The Faith In The Angels

Definition of Angel

The angels, or “malaikat” (the arabic word) is a plural form of the word: “ma-la-kun” (one angel). The word: ma-la-kun itself is taken from the word “ma’-la-kun” (مء لك) – uluukah (ءلوكة), which means ‘treatise’ (delegation). (Taken from “Al Mu’jam Al Wasith”, madah:a-la-ka)

The angels are supernatural nature, also the creature and slave of Allah the Exalted and Glorified. Allah created them from light and endorsed them a perfect obedience and power to accomplish it.

Allah the Exalted and Glorified- decreed, which can be translated as: “To Him belongs whosoever dwells in the heavens and on earth. Those (angels) that are with Him neither disdain to serve Him out of pride, nor do they weary of it. They glorify Him night and day, without flagging.” (Al-Anbiya/The Prophets: 19-20)

The angels are numerous, and no one is able to count them but Allah. In compilation of hadith from Al Bukhari and Muslim, there is a hadith from Anas- may Allah be pleased with him- about the story of mi’raj, that Allah has shown the Bait al Ma’mur, a certain place on the sky, to prophet Muhammad -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-. There are 70.000 angels that pray inside the place every day, whoever departs from that place, will not come back to it again.

The Elements of Faith In The Angels

First: To believe in their existence

Second: To believe in those of them who are known to us, such as Gabriel, and also in the names of them who are unknown to us.

Third: To believe in their known attributes, such as the attribute of Gabriel’s form, as what have been seen by prophet Muhammad -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- who has 600 wings that cover the horizon.

The angel is capable of transforming into a man, such as what Gabriel did, when Allah the Exalted sent him to Mary. Gabriel transformed into a perfect man.

Also, when he came to the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him-, when the Prophet was sitting among his companions. Gabriel came as a man who wear a very white garment, with very black hair, without any sign of traveling on him, and none of companions recognized him. Gabriel sat near the Prophet- may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- , leaning his knees to the Prophet’s knees, and put both his hands on his lap. He asked the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- about Islam, faith, ihsan, the Hour, and it’s portents.

So as the angels whom were sent to Abraham and Lot. They transformed into a man form.

Fourth: To believe in the tasks Allah ordered them to do that are known to us, such as reciting the remembrances and worshipping Allah -the Exalted and Glorified- day and night without flagging.

The Attributes of The Angels

1. They are created from light

From ‘Aisha- may Allah be pleased with her-, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “Angels are made from the light, and jinn are made from the fire burn…” (Narrated by Muslim, in hadith no. 60)

2. An ever obedient creature who never do any wickedness

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “Believers, guard yourselves and your kindred against a Fire whose fuel is human beings and stones,  a Fire held in the charge of fierce and stern angels who never disobey what He has commanded them, and always do what they are bidden.” (At-Tahrim/The Prohibition: 6)

3. The Angels have wings

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “All praise be to Allah, the Fashioner of the heavens and earth, Who appointed angels as His message bearers, having two, three, four wings. He adds to His creation whatever He pleases. Verily Allah has power over everything.” (Al-Fatir/The Originator: 1)

From Ibn Mashood -may Allah be pleased with him- he said, “the messenger of Allah -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- saw Gabriel in his true form. He (Gabriel) has 600 wings. One wing can cover the horizon.” (Taken from “Al Bidayah”, by Ibn Katsir, 1/47. The status is good)

4. A very huge creature

From Jabir Ibn Abdillah -may Allah be pleased with him-, the Prophet -may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him– said, “I am allowed to tell about one of the angel who carry the Great Throne. The distance between his ear and his shoulder equals 700 years of journey.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud, in hadith no. 4729, classed sahih by Al Albani)

5. The beauty of the angels

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “Something that a very powerful one has imparted to him, one endowed with immense wisdom.  He came forth and stood poised.” (An-Najm/The Star: 5-6)

Such was the words of the Egyptian ladies when they saw prophet Joseph -peace be upon him-. “Hearing of their sly talk the chief’s wife sent for those ladies, and arranged for them a banquet, and got ready couches, and gave each guest a knife. Then, while they were cutting and eating the fruit, she signaled Joseph: “Come out to them.” When the ladies saw him they were so struck with admiration that they cut their hands, exclaiming: “Allah preserve us. This is no mortal human. This is nothing but a noble angel!” (Joseph: 31)

