Angels are intangible, sentient entities, who do not posses free will. They were created for the sole purpose of serving God. Being made of light, they can assume almost any form, completely real to the human eye, and traverse a distance just as fast as light or faster.
Types of Angels
Angel Gabriel brought Allah’s words to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and therefore we call Gabriel the Messenger Angel. There are 4 main archangels, as well as several others, each with their own duty.
Each of us has two angels who accompany him. These angels take note of everything we do. They write down our good deeds and our bad deeds. We call these angels the Writing Angels.
There are other angels, too. For example, there is an angel who helps people when they die. This angel brings death, so we call him the Angel of Death.
Characteristics of Angels
We cannot see the angels because they are made of things which our eyes cannot see. Angels are created by Allah, just as man and everything else has been created by Him. Angels obey Allah and are His servants, and they never disobey him, so they never commit any sins. They perform many tasks and keep the world in being by obeying Allah’s commands.Allah has created Angels out of light and they do not eat or drink, they are characterized by neither feminine or masculine, and they do not tire. Some spend their entire existence in Ruku’, others in Sujood. And then when the Judgement is called they will raise their heads and say: “Glory be to you, our Lord, we did not worship you in a way befitting your Majesty.” We do not know their exact number since there are so many.
The Archangels and some of the other angels whose names we know, have specific duties assigned to them.
Some Angels are in charge of Heaven and some in charge of Hell, some of looking after children, the old ,the weak and other people whom Allah wishes to protect.
All throughout the stages of our creation the angels have been there with some duty. When we were nothing in our mothers stomach, an angel was there breathing a soul into us. They are there every day reporting to Allah our Salah. They are there every second recording what we whisper and speak. When the time of our death comes they are ready to take our soul. And when the day of Judgement commences, an angel will blow the trumpet to announce it.
Jibra’il is the Archangel responsible for revealing the Qur’an to Muhammad ﷺ, verse by verse. He has served as an intermediary between God and man and as bearer of revelation to Prophet Muhammad ﷺs, most notably, to Muhammad ﷺ. In biblical literature Gabriel is the counterpart to Jibril. Muhammad ﷺ himself could not at first identify the spirit that possessed him, and the Qur’an mentions him by name only three times. Jibra’il, however, became Muhammad ﷺ’s constant helper. He and the archangel Mikal purified Muhammad ﷺ’s heart in preparation for Prophet Muhammad ﷺ’s ascension to heaven (mi’raj), and then Jibril guided him through the various levels until they reached the throne of God. When Muhammad ﷺ recited a supposed revelation acknowledging the pagan goddesses al-Lat, al-‘Uzza, and Manat, Jibril chastised him (Muhammad ﷺ) for presenting as divine a message inspired by the devil. Jibril also helped Muhammad ﷺ in times of political crises, coming to his aid at the Battle of Badr (624) with thousands of angels, then telling him to attack the Jewish tribes of Banu Qaynuqa’ and Banu Qurayzah.
Muhammad ﷺ generally only heard the voice of his inspiration, but, according to ‘A’ishah, his wife, he saw Jibril twice “in the shape that he was created” and on other occasions as a man resembling Dihyah ibn Khalifah al-Kalbi, an extraordinarily handsome disciple of Muhammad ﷺ. Others have described the archangel as having 600 wings, each pair so enormous that they crowd the space between East and West. Jibril has also been depicted as sitting on a chair suspended between heaven and earth.
Muslim traditions concerning Jibril largely concur with biblical accounts of Gabriel, but his special relationship with Muhammad ﷺ has inspired a mass of mythical detail. Jibril is said to have appeared at Adam’s side after his expulsion from paradise and shown him how to write and work iron and raise wheat. Jibril later appeared in Egypt to help Moses and to deceive the Egyptians into entering the Red Sea in pursuit of the Jews. The name of Jibril figures in the preparations of charms and appears with the names of the other archangels on the sides of magic squares.
Mikail is often depicted as the Archangel of mercy who is responsible of bringing rain and thunder to Earth. He is also responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life.
Apparently he was so shocked at the sight of hell when it was created that he never laughed again. In biblical literature Michael is the counterpart of Mikail. According to Islam, Mikail and Jibril were the first angels to obey God’s order to worship Adam. The two are further credited with purifying Muhammad ﷺ’s heart before his night journey (isra’) from Mecca to Jerusalem and subsequent ascension (mi’raj) to heaven. He also is remembered as aiding the Muslims to their first significant military victory in Arabia in 624.
“Whoever is an enemy of God or his angels or his apostles or Jibril or Mikal, verily God is an enemy of the unbelievers.”
