sandle of Muhammad in the Pavilion of the Holy Mantle at Topkapi in Istanbul

Relics, especially of those attributed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, such as a tooth or strand of hair, have great value to many Muslim in spite of the fact that Islam discourages the worship of idols. Relics from other figures are also valued. A mosque in Cairo claims to have head of Hussein, Muhammad's grand nephew, which it obtained in the 12th century and is a popular shrine for both Sunni and Shia. [Source: John L. Esposito “Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices”, 2000s,]

The Pavilion of the Holy Mantle — in the center of the third courtyard in Topkapi Paalace, the home of the Ottoman sultans in Istanbul — contains several famous relics said to belong to the Prophet Muhammad himself, including a tooth and a couple of strands of hair purported to be from his beard. You can also lay eyes upon a couple of his swords and his massive Shaquille-O'Neal-size footprint. An imam is inside a glassed off chamber with many of these relics, chanting prayers around the clock, something you won't see in Louvre or the Hermitage. The collection is housed in the Privy Chamber, where the sultan lived and kept his throne.

There is evidence that some of the earliest Muslims practiced the veneration of relics, and the remained popular in many parts of the Sunni Islamic world until the 18th century when the reform movements of Salafism and Wahhabism began to condemn practices associated with the sin of shirk (idolatry). As a result of this influence, some contemporary Muslims look down on the practice of relic-veneration. The most genuine relics linked to Muhammad are those housed in Topkapi Palace. (Chamber of the Holy Mantle). [Source: Wikipedia]

Websites on Muhammad: Encyclopædia Britannica ; Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet — PBS Site ; Prophet Muhammad; Islamic History: History of Islam: An encyclopedia of Islamic history ; Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World ; Sacred Footsetps ; Internet Islamic History Sourcebook ; Islam IslamOnline ; Institute for Social Policy and Understanding; ; BBC article ; Islam at Project Gutenberg

Authenticity of the Relics of Muhammad

As to the authenticity of the relics at Topkapi, Ameer Ali, a computer scientist and entrepreneur posted on “I was in Topkapi palace and managed to speak to one of the curators there.” I asked him, Are the Islamic relics held in Topkapi Palace authentic? ..I was skeptical due to the swords having much ornate decoration on the sheaths. His response was that the relics were from all over the Muslim world which the Ottomans controlled. Whether or not they are totally authentic is not known. Each of the relics was highly prized in their specific regions, they had their own history/mythology, were handed down over generations and kept inside mosques and ancient monasteries. The Ottomans believed it would be better to take care of them by putting them together and bringing them back to Istanbul for safe keeping. [Source:, October 19 2013 ~~]

“The authenticity of ancient relics, such as Joseph's turban or Abraham's pot is questionable. I do not think anyone can truly verify these objects unless carbon dating is carried out, as well as comparing the method of construction, use of material with the time period and locale they are meant to come from. - The swords on the other hand, seem to be easier to accept. The curator said the sheaths were beautified by various Muslim rulers in the course of repairing over time, and that the actual swords contained inside were the originals.” ~~

Attitude Towards Relics of Muhammad

footprint of Muhammad with authenticity documents

In Arabic the Prophet's relics are known as Tabarruk bi al-athar. "Tabarruk" is derived from a blessing from something once owned or touched by a holy person. "Athar" means relics. According to to As for those who reject the validity of tabarruk or seeking blessings through the relics of the Prophet, we warn them that Allah Himself mentioned the tof the Prophet Yaqub with the relic of his son Yusuf, and that the evidence for the tabarruk of the Companions and the Tabih the Prophet and the saints is innumerable. According to “The Companions' Seeking of Blessings With the Prophet's Person”: Allah said: "Go with this my shirt, and cast it over the face of my father: he will come to see (clearly)... When the Caravan left (Egypt), their father said: I do indeed scent the presence of Yusuf..." (12:93-94).

The traditional Sunni attitude towards relics is summed up in the words of 14th-century hadith master Al-Dhahabi. He passionately sermonized: "Ahmad ibn Hanbal was asked about touching the Prophet's grave and kissing it and he saw nothing wrong with it. His son 'Abd Allah related this from him. If it is asked: 'Why did the Prophet's Companions not do this?' We reply: 'Because they saw him with their very eyes when he was alive, enjoyed his presence directly, kissed his very hand, nearly fought each other over the remnants of his ablution water, shared his purified hair on the day of the Greater Pilgrimage, and even if he spat it would virtually not fall except into someone's hand so that he could pass it over his face. Since we have not had the tremendous fortune of sharing this, we throw ourselves on his grave as a mark of commitment, reverence, and acceptance, even to kiss it. Do you not see what Thabit al-Bunani did when he kissed the hand of Anas ibn Malik and placed it on his face saying: 'This is the hand that touched the hand of the Messenger of God?' Muslims are not moved to these matters except by their extreme love for the Prophet, as they are ordered to love God and the Prophet more than their own lives." +

Pavilion of the Holy Mantle and Holy Relics

Entrance to the Chamber of the Holy Mantle

The Privy Room (Has Oda) at Topkapi was constructed in the Inner Courtyard in the time of Sultan Mehmed II (r. 1451–81) to serve as the private apartments of the sultan, for which purpose it was used until the middle of the 16th century. Prior to their accession to the throne, the sultans would come to this room to pray and receive homage from the Privy Room officials before leaving for the ceremony. [Source:]

