What is the Meaning of “Faith” in the Hadith of Jibril (Angel Gabriel)?
Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Shalih Al Uthaymeen was asked:
How could we compromise between hadith of angel Gabriel in which the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- mentioned, that faith means believing in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and the good and bad destiny – with the hadith of the messenger of Abdul Qais, in which the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- explained that faith means to testify that no deity has the right to be worshipped but Allah, without associate anything with Him, establish the prayer, pay the zakat, and fulfill the obligation related to one fifth of the spoils of war?
Before I answer this question, I’d like to say that indeed, there will never be a disagreement between the Allah’s book and sunnah of His messenger -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. There is no single verse inside the Qur’an that contradict each other, and so is the sunnah.
There is nothing of the content of Qur’an and the sunnah that deny the reality. Since the reality is true, and the Qur’an and sunnah also true, thus it is impossible for it to contradict each other. If you understand this principle, then all of your doubts will be gone.
Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as:
“Do they not ponder about the Qur’an? Had it been from any other than Allah, they would surely have found in it much inconsistency. “[An-Nisaa/The Women : 82]
If that so, then the hadith of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- is impossible to contradict one another. If the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had defined about the faith with a certain definition, and he explained about it with another definition in another occasion, and you think that it contradicted one another, if you reflect about it, you’ ll find that there’s no contradiction in it at all. In the hadith of Angel Gabriel, The Prophet peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- divided the religion into three: Islam, Iman (the faith), and ihsan.
Whereas in the hadith of delegation of Abdul Qais, the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- didn’t mention except Islam. When Islam is mentioned separately, then faith is already included in it, since it is impossible to establish the Islamic laws without faith. If Islam is mentioned separately, it includes faith in it, and if faith is mentioned separately, it is also includes Islam in it. But if both words are mentioned together, then faith is defined with matters that related to heart, whereas Islam means matters that related to physical practices. This is an important term that must be known by the knowledge seeker.
Thus, if the word ‘Islam’ is mentioned alone, it encompasses the meaning of faith. Allah the Glorified and Exalted decreed, which can be translated as,
“The true religion with Allah is Islam.” (Chapter Ali Imran/The Family of Imran:19)
It is already known that Islam consists of creed, faith, and shari’a matters. If the word ‘faith’ is mentioned distinctively, then it already encompasses the meaning of Islam. And if both words, ‘Islam’ and ‘Faith’ are mentioned together, then faith means matters that related to heart / inner side, and Islam is related to physical deed / outer side.
Therefore, some of the predecessors said: Islam is the outer/seen things, and faith is the inner, unseen things, because its place is inside people’s heart. Therefore, you can see a hypocrite performing prayer, giving alms, and fasting; thus he is considered as a muslim on the outer look, and not a believer, as Allah’s decree, may He be Glorified and Exalted, which can be translated as,
“There are some who say: “We believe in Allah and in the Last Day,” while in fact they do not believe.” (Chapter Al Baqara/The Cow:8).
[Rewritten from the book “Majmu Fatawa Arkanil Islam”, Indonesian title “Majmu Fatawa Solusi Problematika Umat Islam Seputar Akidah dan Ibadah”, by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Shalih Al Uthaymeen, Published by Pustaka Arafah].
Article of www.whatisquran.com