Category Archives: angel’s

What are Angel Types in Islam?

Question: What are Angel Types in Islam?
Islam mentions believing in angels — spiritual beings who love God and help carry out His will on Earth — as one of its core pillars of faith. The Qur’an says that God has made more angels than human beings, since groups of angels guard every individual person among the billions of people on Earth: “For each person, there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah [God],” (Al Ra’d 13:11).

That’s a lot of angels! Understanding how God has organized the angels he has created can help you begin to grasp their purposes. The major religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have all come up with angelic hierarchies to answer the question: “What are angel types?”. Here’s a look at who’s who among Muslim angels:

Islam’s angelic hierarchy isn’t as detailed as the ones in Judaism and Christianity, and Islamic scholars say that’s because the Qur’an doesn’t directly describe a detailed angelic hierarchy, so general organizational guidelines are all that’s necessary. Islamic scholars place the archangels that the Qur’an mentions at the top, with other angels named by the Qur’an underneath and differentiated by the types of missions God gives them to do.

The Archangels

Archangels are the highest-ranking angels that God has created. They rule over the universe’s daily operation, while also sometimes visiting human beings to deliver messages from God to them.

Muslims consider archangel Gabriel to be the most important of all angels, since Islam’s founder, the prophet Muhammad, said that Gabriel appeared to him to dictate the entire Qur’an. In Al Baqarah 2:97, the Qur’an declares: “Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he brings down the [revelation] to thy heart by God’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe.” In the Hadith, a collection of the Islamic prophet Muhammad’s traditions, Gabriel again appears to Muhammad and quizzes him about Islam’s tenets. Gabriel communicates with other prophets, too, say Muslims — including all of the prophets that Muslims accept as true. Muslims believe that Gabriel gave the prophet Abraham a stone known as the Black Stone of Ka’aba; Muslims who travel on pilgrimages to Mecca, Saudi Arabia kiss that stone.

The archangel Michael is another top-ranking angel in the Islamic angelic hierarchy. Muslims view Michael as the angel of mercy, and believe that God has assigned Michael to reward righteous people for the good they do during their earthly lifetimes. God also charges Michael with sending rain, thunder, and lightning to the Earth, according to Islam. The Qur’an mentions Michael when it warns in Al-Baqara 2:98: “Whoever is an enemy to God and his angels and his apostles, to Gabriel and Michael — lo! God is an enemy to those who reject the faith.”

Another top-ranking angel in Islam is archangel Raphael. The Hadith names Raphael (who is called “Israfel” or “Israfil” in Arabic) as the angel who will blow a horn to announce that Judgment Day is coming. The Qur’an says in chapter 69 (Al Haqqah) that horn’s first blow will destroy everything, and in chapter 36 (Ya Sin) it says that humans who have died will come back to life at the second blow. Islamic tradition says that Raphael is a master of music who sings praises to God in heaven in more than 1,000 different languages.

The unnamed archangels who are referred to in Islam as the Hamalat al-Arsh and who carry God’s throne are also high on the Islamic angelic hierarchy. The Qur’an mentions them in chapter 40 (Ghafir), verse 7: “Those who sustain the throne [of God] and those around it sing glory and praise to their Lord; believe in him; and implore forgiveness for those who believe: ‘Our Lord! Thy reach is over all things, in mercy and knowledge. Forgive, then, those who turn in repentance, and follow thy path; and preserve them from the penalty of the blazing fire!’”

The angel of death, who Muslims believe separates each person’s soul from his or body at the moment of death, completes the top-ranking angels in Islam. Islamic tradition says that archangel Azrael is the angel of death, although in the Qur’an, he is referred to by his role (“Malak al-Maut,” which literally means “angel of death”) rather than by his name: “The Angel of Death who is charged with taking your souls will take your souls; then you will be returned to your Lord.” (As-Sajdah 32:11).

Lower-Ranking Angels

Islam groups the angels underneath those archangels together, differentiating them according to the different jobs they perform at God’s command. Some of the lower-ranking angels include:

Angel Ridwan is in charge of maintaining Jannah (paradise or heaven). The Hadith mentions Ridwan as the angel who guards paradise. The Qur’an describes in chapter 13 (a-Ra’d) verses 23 and 24 how the angels that Ridwan leads in paradise will welcome believers as they arrive: “Gardens of perpetual bliss: they shall enter there, as well as the righteous among their fathers, their spouses, and their offspring: and angels shall enter unto them from every gate [with the salutation]: ‘Peace unto you for that ye persevered in patience! Now how excellent is the final home!'”

