Islaam, Imaan, Ihsaan
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the Name of Allah The most Gracious The Most Merciful
Also on the authority of ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه), who said: “While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), there appeared before us a man dressed in extremely white clothes and with very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him, and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.” Said the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salah(ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Ka’bah at Makkah), if you can find a way to it (or find the means for making the journey to it).” Said he (the man), “You have spoken truly.” We were astonished at his thus questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say, “Inform me about iman (faith).” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, “It is that you believe in Allah and His angels and His Books and His Messengers and in the Last Day, and in fate (qadar), both in its good and in its evil aspects.” He said, “You have spoken truly.” Then he (the man) said, “Inform me about Ihsan.” He (the Messenger of Allah) answered, ” It is that you should serve Allah as though you could see Him, for though you cannot see Him yet He sees you.” He said, “Inform me about the Hour.” He (the Messenger of Allah) said, “About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.” So he said, “Well, inform me about the signs thereof (i.e. of its coming).” Said he, “They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, that you will see the barefooted ones, the naked, the destitute, the herdsmen of the sheep (competing with each other) in raising lofty buildings.” Thereupon the man went off. I waited a while, and then he (the Messenger of Allah) said, “O ‘Umar, do you know who that questioner was?” I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know better.” He said, “That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.” [Muslim]
Notes From Sharh (Explanation):
This is no doubt a great hadeeth, in that it includes within it all the outwardly apparent and inwardly actions, and all the Sciences of the Sharee’ah return back towards it due to its encompassing all the Knowledge of the Sunnah. Hence some of the scholars have termed this hadeeth the Mother/Core of the Sunnah (Umm as-Sunnah), just as surah al-Faatihah has been termed the Mother/Core of the Qur’aan (Umm al-Qur’aan), due to its succintly containing all of the Message of the Qur’aan.
And in this hadeeth (from the mention of the white dress and black hair) is evidence for the beautification of ones appearance when entering upon the scholars, the pious and the kings, as Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) came to teach the people by his appearance, his statements and his actions.
The fact that the ‘man’ had no sign of travel upon him, and yet no one had ever seen him before surprised the Sahaabah, as if he did not live amongst them then how did he just appear from ‘nowhere’. In this way, Jibreel (alayhi as-salaam) was able to attract their attention to what he was to say next. His statement ‘O Muhammad’ rather than the respectful ‘O Messenger of Allaah’ that was obligatory upon the Sahaabah, also helped to attain the full attention of the Sahaabah.
His questions regarding Islaam, Imaan and Ihsaan show us that these are three distinct levels, with the level of Ihsaan being the highest. It is important to note here that these terms when used together indicate specific meanings, whereas when used on their own they may encompass the meanings of the other terms. The term ‘Islaam’ in its specific meaning refers to the outwardly apparent actions – such as the Shahaadah, the Prayer, paying the Zakaat etc. If a person has the basic amount of Imaan required of him and then performs these major outward actions then he is at the level of ‘Islaam’.
The term ‘Imaan’ in its specific meaning refers to the inward beliefs of the heart, and for a person to enter the fold of Islaam he must adhere to the basic beliefs mentioned in this hadeeth. However, in a more general sense the word Imaan denotes the beliefs and actions in the heart (eg aqeedah and fear of Allaah), the statements of the tongue (e.g. dhikr of Allaah) and actions of the limbs (e.g. fighting jihaad in Allaah’s cause). If a person achieves the basic outward actions of Islaam, and then increases upon that in terms of his belief and his other actions, then he rises to the level of Imaan.
Having Imaan in Allaah means the attestation that 1) Allaah – Glory be to Him – exists, and is 2) described with the Lofty and Perfect Attributes, and is 3) free from all deficient characteristics. And it includes the belief that He is One, The Truth, The Independent, and He is the Only Creator of all that exists, and He changes the creation as He wishes and He acts within His Kingdom whatever He wishes.
And Imaan in the Angels means 1) attesting that they are His honoured slaves, and that 2) they do not act except according to Allaah’s command.
And Imaan in the Messengers involves 1) attesting that they are Truthful in all that they have conveyed about Allaah, and that 2) they were aided by Allaah in the miracles 3) they performed to prove their truthfulness, and that 4) they conveyed and explained the Message of what Allaah has ordered us with. Also, we must respect and honour them all, and we must not differentiate between them.
