Hamzaad (Twin angel)


Assalamu alaikum Ya Sheikh.

What is hamzad? What is the Islamic perspective on hamzaad? What is the role of hamzad in spirituality? Please provide hadiths and Islamic material for full understanding if possible.

Forgive me for my ignorance. Need your prayers for me and my family.
JazakAllah. Wasalam.



Wa `alaykum as-Salam wa rahmatullah.

The word “hamzad” should usually be rendered “companion,” and we must be reserved in equating “companion” with “twin angel.” Since the term corresponds to the Arabic word “qarin,” it is essential to consider the repeated appearance of the latter term in the Holy Qur’an, including “And We assigned them qurana…” (XLI, 25). Indeed, the majority of examples refer not to angels but clearly to devils; but in any case, it is this meaning of a companion for the soul – rather than in any worldly meanings of companionship – that is relevant to your inquiry.

A hadith from Muslim must be mentioned in this context, in which the Holy Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him – is reported to have said: “There is not one of you but has a devil.” They asked, “And you, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “And I also, save that Allah helped me to gain the victory over him and he became a Muslim, and commands only good.” It is also not without interest to relate from al-Tha`labi’s history that the prophet Jesus – peace be upon him – had the Holy Spirit for a qarin. The Holy Spirit (Ruh al-Quds, peace be upon him) was formerly called “Holy Ghost” by English-speakers, and the term “ghost” may in fact be better suited to refer to that presence accompanying each person, a presence that for most people is far from holy.

This speciality of Jesus recalls the Tradition that neither he nor his mother – peace be upon them – bore the touch of the Devil at their births. More complete is the “victory” of the Seal of Prophets – peace and blessings be upon him – that provides the best example for striving in the psychic realm of the soul. The term “jinn” sometimes replaces the word “devil” in traditional descriptions of the qarin, and the jinn are in a sense intermediate between the angelic and human just as the psychic may be considered intermediate between the spirit and body. Curiously, the English word “genie” for jinn is not traced etymologically to Arabic but instead to the Roman “genius;” but here is to be found another expression for our subject, this time at the foundation of Western civilization, since a “genius” was not only associated with a particular place (the “genius loci”), but a genius was also understood to accompany each individual as a tutelary presence.

Reference to such a presence may also be found in Islamic Hermeticism, and this is not surprising, since the latter is concerned especially with the “intermediary” sciences of the soul. In this context, the companion is known as the “Perfect Nature;” yet this nature is properly a goal of Hermeticism, and so equivalent to the “gold” of Alchemy. Such a goal is only accomplished through great work, and the process through which it may be accomplished has been described in six stages through the seven levels of being by Ibrahim Hakki, may Allah sanctify his secret. Victory over the personal devil that commands evil is essential to this process.

I have heard Sultan al-Awliya Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani – may Allah sanctify his secret – describe the world of the grave – that is, the intermediary realm of the barzakh – with imagery especially relevant here. In the grave, the individual will not be alone, but will find a companion, and the appearance of this companion will depend upon the choices made in this life. If the choices were good, this companion will appear with a beautiful aspect, and a pleasing fragrance; if the choices were evil, the companion will be ugly and foul beyond imagining. The soul in this world, then, may be understood as positioned between two possibilities, and the side taken in every action has a devilish or angelic identity. Such a classical understanding of the soul has been well explained by al-Ghazali, may Allah sanctify his secret.

The Messenger of Allah – peace and blessings be upon him – has warned us to “look at whom one befriends.” It is of vital importance to recognize the distinction between the psychic and the spiritual, and to know that in the psychic realm, there is a companion who will not command good until victory has been won. The consequence of befriending the personal devil in our choices does not solely manifest posthumously; in the carnage of current events, actions without mercy follow the commands of devils, and further the ambitions of the awliya’ ash-shaytan (friend of the devils).

Mahmoud Shelton

About Ustadh Mahmoud Shelton

Mahmoud Shelton studied at the University of Edinburgh before taking a degree in Medieval Studies at Stanford University. Shelton is the author of Alchemy in Middle Earth: The Significance of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, The Balance of George Lucas' Star Wars, and numerous articles. He is also a contributor to The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry and The Sufi Science of Self-Realization. Contributions by Mahmoud Shelton * Chivalry of the Night and Day * Alchemy in Middle Earth * contributor, The Royal Book of Spiritual Chivalry
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