Every Muslim must believe in angels. We know from the Quran (that which means): "…Whoever disbelieves in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, and the Last Day has certainly gone far astray." [Quran: 4:136] In the Hadeeth (narrative) of the angel Jibreel when he came to the Prophet and asked him about Islaam, Eemaan (belief), and Ihsaan (sincere and true faith in Allaah), the Messenger of Allaah said about Eemaan: "Eeman is to believe in Allaah, His angels, His books, His messengers, the Last Day, and to believe in the Divine decree, [both] the good and the bad thereof." [Muslim]
The angels have been present throughout all the stages of our creation, performing some duty. When we were in our mothers' wombs, an angel was there, breathing a soul into us. They are there everyday reporting to Allaah our deeds. They are there every second recording what we whisper and speak. When the time of our death comes, they are ready to take our souls. When the Day of Judgement commences, an angel will blow the Horn that will mark the commencement of the Day of Judgement.
Allaah has created the angels from light. The Prophet said: "The angels were created from Noor (light), the jinn were created from fire and man was created from what has been described to you."
Angels are honourable slaves of Allaah; they obey Him and execute His commands. Allaah describes them with what means: "They do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded." [Quran: 66:6]
Allaah created them to worship Him, and only Allaah knows how many they number. Among them are:
· Jibreel, who is charged with delivering Divine revelations to the Prophets and Messengers of Allaah, may Allaah exalt their mention.
· Meekaa'eel, who is charged with the delivering of the rain and subsistence (provision, etc).
· The angel of death, who is charged with extracting human souls,
· The bearers of the Throne of Allaah.
· The guards of Paradise and Hell.
Besides these, there are angels who guard humans, others who record people's deeds and utterances and still others who are charged with various other duties and tasks.
They do not eat or drink; they are characterised by neither feminine nor masculine attributes, and they never tire. Some spend their entire existence in Rukoo’ (bowing) and others in Sujood (prostration). When Judgement will be called, they will raise their heads and say: 'Glory be to You, our Lord! We did not worship You in a way befitting Your Majesty.' They are a creation of Allaah, a creation that took place before the creation of our father Aadam .
The Messenger of Allaah told us about their characteristics and duties. Amongst these characteristics are the following:
Firstly: They are huge in size. The Prophet said: "I saw Jibreel in the fashion that he was originally created in. He had six-hundred (600) wings, with each wing filling the (entire) horizon (i.e., the east to the west – as far as the eye can see)." This event was mentioned in the Quran where Allaah says what means: "And he [i.e., Muhammad ] has already seen him [i.e., Jibreel] in the clear horizon [to the east]." [Quran: 81-23]
Secondly: They have the ability to change their shape, as we know in the story of Maryam, may Allaah exalt her mention, and in this Hadeeth of Jibreel when all the Companions saw him wearing an intensely white garment and having intensely black hair.
Thirdly: They live in the heavens, from there they descend to carry out their appointed duties. Allaah the Exalted says what means: "The heavens almost break up from above [by the Grandeur of Allaah above them], and the angels exalt [Allaah] with praise of their Lord…" [Quran: 42:5]
1- Muhammad Al-Shareef
2- A Brief Look upon Islam, by Darrussalam Publishers