Shall we sleep part of the night then rejoin the people?” “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” they replied. They laid down and were awakened only by the heat of the Sun. He said to them, “Rise and attend to your needs!” When they returned he said, “Does any of you have water?” One of them said, “A small skin with a little water O Messenger of Allah.” “Bring it!” He said. He brought it and the Prophet passed both his palms over it, prayed for baraka, then said to his Companions, “Come here and make your ablutions!” He poured water for them until they had done, then one of them gave the Ādhān, then the Iqāma, and the Prophet led them in prayer. Then he said to the owner of the skin, “Look after your skin, it will be of consequence!” He climbed on his mount then said, “How do you think they have fared?” “Allah and His Messenger know best,” they replied, “but they have Abū Bakr and ‘Umar with them and they will counsel them.” The pagans, however, reached the water before the Muslims and the latter became extremely thirsty, so did their animals. When the Prophet arrived he said, “Where is the owner of the skin?” “Here he is O Messenger of Allah!” they replied. He took the skin in which a little water had remained and said, “Come here and drink!” He went on pouring water for them until they all drank, gave their animals, and filled every skin and cup they had.
The baraka of the Prophet’s hand also showed in the animals and plants he touched.
After the Prophet left Macca for Madina in the company of Abū Bakr, the latter’s servant, ‘Āmir ibn Fuhayr, and their guide, ‘Abdallah ibn Urayqit, they passed by the two tents of Umm Ma‘bad of Khuzā‘a. She was a tough, elderly woman who sat before her tent giving people food and drink. They asked her to sell them meat and dates but she had none. The Prophet noticed an ewe near the corner of the tent, “What is this ewe, O Umm Ma‘bad?” he asked.” An ewe that is so weak it was left behind by the sheep,” she replied. “Does she have any milk?” he asked. “She is too weak for that!” she replied. “Will you allow me to milk her?” he asked. “If you see that she can be milked then milk her!” she said. The Prophet passed his hand over the ewe’s udder, uttered the Name of Allah, prayed for her, then asked for a large vessel. He milked her and milk came out in profusion. He gave Umm Ma‘bad to drink first, until she was full, then his companions, leaving himself for last. Then he milked the ewe again until the vessel was full and left it with her.
Umm Ma‘bad later said that the ewe the Prophet had touched with his hand remained with them till the “year of the famine” in the days of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb. They milked her mornings and evenings even though nothing at all grew from the earth. Meaning that she produced milk although there was nothing for her to eat.
Abū Qursāfa recounted that as an orphan he was raised by his mother and her sister and was more attached to his aunt. She had a few sheep which he looked after for her and she often told him about the Prophet, “My son, do not pass by this man, for he will deceive you and lead you astray!” But Abū Qursāfa, leaving his sheep to graze, spent his time listening to the Prophet, then took his sheep home lean, with dry udders. “Why does your herd have dry udders?” his aunt asked. “I do not know!” he replied. He went on listening to the Prophet until he accepted Islam, took his hand, and gave him allegiance. Then he told the Prophet about the state of his sheep. “Bring the ewes here!” the Prophet said, then passed his hand over their backs and udders, and prayed for them to have baraka. The animals swelled with meat and milk. When Abū Qursāfa took them back to his aunt she said, “My son, this is how to graze your animals!” “Aunt, I grazed them at the same place as previously,” he replied, “but I will tell you the story.” His mother and aunt listened to him then asked to be taken to the Prophet. They accepted Islam, gave him allegiance and took his hand.
Salmān the Persian was a slave owned by the Jews. He made an agreement with them for his freedom to plant three hundred palm trees and give them a certain amount of gold. As soon as the palms produced their first dates, he was to be free. He went to the Prophet, asking for his help. The Prophet planted the three hundred trees with his blessed hands. All three hundred grew and produced dates by the end of the year.
The baraka of the Prophet’s hand also showed its effect in many of the inanimate objects that he touched.
Suwayd ibn Zayd recounted how he once saw Abū Dharr sitting on his own in the mosque and thought it a good opportunity to ask him about ‘Uthmān. Abū Dharr said, “I shall never say anything about ‘Uthmān but good, because of something I saw with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. I used to watch for the time when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, was all alone so that I could learn from him. One day I went and found that he had gone out. I followed him. He sat somewhere and I sat with him. ‘What has brought you, O Abū Dharr?’ he said, ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ I replied. Then Abū Bakr came, gave salām and sat to the right of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. He said, ‘What has brought you Abū Bakr?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. Then ‘Umar came and sat to Abū Bakr’s right. ‘O ‘Umar,’ he said, ‘What has brought you?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. Then ‘Uthmān came and sat to ‘Umar’s right. He said ‘O ‘Uthmān, what has brought you?’ ‘Allah and His Messenger!’ he replied. The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, picked up seven or nine pebbles. They glorified [Allah] in his hand, till I heard them buzz like bees buzz. He put them down and they became silent. He put them in Abū Bakr’s hand and they glorified till I heard them buzz like the bees buzz, then he put them down and they were silent. He picked them up and put them in ‘Uthman’s hand and they glorified till I heard them buzz as bees buzz. Then he put them down and they were silent.”
