Islamic Sufism Spirituality

Creation of Angels (Malaa’ikah)

Posted on: June 18, 2008


CHAPTER ONETHE CREATION OF ANGELS (MALAA’IKAH)

1. In the treatise, “Sha’bul Imaan”, Imam Baihaqi (radi Allahu anhu) reports a Hadith from Hazrat Jaabir (radi allahu anhu) in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “When Almighty Allah created Adam (alaihis salaam) and his progeny, the Angels remarked, ‘O Allah! You have created such a being who eats and drinks, cohabits and travels. Make the world a place for their dwelling and let us be the inmates of the Hereafter.’ The Most Revered Allah replied, ‘I shall not make him, who has been fashioned by My Power, and in whom I have bequeathed the spirit and then commanded, Be!, and he became’.”

From this Hadith, one important fact emerges. The creation of man was effected through a gradual and systematic process, namely, the stage of dust, which was then shaped into a human form and, finally, the bequeathing of the soul in him. Looking at it from another perspective: first the stage of sperm, then a speck of blood, which was transformed into a piece of meat, the formation of limbs, which then took human shape, and finally the soul being bequeathed. Angels, on the other hand, are created by the Supreme Command, “Be!” and they come or come into existence.

2. Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Angels are created from light. The Jinns, from fire containing smoke, and Adam (alaihis salaam) from that already told to you (viz. black, white and red sand).” (Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal; Muslim)

3. Hazrat Jaabir bin Abdullah (radi Allahu anhu) narrates another Hadith in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have stated, “O Jaabir, most certainly Almighty Allah created the Noor (Light) of your Nabi before anything else. Then, when He decided to create the world, He divided the Noor of your Nabi into four portions. From the first portion, He created the Pen (Qalam) of Destiny, from the second, the Divine Tablet (Lawh-e-Mahfooz), from the third, the Divine Throne. The fourth portion was further sub-divided into another four portions. From the first portion, He created those Angels who are the bearers of the Divine Throne, from the second, the Divine Chair, and from the third, the rest of the Angels.”

4. Allama Faasi (radi Allahu anhu) in his book, “Mutaali-ul-Musarrat”, has recorded the following Hadith from Imam Ash’ari (radi Allahu anhu) who narrates, “Verily, the Almighty Allah is an Incomparable Light, the soul of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is the splendid glow of that Light, while the Angels are the sparks of that resplendent light. Almighty Allah first created my Noor (Light) and from this Noor, He created everything else.”

5. Hazrat Abu Shaikh (radi Allahu anhu) narrates the following Hadith from Hazrat Akramah (radi Allahu anhu) who reports that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Most certainly, Angels are created from the Noor (Light) of Allah.”

A commentary of a similar Hadith is to be found in the book, “Umdatul Qaari Sharah Sahihul Bukhaari”, carrying an interesting observation of Hazrat Ali (radi Allahu anhu) wherein he mentions, “There is an Angel named Rooh, who has seventy thousand heads, each head has seventy thousand faces, each face contains seventy mouths, each mouth is made up of seventy thousand tongues and each tongue is blessed with seventy thousand languages. By means of these languages, this Angel is constantly reciting the Tasbeeh of Almighty Allah. From each Tasbeeh, one Angel is being created. This Angel soars into the Heavens with rest of the Angels until the Day of Judgement.”

6. Hazrat Tha’albi (radi Allahu anhu) has reported a Hadith from Hazrat Abdullah ibn Masood (radi Allahu anhu), who mentions that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “There is an Angel named Rooh who is of greater magnitude than the Heavens and the earth, as well as the mountains and other Angels. Daily, he recites twelve thousand Tasbeehs. From each Tasbeeh, one Angel is created. On the Day of Judgement, this Angel will form one complete row by himself, while the rest of the Angels will form another row.”

Referring to this Hadith, several Scholars have made interesting comments. Imam Al Baghwi (radi Allahu anhu), in his book, “Al Mu’allim”, quotes the verse, “Rooh, and the other Angels will stand in rows on the Day of Judgement,” refers to the above Hadith.

