The Belief in Angels
by Abu Al-Hassan in
Al Jumuah 8/2
Angels are beings created from light.
Aisha (ra) narrated that the
Prophet (saws) said:
"Angels were created from light,
Jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from
that which has been described to you (in the Quran and Sunnah)..."
The belief in Angels (al-Malakah)
is the second article of faith in Islam. Allah says:
believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so
do the believers. All believe in Allah, His Angels and His Messengers."
It is obligatory, and infact an essential
part of faith to respect all of the Angels. Therefore, it is unthinkable
for Muslims to have any animosity towards any of the Angels, let
alone cursing them. Any such action is considered an act of Kaffir
Some Jews once came to the Prophet
(saws) and told him that they had five questions for him. If He
could answer the questions satisfactorily, they would be his followers.
The Prophet (saws) answered the first
four to their satisfaction, and then they asked him the final question;
"There is not any Prophet, except that he has an angel assigned
to him as a companion, who brings him news from Allah. So tell us
who is your companion ?" The Prophet (saws) replied, "Jibreel,
(as)." They said, "That is the one who brings down war,
fighting and punishment - our enemy. If only you had said Mikael,
who brings down mercy, rain and vegetation, it would have been that
we follow you!" Then Allah revealed the reply:
is an enemy to Jibreel? For, it is he who brought it (this Quran)
down to your hearts, by Allahs permission, confirming that
which was before it, and as a guidance and a mercy to the believers.
Whoever is an enemy to Allah, and to His Angels, and to His Messengers,
and (in particular to) Jibreel and Mikael, then let him know
that Allah is an enemy to the disbeliever."
Related by Ahmad, Al-Timidhi and
The Nature of Angels
Angels are beings created from light.
Ashah (ra) narrated that the
Prophet (saws) said:
"Angels were created from light,
jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from
that which has been described to you (in the Quran and Sunnah)."
They do not have desires of their
own, neither do they eat or drink. They are honoured servants of
Allah, and never disobey Him.
They are perpetually in service,
in prostration, in a standing posture, or through various other
forms of worship.
are before him are not scornful of worshipping Him, nor do they
tire or get bored. They glorify Him night and Day: they do not halt."
honoured servants, who do not precede Him in speech, and they act
according to His command. He knows what is ahead of them, and they
do not intercede, except for those whom He approves."
Angels are also described as having
to Allah, the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth, the creator
of angels having wings - two, three and four."
However, we should not try to guess
the nature or form of these wings. Certainly, there is no basis
in Islam, for the corrupt notion, prevalent in the west, that angels
are like beautiful little girls with a pair of wings on their backs.
We should also be careful that our children are not exposed to those
books which contain such misleading pictures, so that they dont
grow up with an incorrect concept of angels.
The angels do not have a gender.
They do not procreate, Allah has denounced those who regard them
as female. Indeed to do so is the way of the disbelievers.
do not believe in the Hereafter, surely name the angels with female
The pagan Arabs, for example, called
the angels; daughters of Allah, despite the fact that they themselves
were disdainful of female offspring, and were so ashamed of them
that they were inclined to bury their daughters alive. Allah (swt)
thus condemns these ignorant beliefs and practices:
"Or has He
(Allah) taken, out of that which He created, daughters, and honoured
you with sons ? And, when one of them receives tidings of that which
He sets up as a likeness to Allah Most Gracious (i.e. of a girl)
his face becomes dark and gloomy and fill of grief....And they consider
the angels, who are worshippers of Allah, to be females. Did they
witness their creation ? Their testimony shall be recorded, and
they will be asked."
Can Angels be Seen??
Prophets can see angels in their
natural form. Al-Bukhari recorded that Aishah (ra) narrated
that the Prophet (saws) saw the Angel Jibreel (as) twice in his
natural form. However, ordinary people (i.e. non-Prophets) cannot
see them unless they (angels) take on a visible form. Angels can
indeed take a material form, such as that of handsome man.
An example of this is found in the
Quran where Allah sent angels to give Prophet Ibrahim (as)
glad tidings of a son, and then to assist the Prophet Lut (as).
Luts (as) people, being homosexuals, lusted after these angels,
but Allah destroyed the depraved sinners.
there came our Messengers to Ibrahim with glad tidings. They said
salaam (i.e. greetings of peace). He answered, "salaam..."
Also, in the Quran, there is
the incident in which the angel Jibreel (as) came to Maryam the
mother of Isa (as) to inform her that she would miraculously give
birth to Isa (as).
"Then we sent
to her our Spirit (angel Jibreel) and he appeared before her in
the form of a man in all respects..."
Lastly there is the famous "Hadith
Jibreel" related by Muslim, in which angel Jibreel came to
the Prophet (saws) in the form of a man, and asked him about Islam,
Iman and Ihsan. This was done in public view, and its purpose was
to teach the people about their religion.
The Duties of Angels
Angels have various duties, with
each having a well defined role.
