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Belief in Angels

Belief in Angels

Belief in angels is an article of faith

One of the pillars of faith is to believe in angels.  We know from the very famous hadith of Jibreel, that he came to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the form of a mysterious stranger whom no one recognised. He came and sat down right opposite Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and posed some questions. He said, “Tell me about faith.” The Prophet said, “Faith is to believe in Allah, His angels, his Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in providence, its good and its harm.” This shows us that believing in angels is the second article of faith – imaan al malaaikah. It is a core part of our belief.

Evidence from the Quran and Sunnah

Allah Almighty mentioned angels in the Quran many times. They have been mentioned in the Quran on 75 occasions, in around 33 surahs. In the penultimate verse of Surat al-Baqarah, Allah Almighty says:

ءَامَنَ ٱلرَّسُولُ بِمَآ أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مِن رَّبِّهِۦ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۚ كُلٌّ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَمَلَـٰٓئِكَتِهِۦ وَكُتُبِهِۦ وَرُسُلِهِۦ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍۢ مِّن رُّسُلِهِۦ ۚ وَقَالُوا۟ سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۖ غُفْرَانَكَ رَبَّنَا وَإِلَيْكَ ٱلْمَصِيرُ ٢٨٥

The messenger has believed what was revealed to him from his Lord and as did the believers, they all have believed in His angels, His scriptures and His messengers. So you can see clearly and obviously that Allah Almighty is mentioning the belief in angels. [2:285]

Why we should believe in angels

One may wonder why it is crucial to believe in angels. If someone denies the existence of angels, does it matter? Yes, it would matter, because we did not receive the revelation directly from Allah Almighty, but through the Trusted Spirit (Ruhul Ameen) Jibreel, who brought the revelation to all prophets and messengers. Allah Almighty entrusted him with the revelation. Jibreel, therefore, delivered the Torah to Musa (peace be upon him), the scrolls to Ibrahim (peace be upon him), the Injeel to Eesa (peace be upon him), and the Quran to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

If someone were to say ‘I don’t believe in angels’, it means they also deny the divine books, because the angels conveyed the revelation, and it is through the revelation that we know about Allah’s attributes, commands, Shariah, and prohibitions etc. This is why belief in angels is crucial and it is one of the articles of faith.

There are different types of angels, and they have different missions. We don’t know how many angels there are, because Allah Almighty says in the Quran that no one knows the number of the soldiers of Allah Almighty except Him, meaning the angels.

Description of angels

Someone might say, what are the angels? We need proof and a description of the angels because they are invisible to us, like the Jinn. Allah Almighty created the Jinn from the flame of the fire, and He created the angels from the light.

Aisha reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ خُلِقَتْ الْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ نُورٍ وَخُلِقَ الْجَانُّ مِنْ مَارِجٍ مِنْ نَارٍ وَخُلِقَ آدَمُ مِمَّا وُصِفَ لَكُمْ

“The angels were created from light, the jinn were created from a mixture of fire, and Adam was created as has been described for you.” [Muslim]

They are very different creatures from us, with special features and superpowers. Allah Almighty has endowed them with such strength that they can flip a mountain or whole city upside down.

ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ جَاعِلِ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓئِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُوْلِيٓ أَجۡنِحَةٖ مَّثۡنَىٰ وَثُلَٰثَ وَرُبَٰعَۚ يَزِيدُ فِي ٱلۡخَلۡقِ مَا يَشَآءُۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدِيرٞ

[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. [35:1]

They have wings, as Allah Almighty stated in the Quran. Some have two wings, some have three wings, some have four wings. The greater angels have even more wings, like Jibreel, who has 600 wings, and each wing spans from the East to the West.

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (peace be upon him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw Jibril in his original form having six hundred wings; each wing completely covered up the horizon [the entire range of vision] and had descending [falling] below it a glamorous spectrum of different [shaded and] coloured pearls and gems. [Musnad Ahmad]

Imagine how terrifying his appearance must be when he has 600 wings. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) saw Jibreel in his true form twice. The first time, he (peace be upon him) was in the Cave of Hira and he rushed back to his house to Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), terrified. Afterwards, Jibreel would come in the shape of a man – sometimes in the form of a man known in the community, and occasionally as an anonymous person.

Can we see angels?

Is it possible for normal people, other than prophets and messengers, to see angels? Prophets and messengers could see angels, as the angels were sent to deliver the message to them so they could convey it to people. We have evidence for this from the Quran and from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). 

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) was with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) when he received Jibreel, and the Prophet (peace be upon him) told her “Oh Aisha, this is Jibreel; he sends you his salam.” This happened with Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) as well.

Seeing and hearing the angels is exceptional, as they are not visible to most people. From various hadith we know that some companions occasionally saw the angels and used to hear the angels at times as well. The companion Usayd ibn Hudayr was once reciting a surah from the Quran when he saw the clouds descending. The more he recited with his beautiful, melodious voice, the more the clouds descended. As they got closer to him, he stopped reciting, and then the clouds stopped descending; when he resumed they descended again, so he stopped. He asked the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the next morning what had happened, and was informed that it was the angels, who had come to listen to his recitation.

