Will you give information about the appearance (embodiment) of angels, jinn and devils?

Details of the Question
Will you give information about the appearance (embodiment) of angels, jinn and devils?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

In this visible realm, there is a movement toward the invisible like the evaporation of water, transformation of solid substances into gas, liquid and vapor, atom's breaking and becoming energy waves and quants, and stars becoming black holes. When we think of this divine activity in the opposite way, it is possible to observe a movement from the invisible to the visible and from the unknown to matter, which is seen.

Angels, jinn and spiritual beings, which are invisible beings, are not seen in this world with their structures peculiar to themselves but they can be seen by using the means peculiar to this realm as sheaths and clothes. The visibility of the angels and jinn like that is called “appearance” (tamaththul). The following is stated in the Quran when appearance is described:

“And he (the angel) appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Maryam, 19/17)

The angel that conveyed the revelation to the Prophet (pbuh) sometimes came in a state peculiar to him, sometimes as a warrior and sometimes in various forms. When it was time to walk against the tribe of Banu Qurayza, Jibril came in the form of a warrior with dust on him. He said,

“O Messenger of Allah! You took off your armors but we, the angels, did not take off our armors.”

The same angel sometimes came in the form of Dihya, a Companion, and sometimes like a guest who had no sign of a journey on him; he asked the Prophet (pbuh) questions like “What is belief (iman), what is ihsan and what is Islam?” He confirmed the answers given to them by saying, “Right!”

Imam Shibli says that spiritual beings cannot change their forms on their own, that they have no power to do it and that when they utter one of the words and names that functioned like passwords and that were taught to them by Allah, Allah changes their forms and shapes. Accordingly, Allah puts them in the shape of men, women or some other things if He wishes. Jinn and devils cannot do this transformation based on their own talents and wills; if they try to do it, they will break into pieces and die.

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