Islām, Īmān, Iḥsān: Climbing the Spiritual Mountain

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


This paper presents the three levels of religious practice in Islam as expressed in the famous ḥadith of Gabriel: 1) Islām (outward submission to the will of Allah), 2) Īmān (faith), and 3) Iḥsān (spiritual excellence). Texts from the Qur’an, Sunnah, and classical scholarly works are cited to distinguish these three levels of religion (dīn) from each other. The purpose of this knowledge is to lay out the big picture before the worshipper, the highest religious goals in Islam, what the author refers to as the “spiritual mountain.” This includes a broad awareness of the Islamic disciplines: Qur’an, Tafsīr, Tajwīd, Ḥadith, Sīrah, ʿAqīdah, Sharīʿah, Fiqh, and purification of the soul or spirituality. The prophetic method of self-improvement and habit formation will lastly be presented as the primary means to achieve stronger faith and spiritual excellence.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Specialist publicationYaqeen Institute for Islamic Research
StatePublished - Nov 27 2019


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