The angels are mystical beings that Allah the Almighty created from light. They can take multiple forms, and they cannot be described as males or females. Belief in angels, as mentioned in the Qur’an and the authentic narrations from the Prophet (peace be upon him), is an indispensable part of the Muslim faith. Denying their existence is nothing but an act of disbelieving the Quran and Sunnah which rules one out of the fold of Islam. The proofs of this are numerous, Almighty Allah says in the Quran:
آمَنَ الرَّسُولُ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّن رُّسُلِهِ وَقَالُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ الْمَصِيرُ
“Believed the Messenger in what was revealed to him from his Lord and the believers. All believed in Allah, and His Angels, and His Books, and His Messengers. “Not we make a distinction between any of His And they said, “We heard and we obeyed. (Grant) us Your forgiveness our Lord and to You (is) the return.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:285)
Muslims believe in specific angels mentioned in the Islamic sources like Jibreel (Gabriel), Mika’eel (Michael), Israfeel, Malik – the guard over Hell, and others. Of these, Gabriel and Michael are also mentioned in the Bible. Angels do not eat or drink. The angels do not get bored or tired of worshipping God:
يُسَبِّحُونَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ لَا يَفْتُرُونَ
“They glorify (Him) [the] night and [the] day, not they slacken” (Surah Al-Anbiya 21:20)
Gabriel is God’s heavenly messenger to mankind. He would convey the revelation from God to His human messengers. God says:
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَىٰ قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَىٰ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ
“Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Jibreel – then indeed he brought it down on your heart by (the) permission (of) Allah confirming what (was) before it and a guidance and glad tiding(s) for the believers.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:97)
Belief in Angels
Angels Mentioned by Name
Several angels are mentioned by name in the Quran, with a description of their responsibilities:
- Jibreel (Gabriel): The angel in charge of communicating Allah’s words to His prophets.
- Israfeel (Raphael): He is in charge of blowing the trumpet to mark the Day of Judgment.
- Mikail (Michael): This angel is in charge of rainfall and sustenance.
- Munkar and Nakeer: After death, these two angels will question souls in the grave about their faith and deeds.
- Malak Am-Maut (or Azrael) (Angel of Death): This character is in charge of taking possession of souls after death.
- Kiraman Katibin: These two angels sit on every person’s right and left shoulder to record his/her good and bad.
- Malik: He is the guardian of hell.
- Ridwan: The angel who serves as the guardian of heaven.
Jinn, humans, and angels together comprise the sentient creations of Allah.
Some angels are put in charge of executing God’s law in the physical world. Michael is responsible for rain, directing it wherever God wishes. He has helpers who assist him by the command of his Lord; they direct the winds and clouds, as God wills. Another is responsible for blowing the Horn, which will be blown by Israafeel at the onset of the Day of Judgment. Others are responsible for taking souls out of the bodies at the time of death: the Angel of Death and his assistants. God says:
قُلْ يَتَوَفَّاكُم مَّلَكُ الْمَوْتِ الَّذِي وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُونَ
“Say, “Will take your soul (the) Angel (of) the death the one who has been put in charge of you. Then to your Lord, you will be returned.” (Surah As-Sajdah 32:11)
Almighty Allah stated that those who disbelieve in them have gone astray indeed. He says,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا آمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي نَزَّلَ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَالْكِتَابِ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِن قَبْلُ وَمَن يَكْفُرْ بِاللَّهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا بَعِيدًا
“O you who believe[d]! Believe in Allah and His Messenger, and the Book which He revealed upon His Messenger and the Book which He revealed before. And whoever disbelieves in Allah and His Angels, and His Books, and His Messengers and the Day the Last, then surely he (has) lost (the) way, straying far away.” (Surah An-Nisa’ 4:136)
The Quran and Sunnah indicate that the angels are given the capacity to take numerous forms by the permission of Allah. In the Qur’an, Jibril came to Maryam (Virgin Mary) in the form of a man. Almighty Allah says:
فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا
“Then she took from them a screen. Then We sent to her Our Spirit then he assumed for her the li (of) a man well-proportioned.” (Surah Maryam 19-17)
It is known that the angels do not eat, drink or copulate. They are free from such desires. When they came to Ibrahim (Abraham, peace be upon him) in the shape of full men he presented for them some food but they refused to eat. The Qur’an says,
فَرَاغَ إِلَىٰ أَهْلِهِ فَجَاءَ بِعِجْلٍ سَمِينٍ
“Then he went to his household and came with a calf fat.” (Surah Adh-Dhariyat 51:26)
The angels cannot be described as males or females and they are not subject to any kind of procreation or sexual reproduction. Rather, all of them are created directly by Allah, the Almighty. They do not have any inclination to sex or food or whatever because they are created solely for the service of man and the worship of God.
“O you who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.” (At-Tahrim 66:6)
The position in Islam is that angels are a grandiose creation of God, varying in numbers, roles, and abilities. God is in no need of these creatures, but having knowledge and belief in them adds to the awe that one feels towards God, in that He can create as He wishes, for indeed the magnificence of His creation is proof to believers of the magnificence of the Creator.