The Angel Jibreel in the Qurán and Sunnah


Jibreel in the Qurán

“The night of Al-Qadr is better than a thousand months (83 years and 4 months). Therein descend the angels and the RUH (Jibreel) by Allah’s Permission with all decrees.”
(Surah 98: 3-4)

“Verily, this is the Word (this Qurán brought by) a Most Honourable Messenger [Jibreel], [from Allah to Muhammad Ibn Abdullah]

Owner of power, (and high rank) with (Allah), the Lord of the Throne, Obeyed (by the Angels in the Heavens) and trustworthy.”
(Surah 81: 19-21)

“We [Allah] gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear signs and supported him with RUH-UL-QUDDUS [Jibreel]”
(Surah 2: 87)

Ïndeed he (Muhammad Ibn Abdullah) saw him [Jibreel] in the clear horizon (towards the east)”.
(Surah 81: 23)

“The Day (of Decision) that AR-RUH [Jibreel] and the Angels will stand forth in rows, they will not speak except him whom the Most Gracious (Allah) allows, and he will speak what is right.”
(Surah 78: 38)

Ït is not given to any human being that Allah should speak to him unless (it be) by revelation, from behind a veil, or (that) He sends a Messenger to reveal what He wills by His leave.”
(Surah 42: 51)

Revelation is Divine Inspiration or sacred communication, from behind a veil refers to being in close proximity to the Divine Presence, the delegation or ambassadorial representation of a Messenger is of Archangels, namely Jibreel.

Änd the Earth will shine with the light of its Lord (Allah, when He will come to judge men on the Day of Decision): and the Book will be placed (open); and the Prophets and the witnesses will be brought forward, and it will be judged between them in truth, and they will not be wronged.”
(Surah 39: 69)

In addition to the Angels of the Throne [which are eight in number] and specialist recorders of all human beings [Witnesses], Jibreel is to be among the Divine entourage and other special angels accompanying Allah on the Day of Decision.

Änd you will see the Angels [including Jibreel] surrounding the Throne (of Allah) from all round [on the Day of Decision].”
(Surah 39: 75)

“When We have recited it to you [O Muhammad Ibn Abdullah through Jibreel,] then follow its [the Qurán’s] recital. Then it is for Us [Allah] to make it clear (to you).”
(Surah 75: 18-19)

“The Angels and the RUH [Jibreel] ascend to Him [Allah] in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years.”
(Surah 70: 4)

Verily Allah is his [Prophet Muhammad] Maula (Lord, Master, Protector, Patron) änd Jibreel, and the Saliheen among the Mu’mineen (believers), and furthermore the Angels are his helpers.”
(Surah 66: 4)

“Whoever is an enemy to Jibreel (let him die in his fury), for indeed he [Jibreel] has brought it [the Qurán] down to your heart [The heart of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah] by Allah’s Permission.”
(Surah 2: 97)

“Whoever is an enemy to Allah, His Angels, His Messengers, Jibreel and Mikaeel, then verily Allah is an enemy to the Disbelievers.”
(Surah 2: 98)

Änd Mary, the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity. And We breathed into (the sleeve of her shirt or her garment) through Our RUH [Jibreel].”
(Surah 66: 12)

“This (the Qurán) is a revelation from the Lord of the Alameen (All forms, species, organisms, cells etc. of life that exists), which the Trustworthy RUH has brought down.”
(Surah 26: 192-193)

Here Jibreel is described as Ruh-hul Ameen, ‘’the Trustworthy Spirit’’.

“Ruh-ul-Qudus has brought it (the Qurán) down from your Lord with truth, that it may make firm and strengthen (the Faith of) those who believe, and as a guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted (to Allah as Muslims).”
(Surah 16: 102)

Here Jibreel is described as the ‘Holy Spirit’. Jibreel’s role was to deliver the scripture from Allah in its entirety, without modification, error, alteration, translation, commentary or otherwise. Jibreel was not to share the information in the scripture with other angels or others, reveal its contents, verses, portents and prophecies nor allow it to be tampered with.

His position was that of a Divine Messenger to impart and where necessary to teach and interpret to the Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and not as an editor, scribe or scholar in the book he was assigned to deliver. He was successful, truthful and fully trustworthy in the allocated responsibility he was entrusted with.

Ït is only a revelation [The Qurán] revealed. He has been taught [the Qurán] by one mighty in power [Jibreel].

One free from any defect in body and mind then he [Jibreel in his real shape as created by Allah] rose and became stable.