6. They are different one another in form and position

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “All praise be to Allah, the Fashioner of the heavens and earth, Who appointed angels as His message bearers, having two, three, four wings. He adds to His creation whatever He pleases. Verily Allah has power over everything.” (Al-Fatir/The Originator: 1)

The number of their wings are different according to Allah’s wish. Allah revealed about Gabriel, which can be translated as, “Verily this is the word of a noble message-bearer; one mighty and held in honour with the Lord of the Throne.” (At-Takwir/The Overthrowing: 19-20)

Allah mentioned that Gabriel has a honorable position with Him, which means that there are angels whose position is lower than Gabriel.

7. They are not male, nor female

An important thing to concern, is that a supernatural thing can not be analogous to a concrete thing, of which human’s sense are able to conceive from all of it’s aspects. Allah has denounced the polytheists who believe that the angels are female, while they never saw their creation process. Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “So ask their opinion: “(Are you convinced) that your …. Did We create the angels as females the while they witnessed?” (Ash Shaffat/Those who set ranks: 149-150)

8. They do not eat nor drink

When the delegation of Allah- who were among the angels- came to Abraham, he served them with roasted beef. After he allowed them to eat, they refused. Abraham then realized that his guests were not human being, but some angels. Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “(O Prophet), did the story of Abraham’s honoured guests reach you? When they came to him, they said: “Peace”; he said: “Peace also be to you; (you seem to be) a group of strangers.” Then he went back to his family and brought a fat roasted calf. and laid it before them, saying: “Will you not eat?” Then he became afraid of them. They said: “Fear not,” and announced to him the good news of (the birth of) a boy endowed with knowledge.” (Adh-DhariyatThe willowing wind: 24-28)

9. They are not bore in worshipping and obedience

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “They glorify Him night and day, without flagging.” (Al-Anbiya/The Prophets: 20)

Allah also revealed, which can be translated as, “But if they wax proud (and persist in their attitude, it does not matter, for) the angels near-stationed to your Lord glorify Him night and day, and never grow weary.” (chapter Fussilat/Explained in detail: 38)

10. The angels live on the sky

There are many indications that show that, the angels are ascending and descending to see Allah’s slaves who dwell the earth, as well as they are close to Allah the Exalted. These indications hint that their origin is on the sky. Among the indications is the verse about the Night of Al Qadr (divine decree), which can be translated as, “The angels along with the Spirit descend in it by the permission of their Lord with all kinds of decrees.” (The Divine Will: 4)

The Tasks of The Angels

Some of the angels, each of them has specific task to do, such as:

  1. Angel Gabriel is trusted to convey the divine decree from Allah to the prophets and messengers.
  2. Angel Michael is ordered to pour the rain and grow the plants.
  3. Angel Israfil is ordered to blow the trumpet on the Day of Resurrection.
  4. Angel of death, is ordered to take away human’s life.
  5. Angel Malik is trusted to guard the Hell.
  6. There are some angels who are appointed to take care of the fetus in the wombs, and when it reaches 4 months in the womb, Allah -the Exalted and Glorified- sends an angel to blow a soul into it and to write down about the fetus’ provisions, death, deeds, sorrow, and joy.
  7. There are also angels who are trusted to guard and to write all deeds of mankind. Every one is guarded by two angels, one on his right side, and the other on his left.
  8. There also angels who are trusted to give questions to the soul of the deceased. If he already put into his grave, two angels will come to him and ask him about his Lord, his religion, and his prophet.

The Benefits of Faith In The Angels

First, to know the nobility of Allah, His power, and His strength. The large size of a creature basically indicates the grandiosity of it’s Creator.

Second, to be grateful to Allah The Exalted and Glorified due to His intense care to the human being, proved His sending of the angels to guard, to write down their deeds, and other benefits as well.

Third, to love the angels due to their obedience to Allah the Exalted and Glorified.

