Angels in the Hadith

Published on June 9, 2016 by admin


The Prophetic tradition tells us that there are 360 angels responsible for each believer’s life, and they mind our works: when a work is good, they praise God, and when one is evil, they ask Him to forgive us. They guard their charges, especially during infancy and old age and pray for the faithful. Other angels surround people when they gather together to remember (dhikr), to praise and glorify God. They also attend study meetings held for God’s sake and to benefit people. The Prophet Muhammad says, “God has angels who travel about in the earth and convey to me greetings from my community.” The Prophet Muhammad also said that angels take turns watching over human beings and assemble together at the afternoon and dawn prayers.

The Hadith tradition provides many examples of angelic activity in events. According to one hadith, as an infant, the Prophet Muhammad was visited by two angels who split open his chest, brought forth his heart, cast away a black clot, and washed his chest with the snow. Another hadith narrates that the archangel Gabriel acted as a guide on the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey (al­Isra) and his Ascension to the Seven Heavens (Mi’raj).

In the Hadith tradition, many angels are mentioned by name: Ridwan is the name of the angel given charge of paradise, Malik rules over hell, and Munkar and Nakir are the two angels who question the dead in their graves. Several hadiths also speak of Ruman, the angel who subjects the dead to various trials.


Further Reading:

Ünal, Ali trans. The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English. New Jersey: Tughra Books, November 2008.
Gülen, Muhammad Fethullah. The Essentials of the Islamic Faith. Somerset, New Jersey: Light, 2006.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Spirituality: Foundations (World Spirituality).

New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1991.

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