The Chamber of the Holy Relics, located within the Privy Room, contains religious objects sent to the Ottoman sultans at various times between Sultan Selim the Grim’s assumption of the caliphate in the 16th century to the end of the 19th century. The caliphate passed from the Abbasids to the Ottomans with Selim’s conquest of Mamluk Egypt in 1517, upon which event the Holy Mantle of the Prophet (Hirka-i Saâdet) was given to Selim by al-Mutawakkil III, the last Abbasid caliph. The dispatching of holy relics to Istanbul would continue thereafter, particularly during the period of increasing Wahhabi assaults on holy places and objects in the late 18th and the 19th century, when such objects were gradually removed to the Chamber of the Holy Relics for greater protection. Similarly, the holy objects found in Medina were sent to Topkapi Palace for the same reason during the First World War.

Among the most important holy relics to be collected in this way between the 16th century and the first half of the 20th century were the Holy Mantle of the Prophet; the hair from the Prophet’s beard; the reliquary in which was kept the Prophet’s tooth, broken during the Battle of Uhud on 19 March 625; and the footprints, letters, bow, and sword of the Prophet. There are also holy relics attributed to other prophets and to the companions of the Prophet Muhammad: the tray used by Abraham; the staff of Moses; the sword of David; the robe of Joseph; the swords of the Prophet Muhammad’s companions; and the shirt, mantle, praying mat, and chest of Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah.

Battle Standard of Muhammad

The battle standard of Muhammad, known in Turkish as Sancak-i Serif, was believed to have served as the curtain over the entrance of his wife Aisha's tent. According to another tradition, the standard had been part of the turban of Buraydah ibn al-Khasib, an enemy who was ordered to attack Muhammad, but instead bowed to him, unwound his turban and affixed it to his spear, dedicating it and himself to Muhammad's service. [Source: Wikipedia +]

sword and bow in the Chamber of the Holy Relics

Selim I acquired it, and had it taken to the Grand Mosque of Damascus where it was to be carried during the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. Realising its political possibilities, Murad III had it sent to Hungary as an incentive for his army. In 1595, Mehmed III had it brought to Topkapi Palace, where it was sewn into another standard, alleged to be Umar's and together they were encased in a rosewood box, inlaid with gems including tortoiseshell and mother of pearl. The keys to the box were traditionally held by the Kislar Agha. +

It became associated with the Ottoman Empire, and was exhibited whenever the Sultan or Grand Vizier appeared before the field army, at the 1826 Auspicious Incident and at the outset of Turkey's entrance into World War I. The 17th-century French explorer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier reported that the Lance was kept outside the Sultan's bedroom in the 17th century, by 1845 White said he saw it resting against a wall near the standard and by 1920 its whereabouts were unknown. +

A hadith on Muhammad’s staff reads: “When Abdullah ibn Anis came back from one of the battles having killed Khalid ibn Sufyan ibn Nabih, the Prophet gifted him his staff and said to him: "It will be a sign between you and me on the Day of Resurrection." Thereafter he never parted with it and it was buried with him when he died. Ahmad 3:496, al-Waqidi 2:533. [Source:]

“Qadi Iyad relates in his book al-Shifa', in the chapter entitled "Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet," that after Jihjah al-Ghifari took the Prophet's staff from the hands of Uthman and tried to break it accross his knee, infection seized his knee which led to its amputation, and he died before the end of the year.

Holy Mantle

The Holy Mantle, Hirka-i Serif, or Burda is an item of clothing that was given as a gift by Muhammad to Ka'b ibn Zuhayr, whose children sold it to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty. After the fall of the Umayyads, the Mantle went to Baghdad under the Abbasids, to Cairo under the Mamluks, and finally moved by Selim I to Topkapi Palace in 1595. [Source: Wikipedia +]

Holy Mantle

The famous Poem of the Mantle was composed by the eminent Imam al-Busiri in praise of Muhammad and his miraculous mantle. Tavernier described it as a white coat made of goat's hair with large sleeves, or a cream fabric with black wool lines. “The Grand Seignor having taken it out of the Coffer, kisses it with much respect, and puts it into the hands of the Capi-Aga, who is come into the Room by his Order, after they had taken the Impressions of the Seal. The Officer sends to the Overseer of the Treasury, for a large golden Cauldron, which is brought in thither by some of the Senior-Pages. It is so capacious, according to the description which they gave me of it, as to contain the sixth part of a Tun, and the out-side of it is gamish'd, in some places, with Emeralds, and Turquezes.

“This Vessel is fill'd with water within six fingers breadth of the brink, and the Capi-Aga, having put Mahomet's Garment into it, and left it to soak a little while, takes it out again, and wrings it hard, to get out the water it has imbib'd, which falls into the Cauldron, taking great care that there falls not any of it to the ground. That done, with the said water he fills a great number of Venice-Chrystl Bottles, containing about half a pint, and when he has stopp'd them, he Seals them with the Grand Seignor's Seal. They afterwards set the Garment a drying, till the twentieth day of the Ratnazan, and then his Highness comes to see them put [it] up again in the Coffer.”

