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ANGELS IN ISLAM


The Arabic word for angel is "Malak" and the plural is "Malaa'ikah". The root meaning of the word Malak is "messenger", which affirms that one of the important and noble roles of some angels is that they are messengers sent by Allah.[1]  Angels are a part of the world of the Unseen which we cannot comprehend. Allah has told us about them in many places in the Qur’aan and via His Prophet Muhammad.[2] 

 

Belief in angels is one of the six pillars of belief or faith without which there is no faith. Whoever does not believe in any of these pillars is not a believer (mu’min). These pillars are belief in: Allaah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and that predestination, both good and bad, comes from Allah. [3]

 

Table of Contents

 

Qur’an

“Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He always) maintains His creation in justice.  [Quran 3:18] 

 

Allaah Says (what means): {And whosoever disbelieves in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away.} [Quran 4:136]

 

Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel] by Allah’s permission with all decrees.” [Quran 97:3-4] 

 

Hadith

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The angels were created from light, the jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from that which has been described to you.” [Muslim, 2996] [4]

 

Time of Creation

We have no knowledge of precisely when they were created, because there is no text to tell us this. But they were created before mankind for certain, because the Qur’an says (interpretation of the meaning): "Behold, your Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth." [Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:30] The fact that Allah (Glory be to Him) told them of His intention to create man indicates that they already existed. [5]

 

Gender

The angels are not regarded as either male or female. As for being female, Allah has stated that they are not female, as He says: “And they make the angels who themselves are slaves of the Most Gracious (Allah) females. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned.” [Quran 43:19] 

 

The angels do not get married or reproduce, and it is narrated that there is consensus on this point. Al-Razi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in his Tafsir: They are unanimously agreed that the angels do not eat, drink or get married. They glorify Allah night and day without ceasing. [6]

 

Names and Duties

The angels have names, but we know only the names of a few of them. We have to believe in the names reported in the Quran and Sunnah (prophetic teachings) texts, as a part of general belief in the angels. Among the names of angels that are known to us are:

 

1. Jibreel (Gabriel):

Among the angels is one whose task it was to convey the revelation from Allah (Glory be to Him) to His Messengers; this is al-Rooh al-Ameen, Jibril, upon whom be peace. Allah says: "Say: whoever is an enemy to Jibreel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by Allah’s will." [Qur’an.Surah Baqarah 2:97].

 

2. Mikaa'eel:

He is responsible for the raindrops that fall down from the sky. He moves them around and causes the rain to descend wherever Allaah commands. http://www.iris.org.nz/angels.php

Whoever is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and prophets, to Jibreel and Mikail - Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject faith." [Quran 2:97-98] [7] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/843/angels

 

3. Israafeel:

He is responsible for blowing on the Trumpet. This will be at the time when Allaah wants to resurrect the creatures from their graves. The bodies will be brought forth from the graves and reassembled. Then the only thing remaining (to be integrated) will be the soul. It is at this point that Israafeel will blow on this horn, due to Allaah's Command, and the souls will float to their respective bodies, which had come out and risen from their graves. Then they will walk to where Allaah orders them to go. Allaah says: "The Day when they will come out of the graves quickly as if they were racing to a goal." [Surah Al- Ma'aarij: 43] [8]

 

Prophet used to start his prayer with when he got up to pray at night (qiyaam al-layl). She said: ‘When he got up to pray at night, he would start his prayer (with the words): ‘O Allah, Lord of Jibreel, Mikaa’eel and Israafeel, Creator of heaven and earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen, You are the Judge of the matters in which Your slaves differ; guide me with regard to disputed matters of Truth by Your permission, for You guide whomever You will to the Straight Path.’" (Reported by Muslim, no. 270). [9]

 

"Say: ‘the Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord.’" [32:11] There is no proof in any saheeh hadeeth (authentic report) that his name is ‘Azrail. [10]

 

(4) Malik

He is the Keeper of Hell, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "They [the people in Hell] will cry: ‘O Malik! Would that your Lord put an end to us!’" [43:77] [11]

 

(5) Munkar and (6) Nakeer

The Messenger of Allah said: "When the deceased - or he said when one of you - is buried, two angels, black and blue (eyed_ come to him. One of them is called Al-Munkar, and the other An-Nakir. Tirmidhi 2:1071 [12]

 

(7) Haroot and (8) Maroot

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 
". . . and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Haroot and Maroot . . ." [Quran 2:102] [13]

 

 

(9) kiraaman and (10)kaatibeen

They are responsible for recording the deeds of man, good and bad. These are the "honorable scribes" (kiraaman kaatibeen) and are referred to in the aayat: Kiraman (honourable) Katibin writing down (your deeds). [Qur’an.Surah An’am 82:11] [14]

 

And there are many more angels [15]

 

Physical Appearance

As for their physical appearance, we know that they have wings.