The Quran says:
is not any among us, except that has a known position. And we are
indeed the ones who glorify Allah."
Angels thus teach us the benefits
of specialization. So, in the Islamic society, some members must
specialize in the Quran and its sciences, others in medicine,
still others in agriculture and so on and so forth, so that the
Muslim community becomes efficient and well balanced. Similarly,
in the home, the responsibilities are divided. While the man is
responsible primarily for supporting the family financially, the
woman has an important role in the upbringing of the children, although
she is by no means confined to only this task.
Only Allah knows all the details
and roles of all the angels:
know the hosts of your Lord except He..."
Nevertheless, He has told us about
some of these angels through the Quran and the Sunnah.
The Names and Roles of Some Angels
Only a few angels are mentioned in
the Quran and the Sunnah, Others are mentioned either by specific
names or by role or their general nature of serving and worshipping
Among those mentioned are:
** Jibreel -
This is the most distinguished of the angels, and is entrusted
with carrying revelation to the Prophets. This includes bringing
the Quran to Prophet Muhammed (saws), which is referred
to in the following:
"And it is
surely the revelation of the Lord of the worlds. The trusted Spirit
has brought it down to your heart, in order that you might be one
of the warners, in clear Arabic speech."
Angel Jibreel (as) is also called
the Holy Spirit, as mentioned in the Quran:
"And we gave
Isa, son of Maryam, clear proofs, and supported him with Ruh-al-Qudus
(holy spirit ie. Jibreel)."
** Mikael - The
one entrusted with the sustenance of creatures, and is also
one of the most prominent angels.
** The Recorders - These
are two angels who accompany every human being and record
his deeds. One of them stays on the right side and he records
only good deeds. The other stays on the left side and records
only bad deeds.
The one on the right (the generous
one - He records good deeds and is so named because each good deed
is rewarded ten times over or even more.
there are over you scribes, generous and recording. They
know what you do."
These angels record our deeds, words,
and thoughts. Allah says regarding mankind:
not any word except that there is with him an observer, ready."
The system of recording of deeds
is detailed in Hadith Qudsi. Narrated by Abdullah ibn Abbas in which
he narrates from his Lord:
"Indeed, Allah has defined the
good and the evil deeds, and then explained them. So, whoever had
the thought to do a good deed, but did not do it, Allah writes it
for him as a complete good deed, while if he actually did it. Allah
writes it for him as ten good deeds, or up to seven hundred fold,
or even many times more. And, if he had a thought to do an evil
deed, but dispelled the thought and did not do it. Allah writes
it for him as a complete good deed, while if he entertained the
thought and acted on it, Allah writes it as a single evil deed."
(Bukhari and Muslim)
The one on the left - The recorder
of evil deeds: He is simply called the recorder, because each evil
deed counts as only one act.
** The Gaurdians -
They are angels who protect us from whatever evil Allah wills
to save us from.
(person) there are angels in succession in front of him and behind
him, who guard him by Allahs command."
The succession of angels referred
to is clarified in a Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, which
tells us that the angels of the day and the angels of the night
succeed one another, meaning that they perform their duties in shifts.
At the time of Fajr (dawn) and Asr prayers, both the angels of the
night and the angels of the day are present. Then, the angels of
the night ascend, and their Lord asks them, although he is the All-Knowing.
"How did you leave my servants ?" They say, "We came
to them while they were praying, and when we left while they were
praying,." The Fajr prayer, then, is of special blessing, and
we should take great care to perform it on time, and to recite long
portions of the Quran for:
recitation of Fajr is witnessed"
ie. The angels of the night and day
The protecting angels only leave
us when we have the call of nature and when we are have sexual relations
with our spouses, and so we should recite the appropriate supplications
from the Sunnah prior to performing these acts.
Also, it must be noted that angels
do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures (of animals
and Humans). Related by Bukhari and Muslim.
** The Angel of Death -
He is entrusted with taking the souls of all creatures
in the universe.
Angel of Death, who is set over you, will take your souls, then
you shall be brought to your lord."
There are angels with him who torture
the wrongdoers at the time of death:
"If only you
could see, when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieve,
the angels are beating their faces and their backs."
** Munkar and Nakeer -
They are the two angels in charge of questioning people in
their graves about their faith.
** Ridwan and Malik -
They watch over Heaven and Hell. The custodian of Heaven
is called Ridwan, while that of Hell is named Malik. Hell
has nineteen angels who watch over it.
"Over it (Hell)
are nineteen (angels)"
There are angels who welcome the
believers into heaven, greeting them with peace:
shall enter unto them from every gate saying: "salaam alaykum"
(peace be upon you for that you persevered in patience! Excellent
indeed is the final home."
Eight angels will carry the Arsh,
which is Allahs greatest creation, on the Day of Judgment:
"And the angels
will be on its sides, and eight angels will that Day, bear the throne
of your Lord above them."