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Concept of Angels in Islam

In this article you will learn about the concept of Angels in Islam as a part of “The

     In this article you will learn about the concept of Angels in Islam as a part of “The belief in the unseen”. The belief in Angels is one of six pillars of the Islamic faith which are; belief in the existence of God / Allah, His Angels, His Divine Books, His Messengers, The Day of Judgment and The Decree. According to the Islamic point of view angels are noble, un-choosing, righteous and dutiful creatures of Allah. Actually, they are God’s obedient creatures; they fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. Angels are unable to disobey Allah by default so the concept of fallen angels is unacceptable in Islam.

What evidences do we have on the existence of Angels?

     There are two sorts of evidences; logical and authentically transmitted information.

  1. Logical evidence of the existence of angels: People understand logical evidences to something as proof of its existence without actually seeing it. Once one accepts the belief in God, it’s only logical to accept the existence of angels as a means of communication between Him and His Messengers, and as obedient servants that perform what they are told fully and sincerely. Even by our human standards people used “means to transmit messages” before and until the development of communications technologies. Those means of communications have greatly diverse up to our present times; people, pigeons, hawks, telegraph, mail, telephone, telex and now we have emails and social media.
  2. Authentically transmitted information: You find in Qur’an which is absolutely authentic from God and Hadith of Muhammad PBUH that is also revelation from Allah,
    • “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.”   [Qur’an 35 – 1] (1)
    • “. . . then those who are near your Lord [Angels] exalt Him by night and by day, and they do not become weary.”   [Qur’an 41 – 38] (2)
    • “… they do not disobey Allah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.”   [Qur’an 66 – 6] (3)
    • “And to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant. (49) They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.”   [Qur’an 16 – 49:50] (4)
    • The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Angels were created from light…”  [Sahih Muslim] (5)

What is the nature of Angels?

Let us put this in points in order to make it as clear as possible:

  1. Angels are believed to be luminous creations of Allah that were created from light. ‘Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Angels were created from light, jinns were created from a smokeless flame of fire, and ‘Adam was created from that which you have been told (i.e., sounding clay like the clay of pottery).”   [Sahih Muslim] (6)
  2. They are relentlessly-obedient to their Lord creatures without free will; they fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded. Allah says in Qur’an: “And to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant. They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.”   [Qur’an 16 – 49:50] (7)
  3. They were created before man, as were Jinn, which were created from fire.
  4. Angels do not eat, drink, get tired or sick, grow old or procreate and they are neither male nor female.
  5. Each Angel, or group of Angels, has a specific function or functions that they are created in a proper manner to fulfill fully and sincerely. Allah says in Qur’an: “[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.”   [Qur’an 35 -1] (8)
    ,
    Al-Shaibini reported to us: I asked Zirr b. Hubaish about the words of Allah (the Mighty and Great): “So he was (at a distance) of two bows or nearer”    [Qur’an 53 – 9] (9).
    He said: Ibn Mas’ud informed me that, verily, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saw Gabriel and he had six hundred wings.   [Sahih Muslim] (10)
  6.  Each is created in a manner, shape and size suitable for it’s mission. Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah reported the Prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying :I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years.”   [Al-Albani] (11)
  7. Angels can; with Allah’s will and command; take the form of human beings to perform certain tasks as narrated in authentic Sunnah.
  8. They are bashful and modest as it’s evident in the Hadith of `Aisha said talking to the Messenger of Allah PBUH: Abu Bakr entered and you did not stir and did not observe much care (in arranging your clothes), then `Umar entered and you did not stir and did not arrange your clothes, then `Uthman entered and you got up and set your clothes right, so he (PBUH) said: “Should I not show modesty to one whom even the Angels show modesty?!”   [Sahih Muslim] (12)
  9. They get offended as do people: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “He who has eaten onion or garlic or leek should not approach our mosque, because the angels are also offended by the strong smells) that offend the children of Adam.” [Sahih Muslim] (13)
  10. Angels love whomever their Lord loves and make Du’aa’ for them: Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Gabriel, saying, ‘Allah loves so and so, O Gabriel love him’ So Gabriel would love him and then would make an announcement in the Heavens: ‘Allah has loved so and-so therefore you should love him also.’ So all the dwellers of the Heavens would love him, and then he is granted the pleasure of the people on the earth.”   [Al-Bukhara] (14)
  11. Angels curse whomever their Lord curses: “Indeed, those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers – upon them will be the curse of Allah and of the angels and the people, all together, Abiding eternally therein. The punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be reprieved.” [Qur’an 2 – 161:162] (15)

What do Angels exactly do?

Those luminous light natured creatures, the Angels, have variant shapes, sizes, number of wings and jobs that they are totally dedicated to. Some of those Angels are of higher rank than others and a few are named in Qur’an and Sunnah.