One of the hadiths on the Prophet's jubba (robe or cloak): “Imam Muslim relates that Abd Allah, the freed slave of Asma' the daughter of Abu Bakr, the maternal uncle of the son of Ata', said: "Asma' sent me to Abdullah ibn Umar saying: "The news has reached me that you prohibit the use of three things: the striped robe, saddle cloth made of red silk, and fasting the whole month of Rajab." Abdullah said to me: "So far as what you say about fasting in the month of Rajab, how about one who observes continuous fasting? And so far as what you say about the striped garment, I heard Umar ibn al-Khattab say that he had heard from Allah's Messenger: "He who wears a silk garment, has no share for him (in the Hereafter)." And I am afraid that stripes were part of it. And so far as the red saddle cloth is concerned, here is Abdullah's saddle cloth [=his] and it is red." I went back to Asma' and informed her, so she said: "Here is the cloak (jubba) of Allah's Messenger," and she brought out to me that cloak made of Persian cloth with a hem of (silk) brocade, and its sleeves bordered with (silk) brocade, and said: "This was Allah's Messenger's cloak with A'isha until she died, then I got possession of it. The Apostle of Allah used to wear that, and we washed it for the sick so that they could seek cure thereby." Muslim relates in the first chapter of the book of clothing. Nawawi comments in Sharh sahih Muslim (Book 37 Chapter 2 #10): "In this hadith is a proof that it is recommended to seek blessings through the relics of the righteous and their clothes (wa fi hadha al-hadith dalil ala istihbab al-tabarruk bi aathaar al-salihin wa thiyabihim)." [Source:]

Muhammad's Bowl and Sacred Seal

The Sacred seal, or Mühr-ü Serif in Turkish, was reported by Tavernier, who said it was kept in a small ebony box in a niche cut in the wall by the foot of a divan in the relic room at Topkapi. The seal itself is encased in crystal, approximately 3"x4", with a border of ivory. It has been used as recently as the 17th century to stamp documents. The Sacred Seal of Muhammad was used by Prophet Muhammad as a ring to stamp documents. On ring written "Muhammad Rasul Allah". This Arabic for “Muhammad messenger of God.” [Source: Wikipedia +]

A 1400-year-old bowl used by Muhammad which after his death was kept by his daughter Fatimah and her husband Ali, the fourth Caliph and Muhammad's cousin. After their death, the bowl was kept by their children Hasan and Hussein. The bowl was passed from generation to generation by descendants of Muhammad until it finally reached Britain. On 21 September 2011 the bowl was delivered to Chechnya and now is kept in "Heart of Chechnya" Mosque named after Ahmad Haji Kadyrov in Grozny.

Regarding the bowl, Ibn Kathir, the Islamic scholar and commentator on the Qur'an, writes in his book Wives of the Prophet Muhammad: It had been related by Abu Hurairah that on one occasion, when Khadijah was still alive, Jibril came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is just coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she comes to you, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me, and give her the good news of a palace of jewels in the Garden, where there will be neither any noise nor any tiredness."

In one of the hadiths, Hajjaj ibn Hassan said: "We were at Anas's house and he brought up the Prophet's cup from a black pouch. He ordered that it be filled with water and we drank from it and poured some of it on our heads and faces and sent blessings on the Prophet. Ahmad, Ibn Kathir. Asim said: "I saw that cup and I drank from it." Bukhari. [Source:]

Tooth, Nails and Beard of Muhammad

tooth of Muhammad

Topkapi houses the tooth and beard of Muhammad: 1) the Beard of Muhammad: Known in Turkish as the Sakal-i Serif, the beard was said to have been shaved from Muhammad's face by his favoured barber Salman in the presence of Abu Bakr, Ali and several others. Individual hairs were later taken away, but the beard itself is kept in a glass reliquarium. 2) Tooth of Muhammad: Muhammad lost four teeth at the Battle of Uhud, after being struck with a battle axe. Two of the teeth were supposedly lost, one was preserved at Topkapi, and another was held by Mehmed II. +

There are countless hadiths on Muhammad’s hair and nails. Bukhari narrates in his Sahih in the Book of Clothing, under the chapter entitled "What is mentioned about gray hair," that Usman ibn Abd Allah ibn Mawhab said: "My family sent me to Umm Salama with a cup of water. Umm Salama brought out a silver bottle which contained one of the hairs of the Prophet, and it used to be that if anyone came under the evil eye or ill health they used to send her a cup of water through which she would pass this hair (for drinking). We used to look into the silver bottle: I saw some reddish hairs." Anas said: "When the Prophet shaved his head (after pilgrimage), Abu Talha was the first one to take of his hair." Bukhari. [Source:]

“Anas also said: "The Prophet threw stones at al-Jamra, then sacrificed, then told the barber to shave his head right side first, then began to give the hair away to the people." Muslim. He said: "Talha was the one distributing it." Muslim, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud. He also said: "When the Prophet shaved his head in Mina, he gave me the hair from the right side and he said: Anas! take it to Umm Sulaym [his mother]. When the Companions saw what the Prophet gave us, they began to compete to take the hair from the left side, and everyone was getting a share from that." Ahmad narrated it.

“Ibn al-Sakan narrated through Safwan ibn Hubayra from the latter's father: Thabit al-Bunani said: Anas ibn Malik said to me (on his death-bed): "This is one of the hairs of Allah's Messenger, Allah's blessings and peace upon him. I want you to place it under my tongue." Thabit continued: I placed it under his tongue, and he was buried with it under his tongue.

hair of Muhammad

“Abu Bakr said: "I saw Khalid [ibn Walid] asking for the Prophet's forelock and he received it. He used to put it over his eyes and then kiss it." It is known that he then placed it in his qalansuwa (head cover around which the turban is tied) and never faced battle again except he won. al-Waqidi (Maghazi), Ibn Hajar (Isaba). Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani relates that Imam Malik said: "Khalid ibn al-Walid owned a qalansiyya which contained some of the Prophet's hair, and that is the one he wore the day of the battle of Yarmuk.