Angel Malik supervises 19 other angels who guard Jahannam (hell) and punish the people there. In chapter 43 (Az-Zukhruf) verses 74 to 77 of the Qur’an, Malik tells the people in hell that they must remain there: “Surely, the disbelievers will be in the torment of hell to abide therein forever. [The torment] will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein. We wronged them not, but they were the wrongdoers. And they will cry: ‘O Malik! Let your Lord make an end of us!’ He will say: ‘Surely, you shall abide forever.’ Indeed we have brought the truth to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth.”

Two angels called the Kiraman Katibin (honorable recorders) pay attention to everything that people past puberty think, say, and do; and the one who sits on their right shoulders records their good choices while the angel who sits on their left shoulders records their bad decisions, says the Qur’an in chapter 50 (Qaf), verses 17-18.

Guardian angels who pray for and help protect each human being are also among the lower-ranking angels in the Islamic angelic hierarchy.

How Does Archangel Gabriel Quiz Muhammad in the Hadith?

The Hadith (a collection of Muslim narratives about the prophet Muhammad) includes the Hadith of Gabriel, which describes howarchangel Gabriel (also known as Jibril in Islam) quizzes Muhammad about Islam to test how well he understands the religion. Gabriel appeared to Muhammad over a 23-year period to dictate the Qur’an word by word, Muslims believe.

In this Hadith, Gabriel appears in disguise, checking to make sure that Muhammad has received his messages about Islam correctly. Here’s what happens:


The Hadith of Gabriel

The Hadith of Gabriel’s tells the story: “Umar ibn al-Khattab (the second rightly guided caliph) reported: One day when we were with Allah’s [God’s] messenger, a man with extremely white clothing and very black hair came to us. No traces of travel were visible on him, and none of us recognized him. Sitting down before the Prophet, (peace and blessings be upon him) leaning his knees against his, and placing his hands on his thighs, the stranger said, ‘Tell me, Muhammad, about Islam.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Islam means that you should bear witness that there is no god but God and that Muhammad is Allah’s messenger, that you should perform the ritual prayer, pay the alms tax, fast during Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the Ka’aba at Mecca if you are able to go there.’

The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ (We were amazed at this man’s questioning the Prophet and then declaring that he had spoken the truth).

The stranger spoke a second time, saying, ‘Now tell me about faith.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Faith means that you have faith in Allah, His angels, His books, His messengers and the Last Day, and that you have faith in fate as it is measured out, both its good and evil aspects.’

Remarking that the Prophet again had spoken the truth, the stranger then said, ‘Now tell me about virtue.’

The Prophet replied, ‘Virtue — doing what is beautiful — means that you should worship Allah as if you see Him, for even if you do not see Him, He sees you.’

Yet again the man said, ‘Tell me about the Hour (that is, the coming of the Day of Judgment).’

The Prophet replied, ‘About that he who is questioned knows no more than the questioner.’

The stranger said, ‘Well, then tell me about its signs.’

The Prophet replied, ‘The slave girl will give birth to her mistress, and you will see the barefoot, the naked, the destitute, and the shepherds vying with each other in building.’

At that, the stranger went away.

After I had waited for a while, the Prophet spoke to me: ‘Do you know who the questioner was, Umar?’ I replied, ‘Allah and His messenger know best.’ The Prophet said, ‘He was Jibril [Gabriel]. He came to teach you your religion.'”

Thoughtful Questions

In the preface to the book Questions And Answers About Islam by Fethullah Gülen, Muhammad Cetin writes that the Hadith of Gabriel helps readers learn how to ask thoughtful spiritual questions: “Gabriel knew the answers to these questions, but his purpose of disguising himself and posing these questions was to help others attain this information. A question is asked for a certain purpose. Asking a question for the sake of displaying one’s own knowledge or asking merely to test the other person is worthless. If a question is asked for the purpose of learning in order to let others find out the information (as in the example of Gabriel above, the questioner may already know the answer) it can be considered a question that has been posed in the correct manner. Questions of this kind are like seeds of wisdom.”

Defining Islam

The Hadith of Gabriel summarizes Islam’s major tenets. Juan Eduardo Campo writes in the book Encyclopedia of Islam: “The Hadith of Gabriel teaches that religious practice and belief are interrelated aspects of the Islamic religion – one cannot be accomplished without the other.”

