The very significant question is:
He sat down before the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) bracing his knees against his, resting his hands on his legs, and said: "Muhammad, tell me about Islam." The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: "Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and to perform the prayer, give zakat, fast in Ramadan, and perform the pilgrimage to the House if you can find a way."
He said: "You have spoken the truth," and we were surprised that he should ask and then confirm the answer. Then he said: "Tell me about true faith (iman)," and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: "It is to believe in Allah, His angels, His inspired Books, His messengers, the Last Day, and in destiny, its good and evil."
"You have spoken the truth," he said, "Now tell me about the perfection of faith (Ihsan)," and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) answered: "It is to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not, He nevertheless sees you."
The hadith continues to where ‘Umar said:
Then the visitor left. I waited a long while, and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said to me, "Do you know, ‘Umar, who was the questioner?" and I replied, "Allah and His messenger know best." He said,
"It was Gabriel, who came to you to teach you your religion" (Sahih Muslim, 1.37: hadith 8).
This is a hadith, described by Imam Nawawi as one of the hadiths upon which the Islamic religion turns. The use of din in the last words of it, Atakum yu‘allimukum dinakum, "came to you to teach you your religion" entails that the religion of Islam is composed of the three fundamentals mentioned in the hadith: Islam, or external compliance with what Allah asks of us; Iman, or the belief in the unseen that the prophets have informed us of; and Ihsan, or to worship Allah as though one sees Him.
Shaykh Hussain Ahmed Madani
“It is to worship Allah in a fulfilling, humble manner as if He is watching you”
Ma’riful Hadith – by Shaykh Muhammad Manzoor Numani
“Ihsaan denotes nothing more than that Allah should be worshipped and His decrees and injunctions obeyed as if He was seeing us and we were seeing Him. A slave carries out his master’s command with great efficiency and keenness under his master’s eye."
Shaykh Riyaadhul Haqq on the Hadith of Jibrail:
“....worship Allah as though you see Him and if not, then He sees you”
“In one’s worship and in one’s daily activities one becomes so aware, so convinced and one feels with such strength and certainty of Allah and His attributes that in whatever he does, he seeks nothing but the pleasure of Allah and he is fully aware of the presence of Allah. That is, Ihsaan as mentioned in Hadith e Jibraeel (Allah’s peace be upon him)"
Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat explains:
Allah Ta’ala says in Surah Saaffaat, “Thus do We reward the Muhsineen”
“If you desire acceptance in this world and in the Hereafter, then become of the Muhsineen, (those who do good deeds). Work hard, adopt Taqwa and become deserving of Sifate Ihsaan.
But what is this quality of Ihsaan?
Worship Allah as though you see Him and if not, then know that if you do not see Him, He definitely sees you. When the notion is born in one that my Allah is watching me at all times, and He is Great and Powerful (Azmat wala, Qudrat wala), so He will reward me on my good but He will punish me on my bad deeds, to have this azmat in one’s heart is called Maqaame Muraaqabah.
When in the heart and mind one is constantly aware that my Allah is watching me and He is the Maalik of Nafaa-Nuksaan (The Lord of benefit and harm), I have to obey Him and not disobey Him, after one becomes firm on this, then this stage develops whereby the person will see Allah’s Qudrat (power) in everything i.e. if the hand is raised then he will realise the hand is being raised. This is Maqaame Mushaahadah. This is Sifate Ihsaan.
Goal of remembrance: Ehsan
Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad Gangohi (Allah have mercy on him) said,
‘The end result of all forms of remembrances (adhkar), spiritual exercises (ashgal) and meditations (muraqabat) is awareness of being in the presence of Allah all the time.’
It is essential to appreciate that this is not the creation of an abstract idle thought but an actual experience that brings a change in the behaviour and actions of the individual.
That is, ehsan as mentioned in Hadith e Jibraeel (Allah’s peace be upon him)
To be continued............. Feel free to comment