“Ibn Sirin (one of the tabiin) said: "One hair of the Prophet in my possession is more precious to me than silver and gold and everything that is on the earth and everything that is inside it." Bukhari, Bayhaqi (Sunan kubra), and Ahmad.

In Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 72, Number 784: Uthman bin Abd Allah ibn Mawhab said, "My people sent me with a bowl of water to Umm Salama." Isra'il approximated three fingers indicating the small size of the container in which there was some hair of the Prophet. Uthman added, "If any person suffered from evil eye or some other disease, he would send a vessel (containing water) to Umm Salama (and she would dip the Prophet's hair into it and it would be drunk). I looked into the container (that held the hair of the Prophet) and saw a few reddish hairs in it."

Hafiz Ibn Hajar in Fath al-Bari, Volume 10, page 353, said: "They used to call the silver bottle in which the hair of the Prophet was kept jiljalan and that bottle was in the home of Umm Salama." Hafiz al-Ayni said in Umdat al-Qari, Volume 18, page 79: "Umm Salama had some of the hairs of the Prophet in a silver bottle. When some people got ill, they would go and obtain blessings from these hairs and they would be healed by means of their blessings. If a person were struck by the evil eye or any sickness, he would send his wife to Umm Salama with a mikhdaba or water-pail, and she would pass the hair through that water and then drink the water and he would be healed, after which they would return the hair to the jiljal."

Imam Ahmad narrates in his Musnad (4:42) from Abd Allah ibn Zayd ibn Abd Rabbih with a sound (sahih) chain as stated by Haythami in Majma al-zawa'id (3:19) that the Prophet clipped his nails and distributed them among the people.”

Muhammad’s Sweat and Saliva

box with part of Muhammad's beard in Konya, Turkey

These are several hadiths that refer to Muhammad’s sweat and saliva. Anas said: "The Prophet stayed with us, and as he slept my mother began to collect his sweat in a flask. The Prophet awoke and said: O Umm Sulaym, what are you doing? She said: This is your sweat which we place in our perfume and it is the best perfume." Muslim, Ahmad. When Anas was on his deathbed he instructed that some of this flask be used on his body before his funeral and it was done. Bukhari. Ibn Sirin also was given some of Umm Sulaym's flask. Ibn Sad. [Source:]

“In Bukhari and Muslim: The Companions would compete for whoever would get the remnant of the Prophet't ablution water in order to put it on their faces. Nawawi in Sharh Sahih Muslim said: "In these narrations is evidence for seeking blessings with the relics of the saints" (fihi al-tabarruk bi athar al-salihin).The Prophet used to heal the sick with his saliva mixed with some earth with the words: "Bismillah, the soil of our earth with the saliva of certain ones among us shall heal our sick with our Lord's permission." Bukhari and Muslim.

“The Prophet had everyone in Madina then Mecca bring their newborn, whom he would read upon and into whose mouth he would do nafth and tifl (breath mixed with saliva). He would instruct their mother not to suckle them that day until nightfall. Bukhari, Abu Dawud, Ahmad, Bayhaqi (Dala'il), Waqidi, etc. We have the names of over 100 Ansar and Muhajirin who received this particular blessing, complete with isnads.

Hadithic References to Physical Blessings from Muhammad

A number of hadith refer to blessings resulting from physical contact with Muhammad's person, or bodily fluids. Generally in Islam, Muhammad is the only person who people can seek blessings from, whether through his body, what touches his body or bodily fluids. And here are some hadiths that mention only some his blessings: [Source:]

Narrated Usayd ibn Hudayr: “AbdurRahman ibn AbuLayla, quoting Usayd ibn Hudayr, a man of the Ansar, said that while he was given to jesting and was talking to the people and making them laugh, the Prophet poked him under the ribs with a stick. He said: Let me take retaliation. He said: Take retaliation. He said: You are wearing a shirt but I am not. The Prophet then raised his shirt and the man embraced him and began to kiss his side. Then he said: This is what I wanted, Messenger of Allah!” — Sunan Abi Dawud.

Abu Musa said: “The Prophet asked for a tumbler containing water and washed both his hands and face in it and then threw a mouthful of water in the tumbler and said to both of us (Abu Musa and Bilal), "Drink from the tumbler and pour some of its water on your faces and chests." — Sahih al-Bukhari.

Ottoman-era train carrying the Sacred Relics

Narrated Al-Miswar bin Makhrama and Marwan (an excerpt from a long hadith): “Urwa then started looking at the Companions of the Prophet. By Allah, whenever Allah's Messenger spat, the spittle would fall in the hand of one of them (i.e. the Prophet's companions) who would rub it on his face and skin; if he ordered them they would carry his orders immediately; if he performed ablution, they would struggle to take the remaining water.”. — Sahih al-Bukhari.

