Part Sixteen of Six Answers by Shaykh Hisham Kabbani
, (the Mother of all Hadiths) The Hadith of Jibril (as)
“‘An ‘Umar (r), qala: baynama nahnu julus ‘inda Rasul-Allahi (s), dhaata yawmin idh tala’a ‘alayna rajulan shadeed bayaad ith-thiyaab, shadeedu thawaad ash-sha’ari laa yuraa ‘alayhi athar us-saffari wa laa ya’rifuhu minna ahadun hatta jalasa ila an-Nabi (s), fa-athnada rukbatayhi ila rukbatayhi, wa wada’a kaffayhi ‘alaa fakhidhayhi, wa qala ‘Ya Muhammadu akhbirnee ‘an al-Islami?’ Faqala Rasul-allahi (s) ‘al-Islamu an tashhada an laa ilaha illa-allah wa anna Muhammadan Rasul-Allah, wa tuqeem as-salaat, wa tu’ti az-zakaat, wa tasuma Ramadana, wa tahujj al-bayta in istata’a ilayhi sabeela.’ Qala:’sadaqta.’ Fa-’ajibna lahu yas’aluhu wa yusadiquhu. Qala ‘fa-akhbirnee’an il-imani.’ Qala ‘an tu’mina billahi, wa malaa’ikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusulihi wal-Yawm il-Aakhiri wa tu’mina bil-qadari khayrihi wa sharrihi.’ Qala: ‘sadaqt.’ Qala: ‘fa-akhbirnee ‘an il-Ihsaani?’ Qala: ‘an ta’budallaha ka-annaka taraah. Fa in lam takun taraahu fa-innahu yaraaka.’ Qala: ‘fa-akhbirneean is-saa’ati?’ Qala: ‘maa al-mas’ulu ‘anha bi-’aalama min as-sa’ili’ Qala: ‘fa-akbirnee ‘an aamaaraatiha?’ Qala: ‘an talida al-ammatu rabbataha, wa an tara al-hufaata al-uraata al-’aalata riya’ ash-sha’i yattataawaloona fil-bunyani.’ Thum antalaqa fa-labithtu malliyan. Thumma qala ‘Ya ‘Umar atadri man as-saa’il?’ Qultu: ‘Allahu wa Rasulahu ‘aalam.’ Qala: ‘fa-innahu Jibril ataakum yu’allimukum deenakum.’
(Muslim, Bukhari and others)
Also from ‘Umar (r) who said, ‘while we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah (s), no whom be Allah’s blessings and peace, there appeared before us a man with a very white garment, and very black hair. No traces of journeying were visible on him and none of us knew him. He sat down close by the Prophet (s), rested his knees against his and put his palms on his thighs and said, ‘O Muhammad inform me about Islam.’ Said the Messenger (s): ‘Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should say the prayers, pay the zakat, fast during Ramadan and go on Hajj to the House if you can find a way to do so.’ Said he, ‘You have spoken truly.’ We were astonished at his first questioning him and telling him that he was right, but he went on to say: ‘Inform me about Iman [faith].’ Muhammad (s) answered: ‘It is that you believe in Allah and His angels, and his books and his messengers and in the last Day and that you should believe in the Decreeing of both good and evil.’ He said: ‘You have spoken truly.’Then he said:’Inform me about Ihsan [best behavior.]‘ The Messenger 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.’ the Prophet (s) said: ‘About that the one questioned knows no more than the questioner.’ So he said: ‘Inform me about the signs of its coming.’Said the Prophet (s): ‘They are that the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute herdsman of sheep building arrogantly high buildings.’ Thereupon the man went off. I waited a while and then the Prophet (s) said: ‘O ‘Umar do you know who that was?’ I replied: ‘Allah and His Messenger know better.’ He said: ‘That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.’ (related by Muslim).
In this hadith, Jibril (as) has divided Din (religion) into categories or main branches, from which all religion, all ahadith and all Sunnah flow. And he emphasized each branch by asking each question separate from the other. The first branch was related to his question “what is Islam?” the second was related to the question “what is Iman?” and the third is related to the question “what is Ihsan?” We cannot say the Din is only Islam, or only Iman or only Ihsan. We say that each of these branches is essential to the Din, and none can be left out. The Prophet (s) in his answers to these questions confirmed this and said to his Sahaba after Jibril left, “Jibril came to teach you your religion.”
We see from this hadith of Jibril (as), that he categorized religion into three pillars or essential components. The first is the pillar of Islam. The second is the pillar of Iman and third is the pillar of Ihsan. The first pillar, Islam, is the practical side of the religion, including worship, deeds and other obligations. The state of that pillar is the external side of the self, which is related to the body and the community. Scholars call that pillar Shari’ah. Scholars specialized in this and it was given the name Science of Fiqh (Jurisprudence). The second pillar, Iman is the aspect of Belief through the mind and heart. This means belief in Allah, His Messengers, His Books, the Angels, the Last Day, and Destiny. And this was known to scholars as ‘Ilm at-Tawhid.
© 2012 As-Sunnah Foundation of America