FAQ in the category of Angels

1 Could you please give information about Gabriel? (The Archangel)

One of the four archangels. Also called Jibril. He is mentioned with that name in the Quran three times. (al-Baqara, 2/97-98; at-Tahrim, 64/4). This word, Jibril, is a Hebrew word consisting of two words “jibr” and “il”. “Jibr” means the servant and “il” means Allah, which means together “servant of Allah” . (M.H. Yazır, Hak Dini Kur' an Dili (True Religion, the Quran’s Language) l, 431). Gabriel is mentioned in the Quran with the names “Ruh (The Spirit)” “Ruhul Qudus (The Holy Spirit)” and “Ruhul Amin (The Trustworthy Spirit)”

Gabriel’s duty is being a messenger between Allah and His prophets. He conveys the orders and decrees from Allah to the prophets. The Quran was also revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through Gabriel. In the Quran, the following is stated regarding the issue: “ O Muhammad, Ruhul Emin (The Trustworthy Spirit) has revealed the Quran onto your heart with a clear Arabic , in order that you warn the people” (Surah ash-Shuara, The Poets , 26/192-195)

Gabriel may take any form. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has seen him in his real appearance twice: once, when he was descending from Hira to Makkah, at the beginning of the Revelation, and the second time when he was returning from the Miraj (The Ascension) at Sidratul Muntaha (A holy place in the heavens) (as-Saati,al-Fathu'r-Rabbani, VIII, 5). Gabriel, sometimes,  brought the Revelation, in the form of an ordinary man. Then, mostly, he used to be in the apperance of the handsome and young companion Dihyatul Kalbi (Tajridi Sarih Translation, IX,35)Gabriel accompanied the Prophet (PBUH) during the Ascension (Miraj), from Makkah to Jerusalem and from there to Sidratu'l-Muntaha. (Bukhari, Bed'u'l-Halk (Onset of the Creation) 6;(Salat) Prayer 1).

These commands are in the Surah an-Najm:

He was taught by one mighty in Power . Endued with Wisdom: For he appeared (in stately form). While he was in the highest part of the horizon. Then he approached and came closer. And was at a distance of but two bow-lengths or (even) nearer. So did (Allah) convey the inspiration to His Servant (conveyed) what He (meant) to convey “ And in another verse, the following is stated :

And if you back each other against him, truly Allah is his Protector, and Gabriel, and (every) righteous one among those who believe― and furthermore, the angels― will back (him) up.” (at-Tahrim, 66/4)

In the Madinah period, the Jewish scholars asked the Prophet (PBUH) several questions to test him, depending on their knowledge in their books. When they got all correct answer, they asked the name of the angel that brings the revelation to him. When he said “Gabriel” , they said “He is our enemy, he brings war and violence. Our angel of revelation is Michael. He brings good tidings, cheapness and abundance. If he had been your angel, we would have believed you” (M. Hamdi Yazır, ibid. I, 429). Upon this, the following verses were revealed: “ 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.―. 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.(Surah al-Baqara 2/ 97 98)

Allah depicted Gabriel with the attributes of power and trust : “Verily this is the word of a most honorable Messenger endued with Power, with rank before the Lord of the Throne with authority there, (and) faithful of his trust (at-Takwir, 81/19-21)


2 Will Azrail (the Angel of Death) take the spirits of the angels and his own spirit before or after the Doomsday we will experience?

A verse related to the issue is as follows:

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, 68)

In the verse above, it is stated that the Trumpet will be sounded twice. In verse 87 of the chapter an-Naml, it is stated that the Trumpet will sounded once before those two blows. Therefore, Hazrat Prophet (pbuh) mentions three blows of the Trumpet.  1. Nafhatu’l faza’ (terrifying sound) 2. Nafhatu’s-sa’q (killing sound) 3. Nafhatu’l qiyama (resurrection sound). Exceptions: The four archangels. Some interpreters also mention Hamala al- Arsh (Carriers of the Throne) or the angels of Ridwan, houris, Malik (the angel in charge of Hell) and Zabanis (angels of Hell) among the exceptions.

According to Anas b. Malik and Suddi, the ones that are excepted by the verse are Jibril, Mikail, Israfil and Azrail. After Al­lah takes the spirits of all creatures, only those angels are left. Then, He takes their lives and only Allah remains. (Tabari Tafsir)

Angels also have spirits. Therefore, they will die like all of the living beings.

Azrail (may Allah be pleased with him) is in charge of taking the spirits of the living beings. After taking the spirits of all human beings and other living beings, he will take his own spirit by the order of Allah. When he takes his own spirit in the end, he produces such a sound that it exceeds the skies and goes to the earth.

Then, every living being will die. Allah gave Azrail the duty to take their spirits. It is the preference of Allah. (see Marifetname - Erzurumlu İbrahim Hakkı Hazretleri)

3 How can Hazrat Azrael (A.S.) (The Angel of Death) take away the spirits of thousands of people by himself?

The presence of a single speaker on TV at the same time in every home and the instant transmitting of all news to every viewer; should set a good example for the presence of Hazrat Azrael’s (A.S.) in the home of every person, whose death time has come. As science develops, the proof of such events will become easier.

