The Connection Between Eemaan, Islaam and Ihsaan
Monday, December 07 2009 - by Abu.Iyaad
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Kitaab Usool al-Imaan
The book to the right is "Kitaab Usool al-Imaan" (The Book of the Foundations of Faith) and it has been authored collectively by Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee, Shaykh Abdur-Razzaaq al-Abbaad, Shaykh Ibraaheem ar-Ruhaylee, and the two Shaykhs, Alee Naasir al-Faqeehee, and Ahmad bin Atiyyah al-Ghaamidee aided in checking it and helping to put it together in its form and sequence. The book was printed by the Qur'an printing complex, in the city of Madinah (1421H).
The book provides an excellent foundation for knowing and understanding the six pillars of faith (Eemaan), and is great for Muslims and new Muslims, as well as non-Muslims wanting to get a grasp of what Muslims believe (from Muslims themselves!). The content in this article has been based around the relevant section in this book (p. 263) and has been adapted for easier reading. Additional quotes, references and notes may be provided for further benefit and understanding.
The mention of "Islaam", "Eemaan" and "Ihsaan" has come in the hadeeth of Jibreel, when he came to the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and asked him about these three affairs, and so replied that Islaam is fulfilling the outward actions, the testification that none has the right to be worshipped except Allaah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah, to establish the prayer, give the zakaah, fast in Ramadan and perform pilgrimage to the House. With respect to Eemaan he explained it with the unseen internal, inward affairs, such as belief in Allaah, His Angels, Books and Messengers, the Last Day and al-qadar (Divine Decree), both its good and its evil. And regarding Ihsaan he said that it is to be mindful of Allaah in secret and in public, saying, "That you worship Allaah as if you see Him and though you see Him not, He certainly sees you."
So when these three are mentioned together (such as in this hadeeth), they all have their own specific meanings (as explained above), thus by Islaam, the outward (observable) actions are meant, and by Eemaan the unseen, inward affairs are meant (that which is in the heart), and by Ihsaan, the highest rank in religion is meant.