And Imaan in the Last Day involves 1) the attestation that we shall be brought back to life again after our death, and 2) shall be collected together on the Day of Judgement, and 3) on that Day will be the Accounting of our deeds, and 4) the weighing in the Meezaan (Scales), and 5) the crossing of the Siraat (Bridge), and finally 6) the entry to either Paradise or Hellfire. And the belief that 7) Paradise is the place for rewarding the doers of good, while Hellfire is the place for retribution for the doers of evil.
And Imaan in Qadr (Divine Preordainment) includes1) the belief that Allaah knows all that has happened and all that will happen, and 2) that He has written this down in the Protected Tablet (al-Lawh al-Mahfooz) which is with Him, and 3) that nothing can happen except by Allaah’s Will and Permission.
And the way of the Salaf and the Imaams of the later times has been that whomsoever attests to and believes in these matters with a firm conviction having no doubt in them, then he will be counted amongst true Believers, whether he arrived at these beliefs through detailed study of the intellectual proofs or not.
The term ‘Ihsaan’ refers to the third and highest level, and is attained as mentioned in the hadeeth when the person worships Allaah as though he sees Him, and if he does not see Allaah, then he worships Him knowing that Allaah sees him. The scholars have mentioned that the higher level of worshipping Allaah as though one sees him is the level of mushaahadah. This implies that the person worships Allaah seeing the effect of Allaah’s Names and Attributes in all the things around him. For example, when he sees mercy shown by an animal to its young he sees this as the effect of the Mercy of Allaah upon His Creation, and so on and so forth. Thus whatever the slave sees around him he is reminded of the Perfect Attributes of Allaah ‘azza wa jall. It does not mean that the slave sees Allaah with his eyes, as this ru’yaa (Seeing) is only for the Believers on the Day of Resurrection. The second and lower level of Ihsaan is where the slave is constantly aware of Allaah watching him at all times.
The statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that “the one questioned knows no better than the questioner” shows that even the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had no knowledge of when the Last Hour shall be. This knowledge is with Allaah, and Allaah alone. Regarding the Signs of the Day of Judgement, then two are mentioned in this hadeeth.
The first states that a slave-girl shall give birth to her master. Some of the scholars have suggested that this could mean that the people will degenerate to the extent that they will sell their women slaves, from whom they have already had children. These children may then unwittingly buy their mothers as slaves, and thus become their masters. Others have suggested that it means that children will become so bad mannered and insolent towards their parents that they treat their parents as though they were their slaves, and this is what we see in today’s society.
The second sign is that the poor, destitute shepherds will compete with one another in building tall buildings. We only have to look to the Arabian Peninsula to see how people who were desert bedouins only a few decades ago are now literally competing with one another in constructing lofty sky scrapers. And there are some ahaadeeth from the Messenger sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam indicating that constructing tall buildings is hated, if there is no genuine need for doing so.
So this hadeeth contains an explanation of Islaam, Imaan and Ihsaan. It has been narrated from the scholars of the past, such as Imaam Aboo al-Husain ibn Bataal al-Maalikee that Ahl-us-Sunnah wa al-Jamaa’ah are united upon understanding Imaan to consist of Beliefs, Speech and Action, and that Imaan increases with the obedience of Allaah and decreases with His disobedience. This is contrary to the statement of some of the deviant sects that Imaan is fixed or constant, and a person either has it or does not. So different people have different levels of Imaan, and we are not all equal in this respect. Rather, we know from the statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that the Imaan of Abu Bakr radiAllaahu anhu was greater than the Imaan of the rest of the people combined (excluding Allaah’s Messenger, of course).
And we also learn from this hadeeth that the person who attests to the shahaadataan and displays the major outward aspects of Islaam is considered a Muslim, while the one who goes further than that and increases in actions and beliefs is called a Mu’min. Thus the Mu’min is at a higher station than the Muslim. And the one who achieves the level of Ihsaan is the best of the three and is called a Muhsin – may Allaah ‘azza wa jall make us of them.
Points of Benefit:
– This hadith is known as ummus-sunnah meaning it is the Mother of the Sunnah just like Surah Fatiha is known as Ummul Quran. sunnah. It includes the entire religion. As the prophet says in the end of the hadith, this was jibreal here to teach you your religion.
– The Prophet said Jibreal came to teach you the Deen. Which means all of the Deen consists of Islam Iemaan and Ihsaan.
– One form of studying hadith is by breaking it up into sections
– This hadith is in Sahih muslim and in Bukhari from Abu Hurairah. in Nasai its a narrations of Abu Hurairah. Imam Muslim started his Sahih with this hadith and Bukhari started with Actions are based upon intentions.
