HE CAME TO TEACH YOU YOUR RELIGION
On the authority of Umar, [RA], who said: "While we were one day sitting with the Messenger of Allaah, 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, rested his knee against his thighs, and said, O Muhammad! Inform me about Islam."
The Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, "Islam is that you should testify that there is no deity save Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, that you should perform salaah (ritual prayer), pay the zakah, fast during Ramadan, and perform Hajj (pilgrimage) to the House (the Kabahat 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 Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him]) answered, "It is that you believe in Allaah 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 Allaah) answered, "It is that you should worship Allaah 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 Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] 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)."
The Messenger of Allaah [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], "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 Allaah) said, "0 Umar, do you know who that questioner was?" I replied, "Allaah and His Messenger know better." He said, "That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.
Lessons from this Hadith: That Jibril himself came to teach the fundamentals of the Faith to the Sahaba (Companions) by asking questions from the Messenger. An angel can come in the shape of a man who can be seen by people. As part of the Islamic manners, one of the good ways of sitting with the teacher is to sit with ones knees against him and placing your hands together on the thighs of the teacher. One can teach others by asking about that which he already knows. The teacher should answer the questions even if he knows that the person asking (the questioner) is aware of the answers.
Although the thigh is part of the awrah, one can touch it if it is covered. If someone wants to know about Islam generally, then he should be made aware of the pillars. which constitute it. Islam is built on the five pillars which have to be acted upon with iman and ihsan.
Denying anyone of these pillars and not wishing to fulfill anyone of them makes you a non-Muslim. Belief in what Allaah has destined for us, whether it is perceived to be good, or bad, is part of iman, and without believing in it, our iman is incomplete and defective. One may believe in Allah but one has to be always conscious of the Last Day too.
One must accept the Messengers sent by Allaah: As part of the Islamic manner, the questioner can approve of the teachers answer by saying that the answer is correct. One must develop ihsaan in all that he does so that he is as much aware as he can be that Allaah is indeed watching every move that he makes. As part of the Islamic manner, the teacher should be ready to accept and say that he does not know the answer or that he does not know it better than the one asking (the enquirer). It is permissible to talk about the signs of the Last Hour.
The signs of the Last Hour are real and concern how we live and behave. If someone comes to a people and goes away from them without the people knowing who he was, then he can be identified to the people.
Although the Companions were the best of, the people and were the most knowledgeable, they did not interrupt with their own answers, nor did they show impatience at the questioner. Therefore, as part of the Islamic manners, if someone asks a question to the teacher in a group, then the others in the group should keep quiet until one of them is asked for help. It is not permissible to say that there is a certain length of time left before the end of the world, for none knows but Allaah, not even the Messenger.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited