"It is not known precisely where angels dwell – whether in the air, the void, or the planets. It has not been God's pleasure that we should be informed of their abodes."  ~Voltaire


This figurine is supposed to be of Angel Gabriel. He is probably the best known angelic being known to mankind. To Christians He is a simple messenger of YHWH in the Bible. Whilst, Muslims believe He often serves as Allah’s messenger to Prophet Muhammad, as recorded in the Qur’an.

Yet, all these Believers never ever questioned: ‘Can these angelic fables ever be true?’

Muslims believe that angels are spiritual beings, who perform special tasks of Allah? Who are these angels, and what do angels do, and what are the characteristics of these spectacular creatures?

The word angel or Malak, whose root meaning is "messenger", occurs more than eighty times in the holy Qur’an and repeatedly in the many Haadiths. Islam tells us that they were created by Allah to worship Him, and to carry out HIS special duties both in heavenly and earthly life. “Angels are unseen beings of a luminous and spiritual substance that act as intermediaries between Allah and the visible world. Belief in their existence enters into the definition of faith itself: "The Messenger believes in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and the believers: Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers" (Quran 2:285)

The Islamic concepts of creation, revelation, prophecy, and the events that occur in the Islamic world, such as worship, the spiritual life, death, resurrection and the central position of a Muslim in the cosmos, cannot be understood without reference to these angels. In philosophical Islamic and Sufi texts, angelology is often an essential component of both Islamic cosmology and the Islamic spiritual psychology, since the angels enter into the definition of both the Islamic macrocosm and the microcosm.

Belief in these angels is an important aspect of a Muslim's faith, just as it is in Judeo-Christian-Baha’i traditions. But, according to Muslims, who are the angels, and what exactly do the angels do?

From the primary religious sources of the Qur'an and the Haadiths (narrated teachings of the Prophet Muhammad), Muslims know the names and responsibilities of some angels. Do Muslims Believe in Guardian Angels? Muslims certainly do believe in guardian angels, although Islam doesn't share the Christian concepts of a single guardian angel. Rather, Muslims believe that there are a number of angels watching over and protecting each Muslim individual on orders of Allah.

The Qur’an says: “For him are angels ranged before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah's command. Lo! Allah changeth not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts; and if Allah willeth misfortune for a folk there is none that can repel it, nor have they a defender beside Him." (13:10)

Angels in the Qur'an & Haadiths

Angels belong to the "world of the unseen" ('alam al-ghayb). When the unbelievers asked why an angel had not been sent down with the Prophet Muhammad and Allah replied, "Had We made him an angel, yet assuredly We would have made him a man". (Quran 6: 9)

Even if these angels were to be seen by the outward human eye, they would appear in forms suitable for the visible world (al-shahadah). Moreover, if Allah had sent down an angel, then "the matter would be judged, and no respite would be given [to mankind]" (Quran 6:8)

For, "upon the day when they see the angels – no good tidings that day for the sinners ... On the day when the heavens and the clouds are split asunder and the angels are sent down in a grand descent, the dominion that day will belong truly to the All-Merciful; it will be a harsh day for the unbelievers" (Quran 6:25-26)

The Qur’an often refers to the angels' eschatological functions not only at the resurrection, but also at death and in Islamic heaven and hell: "The angel of death, who has been charged with you, will gather you; then to your Lord you will be returned" (32:11)

Subsequently, Islamic spirituality can only be envisaged in connection with the angels, who are intertwined with all dimensions of Muslim life as seen by Islam. The key events of sacred Islamic history, such as the Revelation itself, the Prophet's Nocturnal Ascent to Heaven, and the battle of Badr, are explicit instances of angelic interventions on the orders of Allah.

What are they created of?

They are created from light, as ‘Ayesha reported: "The Messenger of Allah said: ‘The angels are created from light, just as the jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is created from what you have been told about.”’ (Sahih Muslim, no. 2996)

When were they created?

We have no knowledge of precisely when they were created, because there are no texts to tell us this! But, the Qur’an do teaches that they were supposedly created before mankind, as the Qur’an says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Behold, your Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ . . ." (Quran 2:30)

The fact that Allah told them of His intentions to create man indicates that angels already existed at that time.