A civil servant who works at an electric supply system of a city can turn off thousands of lamps within one second. He can cause a city to be plunged into darkness in a split second. Besides, these examples are all from the material world. The beings we are mentioning here are from the spiritual world. That is, this becomes easier to understand.

As the real being of Hazrat Azrael, who is an individual of the world of similitude waits at a headquarters, beings representing him become manifest near the people to die and take away their spirits. It is like a speaker who is in Ankara but is heard in all houses where there are television sets.

Can we say, “How will a man who is in New York will be seen and heard all over the country?” 

Why should something that can be possible in the systems produced by human beings be impossible for Allah, who gave human beings the knowledge and intelligence? Besides, Azrael has assistants. It is known that he appointed them. Then, the issue seems every easy.

Moreover, the electricity is single but it is seen all over the city in the light bulbs, ovens and refrigerators at the same time and it functions in all those places.

On the other hand, the law of gravity is single but it attracts things all over the world at the same time.

If electricity and the law of gravity do so many things at the same time, it is easier for the angel appointed to take away the spirits to take away thousands of spirits at the same time.

4 Could you please give information on the nature of Angels, their types and about the importance of belief in them? Why cannot we see them?

The Nature of Angels:

Angels are creatures who have subtlety and capability of transforming into various forms. They were created only to do good deeds. (Tajrid Trns., IX, 19;  Baydawi, I,  134)

Angels are obedient slaves of Allah (SWT). They do whatever they are ordered to do. They never rebel or do anything without order. (al-Anbiya, 26-27) They are free from any sin. Apart from pure worship, they do nothing; they can intervene in nothing unless commanded, and cannot intercede even, without permission. (The Fruits of Belief)

Since they have no anger, nafs (evil commanding soul) and feelings of lust, they have no spiritual advancement or decline as a result of struggling with their nafs. Satan does not bother them. They each have a static position, an unchanging rank and a definite duty.

Angels do not eat or drink, sleep, marry and reproduce like us. They have no gender. They are present in the sky, on the ground and everywhere. They can travel the farthest places in a short time and are capable of appearing in any form and shape as they wish. Allah (SWT) gave them this ability.

As Angels have no duty of choosing between the good and evil and only have capability of doing good deeds, they are not rewarded for the deeds they do like humans. May be they get peculiar pleasure for the deeds and worships they perform according to their levels. (The Words, 327) That is, their rewards are in their service. Man feeds on water, air and light; similarly, angels feeds on the noor (light) of dhikr, tasbih, praising, worship, knowledge and love. (The Words, 327; Tajrid Trns., IX, 19) since they were created from light, as nourishment, light is enough for them. Even good scents which are similar to light are a sort of their nourishment. Good and clean sprits definitely love good scents. (The Words, 327) Since Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) were sent revelations and He frequently met angels, he did not eat food that have stinking smell like onion and garlic and that are not liked by angels. In his words, wearing nice scents were among the three things he liked best in the world.)

The worshipping of Angels is like fard (obligatory) they have no voluntary worships (supererogatory). However, supererogatory worship is a great honor for humans. As a matter of fact, a Hadith al Qudsi explains this as follows; “My servants would gain my love by performing supererogatory worships”. (Husayn Jisri, RisalaI al-Hamidiyya; 577)

Angels also cannot get the thawab (reward) by avoiding things forbidden by Allah (SWT) because they have no inclination for performing bad deeds and harams.

Why cannot we see Angels?

Since Angels were created from noor (light), their true natures and actual images are not visible to human eye. Our seeing abilities were not created with a capability of perceiving angels. However, as Allah (SWT) created prophets with a capability of seeing angels, they could see them with their true natures.

Our inability of seeing and perceiving angles with our five senses does not mean that they do not exist. There are many things that sense organs cannot perceive in the material world. Our ears do not hear very low and high pitched sounds. If we saw all light waves, particularly x-rays and ultraviolet rays with our eyes, we would know the world much more different than we know at the moment. Since we do not know the realities of occurrences in our world, how can we deny endless events that take place in numberless realms of Allah (SWT). Thus, human reason approves the existence of angels.

It is clear that if something is not seen through eyes, it does not mean that it does not exist. There are too many things that we cannot see; however, we approve their existence with our reasoning, knowledge, experience and experiments. At this point, though angels are not visible to human eye, they are among things that we approve their existence.

Primarily Islam and all other divine religions informed about the existence of angels; prophets saw them with their true identities and received revelations from them. Primarily the Qur’an and all divine books also mentioned sufficiently about the existence of angels. All of these things are clear evidences for the existence of angels like seeing them.

It is a great ignorance and denial when someone denies by saying “I cannot see them with my eyes” whereas the existence of angels are approved by all divine religions and prophets. For a person who believes in Allah (SWT), not believing in angels is not in question.

What is the importance of belief in Angles?