Narrated Abu Juhaifa: “Once Allah's Messenger went to Al-Batha' at noon, performed the ablution and offered' a two rakat Zuhr prayer and a two-rakat Asr prayer while a spearheaded stick was planted before him and the passersby were passing in front of it. (After the prayer), the people got up and held the hands of the Prophet and passed them on their faces. I also took his hand and kept it on my face and noticed that it was colder than ice, and its smell was nicer than musk.” — Sahih al-Bukhari.

Anas b. Malik reported: “When Allah's Messenger had thrown pebbles at the Jamra and had sacrificed the animal, he turned (the right side) of his head towards the barber, and i. e shaved it. He then called Abu Talha al-Ansari and gave it to him. He then turned his left side and asked him (the barber) to shave. And he (the barber) shaved. and gave it to Abu Talha and told him to distribute it amongst the people.” — Sahih Muslim.

Narrated Asthma: “That she conceived Abdullah bin Az-Zubair. She added, "I migrated to Medina while I was at full term of pregnancy and alighted at Quba where I gave birth to him. Then I brought him to the Prophet and put him in his lap. The Prophet asked for a date, chewed it, then he spat in his mouth. So, the first thing that entered the child's stomach was the saliva of Allah's Messenger. Then the Prophet rubbed the child's palate with a date and invoked for Allah's Blessings on him, and he was the first child born amongst the Emigrants in the Islamic Land (i.e. Medina).” — Sahih al-Bukhari.

Anas b. Malik reported: “That Allah's Apostle came to the house of Umm Sulaim and slept in her bed while she was away from her house. On the other day too he slept in her bed. She came and it was said to her: It is Allah's Apostle who is having siesta in your house, lying in your bed. She came and found him sweating and his sweat falling on the leather cloth spread on her bed. She opened her scent-bag and began to fill the bottles with it. Allah's Apostle was startled and woke up and said: Umm Sulaim, what are you doing? She said: Allah's Messenger, we seek blessings for our children through it. Thereupon he said: You have done something right.” — Sahih Muslim.

Tabarruk From His Blessed Skin

Tabarruk is an Arabic word which means seeking goodness (blessings) in something by touching it or being close to it. Taburruk is not something that is encouraged because of its association with idoltry. Even so, according to seeking Tabarruk by the following is allowed: 1) The personality of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) or by Zam Zam water or the Black stone of the Ka'bah. 2) Times: the month of Ramadan, the Night of Decree, and the first ten days of the month of Thul-Hijjah. 3- Places: Makkah, Al-Madeenah, and Baytul Maqdis (Al-Aqsa). 4) Good deeds: the Prayer, Fasting, and paying Zakah.

Muhammad's sword

Seeking Tabarruk by virtue of matters which are not mentioned in Islam is prohibited such as: 1) By virtue of scholars or pious people. 2) Times: like Al-Israa', which is the night during which the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) ascended to the heavens, and the night of his birthday. 3) Places: like graves and the like. 4) Innovated acts. For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 88236. “Narrated Usayd ibn Hudayr: AbdurRahman ibn Abu Layla, quoting Usayd ibn Hudayr, a man of the Ansar, said that while he was given to jesting and was talking to the people and making them laugh, the Prophet poked him under the ribs with a stick. He said: Let me take retaliation. He said: Take retaliation. He said: You are wearing a shirt but I am not. The Prophet then raised his shirt and the man embraced him and began to KISS HIS SIDE. Then he said: This is what I wanted, Apostle of Allah! (Abu Dawud, Book 41, Number 5205.) [Source:]

“Ibn Abd al-Barr relates, in his Istiab fi Marifat al-as-hab (p. 673), that the Prophet, after forbidding two or three times the use of khaluq (a kind of perfume mixed with saffron), and finding that Sawad ibn Amr al-Qari al-Ansari was wearing it, nudged him in the mid-section with a palm-tree stalk (jarida) and scratched him. The latter asked for reparation; when the Prophet bared his own belly to him, he jumped and kissed the Prophet's belly.

“Ibn Ishaq's version in the Sira mentions that Sawad was standing in the ranks of the Companions of Badr at the time of this incident. The Prophet was arranging the ranks with his switch (miqraa) and he nudged Sawad's belly with it, scratching him inadvertently, with the words: "Align yourself with the others." Sawad said: "Ya Rasulallah, you hurt me, so give me reparation." The Prophet handed him the switch and said: "Take reparation." Sawad approached him and kissed his belly. The Prophet said: "What made you do that, O Sawad?" He replied, "Y Rasulallah, the time has come for what you see, and I loved that my last action in this dunya be to touch you."

“Narrated Buhaysah al-Fazariyyah: My father sought permission from the Prophet. Then he came near him, lifted his shirt, and began to kiss him and embrace him out of love for him... (Abu Dawud, Book 9, Number 1665.) Tabarruk with places the Prophet visited Narrated Abu Burda: When I came to Medina. I met Abdullah bin Salam. He said, "Will you come to me so that I may serve you with Sawiq (i.e. powdered barley) and dates, and let you enter a (blessed) house in which the Prophet entered?"… (Bukhari, Volume 5, Book 58, Number 159)

Tabarruk with Muhammad’s Holy Hand and Feet

Muhummad's footprint

“The first hadith Imam Ahmad related from Anas ibn Malik in his Musnad Anas is: "The whole Community of the people of Madina used to take the hand of the Prophet and rush to obtain their need with it."