In another narration, Al-Bara’ bin ‘Azib (may Allah be pleased with them) reported:

A man was reciting Surat Al-Kahf, and a horse was tied with two ropes beside him. As he was reciting, a cloud overshadowed him, and as it began to come nearer and nearer, the horse began to trample violently. The man came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) in the morning and mentioned the incident to him. He (ﷺ) said, “That was tranquillity which descended as a result of the recitation of the Qur’an.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Angels in human form

In another hadith, Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنَّ رَجُلًا زَارَ أَخًا لَهُ فِي قَرْيَةٍ أُخْرَى فَأَرْصَدَ اللَّهُ لَهُ عَلَى مَدْرَجَتِهِ مَلَكًا فَلَمَّا أَتَى عَلَيْهِ قَالَ أَيْنَ تُرِيدُ قَالَ أُرِيدُ أَخًا لِي فِي هَذِهِ الْقَرْيَةِ قَالَ هَلْ لَكَ عَلَيْهِ مِنْ نِعْمَةٍ تَرُبُّهَا قَالَ لَا غَيْرَ أَنِّي أَحْبَبْتُهُ فِي اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ قَالَ فَإِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ أَحَبَّكَ كَمَا أَحْبَبْتَهُ فِيهِ

“A man set out to visit his brother from another town, so Allah sent an angel to watch over his steps. When the angel came to him, he said: Where are you going? The man said: I am visiting a brother of mine in this town. The angel said: Do you have a favour over him to be repaid? He said: No, only that I love him for the sake of Allah Almighty. The angel said: I am a messenger from Allah to tell you that Allah loves you as you love him.” [Muslim]

This is a beautiful narration which shows us that there is a possibility of seeing angels and that they have the ability to take the shape of humans, as Jibreel did when he walked into the mosque to ask Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) certain questions. In fact, he would regularly appear in the form of Dihya al-Kalbi, a handsome companion who was a real man.

We also know of the presence of the angels in the story of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) when they came to him in the shape of two or three men as guests.

هَلْ أَتَاكَ حَدِيثُ ضَيْفِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ الْمُكْرَمِينَ

إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَيْهِ فَقَالُوا سَلَامًا ۖ قَالَ سَلَامٌ قَوْمٌ مُّنكَرُونَ

Has the story of Abraham’s honorable guests reached you?

When they entered upon him, they said, “Peace.” He said, “Peace, strangers.” [51:24-25]

In the story of Dawud (peace be upon him) the angels pretended to have a dispute amongst themselves so that Dawud (peace be upon him) would judge their case.

إِذْ دَخَلُوا عَلَىٰ دَاوُودَ فَفَزِعَ مِنْهُمْ ۖ قَالُوا لَا تَخَفْ ۖ خَصْمَانِ بَغَىٰ بَعْضُنَا عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَنَا بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تُشْطِطْ وَاهْدِنَا إِلَىٰ سَوَاءِ الصِّرَاطِ

When they entered upon David, and he was startled by them. They said, “Do not fear. Two disputants; one of us has wronged the other; so judge between us fairly, and do not be biased, and guide us to the straight way.” [38:22]

There is also the story of when the angels came to test the blind man, bald man and leper.

Named angels

Although there are many angels, we only know the names of three of them: Jibreel, Israfeel, and Mika’eel.

عن أبي سَلَمة بن عبد الرحمن بن عَوْف، قال: سألتُ عائشةَ أمَّ المؤمنين رضي الله عنها ، بأيِّ شيء كان نبيُّ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يفتَتِح صلاتَه إذا قام من الليل؟ قالت: كان إذا قام من الليل افتتح صلاتَه: «اللهمَّ ربَّ جِبرائيل، ومِيكائيل، وإسرافيل، فاطرَ السماوات والأرض، عالمَ الغيب والشهادة، أنت تحكم بين عبادك فيما كانوا فيه يختلفون، اهدني لما اختُلِف فيه من الحق بإذنك، إنَّك تهدي مَن تشاء إلى صراطٍ مستقيمٍ 

Abu Salamah ibn ‘Abdur-Rahmān ibn ‘Awf reported: I asked ‘Ā’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, (may Allah be pleased with her) about the words with which the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) used to commence his voluntary night prayer. She said that when he got up at night, he would commence his prayer with these words: “O Allah, Lord of Jibrīl, Mikha’īl, and Israfil, Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen, You judge between Your slaves concerning that in which they used to differ. Guide me, by Your permission, to the truth about which people differ. Verily, You guide whom You will to the straight path!” [Muslim]

The angel Israfeel will blow the Trumpet for the Hour to start. Whenever the Quran says “wa nufikha fissoor” it means that Israfeel will blow the Trumpet, as this is the mission Allah Almighty allocated for him.

Angel Mika’eel is responsible for the delivery of rizq, provisions, through controlling the rain and vegetation.

Angels who carry the Throne

Angels have different jobs and different missions which Allah Almighty has sent them to do. Some carry the heavens, some carry the Throne of Allah Almighty, some are the guardians of the gates of Jannah or the gates of Hell.

Some of the attributes of angels are that they have been given superpowers by Allah Almighty. For instance, the eight angels who carry the throne (`Arsh) of Allah Almighty, which is by far the greatest of Allah Almighty’s creation.

وَالْمَلَكُ عَلَىٰ أَرْجَائِهَا ۚ وَيَحْمِلُ عَرْشَ رَبِّكَ فَوْقَهُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ ثَمَانِيَةٌ

And the angels will be ranged around its borders, while on that day eight will be carrying your Lord’s throne above them. [69:17]

Abu Dharr al-Ghifārī said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

“The seven heavens in comparison to the Kursī is nothing but like a ring thrown in a desert, and the excellence of the ʽArsh (Throne of Allāh) over the Kursī is like the excellence of that desert over that ring.” [ibn Hibban]

The Kursi is the footstool of Allah, while the Arsh is the throne itself. When it comes to the angels who carry the throne of Allah Almighty, some narrations say they are so large that the distance between their ear and their shoulder is the distance of walking for 700 years. Jabir bin ‘Abd Allah reported the Prophet (May peace be upon him) as saying:

I have been permitted to tell about one of Allah’s angels who bears the Throne that the distance between the lobe of his ear and his shoulder is a journey of seven hundred years. [Abu Dawoud]

Imagine the gravity and the shape of the angel when just eight of them are carrying the Throne of Allah Almighty.

