Angels in Islam


May I be answered for whether Angels have rational potentials as that of human being ?


Of course angels possess reason since Allah Most High described them as obedient servants who fear Him and never go against what He commands them, which is the height of reason. This Godfearingness is a proof of their knowledge of Allah Most High, as implied by the sequence of witnesses in the verse {Allah bears witness that there is no god but He
– and the angels, and those possessed of knowledge
} (3:18) and our reading the verse {and they tremble in awe of Him} (21:28) in light of the verse {Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants, who have knowledge} (35:28), both verses using the root kh-sh-y [to fear]. This knowledge, furthermore, mutually supports the aspect of volition as discussed in the following paragraph.

According to Abu Ishaq al-Saffar (d. 534), the position of the generality of Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a is that Allah Most High created them endowed with the faculty of choice and able to understand their Lord, the proofs for this being {Any one of them who should say: Lo! I am a God beside Him, that one We would repay with hell} (21:29) and {They do not disobey Allah in that which He commands them, but do as they are commanded} (66:6). If they were forced to believe while unbelief was inconceivable for them, he would not have said {that one We would repay with hell}, since the requital matches the act; and if they
did not have free choice in their pure monotheism and obedience, the Most High would not have commended them by saying {They do not disobey Allah in that which He commands them, but do as they are commanded}. (al-Suyuti, al-Haba’ik fi Akhbar al-Mala’ik p. 252)

Furthermore Allah Most High called the angels the Lauders, the Scribes, the Highest Assembly, the Honored Ones, and His Messengers; He certainly does not send irrational Messengers to rational human beings! and He allowed them to converse with Him and ask Him questions about creation, as well as made them pray for the believers, as well as made them carry His Throne, and more than that He ordered them to bless the Holy Prophet
and the believers, all of which would detract from the greatness and munificence of Allah if we were to claim that they might not be rational since Allah Most High placed reason among the greatest gifts in the Holy Qur’an by summoning human beings to it time and again.

Angels do not know the future (Q 27:65, 72:26-27), however, according to the majority of scholars, they are aware of the innermost thoughts of human beings on the basis of the Hadith qudsi: “When My servant wants to do an evil deed, do not record it against him until he actually does it” (al-Bukhari and Muslim) cf. Shaykh `Abd Allah Siraj al-Din, al-Iman bil-Mala’ika (p. 146-152).

The claim that angels are not rational is one of the most extreme aberrations of a Wahhabi by the name of Muhammad Hamid al-Fiqqi the founder of the Ansar al-Sunna al-Muhammadiyya in Egypt, in which he tried to enshrine the teachings of Muhammad Abduh and Muhammad Rashid Rida that angels and jinn do not have any objective reality but symbolize psychic forces or what another one of their kind, Muhammad Haykal [author of the famous Sira], called “figurizations of divine truths” and other gobbledygook. The Wahhabis themselves have refuted it in several pamphlets as documented here but this is all secondary since Ahl al-Sunna wal-Jama`a from the first have always agreed that angels are rational.

Hajj Gibril Haddad

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