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Islam

Angels


Praise be to Allaah.

Allaah created the angels from light. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah 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.” (narrated by Muslim, 2996)

The angels are by nature obedient to Allaah:

“[they, i.e., angels] disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded “[al-Tahreem 66:6 – interpretation of the meaning]

They are created in such a way that they do not eat or drink. Their food is tasbeeh (glorification of Allaah) and tahleel (saying Laa ilaaha ill-Allaah), as Allaah tells us concerning them (interpretation of the meaning):

“They (i.e. the angels) glorify His Praises night and day, (and) they never slacken (to do so) [al-Anbiyaa’ 21:20]

The angels bear witness to the Oneness of Allaah, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Allaah bears witness that Laa ilaaha 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. Laa ilaaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:18]

Allaah has honoured some of the angels by choosing them as Messengers, just as He has chosen some of mankind as Messengers:

“Allaah chooses Messengers from angels and from men” [al-Hajj 22:75 – interpretation of the meaning]

When Allaah created Adam and He wanted to honour him, He commanded the angels to prostrate to him:

“And (remember) when We said to the angels: ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam.’ And they prostrated except Iblees (Satan), he refused and was proud and was one of the disbelievers (disobedient to Allaah)” [al-Baqarah 2:34 – interpretation of the meaning]

The angels are a mighty creation, and they perform many tasks, and they are divided into many groups, which no one knows except Allaah. Some of them carry the Throne:

“Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allaah) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah)…”[Ghaafir 40:7 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them is the one who brings down the Revelation to the Messengers. He is Jibreel (peace be upon him), who brought the Qur’aan down to Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him):

“Which the trustworthy Rooh [Jibreel (Gabriel)] has brought down Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners” [al-Shu’araa 26:193 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them is Mikaa’eel, who is appointed in charge of the rain and vegetation, and Israafeel who is appointed to blow the Trumpet when the Hour begins. And among them are the recording angels who are appointed to watch over the sons of Adam and their deeds:

“But verily, over you (are appointed angels in charge of mankind) to watch you, Kiraaman (Honourable) Kaatibeen —writing down (your deeds), They know all that you do” [al-Infitaar :10-12 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them are those who are entrusted with the task of writing down all deeds, whether good or evil:

“(Remember) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions) Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it) [Qaaf 50:17-18 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them are those who are entrusted with the task of seizing the souls of the believers:

“Those whose lives the angels take while they are in a pious state (i.e. pure from all evil, and worshipping none but Allaah Alone) saying (to them): Salaamun ‘Alaykum (peace be on you) enter you Paradise, because of that (the good) which you used to do (in the world)” [al-Nahl 16:32 – interpretation of the meaning]

And among them are those who are entrusted with the task of seizing the souls of the disbelievers:

“And if you could see when the angels take away the souls of those who disbelieve (at death); they smite their faces and their backs, (saying): ‘Taste the punishment of the blazing Fire’” [al-Anfaal 8:50 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them are the gatekeepers of Paradise and the servants of the people of Paradise:

“And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying): Salaamun ‘Alaykum (peace be upon you) for you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!” [al-Ra’d 13:23-24 – interpretation of the meaning]

And among them are the gatekeepers of Hell:

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe” [al-Tahreem 66:6 – interpretation of the meaning]

Among them are some who strive in jihaad with the believers:

“(Remember) when your Lord revealed to the angels, ‘Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes’” [al-Anfaal 8:12 – interpretation of the meaning]

On Laylat al-Qadr in the month of Ramadaan, the angels come down to witness goodness with the Muslims, as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The Night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping Allaah in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the Rooh [Jibreel (Gabriel)] by Allaah’s Permission with all Decrees” [al-Qadr 97:3-4]

The angels do not enter a house in which there is a statue, picture (image) or a dog. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image.” (Narrated by Muslim, 2106).

