Are angels Allah's daughters?

Details of the Question
Are angels Allah's daughters?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Angels are not Allah's daughters - God forbid - but His slaves.

The second principle of belief is belief in angels. Angels are created out of luminous light. They do not eat or drink; they have no gender.

Angels are Allah's beloved slaves. They fulfill Allah's orders perfectly; they never commit sins.

Allah created beings in various forms. Some of them are in a form that we can see and others are in a form that we cannot see. Man cannot see some beings. For, man’s eye was not created in a form that cannot see everything with his eyes; his ability to see is limited.

For instance, we cannot see a tiny thing; we cannot see the air, wind, our spirit and intellect. We cannot see the electric current passing through a wire. However, we know that these things, which we cannot see, exist. Angels are beings that exist but are invisible.

We cannot see angels because they are fine beings created out of luminous light. However, we believe in the existence of angels because Allah states in the Quran that angels exist; and the Prophet (pbuh) saw them and informed us about them. Everything that Allah and the Prophet say is true. Therefore, we absolutely believe in the existence of angels.

Angels are on the earth, in the sky, around us, in short, everywhere. Only Allah knows their number. There are duties assigned to each of them by Allah.

Some of them worship Allah all the time. Some of them are in charge of the order of the universe. They do great things that men cannot do. There are also angels that suggest men goodness, protect them from evil and are sent to help believers when they are in trouble. Allah shows His endless power with the existence of angels.

BELIEF IN ANGELS

Angels are creatures that have no gender, that do not eat, drink, marry or give birth, that are not born, that are not seen by normal eyes and that obey Allah's orders.

According to language authorities, the word "malak (angel)"is an Arabic word derived from the root "aluk" or "aluka". Aluk means the one that takes, delivers aluka means the one that delivers news.

"ALK" actually means "messengership/legation". Its singular form is "malak" but it became "mal´ak" when hamza (´) was placed after "lam (the letter l)". Then, Hamza was dropped and the word became "malak". Such changes are seen a lot in Arabic.

According to Ibn Hayyam, the tafsir scholar, and Raghib al-Isfahani, the linguist, holds the view that the word malak (angel) is derived from the root "malk" or "mulk" meaning "owner of strength and political power". Accordingly, the word malak lexically means messenger, delegate,owner of strength and political power, measure and usage.

In the religion of Islam, when the word angel is used, the divine messengers sent to prophets, the spiritual beings that control and supervise people and the universe on behalf of Allah and that fulfill His orders and assignments exactly come to mind.

D. B. Macdonald, an English orientalist, held the view that the word malak may have been transferred from Hebrew into Arabic but he confessed in his later research that "no traces of such a verb was seen" in the ancient tablets in Hebrew. (Macdonald Malak item. İA., for more information, see. "Ibn Manzur Lisanul-Arab, XII, 386-387; Raghib al-Mufradat p. 49; M. Hamdi Yazır Hak Dini Kur'an Dili, I, 301-303)

Although there are some different views regarding the reality, types, attributes and properties of angels, the common view of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars based on the Book and the Sunnah is as follows in brief: Angels are spiritual, luminous and subtle beings that are engaged in worshipping Allah. They fulfill immediately and exactly any order that Allah gives to them; they never disobey Allah. (at-Tahrim, 66/6) Angels have the attribute of "trustworthiness".

In many verses of the Quran, it is stated that angels were created independently like all of the beings in the universe but that they were away from attributes like eating, drinking, sleeping and marrying unlike humans and other living and material beings, having gender and committing any sins. Due to these properties, they are Allah Almighty’s respectable, honorable and blessed beings that can do all kinds of assignments given to them by Allah Almighty, go to distant places very fast, and seem in various forms and shapes they wish. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in the Quran:

"They (angels) are (but) servants raised to honor. They speak not before He speaks, and they act (in all things) by His command." (al-Anbiya, 21/26-27)

"They (angels) flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." (at-Tahrim, 66/6)

"To Him belongs all (creatures) in the heavens and on earth: even those who are in His (very) Presence are not too proud to serve Him, nor are they (ever) weary (of His service): They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever flag or intermit." (al-Anbiya, 21/19-20)

Allah states the following in these verses:

"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). (Fatir, 1)

"She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them: then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Maryam, 19/17)

Besides, the Prophet (pbuh) stated in the famous hadith of Jibril that Jibril appeared in the form of a person (Dihyatul-Kalbi, one of the Companions). (Bukhari, Iman, 1; Muslim, Iman, 1)

Based on those verses and many sound hadiths that explain and support them in terms of meaning, every Muslim has to believe in the properties of the angels listed below: 

1. Angels are slaves that Allah created. Then, they are not Allah Almighty’s daughters or sons - God forbid - ; they are not His enemies either. (The heretic beliefs of idolaters and polytheists of Arabs about angels are imaginary and wrong.)

2. Angels obey Allah's orders exactly. They never disobey and rebel against Him; they never violate any of His prohibitions; they do not commit sins. For, they have the attributes of "innocence" and "trustworthiness". The common properties of all angels are to praise Allah, to obey, worship and glorify Him. (al-Anbiya, 21/26-27; al-Mumin, 40/7)

3. Angels have two, three or four wings in accordance with their luminous nature (based on the deeds they do and duties). This is definite based on the verses of the Quran, which is Allah’s speech.However, it is a wrong understanding to imagine angels, which are from the unknown/unseen realm, which are isolated from material intensity and whose nature is not known, as material beings like birds with wings. For, they were not created in a way that could be seen by our eyes due to Allah’s will and volition; there is no clear information regarding the issue in the Quran. The wing mentioned in the Quran is a spiritual wing, a symbol of strength and power, which is suitable for the purpose of creation of angels and their luminous nature, and which indicates that they fulfill their duties very fast. This word is a metaphorical and allegorical expression. As a matter of fact, a person who has a good knowledge of both the world and the hereafter is allegorically called "dhul-janahayn (having two wings)"; it is stated that a woman has "wings of compassion and mercy" for her children. Christians regard and describe angels having wings like birds. One of the issues that they differ from Islamic creed is this.

4. According to the Quran and Sunnah, angels were created out of invisible luminous light but Allah Almighty gave them the power of being visible when necessary by assuming the form of intense things and human beings. (M. Said Ramadan al-Buti, Kubral-Yaqiniyyat al-Kawniyya, p. 271-278; A. A. Aydın İslâm İnançları, I, 402-403)

Why are Angels Invisible?

Angels are spiritual and subtle beings that were created out of luminous light; this nature and property of them prevents them from being seen by the human eye. For, human eye, which is material, was not created in a way to be able to see luminous, subtle and abstract beings like angels. However, Allah Almighty gave this power to His prophets, who were the people with high qualities sent by him as guides to the right path; therefore, only they can see angels in their original form or in the form that Allah wishes.   

It is stated in the following verse of the Quran that human beings were created from soil and that jinn and Satan were created from fire:

"And He created Jinn from fire free of smoke." (ar-Rahman, 55/15)

However, as it can be seen in the following verse, it is not stated what angels were created from:

“(Iblis) said: ‘I am better than he: Thou createdst me from fire, and him Thou createdst from clay.’”" (Sad, 38/76)

However, in a sound hadith reported from the Prophet (pbuh) by Hz. Aisha in Muslim, the following is stated:

"Angels were created from luminous light; jinn were created from plain fire." {Sahihi Muslim 7/226 (1333 H.)}

This hadith indicates that angels are luminous and subtle beings that are not material and that angels and jinn are two different beings coming from the same source.