The baraka of the hand of the Prophet was also seen clearly in many battles and during the conquest of Macca, again with inanimate objects.
During the battle of Badr three of the Companions broke their swords. ‘Ukāsha ibn Mihsan was given a palm branch by the Prophet. As soon as he brandished it it turned into a fine sword which he made good use of till the end of the battle, and then carried on using, calling it “Al-Qawiy” (the Strong) until he was martyred in Najd during the wars against the apostates.
Salama ibn al-Harish also broke his sword and was given a palm branch by the Prophet who said, “Fight with it!” It turned into a sword which he used until many years later he was martyred on the bridge of Abū ‘Ubayd during the conquest of Iraq.
‘Abdallah ibn Jahsh was the third to be given a palm branch to fight with. It became a sword which they named “Al-‘Urjūn” (the Palm Branch). He died a martyr on the day of Uhud, but the sword remained with his heirs until they sold it.
During the Battle of Badr, but also before that in Macca and after that at Hunayn, the Prophet threw gravel or pebbles at the pagans, hitting them individually in eyes. Allah addresses him thus in the Qur’ān: “You threw not when you threw, but Allah threw,” [8:17] for it is humanly impossible to achieve such a feat.
On the first occasion, in Macca, the elders of Quraysh met in the Hijr and swore to each other by Lāt, ‘Uzzā, Manāt, Nā’ila, and Isāf that as soon as they saw Muhamamd they would rise to him as one man and part not from him until they had killed him. Fātima overheard this, she hastened home weeping, and entered upon the Prophet saying, “There were the elders of your people promising each other that as soon as they saw you they would rise as one man to your blood!” “My child,” he said, “bring me some water for my ablutions!” He performed his ablutions then headed towards the mosque. When they saw him they said, “Here he is! Here he is!” but they lowered their gazes, hung their chins on their chests, did not look at him, nor did any of them rise toward him. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, approached till he stood over them. He took a handful of dust and saying, “Befouled be the faces!” threw it at them. Not one of those who were hit by it on that day escaped being killed at Badr.
On the day of Badr he took a handful of pebbles and threw it at the pagans saying, “Befouled be the faces!” Allah caused these to hit most of the pagans in the eyes, with a sound as if pebbles were falling into a pan. This is when their defeat began.
As for the day of Hunayn, when the Mulims were taken by surprise by the enemy and some chaos ensued, the Prophet found himself on his own on his mule. Salama ibn al-Akwa‘ recounted how he saw the Prophet climb down from his mule, pick up a handful of dust, then throw it in the pagan’s faces saying, “Befouled be the faces!” Their eyes were filled with dust and they retreated in disarray.
Before the siege of Madina, the Battle of the Trench, as the Muslims were digging the trench, they met a rock they could not break. They tried hard but it only broke their picks. They reported this to the Prophet who took the pick from Salman and struck the rock. A light flashed, illuminating Madina from one lava tract to the other, as if it was a lamp lit in a dark night. The Prophet said, “Allahu Akbar!” He struck it again, another flash shot forth, he said, “Allāhu Akbar!” Then he struck it a third time. Again a flash of light shot forth, and again he said, “Allāhu Akbar!” The rock was shattered by the third blow. They asked him about the three flashes of light, and he said, “The first one lit up for me the palaces of Hīra and the cities of Khosroes, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel informed me that my nation is to overcome them. The second one lit up for me the red palaces of the land of the Byzantines, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel informed me that my nation is to overcome them. The third lit up for me the palaces of Sana‘ā, as if they were dogs’ teeth, and Gabriel told me that my nation is to overcome them!”
When he entered the Sacred Mosque after the conquest of Macca, the Prophet went round the Ka‘ba pointing at the idols with his stick or his bow. There were three hundred and sixty idols on and around the Ka‘ba, their feet fixed with lead, in addition to Isāf and Nā’ila where the pagans slaughtered their offerings. As the Prophet passed by each of the idols, he pointed at it, reciting: “Say: The truth has come and falsehood has vanished; falsehood is ever vanishing.” [17:81] When he pointed at them the idols fell on their faces one by one.
The Companions knew well the baraka in the hand of the Prophet; they also knew about its being the symbol of Divine generosity and power. They loved to touch and kiss it, they competed for the water he had dipped it in, and, after his death, those who never saw him were eager to touch and kiss those hands that had touched him.