While he was in the highest part of the horizon, then he [Jibreel] approached and came closer, and was at a distance of two bows’ length or (even) nearer. So (Allah) revealed to His slave [Muhammad Ibn Abdullah through Jibreel] whatever He revealed.

The (Prophet Muhammad Ibn Abdullah’s) heart lied not in what he saw. Will you then dispute with him [Muhammad Ibn Abdullah] about what he saw.

And indeed he [Muhammad Ibn Abdullah] saw him [Jibreel] at a second descent (i.e. another time). Near Sidrat-ul-Muntaha (the lote-tree of the utmost boundary over the seventh heaven beyond which none can pass). Near it is the Paradise of Abode.”
(Surah 53: 4-15)

Jibreel in his true appearance is an archangel of magnificent splendour and richness. In addition to possessing six hundred wings, his height spans from the earth to the skies.

Jibreel was seen by the Prophet in various forms, sometimes in the image of a human being who could be seen by others and on other occasions as a man who only appeared to the Prophet.

On a few rare circumstances, Jibreel came to the Prophet in his real angelic form. The first was when the Prophet was originally commissioned as an apostle at the age of forty near the Cave of Hira in Makkah.

The most famous or paramount occasion however, was the ascent to the Kingdom of the Heavens above the skies in an event known as the Me’raj. An unprecedented tour of the heavens by a human being who was still alive and yet to complete his full term of office as Prophet.

Jibreel was delegated to escort the Prophet and act as his official tour guide, chaperone and fellow traveller during the extraordinary trip, still unique in human history and unparalleled to this day.

It was this occasion that Allah speaks of in the above verses where Jibreel was visibly and actually apparent in his original and real image and regal appearance. The Prophet was used to seeing him dressed and enrobed in human flesh and costumes on earth. Now it was to be different.

There was no longer a need for Jibreel to be in the form of other than an angel as those in the heavens knew him in that sense and would not be excited, apprehensive or otherwise stunned by his physique, body and overall appearance.

“Has the story reached you, of the honoured guests of Ibrahim? [The honoured guests were three Archangels; Jibreel, Mikaéel and Israfeel]
(Surah 52: 24-37)

The three Archangels were sent with two separate missions to two different locations with two different purposes and messages. The first mission was to visit Ibrahim (AlaySalam) and give him the glad tidings of a second son in old age; Ishaaq (AlaySalam), this time from his first wife, Sarai, to the Israelite nation. Ismail (AlaySalam), his first and eldest son, had been born thirteen years earlier to his second wife, the daughter of the Egyptian monarch, Hazrat Hajira.

The second mission was to provide comfort to another Prophet, this time a Messenger of Allah, Lut (AlaySalam), the nephew of Ibrahim (AlaySalam) in the twin cities of Sadum and Gomorrah in Palestine and save him and the believers from the destruction of the community that was to follow.

All three Archangels are also specifically mentioned as ‘Messengers’ as well through the mouth of Ibraheem (Surah 51: 31) during the same trip.

At other times, Jibreel has been spoken of by other than Allah.

Ï took a handful (of dust) from the (hoof) print of the Messenger (Jibreel’s angelic horse)”
(Surah 20: 96)

Jibreel A Commentary

Jibreel has at different times functioned as a senior general (Ghazwa Badr) of an army of angels, a personal security guard to the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah and soldier, (Ghazwa Ohud) a divine destroyer of disbelieving nations (Qaum-e-Lut) and as Allah’s emissary to comfort and guide select personages i.e. Hazrat Maryam and Hazrat Hajira the mother of Ismail (AlaySalam) etc.

In the last instance Jibreel was sent to create a hole in the site where the well of Zamzam is in Makkah. He did so by kicking the ground in full view of Hajira and soon after water sprouted out from under the soil. One of the names of the well is ‘’the kick of Jibreel.’’

However, Jibreel’s greatest and most respected position is as the Keeper or Custodian of the Scriptures and official Recorder of Revelations to the Messengers of Allah and is the most honourable Archangel in the Heavens. He is obeyed and trusted by all other angels and seen as the highest and most senior Archangel there is.

In the ministry of Musa (AlaySalam), while the Israelites were the nation bestowed with the Mercy of Divine Guidance and Scripture. Jibreel was entrusted with being Allah’s emissary to the Messenger and was honoured with the title ‘Namus’.

Namus means a secret envoy who brings good. According to another narration, Jibreel was described as the one who keeps the secrets.