Angels at the gates of Jannah and guardians of hell

At each gate in Jannah, there are angels. Indeed, there are angels in hell as well. They are called az-zabaaniya. As Allah Almighty stated ‘sanadu az-zabaaniya’ in Surat al-Alaq:

سَنَدْعُ ٱلزَّبَانِيَةَ

We shall summon the guards of Hell. [96:18]

In Surat al-Muddaththir, Allah mentions nineteen guardians of Hell:

وَمَا جَعَلْنَآ أَصْحَـٰبَ ٱلنَّارِ إِلَّا مَلَـٰٓئِكَةًۭ ۙ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا عِدَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا فِتْنَةًۭ لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ

Over it are Nineteen. We have appointed only [stern] angels as wardens of the Fire. And We have made their number only as a test for the disbelievers. [74:30-31]

Special status of angels

Angels have a special status with Allah Almighty. They are so close to Allah Almighty, they are honoured, mukramoon.

They glorify Allah, doing tasbih continuously day and night. They never get bored or tired of doing the tasbeeh.

يُسَبِّحُونَ ٱلَّيۡلَ وَٱلنَّهَارَ لَا يَفۡتُرُونَ

They glorify Him night and day, without flagging. [21:20]

There are some angels whose job is to circulate the House of Allah Almighty, which is called Bait al-Ma’mur and is mentioned in Surat at-Tur. This is their Kaaba and is directly above ours. 70,000 angels arrive every day. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Then I was shown Al-Bait-al-Ma’mur (i.e. Allah’s House). I asked Jibreel about it and he said, This is Al-Bait-ul-Ma’mur where 70,000 angels perform prayers daily and when they leave they never return to it (but always a fresh batch comes into it daily).’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

Obedience of angels

Among the attributes of the angels is that they were created before Adam (peace be upon him), so they were there long before mankind. Unlike mankind and Jinn who have free will, they are obedient beings. As Allah Almighty described in the Quran: ‘They do not disobey Allah in His commands,’ and they do not rebel, or reject any of Allah Almighty’s commands.

Therefore, while we can sin, they don’t sin. We have the ability to be like angels when we control ourselves, and when we are obedient to Allah Almighty, we become like angels. However, we also have the ability to be like Shaytan when we disobey Allah, rebel, and do evil things. When we’re clouded by our emotions, desires and the temptations of dunya, we can be lower than the Shaytan. This is why the Shariah was sent for us, to keep reminding us to be good and refrain from evil and everything that’s harmful.

Angels question Allah

We see that Allah converses with the angels. When He created Adam they wondered why He had created a being that had the capacity to sin:

And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.” They said, “Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?” Allah said, “Indeed, I know that which you do not know.” [2:30]

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَمَّا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ الْجَنَّةَ وَالنَّارَ أَرْسَلَ جِبْرِيلَ إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ فَقَالَ انْظُرْ إِلَيْهَا وَإِلَى مَا أَعْدَدْتُ لِأَهْلِهَا فِيهَا قَالَ فَجَاءَهَا وَنَظَرَ إِلَيْهَا وَإِلَى مَا أَعَدَّ اللَّهُ لِأَهْلِهَا فِيهَا قَالَ فَرَجَعَ إِلَيْهِ قَالَ فَوَعِزَّتِكَ لَا يَسْمَعُ بِهَا أَحَدٌ إِلَّا دَخَلَهَا فَأَمَرَ بِهَا فَحُفَّتْ بِالْمَكَارِهِ فَقَالَ ارْجِعْ إِلَيْهَا فَانْظُرْ إِلَى مَا أَعْدَدْتُ لِأَهْلِهَا فِيهَا قَالَ فَرَجَعَ إِلَيْهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ قَدْ حُفَّتْ بِالْمَكَارِهِ فَرَجَعَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ وَعِزَّتِكَ لَقَدْ خِفْتُ أَنْ لَا يَدْخُلَهَا أَحَدٌ قَالَ اذْهَبْ إِلَى النَّارِ فَانْظُرْ إِلَيْهَا وَإِلَى مَا أَعْدَدْتُ لِأَهْلِهَا فِيهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ يَرْكَبُ بَعْضُهَا بَعْضًا فَرَجَعَ إِلَيْهِ فَقَالَ وَعِزَّتِكَ لَا يَسْمَعُ بِهَا أَحَدٌ فَيَدْخُلَهَا فَأَمَرَ بِهَا فَحُفَّتْ بِالشَّهَوَاتِ فَقَالَ ارْجِعْ إِلَيْهَا فَرَجَعَ إِلَيْهَا فَقَالَ وَعِزَّتِكَ لَقَدْ خَشِيتُ أَنْ لَا يَنْجُوَ مِنْهَا أَحَدٌ إِلَّا دَخَلَهَا

 “When Allah created Paradise and Hellfire, He sent Jibreel to Paradise saying: ‘Behold it and what I have prepared therein for its people.’ Jibreel came and looked at it and what Allah had prepared therein for its people. He returned to Allah and he said: ‘By Your might, no one will hear of it but that he will enter it.’ Allah ordered that it be surrounded by adversity and He said: ‘Return to it and behold what I have prepared therein for its people.’ Jibreel returned and found that it was surrounded by hardship. He returned to Allah and he said: ‘By Your might, I fear that no one will enter it.’
Allah said: ‘Go to the Hellfire and behold it and what I have prepared therein for its people.’ Jibreel found that it was in layers, one above another. He returned to Allah and He said: ‘By Your might, no one who hears of it will enter it.’ Allah ordered that it be surrounded by desires and he said: ‘Return to it.’ Jibreel returned and he said: ‘By Your might, I fear that no one will escape it.~” [Tirmidhi]

Alah converses with angels

Thus, when mankind does good, Allah likes to boast about them to the angels. Uqba ibn Amir narrated that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say that Allah Almighty says:

