Islam, Emaan and Ihsaan

Umar ibn al-Khattaab said: One day, while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) a man came before us whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black. There were no signs of travel seen on him and none of us knew him. He approached and sat down by the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) resting his knees to his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, then he said, “O Muhammad, inform me about Islam.” So the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Islam is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayer, to pay the Zakat, to fast Ramadan, and to make the pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House (i.e. the Kabah in Makkah) if you are able to do so.” He said, “You have spoken the truth,” and we were amazed that he was asking him and telling him that he had spoken the truth. He said, “So inform me about Emaan (Faith)? He said, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine Decree (Qadr), both the good and the evil thereof.” He said, “You have spoken the truth.” He said, “Then inform me about Ihsaan (i.e. perfection in worship)? He said, “It is to worship Allah as though you see Him and if you are not able to (worship Allah as though you) see Him then He sees you.” He said, “Then inform me about the Hour (i.e. the Day of judgment)? He said, “The one being questioned is not more knowledgeable about it than the questioner.” He said, “Then inform me about its signs.” He said, “That the slave girl gives birth to her female slave master and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute shepherds competing in construction of lofty buildings? Then he departed and I stayed for a time. So the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “That was Jibreel who came to teach you your religion.”

[Sahih Muslim]

Commentary:

From the benefits of this hadith:

  1. From the guidance of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) is sitting with his Companions. This guidance indicates the excellent character of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). It is appropriate that a person associates and mixes with the people and he should not withdraw and seclude himself from them.
  2. It is possible for the angels to appear to the people in the form of man, since Jibreel   came to the Companions with the description mentioned in the hadith, “a man came before us whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black. There were no signs of travel seen on him and none of us knew him”
  3. The superb manners that the student should have in front of his teacher, since Jibreel (alaihi assalam) sat in front of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). This sitting indicates manners, attentiveness, and being prepared for what is being relayed to him. So he sat resting his knees to his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs.
  4. The permissibility of a person asking a question about something he has knowledge of in order to teach those who do not know since Jibreel (alaihi assalam) knew the answer. This is due to his statement in the hadith, “You have spoken the truth.” Therefore, if the questioner intends for those around the instructor to learn, then this is considered teaching them.
  5. A clarification that Islam has five pillars because the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded to that by saying, “Islam is to testify that none has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayer, to pay the Zakat, to fast in Ramadan, and to make the Pilgrimage (Hajj) to the House  (i.e. the Ka’bah in Makkah) if you are able to do so.”
  6. It is imperative to bear witness with your tongue while having certainty in your heart that ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah’ So the meaning of ‘Laa ilaaha illa Allah’ is that there is no deity worshipped in truth except Allah. Hence, you bear witness with your tongue while having certainty in your heart that there is nothing worshipped from the creation, whether it be the Prophets, or the allies of Allah, or the righteous, or the trees, or the stones, or other than that in truth except Allah. Everything worshipped other than Allah is false due to the statement of Allah, The Exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “That is because Allah – He is the truth, and what they invoke besides Him is falsehood. And verily, Allah — He is the Most High, the Most Great.” [al-Hajj 22:62]
  7. This Religion is not complete without bearing witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and he is Muhammad ibn Abdullaah al-Qurayshee al-Haashimee (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). Whoever would like more complete knowledge of this noble Messenger, then he should read the Qur’an and whatever is easy from the Sunnah and books of history.
  8. The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) combined the bearing witness that “Laa ilaaha illa Allah” and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah together in one pillar. That is because worship is not complete except with two components: Ikhlas (sincerity of worship for Allah) and it is comprised in the bearing witness that “Laa ilaaha illa Allah” and following the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam); and it is comprised in the bearing witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Due to this, the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) combined them into one pillar in the hadith of ibn ‘Umar, “Islam is founded on five (pillars): Bearing witness that none has the right to be worshipped in truth except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayer….” and he mentioned the entire hadith. [Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]
  9. The lslam of the servant is not complete until he establishes the prayer. Establishing the prayer is to perform it properly as it has come in the legislation. Establishing the prayer has obligations and that which fulfils its completion and perfection.
  10. Islam is not complete without paying the Zakat. Zakat is the obligatory wealth paid to those deserving of it. Allah has clarified this in Surah at-Tawba in His statement (interpretation of the meaning): “The charities (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqaraa (poor), the Masaakeen (poor), those employed to collect the funds, to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam), to free the captives, for those in debt, for Allah’s Cause, and for the wayfarer. It is a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is The All Knower, All Wise.” [at-Tawba 9:60]
  11. As for fasting Ramadan, it is worshipping Allah, The Exalted, by abstaining from those things that break the fast from the time of Fajr until sunset, and Ramadan is the month between Shabaan and Shawwaal.
  12. As for pilgrimage (Haj) to the House (i.e. the Ka’bah in Makkah), it is to intend to travel to Makkah in order to perform its rituals. It is stipulated by having the ability to do so since the majority of the time there is difficulty in it. By the same token, all of the obligations are stipulated by having the ability to do so due to His statement, The Exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “So fear Allah as much as you are able.” [at-Taghaabun 64:16]
  13. Eman (faith) includes six matters:
  • Belief in Allaah
  • His Angels
  • His Books
  • His Messengers
  • The Last Day
  • The Qadr (the Divine Decree) and Qadaa’ (the occurrence of that Divine Decree), the good and bad thereof.

And Allah Knows Best!

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