What follows are the beliefs and creed of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaa’ah concerning the second pillar of Imaan – Belief in the Angels, taken from The Tenets of Faith by Shaikh Muhammad Ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaimeen (d. 1421H, rahimahullah).
- We believe in the angels (malaa’ikah) of Allaah and that they are:“Honoured servants; they do not speak before He does and they act only by His command.” [Soorah al-Anbiyaa 21:26-7]
- Allaah the Exalted created them; they are steadfast in worshipping Him and in obeying Him:“They are not too proud to worship Him, nor do they grow weary of doing so..” [Soorah al-Anbiyaa 21:19]
- Allaah has concealed them from us so we cannot see them, but sometimes He discloses them to certain people. Thus, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw Gabriel (Jibreel) in his true form, he had six-hundred wings and filled the horizon.1 [Once] Jibreel took the form of a man who met and conversed with Mary. He [once] came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, whilst he was amongst his Companions, in the form of a man whom none recognised and who did not show any traces of journeying; his clothes were extremely white and his hair was jet black. He sat facing the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhl wa sallam; his knees touching the Prophet’s knees and his palms on the Prophet’s thighs – sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He conversed with the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, who informed his Companions that this man was Jibreel.2
- We believe that the angels are assigned certain duties:-From them is Jibreel who is entrusted with the Revelation. He descends with it to whosoever Allaah selects from His Prophets and Messengers.From them is Meekaa’eel who is entrusted with the rainfall and the [growth of] plants and vegetation.
From them is Israafeel who is entrusted with blowing the horn (as-soor) for the Fainting and for the Resurrection.
From them is the Angel of Death who is entrusted with taking the souls at the time of death.3
From them is the Angel of the Mountains, who is entrusted with them.
From them is Maalik, guardian of the Hellfire.
From them are angels who are entrusted with the embryos in the wombs. There are some who are responsible for safeguarding people, and others who write down people’s actions; two angels for each individual:
“One sitting on his right and the other on his left. Not a word does he utter, except that there is an observer ready to record it.” [Soorah Qaaf 50:17-18]
There are others responsible for questioning the dead in his grave. Two angels come to him asking him about his Lord, Religion and Prophet:4
“Allaah will keep firm those who believe, with a word that is firm in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allaah will cause to deviate those who are wrongdoers; for Allaah does whatever He Wills.” [Soorah Ibraaheem 14:27]
From them are angels that are entrusted with the inhabitants of Paradise:
“They enter upon them from every gate, saying: Peace be upon you for that you patiently persevered. How excellent is your final abode.” [Soorah ar-Ra’d 13:23-24]
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam informed [us] about the Most Frequented House (al-baytul-ma’moor), which is in the Heavens:
“Every day seventy-thousand angels enter it [and in a narration: pray in it] never returning there again.”5
1. Reported by al-Bukhaaree (nos.3232-3233).
2. Reported by Muslim (no.8).
3. Some reports mention that his name is ‘Izraa’eel; as at-Tabaree related in his Tafseer (20/175) from Qataadah and others. However, this name neither occurs in the Qur’aan, nor in any authentic hadeeth; therefore it is safer not to use it.
Consult: al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah (1/50) of Ibn Katheer and Sharhul-‘Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah (1/60) of Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen.
4. Reported by at-Tirmidhee (no.737), in which the names of the two angels are given as Munkir and Nakeer. The hadeeth was declared to be sound (hasan) by Shaykh al-Albaanee in as-Saheehah (no.1391).
Point to Note: The texts of the Book and the Sunnah clearly prove that the Angels are physical entities and not mere abstract forces. About this the Shaykh said in Sharh Thalaathatil-Usool (p.93): “There are some misguided people who deny that the angels are physical beings, claiming instead that they are merely an expression referring to the power of good inherent in created beings. This view is a rejection of the Book of Allaah the Exalted, the Sunnah of the Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the scholarly consensus (ijmaa) of the Muslims.”
5. Reported by al-Bukhaaree (no.2207) and Muslim (no. 162).
Imaam at-Tabaree reports in his Tafseer (11/27) that ‘Alee radiallaahu ‘anhu said about al-baytul-ma’moor: “It is a house in the heavens which is directly above the Ka’bah. It is sanctified in the heavens, just as the House [i.e. the Ka’bah] is sanctified upon the earth.”
Consult: as-Saheehah (no.477) of Shaykh al-Albaanee.