3 Levels of faith – Islam, Iman and Ihsan

There are 3 types or levels of faith in Islam: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. We should try to climb the spiritual mountain from one level to another.

Islam – following the basics

The first level of faith is accepting Islam as the religion. A person who embraces Islam as a religion is called a Muslim. Someone with the first level of Iman tries to follow the fundamental five pillars of Islam.

Someone asked Prophet Muhammad ﷺ “What is Islam.” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Islam is;

  1. Worshipping Allah and not worship anything besides Him.
  2. Establishing Salah.
  3. Giving Zakat.
  4. Performing Hajj.
  5. Fasting in Ramadan.

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.

Islam - the first level of Iman (faith)

Iman – solid belief

A person who believes in the six articles of faith and reflects it in all his actions is on the second level of IMAN, and he is called a Momin. The six articles of Iman are;

  1. The belief that Allah is One, he has no partner, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His last messenger.
  2. The belief is that Allah has created angels, and they do exist.
  3. Believing in all the Prophets that Allah sent down.
  4. Having a belief in all the Holy Books that Allah sent down i.e. Quran, Bible, Torah, and Zabur.
  5. Having a belief that the Day of Judgment will occur.
  6. Holding a belief in the destiny: the divine destiny carved out by Allah that is good and bad.

To be a Momin, you must explicitly show the above articles in your daily life with your actions. For example, someone who believes in the day of Judgement would not cheat, lie, steal, or backbite.

Iman - the second level of faith.

Ihsan – achieving excellence

The third and the highest level of Faith/Iman is Ihsan. Being a Muslim is good, being a Momin is better, but reaching the level of Ihsan is excellent!  The one who reaches this level is called a Muhsin. There are 2 levels of Ihsan;

Worshipping as if Allah is seeing you

When a person reaches the level of Ihsan, he offers his prayers as if Allah is looking at him. He would say each word during his prayers very cautiously, as though Allah was just in front of him and listening to every word. All his attention will be on his prayers.

Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said: Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see Him. – Sahih al-Bukhari 4777

Allah is witnessing all the deeds

The second level of Ihsan goes one step ahead as it requires performing all actions with the awareness that Allah is witnessing all your deeds.

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