It is fard for every Muslim to Believe in Angels:

The common views of Ahl as-Sunnah scholars based on the Quran and sound hadiths of the Prophet (pbuh) (explained above) about the meaning and truth, types, attributes and properties of angels show the understanding of angels that every Muslim needs to believe. It is one of the principles of belief to believe in angels, whose attributes and duties are explained in detail in many verses of the Quran. This belief has an important system in the faith system of Islam. For, angels are "Allah's divine messengers", who send down Allah's "divine revelation", which is the foundation of "the institution of prophethood", which is regarded as Allah Almighty’s grace and generosity to human beings, from the realm of the unknown/unseen (ghayb) to prophets chosen among human beings.

Angels are Allah’s luminous creatures, who ensure the law and order in the sky and earth of this created realm, who protect human beings, who inspire them charity and good deeds, who are honorable scribes that write what human beings do. 

According to this principle, belief in revelation and prophethood, even in the hereafter and the things that will happen in the hereafter called ghaybiyyat (unknown/unseen things) can be possible only through belief in angels. In that case, before believing in prophets and divine books sent down to them, it is necessary to definitely believe in "the existence of angels" who convey them prophethood, revelation and the books. From this point of view, "belief in angels" means "belief in prophets". Denying angels is regarded as denying prophethood. Therefore, belief in angels is listed just after belief in “Allah” among "the principles of belief".

As a matter of fact, we are ordered to believe in Allah’s angels, after that His books and after that His prophets after belief in Allah in the Quran. The following is stated in verse 285 of the chapter of al-Baqara:

"The Messenger believeth in what hath been revealed to him from his Lord, as do the men of faith. Each one (of them) believeth in Allah, His angels, His books, and His Messengers..."

In fact, belief in other principles of belief (the hereafter, qada and qadar) can be possible by belief in Allah and belief in angels after that. Therefore, belief in angels is mentioned immediately after belief in Allah in the Quran. In the famous hadith reported from the Messenger of Allah by Hz. Umar, the Prophet (pbuh) talked to Hz. Jibril (the angel of revelation); when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was asked "What is belief?", he answered as follows:

"Belief means to believe in Allah, in His angels, in His Books, in His Prophets, in the Day of Judgment, and in the Divine Decree about good and evil." (Muslim, Iman 1; in addition, Bukhari, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Nasai reported similar narrations)

A person who denies the existence of angels, which is definite by the nass above and similar ones becomes an unbeliever according to the Quran, Sunnah and the consensus of the ummah. For, Allah Almighty states the following:

"And who denieth Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, hath gone far, far astray." (an-Nahl, 16/2)

Therefore, to deny angels means to deny the Quran and prophethood.

Then, the truth is this: the existence of angels is definite based on the Quran and Sunnah; it is possible based on intellect. For, all prophets stated that angels existed. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) saw them and informed us that they existed.

In the Quran, there are many verses mentioning angels, their attributes, their various duties and their high ranks in the eye of Allah. Everything that the Quran, which is the word of Allah, says is true and definite expression of reality. Prophets are innocent. They never tell lies since they are qualified with the attributes of innocence, honesty, conveying the message and trustworthiness.

In that case, Muslims have to believe in angels, whose existence is definite based on the Quran and sound hadiths and is agreed unanimously by all prophets and divine religions. Therefore, to deny angels, whose existence is definite based on the Quran and Sunnah, means unbelief. A person who says he does not believe in angels exits religion. It is definitely not permissible to try to interpret the muhkam (clear) verses and the religious evidence differently regarding the issue.

Angels are luminous beings that are present in the invisible realm called "ghaybiyyat"; their existence is definite based on religious evidence (the Quran and Sunnah); therefore, they exist even if we cannot see them; human mind cannot deny their existence.In fact, human mind cannot prove neither the existence nor non-existence of angels but reason indicates that the existence of such subtle beings that are invisible is not impossible but that they are among the things "whose existence is possible". For, no evidence based on intellectual, philosophical or scientific data can be shown to deny the existence of angels. Otherwise, it becomes necessary to deny the existence of “life” and “human spirit”, which we cannot see with our eyes and whose nature and reality science and philosophy cannot determine. However, we cannot deny spirit, intellect, life and facts like power and energy, which are invisible but whose existence is known by science.

