A belief in angels is one of the Six Articles of Faith in Sunni Islam. The Qur’an states that humans are made of clay and angels are made of light. They are often referred to as ‘Messengers with wings’ although they can take human form to communicate messages to mankind. They have no gender and no freewill. Their sole purpose is to obey Allah and praise Him.
‘They praise Him night and day without ever tiring’ (Qur’an 21)
‘We don’t descend except for the command of our Lord’ (Qur’an 19)
Nakir & Munkar – These angels test the faith of the dead in the graves after the funeral and burial. They ask three questions: Who is your Lord?, What is your religion? What is your faith about Muhammad? A righteous believer will reply that Allah is their Lord, Muhammad is the final prophet and their religion is Islam. If the questions are answered correctly the dead will rest easy until the final judgment.
Malik – Guardian of Hell
Israfil – Will blow the trumpet to signal the beginning of the Day of Judgment. No human knows when this day will happen.
Kiraman & Katbeen (Honourable Scribes) – The two angels who note down the record of an individual, which will be used to decide if a person goes to paradise or hell.
Jibril – The Angel of Holiness
Jibril is considered to be the most important angel in Islam. The name Jibril means ‘God is my strength’ and he is known for bringing good news. Jibril is mentioned many times in the Qur’an:
- Jibril helped Abraham when he was thrown into the fire
- Jibril opened the well of Zam Zam so Hagar could give Ismail water when in the desert
- Jibril told Maryam (Mary in the Christian tradition) that she would have a son, Isa (Jesus)
- Jibril spoke to Muhammad on Mt Hira on the Night of Power. Over a period of 23 years the Qur’an was given to Muhammad.
Mika’il – The angel of rain and sustenance
Angel Mika’il helped Muhammad spread the faith and was put in charge of plants and rain. Muslims believe he is responsible for providing spiritual help for the soul and material help for the body. On the Day of Judgment both Jibril and Mika’il will help judge a person’s actions. He has seen Hell and knows how easy it is to get there as opposed to how hard it is to get to paradise.
How does a belief in angels influence a Muslim?
- One of the Six Articles of faith for a Sunni Muslim so it is important that Muslims believe in the existence of angels as part of living a Muslim life
- Muslims know that their behaviour and actions are being watched and recorded. Their record will be weighed on the Day of Judgment and as such they will try to live a good life. The angels play a significant part in this process
- Muslims know that the angels will support them throughout their life and give what is needed eg food and water from Mika’il