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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Belief in the Angels

He (the inquirer) said: Inform me about Iman (faith). He (the Prophet) replied: That you affirm your faith in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Prophets, in the Day of Judgment, and you affirm your faith in the Divine Decree about good and evil. [Muslim]

Belief in the angels is the second pillar of iman. To understand this topic correctly the following must be known.

The Attributes of Angels

Angels are the creation of Allah (swt) and are themselves not divine in anyway; rather they are the obedient servants of Allah (swt). They were created before man and are made from light (nur). One of their main attribute is that they have wings as Allah (swt) says,
All the praises and thanks be to Allah, the originator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, two or three or four. [Qur’an 35:1]

Angels normally reside in heaven and only come down to earth to serve the many functions Allah (swt) has assigned for them. Angels are genderless and do not do many of the functions normally associated with man such as eating, drinking, sleeping or cohabiting. In Islam they are often referred to Male as a figure of speech, and Allah says it is a sign of the disbeliever that they call the angels female.

Verily, those who believe not in the Hereafter, name the angels with female names. [Qur’an 53:27]

Angels are normally invisible to man, and only appear to the prophets or whom Allah wishes, such as Maryam mother of Isa (as) (Jesus). They are shy by nature so will leave the presence of humans if they see nakedness.

The Functions of Angels

Angels are the Messengers of Allah. They bring the revelation to the prophets, who then convey it to the people.

He (Allah) sends down the angels with inspiration of His Command to whom of His slaves He pleases [Qur’an 16:2]

They bear witness to what occurs on the earth. Every human has two angels assigned to them called the Noble Scribe (Kiraman Katibin) who write down every action committed by that person, whether in by the heart, tongue or limbs. Allah (swt) then shows us mankind their deeds when they are raised again on the Day of Judgment.

Angels are also assigned to put the soul or life into every fetus, as well as to be present at the time of death to remove the soul and return it to Allah (swt).

Everyone is going to taste death… and to Us you will be returned. [Qur’an 21:35]

Angels also ask Allah (swt) to forgive the believers of their sins and for His mercy to descend upon them. They send blessings upon the Messenger Muhammad (saw).

Allah sends His blessings on the Prophet and also His angels too. O you who believe! Send your blessing on to him and salam [Qur’an 33:56]

The Names of Angels

Some of the main angels have named in the Qur’an and Sunnah.

"Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibril and Mikail then verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers." [Qur’an2:98]

Jibril (Gabriel) is the known as the Arch Angel or Chief of Angels. His main role is to bring the revelation and teach it to all the prophets. He is also the one who brings the punishment to people when Allah decrees.

Mikail (Michael) is the angel which distributes the provision of Allah, such as the rain and the wind. Israfil is the angel which will blow the trumpet at the final hour. Malikul Mawt is the angel of death assigned to take the soul of every living being.

Other famous angels are Munkar and Nakir which will question every person in the grave. The Jundallah are angels which are the soldiers of Allah, whom he sends down to strengthen the Army of the believers.

When you said to the believers "Is it not enough for you that your Lord should help you with three thousand angel sent down?" [Qur’an 3:124]

Remember there can be no faith for the one who rejects belief in the angels, as Allah says,
Whoever disbelieves in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away. [Qur'an 4:136]

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