Both the Jews and the Christians who recognized the Prophet as a Divine envoy also showed their love and respect for him by kissing both his hands and his feet.
Once, after the Prophet’s emigration to Madina, a Jew said to a friend of his, “Let us go to this Prophet!” his friend said, “Say not Prophet! Were he to hear you he would have four eyes!” They came to the Prophet and asked him about nine things which he answered. They kissed his hands and feet, saying, “We testify that you are a Prophet!” “What prevents you from following me?” he asked. “David prayed that there should always be a Prophet from his progeny. We fear, were we to follow you, that the Jews would kill us!”
When the Prophet went to Tā’if to call its people to Islam they mistreated him and wounded both his feet by throwing stones at him. He repaired to a garden belonging to two Qurayshi noblemen, ‘Utba and Shayba, sons of Rabī‘a. They happened to have come down from Macca and to have seen what had happened to him. As they were related to him sufficiently closely in tribal terms to allow themselves to feel some sympathy, they called a Christian slave of theirs named ‘Addās and told him, “Take some of these grapes, put them in this plate, then take them to this man and tell him to eat!” When ‘Addās placed the plate before him and said “Eat!” the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, extending his hand, said, “In the name of Allah!” then began to eat. ‘Addās looked at his face, then said, “By Allah! These words are not what the people of this land say!” “From which land do you hail ‘Addās?” he was asked, “and what is your religion?” He replied, “I am a Christian, a man from Nineveh.” “From the town of the virtuous man Jonah the son of Matthew?” asked the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. “How do you know who Jonah the son of Matthew is?” asked ‘Addās. “He is my brother,” he was told, “he was a Prophet and I am a Prophet!” At this ‘Addās rushed to him, kissing his head, hands and feet.
One of the sons of Rabī‘a said to the other, “He has spoiled your slave for you!” Then, when ‘Addās returned to them, they said to him, “Woe to you, O ‘Addās! Why do you kiss this man’s head, hands, and feet?” He replied, “Master, there is no one on earth better than this man, he has just informed me of a thing that only a Prophet knows!” They said, “Woe to you, O ‘Addās! Let him not divert you from your religion, for your religion is better than his!”
Those upon whose heads the hands of the Prophet wound a turban were thereby forever honoured.
Qurayt ibn Abī Ramtha al-Tamīmī, who, in the Caliphate of ‘Umar, conquered Aqaba, was taken along by his father when he emigrated to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him. The Prophet took him on his lap, prayed for him to have baraka, and wound a black turban around his head.
The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, decided to send an expedition of seven hundred men to Dūmat al-Jandal, under the command of ‘Abal-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf. On the morning they were to set out, ‘Abal-Rahmān appeared wearing a turban dyed black. The Prophet took it off with his hand and wound it again, leaving four fingers’ length hanging from the back. When the time came for ‘Abdal-Rahman ibn ‘Awf to decide who was to become caliph, ‘Uthmān or ‘Alī, he came out wearing the same turban the Prophet had wound on his head.
Anas said, “Once the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, prayed the morning prayer, the servants of the people of Madina brought him their vessels full of water, he dipped his hand in them, even on cold mornings.”
Abū Juhayfa said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, came out in mid-morning. Water for ablution was brought to him and he performed his ablution, then the people took what remained and rubbed it on themselves. Those who could not reach any took the water that dripped from their companions’ hands.”
Abū Juhayfa also said that when the Prophet was in Macca and had finished his ablutions, the people crowded around him, taking his hands and rubbing them on their faces. “I took his hand,” he said, “and placed it on my face and it was cooler than snow and better smelling than musk!”
Abū Ayyūb said, “We used to prepare supper and send it to him, when it was brought back to us, I and Umm Ayyūb used to look for the mark of his hand and eat from there, hoping for the baraka. One night we sent his supper to him, having put onions or garlic in it, but the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, returned it untouched, I saw no trace of his hand in it. I rushed to him in distress, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, my father and mother be the ransom! You have returned your supper and I saw no trace of your hand, whereas before, whenever you returned it, I and Umm Ayyūb sought the trace of your hand, seeking the Baraka!’ He said, ‘I found the smell of that plant in it and I am a man who converses, [with Gabriel, as another version adds] as for you, you may eat it!’ So we ate it but never used that plant again!”
When the Prophet fell ill, ‘Ā’isha, in the knowledge that he used to recite the Mu‘awwidhāt, blow in his hands, and rub his body, recited them herself, then took his hand and rubbed him with it, for no palm was as blessed as his.
‘Ā’isha said that whenever the Prophet entered Fātima’s house she rose to meet him and kissed his hand.
