Malaaikah – Angels in the Quran

angels wings

Who are Angels in the Quran?

In Islam, Angels are created from heavenly light by Allah, and given tasks to perform.  The Quran mentions that Angels have a special status as being the helpers and protectors of people on the earth, and so are highly honoured.  The second pillar of Islamic faith is belief in the Angels so belief in them is fundamental. 

There are 8 Angels that have been referred to in the Quran, and 4 of them hold great importance with each being given central duties; Jibril, Mikaail, Israafil and Izraail.

In Arabic, Angels are called Malaaikah and this comes from the word ‘uluk’ which means messengers, because the most widely known duties of the Angels was to deliver the message of Allah to His Messengers.  They are part of the Unseen world and Allah has told us about them in many parts of the Quran.

‘[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent.’ 

Quran [35:1]

What are the qualities of the Angels?

  1. They are created from light.  Aisha (RA) reported: ‘The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: ‘The angels are created from light, just as jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is created from what you have been told about.’ (Muslim). BUY this exclusive book about Jinns on Amazon Now
  2. They are huge in number.  On the night journey and to the Me’raj (Ascension) to the highest heavens, when the Prophet (SAW) reached the seventh heaven, a building called the Bayt ul Ma’moor (the Kaa’ba of the heavens) was erected in front of him.  The Archangel Jibril (Gabriel) said to him:  ‘This is the Bayt ul Ma’moor, every day 70,000 angels enter and pray in it, then they leave and never return to it until the end of time.’  This gives you an idea of their immense number.
  3. They are enormous in size.  Among the greatest angels are those who carry the Throne of Allah. Jabir (RA) stated: The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘I have been given permission to speak about one of the angels of Allah who carry the Throne.  The distance between his earlobes and his shoulders is equivalent to a seven-hundred-year journey.’ (Abu Dawud).
  4. They carry out various duties and tasks.  Jibril (AS), the most important Angel is the one who Allah trusts with bringing the Revelations.  Mikaail (AS) is the angel who has been commissioned to manage the rainfall and agriculture. Israafil (AS) in a hadith is mentioned as the one who will blow the trumpet to commence the Day of Judgement.  There are other angels that sit on every person’s right and left recording his/her every utterance and every deed.
  5. Their beauty.  The idea that angels are beautiful is well placed in people’s minds, so much that they liken a beautiful human to an angel.  As when the women said about Yusuf (AS): ‘No mortal is this!  This is none other than a noble angel!’  Quran 12:31
  6. They are incapable of sinning.  As Allah says in the Quran, ‘then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.’  Quran 2:24 No mention here of angels, just the sinning people.
  7. They are compassionate with the believers and they pray for them.  As it states in the Quran: ‘Those [angels] who carry the Throne and those around it exalt [Allah ] with praise of their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, [saying], “Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and followed Your way and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire.’  Quran 40:7

Which Angel is responsible for rain?

The Angel responsible for rain is Mikaail, who is one of the four greatest Angels. He is also appointed in charge of vegetation in relation to rain.

When were the Angels created?

Although there is no text to tell us precisely when they were created, it is accepted that angels were created before mankind and jinn.  This is indicated in the Quranic verse of 2:30 ‘And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority.”  This is when Allah told the angels of His intention to create man.

They were created before mankind because the realm of the angels is completely independent of a paradise or a hellfire, as they need no incentive.  They don’t need a paradise to motivate them to worship Allah.  They don’t need pleasure or pain to push them towards that worship because they have been created only to worship Allah.

What is the benefit of believing in Angels

Allah’s creation of these Angels and our believing in them causes great benefits for us, so much so that you cannot be a believer without believing in them.  Some of these benefits are:

  • Their creation is a sign and a display or Allah’s power.  Listening and thinking about these beings with their immense size and power, compassion and other attributes that are far superior to humans, then comparing them to the immeasurable greatness of Allah is a sign of His power which increases the believer in faith and confidence.
  • The creation of the Angels is an honour for the believers.  They worship Allah day and night constantly, without tiring; plus they are sinless and more in number and size than humans.  But even after this, the human being can be superior to the Angels.  How?  Because the human being can commit sin, but when he chooses to be a believer and fear Allah and love him, trust and obey him, and he doesn’t commit a sin even though he is capable of it, this is more praiseworthy than an Angel who is unable to commit a sin to begin with.
  • Believing in them brings a humbling reality to us.  When you see how these creatures with all their qualities do nothing but worship Allah and see it unbefitting to do anything but worship Allah and even then will say ‘Glorified you are Allah, we didn’t worship you enough.’  This is humbling for a person who commits excesses and sins to reflect on what his worship is of Allah.
  • The significance of the knowledge of the world of the Angels is for human beings to realise that all of their deeds are being recorded.

Are Angels simply robots?

It may seem like because the angels are not capable of sinning and do as they are commanded, they must be like robots having no personality or character.  But this is far from the truth. We find that they have plenty of character; they like certain things and dislike certain things, all within the scope of the obedience of Allah.  

You won’t find many stories in the Quran that mention a Prophet without the mention of an Angel also.  We should understand the beauty of this creation, what they love and what they hate.

Names of Angels in Islam

There are 8 Angels that have been referred to in the Quran, and 4 of them hold great importance with each being given central duties; Jibril, Mikaail, Israafil and Izraail.

The names are:

Jibril – Gabriel, the Angel of Revelation

Mikaail – the Angel responsible for rain and agriculture

Israafil – the Angel who will blow the Trumpet heralding the end of the world

Maalik – the Guardian of Hell

Munkar and Nakir – the two Angels who question people in the grave

Harut and Maarut – the two Angels who were sent to Babylon to test the people’s faith.

What are guardian angels in Islam

This concept of guardian angels is asked about in Islam also.  The Prophet (SAW) was guarded by Jibril (AS) so he served as a guardian angel here although that was not his only role.  The Prophet also talks about the end of times and says when Dajjal (the antichrist) tries to enter the city of Madinah, he will find that the city is protected by angels.  Even in the battle of Badr, the first in Islam, Allah sent 3000 angels to support the believers and fight alongside them.

Do I have a guardian angel or angels?  The answer would be yes and they protect us from the shayateen (devils) as the Quran states:

‘and He sends over you guardian-angels until, when death comes to one of you, Our messengers take him, and they do not fail [in their duties].

Quran [6:61]

And also:

‘For each one are successive [angels] before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah ….’ 

Quran [13:11]

But these guardian angels are not with you when you are in a state of corruption and disobey the commands of Allah.  When you do this, they depart from you when you expose yourself to those harms.

The only time they move away even when a person is in a state of obedience is when the decree of Allah comes for something to happen as they know that Allah knows best for His servant and all that comes from Allah is good to His believing slave.

Hadith about Angels

A beautiful hadith of the Prophet (SAW) states:  ‘There is no place in the lower heaven without an angel standing or prostrating in it.’

[Gabriel said], “And we [angels] descend not except by the order of your Lord. To Him belongs that before us and that behind us and what is in between. And never is your Lord forgetful

Quran [19:64]