Belief in the angels is one of the pillars of faith, and whoever denies it is a kaafir:

“and whosoever disbelieves in Allaah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Last Day, then indeed he has strayed far away[al-Nisaa’ 4:136 – interpretation of the meaning]

From Usool al-Deen al-Islami by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Ibraaheem al-Tuwayjri

 

Will the angels die, and are they male?

What most people believe is that the angels will die and that the Angel of Death will die, but there is no clear text concerning that. Rather there are texts which may indicate that, and there is the well known hadeeth about the Trumpet, which is a munkar hadeeth. See: Da’eef al-Targheeb wa’l-Tarheeb, no. 2224.

Among the texts that have been narrated concerning that is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Everything will perish save His Face”[al-Qasas 28:88]

Ibn Katheer (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Allaah tells us that all the inhabitants of the earth will depart and die, as will the inhabitants of the heavens, except those whom Allaah wills, and nothing will be left but His noble Countenance, for the Lord, may He be exalted and sanctified, will not die, rather He is the Ever-Living Who will never die. Tafseer al-Qur’aan il-‘Azeem, 4/273.

And Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allaah wills. Then it will be blown a second time, and behold they will be standing, looking on (waiting)”[al-Zumar 39:68].

Al-Bukhaari (7383) and Muslim (2717) narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to say:

“O Allaah, I seek refuge in Your glory – there is no god but You – from Your sending me astray, for You are the Ever-Living Who does not die, but jinn and men die.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: Will all of creation, even the angels, die?

He replied: What most of the people believe is that all of creation will die, even the angels, and even ‘Azra’eel the Angel of Death. There is a hadeeth concerning that which is marfoo’ i.e., attributed to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him).

The Muslims, Jews and Christians are all agreed that this is possible and that Allaah is Able to cause it to happen. It is only some groups of philosophers, the followers of Aristotle and the like, who differed concerning that, and those so-called Muslims, Jews and Christians who joined them in that, such as the authors of the Ikhwaan al-Suffa letters and their ilk who claimed that the angels are minds and souls and that they cannot die under any circumstances, rather in their view they are gods and the lords of this world.

The Qur’aan and all other scriptures state that the angels are slaves of Allaah who are subject to His command as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“The Messiah will never be proud to reject to be a slave of Allaah, nor the angels who are the near (to Allaah). And whosoever rejects His worship and is proud, then He will gather them all together unto Himself”[al-Nisa’ 4:172]

“And they say: “The Most Gracious (Allaah) has begotten a son (or children).” Glory to Him! They [whom they call children of Allaah i.e. the angels, ‘Eesa (Jesus) __ son of Maryam (Mary), ‘Uzayr (Ezra)], are but honoured slaves”[al-Anbiya’ 21:26]

“And there are many angels in the heavens, whose intercession will avail nothing except after Allaah has given leave for whom He wills and is pleased with”[al-Najm 53:26]

Allaah is Able to cause them to die then bring them back to life, just as He is Able to cause mankind and the jinn to die then bring them back to life. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And He it is Who originates the creation, then He will repeat it (after it has been perished); and this is easier for Him”[al-Room 30:27]

It is proven in a saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), via more than one isnaad and via more than one of the Sahaabah, that he said:

“When Allaah speaks the Revelation, the angels swoon, and according to another report, “When the angels hear His words, they swoon.” According to another report: “The angels hear something like a chain dragging on a rock and they swoon, then when the fear leaves their hearts, they say: ‘What did your Lord say?’ They say: ‘The truth.’ Then they call out: ‘The truth, the truth.’”

In these saheeh ahaadeeth we are told that they can swoon, so if it is possible for them to swoon, it is possible for them to die.

As for the exception (in the verse “except him whom Allaah wills”), this applies to those who have been admitted to Paradise of the hoor al-‘iyn, for there is no death in Paradise; and it applies to others, but we cannot be certain about who is exempted. It is proven in al-Saheeh that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The people will swoon on the Day of Resurrection and I will be the first one to wake up, and I will see Moosa holding onto the leg of the Throne and I will not know whether he awoke before me or whether he was one of those whom Allaah exempted.”

