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Indications of Islam, Faith, Virtue and the Day of Judgement
Hadith & Sunnah
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Muhammad Hassan Ilyas)

It is narrated from ‘Umar ibn Khattab (rta) that “One day we were all in the presence of the Prophet (sws) when a man appeared: a beautiful face; beautiful and completely black hair; white clothes; there were no signs of travel on his face. People looked at each other in surprise, but none of us could recognize him. It was clear that he was not from around these parts. Anyway, he came, greeted the Prophet (sws) and asked if he could come close to him. The Prophet said: ‘Certainly.’ Then he came closer, joined his knees with those of the Prophet (sws) and placing his hands upon his knees, sat down in front of him in exactly the same manner as we do during prayer.1 Then he said: ‘O’ Muhammad, tell me, what is Islam?’2 The Prophet (sws) answered: ‘Islam is when you bear witness that there is no God but God, and bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of God,3 adhere to the prayer, pay zakah, fast in the month of Ramadan and, if you have the wherewithal to undertake a journey, go for hajj of the House of God.’4 The man said: ‘You have stated correctly.’  We were surprised at his asking a question and then affirming the answer himself. After this, he asked about faith. The Prophet (sws) said that faith was that you believe in God, in His angels, in His books and in His messengers and in the Day of Judgement,5 and also in the good or evil of destiny.6 He testified to this also and asked again: ‘Say, what is virtue?’ The Prophet (sws) answered: ‘Virtue is such that you worship God as if you see Him, because even if you cannot see Him, He is watching you.’7 The man said: ‘Now tell me about the Day of Judgement.’ The Prophet (sws) answered that he who had been asked did not know more than he who was asking. The man said: ‘Then say something about its signs.’ The Prophet (sws) said: ‘One of the signs is that the maid will give birth to her master and another is that you will see these bare bodied, bare footed, poor shepherds as leaders of the people and competing against each other in construction of high buildings.’8 The man asked: ‘O Messenger of God, who will be these shepherds of goats, these hungry, poor men roaming around bare footed?’ The Prophet answered: ‘These same Arabs.’9 ‘Umar (rta) says that the man left after this conversation but he stayed behind for some time until the Prophet (sws) said: ‘ ‘Umar, do you know who this man was?’ He said: ‘Only God and His Messenger know better.’ Then he said: ‘Then listen. He was Gabriel. He had come to you to teach your religion to you.’”10



1. The text of this narrative has been taken from Sahih Muslim 12 and it has been narrated by the following companions: ‘Umar ibn Khattab (rta), Abu Hurayrah (rta), Abu Malik Ash‘ari (rta), Anas ibn Malik (rta), ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta).

2. Musnad Ahmad, no. 182. The same narrative has been attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) such as: “A man came, whose face was the most beautiful of all others and whose body smell was the best. His dress was so clean as if dirt had never touched it.” Sunan Nasa’i, no, 4931.

3. Musnad Ahmad, no.182.

4. Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah, no 1.

5. Al-Nasa’i, Al-Sunan al-kubra, no. 5680.

6. This point has been stated in some narratives such as in Musnad Ahmad number 365 in these words: “He came close until his knees touched those of the Prophet’s (sws).”

7. Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Sunan al-Sughra, no. 7. In some narratives, such as Al-Sunan al-Sughra of al-Nasa’i, no. 4931, there are the following words: “Then he placed his hands upon the knees of the Prophet (sws).” We have not accepted this. The reason is that there is no acceptable meaning of his placing his hands on the knees of the Prophet (sws). It is evident that some narrators have misunderstood the antecedent of the pronoun of fakhizayh and have thus elaborated upon it. In our view, the correct understanding is what we have stated in the text: the person who came sat down and placed his hands upon his knees, in the manner we do during the prayer. Hence, the view of companions that they had never seen a man give so much respect to the Prophet (sws) as the newcomer did, has been stated in Ta‘ẓim qadr al-salah, no. 382 by Marwazi. It is as if he was well acquainted with the Prophet (sws).

8. In some narratives, as in Sahih Bukhari, no. 49, the words attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) have been quoted as: “worship God and do not associate anyone with Him.” Ru’yani, no. 143 says: “Islam is that in which you turn towards God.” Other narratives, as in Sahih Bukhari, no. 4429, the following words from Abu Hurayrah (rta) have been quoted: “And have faith in God, His angels, His books and His messengers.” Some narratives, such as Sahih Muslim, number 13 states the word “books” only from the same source.

9. Some narratives, such as Sahih Muslim, no. 13, quote the following words from Abu Hurayrah: “Obligatory prayer and compulsory zakah.” Similarly, some narratives, such as Ibn Khuzaymah, no. 1, add the words “You offer ‘umrah, take the ceremonial bath and undertake full ablution.” We have not accepted these additions. The reason is that the questions asked of the Prophet (sws) were related to the fundamentals of Islam and faith, and he gave answers accordingly. Such corollaries cannot be given here. Hence, the context of the conversation denies the situation that Gabriel asked the Prophet (sws) about Islam, and he mentioned things such as a cleaning bath or conclusion of ablutions.

