He said, “Tell me about Eman.” He (the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم) replied, “It is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in Divine Destiny (Al-Qadar), both the good and the evil of it.” He said, “You have spoken rightly.”
The above conversation is between Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and Angel Gabriel who appeared to him in the form of a man. It was a moment when Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was sitting amongst his companions. Angel Gabriel asked him, “What is Islam?”, “What is Iman?”, “What is Ihsan?” In each instance RasulAllah responded in a befitting and concise manner. Being sent as a messenger, with the message of the One who created this entire universe is a huge deal. Therefore Angel Gabriel asked these three fundamental questions; so that belief in God will not be conceptualized any differently than the truth. That God is One. That since the human race is one: His Divine message is one, His books are one, and His Divine and Universal Laws are one. One universal message collectively inclusive to all of mankind; in every time, place, and instance.
Below is the full conversation; the bold paragraph on Iman (faith), is the topic of focus at the moment.
While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allah, (صلى الله عليه و سلم) 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 و سلم) rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam.” The Messenger of Allah, (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said “Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save 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.
The bold paragraph is the basic framework of Islam when it comes to faith. In order for one to be considered a Muslim, the belief in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and Divine Destiny must be realized to be the actual truth. Now, you may say; how am I to believe in Allah when I don’t even know He exists? Read the Quran. It’s the only message in the world that dictates that it is from God, provides proof and evidence to back this claim up, the only message that collectively refers to mankind as one body, and challenges the readers to find one contradiction in it. It’s pretty cool.
To believe in the One who created every single being to ever walk this earth, is to believe in your origin. It is to believe in where you once came from. That you are in essence from God, and that you will one day return to God.
To believe in Allah and His angels, is to believe that we are not alone on this earth; that there is more to life than just human existence.
To believe in Allah and the Last Day is to have hope that the wrong-doers will one day meet the consequences of their actions, and it is to have hope that the righteous will one day be gifted their recompense.
To believe in His Books, is to believe that God sent messengers and prophets to their given nations with messages of truth dictating the Oneness of God. That each and every messenger came with the same Universal Message.
To believe in Divine Destiny is to believe that in reality we do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, that we are unsure of the future. It is to believe that we have choices to make and whether good or bad; these choices will lead to the end result of our fate.
To believe in the Decree is to realize that God is All-Knowing, and due to his unlimited Divine Knowledge and Wisdom nothing of the past, present, or future is hidden from Him. It is to believe that the burden of knowing the future has been lifted from us, so that we can live in the present and make choices and decisions without worry or the attempt of calculating decisions.
These core beliefs causes the given individual to put their entire trust in God; the One who created them. Whatever bad or good reaches this a person, does not cause them to despair, rather they leave it up to the One who gave them life because knowledge of Divine Destiny lies with Him. It causes them to accept the signs, proof, parables, examples, and universal truths that the Quran provides.
To have faith in God, have faith in His message, have faith in the existence of His angels, have faith in the original books He once sent to mankind, have faith in the messengers and prophets he once sent to mankind as a guidance and glad tidings, have faith in the coming of the Day of Judgment for the true reconciliation of mankind, have faith in destiny and fate (Al-Qadar) and to peacefully accept the good of it and the bad.
Is to have true faith.
And it is called, Iman.