The Prophet Muhammad’s (s) Sandal

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There is not a civilization that has loved and celebrated its leader as Islamic civilization has loved and celebrated its Prophet, our master Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). Love is the strongest of all human attachments, and is the greatest thing that distinguishes the relationship of Muslims with their Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), who said, “None of you [truly] believes until I am more beloved to him than his very self, wealth, and all people.”

Motivated by this love, as well as by an understanding of the immense importance of the personal example of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the Muslim community recorded and preserved his entire life in the most exacting detail. The Islamic scholars did not limit their attention to the moral and legal example of the Prophet alone (Allah bless him and give him peace). Rather, they also focused on his daily life, like his habits of eating, drinking, and sleeping, as well as other matters that do not have immediate legal implications. From that time, until this present day, Muslims have sought to imitate the example of their Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in all its details, unless they were of the particular matters that Allah Most High chose only for him.
The Prophet’s (Allah bless him and give him peace) external, physical appearance was also among the matters that Muslims paid great attention to, as were his habits of dress. Among the matters of external appearance, the Prophet’s noble sandals received particular attention, perhaps because of what his followers felt of utmost love and humility for the person of their beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), such that they saw themselves as less than his sandals.
The Companions and the Noble Sandals
The attention given to the noble sandals is not an innovated matter. Rather, the first generations, from the Companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), were the first to give them attention and importance, such that some of them were known to have distinguished themselves with serving the noble sandals. It has been reported by Ibn Sa`d that Anas (Allah be well pleased with him) was the keeper of the sandals of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace).
And Imam al-Sâlihî reported in his work, Subul al-Huda wa’l Rashâd (8:318) that `Abd Allâh ibn Mas`ûd (Allah be pleased with him) used to get up as soon as the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) sat down, and would take off the latter’s sandals, and place them under his own arms. Then, when the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) would get up, he would put them on him. Many other narrations have been transmitted from the Companions giving exact descriptions of the noble sandals of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

Imam Qastalani and Imam Salihi, a student of Imam Jalaluddin Suyuti, both mention that Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with them all, served as a khaadim of the Messenger of Allah, and would carry the blessed sandals. When the Prophet stood up, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud would put the blessed sandals on his sacred feet, and when the Prophet sat down, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud would carry the blessed sandals in his arms until he rose again. [Imam Qastalani’s Mawahib al-Laduniyya; Imam Salihi’s Subul al-Huda wal Rashad]

Also reported by Imam Qastalani: Sayyidina Abu Ishaq al-Zuhri was one of the tabi’een who reports that Sayyidina Qasim ibn Muhammad (ibn Abu Bakr Siddiq) said, “Of the proven blessing of the likeness of the Prophet’s sandal is that, whoever has it in his possession for tabarruk will be safeguarded by it from the sedition of rebels and the mastery of enemies, and it will be a barrier against every devil and the evil eye of the envious. If a pregnant woman holds it in her right hand during labour, her delivery will be easier by Allah’s Power.”