Then, we have to believe in spiritual, unseen beings that are isolated from matter like spirit and intellect called "mujarradat (abstract things)". Such abstract beings are metaphysical, invisible and spiritual beings that are based on observation and experience and that are outside the boundaries of exact sciences. As a matter of fact, Socrates and Plato and others who were interested in theological philosophy and many ancient philosophers had to believe that metaphysical, spiritual beings existed and gave them philosophical names like "realm of similitude", "lofty spirits" and "abstract bodies". The majority of the famous scientists who deal with exact sciences today accept and confess that some metaphysical powers and beings cause some events to happen in this material realm. All of these facts and scientific data definitely indicate that the existence of angels is possible according to intellect.

To sum up, we can say that angels exist like our intellect and spirit.

We cannot see them but prophets saw them and they received the revelation of Allah through Jibril, who is a great angel. They received information about Allah’s orders and prohibitions through the angel of revelation and led humanity to guidance and happiness. As a matter of fact, the Quran was sent down to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) in the same way and we were informed about the existence of angels. Therefore, all Muslims believe in angels, about whom the Prophet (pbuh) informed us, and whose existence intellect does not deny. For, denying angels necessitates denying holy books and prophets. 

In many verses of the Quran, various duties of angels are mentioned and the names that were given to them based on the importance and properties of the tasks they do are stated. There are numerous angels on the earth and in skies, on the Kursiyy (Chair), around the Arsh (Throne), in Bayt al-Ma’mur (Frequented House) and Sidratul-Muntaha (Lote Tree of the Utmost Boundary) and in Hell. The four great angels, who arrange angels based on their various duties and tasks and manage them, are the heads and leaders of angels. The most important of these tasks is to convey the divine revelation to prophets; that is, to convey them Allah’s orders. In this context, when the word angel is mentioned, the angel of revelation called "Jibril (Gabriel)" comes to mind. Then, the leaders of other groups of tasks, Azrael, Mikail and Israfil come. These four angels are "messengers" of angels.

According to the statement of the Quran, it is possible to classify angels under three big groups:

A) Angels called "Illiyyun, Muqarrabun": They are always busy with glorifying and worshipping Allah. They are overwhelmed with love of Allah.

B) Angels called "Mudabbirat":They are in charge of the system and order of the universe. They act as agents of the manifestation of Allah’s will and power in the world and skies.   

C) First of all, they are divine messengers appointed to convey the revelation to prophets.They are generally busy with spiritual states and improvement of all people. They have various duties related to people.

The fact is this: It is not possible for us to know in detail what kind of duties all angels have. However, the Quran informs us about some duties of angels and the names of angels given to them based on their duties. It is necessary to believe in them with the names and attributes that we are informed. For, these duties and names are definite by religious nass.

In general, the duties of angels about people’s spiritual development, worldly and otherworldly life expressed by the verses of the Quran and the Prophet (pbuh) and their names can be summarized as follows:

1. Angels are divine messengers that bring revelation to prophets from Allah. The biggest and most important duties of angels related to people are to convey the divine revelation that lead them to guidance and salvation in both worlds to prophets, to deliver Allah’s word, orders and decrees to prophets, who are His distinguished slaves. These important duties of angels are definite by many verses of the Quran. Allah states the following in the Quran:

"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): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.." (Fatir, 35/1)

In the verse above, Allah states that He created "angels" who delivers prophethood and His divine revelation to His prophets. The word"wings" is a metaphorical expression to express the power of angels in the realm of spirits and to state that they fulfill Allah's divine orders very quickly. Allah states the following in another verse:

"He doth send down His angels with inspiration of His Command, to such of His servants as He pleaseth, (saying): ‘Warn (Man) that there is no god but I: so do your duty unto Me.’" (an-Nahl, 16/2).