Once when Ibn ‘Umar was in a raiding party they retreated before the enemy. They said to each other, “What shall we do now that we have run away from the fight and come under [Allah’s] wrath?” “Let us go to Madina and spend the night,” they said, then, “Let us show ourselves to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, it may be that our repentance will be accepted, or else we shall depart.” They came to him before the morning prayer. “Who are the people?” he asked, “We are the deserters!” they replied. “No!” he said, “But you are the fighters, and I am your host and every Muslim’s host.” Then they approached him and kissed his hand. Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, recited this verse: “or withdrawing to a host,” [8:16]
When the delegation of ‘Abdal Qays reached Madina, [they had such longing for the Prophet that] they jumped off their camels and rushed to him, kissing his hands and feet.
Ibn ‘Umar used to kiss the Prophet’s hand.
Ka‘b ibn Mālik, one of the three Companions that failed to join the Tabuk expedition, kissed the Prophet’s hand when Allah relented towards the three.
Once Salama ibn al-Akwa‘ said to his companions, “I gave allegiance to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, with this hand of mine!” They kissed it and he never objected to this.
The famous Follower, Thābit al-Bunānī, Anas ibn Mālik’s student, said, “Whenever I visited Anas, they told him I was there, he came to me, and I took both his hands and kissed them saying, “My father be the ransom of these hands that have touched the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him!” and I kissed his eyes saying, “My father be the ransom of these eyes which have seen the Messenger of Allah, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him!”
And whenever Thābit came to visit him, Anas called his servant saying, “Bring me some perfume that I may perfume my hands, for Thābit will not rest content until he has kissed my hand!”
Burayda said, “A Bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘O Messenger of Allah, I have accepted Islam, so show me something that will increase me in certitude!’ He asked him, ‘What do you want?’ He replied, ‘Call this tree, let it come to you!’ ‘Go to her and call her!’ He told him. The Bedouin went to the tree saying, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allah!’ The tree leaned to one side, pulling her roots out, then to the other, pulling her roots out then she went to the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, saying, ‘Peace be upon you O Messenger of Allah!’ The Bedouin exclaimed, ‘This is sufficient for me! This is sufficient for me!’ The Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, said, ‘Go back!’ so it returned to its place and struck its roots again. The Bedouin said, ‘Permit me, O Messenger of Allah, to kiss your hands and feet!’ He did [kiss his hands and feet], then said, ‘Permit me to prostate myself before you!’ ‘No man should prostate himself before another man!’ he replied.”
The wooden pulpit of the Prophet had a knob on which the Prophet rested his hand as he spoke. After the Prophet’s death Abū Hurayra used to stand beside the pulpit and place his hand on the pommel, before the caliph came out to deliver the Friday sermon. Thus standing he would recite a few of the hadiths he had learnt from the Prophet.
As for the other Companions, they used to wait until those in the mosque became few, then rise to the pommel, rub it, and make du‘ā’. So did the Followers and those who came after them. Upon learning of this, ‘Abdallāh, son of Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal, asked his father what he thought of this and of touching the Prophet’s chamber. The Imām answered that he saw nothing wrong there. And the famous compiler of hadith, Imām ibn ‘Asākir, who witnessed the fire that burned part of the Prophet’s mosque, said, “The remaining parts of the pulpit of the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, were burnt. Now visitors can no longer touch the pulpit’s pommel, on which the Prophet, may Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, placed his noble hand, nor the place where he used to sit, nor the place of his noble feet, for their great baraka.”
The Prophet informed us that Allah, Exalted and Majestic is He says, “He who shows hostility to a Walī of Mine, on him I declare war. My slave draws nearer to Me with nothing that I love more than what I have made obligatory on him. And My slave ceases not to draw nearer to Me with supererogatory devotions until I love him. When I love him I become his eye with which he sees, his ear with which he hears, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot on which he walks. When he asks of Me I give him and when he seeks My protection I protect him.”
The Prophet, by virtue of being the most perfect of Allah’s slaves, is he in whom the gifts mentioned in this Hadīth Qudsī manifest in the most perfect from. Thus, because he saw and heard by Allah’s power and ability, he was able to see and hear through the earth, down to the seventh nether earth, and through the heavens up to and beyond the Throne. He saw through people’s intentions and heard the whisperings in their breasts. His hand manifested the powers we have spoken about and much more that is known only to Allah. His feet walked the seven heavens and the Throne, and took him into the Divine Presence.
The same attributes, according to this Hadith Qudsī, manifest in the more spiritually gifted among the Prophet’s community, for he must have heirs amongst the Muslims, in each of their generations till the end of time. Only he who knows the saints is able to catch a glimpse of the unassailable rank of Prophethood. Only he who accepts that Allah’s treasury of gifts is infinite and that He gives according to His generosity will begin to understand. Only he who overcomes his skepticism and thinks well of the virtuous servants of Allah will be allowed to witness some of these gifts.