Narrated A'isha the Mother of the Believers: "The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, when he had a complaint, would recite the last three suras of Qur'an, over himself and blow." She said, "When his pain was great, I would recite it over him and wipe him with his right hand hoping for its blessing." [Source:]

Usama ibn Sharik narrates: "I came to see the Prophet while his Companions were with him, and they seemed as still as if birds had alighted on top of their heads. I gave him my salam and I sat down. [Then Beduins came and asked questions which the Prophet answered.] ... The Prophet then stood up and the people stood up. They began to kiss his hand, whereupon I took his hand and placed it on my face. I found it more fragrant than musk and cooler than sweet water." Narrated by Abu Dawud (#3855), Ti(2038 — hasan sahih), Ibn Majah (3436), al-Hakim (4:399), and Ahmad (4:278). al-Hafiz Imam Bayhaqi cites it in Branch 15 of his Shuab al-iman entitled: The Fifteenth Branch of Faith, Namely A Chapter On Rendering Honor To The Prophet, Declaring His High Rank, And Revering Him (al-khamis ashar min shuab al-iman wa huwa babun fi tazim al-nabi sallallahu alayhi wa sallama wa ijlalihi wa tawqirih) Vol. 2 p. 200 (#1528).

Narrated Abd Allah ibn Umar: Ibn Umar was sent with a detachment by the Apostle of Allah. The people wheeled round in flight. He said: I was one of those who wheeled round in flight. When we stopped, we said: What should we do? We have run away from the battlefield and deserve Allah's wrath. Then we said: Let us enter Medina, stay there, and go there while no one sees us. So we entered the city and thought: If we present ourselves before Allah's Apostle, and if there is a change of repentance for us, we shall stay; if there is something else, we shall go away. So we sat down (waiting) for the Apostle of Allah before the dawn prayer. When he came out, we stood up to him and said: We are the ones who have fled. He turned to us and said: No, you are the ones who return to fight after wheeling away. We then approached and kissed his hand, and he said: I am the main body of the Muslims. (Abu Dawud, Book 14 [Jihad], Number 2641.) This hadith is also found in al-Abhari; in the book of al-hafiz Ibn Muqri on standing up and kissing the hand out of respect; in the Adab al-mufrad of Imam Bukhari (Chapter on Kissing the Hand and Chapter on Kissing the Foot), in Ibn Maja (Adab), in Bayhaqi's Dala'il an-Nubuwwa, and in the Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

soil from Muhammad's tomb

“Ibn Umar told a story and said: "We then came near the Prophet and kissed his hand." It is related in Ibn Maja's Sunan, Book of Adab, Chapter on kissing by a man of another man's hand; in Abu Dawud's Sunan, Book of Adab, Chapter on kissing the hand; and in the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba through two different chains.

“Umm Aban, daughter of al-Wazi ibn Zari narrated that her grandfather Zari al-Abdi, who was a member of the deputation of Abd al-Qays, said: "When we came to Medina, we raced to be first to dismount and kiss the hand and foot of Allah's Apostle... (to the end of the hadith)" [Abu Dawud, 41: 5206.] Bukhari relates from her a similar hadith in his Adab al-mufrad: We were walking and someone said, "There is the Messenger of Allah," so we took his hands and feet and kissed them.

“Burayda narrated that one of the Beduin Arabs who came to the Prophet, Peace be upon him, asked: "O Messenger of Allah, give me permission to kiss your head and your hands," and he received it. In another version, he asks permission to kiss the head and the feet. Narrated in Ghazali's Ihya' and the version mentioning the feet is in Hakim's Mustadrak and in Ibn Muqri. Both al-Hakim and al-Iraqi declared the latter's

“From Safwan ibn Asal al-Muradi: "One of two Jews said to his companion: Take us to this Prophet so we can ask him about Musa's ten signs... [the Prophet replied in full and then] they kissed his hands and feet and said: we witness that you are a Prophet..." Narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba (Book of Adab, Chapter entitled A Man Kissing Another Man's Hand When He greets Him), Tirmidhi (Book of Adab) who declared it hasan sahih, al-Nasa'i, Ibn Maja (Book of Adab), and al-Hakim who declared it sahih.

“When we were with Allah's Messenger on an expedition, a Bedouin came and asked for a miracle. The Noble Messenger SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam pointed at a tree and said to the Bedouin: "Tell that tree that Allah's Messenger summons you." The tree swayed and brought itself out, and came to the presence of the Holy Messenger SallAllahu alayhi wa sallam, sating, "Peace be upon you Oh Messenger of Allah!" The Bedouin said, "Now let it return to its place!" When Allah's Messenger ordered it, the tree went back. The Bedouin said, "let me prostrate to you!" The Messenger answered: "No one is allowed to do that [ie it is Haraam]." The Bedouin said, "Then I will KISS YOUR HANDS AND FEET." and He (Saw) PERMITTED HIM THAT [ie it is jaa'iz]. REf: al-QaaDee IyaaD, ash-Shifaa', 1:299; al-Bazzaar, Musnad, 3:49.

Tabarruk with Spots and People the Prophet Had Touched

box containin the waist band of Muhammad

Tabarruk is an Arabic word which means seeking goodness (blessings) in something by touching it or being close to it. Taburruk is not something that is encouraged because of its association with idoltry. Even so, according to seeking Tabarruk by the following is allowed: 1) The personality of the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam ( may Allaah exalt his mention ) or by Zam Zam water or the Black stone of the Ka'bah. 2) Times: the month of Ramadan, the Night of Decree, and the first ten days of the month of Thul-Hijjah. 3- Places: Makkah, Al-Madeenah, and Baytul Maqdis (Al-Aqsa). 4) Good deeds: the Prayer, Fasting, and paying Zakah.