Here we will numerate some Angels and their respective functions that we were told of in Qur’an and/or Hadith:

  1. Jibril / Gabriel The Archangel: Jibril is named in Qur’an in three places and mentioned by descriptions in multiple others as; the Spirit (Ar-Ruh’), a Noble Messenger (Rasulun Kareem), the Trustworthy Soul (Ar-Ruh’uai Ameen), the Holly Spirit (Ar-Ruh’ul Al-Qudus) and one in Hadith which is The Law (An-Namus). His major function is to deliver revelation to all Messengers of Allah and he accompanied Muhammad PBUH on the night of ‘Israa’ and Mi’raj (Night travel and Asscention).
  2. The Angel of Death (Malakul Mawt): He is entrusted with reclaiming the soul of each human whose time of death has come. He has assisting Angels of two sorts that carry souls to Heaven and Hell.
  3. Israfil (Nafikh As-Sur) The Angel of The Trumpet: He will blow that trumpet twice following the command of Allah; the first is to announce the end of life of all as we know it and the second is to announce the start of resurrection and the commencement of Day of Judgment. 
  4. Mikha’il / Michael: The Angel responsible for pouring rain, with bringing seasons, growth, sustenance and the blowing of the wind. Mikha’il was mentioned by name once in Qur’an.
  5. ‘Hamalatul – Arsh’, The Throne Carriers: They are eight mighty Angels created to carry The Great Throne of Allah.
  6. Malik: The Guardian that keeps the seven doors of Hell; he is the commander over the seventeen guardian Angels of Hell called “Zabaniyah” with the Will and Power of Allah.
  7. Khazanat Al-Jannah: The Guardians that keeps the eight doors of the Heaven and over sees the servants and Angels of Heaven which are countless.
  8. Alkatiboon, The Recording two Angels: There are two of them that accompany each person one on the right side writing good deeds and the other is on the left side writing bad deeds. They both write down all deeds, sayings and even thoughts, and will be witnesses on each person on Judgment Day.
  9. Munkar and Nakeer: They are two Angels responsible for asking “The Four Questions of The Grave” and treat a deceased accordingly: What did you believe in in this life? Who is your Lord? What is your religion? Who was your Prophet? The soul is then taken to view its place either in Heaven or Hell. Then put back in the grave with a taste of it (either bliss or torment) waiting for resurrection on Judgment day.
  10. Transporting of soul Angels: Those two that ascend with the good soul to view its place in Heaven and those two that descend with the bad soul to view its place in Hell. 
  11. Malakul-Jibal: He is the one that controls the mountains.
  12. Mu’aqibat: Those are keeper Angels that protect each person from harm and Jinn except when it’s decreed; they let that decree take place.
  13. The womb Angel: This Angel writes down the decree of each created embryo dictated by Allah; boy or girl, happy or unhappy, its earnings in life and time and place of death.
  14. Malakur-Ra’d: The Angel of Thunder; he is the angel in charge of clouds and he drives them as ordered by Allah, and he glorifies His Praises. 
  15. Du’aa’ Angels: Those are Angels that make Du’aa’ for a believer whenever he makes Du’aa’ for his brother or sister in Islam; they say Amin and may it be the same for you as well. 
  16. Sai’hoon, Wandering Angels: Those are Angels that wander everywhere listening to report to Muhammad (PBUH) each time someone says “May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad”.

There are so many more. But these are just examples to give a view of the functions of Angels in our lives.

We are not alone in this vast universe; it is full of creations of Allah that we simply cannot perceive or sense. Abu Dharr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said,

“I see what you do not see and I hear what you do not hear; heaven has squeaked, and it has right to do so. By Him, in Whose Hand my soul is, there is not a space of four fingers in which there is not an angel who is prostrating his forehead before Allah, the Exalted. By Allah, if you knew what I know, you would laugh little, weep much, and you would not enjoy women in beds, but would go out to the open space beseeching Allah.”  [At- Tirmidhi] (16)

In conclusion;

Angels are luminous among the first creations of Allah after the Pen and The Preserved Tablet “Al-Law’h Al-Ma’hfuth“. Belief in Angels is a part of the six tenants of the Islamic belief in the Unseen. Angels are honored obedient servants and slaves of Allah. Allah created them in magnificent manners to facilitate the achievement of their appointed tasks and functions. Angels fear their Lord. And They do what they are commanded.


References

(1) Verse (35 – 1) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(2) Verse (41 – 38) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(3) Verse (66 – 6) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(4) Verse (16 – 49:50) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(5) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(6) Same as previous one.
(7) Verse (16 – 49:50) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(8) Same as Number (1).
(9) Verse (53 – 9) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(10) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(11) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(12) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(13) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(14) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.
(15) Verse (2 – 161:162) of Qur’an (English interpretation of meaning).
(16) Prophet’s saying ‘Hadith’ from Sahih Muslim.

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