013 Belief in Angels
The second pillar of faith is belief in Angels. Angels belong to The Amr Alam (The Command World or The Angelic World), which is one of the two big worlds which was created by Allah (swt). It is an unseen world, which is also called as world of spirits. It is not possible to perceive this world with the equipment and possibilities of the material world. Believers can understand, accept and approve the unseen world only by their hearts. The heart is the window which is opened to the spiritual world. However, if Allah (swt) allows, the ones in this world can see them.
Gabriel (a.s.) appeared to Maryam the Virgin as a man, as it is stated in the meaning of verse of Quran "We sent her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects." [Maryam, 17].
"Gabriel appeared in front of Rasulullah (s.a.w) as a man generally as one of his companions called Dihyah. Some of the companions of Rasulullah also saw Gabriel as a man."
The famous "faith, Islam, beneficence" hadith is the most important evidence of it. Abu Huraira (r.a.) states:
One day Rasulullah (s.a.w) was sitting outside. Someone came and asked: "What is Faith?" Rasulullah (s.a.w) answered:
"Faith is believing in Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, returning to Allah (swt) again and also resurrection."
He asked "What is Islam?" and Rasulullah (s.a.w) ordered:
"Islam is worshipping Allah (swt), not setting partners to Him, performing salah, paying Zakat, and fasting in Ramadan."
He asked "What does beneficence mean?
Rasulullah ordered, "Worshipping Allah (swt) as if you are seeing Him. If you cannot see Allah (swt), He will see you without doubt."
He asked, "When is the doomsday?" He ordered that: "The person who is asked is not wiser on the subject than the person who asks the question."
After Rasulullah stated something about doomsday, the man walked away.
Rasulullah (s.a.w) ordered that: "Stop him." but they could not find the man. Rasulullah said:
"This is Gabriel (a.s). He is here to teach religion to the people." [Bukhari]
On the other hand, the verses of Quran state that Gabriel read Quran for Rasulullah (s.a.w) and Rasulullah (s.a.w) tried to read Quran with him not to forget and Allah (swt) warned him not to hurry but listen:
"Move not thy tongue concerning the (Quran) to make haste therewith." [Qiyamah, 16]
"It is for Us to collect it and to recite it" [Qiyamah, 17]
Dear Readers, there are also other stories, which represent that the angels especially Gabriel was seen by Rasulullah and some of his companions:
"Rasulullah met a group from his companions in Savreyn, which is close to Medina on the fifth year of Hijra before he traveled to Benu Qurayza.
- Didn't you meet anyone?
- Ya Rasulullah we met Dihyah al-Kalbi. He was riding a white and saddled mule. There was a satin velvet on the mule.
When Rasulullah heard it, he said:
- He is Gabriel. He was sent to Benu Qurayza to shake their castles and fear them."
There are also other stories in the hadith books.
The information, which are from clear verses of Quran and quotations from the trustworthy people clearly show that angels, especially Gabriel sometimes appeared to Maryam, Messengers, Rasulullah and some of the companions of Rasulullah as a man.
Allah (swt) created all the visible and invisible worlds. He also enables the movement and dynamism of them. Allah (swt) is alive and His aliveness is by Himself. His aliveness as His knowledge, strength and power is forever, eternal, perfect and absolute.
The energies of all created and alive things are from Allah (Swt) within the order and arrangement of Allah (swt). Aliveness and power of the created creatures do not resemble the aliveness of Allah (swt). The dynamism of them is enabled with some special physical and chemical mechanisms, which are cre]ated by Allah (swt). This alivene]ss and dynamism has a limited, temporary and relative structure, which is different for each living thing. The created living things get tired in time and need rest. If the mechanisms which supply energy do not work due to any reason, the living things die. The aliveness mechanism in the material world is significantly clarified by modern science. How is the aliveness provided in the spiritual world? What are the real states of the angels? How can they be visible for the human in the material world? Unfortunately, human do not have much knowledge on metaphysical subjects. However, as I stated above, it is constant that angels can appear as men with Quran and the testimony of trustworthy people.
As it can be clearly understood from the statements of Quran and Hadiths, angels are alive, wise and luminous creatures.
Angels are precious and honorable servants of Allah (swt). They are neither His partners nor children.
"And they say: "The Most Gracious has taken a son!" Glory to Him! They are (but) servants raised to honor." [Anbiyaa, 26]
Angels obey the orders of Allah (swt). They never rebel against Him. They never commit sins. They perform the orders of Allah and celebrate His praises.
"They speak not before He speaks, and they act (in all things) by His Command." [Anbiyaa, 27]
"They all fear their Lord, high above them, and they do all that they are commanded." [Nahl, 50]
"To Him belong all (creatures) in the heavens and on earth: even those who are with Him are not too proud to serve Him, nor are they (ever) weary (of His service). They celebrate His praises night and day." [Anbiyaa, 19-20]
Angels are not male or female. They do not marry, give birth, breed, eat or drink.
It is ordered in the verse from the Quran that:
"And they make into females angels who themselves serve Allah. Did they witness their creation?" [Zukhruf, 19]
The angels have wings but the formation of them is not known. Some of the scholars interpreted the wings as the duties which are assigned to them. Allah (swt) knows the truth. It is ordered in the verses from the Quran that:
"Praise be to Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels, messengers with wings,- two, or three, or four (pairs)." [Fatir, 1]
Rasulullah (s.a.w) ordered that four archangels govern the affairs of world.
"Four angels govern the affairs of world, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and death angel Azrael." [Kurtubi]
Gabriel is the angel which is responsible from revealing Quran. Gabriel revealed Quran in the heart of Rasulullah.
"With it came down the Truthful Spirit To thy heart, that thou mayest admonish. In the perspicuous Arabic tongue." [Shuaraa, 193-194-195]
"Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and messengers, to Gabriel and Michael, Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith." [Baqarah, 98]
Michael's duty is managing the events on the earth whilst Raphael is responsible from blowing a trumpet. The duty of Azrael is to receive the spirits of the dead.
"Say: The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls: then shall ye be brought back to your Lord." [Sajdah, 11]
Be entrusted to Allah.
Dr. Ismail Ulukus