One of my followers gets up at night pushing himself to perform ablution (for prayer). On him there are several knots of the Satan. When he washes his hands, a knot loosens. When he washes his face, another knot loosens. When he passes his wet hands over his head, yet another knot loosens. When he washes his legs, the last knot loosens. Then Allah says to those beyond the eyes (angels): ‘Look at this slave of Mine who cures his inner-self and asks Me forgiveness. So, what he asks is given to him.’ [Ibn Hibban and Ahmad]

Allah Almighty is so pleased with people when they fast, that He tells the angels that He is so happy He will calculate and confer the reward of fasting Himself. Abu Huraryah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Fasting is a shield (or a screen or a shelter). So, the person observing fasting should avoid sexual relation with his wife and should not behave foolishly and impudently, and if somebody fights with him or abuses him, he should tell him twice, ‘I am fasting.'”
The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “By Him in Whose Hands my soul is, the smell coming out from the mouth of a fasting person is better in the sight of Allah than the smell of musk. (Allah says about the fasting person), ‘He has left his food, drink and desires for My sake. The fast is for Me. So I will reward (the fasting person) for it and the reward of good deeds is multiplied ten times.” [Bukhari]

When Allah loves someone the angels love him

Abu Hurayrah narrated that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said:

When Allah loves a person, He calls Jibreel and says (to him): ‘I love so-and-so, therefore you should also love him.’
The Prophet (peace be upon him) added: So, Jibreel begins to love him. Then he makes an announcement in the heaven saying: ‘Allah loves so and so, therefore you should also love him.’ Then the inhabitants of heaven (the angels) would love him. He added: Thus acceptance is established for him on Earth (i.e. that person becomes popular among the people). When Allah dislikes any slave He calls Jibreel and says to him: ‘I hate so-and-so, therefore you should also hate him.’ Then he calls out to the inhabitants of heaven: ‘Allah hates so-and-so, therefore you should also hate him.’ Thus hatred is established for him on Earth (i.e., then hatred prevails against him among the people). [Muslim and Tirmidhi]

Angels in our company

The angels do not marry. They do not have children. They do not eat or drink. But they are servants of Allah Almighty. Although some ignorant people describe the angels as being female, they are neither male nor female. They are special beings of Allah Almighty, who ascend and descend from heaven.

Greet the angels

Allah mentioned in the Quran that we should say the salam when we enter our homes, even when they seem empty, because there are angels present:

Abdullah ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

When someone enters a vacant home, he should say, As-Salamu ‘Alayna wa ‘Ala ‘Ibad-Allah-is-Saliheen, “Peace be upon us and on the righteous salves of Allah.” [Bukhari in Adab al Mufrad]

Shifts of the angels

In the hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said angels come regularly during the day and during the night. They have two shifts – a night shift and a day shift. Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

‘Angels come to you in succession by night and day and all of them get together at the time of the Fajr and ‘Asr prayers. Those who have passed the night with you (or stayed 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: “When we left them they were praying and when we reached them, they were praying.”[Bukhari]

Our salah, and our congregation in the mosque is attended by the angels. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Allah’s Apostle said, “The angels keep on asking for Allah’s blessing and forgiveness for any one of you as long as he is at his musalla (praying place) and does not do hadath (passes wind). The angels say, ‘O Allah! Forgive him and be Merciful to him.’ Each one of you is in the prayer as long as he is waiting for the prayer and nothing but the prayer detains him from going to his family.” [Bukhari]

After reciting the Fatiha, in your salah, or after reciting the Quran and if you make dua for others, the angels say Ameen.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported God’s Messenger (peace be upon him) as saying:

“Say Ameen when the imam says it, for if anyone’s utterance of Ameen synchronises with that of the angels, he will be forgiven his past sins.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

Abud-Darda’ (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The supplication of a Muslim for his (Muslim) brother in his absence will certainly be answered. Every time he makes a supplication for good for his brother, the angel appointed for this particular task says: ‘Ameen! May it be for you, too’.” [Muslim]

Angels love the masajid and gatherings for dhikr

Angels love to gather wherever Allah is glorified, particularly masajid, and they bless those who are in the masjid, especially those who show their devotion by coming early, praying in the front row and staying behind for the next salah.

Al-Bara’ ibn Azib (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated:

الْبَرَاءِ بْنِ عَازِبٍ، قَالَ كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَتَخَلَّلُ الصَّفَّ مِنْ نَاحِيَةٍ إِلَى نَاحِيَةٍ يَمْسَحُ صُدُورَنَا وَمَنَاكِبَنَا وَيَقُولُ ‏”‏ لاَ تَخْتَلِفُوا فَتَخْتَلِفَ قُلُوبُكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَكَانَ يَقُولُ ‏”‏ إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَمَلاَئِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى الصُّفُوفِ الأُوَلِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to pass through the row from one side to the other; he used to set our chests and shoulders in order, and say: ‘Do not be irregular.’ And he would say: ‘Allah and His angels bless those who are in the first rows.’ [Abu Dawoud]

