Ahadith on the Day of Judgment

Prophetic Tradition on Imaan and Ihsaan

Ibn Ya`mar says that the first to open his mouth1 over the question of Qadr2 was Ma`d al-Johanni in Basra. Therefore, myself and `Abdul Rahman al-Himyari headed to Makkah for pilgrimage. “How nice it would be,” we told ourselves: “If we could come across one of the Companions of the Prophet to ask him about what these people are talking of concerning Qadr.”

It so happened that we found `Abdullah ibn `Umar in the mosque. We went to him, both from each flank, and, feeling that my companion wanted me to start the conversation, I asked: “Abu Abdul Rahman. Some people have appeared among us who study the Qur’an, seek knowledge…” And then he (Ya`mar) mentioned some of their other (good) qualities, adding that they do not believe there is any such thing as Qadr and that the matter is nascent.3

Ibn `Umar said: “If you meet these people tell them from me that I have nothing to do with them and they have nothing to do with me. And what I, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, can swear over is that were one of them to possess gold equal to mount Uhud and spent it in the way of Allah (swt), it wouldn’t be accepted of him, unless he believe in Qadr.”

Then Ibn `Umar added: “`Umar ibn al-Khattab told me that once they were with the Prophet (saws) when a man, with very white clothes on, of dark hair, appeared. He did not carry signs of travel, nor any of us knew him. He came in and sat opposite the Prophet placing his two folded knees touching those of the Prophet, and his two hands on his (own) thighs.4 Then he asked: ‘Muhammad. Tell me about Islam.’ The Prophet replied: ‘Islam is that you testify that there is no god save Allah (swt) and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and establish the Prayers, pay the Zakah, fast the Ramadan, and visit the House if you can afford the passage.’ He responded: ‘You spoke the truth.’ `Umar said: ‘The man surprised us that he asks question and then confirms the answer as true.’ Then he asked: ‘And what is Iman?’ The Prophet replied: ‘Iman is to believe in Allah, His angels, His Messengers, the Last Day, and that you believe in qadr – its good, as well as the evil aspect.’ He responded: ‘You spoke the truth.’ Then he said: ‘Tell me about Ihsan.’ The Prophet answered: ‘Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you are seeing Him,5 for if you do not see Him, He sees you.’ He said: ‘You spoke the truth.’ Then he asked: ‘Tell me about the Hour.’ The Prophet replied: ‘The questioned knows no more about it than the questioner.’6 He said: ‘Give me its signs.’ The Prophet said: ‘That a slave-girl should give birth to her master;7 and you will see ill-clad, barefooted, impoverished shepherds competing in construction of tall buildings.’ At this, the man went away. Then quite some time elapsed after which the Prophet asked me,8 ‘`Umar! Do you know who the inquirer was?’ I said: ‘Allah and His messenger know best.’ He explained: “That was Jibreel. He had come to teach you your religion.”

 

Commentary

This is the first hadith in the Sahih of Imam Muslim. Imam Nawawi places it as the second in his collection of 40 and offered the following notes (Nawawi: one from Naw, or Nau: a city in Khurasan). (Au.)

 

  1. That is, he was the first to deny qadr.
  1. By Qadr, what is meant is that things and events are predetermined in time, size, shape, and other characteristics in the knowledge of Allah (swt), before their creation, so that when they come into being they take those size, shape and qualities at that time. The Qadariyyah denied this. Khattabi has said that what most people understand by the terms Qada’ and Qadr (divine decree and predetermination) is lack of freedom of choice on the part of the humans, which is wrong. What the concept implies is the pre-knowledge of the things on the part of Allah (swt) as they are to occur or as the man will earn them (the deeds) in future, and brings them to light in the size, shape and qualities at a point in time, as predetermined by Allah (swt), both the good as well as the evil of them.
  1. That is, things and events of the world have not been predetermined, nor were they in the knowledge of Allah (swt) before their creation. And a man of such beliefs is not a Muslim.
  2. That is, he sat in the fashion of a student before his teacher.
  3. It also means, apart from the apparent meaning, that one ought to always worship Allah (swt) through his righteous deeds since he is always in the sight of Allah (swt). Scholars have suggested the taking up of companionship of the righteous ones because – out of their deference – one feels shy to perform sinful or socially unacceptable deeds. How much more then not the feeling, were one to feel that he is in the company of Allah (swt), Who knows both his hidden as well as the open?!
  1. This instructs us that there is nothing wrong in admitting one’s ignorance.
  1. There are several ways in which it could happen. One is that moral corruption will run high so that a slave-girl will rotate into several owners, through sale and purchase, until she lands into the ownership of one whom she would have mothered, but without his or her knowledge.
  2. According to some reports three days elapsed before the Prophet (saws) asked `Umar that question. Now, some other reports say that the Prophet asked his Companions then and there about who they thought that the man was. The reconciliation of the two reports is that it is possible that `Umar might have left the company with the departure of Jibreel, so he missed hearing the Prophet saying that it was Jibreel who had come to instruct them in their religion, and so, the Prophet asked `Umar this question three days later.