Misperceptions About The Angels

First, the liberals and those who put their intelligence or common sense at the first place have denied the existence of the angels. They say that an angel is something abstract, an utterance of “the power of goodness” which is lie within man’ souls.

This belief evidently contradicts the indications from The Qur’an, the sunnah of the His messenger, and the consensus of the muslim nation, since those indicate that an angel, or angels, are something concrete, having a real form and substance, a real body. However, they live in a supernatural realm, unseen to human.

Among indications that show that the angels indeed have a concrete body, are several verses below:

“All praise be to Allah, the Fashioner of the heavens and earth, Who appointed angels as His message bearers, having two, three, four wings. He adds to His creation whatever He pleases. Verily Allah has power over everything.” (Al-Fatir/The Originator: 1)

Allah attributed wings to them, and of course wings could not be attributed to a non-concrete substance.

Allah also decreed, which can be translated as, “And if you could only see when the angels took away the souls of the unbelievers, striking them on their faces and backs, saying: “Taste the torment of burning.” (Al-Anfal/The Spoils of the War: 50)

Allah mentioned that they are capable of striking. Can an abstract thing even hit something?

“- the Ever-lasting Gardens which they shall enter and so shall the righteous from among their fathers, and their spouses, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate, and say: Peace be upon you. You merit this reward for your steadfastness. How excellent is the ultimate abode!” (Ar-Rad/The Thunder: 23-24)

Allah attributed them with an ability to greet, which means they could talk, and thus having body parts that enable them to talk.

From the authority of Abu Huraira -may Allah be pleased with him- , the Prophet- may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said, “If Allâh loves a person, He calls Jibril (Gabriel) saying, ‘Allâh loves so-and-so; O Jibril! Love him.’ Jibril would love him and make an announcement amongst the inhabitants of the heaven: ‘Allâh loves so-and-so, therefore you should love him also,’ and so all the inhabitants of the heaven would love him, and then he is granted the pleasures of the people on the earth.” (Narrated by Bukhari in hadith no. 3037)

It is narrated from Abu Huraira- may Allah be pleased with him- that the Prophet- may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him- said: “Every friday, at every door of masjid, the angels sit and write down the attendance of the prayer one by one. If the imam has sat (on the podium) they close their books and come to listen to the remembrances (the sermon)”

Those indications evidently show that the angels truly exist, a concrete thing. Not an abstract force lies within human’s selves, as the liberals’ belief.

Second, some people have limited the number of the angels into 10 angels. This opinion contradicts the indications from the Qur’an and the sunnah, that show that the angels are in great numbers. Among the indications is Allah’s decree, which can be translated as””We  have appointed none but angels as the keepers of the Fire, and We have not made their number but as a trial for the unbelievers so that those who have been endowed with the Book will be convinced and the believers’ faith will increase, and neither those who have been endowed with the Book nor the believers will fall into any doubt.  As for those in whose hearts there is a sickness as well as the unbelievers, they will say: “What did Allah aim at by this strange parable?” Thus does Allah let whomsoever He pleases to go astray, and directs whomsoever He pleases to the Right Way. And none knows the hosts of your Lord but He. (And Hell has only been mentioned here) that people may take heed.” (Muddathir/The Cloaked one: 31)

Third, some believers give names to the angels without a valid basis for it, from the Qur’an and the sunnah. Among the false names is the name “Izrael” to refer to the death angel. Sheikh Al Albani said: This name has no basis at all. It comes from an israiliyat news (news from the late offsprings of Israel) (Taken from “Takhrij Ath Thahawiyah”, 1:72)

References:

  1. “Syarh Ushul Iman, by Muhammad Ibn Shaleh Al Utsaimin, published by Dar Al Qasim, Saudi Arabia, 1419 H.
  2. ‘Alamul Malaikat Al Abrar, by Dr. Umar Ibn Sulaiman Al Asyqar, published by Maktabah Al Fallah, Beirut, 1403 H.
  3. Al Mu’jam Al Wasith, by Ibrahim Musthofa,et al., Tahqiq: Majma’ Al Lughah Al Arabiyah.
  4. Takhrij Al Aqidah At Thahawiyah, by Muhammad Nashiruddin Al Albani, published by Al Maktabah Al Islami, Beirut, 1414 H

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