 

Allah (Glory be to Him) says (interpretation of the meaning): "Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings - two, or three, or four (pairs) adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things." [Qur’an.Surah Fatir 35:1] [16]

 

Some angels appeared in human form to Prophet Ibraaheem,may Allaah exalt his mention, and his wife Saarah. The angels visited Prophet Ibraaheem as guests and they gave his wife glad tidings that she would give birth to a son although she had been infertile.

 

Allaah Says (what means): {Has the story reached you, of the honored guests [three angels; Israel Jibreel (Gabriel) along with another two] of Ibraaheem (Abraham)? When they came in to him, and said, "Salaam,!"…. [Quran 51:24-28] [17]

 

The greatest of all the angels is Jibreel (Gabriel), upon whom be peace, who was described in the following report: "From ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood رضي الله عنهم, who said: the Messenger of Allah saw Jibreel in his true form. He had six hundred wings, each of which covered the horizon. There fell from his wings jewels, pearls and rubies, only Allah (Glory be to Him) knows about them." Sahih Al Bhukari Vol 6:379, Sahih Muslim 1/159, 174b; 1/160, 177; Ahmad in Al-Musnad and Ibn Kathir Al Bidaayah wan Nihaayah 1/47 [18]

 

Worship Allah

All angels praise and glorify Allah and they never become tired of doing this.

 

"They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever flag or intermit." [Qur'an 21:20]
 

". . . For in the presence of your Lord are those who celebrate His praises by night and by day. And they never flag (nor feel themselves above it)." [Qur'an 41:38] [19]

 

Number

Allaah created a large number of angels. Only Allaah knows their exact number.

 

Allaah Says (what means): “…And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him..” [Quran 74:31]  [20]

 

Do angels die?

Yes, as Allah mentions in the [Qur’an.Surah Zumar 39:68] that everything will be taken away, except whom Allah (Glory be to Him) wills. [21]

 

Their duties

Among the angels is one whose task it was to convey the revelation from Allah to His Messengers; this is al-Rooh al-Ameen, Jibreel, upon whom be peace. Allah says:
"Say: whoever is an enemy to Jibreel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by Allah’s will. . . " [Quran 2:97] [22]

 

Angels Praying for Muslims

The following are some of the righteous actions whose doers are prayed for by the angels.

 

  • Obedience to Allah Almighty on the Night of Power
  • Recitation of Qur`an and dhikr of Allah Almighty
  • Teaching people good
  • The seeker of useful knowledge
  • Walking to the mosque and remaining in it
  • Praying in the first row
  • Going early to Jumu`a
  • The Fajr & `Asr prayers in a group at the mosque
  • The meal of sahur
  • Sadaqa and spending in good ways
  • The Hajj and standing at Arafa
  • Seeking martyrdom in the way of Allah
  • The prayer on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace
  • Visiting the sick
  • Visiting brothers
  • Supplication for believers who are not present
  • Sleeping in a state of wudu`[23]

 

Angels are Real Beings

Angels are real beings, not illusions or figments of human imagination. They are created from light.

 

A Muslim must believe specifically in all the angels named and/or described in the Qur'an and the Sunnah:.

 

  • Jibreel: in charge of delivering revelation.
  • Mika'il: in charge of bringing the rain.
  • Israfil: the blower of the horn on Qiyama.
  • Malik-ul-Maut: the Angel of Death who takes people's souls at death.
  • The Noble Recorders: those who record people's actions.
  • The Protectors (Al-Mu'aqqibat): who keep people from death until its decreed time.
  • Ridhwan: in charge of Paradise.
  • Malik: in charge of Hell.
  • Munkar and Nakir: the questioners in the grave.
  • The Carriers of the Throne.
  • Those who record the future of the fetus.
  • Those who enter the Haram: 70,000 every day.
  • Those who move about, descending upon gatherings at which Allah and His Book are mentioned and studied.
  • Belief in the angels is an integral part of Iman. [Quran Surah Al-Baqarah  2:285] [24]

 

References

[1] [19] http://www.iris.org.nz/angels.php

[2] http://www.islamawareness.net/Angels/noble.html

[3] [7] [10] [11] [22] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/843/angels

[4] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/14610/angels

[5] [9] http://www.islamawareness.net/Angels/noble.html

[6] http://islamqa.info/en/ref/96306/angels

[8] http://www.muslimaccess.com/articles/misc/angels_duties.asp

[12] http://www.sunnah.com/urn/670700

[13] http://quran.com/2/102

[14] http://quran.com/82/11

[15] http://quran.com/40/7

[16] http://quran.com/35/1

[17][20] http://www.islamweb.net/kidsen/Kids%20Corner%201,2/subjects/emanbalmalaeka1.html

[18] http://www.sunnah.com/urn/45340

[21] http://quran.com/39/68

[23] [24] http://muttaqun.com/angels.html

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