Have you ever wondered how Jibreel (AS) looks? How was his physical appearance? What was his relationship with our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ? Read this article to find out.
How does Jibreel (AS) look?
The Prophet ﷺ says he saw Jibreel AS in his original form only twice. Jibreel AS had 600 wings, with pearls, rubies and diamonds dripping from each wing. He filled up the entire horizon and was seen sitting on the throne which Allah provided for him. The colors of his wings and the soles of his feet were green. (Ahmad in al-Musnad, and Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidayah that its isnad (chain of narrators) is jayyid (good))
When Jibreel AS took human form, he resembled Dihya bin Kalbi (RA) the most. Dihya bin Kalbi was one of the most handsome men amongst the Companions of Muhammad ﷺ and was famously called the Yusuf of Banu Kalb (referring to how handsome Prophet Yusuf AS was in his time).
The very first interaction with the Prophet ﷺ
Jibreel came down and cleansed Muhammad’s ﷺ heart when he was a child.
It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik (may Allaah be pleased with him) that Jibreel came to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) when he was playing with the other boys. He took hold of him and threw him to the ground, then he opened his chest and took out his heart, from which he took a clot of blood and said: “This was the Shaytaan’s share of you.” Then he washed it in a vessel of gold that was filled with Zamzam. Then he put it back together and returned it to its place. The boys went running to his mother – meaning his nurse – and said: Muhammad has been killed! They went to him and his color had changed. Anas said: I used to see the mark of that stitching on his chest. Narrated by Muslim (162).
Later on, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ experienced this again on the night of Isra’.
Abu Dharr used to narrate that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The roof of my house was opened when I was in Makkah, and Jibreel (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came down and split open my chest, then he washed it with Zamzam water. Then he brought a golden basin filled with wisdom and faith and emptied it into my chest. Then he sealed it…” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari (349) and Muslim (163))
At Mount Hira
When the process of revelation began, Jibreel AS came to the Prophet in human form, and asked him to read.
Aisha, the mother of the believers, reported: The beginning of the revelation to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was in the form of good dreams which came true like bright daylight; then, the love of seclusion was bestowed upon him.
He used to go in seclusion in the cave of Hira where he used to worship Allah continuously for many days until he desired to see his family. He would take with him food for the stay and then come back to his wife Khadija RA to take his food again, until suddenly the truth descended upon him while he was in the cave of Hira.
The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet ﷺ replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet ﷺ added, “The angel caught me and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied: I do not know how to read; thereupon he caught me again and pressed me a second time until I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but I replied: I do not know how to read; thereupon he caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said: Read in the name of your Lord, who has created everything, who has created man from a clot. Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.” (96:1-3)
Then Allah’s Apostle ﷺ returned with the Inspiration and with his heart beating severely. Then he went to Khadija RA and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” He was covered until his fear subsided and then he told her everything that happened and he said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” Khadija RA replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your family, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generously, and you assist those afflicted by calamities.”
Khadija RA then accompanied him to her cousin Waraqa bin Nawfal, who during the time of ignorance became a Christian and he would write with Hebrew letters. He would write from the Gospel in Hebrew as much as Allah wished him to write. He was an old man and had lost his eyesight. Khadija said to Waraqa, “Listen to the story of your nephew, O my cousin!” Waraqa asked, “O my nephew, what have you seen?” The Prophet ﷺ described whatever he had seen. Waraqa said, “This is the same one who keeps the secrets whom Allah had sent to Moses. I wish I were young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” The Prophet ﷺ asked, “Will they drive me out?” Waraqa replied, “Yes, anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility; and if I should remain until the day when you will be turned out then I would strongly support you.” But after a few days, Waraqa died and the revelation was paused for a while.
Jabir ibn Abdullah RA reported: Concerning the pause in revelation, the Prophet ﷺ said, “While I was walking, all of a sudden I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up and saw the same angel who had visited me at the cave of Hira sitting on a chair between the sky and the earth. I became afraid of him and I came back home and I said, “Wrap me!” Then Allah revealed the verse: O you wrapped up, arise and warn, and exalt your Lord, and purify your garments, and abandon the idols.(74:1-5); after this the revelation started coming strongly and frequently.” (Sahih Bukhari 4, Sahih Muslim 160)
Ibn ‘Abbas RA narrates, saying, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was the most generous person, and he would be at his most generous in Ramadan because Jibreel would come to him every night and he would study the Quran with him. Truly, when Allah’s Messenger ﷺ would meet Jibreel, he would be more generous than a fleeting wind.” [Agreed Upon]
Jibreel AS with Khadija RA and Aisha RA
It had been related by Abu Huraira that on one occasion, when Khadijah was still alive, Jibreel AS came to the Prophet SAW 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.” [Bukhaari, no. 3820 and Muslim, no. 2432].
#1 Aisha said “I have been given nine (virtues) that were not given to any woman after Maryam bint Imran (the mother of Nabi Isa AS): Jibril AS descended with my picture in his sleep until Allah’s Messenger SAW was commanded to marry me…”
#2 Yahya ibn Bukair narrated to us [saying]: al-Layth narrated to us from Yunus from Ibn Shihaab that Abu Salamah said, “Once Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, ‘O Aa’ish [i.e., Aishah]! This is Jibreel greeting you.’ So she said, ‘Wa alaihis-salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu. You see what I do not see.’ She was addressing Allah’s Messenger [with the last sentence].” [Bukhari, no. 3768 and Muslim, no. 2447]
- Jibreel AS was the first living creature to be created and brought into existence with a soul, even before Hell-Fire and Paradise were created.
- He is known by many names such as as Roohul Quds (Holy spirit), Roohul amin (Trustworthy spirit), etc.
- The first words he uttered after being brought to existence were “La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah”
- Jibreel AS can assume multiple human forms
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The nature and intensity of the revelation that was sent from Allah to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ through Jibreel AS was such that angels would faint because of the sound they would hear. After regaining consciousness, they would ask Jibreel AS what the sound was and Jibreel AS would say “haqq”. (Abu Dawood)
The Prophet ﷺ said the Revelation was like the ringing of a bell and then he would remember what Jibreel (AS) had brought to him from Allah (SWT). Sometimes He ﷺ would lose consciousness and sweat on a cold day. Such was the intensity of the revelation, and Jibreel AS was given the noblest task of delivering the wahi to the Prophet ﷺ.