“- Suwayd ibn Ghafalah reported: I saw Umar kissing the Stone and clinging to it and saying: "I saw Allah's Messenger bearing great love for you." This hadith has been narrated on the authority of Sufyan with the same chain of transmitters (and the words are): "He (Umar) said: "I know that you are a stone, nor would I consider you of any worth, except that I saw Abu al-Qasim bearing great love for you." And he did not mention about clinging to it. [Muslim: 7: 2916] [Source:]

Qadi Iyad relates in his Shifa', in the chapter entitled "Esteem for the things and places connected with the Prophet," that Imam Malik would not ride an animal in Madina and used to say: "I am too shy before Allah to trample with an animal's hoof on the earth where Allah's Messenger is buried." Imam Malik gave a fatwa that whoever said: "The soil of Madina is bad" be given thirty lashes and jailed. Qadi Iyad mentions the verses of an anonymous visitor to Madina:

“The veil is lifted from us and a moon shines out to those who look on, banishing all illusions. When our mounts reach Muhammad, it is forbidden for us to be found in our saddles. We are drawing near to the best man ever to walk on the earth, So we hold this ground in respect and honor.

“Iyad adds: "One must respect the places... whose soil contains the body of the Master of Mankind and from which the din of Allah and the Sunna of the Messenger spread out... and the first earth that the skin of the Prophet touched after death. Its fragrance should be inhaled and its residences and walls should be kissed." Then he recites:

“O Abode of the best of t For you (Madina) I have intense love, passionate love, and yearning which kindles the embers of my heart. I have a vow: If I fill my eyes with those walls and the places where you (O Prophet) walked, There my turbaned gray hair will be covered with dust from so much kissing.

“Had it not been from obstacles and foes, I would always visit them, even if I had to be dragged by my feet.

“Al-Tabarani in al-Awsat and al-Kabir (4:16), and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (5:67-68) with a sound chain as stated by al-Haythami in al-Zawa'id (4:211) narrated through Handhalah Ibn Hudhaym that the latter went with his grandfather, Hudhaym, to the Prophet. Hudhaym said to the Messenger of Allah: "I have sons and grandsons, some of whom are pubescent and others still children." Motioning to the young child next to him, he said: "This is the youngest." The Prophet brought this young child whose name was Handhalah next to him, wiped on his head, and told him, "barakallahu fik," which means: "May Allah bless you." After that, people started to bring Handhalah a person with a swollen face or a sheep with a swollen udder. Handhalah would place his hand on that part of his head the Prophet wiped, then touch the swollen part and say Bismillah, and the swelling would be cured.

“Ibn Abi Shayba narrated in his Musannaf (4:121), in the chapter entitled: "Touching the grave of the Prophet" with a sahih chain as judged by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, and Qadi Iyad in his book al-Shifa', in the chapter entitled: "Concerning the visit to the Prophet's grave, the excellence of those who visit it and how he should be greeted": Yazid ibn Abd al-Malik ibn Qusayt and al-Utbi narrated that it was the practice of the Companions in the masjid of the Prophet to place their hands on the pommel of the hand rail (rummana) of the pulpit (minbar) where the Prophet used to place his hand. There they would face the qibla and supplicate (make dua) to Allah hoping He would answer their supplication because they were placing their hands where the Prophet placed his while making their supplication. Abu Mawduda said: "And I saw Yazid ibn Abd al-Malik do the same." This practice of the Companions clarifies two matters. The first is the permissibility of asking Allah for things by the Prophet (tawassul) after his death since by their act the Companions were truly making tawassul. Likewise it is permissible to ask Allah for things by other pious Muslims. The second is the permissibility of seeking blessings (baraka) from the objects the Prophet touched.

tomb of Muhammad

“The Tabii Thabit al-Bunani said he used to go to Anas Ibn Malik, kiss his hands, and say: "These are hands that touched the Prophet." He would kiss his eyes and say: "These are eyes that saw the Prophet." Abu Yala narrated it in his Musnad (6:211) and Ibn Hajar mentions it in his al-Matalib al-aliya (4:111). al-Haythami declared it sound in Majma al-zawa'id (9:325). According to Bukhari in his Adab al-Mufrad, Abd al-Rahman ibn Razin related that one of the Companions, Salama ibn al-Aku, raised his hands before a group of people and said: "With these very hands I pledged allegiance (baya) to the Messenger of Allah," upon hearing which all who were present got up and went to kiss his hand. Another version of this hadith was also related by Ahmad.

“Abu Malik al-Ashjai said that he once asked another Companion of the Tree, Ibn Abi Awfa, "Give me the hand that swore bayat to the Messenger of Allah, Peace be upon him, that I may kiss it." Ibn al-Muqri related it.

“Bukhari in al-Adab al-mufrad also relates that Suhayb saw Sayyidina Ali kiss both the hand and feet of the Prophet's uncle al-Abbas, and that Thabit kissed the hand of Anas because it had touched the Prophet's hand.