Our classes are attended by the angels. There are some dedicated angels who were created only to go and seek for the knowledge circles. Their mission is to go and search for knowledge circles, and when they find one they will call upon each other to come, attend and bless the gathering and those who are in the circle. Even when we are online and not in the same place, spiritually we’re connected together and inshallah blessed by the presence of the angels.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّ لِلَّهِ تَبَارَكَ وَتَعَالَى مَلَائِكَةً سَيَّارَةً فُضُلًا يَتَتَبَّعُونَ مَجَالِسَ الذِّكْرِ فَإِذَا وَجَدُوا مَجْلِسًا فِيهِ ذِكْرٌ قَعَدُوا مَعَهُمْ وَحَفَّ بَعْضُهُمْ بَعْضًا بِأَجْنِحَتِهِمْ حَتَّى يَمْلَئُوا مَا بَيْنَهُمْ وَبَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ الدُّنْيَا فَإِذَا تَفَرَّقُوا عَرَجُوا وَصَعِدُوا إِلَى السَّمَاءِ قَالَ فَيَسْأَلُهُمْ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَهُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِهِمْ مِنْ أَيْنَ جِئْتُمْ فَيَقُولُونَ جِئْنَا مِنْ عِنْدِ عِبَادٍ لَكَ فِي الْأَرْضِ يُسَبِّحُونَكَ وَيُكَبِّرُونَكَ وَيُهَلِّلُونَكَ وَيَحْمَدُونَكَ وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ قَالَ وَمَاذَا يَسْأَلُونِي قَالُوا يَسْأَلُونَكَ جَنَّتَكَ قَالَ وَهَلْ رَأَوْا جَنَّتِي قَالُوا لَا أَيْ رَبِّ قَالَ فَكَيْفَ لَوْ رَأَوْا جَنَّتِي قَالُوا وَيَسْتَجِيرُونَكَ قَالَ وَمِمَّ يَسْتَجِيرُونَنِي قَالُوا مِنْ نَارِكَ يَا رَبِّ قَالَ وَهَلْ رَأَوْا نَارِي قَالُوا لَا قَالَ فَكَيْفَ لَوْ رَأَوْا نَارِي قَالُوا وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَكَ قَالَ فَيَقُولُ قَدْ غَفَرْتُ لَهُمْ فَأَعْطَيْتُهُمْ مَا سَأَلُوا وَأَجَرْتُهُمْ مِمَّا اسْتَجَارُوا قَالَ فَيَقُولُونَ رَبِّ فِيهِمْ فُلَانٌ عَبْدٌ خَطَّاءٌ إِنَّمَا مَرَّ فَجَلَسَ مَعَهُمْ قَالَ فَيَقُولُ وَلَهُ غَفَرْتُ هُمْ الْقَوْمُ لَا يَشْقَى بِهِمْ جَلِيسُهُمْ

“Verily, Allah Almighty has caravans of angels who have no other work but to follow gatherings of remembrance. When they find such gatherings in which there is remembrance, they sit with them and some of them surround the others with their wings until the space between them and the heavens is covered. When they disperse, they ascend to the heavens and Allah Almighty asks them, although He knows better than them: From where have you come? They say: We came from Your servants on earth who were glorifying You, declaring Your greatness and oneness, praising You and asking from You. Allah says: What do they ask from Me? They say: They ask for Your Paradise. Allah says: Have they seen My Paradise? They say no. Allah says: What if they were to see My Paradise? They say: They seek Your protection. Allah says: From what do they seek My protection? They say: From Your Hellfire, our Lord. Allah says: Have they seen My Hellfire? They say no. Allah says: What if they were to see My Hellfire? They say: They ask for Your forgiveness. Allah says: I will pardon them, give them what they request, and grant them protection. They say: Our Lord, there is one among them, a simple servant who happened to pass by and sit there alongside them. Allah says: I will also grant him pardon, for whoever sits with these fellows will not suffer misery.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Record deeds

We have angels on our left sides and the right sides, to record our good deeds and bad deeds. So we have to be careful, as everything is recorded. 

“And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers, noble and recording; they know whatever you do” [82:10-12]

Abu Hurayah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah Almighty stated:

Whenever My slave intends to do a bad deed, (I say to the deeds recording angels): Do not record it against him until he (actually) commits it. If he has done so, write it down exactly as one in his record book. But if he refrains from it for My sake, write down this as a virtue in his favour. And when he intends to do a good deed, but does not actually do it, write it as a virtue for him. And if he puts it into practice, write its reward equal to, from ten to seven hundred times (in his account). [Bukhari and Muslim]

Defend the righteous

Angels perform many functions for humans which include our protection, or recording deeds – good and bad, or supporting believers. Their presence brings a sense of tranquility. They do istighfar for the believers – while they sit in their room and the angels are doing istighfar for you, while you’re sleeping in your bed if you are obedient to Allah Almighty. We see that the angels who carry the Throne seek forgiveness for believers.

ٱلَّذِينَ يَحْمِلُونَ ٱلْعَرْشَ وَمَنْ حَوْلَهُۥ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَيُؤْمِنُونَ بِهِۦ وَيَسْتَغْفِرُونَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ رَبَّنَا وَسِعْتَ كُلَّ شَىْءٍۢ رَّحْمَةًۭ وَعِلْمًۭا فَٱغْفِرْ لِلَّذِينَ تَابُوا۟ وَٱتَّبَعُوا۟ سَبِيلَكَ وَقِهِمْ عَذَابَ ٱلْجَحِيمِ

Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.” [40:7]

 They defend you as in the narration reported by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him):

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَة أَنَّ رَجُلًا شَتَمَ أَبَا بَكْرٍ وَالنَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جَالِسٌ فَجَعَلَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَعْجَبُ وَيَتَبَسَّمُ فَلَمَّا أَكْثَرَ رَدَّ عَلَيْهِ بَعْضَ قَوْلِهِ فَغَضِبَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَامَ فَلَحِقَهُ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ كَانَ يَشْتُمُنِي وَأَنْتَ جَالِسٌ فَلَمَّا رَدَدْتُ عَلَيْهِ بَعْضَ قَوْلِهِ غَضِبْتَ وَقُمْتَ قَالَ إِنَّهُ كَانَ مَعَكَ مَلَكٌ يَرُدُّ عَنْكَ فَلَمَّا رَدَدْتَ عَلَيْهِ بَعْضَ قَوْلِهِ وَقَعَ الشَّيْطَانُ فَلَمْ أَكُنْ لِأَقْعُدَ مَعَ الشَّيْطَانِ

A man reviled Abu Bakr while the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was sitting down. That made the Prophet impressed by Abu Bakr and he smiled. Then, Abu Bakr reviled the man with the same words as him and the Prophet became angry and he stood to leave. Abu Bakr went to the Prophet and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, the man reviled me and you were sitting, but when I responded you became angry and stood up.” The Prophet said, “Verily, there was an angel with you responding on your behalf, but Satan appeared when you responded with the same words as him and I will not sit in the presence of Satan.” [Musnad Ahmad]

Birth

There are angels who are responsible for blowing life into the wombs of their mothers. As Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated in the famous hadith, a person will be in the womb of his mother for 40 days, and then another 40 days, and then another 40 days, until the angel comes and blows into the womb the spirit, the ruh.