In their book The Vision of Islam, Sachiko Murata and William C. Chittick write that Gabriel’s questions and Muhammad’s answers help people Islam as three different dimensions working together: “The hadith of Gabriel suggests that in the Islamic understanding, religion embraces right ways of doing things, right ways of thinking and understanding, and right ways of forming the intentions that lie behind the activity. In this hadith, the Prophet gives each of the three right ways a name. Thus one could say that ‘submission’ is religion as it pertains to acts, ‘faith’ is religion as it pertains to thoughts, and ‘doing the beautiful’ is religion as it pertains to intentions. These three dimensions of religion coalesce into a single reality known as Islam.”

The Hadith of Jibril

The word tabi’i literally means someone who follows. Muslims reserve the use of this word for those who met and followed the Companions of the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace). The word sahabi literally means someone who is a companion. Muslims reserve the use of this word for someone who met and followed the Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace).

Alqamah was a great scholar from amongst the Tabi’i group of Muslims. Abdullah ibn Umar was a great scholar from amongst the Sahabi group of Muslims. ‘Alqamah appears frequently as a narrator in the hadith chain of Abu Hanifa. While comparing the juristic acumen (fiqh) of Alqamah and Ibn Umar, Abu Hanifa – who was a Tabi’i jurist himself – made the following remark:

“If it had not been for the merit of companionship (with the Prophet Muhammad, upon him blessing and peace), I would have said that ‘Alqamah is more juristically perceptive (afqah) than Ibn Umar.”

For Abu Hanifa – and other Sunni scholars – companionship (suhba) has a ranking that is above that of any acquired academic merit. This merit of companionship which Abu Hanfia spoke of was not merely based on a simple romantic allegiance to the Companions. Nor was it a reaction to the socio-political factors of early Muslim history. It was based on a pristine understanding of popular Islamic facts. The parameters of Muslim theology were well-known by the time Abu Hanifa came into learning Islam formally. Sunni principles were rooted in popular Islam. The principles of wahi (revelation) were amongst those that were commonly accepted in the Muslim mind. What follows is a discussion about a Sunni principle in popular Islam.

A hadith is a narration – of any sort – from the Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace).

One of the most popular and prized hadith amongst all Muslims is known as the “Hadith of Jibril.[1]” Muslims who adhere to the rules of taqlid – following a particular school of legal thought – and those who do not; and those Muslims who wish to be known as progressive minded in the war-plagued modern world, they all love this hadith very dearly. Some quote the hadith because it calls Muslims to adopt a sense of ihsan (excellence in worship); others quote the hadith on the pulpit during their Friday sermons. There are even those who use the hadith as a summary of Islam itself. Scholars of hadith have written volumes on the commentary of this beautiful hadith. No Muslim dare doubt the veracity of this hadith as it speaks to the mind and soul of his religious intelligence. Even non-Muslim admirers of Islam hold this hadith in high esteem. Abu Hurairah, a companion of the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace), had accepted Islam only three years prior to the Prophet’s leaving this world. Abu Hurairah is one of several companions who have reported this hadith. It follows that many of the earlier Companions must have witnessed the event of this hadith. Hence, this hadith is part of popular Islam.

Sunni Muslims believe that only a nabi (a prophet) can be a recipient of communicable wahi (revelation)[2]. Sunni Muslims also believe that Allah uses angels as agents who communicate the Divine Word and message. A non-nabi is not at all privy to communicable wahi since he does not have the faculty to actually receive that level of rational communication. A non-nabi does not have the tools to receive wahi that has to be communicated to other human beings for the sake of procuring their salvation. Hence, tabligh (conveying wahi) is primarily a function of prophets and not of non-prophets. In order for a non-prophet to qualify for the function of tabligh, he/she would have to be prepped to at least potentially receive communicable wahi.

Wahi comes from the All Mighty Allah Who sends it down to the world of angels who then act as agents or transmitters of wahi. These angels are not visible to any human being – that is other than prophets. Jibril is the angel who is designated to bring wahi to all prophets. The un-lettered Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace) had coached the spiritual psyche of his companions with such great dexterity that they became equipped to carry the burden of tabligh (conveying the message to others). As a favor to the Companions, Allah sent Jibril to visit them while the Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace) was still amongst them. The Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace) saw Jibril with their own eyes and heard him with their own ears. The Prophet (upon him blessing and peace)asked Umar, who went out looking for this person when he left the gathering, “Do you know who that was Umar?” When Umar responded in the negative, the Prophet stated, “This was Jibril. He came to teach you your Din (religion).”

