One day, while the Prophet (saw) was sitting with his companions, engaging in conversing with them, a person appeared with no signs of travel, dressed in white, with pitch-black hair, whom no one knew. He sat down next to the Prophet, touched his knees to the Prophet’s knees, and began to ask questions about what Islam is and what iman is. At each of the Prophet’s (saw) answers to his questions, the stranger said, “You are telling the truth” which surprised the companions. One of the questions asked by the stranger, whose identity the Prophet (saw) later informed to the companions by saying, “This was Jibril who came to teach the people their religion,” was, “What is ihsan?” The Prophet’s (saw) answer to this question was the most comprehensive definition of the concept of ihsan up to that time and summarized the philosophy of the life of the Muslims. The answer of the Messenger of Allah to this question was as follows: “Ihsan is serving Allah as if you see Him for even though you cannot see Him, He sees you.” (Bukhari, Iman, 36)

Ihsan, one of the qualities that complement religion, is the only way to live by iman and Islam at an epitome level, and this concept has a world of meaning for both Allah and His servants. When used in reference to Allah, ihsan means that He bestows favors on all His creatures, provides them with sustenance, and treats them with mercy. From the perspective of the servants, there are four stages of ihsan.

Ihsan towards oneself

It is not possible for people to know Allah the Almighty and reach the absolute truth without knowing and recognizing themselves, both in terms of creation, knowledge, and ability. The most important way to know and recognize oneself is to be in a state of ihsan toward oneself. Knowing the purpose of their creation and being aware of the fact that they will be held accountable for what they have done is the greatest ihsan for people. This consciousness will lead to peace in this world and salvation in the eternal realm.

Ihsan towards Allah the Almighty