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Belief in the angels is among the six articles of faith in Islam. Muslims are legally obligated to affirm the existence of angels in Islam. In the Quran, there are various verses about angels. They are from the unseen and are not visible to us. They are not granted free will like humans and jinns. Additionally, they obey all of Allah’s commands, worship Him, and submit to Him without fail.
The angels in Islam have not been assigned any gender. They are not to be considered divine or deified in any way. They are simply Allah’s creation and should never be worshipped. There is no concept of an angel being categorized as sinful or righteous, as they unanimously submit to Allah and don’t have any choice in the matter.
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As mentioned in Sahih Muslim, Angels were created from light. Their creation had already taken place prior to that of the humans, considering Allah informed them of His plan to create a vicegerent on earth, as stated in Surah al-Baqarah. Nonetheless, we don’t have any specific information concerning the time of their creation.
The appearance and status
Angels have wings and are majestic and beautiful in appearance. There exists variation in their size and status. Indeed, some of them are genuinely massive in terms of their size, such as Gabriel. Gabriel is, in fact, the greatest of the angels in Islam, while the ones who carry Allah’s Throne are among the loftiest. The best of the angels are those of the battle of Badr.
In Surah Fatir, it is mentioned that Allah created angels with two, three or four wings. According to a Hadith in Musnad Ahmad, the Prophet (PBUH) saw Jibreel in his original form. Each of his 600 wings covered the horizon, and jewels, pearls, and rubies fell from his wings. In a Hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) saw Jibreel coming down from heaven, with his immense size filling the area between heaven and earth.
A Hadith in Abu Dawud contains a description of one of the angels who carry Allah’s Throne. The space between his earlobes and shoulders is as much as a 700-year journey. Also, in Sahih Al-Bukhari, Jibreel says that the angels that were at Badr are the best of the them.
Attributes of the angels in Islam
Angels don’t eat or drink, as evidenced by Ibrahim’s (AS) interactions with them that was mentioned in Surah Adh-Dhariyat and Surah Hud. They don’t tire or lose focus in their worship of Allah, as mentioned in Surah Al-Anbiya and Surah Fussilat. Though we don’t know precisely how many angels there are, there’s no doubt that they exist in huge numbers.
There is a Hadith in Sahih Al-Bukhari that informs us that seventy thousand angels visit the Baitul Mamur daily, replaced by a different group of seventy thousand angels everyday. In Sahih Muslim, we learn that seventy thousand angels will be pulling the ropes that bring Hell forth.
The names and abilities of angels
We only know the names of some of the angels in Islam, as they are the only names revealed in the Quran and Sunnah. They include Jibreel, Mikaeel, Israfeel, Malik, Munkar and Nakeer, and Haroot and Maroot.
Regarding the abilities that angels possess, Allah bestows them with tremendously powerful capabilities. They are able to assume different forms, such as that of a man, as stated in Surah Maryam. Jibreel used to visit the Prophet (PBUH) in the form of a man and was also sent to Maryam in a man’s form. Furthermore, they can travel at astonishingly quick speeds. In Sahih Muslim, there is a Hadith that tells us how Jibreel was also seen by the companions in human form, as a man in white clothes with black hair.
Duties of Jibreel, Mikaeel and Israfeel
Gabriel is the archangel, whose responsibility was to transmit Allah’s revelation to His Messengers. As stated in Surah At-Takwir, the Quran was brought to the Prophet (PBUH) by Gabriel. Mikaeel is in charge of rain, carrying out Allah’s commands with the assistance of cooperative helpers assigned to him by Allah. He thus sends rain wherever Allah wills. Meanwhile, Israfeel is tasked with blowing the trumpet that will commence the Day of Judgment. These three are among the foremost of the angels in Islam, given the nature of their tasks. Their duties all pertain to life in some way.
Duties of other angels in Islam
Then, there is Malik, the gatekeeper of Hell, who is mentioned in Surah Az-Zukhruf. Munkar and Nakeer will be entrusted with the questioning of the grave, which is outlined in detail in a Hadith in Sunan At-Tirmidhi. The Kiraman Katibeen, known as the “two angels” are the recording angels in Islam who are tasked with recording our deeds, as Allah says in Surah Az-Zukhruf. As we are informed in Surah Al-Baqarah, Haroot and Maroot were sent to Babylon to teach people magic as a trial for them, but not before warning them of its repercussions. Another angel popular in Islamic tradition is the angel of death.