Category Archives: Sahabah

Stories and descriptions of the companions.

How Does Archangel Gabriel Quiz Muhammad in the Hadith?

The Hadith (a collection of Muslim narratives about the prophet Muhammad) includes the Hadith of Gabriel, which describes howarchangel Gabriel (also known as Jibril in Islam) quizzes Muhammad about Islam to test how well he understands the religion. Gabriel appeared to Muhammad over a 23-year period to dictate the Qur’an word by word, Muslims believe.

In this Hadith, Gabriel appears in disguise, checking to make sure that Muhammad has received his messages about Islam correctly. Here’s what happens:


The Hadith of Gabriel

The Hadith of Gabriel’s tells the story: “Umar ibn al-Khattab (the second rightly guided caliph) reported: One day when we were with Allah’s [God’s] messenger, a man with extremely white clothing and very black hair came to us. No traces of travel were visible on him, and none of us recognized him. Sitting down before the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him) leaning his knees against his, and placing his hands on his thighs, the stranger said, ‘Tell me, Muhammad, about Islam.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Islam means that you should bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger, that you should perform the ritual prayer, pay the alms tax, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the Ka’aba at Mecca if you are able to go there.’

The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ (We were amazed at this man’s questioning the Prophet and then declaring that he had spoken the truth).

The stranger spoke a second time, saying, ‘Now tell me about faith.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Faith means that you have faith in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day, and that you have faith in fate as it is measured out, both its good and evil aspects.’

Remarking that the Prophet again had spoken the truth, the stranger then said, ‘Now tell me about virtue.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Virtue — doing what is beautiful — means that you should worship Allah as if you see Him, for even if you do not see Him, He sees you.’

Yet again the man said, ‘Tell me about the Hour (that is, the coming of the Day of Judgment).’

The Prophet replied, ‘About that he who is questioned knows no more than the questioner.’

The stranger said, ‘Well, then tell me about its signs.’

The Prophet replied, ‘The slave girl will give birth to her mistress, and you will see the barefoot, the naked, the destitute, and the shepherds vying with each other in building.’

At that, the stranger went away.

After I had waited for a while, the Prophet spoke to me: ‘Do you know who the questioner was, Umar?’ I replied, ‘Allah and His messenger know best.’ The Prophet said, ‘He was Jibril [Gabriel]. He came to teach you your religion.'”

Thoughtful Questions

In the preface to the book Questions And Answers About Islam by Fethullah Gülen, Muhammad Cetin writes that the Hadith of Gabriel helps readers learn how to ask thoughtful spiritual questions: “Gabriel knew the answers to these questions, but his purpose of disguising himself and posing these questions was to help others attain this information. A question is asked for a certain purpose. Asking a question for the sake of displaying one’s own knowledge or asking merely to test the other person is worthless. If a question is asked for the purpose of learning in order to let others find out the information (as in the example of Gabriel above, the questioner may already know the answer) it can be considered a question that has been posed in the correct manner. Questions of this kind are like seeds of wisdom.”

Defining Islam

The Hadith of Gabriel summarizes Islam’s major tenets. Juan Eduardo Campo writes in the book Encyclopedia of Islam: “The Hadith of Gabriel teaches that religious practice and belief are interrelated aspects of the Islamic religion – one cannot be accomplished without the other.”

In their book The Vision of Islam, Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick write that Gabriel’s questions and Muhammad’s answers help people Islam as three different dimensions working together: “The hadith of Gabriel suggests that in the Islamic understanding, religion embraces right ways of doing things, right ways of thinking and understanding, and right ways of forming the intentions that lie behind the activity. In this hadith, the Prophet gives each of the three right ways a name. Thus one could say that ‘submission’ is religion as it pertains to acts, ‘faith’ is religion as it pertains to thoughts, and ‘doing the beautiful’ is religion as it pertains to intentions. These three dimensions of religion coalesce into a single reality known as Islam.”

Abu Bakr Al Seddeeq: Leading prayer infront of the prophet

Narrated Sahl bin Saad:
There was a dispute amongst the people of the tribe of Bani ‘Amr bin ‘Auf. The Prophet went to them along with some of his companions in order to make peace between them. The time for the prayer became due but the Prophet did not turn up; Bilal pronounced the Adhan (i.e. call) for the prayer but the Prophet did not turn up, so Bilal went to Abu Bakr and said, “The time for the prayer is due and the Prophet is detained, would you lead the people in the prayer?” ..

Abu Bakr replied, “Yes, you wish.” So, Bilal pronounced the Iqama of the prayer and Abu Bakr went ahead (to lead the prayer), but the Prophet came walking among the rows till he joined the first row. The people started clapping and they clapped too much, and Abu Bakr used not to look hither and thither in the prayer. However, he turned round and saw the Prophet standing behind him. The Prophet beckoned him with his hand to keep on praying where he was. Abu Bakr raised his hand and praised Allah and then retreated till he came in the (first) row, and the Prophet went ahead and lead the people in the prayer. When the Prophet finished the prayer, he turned towards the people and said, “O people! When something happens to you during the prayer, you start clapping. Really clapping is (permissible) for women only. If something happens to one of you in his prayer, he should say: ‘Subhan Allah’, (Glorified be Allah), for whoever hears him (saying so) will direct his attention towards him. O Abu Bakr! What prevented you from leading the people in the prayer when I beckoned to you (to continue)?” Abu Bakr replied, “It did not befit the son of Abu Quhafa to lead the prayer in front of the Prophet.

Sahih Bukhari
Volume 3, Book 49, Number 855

Narrated Abu Huraira:

The people used to say, “Abu Huraira narrates too many narrations.” In fact I used to keep close to Allah’s Apostle and was satisfied with what filled my stomach. I ate no leavened bread and dressed no decorated striped clothes, and never did a man or a woman serve me, and I often used to press my belly against gravel because of hunger, and I used to ask a man to recite a Quranic Verse to me although I knew it, so that he would take me to his home and feed me..

And the most generous of all the people to the poor was Ja’far bin Abi Talib. He used to take us to his home and offer us what was available therein. He would even offer us an empty folded leather container (of butter) which we would split and lick whatever was in it.

Sahih Bukhari
Volume 5, Book 57, Number 57