According to what is understood from the verse, Allah sends down His divine revelation to prophets, who are His distinguished slaves, through His angels. They inform people about Allah's oneness and that He is the only God worthy of worshipping and being feared. In the verse, revelation is likened to spirit. For, spirit causes the body to revive; similarly, revelation is like spirit that revives people and nations. In the two verses above, angels of revelation are mentioned but according to the Quran, the name of the angel that delivers revelation to Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) is Jibril. According to some scholars, this word, "Jibril", means "the one serving Allah" in Arabic. Allah states the following:

"Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe." (al-Baqara, 2/97)

Jibril is also mentioned as "Ruhul-Amin (Spirit of Faith and Truth)" and "Ruhul-Qudus (Holy Spirit)" in the Quran:

"Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the Spirit of Faith and Truth." (ash-Shuara, 26/192-193)

"Say the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in truth..." (an-Nahl 16/102).

It is also stated that revelation was sent down to the prophets before Hz. Muhammad in the same way. (an-Nisa, 4/163) Jibril is also called "angel of revelation" and "great owner of secret". He is also mentioned as"rasul (messenger)" as one of the four great angels. He is the head and messenger of the angels of revelation. He is the greatest and most honorable angel.

2. One of the most important duties of angels is to strengthen prophets, who are Allah’s beloved slaves, by supporting them, to ease the difficulties they face and to console them when they are sad.

This help and spiritual support was observed for all prophets. There are many examples of it and it is definite by the Quran. The name of Hz. Isa (Jesus) is mentioned the most among the prophets regarding the issue. For Hz. Isa and his mother, Hz. Maryam (Mary) were attacked and slandered seriously by Jews. It is stated in three places in the Quran (al-Baqara, 2/87, 253 and an-Nisa 4/110) that Hz. Isa was strengthened by Ruhul-Qudus, that is, Jibril. The following is stated in a verse:

"...We gave Jesus the son of Mary clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit..." (al-Baqara, 2/87 and 253)

“Allah and His angels, send blessings on the Prophet…” (al-Ahzab, 33/56)

3. Angels support real believers and righteous slaves that are together with prophets and that follow them by strengthening them. 

They help and give glad tidings to believers at times of hardship (especially by being in the same ranks as them when they fight). The following is stated in the Quran:

"In the case of those who say "Our Lord is Allah", and further, stand straight and steadfast, the angels descend on them (from time to time): "Fear ye not!" (they suggest) "Nor grieve! but receive the Glad Tidings of the Garden (of Bliss), the which ye were promised! We are your protectors in this life and in the Hereafter..."(Fussilat, 24/30-31) 

The descent of the angels for believers can be in the form of inspiring what is good and true in the world in their hearts and in the form of making them peaceful and giving them the glad tiding of Paradise promised to them by Allah. The assistant angels in this group console believers when they are having difficulty by saying to them that they are their friends both in the world and the hereafter. As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty states that He sent down angels who helped to the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions with him when they fought in the way of Allah and who made them victorious over their enemies. Allah Almighty sates the following regarding the issue:

"Remember ye implored the assistance of your Lord, and He answered you: ‘I will assist you with a thousand of the angels, ranks on ranks.’"(al-Anfal, 8/9)

"Is it not enough for you that Allah should help you with three thousand angels (specially) sent down?"(Aal-i Imran, 3/124)

In another verse, it is stated that five thousand angels were sent down (Aal-i Imran, 3/125); in another verse, the following is stated:

"We sent against them a hurricane and force that ye saw not…" (al-Ahzab, 33/9)

As a matter of fact, it is definite based on history that the Muslims won the three battles against the unbelievers with the permission of Allah and help of the angels.

4. Another duty of angels is to help people to ascend spiritually and to lead them to good and nice deeds.

People can understand what spiritual life is and develop their spiritual faculties only by the divine revelation sent down by angels and divine inspiration suggested by them. Angels enable the thought of spiritual elevation in the world by giving spiritual power to believers. The reason why angels pray for believers and even for unbelievers is to lead all people to the way of spiritual elevation. The reason why they lead believers to guidance with the permission of Allah is to ensure this spiritual elevation. These duties of angels related to people aim to help people to ascend spiritually and thus to make them attain spiritual perfection. In general, all kinds of good and nice deeds are a result of the good suggestions of angels and their leading to us to those deeds.