10. The same fundamentals of Islam have been quoted in some other narratives with clarity. For example; it is quoted from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta) in Sunan Tirmidhi, no. 2609 that the Prophet (sws) said “The basis of Islam has been laid upon five things: witnessing to the fact that there is no God but God; He is One and there is no one associated with Him; And that Muhammad is His Messenger; and that attention should be paid to prayer; zakah should be paid; fasts should be kept in Ramadan and hajj of the House of God should be offered.”

11. The following words attributed to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta) have been added in some narratives such as Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808: “He asked: ‘Then if I do this, shall I be upon Islam?’” The Prophet (sws) answered: “Yes! If you do this, you shall certainly be upon Islam.”

12. The following words attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) have been added after this in some narratives, such as Musnad Ah@mad, number 16835: “And believe in death and life after death, and in Paradise, Hell and the Day of Judgement.” Some narratives such as Sahih Bukhari, no. 4429 include the addition of wa liqa’ihi (a meeting with him) from the same source. Sunan Nasa’i, no. 5680 include the words: “And the good and evil of fate and its bitterness and sweetness.” It is narrated from ‘Ali (rta) in some narratives such as Sunan Tirmidhi, no. 2071 that the Prophet (sws) said: “No person can be a true faithful unless he believes in four things: he witnesses that there is no God but God; that I am the Messenger of God who has sent me with the truth; and he believes in being awakened again after death and keeps faith in destiny.”

13. Some narratives such as Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808 attribute the following addition to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta): “If I do this, shall I be a true faithful? The Prophet (sws) said, yes, if you do this, you shall be upon faith.”

14. Some narratives have the words: “Act for the sake of God,” here instead of “worship God.” The words “Fear God” have been stated in some narratives such as Sahih Muslim, no. 14 here. Similarly, some narratives such as Musnad Ahmad, no. 5698 state after this: “If I do this, shall I become one who does deeds well?” the Prophet (sws) said: “Yes.”

15. In some narratives such as Sahih Muslim, no. 14, the following words attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) have been quoted: “This is from the five things about which no one except God is knowledgeable.” Then the Prophet (sws) recited the verse: “The knowledge of the Day of Judgement is only with God. [Do you not see that] He brings down rain and knows what rests within wombs. No one knows what income he shall raise tomorrow and no one knows on which ground he shall die. The reality is that only God is knowledgeable and aware.” We have not accepted this. The reason is that if the styles of all narratives are encapsulated, it seems correct to assume that this is an insertion of later narrators.

16. In Sunan Abu Da’ud, no. 4077, the words “its signs” come here. Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808 quote from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta) here: “But if you wish, I will tell you about the signs that will appear before it occurs.” He said: “Certainly, O’ Messenger of God.” Sunan Nasa’i, no. 4991 quotes the words as attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) here: “He asked: ‘O Muhammad! Tell me, when will the Day of Judgement come?’ The narrator says that the Prophet bowed his head and did not answer. He repeated his question, but the Prophet (sws) remained silent that time also. He asked again, and the Prophet (sws) was silent again. Then the Prophet (sws) said.”

17. It is attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) in some narratives, such as Sahih Bukhari number 49: “When the maid shall give birth to her master.” In Sahih Muslim, no. 13, the word ba‘laha instead of rabbaha is quoted from Abu Hurayrah (rta). In some narratives, such as Sahih Bukhari, no. 4429, the word rabbataha is also attributed to him.

18. The words: “When these shepherds shall compete with each other,” are attributed to Abu Hurayrah (rta) in some narratives such as Sahih Muslim, no. 13 at this place. Sahih Muslim, no. 14 contains the addition of “dumb and deaf” attributed to him. Some narratives such as Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808 contains the words “barefoot and hungry,” attributed to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta). Sahih Bukhari, no. 49 has the words “shepherds of camels” quoted from Abu Hurayrah (rta).

19. Sahih Muslim, no. 13. Some narratives such as Sahih Muslim, no 14 contains the words “Lord of the World” here.

20. Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808.

21. This point is quoted in some narratives such as Sahih Bukhari number 4429, from Abu Hurayrah (rta) as: when that man went away, the Prophet (sws) said: “Bring him to me.” People began to search for him but could not find him. At this, the Prophet (sws) said: “He was Gabriel the Trustworthy, who had come to educate people about their religion.” Musnad Ahmad, no 365 includes these words after this: “Except for this time, whenever he had come before, I had recognized him.” Some narratives such as Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, no. 135, the following words are quoted from Abu Hurayrah (rta): “By the being who has sent Muhammad with guidance and the religion of truth, I too know only to the extent that anyone among you might know. This was Gabriel, the Trustworthy who had come in the form of a Dahiyyah Kalbi for your education.” We have not accepted this addition either. The reason is that the narrative attributed to ‘Umar (rta), which says “no one among us knew him” deny this. It is obvious that both points cannot come together at the same place.