Imam Ainee (radi Allahu anhu), in his book, “Umdatul Qaari Sharah Sahihul Bukhaari”, says that the verse, “and they shall question you regarding Rooh” refers to this Hadith.

7. In the book, “Mawaahibul Ladunnia”, Imam Qastalaani (radi Allahu anhu) states, “There is a celestial world found in the Heaven (made from water and smoke) wherein are Angels created from water and air. The leader of these Angels is Ra’d, who is responsible for the clouds and rain.”

8. Shaikh Akbar ibn Arabi (radi Allahu anhu) states in his book, “Al Futuhaatul Makkia”, that, “Almighty Allah first sparked a bright refulgence from light. Then He created darkness. On the darkness, the image of this light shone which revealed the Divine Throne. Then from this light, which was not only the light of the morning, but included the darkness of the night, Almighty Allah created those Angels which are found within the precincts of the Divine Throne and the Divine Chair. These Angels also reflect the material of the Divine Chair.”

9. Hazrat Abu Sa’eed (radi Allahu anhu) narrates the following Hadith of Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) in which he has stated, “Verily, there is a river in Heaven, in which whenever Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) submerges his wings and shakes it, small droplets of water drip from it. From each droplet, an Angel is created.”

Indeed, one cannot estimate the droplets of water that drip from the wings of Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam). Why? Simply because Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) has six hundred wings and each wing is so huge that when he spreads it, it casts a shadow over the entire sky.

10. It has been reported from Hazrat ibn Abi Haatim, Aqueeli and Hazrat Abu Hurairah (radi Allahu anhum) that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “In the fourth Heaven is a river called Haywaan (River of Life). Each day Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) dips in it and shakes his wings letting off seventy thousand drops. From each of these droplets one Angel is created by Almighty Allah. These Angels are commanded to perform Salaah in the Baitul Ma’moor. As soon as they perform their Salaah, they come out from Baitul Ma’moor never to return. One Angel from this group is appointed their leader and he is delegated the duty of taking these Angels to one spot in Heaven where they will stand reciting the Tasbeeh of Almighty Allah till Day of Judgement.”

11. Imam Ata, Maqaatil and Dhahaaq report a Hadith as narrated by Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “On the right hand side of the Divine Throne is found a river of Light, which in magnitude is equal to the seven Heavens, the seven crust of the earth and the seven Oceans. In it, Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) bathes each morning, whereby his brightness and beauty is constantly increased. When Hazrat Jibraeel (alaihis salaam) comes out from this water, he flutters his wings. From each drop that fall from his wings, a thousand Angels are created. From these multitude of Angels, seventy thousand are commanded to enter the Baitul Ma’moor, none of whom will get another chance to enter this illustrious place until the Day of Judgement.” (Tafseer Kabeer)

12. Imam Fakrudeen Raazi (radi Allahu anhu) has quoted a Hadith in his treatise, “Tafseer Kabeer” in support of the commentary of the verse: “And He creates that which you will not perceive.”

Imam ibn Hajr Ali bin Urtahtah reports a Hadith that has been narrated by several Sahaba, in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “There are some Angels of Almighty Allah whose every limb trembles from the constant Fear of Allah. Whichever of these Angels sheds a tear, it is immediately transformed into an Angel before that tear can even reach the ground.”

13. It has been reported by Hazrat Abush Shaikh Ka’ab Ahbaar (radi Allahu anhu) that, “Whichever of these Angels sheds a tear, it changes into an Angel and flies away with the Fear of Allah.”

14. Imam ibn Bashkawaal reports a Hadith from Hazrat Anas (radi Allahu anhu), in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Whosoever sends a Durood Shareef upon me with the intention of honouring me, Almighty Allah will transform that Durood Shareef into an Angel whose one wing spreads to the East and one to the West. Allah commands this Angel, ‘O My Angel! Send Durood upon my servant as he has sent Durood upon My Beloved Habeeb’.”

