Hadis: It is narrated on the authority of Hadrat Umar bin Khattab (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu): One day when we were in the company of the Holy Prophet (Sallaliahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) at that time he was addressing a big gathering of his companions – (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu) that suddenly a man appeared before us. His clothes were extremely white and his hair was very black. There was no effect of travel on him (which could give an impression that he was not an outsider). Besides, none of us recognized him and this led us to take him as a stranger.
This man making his way through the gathering came up to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) and sat down before him in such a manner that his knees touched those of the Holy Prophet’s (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) and placing his hands on the thighs of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “Tell me, Muhammad (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) what is Islam?” The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) replied, “ISLAM is (i.e. its fundamentals are) that you testify (with your heart and tongue) that there in no deity (worthy of being worshipped) but ALLAH and that Muhammad is His Messenger and that you establish the prayer, pay the Zakat, fast during the month of Ramadhan and perform Hajj (pilgrimage to the House of ALLAH), if you have the means. The new corner, on hearing the reply, said, “You spoke the truth.” Narrator of this tradition, Hadrat Umar (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu) with him) says that we were astonished to find that the man is putting a question and is himself testifying and approving the reply.
Thereafter he said. “Now tell me, what is Eeman? He announced, “Eeman is that you believe in ALLAH, His angels, His Messenger, His Books and the Last Day (i.e. the Day of Resurrection) as also believe in both good and evil being destined by ALLAH.” Hearing this too, the man said, “You spoke the truth.” Then he said, “Now tell me, what is IHSAN? “The Messenger of ALLAH said, lhsan is this that you worship and serve ALLAH as if you are seeing ALLAH. Although you do not see Him but He sees you all the same.” Then he said, “Tell me about the Day of Resurrection (i.e. when it will come about).” The Messenger replied, “The one who is being questioned does not know more than the one who is putting the question.” Thereupon he (the questioner) said, “Then tell me some of its signs. “The Messenger said, (One sign is) that the maid servant would give birth to her master and mistress. (The other is) that those who have no shoes for their feet, no clothes for their body and are poverty stricken shepherds would be raising lofty buildings and would be competing with each other in this activity.
Hadrat ‘Umar (Radi Allaahu Ta’ala Anhu) says that after this dialogue, the newcomer went away. After some days, the Holy Apostle asked me, “Do you know who the questioner was? I replied, “ALLAH and his Messenger know better.” Then he said, “He was Gabriel (Alaihis Salaam) he had come to your gathering to teach you your religion.” [Muslim, Bukhari, Ma’arif-ul-Hadis]