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Chapter 6. Islam, Iman, Ihsan

In this world, the Straight Path comprises three levels: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan. Whoever remains on the level of Islam until he dies will be saved from eternity in the Fire and he must enter Paradise, even if, before this, he is punished in the Fire. Whoever remains on the level of Iman until he dies will be prevented from entering the Fire altogether for the light of faith extinguishes the blaze of the Fire to such an extent that it says, 'O believer, go on your way! Your light has extinguished my blaze!' [Tabarani]

Ahmad has the hadith on the authority of Jabir that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "There is no righteous person or sinner except that he will enter it. It will be a source of coolness and peace for the believer just as it was for Ibrahim to the point that the Fire itself will raise a hue and cry at its coolness!" [Ahmad] This is the legacy of the lovers inherited from Ibrahim (as).

In the fire of the lover is a blaze of love:
The fiercest heat of Hell is its coolest portion!

Whoever remains on the level of Ihsan until he dies will reach Allah,

For those who do good is the best (reward) and an addition. [Quran, 10:26]

The authentic hadith mentions, "When the People of Paradise enter Paradise a caller will announce, 'People of Paradise, Allah has given you a promise which He wishes to fulfil.' They will say, 'What is that? Has He not made our faces white? Has He not made our scales heavy? Has He not granted us entry in Paradise and saved us from the Fire?' So He will remove the veil and they will look on at Him and by Allah, He will not have granted them anything more beloved to them than this, and there will be nothing that gives more pleasure to their eyes than this! This is the addition." Then He recited the above verse. [Muslim & Ibn Majah]

All the inhabitants of Paradise will have a share of this vision but they will differ as to their closeness when seeing Him and in the number of times they see Him. All of the People of Paradise will see Him on the Day of Increase which is the Day of Jumuah [Tabarani], and the elite amongst them will look at the Face of Allah twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The generality of the People of Paradise have their provision given them twice a day, in the morning and the evening, whereas the elite see Him in the morning and the evening. Neither palaces can make the Gnostics forget their beloved and nor can running rivers quench their thirst. One of them used to say, 'When I am hungry, remembrance of Him is my food, and when I am thirsty, witnessing Him is my wish and gratification.'

One of the righteous was seen in a dream and he was asked about the condition of two scholars to which he replied, 'At this time I have left them before Allah, Mighty and Magnificent, eating, drinking, enjoying bliss.' He was asked, 'What of you?' He replied, 'He knows my lack of desire for food so instead He allows me to look at Him.'

When I desire drink, You are my satiation
And when I desire food, You are my gratification.

Ahymad records the hadith on the authority of ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "The people with the lowest ranking in Paradise will look at his dominion for two thousand years seeing the farthest end of it as he sees the nearest end of it, and he will look at his wives and servants. The ones with the highest ranking will look at the Face of Allah, Blessed and Exalted is He, twice a day." [Ahmad] This hadith was also recorded by Tirmidhi with the wording, "The person with the lowest ranking in Paradise will be one who will look at his gardens, wives, blessings, servants, and couches, for the journey of one thousand years. The best of them with Allah will look at His Face morning and evening." [Tirmidhi] Then the Messenger of Allah recited,

That Day will faces be resplendent, looking toward their Lord. [Quran, 75:22-23]

It is because of this that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said in the authentic hadith reported on the authority of Jarir ibn Abdullah al-Bajali, "You will see your Lord on the Day of Judgment like you see the moon on a night when it is full, you will have no difficulty in seeing Him." He then said, "So if you are able not to be overwhelmed to the point of missing a prayer before the rising of the sun and before its setting, then do so." Then he recited,

And glorify your Lord - all the while praising Him - before the rising of the sun and before its setting. [Quran, 50:39]