Meet Archangel Gabriel, the Angel of Revelations!

Gabriel means "God is my strength." Other Islamic spellings of Gabriel’s name include Jibraeel, Gibrail, and Jibrail, who is presumably the only intermediary communicator between Allah, the Prophet and Mankind.

Main Angelic Characteristics!

Gabriel is known as the ‘angel of revelation’. For Allah often chooses Gabriel to communicate important messages to HIS faithful. People sometimes ask for Gabriel's help to: 1) clear away confusion and achieve the wisdom they need to make important decisions, 2) obtain the confidence they need to act on those decisions, 3) communicate effectively to other peoples, and 4) raise their children well in God’s Laws.

Angels also cannot be seen as they are invisible heavenly beings, but it can take on different forms, including human. One well-known example is when Allah sent Malak Jibraeel (Gabriel) to Maryam (Mary) in the form of a man, as Allah says in the Qur'an: "…then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Quran 19:17)

Similarly, angels also came to the Prophet Ibrahim in human form, and he was not aware that they were angels until they told him so. Prophet Lout also had angels come to him to warn him of the impending doom of his peoples. All angels praise and glorify Allah, and they never become tired of doing this.

"…they celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever flag or intermit." (Quran 21:20)

"… for in the presence of your Lord are those who celebrate His praises by night and by day. And they never flag (nor feel themselves above it)." (Quran 41:38)

Angelic Symbols!

Illustration of archangel Gabriel blowing
a horn, from the ancient book
Wonders of Creation and
the Oddities
of Existence
by Zakariya

Gabriel is often depicted in art of ‘blowing a horn’. Other symbols that represent Gabriel include a lantern, a mirror, a shield, a lily, a scepter, a spear, and an olive branch.

Role Angels in Religious Texts!

As a whole, Gabriel plays an important role in the religious texts of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, said that Gabriel appeared to him to dictate the entire Qur’an. Qur’an 2:97 declares: “Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by Allah's will, a confirmation of what went before, with guidance and glad tidings for those who believe in Allah and His Messenger." In the Haadiths, Gabriel again appears to Muhammad and quizzes him about Islam’s tenets? Muslims believe that Gabriel gave the Prophet Abraham a stone known as the Black Stone of the Ka'aba (Hajr Al-Aswad). Muslims, who go to Hajj pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, have to ardently kiss this sacred stone as enforced Islamic rituals!

As Muslims, Jews, Christians AND Baha’is, all believe that Gabriel delivered news of the upcoming births of three famous religious figures: Prophet Isaac, Prophet John – the Baptist, and Jesus Christ. So, people sometimes associate Archangel Gabriel with childbirth, adoption, and raising children of God.

The Jewish tradition says: that Gabriel instructs babies before they’re born. In the Torah, Gabriel interprets the Prophet Daniel’s visions, saying in Daniel [Chapter 9: Verse 22] that He has come to give Daniel “insight and understanding”. Jews also believe that, in heaven, Gabriel stands besides YHWH’s throne at HIS left hand. And, YHWH sometimes charges Gabriel with expressing HIS judgments against all sinful peoples. The Jewish beliefs say: as YHWH did when HE sent Gabriel to use fire to destroy the ancient city of Sodom, which was filled with wicked peoples.

And Christians often think of Gabriel informing Mary that God has chosen her to become the mother of Jesus Christ. The Bible quotes Gabriel as telling Mary in Luke [Chapter 1: Verses 30-31]: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” During the same visit, Gabriel informs Mary of her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist. Mary’s response to Gabriel’s news in Luke [Chapter 1: Verses 46-55] became the words to a famous Catholic prayer called “The HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificat"Magnificat” (the Song of Mary) which begins: “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Christian tradition says that Gabriel will be the angel God chooses to blow a horn to wake the dead on Judgment Day!

The Baha’i faith says: that Gabriel is one of Allah’s manifestations sent to give His peoples, like the prophet Bahá'u'lláh, wisdom.

To be cont’d –Part 2

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