Levels of Faith in Islam!

The desert Arabs say,

“We believe.” Say, “You Have no faith; but you

(Only) say, “We have submitted

Our wills to Allah,”

For not yet has Faith,

Entered your hearts.

But if you obey Allah

And His Messenger, He

Will not belittle any

Of your deeds: for Allah

Is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful

The Holy Quran:49:14


Islam: God’s Message of Guidance to Humanity

3 – Three Levels of Faith:

Islam, Iman, and I’hsan

By Hassan El-Najjar *

Al-Jazeerah,  May 21, 2007


There are three levels of faith a person can attain. The   first level is Islam. Prophet   Muhammed, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbuh) explained it as   observing the five major obligations (the adhering to which creates an   Islamic structure, as these obligations constitute the pillars of Islam’s   structure).

Thus, to be a Muslim,   a person has to proclaim (or testify) that there is no other god but Allah   (praise to Him) and that Muhammed (pbuh) is His Messenger.   The importance of this declaration or testimony is that a person acknowledges   the existence of God (Allah), praise to Him, as the Creator of the Universe,   and that Muhammed (pbuh) is the Messenger of God. This means that a person   accepts the message of God revealed to humanity through Prophet Muhammed (pbuh),   as expressed in the word of God (the Holy Qur’an) and the Sunna of the   Prophet (his sayings, actions, and what he approved of).

Once a person pronounces the Islamic proclamation, then   he/she proceeds to observe the Islamic obligations, namely to perform the   five prayers, pay the Zakat, fast during the month of Ramadhan, and make the   pilgrimage to the House of God in Makkah, if he/she is able to do so (for   more details about these obligations, see  Islam: A Brief Introduction).

It is important to note that these are ways of worshipping   God, ‘Ibadat, as He wanted and commanded Muslims to do. He promised to reward   those who worship Him and to punish those who don’t do that on purpose.

In analyzing these Islamic ways of worshipping God, one   discovers that all of them benefit the worshipper directly and his/her   society in this life, then they are rewarded with Paradise in the hereafter.

By performing prayers, a Muslim has to clean   himself/herself through wudu’, by washing the mouth, nose, face hands, arms,   ears, hair, and feet, every time before prayers. Muslims also have to take   showers after sexual intercourse and must keep their clothes clean.

By praying five times a day in specific times, Muslims   live in orderly fashion, budgeting their time, and literally exercising five   times a day, doing certain movements that range between standing, bowing   down, prostrating, and sitting down on the floor. These unique movements   exercise various body organs and push more blood to certain areas of the   body, like the brain through bowing and prostrating.

By paying the Zakat, a Muslim assists the poor and   contributes to the well-being of society. It is, at least, 2.5 percent of a   person’s annual savings. When properly given, the poor will not be left alone   in society. It is a systematic expression of compassion and social   solidarity. The Zakat does not replace charity or government taxes. However,   it contributes to the welfare and well-being of society in areas not covered   by government-funded projects.

Fasting   the month of Ramadhan by abstaining from food, drinks, and sexual   activity from dawn to the sunset has tremendous benefits for the body and the   soul of a worshipper. Fasting strengthens the control of the self over the   body. It allows the rich to feel the suffering of the hungry poor and prompts   them to share food with them when they break the fast at the sunset. By   eating moderately at the breakfast, many people lose weight, get rid of the   accumulated fats throughout the year. Most importantly is giving a break to   the digestive system, after eleven months of continuous hard work.

Finally, Hajj, pilgrimage to the House of God in   Makkah, is the climax of being a Muslim. It is a personal journey for God   first but it gives great satisfaction to the Hajj (pilgrim), as he/she leaves   everything in this life behind. The pilgrimage to Makkah is also a worldwide conference   of Muslims, where they meet there representing all nations, racial groups,   and ethnic divisions. They are instructed by God to be loving, caring, and   tolerant of each other, as well as praising God for His limitless benefits   and bounties they have been enjoying.


By being a Muslim, as explained above, a person is   promised God’s rewards in this life and in the hereafter. However, for those   who are more ambitious to be closer to God, and to gain a higher level of his   rewards, they need to reach a higher level of faith than Islam, which is   Iman.

Iman   is to believe in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day,   and to believe in divine destiny, both the good and the evil thereof. This   level is more theoretical than the first level of Islam. In the first level,   Islam, a person is saved by worshipping God through actions, that is through   performing the five obligations mentioned above.

To reach the second level, Iman, more faith is needed. A   deeper degree of acknowledgement is required. This includes a belief in God   and what He said. He informed us in His Book, the Holy Qur’an, that He has   angels, He sent previous Books to humanity, delivered through previous   messengers.

