Belief in angels is one of the six pillars of belief or faith without which there is no faith. Whoever does not believe in any of these pillars is not a believer (mumin). These pillars are belief in: Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and that predestination, both good and bad, comes from Allah.
Angels are a part of the world of the “Unseen” which we cannot comprehend. Allah has told us about them in many places in the Quran and via His Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). There follows a number of proven reports concerning the angels, which hopefully will make you realize the greatness of the Creator and the greatness of this religion which has told us so much about them:
Of what are they created?
They are created from light, as ‘Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The angels are created from light, just as the jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is created from what you have been told about.’” [Muslim].
When were they created?
We have no knowledge of precisely when they were created, because there is no text to tell us this. But they were created before mankind for certain, because the Quran says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Behold, your Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’” [2:30]
The fact that Allah told them of His intention to create man indicates that they already existed.
Their great size
Allah says concerning the angels of Hell:
“O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern and severe, who flinch not (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded.” [66:6]
The greatest of all the angels is Jibreel, upon whom be peace, who was described in the following report:
“From ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saw Jibreel in his true form. He had six hundred wings, each of which covered the horizon. There fell from his wings jewels, pearls and rubies, only Allah knows about them.”
It was reported by Ahmad in al-Musnad, and Ibn Katheer said in al-Bidayah that its isnad (chain of narrators) is jayyid (good).
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, describing Jibreel:
“I saw Jibreel descending from heaven, and his great size filled the space between heaven and earth.” [Muslim].
Among the greatest angels are those who carry the Throne (of Allah), who were described in the following report:
“From Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), who said: ‘I have been given permission to speak about one of the angels of Allah who carry the Throne. The distance between his ear-lobes and his shoulders is equivalent to a seven-hundred-year journey.’” [Abu Dawood].
They have wings
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings – two, or three, or four (pairs) adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.” [35:1]
Allah said, describing Jibreel, upon whom be peace (interpretation of the meaning):
“He [the Prophet] has been taught by one Mighty in Power, Dhoo Mirrah (free from any defect in body and mind), then he rose and became stable.” [53:5-6]
Ibn ‘Abbas said:
“‘Dhoo Mirrah means that he has a beautiful appearance.”
.”He is tall and beautiful.”
The idea that angels are beautiful is firmly established in all people’s minds, so much so that they liken a beautiful human to an angel, as the women said about Yoosuf:
“. . . When they [the women] saw him, they did extol him and (in their amazement) cut their hands: they said: ‘Allah preserve us! No mortal is this! This is none other than a noble angel!’” [12:31]
Their differences in size and status
The angels are not all of one size or status; there are differences between them just as there are differences in virtue. The best of them are those that were present at the battle of Badr, as is stated in the hadeeth narrated by Mu‘adh ibn Rifa‘ah al-Zuraqi from his father, who had been one of the people present at Badr. He said:
“Jibreel came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) and asked, ‘How do you rate the people among you who were present at Badr?’ He said: ‘They are the best of the Muslims,’ or something similar. [Jibreel] said: ‘So it is with the angels who were present at Badr.’” [al-Bukhaari].
They do not eat or drink
This is indicated by the conversation between Ibrahim, the “friend” of Allah, and the angels who visited him. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Then he turned quickly to his household, brought out a fatted calf, and placed it before them. He said, ‘Will you not eat?’ (When they did not eat), he conceived a fear of them. They said: ‘Fear not,’ and they gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge.” [51:26-28]
Elsewhere, Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“But when he [Ibrahim] saw their hands went not towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: ‘Fear not: we have been sent against the people of Lut.’” [11:70]
They do not get bored or tired of remembering and worshipping Allah
Allah says (interpretation of the meaning):
“They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever slacken.” [21:20]
“. . . For in the presence of your Lord are those who celebrate His praises by night and by day. And they never become tired (nor feel themselves above it).” [41:38]
The angels are many, and their number is known only to Allah. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, describing the Much-Frequented House (al-Bayt al-M’amoor) in the seventh heaven:
“Then I was taken up to the Much-Frequented House: every day seventy thousand angels visit it and leave, never returning to it again, another [group] coming after them.” [al-Bukhaari].
‘Abdullah (may Allah be pleased with him) said:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘Hell will be brought forth that day by means of seventy thousand ropes, each of which will be pulled by seventy thousand angels.” [Muslim].
The Famous Angels & Their Duties
Jibreel – sending messages/revelations to people.
Mika’eel – controls the weather on God’s command.
Israfeel – will blow the trumpet that will resurrect everyone on the Day of Judgement.
Malak-ul-Maut – the angel of death, he takes the soul out of every human being when their time is done. Some texts say his name is Izrael, but this is not confirmed by either Quran or Hadith.
Kiraman Katibin – who are attendant on the right and left of humans. The angel on the right is responsible for recording the good deeds and manners; the angel on the left is responsible for recording the bad deeds and manners. “The angels who are also called Hafaza will attend as witnesses of the deeds of humans in the Day of Judgment during reckoning.
Munkar Nakir – They are the angels that question man after he dies in the grave. The words of “Munkar” and “Nakir” means unknown, unrecognized and unaccustomed. They are called by this way because they come to the dead in a way that he/she has not seen before. These two angels question the dead by questions as follows and treat them according to the answers that they receive: Who is your lord? Who is your prophet? What is your book?
There are more angels than mentioned here. In hadiths, there are angels who inspires man the right and truth, descend on the earth when the Qur’an is recited, who are spiritual herders of animals on earth, who manage clouds, make the sound of thunder and so on…