5. Another duty of angels in this group is to pray and intercede so that all people will attain guidance and the true path.

Intercession (shafa’ah) means to pray to Allah for sinners. This prayer and intercession is for all people with the will of Allah, whose mercy encompasses everything, but the prayer of angels that are peculiar to believers are stronger. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in the Quran:

"Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it sing Glory and Praise to their Lord; believe in Him; and implore forgiveness for those who believe: ‘Our Lord! Thy reach is over all things in Mercy, and Knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in repentance, and follow Thy Path: and preserve them from the Penalty of the Blazing Fire!’" (al-Mumin, 40/7)

The prayer of angels for prophets and Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) means to praise them and to utter salawat for them. (al-Ahzab, 33/56)

The intercession of angels is mentioned as follows:

"How many so ever be the angels in the heavens, their intercession will avail nothing except after Allah has given leave for whom He pleases and that he is acceptable to Him." (an-Najm, 53/26)

6. Angels are also means of applying and executing divine penalties. That is, one of their duties is to execute exactly the divine punishment given to people with evil spirits and deniers. This duty is closely related to the duty of strengthening and supporting believers. For, in the struggle between the believing righteous slaves and the bad slaves, punishing the latter means supporting and rewarding believing slaves. As a matter of fact, the following is stated in two verses about the unbelievers who wage war against the truth and divine realities: 

"Such as fear not the meeting with Us (for Judgment) say: "Why are not the angels sent down to us, or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Indeed they have an arrogant conceit of themselves, and mighty is the insolence of their impiety! The Day they see the angels― no joy will there be to the sinners that Day: the (angels) will say: "There is a barrier forbidden (to you) altogether!" And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in this life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about." (Furqan, 25/21-23).

"Will they wait until Allah comes to them in canopies of clouds, with angels (in His train) and the question is (thus) settled?"(al-Baqara, 2/210)

The verse above and similar ones show that angels of torture will strike the heads of unbelievers and will punish them.

7. Another duty of angels is to manage and control Hell and the people in Hell, and to execute their penalties.The word "zabaniya" is used for the angels in charge of Hell in the Quran. They are the guards of Hell. Nineteen of them are their leaders. "Khazanau Jahannam" are the managers of Hell. The following is stated about Hell and its angels, who are the guards of Hell:

"And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is? Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone!― Darkening and changing the color of man! Over it are Nineteen. And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers..." (al-Muddaththir, 74/27-31)

8. Another duty of angels is to manage and control Paradise and the people in Paradise, and to present them the boons of Paradise. In the Quran, the angels of Paradise are generally called "Ridwan" and its managers are called "Khazanau Jannah". The following is stated in the Quran regarding the issue:

"And those who feared their Lord will be led to the Garden in crowds: until behold, they arrive there; its gates will be opened: and its Keepers will say: "Peace be upon you! Well have ye done! Enter ye here, to dwell therein." (az-Zumar, 39/73)

The following is stated in another verse:

"Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate (with the salutation): ‘Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final Home!’"(ar-Ra'd, 13/23-24)

9. One of the duties of angels is to carry the Throne. They are called "Hamala al- Arsh". The Quran states that the number of the angels that will carry it on the Day of Judgment is eight (or eight ranks):

"And the angels will be on its sides and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them."(al-Haaqqa, 69/17)

The following is stated in another verse:

"Those who sustain the Throne (of Allah) and those around it sing Glory and Praise to their Lord..."(al-Mu'min, 40/7)

10. Some angels have some special duties related to people. The duties of some of them are to protect people under different circumstances and various tasks, to guard them and to record all of their good and bad deeds.In the Quran, they are called Hafaza, Muaqqiba and Kiraman Katibin (Honorary Scribes)". They are called "Hafaza" angels. There are separate angels for each person. The following is stated in a verse:

"For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before and behind him: they guard him by command of Allah."(at-Ra'd, 13/11).

