LEVELS OF FAITH: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan are terms that Muslims often hear. Yet many of them are not aware of the actual meaning of these terms. These terms hold a great meaning and as Muslims, we should be aware of them.
We shall submit entirely towards Islam, strengthen our Iman (faith) and practice Ihsan. Here is what these three terms mean:
1-Islam: Islam is a religion whose followers are known as Muslims. An authentic hadith proves that Islam is to be defined by 5 concepts. If he is acting on five pillars of Islam he is a Muslim. These concepts are also known as the pillars of Islam. These pillars are:
Shahadat: The Shahadat (acceptance) that Allah alone shall be worshipped and the Prophet PBUH is his last messenger.
Salah: to offer five obligatory prayers daily.
Fast: fasting in the month of Ramadan is obligatory for healthy people.
Zakat: those who have gold and wealth above the specified benchmark level are obliged to pay zakat. (the charity that is to be paid according to Islamic rules)
Hajj: those who have enough resources and health shall offer a Hajj at Holy Kaaba, at least once in a lifetime.
Anyone who claims he is a Muslim and performs the above-mentioned rituals is to be classified as Muslim. The foundations of Islam define a Muslim.
2-Iman: A Muslim can be a believer or a non-believer. If he is acting on five pillars of Islam he is a Muslim. However, if he has no faith in his heart, he is not having Iman. To have faith in Allah requires one to fulfill 5 pillars of Islam and also testify the 6 articles of faith.
So a Muslim who testifies the 6 articles of faith is actually a Muslim with Iman. Such a Muslim enjoys higher rank and is known as Momin. Here are the 6 articles of faith:
Tauheed: the belief that Allah is One, he has no partner and that the Prophet PBUH is His last messenger.
- The belief that Allah has created angels and they do exist
- Believing in all the Prophets that were sent down by Allah.
- Having a belief in all the Holy Books that were sent down by Allah
- Having a belief that the Day of Judgment will occur.
- Holding a belief in the destiny: the divine destiny carved out by Allah that is both good and bad.
3-Ihsan: The third level of Faith is Ihsan. Being a Muslim is good, being a Momin is better but reaching the level of Ihsan is great! The one who reaches this level is called a Muhsin. There are 2 levels of Ihsan:
A-Worshipping as if Allah is seeing you: when a person reaches this level, he offers his prayers with loyalty. He would be saying each word during his prayers very cautiously as though Allah is just in front of him and listening to every word. All his attention will be towards his prayers.
B-Awareness that Allah is witnessing all the deeds: with such an awareness, their all actions (be prayer, work, charity etc.) will be in accordance with Islamic principles.