“But verily over you are protectors (angels), kind and honorable, writing down (your deeds).” (82:10-11)
“He sends down His angels with inspiration of His command to such of His servants as He pleases, (saying), ‘Warn (the human being) that there is no god but I, so do your duty to Me.”‘ (16:2)
“The Messenger believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, as do the people of faith. Each one (of them) believes in God, His angels, His scriptures and His messengers . .” (2:285)
Belief in the existence of beings called angels is common to various faiths. It is also a fundamental belief of Islam. But what, in the Islamic frame of reference, are angels?
It is obvious that God, the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing, is able to create any kinds of creatures He pleases. As we can see within our world alone, He has indeed created an enormous variety of creatures of all sorts, with very different natures, functions and appearance, among which are some beings possessing intelligence.
The Holy Quran makes it clear that men are not the only intelligent beings created by God [Yet another species of intelligent beings are jinn who, the Quran tells us, are made from fire. Like the human being, they possess freedom of choice. Some of them are good and others are evil. According to Islam, satan (iblis) and his kind are jinn (not fallen angels) to whom God gave leave to try to tempt the human being, to lure him away from submission and obedience to Him. Thus the human being must strive throughout his life against “the evil of the whisperer who withdraws, the one who whispers into the hearts of mankind from among jinn and among men.” (114:4-6) The Quran makes it clear that one whose life is centered on God can easily repel satan, whose strategy is weak, while one who is in a state of denial or rebellion against God is likely to be in satan’s grip, the prey of evil within himself and without]. Another order of intelligent beings are angels, who act as God’s agents and serve Him in many ways. They are created of light and unlike human beings and jinn have not been endowed with free will. Thus they are absolutely obedient to God’s commands and are engaged in worship and service to Him. They are sent to protect people, to administer God’s punishments, to carry His messages, and to perform various other functions. Human beings cannot as a rule see or hear angels, but they are present in our world nevertheless, carrying out the various duties assigned to them by their Creator.
Each human individual is attended by two angels who record all his deeds up to the moment of his death in an account which will be presented to him on the day of judgment, the accuracy of which he will not be able to deny.
Because the glory and majesty of the Creator is so awesome and overwhelming that a limited, flesh-and-blood human being is unable to bear direct contact with Him, God chose to convey His revelation to the prophets, including Muhammad (God’s peace and blessings be on them all) through the agency of an angel [The single known exception to this is the Prophet Moses to whom God spoke directly]. The name of this honored angelic messenger is Gabriel (Jibreel in Arabic) . It is because of this vital role of angels as bringers of the divine revelation to the prophets that belief in them is so important as to form a fundamental article of faith in Islam.
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