In response to this Divine Command, the Angel will continue to send Durood upon the person till the Day of Judgement. Similarly, Moulana Naqi Ali Khan (radi Allahu anhu) the father of A’la Hazrat, Imam Ahmed Raza Khan (radi Allahu anhu), in his famous book, “Al Kalaamul Awdah fi Tafseer-e-Alam-Nash-rah”, reports a Hadith from Imam Sakhaawi (radi Allahu anhu) in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “There is one Angel of Almighty Allah whose one side is in the East and one in the West. When anyone sends Durood Shareef upon me out of love and devotion, this Angel dives into the Heavenly Water and flutters his wings. From each drop that falls from his wings, Almighty Allah creates one Angel who will be reciting Istigfaar (seeking pardon) for this person until the Day of Judgement.”

15. In the book, “Mawaahibul Laddunia”, it is reported that, “There are some Angels who are constantly engaged in reciting the Tasbeeh of Allah. For every Tasbeeh they recite, Almighty Allah creates one Angel.”

16. Hazrat ibn Arabi (radi Allahu anhu) in his famous treatise, “Al Futuhaatul Makkia”, states, “Pious deeds and words take the form of an Angel which elevates the Heaven.” In his esteemed opinion, this is in accordance with the Divine verse which means, “Unto Him soars good words and pious deeds elevate it.”

17. Imam Qurtabi (radi Allahu anhu), in his book, “Tazkirah”, narrates on the authority of great Scholars who maintain that, “Whosoever recites Surah Baqarah and Surah Ale Imraan, Almighty Allah will create Angels from his recitation and these Angels will intercede on behalf of the reciter on the Day of Judgement.”

18. Imam Aarif billah Abdul Wahab Sha’raani (radi Allahu anhu) states in his famous treatise, “Meezanush Shari yatul Kubra”, that, “Angels are created from the breath of pious people. Those that are created from the breath of pious women acquire greater beauty than those created from the breath of men.”

From the above mentioned eighteen Ahadith and quotations of great Scholars of Islam, we can ascertain about the different ways in which Angels are created. These prove, beyond any shadow of doubt, that Angels are created daily in large numbers. Only their Creator and what He has revealed to His beloved Slaves know their true numbers.

CHAPTER TWOTHE DEATH OF ANGELS (MALAA’IKAH)

When Imam Waliyuddeen Iraaqi was questioned regarding the death of Angels, he replied, “In my opinion, no concrete proof is on hand regarding this matter. However, mere conjecture in respect of this subject is unwise as it leaves no room for mere personal opinions and conjectures.”

Contrary to this belief, the majority of the Ulema of the Ahle Sunnah are of the opinion that Angels are created from light delicate bodies. It is categorically proven from authenticsources that Angels will experience death without any doubt. Such a belief is in accordance with the Quranic verse which proclaims, “Every soul shall taste death.”

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) states that when the verse, “Everything upon it (the earth) shall perish”, was revealed, the Angels proclaimed, “All dwellers upon the earth will die”, meaning that they are not safe from death. Yet, when the verse, “Every soul shall taste death was revealed”, they proclaimed, “Now, we too will die.” (Mafaati’ul Ghaib)

Hazrat ibn Jareer (radi Allahu anhu) reports from Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu), who states, “The Angel of Death is appointed to capture the souls of Muslims and Angels alike.”

Hazrat Anas (radi Allahu anhu) has narrated the following lengthy Hadith from Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), which proves comprehensively that Angels too will also experience death.

Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “When everything will begin to perish, only Jibraeel, Mikaeel, and the Angel of Death will remain. Then Almighty Allah will state, ‘O Angel of Death, who else is still spared?’ The reply will be, ‘None, but Thy Graceful Self, Who is Eternal, as well as Thy servants Jibraeel, Mikaeel and the Angel of Death.’ At this a Divine Command will be issued, ‘Capture the soul of Mikaeel’, at which Mikaeel will fall like a great and mighty mountain. Once again, Allah, the All Knowing, will ask, ‘Who else is spared?’ The reply will be, ‘None but Thy Graceful Self, Jibraeel and the Angel of Death.’ Again the command will be given, ‘Capture the soul of Jibraeel’, at which Jibraeel will flutter his wings, fall in prostration and pass away. Finally, when the Angel of Death himself will pass away, the All Wise and Great Creator will proclaim, ‘In the beginning, I brought the creations into existence and I will once more bring it to life. Where are those rulers that laid claim to kingship?’ There will be no answer. The Almighty Allah himself will reply, ‘Today, Kingship belongs to Allah Alone, the Sole Controller’.” (Baihaqi; Faryaabi)