This narrative from ‘Umar (rta) has been quoted in the following books:

Sahih Muslim, no. 21; Sunan Abu Da’ud, no. 7704; Sunan Ibn Majah, no. 26; Musnad Ahmad, no. 182; Sahih Ibn Khauzaymah, no. 1; Sahih Ibn Hibban, no. 170; Sunan Al-Daraqutni, no.  2377; Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Sunan Al-Sughra, no. 7.

The books that have quoted it from Abu Hurayrah (rta) are:

Sahih Bukhari, no. 49; Al-Nasa’i, Al-Sunan Al Sughra, no. 4931; Ibn Majah, Sunan, no. 63; Musnad Ahmad, no. 8912; Sahih Ibn  Khuzaymah, no. 2096; Al-Bayhaqi, Al-Sunan al-Kubra, no. 1571; Musnad Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, no. 135.

From Anas ibn Malik (rta), it has been quoted only in Musnad al-Bazzar, no. 12454, and from Abu Malik al-Ash‘ari, in Musnad Ahmad, nos. 16834, 17165.

The narrative has been quoted from ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas (rta) in Musnad Ahmad, no. 2808, Musnad al-Bazzar, no. 1681 and from Abu Dharr Ghifari (rta) in Al-Nasa’i, Al-Sunan Al-Sughra, no. 14931 and Musnad Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, no. 135.






1. Very respectfully, just as is done with elderly people.

2. The word “Islam” here has been used for the manifestation of the religion which the Prophet Muhammad (sws) has invited the world to. I.e., those things which a person demonstrates by acting upon them after professing belief in the Prophet (sws) and distinguishes himself from others by being known as one who follows Islam or is called a Muslim.

3. This is the demonstration of the fact that one has accepted the oneness of God and the messengerhood of the Prophet (sws). Hence, he will now neither associate anyone with God nor take the liberty of refusing to obey and follow the Prophet (sws) because he has accepted him as God’s Messenger.

4. Islam is demonstrated in the life of a person through these five things. Therefore, many narratives state these as the basis of Islam. The Qur’an also reinforces this status for them at various places. There is no possibility of any debate or dispute regarding this. This is so because they have been communicated through consensus and an unbroken line of narration and are proven beyond any doubt. Therefore, no Muslim should dare to refute them.

5. The tenets of faith for Islam are these and have been explained as such in the Qur’an. There can be no addition or reduction, no change or alteration in these. Some people who have included other things in this list of beliefs have dared to confront God and His Messenger with their personal opinion and built the basis of conflict in religion, from which all Muslims should pray to be saved.

6. It is the belief that anything good or bad that reaches a person is through the will of God. This is a corollary of faith in God. This has been highlighted because of the fact that the external demonstrations of our relationship with God, for example, remembrance, gratitude, sincerity, trust, giving in to him and acceptance all arise from it. The real effect on the character of a person from his faith in God is a result of faith in this reality. If this faith does not exist, all other things that have been mentioned cannot exist, even though these are the beauty and excellence of faith.

7. The literal meaning of ihsan is to do something better. This is an explanation of the attitude that should be adopted in their deeds by those acting upon their faith. The Qur’an has emphasized this in verse number 112 of Surah Baqarah: “Those who gave up their selves to God, and they are the ones who are the best doers,” and other verses of a similar content.

It must be clarified here that this is not a degree of implementing religion; rather it is the required attitude for actions. Such an attitude is born within a person when he implements God’s instructions after understanding that God listens to and sees everything and that He is watching each and every action that he carries out day and night. The Prophet (sws) has explained the same point in a very simple, but eloquent manner. The Qur’an reminds us of God’s omnipresence and omnipotence, based on this basis in various places. If one wishes to develop such an attitude, one must recite the Qur’an with understanding and reflection. This is what God has advised. There is no need to search elsewhere.

8. The second sign is very obvious. People have observed its demonstration in the last century through their own eyes. They have found it difficult, however, to determine a proof of the first sign. In our view, its meaning is quite clear. It means an end to slavery as an institution at a global level. It is such a beautiful interpretation given to explain this fact that everyone endowed with an appreciation can understand it. Scholars know that this also happened round the same time that the shepherds of Arabia were changing their own world. Considering this, this prediction determines the coming of the age of the Day of Judgement precisely.

9. Some narratives state the word as “al-‘Urayb” which is a short form of “al-‘Arab” ie., these voiceless Arabs.

10. Religious scholars provide us with explanation and clarification of the religion that has been provided in the form of the Qur’an and Sunnah. The same service was provided by the first and greatest religious scholar, rather the Imam of all scholars, i.e. Muhammad, the Messenger of God (sws), for his companions. The most effective way to do this is to adopt a question and answer format. This narrative suggests that the Prophet (sws) used the same approach to disseminate understanding of some basic facts of religion. Therefore, Gabriel came to him in the guise of a human, on instructions from God and asked the above questions. The Prophet (sws) explained this purpose at the end himself.

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