To Believe In His Angels

The second of the six fundamentals of îmân is "to believe in His angels." Angels are material but ethereal (latîf), more ethereal than the gaseous phase of matter. They are nûrânî (luminous, spiritual). They are alive. They have reason ('aql). Evils peculiar to human beings do not exist in angels. They can take any shape. As gases turn into liquid and solid and take any shape when becoming solid, so angels can form beautiful shapes. Angels are not souls that have parted from the bodies of great men. Christians presume that angels are such spirits. Unlike energy and power, they are not immaterial. Some ancient philosophers supposed so. All of them are called malâ'ika. 'Malak' (angel) means 'envoy, messenger' or 'power. ' Angels were created before all other living creatures. Therefore, we were commanded to believe in them before believing in the heavenly books, which come before the belief in prophets; and in the Qur'ân al-kerîm the names of these beliefs are given in this succession.

Belief in angels has to be as follows: angels are the creatures of Allâhu ta'âlâ. They are not His partners, nor are they His daughters as disbelievers and polytheists suppose. Allâhu ta'âlâ loves all angels. They obey His commands and never commit sins or disobey the commands. They are neither male nor female. They do not get married. They do not have children. They have life; that is, they are alive.

Of all creatures, angels are the most plentiful. No one but Allâhu ta'âlâ knows their number.

Angels belonging in Paradise stay in Paradise. Their superior is Ridwân. Angels of Hell, zabânîs, carry out in Hell what they are commanded. The fire of Hell does not harm them, as the sea is not harmful to fish. There are nineteen leading zabânîs. Their chief is Mâlik.

For each human being, there are four angels who record all the good and bad actions. Two of them come at night and the other two come during the day. They are called kirâman kâtibîn or angels of hafaza. It was also said that the angels of hafaza were different from the kirâman kâtibîn. The angel on one's right side is superior to the one on the left and records the good deeds. The one on the left writes down the evil deeds. There are angels who will torture disbelievers and disobedient Muslims in their graves, and angels who will ask questions in graves. The questioning angels are called munkar and nakîr. Those who will question Muslims are also called mubashshir and bashîr.