the Essence of Faith
The following is the Tradition of the archangel Jibril (as) which
is known to all scholars as Source of the Prophetic Tradition,
the Source of all hadith. It is considered that all prophetic traditions
took their root
from it. It is one of the most important traditions narrated from
the Messenger of God, Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him
and all the prophets and messengers of God.
The Prophetic Tradition of Archangel Gabriel (as)
Also from 'Umar () who said, 'while we were one day sitting with the
Messenger of God (s), no whom be God'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
Said the Messenger (s):
'ISLAM IS that you should
testify that there is no deity save God and that Muhammad is His
Messenger, that you should say the prayers, pay the obligatory charity,
fast during the month of
Ramadan and go on Pilgrimage to the House of God 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 Faith.'
Muhammad (s) answered: 'IT IS THAT you
believe in God 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 Perfect Character.'
The Messenger answered: 'IT
IS THAT you should serve God as though you could see Him, for though
you cannot see Him, yet He sees you.'
He said: 'Inform me about the
The Prophet (s) said: 'About that the one questioned knows no
more than the questioner.'
So he said: 'Inform me about the signs of
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
Thereupon the man went off. I waited a while and then the
Prophet (s) said: 'O 'Umar do you know who that was?'
'God and His Messenger know better.'
He said: 'That was Jibril. He
came to teach you your religion.'
(related by Muslim).
In this hadith, the archangel Gabriel, has divided Religion (din) into categories
or main branches, from which all of the religion, all prophetic traditions
and all prophetic practices
flow. And he emphasized each branch by asking each question separate
from the other. The first branch was related to his question "what is
submission to God [Islam]?" the second was related to the question "what is
Belief [Iman]?" and the
third is related to the question "what is perfection of character [Ihsan]?" We cannot say the
religion is only Islam, or only Iman or only Ihsan. We say that each of
these branches are essential to religion, and none can be left out. The
Prophet (s) in his answers to these questions confirmed this and said
to his Disciples, his Companions, after the archangel Gabriel had departed,
"Gabriel came to teach you your religion."