Definition of the Angels and belief in them


 The angels form a world different to the world of mankind and the world of jinn.  It is a noble world, completely pure.  They are noble pious, worshiping Allah as he should be worshiped, fulfilling whatever he commands them to do and never disobeying him.

From the texts of the Qur’an and sunnah, we will see their attributes as described therein.

The word Malak (angel) is derived from the root alaka; ma’lakah and ma’lak mean message.  From this root is derived the word malaa’ik(angels), because they are the messengers of Allah.

It is also said that the word malak is derived from the root la’aka, and that mal’aakah means message. The phrase wa’alikni ila fulaan means ‘convey to him from me.’  Al-Mal’ak means al-malak (angel) because the angels convey (messages) from Allah.

Some of the scholars said al-malak (angel) is derived from al-mulk (sovereignty).  He said: if one of the angels is in control of some affairs, he is described as malak, and if a human being is in control of some affairs, he is described as malik (king).

Belief in the angels is one of the principles of faith.  A person’s faith cannot be correct unless he believes in them. Allah says:

The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to you is the [final] destination.” (2:285)

How should we believe in the angels?

Suyooti narrated that Al-Bayhaqi said in Shu’ab al-Emaan: “Belief in the Angels” means the following

  1. Belief that they exists
  2. Giving each one of them their rightful status, and believing that they are the slaves of Allah, created by him, like mankind and the jinn.  They are commanded to do things and they are accountable.  They are not able to do anything except that which Allah has enabled them to do.  Death is possible for them, but Allah gives them a long life, and they do not die until their appointed time comes.  They should not be described in any way that would imply association with Allah, and they should not be regarded as gods as they were regarded by the ancients, some traditional cultures of the early people.
  3. Acknowledging that among them are messengers whom Allah sends to whomsoever He wills among Mankind.  He may also send some of them to others.  This implies acknowledging that among them are the bearers of the throne, those who stand in ranks, the keepers of paradise, the keepers of hell, those who record Man’s deeds and those who drive the clouds.  The Qur’an has mentioned all or most of them.”

Taken from Umar al-Ashqar’s book – The world of the noble Angels

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