Explanation of 40 Hadith Of Imam Al-Nawawi by Sheikh Abdur Rahman Naseer Al-Barrak (Hadith no.2)

Explanation of Hadith no. 2

On the authority of `Umar (Radiallahu ‘Anhu), who said: One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black; no signs of journey were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down in front of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), with his knees touching against the Prophet’s (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs he said: “O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.”
The Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Islaam is to testify that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allaah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, to perform prayers, to give zakaah, to fast in Ramadaan, and to make the pilgrimage to the House if you are able to do so.”
He said: “You have spoken rightly”; and we were amazed at him asking him and saying that he had spoken rightly.
He (the man) said: “Tell me about Eemaan.”
He (the Prophet, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is to believe in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, and to believe in divine destiny (qadr), both the good and the evil of it.”
He said: “You have spoken rightly.”
He (the man) said: “Then tell me about Ihsaan.”
He (the Prophet, sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “It is to worship Allaah as though you see Him, and if you do not see Him, then (knowing that) truly He sees you.”
He said: “Then tell me about the Hour.”
He said: “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.”
He said: “Then tell me about its signs.”
He said: “That the slave-girl will give birth to her mistress, and that you will see barefooted, naked destitute shepherds competing in constructing lofty buildings.”
Then he (the man) left, and I stayed for a time. The he (the Prophet, Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “O `Umar, do you know who the questioner was?”
I said: “Allah and His Messenger know best.”
He said: “It was Jibreel, who came to teach you your religion.”

Recorded in Sahih Muslim


This hadith is a comprehensive principle of Islamic Creed and jurisprudence, there are many benefits one may derive from this hadith (some are):