Abdullah ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him)  said:

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), and he is the truthful, the believed, narrated to us, “Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of a nutfah (a drop), then he becomes an alaqah (clot of blood) for a like period, then a mudghah (morsel of flesh) for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and who is commanded with four matters: to write down his rizq (sustenance), his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or unhappy (i.e., whether or not he will enter Paradise). By the One, other than Whom there is no deity, verily one of you performs the actions of the people of Paradise until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him, and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Hellfire and thus enters it; and verily one of you performs the actions of the people of the Hellfire, until there is but an arms length between him and it, and that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of Paradise and thus he enters it.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Protection

Angels protect people from evil around them. How often do we hear of a small child who falls from the first floor or second floor but is not injured and has no broken bones. This is the protection of the angels. As stated in Surat ar-Ra’d, there are protectors around him. From the front, from the back, they protect him from the evil. We have no idea that they’re there.

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ ۗ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۚ وَمَا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ وَالٍ

For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. [13:11]

Angels are also responsible for the wind, the rain, crops, and many other things. You say the angels are hidden soldiers of Allah Almighty.

Angels have a sense of smell

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned that they do not like bad smells, such as garlic or onions. This is why he (peace be upon him) said if you’ve eaten garlic, don’t go to the mosque because this will harm the angels. If you’ve smoked and gone to the mosque, they will also be harmed by the cigarette smoke/smell. Jabir bin Abdillah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“Whoever eats garlic or onion should keep away from our mosque or should remain in his house.” [Bukhari]

Angels support those who work for Allah

Allah Almighty will send His angels to support us, aid us and ease our way. Indeed, angels lower their wings for knowledge seekers, easing the way for them to learn.

Safwan ibn ‘Assal reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عن صَفْوَان بْن عَسَّالٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ مَا مِنْ خَارِجٍ خَرَجَ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ فِي طَلَبِ الْعِلْمِ إِلَّا وَضَعَتْ لَهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَجْنِحَتَهَا رِضًا بِمَا يَصْنَعُ

No one leaves their house in search of knowledge but that angels will lower their wings in approval of what he is doing.” [Ibn Majah]

I can tell you from my experience that when we were youths, seeking knowledge, we could feel this. You will find facilitation wherever you go because you’re fully dedicated to seeking knowledge.

Allah Almighty sent angels to fight in the Battle of Badr alongside the believers, they were terrifying for the enemy and can bring punishment.

Umar ibn al-Khattab reported:

عَنْ عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ قَالَ لَمَّا كَانَ يَوْمُ بَدْرٍ نَظَرَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ وَهُمْ أَلْفٌ وَأَصْحَابُهُ ثَلَاثُ مِائَةٍ وَتِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ رَجُلًا فَاسْتَقْبَلَ نَبِيُّ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الْقِبْلَةَ ثُمَّ مَدَّ يَدَيْهِ فَجَعَلَ يَهْتِفُ بِرَبِّهِ اللهُمَّ أَنْجِزْ لِي مَا وَعَدْتَنِي اللهُمَّ آتِ مَا وَعَدْتَنِي اللهُمَّ إِنْ تُهْلِكْ هَذِهِ الْعِصَابَةَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْإِسْلَامِ لَا تُعْبَدْ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَمَا زَالَ يَهْتِفُ بِرَبِّهِ مَادًّا يَدَيْهِ مُسْتَقْبِلَ الْقِبْلَةِ حَتَّى سَقَطَ رِدَاؤُهُ عَنْ مَنْكِبَيْهِ فَأَتَاهُ أَبُو بَكْرٍ فَأَخَذَ رِدَاءَهُ فَأَلْقَاهُ عَلَى مَنْكِبَيْهِ ثُمَّ الْتَزَمَهُ مِنْ وَرَائِهِ وَقَالَ يَا نَبِيَّ اللهِ كَفَاكَ مُنَاشَدَتُكَ رَبَّكَ فَإِنَّهُ سَيُنْجِزُ لَكَ مَا وَعَدَكَ فَأَنْزَلَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِذْ تَسْتَغِيثُونَ رَبَّكُمْ فَاسْتَجَابَ لَكُمْ أَنِّي مُمِدُّكُمْ بِأَلْفٍ مِنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُرْدِفِينَ فَأَمَدَّهُ اللهُ بِالْمَلَائِكَةِ

On the day of Badr, the Messenger of Allah, (peace be upon him) looked upon the idolaters and they were a thousand in number, while his companions were only three hundred and nineteen men. The Prophet faced the direction of prayer, then he raised his hands and supplicated aloud to his Lord, “O Allah, accomplish what You have promised me! O Allah, bring about what You have promised me! O Allah, if this band among the people of Islam is destroyed, You will not be worshipped on the earth!” The Prophet continued to call out to his Lord with his hands raised and facing the direction of prayer until his cloak fell from his shoulders. Abu Bakr came, picked up his cloak, and placed it on his shoulders, then he embraced him from behind, saying, “O Prophet of Allah, your supplication to your Lord will suffice, for He will accomplish what He has promised you.” Allah Almighty revealed the verse, “When you sought deliverance from your Lord and He answered you: Verily, I will reinforce you with a thousand angels, rank after rank,” (8:9). Thus, Allah reinforced him with the angels. [Muslim]

Do angels ever get angry?

