*The hadith of Angel Jibril*
One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), there came before us a man with extremely white clothing and extremely black hair. There were no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He [came and] sat next to the Prophet (peace be upon him). He supported his knees up against the knees of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and put his hands on his thighs. He said, “O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Islam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast [the month of] Ramadhaan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so.” He said, “You have spoken truthfully [or correctly].” We were amazed that he asks the question and then he says that he had spoken truthfully. He said, “Tell me about Imaan (faith).” He [the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)] responded, “It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, [both] the good and the evil thereof.” He said, “You have spoken truthfully.” He said, “Tell me about al-Ihsaan (goodness).” He [the Prophet] answered, “It is that you worship Allah as if you see Him. And even though you do not see Him, [you know] He sees you.” He said, “Tell me about [the time of] the Hour.” He [the Prophet (peace be upon him)] answered, “The one being asked does not know more than the one asking.” He said, “Tell me about its signs.” He answered, “The slave-girl shall give birth to her master, and you will see the barefooted, scantily-clothed, destitute shepherds competing in constructing lofty buildings.” Then he went away. I stayed for a long time. Then he [the Prophet (peace be upon him)] said, “O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?” I said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said, “It was [the Angel] Gabriel who came to teach you your religion.” Recorded by Muslim.
The pillars or foundation upon which Islam, the submission to Allah, rests are five:
the declaration of the testimony of faith, the establishment of the prayers, the paying of Zakat, the fasting of Ramadhaan and the pilgrimage.
The articles of faith in which all Muslims must believe are six:
belief in Allah, the angels, the messengers, the books, the Day of Resurrection and Divine Decree.
As for ihsaan, Al-Nawawi’s following statement provides an excellent summary of the Messenger of Allah’s (peace be upon him) answer to the meaning of ihsaan:
“This is one of the comprehensive expressions that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) was given. This is because if anyone of us could stand in worship while he is seeing Allah, then he would not leave anything that would be in his ability of submission, humility, fear, beautiful features, and combine them all both outwardly and inwardly. One would take care to complete the act in the best possible way…. Hence, the purpose of these words is to encourage purity in worship and recognition by the person that his Lord is watching him, so that he will be as complete as possible when it comes to submission, humility and fear.”
The religion or deen is comprised of the three different levels of islaam, imaan and ihsaan. The one who continues only at the level of Islam until he dies will be saved from being forever in the Hell-fire, although he may enter it due to his sins. On the other end, the one who continues in ihsaan
until he dies will go directly to Paradise and will have the pleasure of seeing Allah in the Hereafter.
The knowledge of when the Hour will be established is known only to Allah. The noblest of mankind and the noblest of the angels demonstrated that they have no knowledge of when it will occur. Some Shiites and Sufis make outlandish claims that their Imams and saints have knowledge of the Unseen — some even say that the saints look at the Preserved Tablet. In fact, some even claim that their Imams or saints have all the knowledge, just like Allah. These beliefs go against the Quran and sunnah and if a person insists on them even after being shown their falsehood, the insistence on this belief takes him out of the fold of Islam.
Allah has blessed mankind with the knowledge of some of the signs of the Hour. These signs that occur around the person should act as reminders of the coming Hour and Judgment. This should also remind him that Allah sees and knows all things, including what the person himself is doing at any moment.
May Allah increase us in iman and taqwa.