Blessed Sandals

The Blessed Sandals, Nalain Shareef in Urdu, have traditionally been used to gain the blessings of Muhammad. Bukhari and Tirmidhi narrate from Qatada: "I asked Anas to describe the sandals of Allah's Messenger and he replied: Each sandal had two straps"; and from Isa ibn Tahman: "Anas took out a pair of shoes and showed them to us. They did not have hair on them." (The remark refers to the Arabian practice of not removing the hair from the leather from which shoes were made.) Bukhari, Malik, and Abu Dawud relate that Ubayd ibn Jarih said to Abd Allah ibn Umar: "I saw you wear tanned sandals." He replied: "I saw the Prophet wearing sandals with no hair on them and perform ablution in them, and so I like to wear them." [Source:]

al-Qastallani in his Mawahib al-laduniyya said that Ibn Masud was one of the Prophet's servants and that he used to bring for the Prophet his cushion (wisada), his tooth-stick (siwak), his two sandals (nalayn), and the water for his ablution. When the Prophet rose he would put his sandals on him; when he sat he would carry his sandals in his arms until he rose.

Holy sandal in the Chamber of the Holy Mantel

“Qastallani mentions the following from one of the greatest Tabiin: Abu Ishaq (al-Zuhri) said: al-Qasim ibn Muhammad (ibn Abu Bakr al-Siddiq) said: Of the proven blessing of the likeness of the Prophet's sandal is that whoever has it in his possession for tabarruk, it will safeguard him from the sedition of rebels and the mastery of enemies, and will be a barrier against every recreant devil and the evil eye of the envious. If the pregnant woman holds it in her right hand at the time of labor, her delivery will be easier by Allah's change and His might.

“al-Qastallani also said that Abu al-Yaman ibn Asakir wrote a volume on the image of the Prophet's sandal, and so did Ibn aHajj al-Andalusi. He relates the account of a pious shaykh by the name of Abu Jafar Ahmad ibn Abd al-Majid:

“I cut the pattern of this sandal for one of my students. He came to me one day and said: "I saw a wonder yesterday from the blessing of this sandal. My wife was suffered from a pain which almost took her life. I placed the sandal on the spot of her pain and said: O Allah, show me the blessing of the owner of this sandal. Allah cured her on the spot."

“al-Munawi and al-Qari mentioned in their commentary on Tirmidhi's al-Shama'il that Ibn al-Arabi said that the sandals are part of the attire of prophets, and the people only left them due to the mud in their lands. He also mentioned that one of the names of the Prophet in the ancient books is sahib al-nalayn or "The wearer of the two sandals."

“Shaykh Yusuf al-Nabahani recited about the Prophet's sandals: wa nalun khadana haybatan li waqariha fa inna mata nakhdau li haybatiha nalu fa daha ala ala al-mafariqi innaha haqiqataha tajun wa surataha nalu

Muhammad's tomb is located behind this fence near Aisha's Room in the Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.

“A sandal to whose majestic nobility we submit For by submitting to its majesty do we rise: Therefore place it in the highest spot for it is In reality a crown, though its image is a sandal. And when Imam al-Fakhani first saw the Prophet's sandals he recited:

“wa law qila li al-majnuni layla wa wasluha turidu am al-dunya wa ma fi zawayaha laqala ghubarun min turabi nialiha ahabbu ila nafsi wa ashfa li balawaha

“And if Layla's Madman were asked: do you prefer Union with Layla, or the world and its treasures? He would answer: "Dust from the earth of her sandals Is dearer to my soul, and its most soothing remedy."

“Shihab al-Din Ahmad al-Muqri wrote a book on this which he named Fath al-mutaal fi madh al-nial (The opening of the Most High in the praise of the Prophet's sandals).

“Ashraf Ali al-Tahanawi the Deobandi shaykh wrote a treatise entitled Nayl al-shifa' bi nal al-mustafa (The attainment of cure through the sandals of the Elect One) found in his book Zad al-said (Provision for the fortunate).

dress of Fatima, Muhammad's daughter

“The muhaddith of India Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhalwi said in his translation of Tirmidhi's Shama'il:

“Maulana Ashraf Ali Thaanwi Saahib has written in his kitaab Zaadus Saeed a detailed treatise on the barakaat and virtues of the shoes of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. Those interested in this should read that kitaab (which is available in English). In short, it may be said that it [the Prophet's sandal] has countless qualities. The ulama have experienced it many a time. One is blessed by seeing Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in one's dreams; one gains safety from oppressors and every heartfelt desire is attained. Every object is fulfilled by its tawassul (means, petition, request). The method of tawassul is also mentioned therein.

“We see by all the above evidence that tawassul and tabarruk are an intimate and integral part of the practice of the Companions, that it is Sunna, and that no-one denies it except those who deviate from the Sunna and who harbor the disease of ignorance and suspicion in their heart. May Allah protect us from their designs, and may He keep all Muslims unswervingly on the path of Ahl al-Sunna and that of the true Salaf. And Allah knows best.”

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons and, except Holy Mantle, Daily Sabah,

Text Sources: Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: ; Arab News, Jeddah; “Islam, a Short History” by Karen Armstrong; “A History of the Arab Peoples” by Albert Hourani (Faber and Faber, 1991); “World Religions” edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); “Encyclopedia of the World’s Religions” edited by R.C. Zaehner (Barnes & Noble Books, 1959); Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Geographic, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian magazine, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Times of London, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Library of Congress and various books and other publications.

Last updated April 2024

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