Hi everyone! One of the articles of faith is to believe in God’s angels. There are many Quranic verses and there are many sayings of the Prophet about angels. Angels are real creatures of God. They are not superstitious. They are real creatures. They are not ghosts. They are not just some kind of unknown spirits. Angels are real creatures of God. We even have some references in the Quran to their names.
Generally in Islamic theology, we don’t have their numbers. They are innumerable. In fact there are some sayings of the Prophet mentioning angels as, with every drop of rain, an angel comes to earth. That means they are really innumerable. We cannot count them as you cannot count the drops of an ocean.
So they are very important creatures. Unlike human beings they are always obedient to God and they are constantly worshipping God and praying to God. They are the highest in the realm of creation. But human beings through their ability and through their free choice, they can be actually higher than angels under certain circumstances. Prophets of God from a theological perspective are considered higher than angles. All Prophets of God from a spiritual perspective are higher than angels, of course.
There are basically some discussions of angels in Islamic sources. How do you know angels really exist?. Basically there are two ways to prove their existence among Muslim theologians. One is that if one angel is seen in the entire human history, that is enough to prove the existence of angels, one angel. There are many references that angels appear to prophets of God. Especially angel Gabriel who appeared to Moses, appeared to Jesus, appeared to Mary, appeared to the prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Peace and blessings be upon all messengers of God.
So these people are experts of the subject. And then when they say they have seen, they are truthful, they do not lie. If they had not seen angels, they would not have said it. So that’s one aspect that Muslim theologians would bring to prove the existence of angels. And the second one is their consensus. In human history we have a kind of a consensus from the communities that angels were there. And they had some experiences; people had some experiences with angels. And that also is considered one of the ways to prove the existence of angels. Theologically speaking of course this is not like physical proof because it’s not something that you can put in a laboratory and then prove. It is not at that level. This is again related to faith and understanding.
There are basically great angels, what we can call the four archangels. The first one I would like to speak of is Angel Gabriel. Angel Gabriel has a remarkable personality. Basically all angels are beautiful. Angel Gabriel is the one who brought revelation to the prophets of God, the messengers of God. So for example, it was his job to bring revelation. So he brought the revelation of Quran to the Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon Him.
When Prophet was meditating in the cave of Hira, Angel Gabriel appeared to Him and said “Read”. And the Prophet said, “I cannot read. I am an illiterate, I cannot read”. Then Angel Gabriel again said “Read” And He said, “I cannot read”. And then the Prophet himself narrates the story and says that, “The Angel Gabriel took me and squeezed me to my endurance. And said Read in the Name of Your Lord who has created”. So this is the first experience of revelation. And this experience involves in the appearance of Angel Gabriel in Islam.
So the second angel, the second archangel in Islam I would say, Mikhail or Michael in English, we say Michael. In the Islamic literature, in the Quran actually Mikal or Mikhail is the name. And Angel Mikhail, according to Islamic theological sources, is responsible for the irrigation of the planet. So every green thing is related to the action of Angel Mikhail. Of course Angel Mikhail is not alone. There is an innumerable amount of angels doing a similar job under the command of the Angel Mikhail.
And again another archangel in Islam is called Israfil. Angel Israfil’s job is to blow in the trumpet when the end of time comes. So he is the one that will blow in the trumpet to declare that it is the end of time. This trumpet and blowing of this trumpet is mentioned in the Quran and in the Hadith. But when it comes to the nature of it, basically we do not know, we are not in a position to know the nature of this trumpet. But it is something that is an announcement, something to do with the announcement of the end of the world. And then there will be, according to the scatological sources of Islam, there will be a second trumpet again Angel Israfil will sound and that will be the announcement of the resurrection, and all people will be resurrected.
And the third important archangel in Islam, is Angel Azrail. We have his name in the Islamic tradition, known as Azrail. He is known as the angel of death. So Azrail is the angel of death, but he is very beautiful. The angel of death in Islam is very beautiful. So one shouldn’t think of Azrail as not being beautiful, he is really beautiful. And he appears in a very beautiful way to the people who are pure hearted when he takes their life. He becomes like a great friend, a great personality, and enjoying personality for those people. And that is his job, to take the life of people. He does not take all of them by himself. Again he has helpers. Billions of angels are helping him, if you can use a number. But as I said, again, there are an innumerable amount of angels helping Angel Azrail in this task.
There are angels who are actually on our right shoulder and left shoulder. They are recording the actions of human beings. They are recorders. Their job is to record. So the one who is on the right shoulder is recording good deeds and the one who is on the left shoulder is recording bad deeds. Sometimes when I talk about this, I say we have to increase the workload of the angel on the right shoulder. We have to do more good deeds rather than bad deeds. Let’s make the angel on the left shoulder have less work, because then he is happy actually. He is happy that people are not doing bad deeds and therefore he doesn’t need to record all of them.
In fact there are also some interesting details about the angel that is recording bad deeds. When a bad deed happens, it’s believed that angel waits a little bit to see if that person will ask for forgiveness or not. For example when let’s say you gossip about someone or you actually made a mistake unwillingly, but somehow you made it. The angel on the left shoulder waits and sees if you will ask for forgiveness, ask God for forgiveness. And if that happens he would not record it. Even if it is recorded and people ask for forgiveness, it is deleted. So this is the mercy of God that actually when we do one deed, one good deed, it is counted as ten and when we do one bad deed, it is counted as one because that is the encouragement of the Divine.That was to encourage people to do good deeds. And the job to record them has been given to the angel on the right shoulder. There are many other angels with different duties and it is highly discussed in the sources of Islamic theology. Thank you very much.