Why do angels write down our deeds though Allah knows everything?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Allah does not need anyone. He is one and only, Samad. That is, everything needs Him, but He does not need anyone. In addition, He is Hakim (the All-Wise). He attributed every event and creature He created to a cause because His dignity and majesty necessitate it. However, He wants people to reach beyond those causes and to thank and praise Him because His uniqueness necessitates it.

So, the effect of angels while performing their duties is like the effect of the tree in the creation of fruits, the effect of the cow in the creation of milk, and the effect of the bee in the production of honey. The duty of the angels is to applaud Allah by seeing His greatness and to congratulate Him related to the issues that Allah assigns them to do. Allah actually sends down every raindrop that the angels bring down.

There are two angels whom Allah Almighty has assigned to write down all the good and bad deeds of every person. Those two angels are described as follows in the Quran:

"But verily over you (are appointed angels) to protect you,- Kind and honourable,- Writing down (your deeds): They know (and understand) all that ye do.." (al-Infitar, 82/10-12);

"Behold, two (guardian angels) appointed to learn (his doings) learn (and noted 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).

Allah mentions four characteristics of those honorable angels, drawing attention to the importance of the books they write since they will witness about the servants whose deeds they are assigned to write down:

a. The angels of the honorable scribes memorize all the good and bad deeds of the slave they are in charge of; they do not forget because if they forget, the decree about what they do will not be certain.

b. Those angels are karim. That is, they are honorable, righteous and just because the decree based on the witnessing of a treacherous, dishonest and untruthful person will not be certain.

c.  They are scribes. They write down all the deeds of the slaves. It is possible to memorize and know all the deeds of a person from his birth to the end of his life but it is better and sounder to write them. Thanks to writing, doubts about something disappear and knowledge becomes sound.

d.  They write the deeds of the slaves knowingly. It is not science to record something with pictures and writing. It is necessary to understand things consciously in science. Witnessing is permissible by knowing consciously. When the honorary scribes witness on the Day of Judgment, they know very well what the servants did and what they wrote about them.

Some scholars state that the angels of honorary scribes are the angels mentioned in the following hadith:

"Some angels come to you in succession by night and day; they get together at the time of the morning prayer (Fajr) and afternoon prayer (Asr). Those who pass the night with you ascend to the Heaven and Allah asks them - though He knows everything about you well - "In what state did you leave my slaves?" The angels reply as follows: "When we left them, they were praying and when we reached them, they were praying" (Bukhari, Mawaqit, 16; Bad'ul-Khalq, 6; Muslim Masajid 210; Ahmad b. Hanbal, II, 257, 486; Nasai, Salah, 21).

When man believes that angels write his good and bad deeds and that Allah knows everything, he tries to give up sins and to do good deeds. If a person tries to deny his sins during the Day of Judgment, the knowledge of Allah, the witnessing of the angels and the presence of the books will silence him. We cannot know the nature of those books in this world. Allah’s keeping those angels with His servants and making them write down their deeds to is a necessity and manifestation of His absolute justice; and it states the importance of the great court to be established on the Day of Judgment.

The books recorded by the angels of honorable scribes will be given to their owners in the great court. Allah states the following regarding the issue:

"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. (It will be said to him:) "Read thine (own) record: Sufficient is thy soul this day to make out an account against thee." (al-Isra, 17/13, 14).

Man will be addressed as follows: "Everything you did is written in this book; nothing has been left missing and forgotten." Everybody will know what is written in their books on that day. All the good and bad deeds of man are wrapped around his neck. Nobody will be able to escape and be saved from the responsibility of their deeds.

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