Every person has two angels, one sitting on the right and the other sitting on the left. In addition, there is a separate angel which urges the person to do good deeds….So there is no reason to ever feel lonely with all of this going on around us.
I pressed my nose against the glass as I watched the first precious flakes of snow cover the ground with a taintless blanket fluff. It was more than I could handle. I put on my red galoshes and ran outside. Turning myself around, I fell backward into the downy blanket and begin to slide my arms up and down and spread my legs and close them repeatedly until I got the perfect snow angel. For me, as a little girl, winter had now begun. This image in the snow was how I had always viewed angels. Most people in the world believe in angels, guardian and otherwise, but belief in angels means you believe in their reality as a whole. Since they are part of the unseen, only Allah and those He has favoured know what that is. So what have we been told?
The Prophet (SAW) only saw Jibril (AS) twice in his real form. At other times, Allah (SWT) would transform him into a man for the purpose of relaying verses and other messages. He appeared to the Prophet (SAW) as a man when he questioned him in front of the Companions in the Hadith we are talking about in this series:
“Then what is Iman (Faith)?” the man (Jibril) asked.
The Prophet (SAW) replied: “It is to believe in Allah, in His Angels, in Paradise, in the Hellfire, in resurrection after death and in Divine Preordainment.”
The Prophet (SAW) described Jibril, often referred to in the Qur’an as Ruh, as being huge and magnificent. He had 600 wings and he filled the horizon. When he appeared to the Prophet (SAW) in his real form, he was sitting upon a green cushion. Multicoloured pearls and rubies were falling from his wings. Jibril is an honoured messenger who obeys all of Allah’s commands.
[That] indeed the Qur’an is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger (19) [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position], (20) Obeyed there [in the heavens] and trustworthy. (21) (At-Takwir:19-21)
That is why Jibril was entrusted with the most important job of any angel: bringing down the Revelation. Among many other tasks, he also appeared to Mary to inform her she was with child.
During the Prophet’s ascension with Jibril through the heavens during Al-Isra and Al-Miraj, they greeted the Prophets. Then the pair travelled to the farthest lote tree (Sidratul Muntaha) which even Jibril never passes. It was here that the Prophet (SAW) saw something truly awe inspiring: the much frequented house (Al-Bayt Al-Ma’moor). This house is similar to our Ka’bah in that it is where the angels come to make their rounds or tawaf. Every day 70,000 angels come to this place. When they leave, they never return. In addition to tawaf, they also worship Allah making tasbih, performing Hajj and standing in rows like we do (Al-Fajr:22).
Another indication of the large number of angels is found in Saheeh Muslim. It is narrated from ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Hell will be brought forth that day by means of seventy thousand ropes, each of which will be pulled by seventy thousand angels.”
When you do the math, you will come up with 4,900,000,000. Now that is a lot of angels.
Some angels have 2, 3, 4 or even more wings. Angels are made of light, are tall and beautiful. They are shy and are offended by what offends us with regards to bad smells and indecent actions. Their speed is greater than the speed of light. Sleep does not overtake them nor do they require food or drink and they don’t get bored like we do. They have a great deal of knowledge which they are given by Allah but they do not seek out and learn as we learn:
They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.” (Al-Baqarah: 32)
Different angels have been assigned different tasks. Jibril brings revelation, Mikail brings the rain and takes care of the plants and Israfil is responsible for blowing the horn. These are the top three angels. Munkir and Nakir question the souls in the grave. Ridwan is the keeper of Paradise. Haroot and Maroot taught magic as a test.
It has long been thought that angels interact with human beings and this is true. From the time we are four months in the womb and they place the soul in our bodies until our death when they remove it, angels are involved with each and every one of us every single day. They record our deeds, they make du’a for us and, yes, each of us has guardian angels.
It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceal his speech or declares it openly, whether he be hid by night or goes forth freely by day. (10) For him (each person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah…(Ar-Ra’d:10-11)
Your guardian angels keep the wild beasts, bad jinn and other disasters at bay. As ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said when he was told that a group of men wanted to kill him. “With every man there are angels guarding him from whatever has not been decreed for him. When the decree comes, they move away from him and let it reach him…”
Every person has two angels, one sitting on the right and the other sitting on the left. These kiramun katiboon (honourable scribes) faithfully record his deeds (Al-Infitar:10-12). In addition, there is a separate angel called a Qareen which urges the person to do good deeds. There is also a devil from among the jinn, which is assigned to the person encouraging him to do evil. So there is no reason to ever feel lonely with all of this going on around us.
Although the angels sometimes ask questions of Allah out of curiosity as they did when they asked why He was choosing to create Adam (Al-Baqarah:30), they do not speak until they are spoken to and do only as they are commanded. Because they know Allah and have seen His Power, they stand in awe and fear of Him (Al-Anbiya:28). They are infallible (At-Tahrim:6) but one day they too will die as Allah says:
And invoke not any other ilah (god) along with Allah: la ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He). Everything will perish save His Face. His is the decision and to Him you (all) shall be returned. (Al-Qassas:88)
Next month we will look at belief in Paradise.
Read Part 1 here: From Submission to Faith
Read Part 2 here: Belief in Allah (SWT)
Ann (Umameer) Stock reverted to Islam 27 years ago and lives back and forth between Cairo and Jeddah with her Egyptian husband. She has dedicated her life to helping the next generation of Muslims, beginning with her own children and grandchildren. You can follow her at http://umameerblog.wordpress.com – Musings of a Muslimah.