SHAIKH SALIH BIN FAWZAN
Published — Friday 25 December 2015
The belief in the angels is one of the pillars of faith (Iman).
What belief in the angels entails is: Believing in their existence and believing in the duties that they carry out in the universe.
So the angels are one of Allah’s creations, which He created for the purpose of worshipping Him and carrying out His orders in the universe.
We don’t see them, yet we believe in them with a firm resolution that doubt cannot penetrate.
This is since Allah has informed us about them, and likewise, His Messenger (peace be upon him) has informed us about them in such a definitive manner that causes us to believe in them.
The Angels were created from light, as is reported in a Hadith that Allah created the angels from light and He created the devils from fire and He created the humans from dirt.
No one knows how many in number the angels are, their manner of being or their natures except for Allah.
In Islam they are marked by their several attributes.
First: They are the greatest of Allah’s armies. Allah Almighty says: “And to Allah belongs the armies of the heavens and the earth.” (Qur’an, 48:4)
And while talking about the guardians of the Hellfire, He mentioned: “Over it are nineteen (angels).” (Qur’an, 74:30) And He says: “And We have set none but angels as guardians of the Hellfire, and We have not made their number (i.e. 19) except as a trial for those who disbelieve.”(Qur’an, 74: 31)
This means that there are nineteen angels guarding the Hellfire — they maintain it, guard it, kindle it and are entrusted with its affairs.
Second: The angels have great physical composure, as Allah mentioned this about them in His saying: “All praise is for Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth — who made the angels messengers with wings — two or three or four.” (Qur’an, 35:1)
This means that there are some angels that have two wings, some that have three and some that have four. And there are some angels that have more wings than that, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw the Angel Jibreel and he had 600 wings, each wing blocking the horizon.
Allah described him as being mighty in power, as He says: “He (Muhammad) has been taught (this Qur’an) by one mighty in power.”(Qur’an, 53:5)
Third: The angels possess great power, by Allah’s permission. What indicates their great strength is that if Allah commands just one of them, then indeed he is able to let out an awful cry in the world, thus destroying the creation, as occurred with the people of Thamud, who were seized by a loud scream.
Jibreel unleashed one powerful scream upon them: “Verily, We sent against them a single sayhah (awful cry), and they became like the dry straw of fences.” (Qur’an, 54:31)
So their hearts ceased to function within their bodies and as a result they died and became like dry straw. It was from the custom of the Arabs that when they would settle in a place, they would gather sticks of wood and make fences to surround their sheep and cattle. These fences would eventually dry up and become pieces of straw. So in spite of Thamood’s power and might, they became like dried-up straws as a result of one loud cry from one of the angels.
Allah also commanded Jibreel to raise up the towns of the people of Loot — and they were seven cities in which could be found humans, buildings, goods and animals.
He carried them on one side of his wing and raised these cities until the (other) angels heard the barking of dogs and the crowing of roosters. Then he overturned them and Allah caused the earth to swallow them up. This is an example of the mighty power of the angels.
There is also the angel Israfil, the angel that is entrusted with blowing the Trumpet. What is meant by the Trumpet is a horn that will gather the souls of the son of Adam (i.e. humans), from the first of them to the last of them. Then Israfil will blow one time on the Trumpet, and the souls will fly about due to this blow of the horn, going back to their bodies. This is known as the Blow of Resurrection (Nafkhat-ul-Ba’ath). Prior to this, he will strike the Blow of Destruction (Nafkhat-us-Sa’aq), so everyone that is in the heavens and in the earth will die except for he whom Allah wills.
Allah says: “And the trumpet will be blown and all who are in the heavens and in the earth will swoon away except for he whom Allah wills.” (Qur’an, 39:68)
Swooning away means to die. Then he will blow on the Trumpet again, which is known as the Blow of Resurrection, “and behold, they will be standing, looking.” (Qur’an, 39:68)
This is just one of Allah’s angels, and this is just one of his duties, which Allah has ordered him to carry out.
Allah says: “Rather, they are honorable slaves. They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His Command. He knows what is before them and what is after them. And they cannot intercede except for him with whom He is pleased. And they stand in awe for fear of Him.” (Qur’an, 21:26-28)