Jibreel is showered with several titles and forms of honour in the Qurán and Sunnah. They include-

Most Honourable Messenger
Trustworthy Spirit
Holy Spirit
Spirit
Our Spirit
One mighty in power
Owner of power
Namus

It is interesting to see Jibreel is given the honoured respect that Christians say Jesus is given. It is Jibreel with the titles ‘Spirit and Our Spirit’ instead of Jesus. Furthermore, Jibreel is described as a slave and not a god or co-ruler and dual or tripartite monarch along with Allah.

Jibreel in the Sunnah

Jibreel, in addition to being an intermediary between Allah and His Prophets, also acted as his teacher (in recitation of Surahs, methodology of Salah etc.), advisor, loyal companion, associate and colleague as well as a consoler and friend.

Once Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet (SAW) came bearing food to the Prophet (SAW) and as she approached him, he was in the midst of receiving revelation through Jibreel.

The Archangel said to him, ‘O Prophet! Here is Khadijah coming to you with a vessel. Give her greetings from your Lord and from me, and give her glad tidings of a palace of pearls in Paradise in which there is only peace and repose.’

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was often the target of verbal abuse, slander, slurs,
derogatory remarks and comments in addition to physical punishment during his thirteen years in Makkah before migration to Medina.

In that period, he never took revenge, nor aspired for reprisals, reparation for injury or even apology. Instead he was content with the Almighty judging each individual with fairness, honesty and true justice.

He was certain of Allah’s protection and patronage of his ministry and thus felt satisfied those who opposed and ridiculed him without foundation would face Allah’s Wrath eventually.

Jibreel was sent as the relief envoy, rescue operations manager, revenge representative, official executioner, chief slayer, retributor, and champion of the Almighty for the Prophet. He served in different functions and in some cases different shapes to guard the Prophet from his enemies.

Waleed Bin Mugheera, an enemy of the Prophet (SAW), was once merely scratched by an arrow, but Jibreel pointed towards the scratch and it became inflamed. The wound plagued Waleed for several years until he died.

Some sources state Jibreel further pointed towards the head of another opponent, Aswad Bin Abd Yaguth, and he developed boils, another narration suggests the boils resulted from sunstroke that Jibreel put upon him whilst another source says Jibreel pointed to his stomach and it caused dropsy and made it swell so much that he died.

Aswad Bin Abd Abdul Muttalib first had his eyesight snatched away, then his son killed by Jibreel. This was because of his severe persecution upon the Prophet (SAW) that stretched back a long time.

Abu Jahl, also known as Abu Hakam, once promised Qurayshi onlookers he would stamp on the Prophet’s head during prayer at the earliest opportunity. One day, he got his chance, took a heavy stone and proceeded to kill the Prophet (SAW) with the stone. Just as he was about to smash the stone on the Prophet’s head, he suddenly turned back and ran.

He later exclaimed, he saw a camel before him. Its skull, neck and teeth were the like he had never seen before and it was going to eat him. The Prophet (SAW) said later, the strange camel he saw was Jibreel.

After the Prophet’s distressful period in Taif, Jibreel was sent with the Angel of the Mountains to do as he wished to the people of Taif. He said, ‘I am here to do as you say. The choice is yours: I can crush the people of Taif between the two hills, if that is your wish.’ The Prophet (SAW) spared them however and hoped future generations would sprout from them who would accept Islam.

As a leader of other Angels, Jibreel as a soldier and general appeared at the Battle of Badr along with five thousand Angels. He was accompanied by Angels Mikaeel and Israfeel. The Prophet Muhammad upon seeing them exclaimed to Abu Bakr;

‘Rejoice, O Abu Bakr, Allah’s help has come. This is Jibreel, moving ahead with his horse’s bridle in his hand. His garments are besmeared with dirt and dust.’

At times, the Prophet (SAW) spoke of Jibreel in his duas’. In one dua for example, he said, ‘[You, Allah are] All-Glorious, All-Holy, Lord of the Angels and the Spirit [Angel Jibreel].’

In another Dua, the Prophet (SAW) said, ‘All praise is due to Allah the King, the Pure, Lord of the Angels and the RUH [Angel Jibreel].’

In the first Dua, ‘The Spirit’ is specific, singular, clear, concise, comprehensible and distinct from all others, human or Jinn. It is not Jesus, but Angel Jibreel. Jesus in the Qur’an is often mentioned ‘A Spirit’, but Jibreel is mentioned as ‘The Spirit’. The meaning is clear, ‘a spirit’ is one of many, ‘the spirit’ is of special and higher significance.

The second dua meanwhile elevates Jibreel above all Angels and assigns him unique and exclusive merit as a senior servant, minister, Messenger and responsible court executive with special functions. The word of honour, respect and specificity used to describe Jibreel is THE RUH, meaning ‘The Spirit’.

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