There are angels of punishment, such as the ones Allah Almighty sent overturn the village of disobedient people in the city of Lut (peace be upon him). They do not get angry because they’re emotional; they get angry because they’ve been sent for punishment. They deliver the mission they’ve been sent for. They’re not just cuddly beings. They can send punishment as they did to the people of Aad and Thamud.

We also see the interaction of angels with each other, such as in the hadith of the man who committed 99 murders. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“There was a man among the children of Israel who had killed ninety nine people. Then he set out seeking repentance. He came upon a monk and he asked him if his repentance would be accepted. The monk said no, so the man killed him. He continued asking until another man advised him to go to a certain village. He set out for it but death overtook him on the way. As he died, he turned his chest toward the village. The angel of mercy and the angel of punishment argued about him among themselves. Allah ordered his destination to move closer to him and his old village to move away. Then, Allah ordered the angels to measure the distance between his body and the two villages. He was found to be one span closer to his destination, so he was forgiven.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Angels can bring punishment

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) met different angels in his life, such as when he went to Ta’if. When the people of Makkah were proving uncooperative, he was looking for alternative places to give dawah. However, the people of Ta’if did not accept him either. He (peace be upon him) never gave up, but tried different ways. In Ta’if the people humiliated him, pelted him with stones, insulted him and injured him. He was heart-broken at their rejection, and Jibreel descended with the angel of the mountains, Malak al Jibaal, and asked if he should crush the two mountains over their head. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), out of his mercy, said no. 

Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: She asked the Prophet, “Have you encountered a day harder than the battle of Uhud?” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عن عائشة رضى الله عنها زَوْجَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَنَّهَا قَالَتْ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم هَلْ أَتَى عَلَيْكَ يَوْمٌ كَانَ أَشَدَّ مِنْ يَوْمِ أُحُدٍ قَالَ لَقَدْ لَقِيتُ مِنْ قَوْمِكِ مَا لَقِيتُ وَكَانَ أَشَدُّ مَا لَقِيتُ مِنْهُمْ يَوْمَ الْعَقَبَةِ إِذْ عَرَضْتُ نَفْسِي عَلَى ابْنِ عَبْدِ يَالِيلَ بْنِ عَبْدِ كُلاَلٍ، فَلَمْ يُجِبْنِي إِلَى مَا أَرَدْتُ فَانْطَلَقْتُ وَأَنَا مَهْمُومٌ عَلَى وَجْهِي، فَلَمْ أَسْتَفِقْ إِلاَّ وَأَنَا بِقَرْنِ الثَّعَالِبِ فَرَفَعْتُ رَأْسِي، فَإِذَا أَنَا بِسَحَابَةٍ قَدْ أَظَلَّتْنِي فَنَظَرْتُ فَإِذَا فِيهَا جِبْرِيلُ فَنَادَانِي فَقَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ سَمِعَ قَوْلَ قَوْمِكَ لَكَ وَمَا رَدُّوا عَلَيْكَ، وَقَدْ بَعَثَ إِلَيْكَ مَلَكَ الْجِبَالِ لِتَأْمُرَهُ بِمَا شِئْتَ فِيهِمْ فَنَادَانِي مَلَكُ الْجِبَالِ، فَسَلَّمَ عَلَىَّ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ، فَقَالَ ذَلِكَ فِيمَا شِئْتَ إِنْ شِئْتَ أَنْ أُطْبِقَ عَلَيْهِمِ الأَخْشَبَيْنِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَلْ أَرْجُو أَنْ يُخْرِجَ اللَّهُ مِنْ أَصْلاَبِهِمْ مَنْ يَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ وَحْدَهُ لاَ يُشْرِكُ بِهِ شَيْئًا ‏‏‏

 “Your tribes have troubled very much, and the worst was the day of Aqaba when I presented myself to Ibn Abd Yalail ibn Abd Kulal and he did not respond to what I intended. I departed, overwhelmed with excessive sorrow, and I could not relax until I found myself at a tree where I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me. I looked up and saw Jibreel in it. He called me saying: Allah has heard your people’s saying to you and how they have replied, and Allah has sent the Angel of the Mountains to you that you may order him to do whatever you wish to these people. The Angel of the Mountains greeted me and he said: O Muhammad, order what you wish, and if you like, I will let the mountains fall on them.” The Prophet said, No, rather I hope that Allah will bring from their descendants people who will worship Allah alone without associating partners with him.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

The ability to see the angels before death

When people are dying there are many stories of them being aware that the angels have come to take their souls. Shaykh Muhammad Metwalli al-Sha’rawi (rahimahullah) before he passed away, took a bath, dressed nicely, put on perfume and lay down in his bed. He was very ill, but he could still move and talk. He said ‘I’m ready now. I’m waiting’. Then a few minutes later, he told his children ‘They are here now. Just leave me’. A few minutes later he passed away. He had seen the angels coming and he had prepared himself to receive them.

Death

The Angel of Death is responsible for collecing the souls of those whose time it is to die. We don’t have an authentic narration about his name, although everyone says it is Azra’eel. However it doesn’t matter whether what his name is: he’s the chief of the angels of death, whose job it is to take people’s lives.