This has generated several explanatory legends that revolve around the Jews, who hold Michael in particular esteem as “the lord of Israel.” In one story Muhammad ﷺ is questioned by Jews about his prophetic mission and answers them quite satisfactorily. But when he says that Jibril is the bearer of his revelations, the Jews attack the archangel as the spirit of destruction and the foe of Michael, the angel of fertility. On another occasion the caliph ‘Umar is reported to have asked the Jews of the synagogue of Madinah how Mikal and Jibril were regarded by God. The Jews replied that Michael sat at God’s left and Gabriel at his right but that the two were enemies. Whereupon ‘Umar revealed the falseness of their position and said that an enemy of either angel was immediately an enemy of God.
According to the Hadith, Israfil is the Angel responsible for signalling the coming of Judgement Day by blowing a horn and sending out a Blast of Truth from a Holy Rock in Jeruslaem. It translates to Hebrew as Raphael. The blowing of the trumpet is described in many places in Quran. It is said that the first blow will destroy everything [Qur’an 69:13], while the second blow will bring all human beings back to life again [Qur’an 36:51].
he trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders. In Judeo-Christian biblical literature, Raphael is the counterpart of Israfil.
He is overcome by sorrow and tears three times every day and every night at the sight of hell. It is said that Israfil tutored Muhammad ﷺ for three years in the duties of a prophet before he could receive the Qur’an.
Izra’il is the Angel of Death who along with his helpers is responsible for parting the soul of the human from the body. The actual process of separating the soul from the body depends on the person’s history or record of good or bad deeds. If the human was a bad person in life, the soul is ripped out very painfully. But if the human was a righteous person, then the soul is separated like a ‘drop of water dripping from glass’. It is also noted that The Angel of Death will look like a terrifying beast or demon for the souls of bad people and will look like ‘the most pleasant sight’ when he comes for the souls of good people.
‘Izra’il is of cosmic size: with his 4,000 wings and a body formed by as many eyes and tongues as there are living human beings, he stands with one foot in the fourth (or seventh) heaven, the other on the razor-sharp bridge that divides paradise and hell.
Before the creation of man, ‘Izra’il proved to be the only angel brave enough to go down to Earth and face the hordes of Iblis, the devil, in order to bring God the materials needed to make man. For this service he was made the angel of death and given a register of all mankind. While ‘Izra’il can recognize the name of the blessed (circled in light) and the damned (circled in darkness), he does not know when anyone will die until the tree beneath God’s throne drops a leaf bearing the man’s name. He must then separate the body and soul after 40 days.
Man has several means for forestalling death. By reciting a dhikr (ritual prayer), he prevents the angel of death from entering the throat to take his spirit. When he is distributing sadaqah (alms), the angel cannot take him by the hand. But when, after all protests, the angel returns with an apple from paradise inscribed with the bismillah (the invocation “In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate”) or writes God’s name in his palm, the spirit must leave. The souls of believers are then gently drawn out and carried to the seventh heaven, but the souls of unbelievers are ripped out of their bodies and hurled down to Earth before they can reach the gates of heaven.
Malik: The angel who is responsible for Hell
Ridwan: The angel who is responsible for Heaven (Paradise)
Kiraamun Kaatibeen: The angels who record the good and bad deeds of a person
Munkar And Nakir: The angels who interrogate a person in the grave about his good and bad deeds.
Harut And Marut: The angels who were sent as a test to an ancient Israeli tribe
“Those who are before him are not scornful of worshipping Him, nor do they tire or get bored. They glorify Him night and Day: they do not halt.”
“They are honoured servants, who do not precede Him in speech, and they act according to His command. He knows what is ahead of them, and they do not intercede, except for those whom He approves.”
Angels are described as having wings:
“Praise be to Allah, the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth, the creator of angels having wings – two, three and four.”
Allah has denounced those who regard angels as female.
“Those who do not believe in the Hereafter, surely name the angels with female names.”
The pagan Arabs, for example, called the angels “Daughters of Allah”, despite the fact that they themselves were disdainful of female offspring, and were so ashamed of them that they were inclined to bury their daughters alive. Allah thus condemns these ignorant beliefs and practices:
“Or has He (Allah) taken, out of that which He created, daughters, and honoured you with sons ? And, when one of them receives tidings of that which He sets up as a likeness to Allah Most Gracious (i.e. of a girl) his face becomes dark and gloomy and full of grief….And they consider the angels, who are worshippers of Allah, to be females. Did they witness their creation? Their testimony shall be recorded, and they will be asked.”