If the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was not told of everyone who will be exempted by Allaah, then we cannot be certain of that. This is like knowing when the Hour will begin or the names of all the Prophets, and other things that we have not been told, and this knowledge cannot be attained except by being told. And Allaah knows best.

End quote from Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/259).

Al-Suyooti (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: I was asked: Will the angels die when the Trumpet is blown and will they come to life when the Trumpet-blast for resurrection is sounded? The answer is: Yes. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And the Trumpet will be blown, and all who are in the heavens and all who are on the earth will swoon away, except him whom Allaah wills”[al-Zumar 39:68]

We have stated above at the beginning of this book that those who are exempted will be the bearers of the Throne, Jibreel, Israafeel, Mikaa’eel and the Angel of Death, but they will die after that.

It was narrated from Wahb that these four angels were the first creatures to be created by Allaah, and they will be the last of them to die, and the first to be brought back to life.

Then he supported his words with the texts that speak of the death of the people of heaven and the people of earth, even Jibreel, Mikaa’eel, Israafeel and the bearers of the Throne, then the Angel of Death will be the last one to die.

See: al-Habaa’ik fi Akhbaar al-Malaa’ik, p. 91.

But the text referred to, which was quoted by al-Suyooti, is the same hadeeth of the Trumpet that we have already seen is classed as da’eef (weak) and munkar (odd).

The Standing Committee was asked: Please tell us about the two angels, Raqeeb and ‘Ateed who are appointed to record man’s deeds during his life. Do these two angels die, or where do they go after the man dies?

They replied: The affairs of the angels are unseen matters which cannot be known except through texts. There is no text which speaks of the death of those who record good and bad deeds when the person whose good and bad deeds they record dies. There is no text which says whether they remain alive, or what happens to them. That is known only to Allaah, and what you have asked about is not something that we are required to believe and no deeds are connected to that. Asking about that comes under the heading of things that we should not be concerned with. Hence we advise the questioner not to bother with things that do not concern him, and to devote his efforts to asking about things that will benefit him and the Muslims in their religious and worldly affairs. End quote.

Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (2/185).

Secondly:

The angels are not regarded as either male or female. As for being female, Allaah has stated that they are not female, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And they make the angels who themselves are slaves of the Most Gracious (Allaah) females. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony will be recorded, and they will be questioned”[al-Zukhruf 43:19]

“Or did We create the angels female while they were witnesses?”[al-Saaffaat 37:150]

As for describing them as male, no such thing has been narrated.

Al-Haleemi said in al-Minhaaj, then al-Qawnawi said in the abridged version thereof: It was said that the people of al-A’raaf are angels who love the people of Paradise and reproach the people of Hell. But this is farfetched for two reasons: the first is the verse in which Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and on Al‑A‘raaf (a wall with elevated places) will be men” [al-A’raaf 7:46]

Men are males of sound mind, but the angels are not divided into male and female. The second is the fact that Allaah tells us that they will want to enter Paradise, but the angels are not prevented from entering it, because preventing one who longs for something from attaining his desire is a punishment for him, but on that Day no angel will be punished. End quote.

Narrated by al-Suyooti in al-Habaa’ik, p. 88

Dr Muhammad ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmaan al-Khamees said: We say that the one who says that they are female is committing an act of kufr because he has gone against the Book of Allaah. And it cannot be said that they are male, because there is no saheeh text to that effect. End quote from I’tiqaad Ahl al-Sunnah.

Thirdly:

The angels do not get married or reproduce, and it is narrated that there is consensus on this point.

Al-Raazi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in his Tafseer: They are unanimously agreed that the angels do not eat, drink or get married. They glorify Allaah night and day without ceasing. End quote.

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