Basic Facts About Angels
Basic Facts About Angels – Belief in angels constitutes one of the fundamental tenets of faith, as it is one of the six pillars that shape a person’s belief system. Without embracing this belief, one’s faith remains incomplete. Anyone who fails to acknowledge these pillars cannot be regarded as a true believer (mumin). These foundational pillars encompass faith in Allah, His celestial messengers, His holy scriptures, His angels, the Day of Judgment, and the divine predestination, encompassing both good and bad occurrences, all of which emanate from Allah.
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Who are the Angels?
Angels occupy a realm beyond our comprehension, designated as the “Unseen.” Allah has graciously divulged information about them in numerous verses of the Quran and through His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Below, I’ve shared several established reports about angels that illustrate the grandeur of the Creator and the profundity of the faith that provides us with such insights:
What Are the Angels Created From?
The angels are made of light, as conveyed by ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who recounted: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The angels are created from light, just as the jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is created from what you have been told about.’” [Muslim].
When Were the Angels Created?
Exact knowledge regarding the time of their creation eludes us due to the absence of specific texts that shed light on this matter. Nonetheless, it is certain that they predate humanity since the Quran attests to this, stating (interpretation of the meaning): “Behold, your Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’” [2:30], which implies their existence prior to mankind.
The Grandeur of Angels
The Quran speaks of the angels assigned to Hell, who are stern and relentless in carrying out Allah’s commands. The most eminent of all angels is Jibreel (Gabriel), peace be upon him. One report describes his extraordinary stature:
“From ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) 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 knows about them.” [Ahmad in al-Musnad]
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) further attested to the magnitude of Jibreel, saying: “I saw Jibreel descending from heaven, and his great size filled the space between heaven and earth.” [Muslim].
Angels are not uniform in size or status; they exhibit variations in virtue. The hadith narrated by Mu‘adh ibn Rifa‘ah al-Zuraqi notes that the angels who participated in the Battle of Badr hold a special status.
Notably, the angels do not partake in eating or drinking, as elucidated by the encounter between Ibrahim and the visiting angels.
Endless Praise and Worship
The angels remain ceaselessly engaged in the remembrance and worship of Allah, as emphasized in various Quranic verses.
The number of angels remains known only to Allah. The Quran alludes to the numerous angels and their vast multitudes.
Names of Angels
Although the angels have distinct names, only a few are known to us from the Quran and the Prophet’s teachings. Names such as Jibreel, Mikail, Israfil, and Malik are among those acknowledged in Islamic tradition.
The angels possess extraordinary powers bestowed upon them by Allah. They can assume various forms, travel at incredible speeds, and carry out diverse responsibilities assigned by the Creator.
Angels have specific roles and responsibilities assigned to them by Allah. These tasks include:
- Conveying revelations from Allah to His Prophets.
- Controlling various aspects of the natural world, such as rainfall and winds.
- Blowing the Trumpet to herald the Day of Judgment.
- Escorting souls to the afterlife, including the Angel of Death and his helpers.
- Safeguarding and protecting individuals throughout their lives.
- Recording the deeds of individuals, both good and bad.
- Examining individuals in the grave, with angels Munkar and Nakeer playing a pivotal role.
- Overseeing the residents of Paradise and Hell, with angels guarding both realms.
- Assisting in the development of a fetus in the womb.
- Seeking gatherings of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) to join and encompass with their wings.
- Governing the mountains and their movements.
- Visiting the Much Frequented House (al-bayt al-m’amoor) in the heavens.
This summarizes the core beliefs and roles of angels in Islam, reflecting the faith’s profound understanding of these celestial beings. May Allah grant us the understanding and love for His angels.
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