Physical description of Rightly-Guided Caliphs
Fatwa No: 327688

Question

What did each of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs look like? I am asking because I heard that ‘Ali, may Allaah be pleased with him, had a big belly and that Abu Bakr, may Allaah be pleased with him, was short?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Abu Bakr  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was described as having a good height, and we are not aware of any scholar who described him as short, and he was slim.

Ibn Sa’d said in At-Tabaqaat Al-Kubra, “Qays ibn Abi Haazim said, 'My father and I entered upon Abu Bakr; he was a slim man, of light weight and a fair complexion.'

Also, Tareekh Dimashq (the History of Damascus) authored by Ibn ‘Asaakir, reads, “Ibn Is-haaq said while quoting Az-Zuhri in regard to the description of Abu Bakr, 'He was of white to yellow complexion, had curly hair, was of good height, and was slim, having thin legs and a good mouth'.

Al-Isaabah fi Tamyeez As-Sahaabah reads, “Ibn Abi ad-Dunyah reported with a good chain of narrators from Abu Rajaa’ Al-‘Utaaridi that he said, '’Umar was tall, stout, bald, hairy (in other parts of his body), and had a very red complexion.'” 

Ibn Abdul-Barr said in Al-Istee’aab fi Ma’rifat Al-As-haab, 'Uthmaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him was an old, handsome man, thin-skinned, of brown complexion, with big bones, broad- shouldered, balding, with a long beard and a handsome face.

Besides, Ibn Abdul-Barr said in Al-Istee’aab fi Ma’rifat Al-As-haab in the description of ‘Ali, “The best of what I have seen about the description of ‘Ali  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him is that he was a medium stout man, looking slightly short, with a strong contrast between the dark pupil of his eyes and the whiteness around it, with a very handsome face as beautiful as the full moon, with a big belly, and he was broad-shouldered.

Allaah knows best.

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