The study of human appearance and bearing is an important branch of psychology. This is based on innumerable studies and experiments. These psychologists study the eyes, nose, forehead and other parts of the body and arrive at a conclusion about the person’s nature and temperament. According to these experts, a bulging forehead is a sign of intelligence and cleverness. When the arms of a person are firm and wide, he has the qualities of a leader of men. The hardness of hair, according to them, is a sign of valor and big eyes indicate a person who is quick of nature. One who has a short neck might be tricky and querulous. When a person has fleshy calves is generally foolish. One who has small and sunken eyes is tricky and treacherous. One who has weak and thin shoulders is apt to be poor in thinking. Although these are hypothetical assessments, at best, they give a fair idea about the persons under study.

According to the books of history and biography, the appearance of Ameer al Momineen (a.s.) can be described as given here:

His body was heavy, his complexion light wheatish, his appearance and bearing were very attractive, his visage was smiling and shiny like the full moon. Abul Hajaj Mudrak says, “Kaana man ahsan an naas wajha – He was more handsome and attractive than others. “He had a wide forehead. Ibne Abbas says, “Maa raayat ahsan min sharsat Ali(a.s.) – I have not seen temples better looking than those of Ali (a.s.)”On his forehead calluses had developed on account of excessive prostration in prayer. He had a delicate and pointed nose and eyes big and dark that reflected determination and boldness. Abul Hajaj says that he had seen traces of collyrium in Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s eyes. His eyes were bright, eye brows were bow shaped, eye lashes long, teeth properly spaced and shining. Zarara bin Zamra says, “An tabassum fa-an masal lulual manzoom – When he smiled the teeth shone like strings of pearls! “His neck was muscular and long. His chest was wide and hairy. His biceps were well formed. His wrists were strong and firm and finding the joint between the wrists and the arms was difficult. His collar bones were wide and strong. His palms were hard and the knees were neither weak nor fleshy. His tummy was rather bulgy. His beard was dense and wide. The hair of his head was grey. Mohammed ibne Hanafia says, “Akhtasab bilhana marrat summa tarka – Hazrat Ali (a.s.) once dyed his hair with henna once, and then abstained from doing it” Because of excessive use of the armor, the hair on his forehead had fallen. His height slightly more than the average. Hazrat Ali (a.s.) himself said,”Khalakhni mautad la azrab al qaseer fa-aqda wazrab al taweel faqtah Allah has bestowed on me a modest body and height When my adversary is short, I strike on his head to cut him into two pieces and if he is tall I cut him horizontally int two.” His voice was clear and loud, his style and speed of walking was like that of the Prophet (s.a.), elegant and slightly drooping to the front. When he advanced to face an adversary in battle, he used to walk briskly.and his eyes used to get reddish.

Ibne Qatiba writes in Al Ma-arif that a woman saw Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and said,”Ka-anhu kasr summa jabar” The meaning of these words is that he had been broken and again rejoined! People thought that it means that his
body was asymmetrical. In fact what the woman said was an Arabic idiom and its allegorical meaning is different from its apparent meaning. Therefore Sayed Mohsin Aamili writes in Ai-aan al Shia and Omer Abul Nasr in Al Zahra also writes thesaying of Ibn e Aisha that the quoted sentence is for the person whose arms are muscular and his eyes piercing the ground and not a person who is asymmetrical of body!


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