The suhba of the Prophet was so intense that it brought down Allah’s providence which came in the form of Jibril coming to teach them what he taught the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace). The companionship with the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace) had now converted ordinary human beings into special human beings who were blessed with the witnessing of the arch angel Jibril.

A couple of years later, in his address at the Farewell Hajj, the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace) ordained every companion to carry the burden of tabligh when he said, “Convey from me – even though it might even be one ayah[3] (that you convey).” Through suhba, the Sahaba were now equipped – actually – to carry the burden of tabligh to other human beings.

Even though a hadith is a narration from the Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace), Muslim scholars showed their unique juristic (fiqhi) acumen by naming this hadith the Hadith of Jibril. This is because this hadith is not about what the Sahaba narrated from the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace). It is about what the Sahaba narrated from Jibril. The miracle of Prophet Muhammad (upon him blessing and peace) was that he stamped his spiritual legacy on the hearts of his companions so that they inherited some of his prophetic abilities also. So it is no wonder that Abu Hanifa — and other heirs of the Companions – gave the Companions an academic ranking above the degree of juristic acumen (fiqh). We should follow suit if we love the Hadith of Jibril.

Text of the Hadith of Jibril

“One day when we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (upon him blessing and peace), there came to us a man whose clothes were of exceeding whiteness and whose hair was of exceeding blackness. There were no signs of travel upon him although none of us knew him. He sat down knee to knee opposite the Prophet (upon him blessing and peace), upon whose thighs he placed the palms of his hands saying, “O Muhammad, tell me what is Islam (Submission)?” The Messenger (upon him blessing and peace) answered him saying, “Islam is to testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, to perform the prayer, pay (the charity of) Zakat, fast (the month of) Ramadan, and make the pilgrimage to the Holy House (Ka’ba) – if you can.” He said, “You have spoken truthfully.”

We were amazed that, having questioned him (upon him blessing and peace), he should corroborate him. Then he said, “Tell me what is Faith (Iman)?” He (upon him blessing and peace) answered, “To believe in Allah, His Angels, His books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and to believe that no good or evil comes but by His Providence.” “You have spoken truthfully,” he said, and then, “Tell me what is Excellence (Ihsan)?” He SAW answered, “To worship Allah as if you see Him, for if you do not see Him, yet He sees you.” “You have spoken truthfully,” he said, and then, “Tell me of the Hour.” He (upon him blessing and peace) answered, “The one questioned about it knows no better than the questioner.” He said, “Then tell me of its signs.” He (upon him blessing and peace) answered, “That the slave-girl shall give birth to her mistress, and those who were but barefoot, naked, needy herdsmen shall build buildings ever higher and higher.”

Then the stranger went away, and I stayed a while after he had gone, and the Prophet SAW said to me, “O Umar, do you know the questioner, who he was?” I said, “God and His Messenger (upon him blessing and peace)know best.” He (upon him blessing and peace) said, “It was Jibril (Gabriel). He came to teach you your religion.”

This narration is from Sahih al-Bukhari

[1] A translation of the text of this hadith is cited at the end of this article
[2] In the case of the Mother of Musa and Maryam, their wahi was not at all communicated to others. In fact, their wahi was meant to be kept hidden from people.

[3] The word aya in this hadith refers not only to any of the Quran, but also a hadith.

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
Our Spirit
One mighty in power
Owner of power

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’.

The Supplication of Jibril

Ibn Abu Dunya reports in Kitab Ad-Dhikr on the authority of Anas ibn Malik that Ubayy ibn Ka’ab entered the masjid to pray and praise Allah (the Exalted) praises that no one praised him by. When they prayed and sat to praise and exalt Allah they heard a loud voice behind them it said,

“O Allah to you belongs all praise; to you belongs all the dominion; you possess all good; to you all matters return; to you all matters return public and secret; truly you have power over all things. Forgive my sins that I have done; protect me from them for the rest of my life; give me pure actions that please you and accept my repentance.”

اللهم لك الحمد كله ولك الملك كله و بيدك الخير كله وإليك يرجع الأمر كله و إليك يرجع الأمر كله علانيته وسره لك الحمد إنك على كل شيء قدير اغفر لي ما مضى من ذنوبي و اعصمني فيما بقي من عمري و ارزقني أعمالا زاكية ترضى بها عني وتب علي

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bestow peace and blessings upon him) came and was told what occurred. He said, “That was Jibril (upon him peace).”