Thus, a person reaching Iman (a Mu’men) believes that not only God exists but He is   capable of doing anything He wants. A Mu’men believes in everything God told   in the Holy Qur’an. He/she  believes that there are other intelligent   creations of God than human beings, particularly angels. Among these are   Jibril (Gabriel, the medium between God and His human messengers), Mika-il   (Michael, the angel of sustenance), Ezra-il (angel of death), Israfil (angel   of the Trumpet), Radhwan (custodian of Paradise), Malek (custodian of the   Hellfire), Raqeeb and ‘Ateed (the angels who keep records for our good deeds   and bad deeds), and Nakker, and Nakeer (the angels who question a human being   briefly after death). A Mu’men is a person who believes that these angels   exist and we are affected by them.

A Mu’men also believes that God revealed His guidance to   humanity in previous Books before the Holy Qur’an. These included the Torah   (Old Testament revealed to Moussa, Moses, pbuh), Zaboor (revealed to Prophet   Dawood, David, pbuh), and the Engel (New Testament revealed to the Messiah,   Essa Bin Mariam, Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, pbuh). These Books included   the same message of guidance to humanity summarized in the Holy Qur’an. A   Mu’men, further, has the same respect and love to the previous messengers of   God, and should not differentiate one from the other, or side with one   against the other.

A Mu’men believes that this life is a test, in which all   our deeds and activities are recorded by angels. We will be held accountable   for the entire test when we meet our Creator in the Day of Judgment. So, the   belief in the Last Day is an acknowledgement of accountability and reckoning.   It is an incentive for people to do good in this life in order to be rewarded   in Paradise, and a warning against doing bad in order to avoid punishment in   the Hellfire.

Finally, a Mu’men believes in Al-Qada wal Qadar, or divine   destiny, both the good and the evil thereof. This is a belief in the ability   of Allah, praise to him, to predict our behavior.


I’hsan   is the highest of the three levels of faith and the closest to God. It is to   worship Allah as if you are seeing Him. While you do not see Him, He truly   sees you. Then, Ihsan means that a Mu’hsen   is sure that Allah is seeing him/her in everything he/she says or does.   Therefore, a Muhsen does his/her best to say and do only what pleases God and   conforms to His commands. This is the level of righteousness, the level of   perfection, the level of doing and saying the ultimate good, the level of   I’hsan.

The word “I’hsan” in Arabic is a derivative of   the verb “ahsana,” which means doing things better. Thus the   literal linguistic meaning of I’hsan is doing the best, which is doing what   God commanded us to do.


Text of the Prophet’s ‘Hadith (saying) about the subject:

On the authority of Omer1 (may Allah be pleased   with him), who said:*One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of   Allah (i.e. Prophet Muhammed, pbuh), there appeared before us a man whose   clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs   of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up   and sat down by the Prophet (pbuh). Resting his knees against his (the   Prophet’s) and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said:

O Muhammed, tell me about Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of   Allah be upon him) said: Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah   and Muhammed is the Messenger of Allah, to perform the prayers, to pay the   Zakatto fast in Ramadhan, and to make the pilgrimage to   the House3  if you are able to do so.

He said: You have spoken rightly, and we were amazed at   him asking him (the Prophet pbuh) and saying that he had spoken rightly.

He said: Then, tell me about Iman.4

He (the Prophet) said: It is to believe in Allah, His   angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in divine   destiny, both the good and the evil thereof.

He said: You have spoken rightly.

He said: Then, tell me about I’hsan.5

He (the Prophet pbuh) said: It is to worship Allah as if   you are seeing him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you.

He said: Then, tell me about the hour.6

He (the Prophet pbuh) said: The one questioned about it   knows no better than the questioner. He said: Then, tell me about its   signs.

He (the Prophet pbuh) said: That the slave-girl will give   birth to her mistress, and that you will see the barefooted, naked, destitute   herdsmen competing in constructing lofty buildings. 7

Then, he took himself off and I stayed for some time. Then   he (the Prophet pbuh) said: O Omer, do you know who the questioner was? I   said: Allah and His Messenger know better. He said: It was Jibril (Gabriel),   who came to you to teach you your religion.


  • Help one another in righteousness and piety, but      help not one another in sin and rancor: Fear Allah for Allah’s strict in      punishmentReligious – The Holy Quran 5:2
  • If one of you sees something wrong, let him      change it with his own hand; if he cannot, then raise voice and speak out      against it; if he cannot do even that, then dislike or hate it in your      heart, but that is the lowest degree of faith  –      Religious Hadith

May Allah (God) Direct us all to the Right Path and Ways –  Amin

Continued – Islam is not only bowing down in prayers – but what is in your heart – and what you do in life – and how you treat others!

                       Be Afraid – Be Very Much Afraid!!

Islamic GraveFuneral Pyrecharcoal-fire-flames[1]

Images For Demonstration Purposes Only!