Belief in the angels is another fundamental belief that forms the cornerstone of eemaan – faith. When Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) was asked by Angel Jibreel, “What is Faith?” He replied, “It is to believe in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine Decree (al-qadar), both the good and the bad of it.” (Muslim)
Belief in the Angels, therefore, is the second article of faith.
The Word ‘Maiak’
The Arabic word for angel is malak, whose plural form is malaa’ikah. The Quran speaks of the creation of man from clay and that of jinn from fire. ‘Aa’ishah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said that the jinn were created from fire (naar), and the angels were created from light (noor). (Muslim)
Thus, the angels are a type of Allah’s creation that cannot be seen by man. They serve Almighty Allah in what He commands them and they do not enjoy any divine attributes whatsoever. They submit to Allah’s commands completely. They never stray away from obeying His orders even for a moment.
This shows that the angels and the jinn are two different classes of Allah’s creation, and that it is a mistake to consider them as belonging to the same class. The Quran speaks of the angels as messengers (rusul) with wings:
“[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.”
Belief in the Angels consists of the Following:
- We must believe that they exist.
- We must believe in those angels whose names we know through the Quran or the Sunnaln. For example, Angel Jibreel who brought revelation to the Messenger (pbuh).
- We must believe in their attributes, as mentioned in the Quran or the Sunnah. For example, one of the Prophet’s traditions state that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) saw Angel Jibreel in the image in which he was created, with six hundred wings that blocked the horizon.
- We must believe in the actions that they perform, as mentioned in the Quran or the authentic hadeeth. The Quran says that they worship Allah and glorify Him day and night. It also states that specific angels have specific tasks. Jibreel is entrusted with Allah’s revelations which he brings down from Allah to His prophets and messengers. Israafeel is responsible for blowing the Trumpet that will resurrect the dead on the Day of Judgment. Mikaa’eel is entrusted with the rain and vegetation.
Each one of us has two angels with him who constantly record all his words and deeds. The Quran says, “When the two receivers receive, seated on the right and on the left. Man does not utter any word except that with him is an observer prepared [to record].”
The believers know that there are angels called mu’aqqibaat that protect man in all situations. The Quran says, “For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah.” (Quran, 13:11) Another verse reads, “And He is the subjugator over His servants, and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail [in their duties].” (Quran, 6:61) These guardians guard as well as write all of one’s good and bad deeds.
Another angel we know of is the Angel of Death who is entrusted with the task of taking souls. The Quran says, “Say, “The angel of death will take you who has been entrusted with you. Then to your Lord you will be returned.” (Quran, 32:11)
Some angels are entrusted with the task of keeping Paradise: “But those who feared their Lord will be driven to Paradise in groups until, when they reach it while its gates have been opened and its keepers say, “Peace be upon you; you have become pure; so enter it to abide eternally therein,” [they will enter].” (Quran, 39:73), while others (called az-Zabaaniyah) are in charge of keeping the Hellfire: “And what can make you know what is Saqar? It lets nothing remain and leaves nothing [unburned], Blackening the skins. Over it are nineteen [angels]. And We have not made the keepers of the Fire except angels.” (Quran, 74:27-31)
Some angels are entrusted with the foetus in the womb. When the foetus has spent four months in the womb, Almighty Allah sends an angel with the orders to write his provision, his lifespan, his deeds and whether he will be miserable or happy in the hereafter.
There are also two angels that question the dead in their graves as well as angels that pray for the believers and support them when they do righteous deeds to earn the Good Pleasure of Allah. For instance, among many ahadeeth of this nature, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Allah, the angels and the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth, even the ant in its hole and the fish, pray for the one who teaches people good.” (at-Tabaraanee)
Their Prayers for the person continue for a long time, even after the person has completed his good deed. Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) once said, “No man goes to visit an ill person in the late afternoon except that seventy thousand angels go with him and continue to seek forgiveness for him until the morning and he shall have a garden in Paradise. And if one goes to him in the morning, seventy thousand angels go with him and seek his forgiveness until the evening and he shall have a garden in Paradise.” (Ahmad, Abu Daawood and at-Tirmidhee)
In fact, a believer can reach a point where the angels begin to love him and spread love for him in the world. The Prophet (pbuh) said, “If Allah loves a person, He calls Jibreel saying, “Allah loves so and so, therefore, so love him. The dwellers of the heaven then love him and he is then granted acceptance among the people of the earth.” (al-Bukhaaree and Muslim)