The Gabriel Hadith

This Hadith is written from the point of view of Umar, a friend of Muhammad who became the second Caliph after Abu Bak’r.  This event takes place at the edge of a desert oasis near Medina.

One day when we were with God’s messenger, a man with very white clothing and very black hair came up to us. No sign of his journey was visible on him, and none of us recognized him. Sitting down before the Prophet, he rested his knees against his knees and placed his palms on his thighs, said, “Tell me, Muhammad, about Islam.”

The Messenger of God replied, ‘Submission means that you should bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is God’s messenger.  It also means that you should perform the ritual prayer, pay the charity tax, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the Ka’aba if you are able to go there.”

The man said, “You have spoken the truth.”

We were surprised when he said “You have said the truth.”

The man then said “Now tell me about Iman; tell me about faith.”

The Messenger of God replied, “Faith means that you have faith in God, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day, and that you have faith in divine destiny, both its good and its evil.”

Again, the man said, “You have spoken the truth.”

He then said, “Now tell me about Ihsan, doing what is good and perfect.”

The Messenger of God replied, “Doing what is good and perfect means that you should worship God as if you see Him.  Even if you do not see Him, He sees you.”

Then the man said, “Tell me about the Hour”

The Messenger of God replied, “On this issue, I know nothing more than you do.”

The man said, “Then tell me about its marks.”

The Messenger of God said, “The slave girl will give birth to her mistress, and you will see the barefoot, the naked, the poor, and the shepherds competing with each other in making tall buildings.”

Then the man went away. After I had waited for a long time, the Prophet said to me, “Do you know who the questioner was, ‘Umar?”

I replied, “God and His messenger know best.”

The Prophet said, “He was Gabriel. He came to teach you your religion.”