  • We see how the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam sat with his companions to teach then and to socialise with them
  • We also see how every companion knew and recognized one another from the statement of Umar “and none of us recognised him (Meaning Jibreel)”
  • That travelling makes one unkempt and dusty
  • That from the forms of revelation is that the angel takes on the form of a human being then speaks to the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam
  • That the angel has the ability to take on the form of a human being as is mentioned in the Quran, “She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent to her Our Ruh [angel Jibril (Gabriel)], and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.”[1] – The meaning here of “Ruh” is Jibreel and Jibreel also took on the form of a human to speak to the Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu alayhi was sallam as is mentioned in this hadith, that is why this hadith is known as “Hadith Jibreel” the hadith of Jibreel according to the people of Knowledge
  • That it is allowed to gain knowledge by way of question and answers
  • This hadith shows us the permissibility of asking a question even if one knows the answers so that others who are listening can benefit
  • The virtue of the scholar tolerating the harshness and bad manners of the ignorant, as is mentioned in the hadith, Jibreel calls out “O Mohammad” and as is shown in the hadith how Jibreel came and sat so close to the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam
  • This hadith also shows us the importance of concentrating on the important parts of the Deen and its principles
  • That one must start in terms of importance then move to that which is less important in both principles of Creed and Jurisprudence
  • This hadith shows the difference between Islam and Iman when it is mentioned together
  • That Islam is more about the apparent (Outer) actions and Iman is more specific to the beliefs of the heart
  • Islam in terms of speech and action is made of five pillars
  • That the Shahadah “La ilaha illallah wa Muhammadur Rasullah” is the ultimate foundation of the religion
  • The attachment and connection of both parts of the Shahadah in terms of ruling, so belief in one part and not the other is not correct
  • The oneness of Allah in worship and the falsehood of every deity besides Him
  • (One must have) consideration of the Shahadah – Testifying with the tongue along with Tawhid and Belief in the Messengers for ones Islam to be correct
  • The hadith shows that Salah is the most incumbent obligation upon a Muslim and the most important pillar of Islam after the Shahadah
  • It also shows the obligation of establishing the prayer the way Allah has ordered and how the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam has explained
  • It also shows that paying Zakah (Alms) is the greatest pillar of Islam after Salah
  • We see how salah and Zakah are mentioned together in the texts of the Quran and Sunnah thus showing the high status and importance of Zakah
  • The hadith shows that some forms of worship are physical like Salah and Fasting and some are commercial like Zakah
  • That Fasting in Ramadan is from the pillars of Islam
  • Also Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) is from the pillars of the Deen
  • The virtue of the month of Ramadan
  • The virtue of the Ka’bah
  • That Hajj is not obligatory except on the one who is capable of performing it, Allah says, “In it are manifest signs (for example), the Maqam (place) of Ibrahim (Abraham); whosoever enters it, he attains security. And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka’bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for one’s conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves [i.e. denies Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), then he is a disbeliever of Allah], then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinn and all that exists).”[2]
  • When the questioner confirms that the answer given is correct this shows they had knowledge about this previously, as Umar said “we were surprised that he asked the question then confirmed the answer”
  • That the original state of the questioner is ignorance and that ignorance about the issue is the cause of the question
  • That the pillars of Iman (Faith) are 6 and they are the foundations of the Creed
  • That the central principle of all the principles is belief in Allah
  • This hadith establishes our belief in Angels and the Books of Allah and (Belief) in the Prophets and Messengers
  • This hadith proves the obligation of having faith in the Angels and proves that this is from the principles of Faith
  • It also proves the obligation of having faith in the revealed Books of Allah and that this is a part of our Creed
  • This proves the obligation of Belief in the Messengers and that this is also from the principles of the Religion
  • It also proves the obligation of Iman in the day of judgement and that this is also a principle of the religion
  • It also proves the obligation of Iman in Pre-Decree and that belief in it is from the foundational principles of the Deen
  • It also proves the obligation of Iman in these principles in general upon every responsible person
  • This hadith shows the virtue of the Angels and Prophets due to their attachment to Allah and this is an attachment of a creation to the creator an attachment of respect and Honour
  •  This hadith show the virtue of the Books Allah has revealed to His Messengers, as these books are his speech and His speech is an attribute of His (May He be Exalted)
  • This hadith proves the Last Day, meaning the Day of Judgement, this belief includes belief in every single aspect regarding what will happen after death as we have been informed by Allah and His Messenger
  • This hadith affirms the Pre-Decree (Qadr) and that we believe in the good of it and the evil of it
  • The hadith mentions the levels of the religion and goes on to mention general points to more specific points, First Islam, then Iman, then Ihsan, so every Muhsin (One who possesses the attribute of Ihsan) is a Mu’min and every Mu’min is a Muslim but the opposite is not necessary true
  • The hadith explains the reality of Ihsan in our actions and that is to worship Allah as though you see Him
  • It is made clear that a servant will not see Allah in this world
  • This hadith proves that it is possible to see Allah
  • Keeping in mind that Allah is All-Aware helps a person with self-control and perfecting their actions
  • That the final hour of the day of judgement is not known to anyone except Allah, not even to the close angels or the messengers who were sent
  • That the Angel Jibreel nor the Prophet Mohammed Sallallahu alayhi was sallam does not know when the final hour is
  • That the day of judgment has signs proceeding it
  • The hadith mentions two signs of the coming of the final hour, that a slave women will give birth to her master and that Bedouins will compete in building lofty buildings and this is an indication that when Bedouins become civilised and move into or create towns and cities and become wealthy
  • The hadith indicates to the fact that when slaves become many,  sometimes a person will buy a slave yet not know that he has just purchased his mother
  • The hadith mentions poor Bedouins will be competing in  terms indicating that wealthy Bedouins will do even more
  • That when one is given this world, this makes a person compete even more for the wealth of this world
  • We understand in this hadith that the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam knew that the questioner was Jibreel, rather from the start or after that
  • We see the Prophet Sallallahu alayhi was sallam tells his companions about the questioner and his intentions
  • That it is from the religion to believe that nobody knows the time of the final hour except Allah and that one must have faith in the signs of the day of judgement
  • Relating the knowledge to Allah and His messenger that which a servant of Allah does not know
  • The scholar can ask his companions regarding an issue to teach them about it
  •  This hadith shows the virtue of Umar as the Prophet asked him “do you know who that was?”
  • Connecting the religion to the slaves because they are ordered with it and hold it up and it is connected to Allah because he is the one who legislate it as Allah says,

قُلْ آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنْزِلَ عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَالنَّبِيُّونَ مِنْ رَبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

Say (O Muhammad): “We believe in Allâh and in what has been sent down to us, and what was sent down to Ibrâhim (Abraham), Ismâ’il (Ishmael), Ishâq (Isaac), Ya’qûb (Jacob) and Al-Asbât [the offspring twelve sons of Ya’qûb (Jacob)] and what was given to Mûsa (Moses), ‘Īsā (Jesus) and the Prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between one another among them and to Him (Allâh) we have submitted (in Islâm).”[3]



[1] Surah Maryam: 17

[2] Surah Imran: 97

[3] Surah Imran: 83


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