– Sit in the gatherings of the scholars, shows the virtue of sitting with the Scholars, you will benefit and learn if you sit amongst the scholars. It shows brotherhood that they were sitting together
– Jibreal sitting the way he did with the Prophet shows the closeness between them.
– Appeared suddenly, good looking smelling good well groomed look, Ibn Hibban says beard was black.(this should be the look of a student of knowledge).
a) Benefit: shows beard is from sharia and a sign of the pious
b) Angels can take the shape of a human. Another example is when the Angels appeared at the time of Ibrahim alaihis salaam.
c) they were amazed so they had not seen him before. He looked groomed so he did not have the signs of travel on him. Umar spoke with his opinion. He observed everyone’s reaction to the stranger. When the man entered the sahabah looked at each other and mentioned amongst themselves that they did not know him so Umar said none of us knew him. This hadith also shows that a person is allowed to travel to seek knowledge from the scholars.
– rested his knees against his knees and put his palms on his knees.
– He did not give the salaam. a) Which means it is not obligatory to give salaam. b) Jibreal alaihis salaam wants to appear hidden, so people think he is from the beduoins.
– The Shaykh makes a point at the permisibility of addressing the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) by his name. The Shaykh reiterates that it maybe before the ayah in Surah Nur was revealed, Make not the calling of the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) among you as your calling of one another… (Surah An-Nur 24:63)
– This is one explanation and another opinion is that it might be because the beduoin came in addressing him by his name.
– The Shaykh shows the permissibility of a person asking questions about things he already knows so that others in the majlis may benefit from the answers. Just as Jibreal alaihis salam
– Islam linguistically means submission (aslama – Islam) and the shareeah meaning is specific submission, which means submitting to everything that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has specified. Submitting to the orders and staying away from the prohibitions. Salaah means duaa and in the shareeah means it is specific actions that begin with Takbeer and ends with Tasleem. Zakah means purity or growth. Zakaah is what makes your money pure and it makes it grow. Fasting means abstaining and the shareeah meansing is specific abstinence from dawn to dusk. If you read a word and you don’t know the meaning then you ask the Scholars.
– The term ‘Imaan’ in its specific meaning refers to the inward beliefs of the heart, and for a person to enter the fold of Islaam he must adhere to the basic beliefs mentioned in this hadeeth.
– Surah Masad: “Tabat yadaa” Abu Lahab was stubborn and he wanted to disbelieve so Allah left him in that. Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah’s Guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment. Allah said He will seal their hearts, as they refused to believe.
– Ihsaan is that one should have khushoo in the worship of Allah. To worship Allah as if you see Him but we cannot see him so know that He sees you. This is the level of Ihsaan. The lesser level of Ihsaan is Murakabah. Allah is going to be seen by the people in Jannah but according to the shareeah one cannot see Allah in this dunyah but If Allah wants the people to see Him on earth He is Able to do so. But Allah chooses that nobody can see Him in this Dunyah. It is only for the privileged believer in the akhirah.
– Belief with Submitting. Shaykh Uthaymeen said Al-Iqraar (Submitting) with I’tiraaf (Accepting) this is the Shareeah meaning that one has to admit with ur tongue. Belief should come with Acceptance.
– The statement of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) that “the one questioned knows no better than the questioner” shows that even the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had no knowledge of when the Last Hour shall be. This knowledge is with Allaah, and Allaah alone. Regarding the Signs of the Day of Judgement, then two are mentioned in this hadeeth. There is a benefit in this for the scholar, if he does not know he says Allahu Allam or la adri. In the hadith of Abdullah ibn Abbas where the people came from Baghdad.
– Some of the scholars have suggested that this could mean that the people will degenerate to the extent that they will sell their women slaves, from whom they have already had children. These children may then unwittingly buy their mothers as slaves, and thus become their masters. Some said there will be a lot of Jihad so a lot of women will be taken as slaves and when she has a child, her child is her master.
– Others have suggested that it means that children will become so bad mannered and insolent towards their parents that they treat their parents as though they were their slaves – and this is what we see in todays society. Ibn Hajar and ibn Daquiqui have this opinion.
– That a slave woman gives birth to a child and he becomes a king.
– There is a hadith where the Prophet said I will tell you the signs of the Day of Judgment so we combine it and say that the Messenger said I will tell you about the Day of Judgment and Jibreal said tell us about the signs. When we see two ahadith that are narrated a bit differently we combine them. We don’t throw one of them or both of them.
– Since Jibreal alaihis salaam was the one who asked it was attributed to him, A teacher can ask questions, Your deen is Islam Imaan and Ihsaan.
That the Angel Jibreel himself came to teach the fundamentals of the Faith to the Companions by asking questions to the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
That one can teach others by asking about that which he already knows.
That if someone wants to know about Islaam generally, then he should be made aware of the pillars which constitute it.
That Islaam is built on the five pillars which have to be acted upon with Imaan and ihsaan. Denying any one of these pillars and not wishing to fulfill any one of them makes one a non-Muslim.
That belief in what Allaah has destined for us, whether it is perceived to be good, or bad, is part of Imaan, and without believing in it, our Imaan is incomplete and defective.
That one must accept the Messengers sent by Allaah.
That one must develop Ihsaan in all that he does so that he is as much aware as he can be that Allaah is indeed watching every move that he makes.
That as part of the Islaamic manner the teacher should be ready to accept and say that he does not know the answer or that he does not know it better than the enquirer.
That the signs of the Last Hour are real and concern how we live and behave.
That although the Companions were the best of the people and were the most knowledgeable, they did not interrupt with their own answers, nor did they show impatience at the questioner. Therefore as part of the Islaamic manners, if someone asks a question to the teacher in a group, then the others in the group should keep quiet until one of them is asked for help.
It is not permissible to say that there is a certain length of time left before the end of the world, for none knows but Allaah, not even the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has Mercy for the believers, the disbelievers will be treated with justice and there is the Wisdom of Allah in all matters.
– Murakabah – That Allah is watching you, and seeing you in everything you do and hearing you so you do all your actions with this in mind. So you fix your actions according to this knowledge. Knowledge is to fear Allah and to fear what you divulge about Islam.
– Ibn Masud said,”Whoevers speech does not match his actions then he is refuting himself”.
– It was narrated that Yunus bin Maisarah bin Halbas said: “I heard Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan narrating that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Goodness is a (natural) habit while evil is a stubbornness (constant prodding from Satan). When Allah wills good for a person, He causes him to understand the religion.’” (Ibn Majah, Hasan hadith)
– It is narrated on the authority of Yahya b. Ya’mur that the first man who discussed about Qadr (Divine Decree) in Basra was Ma’bad al-Juhani. I along with Humaid b. ‘Abdur-Rahman Himyari set out for prilgrimage or for ‘Umrah and said: Should it so happen that we come into contact with one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) we shall ask him a bout what is talked about Taqdir (Division Decree). Accidentally we came across Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab, while he was entering the mosque. My companion and I surrounded him. One of us (stood) on his right and the other stood on his left. I expected that my companion would authorize me to speak. I therefore said: Abu Abdur Rahman! there have appeared some people in our land who recite the Holy Qur’an and pursue knowledge. And then after talking about their affairs, added: They (such people) claim that there is no such thing as Divine Decree and events are not predestined. He (Abdullah ibn Umar) said: When you happen to meet such people tell them that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. And verily they are in no way responsible for my (belief). Abdullah ibn Umar swore by Him (the Lord) (and said): If any one of them (who does not believe in the Divine Decree) had with him gold equal to the bulk of (the mountain) Uhud and then, it (in the way of Allah), Allah would not accept it unless he affirmed his faith in Divine Decree. He further said: My father, Umar ibn al-Khattab, told me: One day we were sitting in the company of Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None amongst us recognized him. At last he sat with the Apostle (peace be upon him) He knelt before him placed his palms on his thighs and said: Muhammad, inform me about al-Islam. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Al-Islam implies that you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and you establish prayer, pay Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan, and perform pilgrimage to the (House) if you are solvent enough (to bear the expense of) the journey. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: It amazed us that he would put the question and then he would himself verify the truth. He (the inquirer) said: Inform me about Iman (faith). He (the Holy Prophet) replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Apostles, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (the inquirer) again said: Inform me about al-Ihsan (performance of good deeds). He (the Holy Prophet) said: That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you don’t see Him, He, verily, sees you. He (the enquirer) again said: Inform me about the hour (of the Doom). He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: One who is asked knows no more than the one who is inquiring (about it). He (the inquirer) said: Tell me some of its indications. He (the Holy Prophet) said: That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress and master, that you will find barefooted, destitute goat-herds vying with one another in the construction of magnificent buildings. He (the narrator, Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: Then he (the inquirer) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Holy Prophet) for a long while. He then, said to me: Umar, do you know who this inquirer was? I replied: Allah and His Apostle knows best. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He was Gabriel (the angel). He came to you in order to instruct you in matters of religion. (Sahih Muslim)