Outward Appearance

Paying special attention to outward appearance was one of the perpetual rituals of the Noble Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). He saw no conflict in paying attention to the inner-self while enhancing one's outward appearance. His attention towards disciplining the soul and serving God did not prevent him from maintaining an attractive physical appearance.

For example, he would use pleasant fragrances and comb his hair. His clothes were always clean and attractive. When he wanted to leave home, he would look in the mirror. And whenever he made the ritual ablution (wudhu’) he would brush his teeth. His clothes and shoes would always match. The turban he wore would elegantly compliment his stature and would increase his attractive and imposing presence. He (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) himself has said, "Verily, God is beautiful and He loves beauty."1

Numerous examples of the importance the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) placed on beauty have been mentioned in books narrating his traditions. Here are a few of them:

1. Tabarsi has said, "The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would look in the mirror, straighten and comb his hair. Sometimes he would look (at his reflection) in water to straighten his hair. He would beautify himself for his companions as well as for his family and he would say, 'Verily, God loves for his servant to prepare himself and beautify himself when he sets out (to meet) his brothers (in faith).'"2

2. Amongst the things that enhances a pleasant appearance is applying perfume, something the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) liked very much: "The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would spend more on perfume than he would on food."3

3. A disheveled man with long hair and a long beard that were both uncombed, came to the Most Noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family). He (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) asked, "Could this man not find oil with which to straighten his hair? Some of you come to me with the appearance of Satan."4

4. Imam al-Baqir (peace be upon him) has said, "Anytime the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) passed somewhere, two or three days afterwards, people would understand that he had passed by due to his fragrant smell. He would put on any sort of perfume that was brought to him and he would say, 'The smell of perfume is nice and pleasing and carrying it is not difficult'."5

  • 1. Nahj al-Fasahah, p. 159.
  • 2. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 36.
  • 3. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 66.
  • 4. Muhajjah al-Baydha’, vol. 1, p. 309.
  • 5. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 66.