The following is stated in another verse:

"He is the Irresistible (watching) from above over his worshippers, and He sets guardians over you." (al-An'am, 6/61)

These angels, who are mentioned "Kiraman Katibin" write everything that a person does and keep them in a book. One of these angels stands on the right of a person and the other on the left; they record the good and bad deeds. The following is stated in the Quran:

"Behold two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and note them), one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready (to note it)." (Qaf, 50/17,18) 

In another verse, the term "Kiraman Katibin" is used:

"But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you― Kind and honorable― writing down (your deeds)."(al-Infitar, 82/10, 11)

The word "hafaza" (guard) mentioned in the verse means to supervise and to watch people’s deeds. Since angels are spiritual and luminous beings, their recording is not like that of people. As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty states the following:

"Every man's fate We have fastened on his own neck: on the Day of Judgment We shall bring out for him a scroll, which he will see spread open."(al-Isra, 17/13)

11. There are also angels of grave called "Munkar and Nakir". They are in charge of asking each person who die and who are put in the grave questions about his Lord, prophet and book.

12. One of the most important and greatest duties of angels is to remove the spirit of the people whose life end with the permission of the Lord of Realms, the Creator. They are called"angels of death". Their leader is Azrail, who is one of the four great and muqarrab angels. The divine wisdom of Allah Almighty, who created living beings, found it appropriate to remove the spirits of people through a "muqarrab" angel. The following is stated in the Quran:

"Say: ‘The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: then shall ye be brought back to your Lord.’"(as-Sajdah, 32/11)

As it is seen, he is a great angel mentioned as "angel of death" in the verse.

The issue whether spirits are removed by only one angel, that is, Azrail (Abduljabbar) or through many angels. For, the answer to this question is not clear in the Quran. For instance, it is stated in the following verse that there is more than one angel of death:

"...At length, when death approaches one of you, Our angels take his soul..." (al-An'am 6/61).

In the verse mentioned before this one (as-Sajda 32/11), it is stated that spirits are taken by only one angel.

According to the view accepted by the majority of scholars, there is only one angel of death.However, he is supported by a lot of angels that help him. There is a spiritual connection between them like that of a commander and his soldiers. This issue can be likened to the rays of the sun coming from one place and reaching all parts of the world simultaneously. Allah created the angel of death. He gave the angel the authority to remove the spirit from the body. He also gave the angel an army that will follow his orders and carry out the deeds. (al-An'am, 6/61). Thus, the one that removes the spirits is "the angel of death. The ones who fulfill this deed are his assistants. The one who actually removes the spirit and kills the body is Allah." (Qurtubi, al-Jamiu li Ahkamil-Qur'an, XIV, 94).

In some sound hadiths, it is stated that the angel of death will treat believers who do righteous deeds softly, that death will be easier for them but that the angel of death will fulfill his duty harshly and without mercy when he removes the spirits of the people who do evil things and who disobey and that death will be more difficult for them. However, this is not a definite and universal rule that is valid all the time. (see M.S. Ramazan al-Buti, Kubra al-Yaqiniyyat al-Kawniyya, trnsl by Mehmet Yolcu, p. 278-280 and 312-313).

What a Muslim needs to do is to definitely believe the facts related to death, which is an unknown reality based on definite nass, and in the angel of death.

Various duties of angels are mentioned in the Quran and hadiths but the names of the angels except Jibril and Mikail (al-Baqara 2/98) were not mentioned with definite nass. Allah knows their names and the properties of each of them. The angel of death is named as "Azrail" in some books but it is not regarded as something that is definitely necessary to believe. (see Azrail, item; a lot of Israiliyyat that is not regarded as valid by Islamic scholars and that is not reliable exists in the translation of the item of "Azrail" in İslâm Ansiklopedisi (Leyden) edition.)

