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What is Ihsan

There are certain terms we, Muslims often hear. Islam, Iman and Ihsan are some among them. We have learned about Islam and Iman in our early times at Islamic schools and masjids. But the term ‘Ihsan’, most of us are ignorant about its meaning and relevance. Therefore a deep discussion on Ihsan is very important and relevant.


Ihsan is an Arabic term basically it means perfection or doing good things, while in Islamic view Ihsan has a wider perspective and concepts. One day Sayyiduna Jibreel (A) came to Prophet Muhammad (S) to teach us the Islam Deen. After answering questions on Islam and Iman, Jibreel (A) went on to ask what is Ihsan ? Prophet (S) said: “Ihsan is to worship Allah as if you see him, for if you don’t see him then he is truly watching you.” The reply of Prophet (S) is a very clear pointer to the fact that Ihsan has certain meanings in Islamic view other than its basic literal meaning.

The holy Quran refers to Ihsan in many verses. Allah the Almighty has promised Muhsineen (People of Ihsan) to receive not only an equal treatment but also to have His special favors as a token of reward. In many verses Allah says about People of Ihsan as He truly loves the doers of Ihsan (Baqarah: 195, Al Imran: 134,148, Al Maedah: 13,93). And indeed Allah is with the people of Ihsan (Ankabut: 69) And no fear will there be concerning them, nor will they grieve (Baqarah: 112)

And who is better in religion than one who submits himself to Allah while being a doer of Ihsan and follows the religion of Ibrahim, inclining toward truth? (An Nisa: 125) Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the People of Ihsan. (Aaraf: 56) Indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of Ihsan. (Thoubah: 120, Yousuf: 56,90) They will have whatever they desire with their Lord. That is the reward of the People of Ihsan (Zumar: 34) and there are good tidings to the doers of good (Hajj: 37) and this (Quran) is a confirming Book to warn those who have wronged and as good tidings to the People of Ihsan.

Again Allah says: Is the reward for Ihsan [anything] but Ihsan? (Rahman: 60) For doers of Ihsan is ‘Al Husna’ (the best) [reward] and extra (Yunus: 26). Prophet Muhammad (S) said: Here the word ‘Al Husna’ means Heaven and the word ‘Extra’ means the meeting with Allah the Almighty. There is no doubt that one, who worships Allah as if he sees him in this world, surely will meet Allah the Almighty hereafter. Prophet (S) said: You will see your Lord like you see the moon in a full moon night. “Some face that day (the Day of Judgment) shall beam looking at their Lord (Qiyamah: 22,23)

But those who don’t know what Ihsan is, and one who worships Allah without Ihsan, will never obtain this grace of seeing Allah or rewards of Ihsan. They indeed will be partitioned from their Lord, that day. (Mutaffifeen)

In brief we could understand that Ihsan is one of the main elements of Deenul Islam. But most of us are verily ignorant about Ihsan, which is one of the three dimensions of Islamic Religion. The Ulema people, who conceal these truths, are the very responsible ones for this ignorance. Ihsan is mandatory for everyone as per Hadith of Prophet (S): Allah has written down Ihsan on everything. (Saheeh Muslim).

Ihsan’s meaning in Islamic perspective is not just doing good things, but to do good things as if he sees Allah. Ihsan is a key factor of Deen like Islam and Iman. Islam Deen will not be complete without Ihsan. No one can be a true Mumin or Muslim without practicing Ihsan in his all worships.

How can we worship Allah as if we see him, Allah is formless and he is beyond the scope of any imaginations? We can’t imagine him in any form or shape. This question is very relevant. And Islam is not a religion of rituals and blind concepts. Islam’s each and every views are relevant and practical. Hence Ihsan is also having a practical way. We don’t have authority to explain that practical way of Ihsan.

Those who invite to Allah with insight and with permission from Him have the authority to explain Ihsan and to lead the people to its practical way. They are here in our age too. No age can be bereft of them.

Prophet (S) said: “Some group of my Ummah shall be victorious on the side of truth. They will not be affected by scorns and harms of others.”

There is only one way to become a doer of Ihsan and then to obtain eternal success. That is to follow those who propagate Thouheed and invite mankind to Allah with insight and His consent, and those who are ready to sacrifice their lives for its campaign, and those whose position is similar to the position of prophets. Sometimes they will be famous among people of this world and will come in public. Sometimes they will be singularly alone to themselves. Allah says: “And the first forerunners [in the faith] among the Muhajireen and the Ansar and those who followed them with Ihsan - Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him, and He has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever. That is the great attainment.” (Thoubah: 100)

Shafi Qadiri Sulthani
Translated by Rafi Mahboobi