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Level: One

Instructor: Shaykh Abdullah Misra


Course Overview

This course is suitable for students of all levels. The students will have a chance to hear the hadiths on the Prophetic description (Shama’il) described and abridged through unbroken chains of narration from the instructor back to Imam Tirmidhi, back to the Prophet Muhammad himself (peace and blessings be upon him).


The Shama’il of Imam Tirmidhi is the classic collection of 415 hadiths on the characteristics and lifestyle of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The Shama’il, or the Beautiful Characteristics, is a sub-genre of Islamic literature nestled within the broader sciences Prophetic Biography that looks at the physical being, habits, worship, lifestyle and material culture of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to attain a well-rounded idea of who he was, as opposed to merely listing chronological historical events. We will use the abridgment of the work by Shaykh Abdul Majid al-Sharnubi (d. 1929), who abridged the work by removing the chains of narrations and repetitions while retaining the texts of the hadiths, allowing a student of knowledge to focus on the core of the work faster and easier.


Everyone should truly know the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), not just his life story (Sira), but his personality, habits, and physical description. To love someone, you must know them, and each hadith reveals how the prophetic companions would see the Prophet and note and preserve every detail with love and reverence. Our goal in the course is to do the same, only through their gaze, their narrations.


This course complements the other sciences and is a sub-genre of the wider field of prophetic knowledge and biography (sira).


An Islamic Curriculum aims to educate a Muslim in all aspects of the Islamic sciences; a study of the Shama’il focuses not on the technical aspects of the sciences, but rather the aspect of love and familiarity with the most important being after Allah: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him).


The student will be able to get a glimpse of what the prophetic lifestyle was really like and what the idea of personality and character is, which acts as a foundation to then build on top of with the other sciences of law, theology, and so on.


About the Text

This classic text, the Shamai’l of Imam Tirmidhi (abridged by Shaykh al-Sharnubi al-Azhari, d.1929), covers 415 narrations on the prophetic characteristics, from the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) outward appearance to his habits and lifestyle, preferences, character and personality, and more.

The main points addressed in the text are hadiths regarding the physical description of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), his personal effects and habits, his lifestyle, his amazing character, his lifetime, passing, and seeing him in a dream(peace and blessings be upon him). In between these topics are many details and wonderful points of benefit to enrich our knowledge and strengthen our love and connection with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

This text is significant because it is the pioneering work in the Shama’il (prophetic characteristics) genre and was compiled by one of the earliest and famous major hadith scholars, Imam Tirmidhi. After this, the field expanded, and other scholars till the current day have written texts about different aspects of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) but all concur that nothing has matched this foundational text in its comprehensive, yet simple and pioneering manner.

This text is important because we do not focus on the prophetic characteristics exclusively in other sciences, whereas this is one of the most important requirements of understanding the second part of the testimony of faith that “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah” (peace and blessings be upon him). It also gives us a hadith-based, source-text foundation on which to frame all later works in this genre as it proliferated and expanded in Islamic civilization thereafter.

It is ideal for this curriculum since an introductory course can benefit every seeker of knowledge, while a deep and more detailed study of it can also come in later levels of knowledge. There are many commentaries on this classic text, most notably those by Mulla ‘Ali al-Qari, Imam Suyuti, Imam Munawi, Imam Baghawi, and others, including those in the modern period and also in languages other than Arabic.


About the Author

The author of the text is Abu Isa Muhammad ibn Isa al-Tirmidhi. His birth is differed upon, but he passed away in 297 AH. He is hadith master and early compiler of the Jami’ (or Sunan) Tirmidhi, one of the 6 most authentic works of hadith known as the Sihaa Sitta.

He was a great 3rd-century scholar of hadith whose comprehensive collection (Jami’/Sunan) is one of the six most authentic books of the Islamic hadith canon, alongside the likes of Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim. His main collection is considered to have the broadest reach of topics of the 6 books, while his smaller compilation of hadiths on the prophetic characteristics (Shama’il) is considered one of the earliest and most outstanding contributions to that sub-genre.

He was a great 3rd-century scholar of hadith whose comprehensive collection (Jami’/Sunan) is one of the six most authentic books of the Islamic hadith canon, alongside the likes of Sahihs of Bukhari and Muslim. His main collection is considered to have the broadest reach of topics of the 6 books, while his smaller compilation of hadiths on the prophetic characteristics (Shama’il) is considered one of the earliest and most outstanding contributions to that sub-genre.

He was a master of hadith and its sciences. He compiled Jami’ Tirmidhi and Shama’il. He was considered one of the greatest hadith compilers and scholars after Imam Bukhari. His collection of hadith (Jami’) is actually considered the most comprehensive of the hadith books and the one containing the most hadiths related to Sacred Law (fiqh).


Who is This Course For?

• This course is for adults.

• It is particularly beneficial for those who have wanted to understand the prophetic characteristics in its essence but have not been able to take part in an in-depth, detailed course.

• It is a Level One course. In order to successfully complete this course, students do not have to take any other course prior.

• This course can also be taken by anyone who is interested in prophetic biography and character, as well as an idea of the spirit of prophetic practice (sunna).


Study Effort

Weekly hours recommended: 2 hours

Recommended reading/ Supplementary texts: Portrait of a Prophet; al-Shama’il al Muhammadiyya

Evaluation method: Quizzes


Learning Outcomes

• Understand and picture what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)was like physically, socially, in his habits and character, and more.

• Understand how hadith plays a role in preserving the life example of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

• Understand how scholars analyze hadiths for more meaning and deeper contexts.

• Apply some of the prophetic characteristics into their own lives.

• Develop their own relationship and connection with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).


Course Outline

Lesson 1: Introduction to Perfect Beauty - Chapters of the physical description and ring

Lesson 2: Head to Foot - The hair (combing, grays, dyeing), eye-medication, dress, and footgear

Lesson 3: Personal Effects - Sandals, the seal of prophethood, sword, turban waistcloth

Lesson 4: Postures and Palates -The walk, leaning, eating, and condiments

Lesson 5: Meals and Manners - Meal-time washing up, blessings, utensils, fruits, and drinks

Lesson 6: Finer Things and Enjoyment - Drinks, perfuming, speech, laughing, and joking

Leeson 7: On Speech and Sleep - Guidance on poetry, night-chats, story-metaphors and sleep

Lesson 8: The Greatest Worshipper - Worship

Lesson 9: The Voice of Humility: Recitation, crying, the bedding, and humility

Lesson 10: The Lofty Character - Character and modesty, blood-cupping

Lesson 11: Many Names, One Life - The prophetic names, lifestyle, and age

Lesson 12: The end and beyond - The passing, inheritance, seeing a dream, and the conclusion


About the Instructor

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada in 1983. His family hails from India and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith, and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the Seekers Guidance The Global Islamic Seminary, and currently resides in Canada with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.

Category Featured: No
Both Display this course: Yes
Total Lesson: 12
Number of hours: 14
Weightage: 8
Show in catalog: No
What You Will Learn:

  • Distinguish between true religious knowledge that is beneficial and ostensibly religious knowledge that is not
  • Identify instances of the sins of the limbs (particularly those of the tongue)
  • Identify instances of the sins of the heart
  • Complete a regimen of protecting your tongue from sin
  • Improve your character with your teachers, relatives, friends, and strangers
  • Appreciate the spiritual value of good company

Skill Level: Beginner
Monday: No
Tuesday: No
Wednesday: No
Thursday: No
Friday: No
Saturday: No
Sunday: No
Self enrolment AUTO (Student)