The angels who do questioning in the grave are popularly known as Munkar and Nakeer, but we have no confirmation of this. There are some weak narrations. They ask the deceased ‘Who is your Lord? Who is your prophet? What is your book? What is your religion?’ Anas bin Malik narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

Two angels come to him [a soul in the grave], and making him sit up, say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’ He replies, ‘My Lord is Allah.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ and he replies, ‘My religion is Islam.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ and he replies, ‘He is Allah’s Messenger.’ They ask, ‘What is your [source of] knowledge?’ and he replies, ‘I have read Allah’s Book, believed in it and declared it to be true.’ Then one cries from heaven, ‘My servant has spoken the truth, so spread out carpets from paradise for him, clothe him from paradise, and open a gate for him into paradise.’ Then some of its joy and fragrance comes to him, his grave is made spacious for him, as far as the eye can see, and a man with a beautiful face, beautiful garments and a sweet odour comes to him and says, ‘Rejoice in what pleases you for this is your day which you have been promised.’ He asks, ‘Who are you, for your face is perfectly beautiful and brings good?” He replies, ‘I am your good deeds.’ He then says, ‘My Lord, bring the Last Hour; my Lord, bring the Last Hour, so that I may return to my people and my property.’ [Bukhari]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) described the journey of the soul:

“When a believer is about to leave the world and go forward to the next world, angels with faces white as the sun come down to him from heaven with one of the shrouds of paradise and some of the perfume of paradise and sit away from him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head and says, ‘Good soul, come out to forgiveness and acceptance from Allah.’ It then comes out as a drop flows from a water-skin and he seizes it; and when he does so, they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but take it and place it in that shroud and that perfume, and from it there comes forth a fragrance like that of the sweetest musk found on the face of the earth. They then take it up and do not bring it past a company of angels without their asking, “Who is this good soul?’ to which they reply, ‘So and so, the son of so and so,’ using the best of his names by which people called him on the earth. They then bring him to the lowest heaven and ask that the gate should be opened for him. This is done, and from every heaven its archangels escort him to the next heaven till he is brought to the seventh heaven, and Allah who is great and glorious says, ‘Record the book of my servant in ‘Illiyun and take him back to earth, for I created mankind from it, I shall return them into it, and from it I shall bring them forth another time.’

But when a disbeliever is about to leave the world and proceed to the next world, angels with black faces come down to him from heaven with hair-cloth and sit away from him as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes and sits at his head and says, ‘Wicked soul, come out to displeasure from Allah.’ Then it becomes dissipated in his body, and he draws it out as a spit is drawn out from moistened wool. He then seizes it, and when he does so they do not leave it in his hand for an instant, but put it in that hair-cloth and from it there comes forth a stench like the most offensive stench of a corpse found on the face of the earth.

They then take it up and do not bring it past a company of angels without their asking, ‘Who is this wicked soul?’ to which they reply, ‘So and so, the son of so and so,’ using the worst names he was called in the world. When he is brought to the lowest heaven request is made that the gate be opened for him, but it is not opened for him. Allah who is great and glorious then says, ‘Record his book in Sijjin in the lowest earth,’ and his soul is thrown down.

His soul is then restored to his body, two angels come to him, and making him sit up say to him, ‘Who is your Lord?’. He replies, ‘Alas, alas, I do not know.’ They ask, ‘What is your religion?’ and he replies, ‘Alas, alas, I do not know.’ They ask, ‘Who is this man who was sent among you?’ and he replies, ‘Alas, alas, I do not know.’ Then one cries from heaven, ‘He has lied, so spread out carpets from hell for him, and open a gate for him into hell.’ Then some of its heat and hot air comes to him, his grave is made narrow for him so that his ribs are pressed together in it, and a man with an ugly, face, ugly garments and an offensive odour comes to him and says, ‘Be grieved with what displeases you, for this is your day which you have been promised.’ He asks, ‘Who are you, for your face is most ugly and brings evil?’ He replies, ‘I am your wicked deeds.’ He then says, ‘My Lord, do not bring the Last Hour.’”

Laylatul Qadr

The night that Allah Almighty sent down the Quran is very honoured and He honours it further by sending the angels to earth. On that night, as we are told in Surah Al-Qadr, all the angels and Jibril descend, making it a night of great peace, tranquility and reverence:

The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. (97:4)

Do angels die?

We have no idea, but we know that when the Trumpet is blown on the Day of Judgement they will die and be resurrected, because they will be in Jannah.

وَنُفِخَ فِي الصُّورِ فَصَعِقَ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَنْ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِلَّا مَنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۖ ثُمَّ نُفِخَ فِيهِ أُخْرَىٰ فَإِذَا هُمْ قِيَامٌ يَنْظُرُونَ

And the Trumpet will be blown, and everyone in the heavens and the earth will be stunned, except those whom Allah wills. Then it will be blown another time, and they will rise, looking on. [39:68]

How do you attract angels?

Play or recite the Quran.

What repels angels? Dogs and pictures

Abu Talhah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

عَنْ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَا تَدْخُلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلَا صُورَةُ تَمَاثِيلَ وقال أبو طلحة يُرِيدُ التَّمَاثِيلَ الَّتِي فِيهَا الْأَرْوَاحُ

“The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog, nor an image in a likeness.” Abu Talhah said, “The Prophet means by likeness an image of living souls.” [Bukhari and Muslim]

Angels do not enter a house where there are dogs. The only exception is a guide dog for a blind person. Dogs should be kept outside, not inside.

One should not keep any statues in their house as also prevents angels from coming into their house. Photographs are permissible but not recommended, and not permissible if they are full length. But do not place these in front of you when you pray. According to the hadith, it is not pictures but idols that are prohibited because they can be worshipped.

Toys are allowed. They’re not worshipped, in fact they are treated without regard and can be thrown, or dropped, etc.

We ask Allah Almighty to enable us to be obedient to Him and to be supported by Him and His angels, and do goodness and carry goodness and promote goodness and be among the people of goodness.

Shaykh Haytham Tamim –  Al Manaar New Muslim Group 15th November 2022

Transcribed by S Jawaid with additional research by A Khan

Is it haram to draw people or hang up pictures

Can you keep a dog?

The art of questions

The request that surprised the Prophet (peace be upon him)

Do I need a shaykh?

Finding the right teacher

The Etiquettes of Seeking Knowledge – eastern and western mentality

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.