The Attention Given by the Imams and Scholars to the Noble Sandals
A number of Imams gave the noble sandals of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) particular attention, authoring complete works in describing and praising them, and gathering that which was transmitted regarding this. Among them were:
1. Imam Abu Ishâq Ibrahîm ibn Muhammad ibn Khalaf al-Sullamî, famous as Ibn al-Hâjj, who collected that which many poets and authors had written in praise of the sandals.
2. Imam and hadith master Abû al-Yumn `Abd al-Samad ibn `Abd al-Wahhâb Ibn `Asâkir of Damascus (686 AH), who was buried in the Baqî` cemetery [in Madina], authored a treatise called A Sketch of the Sandal of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) (Timthâlu Na`l al-Nabiyy), which is published.
3. The great mujtahid Imam Sirâj al-Dîn `Umar ibn Raslân al-Bulqînî.
4. Imam Shams al-Dîn Muhammad ibn `Îsa al-Muqri’, whose book was titled A Joy For Eyes By Verifying The Matter of The Sandals (Qurrat al-`Aynayn fî Tahqîq Amr al-Na`layn)
5. Imam Abû al-`Abbâs al-Maqqarî of Tilmisân, who died in Egypt, wrote the most expansive work on the issue, An Opening From The Most High In Praising The Sandals (Fath al-Muta`âl fî Madh al-Ni`âl). This work is published, and has three abridgements. The first is by Radiyy al-Dîn Abu al-Khayr al-Qâdirî; the second by Abû al-Hasan al-Dimintî; and the third by Shaykh Yûsuf al-Nabahânî (Allah have mercy on them all).
6. The author of the work Collected Pearls from the Bewildering Design and the Unique Exposition on the Characteristics of the Depiction of the Sandals of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) ( al-La’ali’ al-Majmû`a Min Bâhir al-Nizâm wa Bâri` al-Kalâm fî Sifat Mithâl Na`li Rasûl Allâh), who was one of the scholars of Cordoba, as mentioned by the historian Abû Sâlim al-`Ayyâshî in his famous travelogue.
The Place of the Depiction of the Noble Sandals and their Baraka
The depiction of the noble Prophetic sandals has had a special place in the hearts of Muslims since it points to one of the needs of their tremendous Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and since it inspires in them the utmost humility towards his high rank (Allah bless him and give him peace). Because of this, they took care to record this depiction, and to draw it, and they sometimes even placed it under their turbans, to feel their complete subservience to the tremendousness of this most noble Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace). They also hung this depiction in their houses, seeking baraka from it.
Writers and poets wrote eloquently in praise of the noble sandals and in describing the feelings of ecstatic love for their wearer (Allah bless him and give him peace). Imam Abû al-`Abbâs gathered a significant amount of these writing in his aforementioned work, as well as in his treatise Azhâr al-Riyâd.

Mullah Ali Qari mentions in his commentary on Shama’il Tirmidhi, that the great Shaykh, Imam Muhyuddin ibn Arabi states the sandals are part of the attire of Prophets. He also mentioned that one of the names of the Beloved Prophet in the ancient books is Sahib al-Naalayn or “The Wearer of the Sandals.”

Imam Jazuli, the author of the famous Dala’il al-Khayrat, includes the image of the blessed sandal in his Dala’il al-Khayrat as a means of seeking Allah’s blessings.

Imam al-Zarqani states, “If possible, kiss the dust that has been touched by the sandals, otherwise, kiss an image of the sandals.” [Sharh al-Zarqani ‘ala’l Mawahib, 5:48]

Imam Qastalani narrates a beautiful verse honouring the blessed sandals, written by Imam Qurtubi: “I concentrated on the waves of light that emanated from the blessed sandals and as long as we bow down before them*, we will be honoured. Hence, keep it above the head as it is in reality a crown, though apparently a sandal.” [al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya, 2:470]
* This ‘bowing’ does not refer to the act of sajda/sujood. It is simply the lowering of one’s head in a state of humility.

The great mujaddid, Imam Ala Hadhrat Ahmad Raza Khan, wrote the following couplet:

“Jisey teri Saf-e-Niyal se miley do niwaley nawal se, wo bana ke uske ugaal se bhari saltanat ka udhaar hai.”
Meaning: “The one who received two morsels from where you (O Prophet) leave your sandals,
Becomes so great, that an entire Kingdom would survive on his mere saliva!”

And the incredible beacon of truth of his era, Imam Yusuf al Nabhani states:

“Verily I serve the image of the Sandal of Mustafa
So that I may live in both worlds under its protection.”

Finally, food for thought: Islam teaches us that Jannah lies under the feet of our mothers, so what then of the blessed sandals of the Beloved Messenger of Allah? The same Beloved who instructed us, “None of you will have faith till he loves me more than his father, his children and all mankind.” [Bukhari]

May the best of blessings and peace be upon the owner of these blessed sandals.
courtesy of The Sandal Bag and BahareMadina.

Peace and Blessings upon the Prophet, his Family, and his Companions

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