2.: Islam, Iman, Ihsan, Qadar
So, we can now move on to hadith number 2. The great thing about this hadith is that it's sort of "Islam in a nutshell". If pamphlets or flyers were made to give people a quick idea about Islam is all about, you could use this hadith as a basis. Actually, I think I just might do that one day.
Apart from the obvious descriptions of Islam (submission to God) and Iman (faith or belief), I think the point that could be the most interesting for discussion here is probably Ihsan (perfection in belief) or Qadar (fate or destiny). Of course, if there's anything in Islam or Iman which warrants discussion then by all means, say so. I may have missed potential for some interesting discussion.
Something which is clear to me is that the commentator on these hadith seems to have a very good understanding of qadar (fate). Actually, a surprising number of scholars seem to have a serious problem explaining fate to people. That could be because they don't know how to get the point across, because they're not sure if the person they're talking to will understand or they themselves don't actually get it.
I think we discussed the idea of fate before here on this forum in the first thread I've ever started in the Islam forum . Here it is. It's a topic that I think a lot of people tend to misunderstand and I thoroughly believe that Muslims all over the world should make more effort to understand the true Islamic concept of fate if there is to be any progress. Too many people seem to be too complacent sort of being lazy and expecting God to do something without them doing anything.
Concerning Ihsan, it's something that I've found myslf thinking about a lot over recent years. This "perfection" in worship is very difficult to achieve and I'm certainly not there yet. I guess to always have God in your heart and mind would ensure that you stay away from sins and and perform a large number of good deeds as well as begin to sort of break free of worldly things and not find yourself bothered by stupid things that would normally bother you.
Having said that, I don't think we're meant to be able to achieve this kind of perfection all the time. Perhaps, with effort, we are only supposed to be able to achieve it some of the time. God tells us that we are meant to sin and repent and there is a hadith that mentions how faith goes up and down.
I think that, Insha Allah (God willing), I've achieved Islam and hopefully Iman and maybe even sometimes Ihsan. Then again, maybe I haven't. In fact, I think I probably haven't. I guess all I can do is try my best and I remind myself that I'm not supposed to beat myself up about not being perfect because I'm not supposed to be.
Also, there is a verse in the Quran that reads:
"and worship thy Sustainer till death comes to thee."
The last word in the Arabic verse is yaqeen which usually means certainty but in this verse is usually translated as "death" or "the inevitable" (as it can be considered to mean that which is certain) since God is talking directly to the Prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) in the verses previous to it and it is assumed that the Prophet would have already attained a state of certainty of belief. However, I guess you couldsay that it could be taken as advice to an average person to achieve the kind of certainty in faith that we desire. I've heard an Islamic preacher (Mustafa Hosny) say the same. Only God knows best and may He forgive me if I'm talking rubbish. Or perhaps it's a general advice to worship until death comes to us (which is good advice anyway). Or maybe it's a double meaning with two pieces of advice? As I said, only God knows.
I did a quick google and came across this blog post where the author says the same kind of thing.
Oh, although off-topic, while I was reading some of the verses previous to 15:99 above, I read the following verse:
"We created not the heavens, the earth, and all between them, but for just ends. And the Hour is surely coming (when this will be manifest). So overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness."
Good advice from The Most Wise. I guess we should all be more willing to forgive.