The Angels

Muslims believe that angels have been created by Allah from light. They have no free will and fulfil certain functions via direct command in the service of Allah. They also worship Allah.

Some angels mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah:

Hamalat al-‘Arsh: Those who carry the ‘Arsh (throne of Allah).

Jibrail (Gabriel): He is the leader of the angels. His function was mainly to bring revelation to the Messengers. He is known as the angel who communicates with all of the prophets. He is also referred to as the holy spirit.

Mikaeel (Michael): He is often depicted as the Archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to earth and thus supplying sustenance to all living beings. He is also responsible for the rewards sent out to good persons in this life.

Israfeel (Raphael): He is to blow the trumpet when the time for the end of the world arrives. He will blow the trumpet twice: The first blow will destroy everything, while the second blow will bring all human beings back to life again to meet their Lord.

Azraeel (Azrael): The angel of death. He is responsible for parting the soul from the body. He is only referred to as Malak al-Maut, meaning angel of death, in the Qur’an.

The Angels of the Seven Heavens:

Hafaza (The Guardian Angel): Each person is assigned with four Hafazas, two of which keep watch during the day and two during the night. They help the soul fight attacks from the Devil and Jinn. The Hafaza’s keep track of each and every good and bad deed that their person performs in their books. On the Day of Judgment, they will be used to determine if the person is worthy of admission into Jannah (Paradise / Heaven).

Al-Kiraam, Al-Kaatibeen (Honourable Recorders): 2 of whom are charged with each human being; One figuratively sits on the right shoulder and records all good deeds, while the other sits on the left shoulder and records all bad deeds. The Book in which the angels are writing is the cumulative record of a given person’s deeds. After that person’s death, it is said that on the Day of Judgement each person will be confronted with this record, and the two angels will be present to tell Allah what the person did.

Mu’aqqibat (The Protectors): Who keep people from death until it’s decreed time and who bring down blessings.

Munkar and Nakir (meaning The Denied and The Denier): are 2 angels who test the faith of the dead in their graves. After death, a person’s soul passes through a stage called Barzakh, where it exists in the grave. The questioning will begin when the funeral is over and the last person of the funeral congregation has stepped 40 steps away from the grave. Munkar and Nakir come and ask three questions: ‘Who is your Lord? Who was that man who was sent to you? What is your religion?’. A true believer will respond correctly, saying that their Lord is Allah, that Muhammad is their prophet who was sent, and that their religion is Islam. If the deceased answers correctly, the time spent awaiting the resurrection is pleasant. Those who do not answer as described above are chastised until the day of judgment.

Munkar and Nakir are described as having a bluey / black complexion with solid black eyes, having a shoulder span measured in miles, and carrying hammers ‘so large, that if all of mankind tried at once to move them a single inch, they would fail’. When they speak, tongues of fire come from their mouths, and their voices are like thunder. If one answers their questions incorrectly, one is beaten every day, other than Friday, until Allah gives permission for the beating to stop. Muslims believe that a person will correctly answer the questions not by remembering the answers before death but by their Iman (Faith) and deeds such as Salat (Prayer) and Shahadah (The declaration of Faith).

Darda’il (The Journeyers): Angels who travel in the earth searching out assemblies where people remember God’s name.

Maalik: The chief of the angels who governs Jahannam (Hellfire).

Zabaniah: 19 angels who torment sinful persons in hell.

Ridwan (means Pleased): The angel who is responsible for Jannah (Paradise / Heaven).

There are also angels charged with each existent thing, maintaining order and warding off corruption.   Their number is known only to Allah.

Note: Barzakh is the intermediate state in which the soul of the deceased is transferred across the boundaries of the mortal realm into a kind of  ‘cold sleep’ where the soul will rest until Judgement Day. The term appears in the Qur’an (Surat 23, Verse 100).

Knowledge For All