The name of Mikail is mentioned only once in the Quran:

"Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and prophets to Gabriel and Michael-Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject faith." (al-Baqara, 2/98). For the two narrations that are mentioned in the interpretation of this verse, (see at-Tabari, I, 324, 327; al-Baydawi, II, 91; az-Zamakhshari, I, 92)

The duty of Mikail, who is one of the four muqarrab angels, according to some hadiths, is to control and manage various natural events that happen in the universe like the blowing of the winds and rain and to control and manage various needs of people that provide sustenance for them. There are some signs in some hadiths that he is very strongly built and that he fulfils these duties with the angels under his command.  

There is not much reliable knowledge about Mikail in reliable books. There is a lot of  Israiliyyat regarding the issue; however, there are some narrations in some sources that Allah appointed Mikail to inform angels and Iblis to prostrate before Hz. Adam, that He encouraged Jibril to make the Quran be read based on seven types of qira’ah and that he was among the angels that were sent down to help the Muslims at the Battle of Badr. In one of the narrations, it is stated that among the angels that opened the breast of the Prophet (pbuh) and cleaned his heart when he was a child or on the night of Isra were Jibril and Mikail. [Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqat, II, 9,10; Mikail item. See also İslâm Ansiklopedisi (M.E.B) Mikail item VIII. 309]

It is said that the name Israfil comes fromthe Hebrew word "serafim", that it was transformed into "serafin" first and into "serafil" after that and finally into "Israfil", and that it means "fame and honor". He is one of the four muqarrab and great angels; his main duty is to blow the trumpet (Sur) twice, the first one announcing the strike of Doomsday and the second one announcing the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, he is known as the angel of Sur. The evidence for this very important incident is the following verse:

"The Trumpet will (just) be sounded, when all that are in the heavens and on earth will swoon, except such as it will please Allah (to exempt). Then will a second one be sounded, when, behold they will be standing and looking on." (az-Zumar, 39/68).

It is accepted that Israfil will be awakened before everyone else on the Day of Judgment (to fulfill his duty) and the he will blow the Trumpet for the second time, which will signal the resurrection of the dead by the permission of Allah leaning on Sahratullah (the Dome of the Rock) in Quds (Jerusalem). 

It is also narrated that within this long period up to the strike of Doomsday, when Israfil fulfills this important duty, he is in charge of reading Allah’s will written in Lawh al-Mahfuz (the Preserved Tablet) and convey it to a muqarrab angel each time, that he accompanied the Prophet (pbuh) for three years and that he informed the Prophet (pbuh) about his prophethood and that Jibril started to deliver the Quran to the Prophet after that. (see also İslâm Ansiklopedisi Israfil item)

It is clearly known that Allah has power to do anything and that He does not need the help of angels or their existence as a cause when He creates and eliminates something or that angels do not need to undertake a duty. For, it is Allah who creates angels and who gives them that power. In that case, what is the wisdom behind the assignment of the duties mentioned above to angels? The wisdom behind it is Allah’s wish to show His divine power and absolute domination to His slaves in a way that they are accustomed to and their thoughts and minds can understand. This is an obligatory outcome of the system in the universe established by Allah Almighty and His law of cause and effect.

Are angels superior to human beings?

According to Ahl as-Sunnah scholars, all prophets are superior to the four great angels; that is, their degree in the eye of Allah is higher. The messengers of angels are superior to all people. There is consensus about it.

Believers who have taqwa and righteous deeds are regarded to be superior to angels (except their messengers) and to have higher degrees. For, angels cannot commit sins due to their nature. It is a natural obligation for them to obey and worship Allah. There is no inner or outer effect to prevent them from doing it. However, man has intellect and soul; and he is under inner and outer influences. Despite this, if man overcomes all negative obstacles, obeys Allah and has taqwa, he will certainly be superior to angels. (For the evidence and discussions regarding the issue, see al-Jurjani, Sharhul-Mawaqif, III, 216-220, İstanbul 1311 H; at-Taftazani, Sharhul-Maqasid, II, 146-149, İstanbul 1277)

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