The Five Questions of Angel Gabriel
Compiled by Javed Ahmad
No introduction and conclusion are necessary as the following saying of our Prophet (SM) found in ‘the Muslims’ explains “Islam” in a nutshell. The story makes it clear that the angel came to ensure that we understood the meaning of the ‘five pillars of Islam’ through the five verification questions. No explanation is also required as the story is straight forward and the predictions have already been fulfilled. This particular story teaches us complete Islam in just one A4 sized page! And that’s all it takes to be a Muslim really.
“Omar ibn Khattab narrated, “As we were sitting one day before the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), a man suddenly appeared. He wore pure white clothes and his hair was dark black—yet there were no signs of travel on him, and none of us knew him.
He came and sat down in front of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), placing his knees against his, and his hands on his thighs. He said, “O Muhammad! Tell me about Islam.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God; and to perform the prayer (i.e., the five daily prayers); pay Zakat (i.e., 2.5% of annual compulsory charity on total saved wealth); fast Ramadan (i.e., compulsory annual fasting in the month of Arabic lunar month of Ramadan); and to perform Hajj (i.e., pilgrimage) to the House (in Mecca) if you are able.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth,” and we were surprised that he asked and then confirmed the answer. Then, he asked, “Tell me about eemaan (i.e., faith and belief).” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to believe in Allah; His Angels; His Books (i.e., all scriptures before Qur’an); His Messengers (i.e., all prophets before Muhammad (SM)); the Last Day (i.e., the Day of Judgment); and in destiny (i.e., heaven and hell)—its good and bad.”
The man said, “You have spoken the truth. Now, tell me about ihsan (i.e., spiritual excellence).” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “It is to serve Allah as though you see Him; and if you don’t see him, (know that) He surely sees you.”
“Now, tell me of the Last Hour,” asked the man. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “The one asked knows no more of it than the one asking.”
“Then tell me about its signs,” said the man. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) replied, “That a slave woman would give birth to her mistress; and that you would see barefooted, naked shepherds competing in the construction of tall buildings.”
Then the visitor left, and I waited a long time. Then the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) asked me, “Do you know, Omar, who the questioner was?”
I replied, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” He said (Allah bless him and give him peace), “It was Jibril.(Gabriel) He came to you to teach you your religion.” “