Belief in Angels has an important place among the fundamentals of belief because angels are a kind of envoys who take divine message from Allah (SWT) and reveal them to the prophets. So, believing in revelations and prophets requires the belief in the existence of angels who reveals them the revelations and prophethood first.Not believing in angels will bring about not believing in prophets.

That is why belief in Angels is uttered immediately after belief in Allah (SWT).

What are the parts of Angles and how many kinds of angels are there?

Angels are divided into mainly 3 groups:

1. Angels that worship; they are called Illiyyun - Muqarrabun,

2. Angels related to nature; they are called mudabbirat,

3. Angels related to human beings...

* Angels that worship: Muqarrabun:

They are always engaged in mentioning the names of God Almighty, glorifying Him by saying that He is free from all imperfection and blessing Him with all of His perfect attributes. They are overwhelmed by the knowledge, love and worshipping of Allah.

* Angels related to nature: Mudabbirat:

They are angles in charge of managing the universe, applying the divine laws that maintain the order in nature. They supervise and observe the manifestations of the will and power of Allah in nature.(Baydawi, al-Baqara. 30. For the kinds of mudabbirat angels mentioned in the Quran, see:as-Saffat, 1-3; adh-Dhariyat, 4;al-Mursalat, 3-5.)

* Angels related to human beings:

The most important one of them is Gabriel (pbuh). His duty is to convey the divine revelation to prophets. Therefore, he is also called the angel of revelation.

He was also given the names Ruh al-Qudus and Ruh al-Amin. 

Another duty of the angels related to people is to give strength to the prophets of Allah and righteous people, to console them when they are grievous and sad, to elevate their moral strength and to help them actually. The Quran informs us that angels actually helped believers in battles like Badr and Uhud that took place during the Era of Bliss. (al-Anfal, 12; Aal-i Imran, 123-126) 

Another duty of the angels related to man is to suggest good and useful things to people, enabling them to be on the right path and elevating them spiritually. 

The following hadith reported from the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarding the issue is significant: 

Every Muslim is secured by 160 appointed angels. They keep away the things that people cannot cope with. There are 7 appointed angels only for the eye. Those angels chase the Satans that attack the eye just like the flies that attack the honey on a hot day.

If you could see them, you would see how they waited on the mountains and in the plains readily and that they were in a position of attacking. 

If man were left alone for a moment, Satans would snatch him. (Ihya, III, 89; Ibn Abid-Dunya, Makaid ash-Shaytan; Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Kabir.) 

Some angels of this category have certain special duties. 

Recording Angels:

There are two recording angels with each person. They write down and record all kinds of acts, words and behavior of each person, whether they are good or bad. They are called Kiraman Katibin: Honorable Recorders in the Quran.  (See Qaf 50/17-18; al-Infitar 82/10-12; az-Zukhruf 43/86)

Munkar - Nakir Angels:

They are the angels that question man after he dies in the grave and asks questions like, “Who is your Lord? What is your religion, Who is your prophet?

Azrael (pbuh):

He is in charge of removing souls from people’s bodies. He is also called the Angel of Death. (as-Sajda 32/11)

Mikail (pbuh):

He is the angel in charge of delivering the sustenance to their owners and arranging natural events like wind and rain in accordance with Allah’s will.

Israfel (pbuh):

He is the angel in charge of blowing Soor (the trumpet) and announcing the time of the Doomsday. After the Doomsday strikes and all living beings die, Israfel will blow the trumpet again and people will come out of their graves and go to the Gathering Place.

5 Are there angels made of electricity?

In the Quran, the world and earth are mentioned as “ard”. It is stated that all prophets foremost Hz. Adam were sent to the world. Meanwhile, it is stated in the hadith of Miraj (Ascension) that some prophets like Hz. Ibrahim (Abraham), Hz. Idris (Enoch) and Hz. Isa (Jesus) have positions on some layers of the sky. 

It is also stated in verse 44 of the chapter of al-Isra and verse 12 of the chapter of at-Talaq that the earth consists of seven layers like the sky. However, it is not definitely stated what these layers of the earth are and whether those layers of the earth are seven continents or not.

It is necessary not to ignore the following fact: There are so many living beings with spirits, intelligence and consciousness in this planet called earth; similarly, the other planets, stars and celestial bodies have spiritual beings peculiar to their living conditions, structures and locations. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi explains the issue as follows:  

“The globe of the earth being the home of these infinite numbers of beings endowed with consciousness and spirit, despite its insignificance and density among the lofty heavenly bodies and planets, and even its grossest and most rotten particulars becoming masses of microorganisms when they cease as sources of life, necessarily, demonstrably, decisively indicates to, testifies to and proclaims that infinite space and the majestic heavens with their constellations and stars are full of animate beings, conscious beings, and beings with spirits. The Illustrious Shari’a of Muhammad (pbuh) and the Qur’an of Miraculous Exposition call these beings, who are created from fire, light, and even from electricity, and from other subtle flowing matter, “the angels, the jinn, and spirit beings”.  (Yirmi Dokuzuncu Söz, Birinci Maksat, Birinci Esas [29th Word, First Aim, First Fundamental Point])