How many white hairs did Muḥammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ have?

Question:

During the Ramaḍān Tafsīr you mentioned that the Companions of Muḥammad صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ counted how many white hairs he had, but you left it for us as “homework” to find out the number. I have tried Google and got no answer. My young son is very upset about this and wants to know. Please assist.

Reply :

The reason I intentionally omit information such as this, is to create a zeal within the listener/ reader to seek knowledge. If Allāh wills, knowledge obtained after a search is more appreciated and will remain firmer than that which was simply handed over.

It pleases me that someone did in fact exert himself in seeking Islāmic knowledge, more so in trying to learn about our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. That you have raised a young boy who loves Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and anxiously thirsts for more information on him, is truly a remarkable feat in this era and gives us hope for the future. May he be a treasure in your account for the Hereafter.

Although other points may also be made, such as the amazing physical strength and appearance of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ, my purpose in mentioning the narration of ʾal-ʾImām ʾat-Tirmiẓī, was to point out the intense love the Companions had for him, to the extent that they counted his white hair. This is a sad comparison to contemporary Muslims who know everything about their western idols of sport, music and debauchery, but nothing about he about whom the most detailed biographies have been compiled in human history.

The description of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ is compiled by ʾal-ʾImām ʾat-Tirmiẓī (Allāh’s mercy be upon him) as ­ʾash-Shamāʾil lit-Tirmiẓī, which is printed separately as well (from his major Ḥadīth compilation). I urge Muslim to obtain a copy and study it. If a physical copy is unobtainable, it is freely available online.

In any case, let me put your son out of his anxiety….

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ، قَالَ

: إِنَّمَا كَانَ شَيْبُ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَحْوًا مِنْ عِشْرِينَ شَعْرَةً بَيْضَاءَ

 

ʿAbdullāh bin ʿUmar (may Allāḥ be pleased with father and son) narrated, “The white hairs of Allāh’s Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ were about twenty strands.” [Tirmiẓī]

سليمان الكندي
Twitter: @sulayman_Kindi

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