From this Hadith we learn that even Allah’s closest Angels will not live beyond the Day of Judgement. The crux of the matter is that, daily, numerous Angels are created who engage themselves in the constant Tasbeeh of Almighty Allah and who will live only until the Day of Judgement. These include Angels that are created from the recitation of the Durood Shareef. In fact, it is not substantiated from any Hadith that Angels will not be subjected to death. In fact, Hazrat ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) makes it quite clear that before the revelation of the verse, “Every soul shall taste death”, Angels were not aware of themselves experiencing death.

With regard to the two Angels, Kiraaman Khaatibeen, who accompany every Muslim, Imam Baihaqi (radi Allahu anhu) narrates the following Hadith, in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “After the death of the Muslim, they soar to the Heaven and seek permission to live there, but Almighty Allah turns down their request saying, ‘My Heavens are full of Angels who are constantly engaged in glorifying Me.’ Then they will implore to live on the earth. To which Almighty Allah will reply, ‘My creation has filled the earth, constantly glorifying Me.’ Thereafter, Almighty Allah commands them to stand at the graveside of the Muslim and the servant of Allah, to recite the Tasbeeh of Allah, and the Sawaab of which is then bestowed upon the deceased person.”

Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas (radi Allahu anhu) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Angels will die at the time when the first trumpet will be sounded on the Day of Judgement. Their souls will be captured by the Angel of Death. Thereafter, the Angel of Death himself will succumb to death.”

CHAPTER THREECONCLUSION

After the completion of this work, I (A’la Hazrat) came across one Fatwa found in Allama ibn Hajr Makki’s “Fatawah Hadithiyyah” regarding the Angels and in which the learned Imam confirms that Angels will experience death when the first trumpet will be sounded, but the bearers of the Divine Throne and the Four Exalted Angels will be the last to pass away.

Regarding the birth of Angels too, he has stated that Angels are not created at one time. Rather, this is an ongoing process. Thereafter, Imam ibn Hajr (radi Allahu anhu) has narrated seven Ahadith, five of which I have already mentioned, while the other two are now added to the original eighteen.

19. There is a fountain of Allah found in space which is so huge that the seven layers of earth can fit in it seven times. In it, one Angel from the Heaven descends, whose size completely fills the fountain. He bathes in this fountain and when he emerges from it, drops of light drip from his wings. From each droplet, Almighty Allah creates one Angel who like all Angels constantly engages in the Tasbeeh of Almighty Allah.

20. He further narrates another Hadith from Hazrat ibn Ula (radi Allahu anhu) who mentions that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Jibraeel daily dives into the Fountain of Kauther and shakes his wings. From each droplet, Almighty Allah creates one Angel.”

By the Grace of the Almighty Allah and His beloved Habeeb (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), I recall another Hadith on this subject which can be also included here.

In the book, “Kitaabus Thawaab”, Hazrat ibn Abid Dunya and Hazrat Abush Shaikh (radi Allahu anhuma), have recorded a Hadith of Hazrat Jaafer (radi Allahu anhu) in which Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has stated, “Whosoever makes a Muslim happy, Almighty Allah will create one Angel out of this happiness who immediately engages himself in the worship of Almighty Allah and in exalting His Oneness. When this person passes away and enters the grave, this Angel will appear in front of him and ask, ‘Do you remember me? I am the same happiness with which you gladdened the heart of a certain Muslim. Today, I will comfort you in your hour of fear, teach you the answers to the questions that will prove you a believer and will show you your place in Heaven’.”

We humbly supplicate in the Court of the Almighty Allah that this explanation would have taught you about the life and existence of the Angels. Aameen.

In conclusion, Most Exalted is Allah the King of the Mighty Throne, Lord of the Angels, who has distinguished Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) from the entire creation. May the Almighty Allah in His infinite Mercy bestow the strength upon those who are on the straight path to remain on this path. Aameen Allahuma Aameen

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