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EXAMPLES OF HOW BELIEF IN THE ANGELS ASSIST A PERSON IN BEING RIGHTEOUS

         Examples of How Belief in The Angels Assist A Person in Being Righteous (Download Link)

EXAMPLES OF HOW BELIEF IN THE ANGELS ASSIST A PERSON IN BEING RIGHTEOUS

 

 

Abu Muhammad, Abdullaah Flaming St. Fleur

 

Imaan (Faith) has six pillar’s which all Muslims must believe in with full conviction and amongst them is belief in the angels.  Like the other pillars of Imaan, belief in the angels is essential and compulsory for all Muslims to believe in. Thus, to disbelieve in the angels may render one’s faith null in void or deficient in certain circumstances. The topic of angels is indeed a matter amongst the unseen. Yet Allah Ta ‘ala has commanded His Prophet and the believers to have belief in the angels as a fundamental part of faith. Various places throughout the Qur’an Allah mention’s the belief in the angels alongside with the messengers, the books, Qadr etc. indicating the belief in the angels is a significant matter as it is placed with other matters of certainty in faith. In surat l-baqarah Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala says in His noble book (the meaning of the verse)

“The Messenger (Muhammad) believes in what has been sent down to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers. Each one believes in Allah, His Angels, His Books, and His Messengers. They say, “We make no distinction between one another of His Messengers” – and they say, “We hear, and we obey. (We seek) Your Forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the return (of all).” (Al-Baqarah, 2:285)

Belief in the angels entails various details which we as Muslims must know.  Since the matter of belief in the angels is amongst the unseen, we can only rely on that which is relied to us from revelation i.e., the Qur’an and from the authentic sunnah. There are various details regarding the angels we must know such as them being honorable and obedient, their infallibility, their various forms of worships, their names (of those authentically known), their knowledge, their role in the creation of mankind etc. However, there are different roles angels play in our everyday lives which aid us which we should be aware of. Such roles contribute a major impact in a person aiding him or her to be righteous.

Being aware and mindful of the various roles the angels play in our daily lives aiding us in good, will inshaa Allah strengthen our faith in the angels and in Allah. It is Allah The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful who created them and decreed their various benefits for the believer’s thus strengthening our faith in Him, Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala knowing He is ever watchful, All-Seeing and All Hearing. The knowledge of the various roles of the angels should also be a motivating factor, a persuasion and reminder for the believers to do more righteous good deeds (amalu saalih) in this life.[1] As Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala mentions in His noble book “And give glad tidings to those who believe and do righteous good deeds, that for them will be Gardens under which rivers flow (Paradise)…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:25) Critically analyzing the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah will help to identify some of the various roles the angels play in aiding the righteous in their lives.

Al-Mu’aqqibaat (Angels in succession) Guarding the Children of Adam

It is from the mercy of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala He decreed angels that would benefit and aid mankind in various ways. The believer should know that amongst his or her daily life there are angels who are protecting him or her from front and behind.  The Qur’an mentions them in the Arabic plural, term ‘Al-Mu’aqqibaat’ those (angels) who follow in succession. Allah Ta ‘ala decreed the angels to guard mankind from harm up until what He wills is decreed as they (the angels) remove themselves away from the individual.  Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala mentions this about the angels in His noble book (meaning of the verse)

“It is the same (to Him) whether any of you conceal his speech or declare it openly, whether he be hid by night or go forth freely by day. For each (person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah. Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah). But when Allah wills a people’s punishment, there can be no turning back of it, and they will find besides Him no protector.” (Ar-Ra’d, 13:12)

Ibn Kathir in his tafsir mentions about the meaning of the verse, everyone of mankind has angels who take turns in succession guarding them by night and day from evil, from harm just as there are angels who take turn in recording his deeds, good and bad, by night and day. Dr. Umar S. al-Ashqar makes mention in his book ‘The World of The Noble Angels” the comment of Mujaahid on the verse of Surat l- ra’d “There is no person who does not have an angel appointed to protect him when he is asleep and when he is awake, from jinn, other men and savage beasts…” (Ashqar, 2003)

The angels of succession guarding mankind and those writing their deeds are also implied in Surat l-an ‘am. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala affirms it Is He who send down the angels accompanying mankind up until death comes to them. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala mentions in the verse…

“He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and bad deeds) over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty.” (An’ am, 6:61)

A similar statement has also been narrated from one of the companions of the Prophet by Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) demonstrating there are angels guarding mankind. It’s recorded in Bukhari’s Al-Adab Al-Mufrad Jabir mentioned: “When a man enters his house or goes to bed, an angel and shaytan hasten to him. The angel says, ‘Seal it with good!’ The Shaytan says, ‘Seal it with evil.’ If he praises Allah and remembers Him, he chases the shaytan away and spends the night with him guarding him. When he wakes up, the angel and shaytan hasten to him and say the same thing. If he mentions Allah and says, ‘Praise be to Allah, who keeps firm hold of the heavens and earth, preventing them from vanishing away. And if they vanished no one could then keep hold of them. Certainly, He is Most Forbearing, Ever-Forgiving.’ (35:41) Praise be to Allah who holds back the sky preventing it from falling on the earth, except by His permission. Allah is All-Compassionate to mankind, Most Merciful.’ (22:63) If he dies, he dies a martyr, If he gets up and prays, he prays in virtue.'”[2]

The narration mentioned by Jabir is mawquf and have been graded weak by Shaykh Al Albaani. However, the meaning is in support to the various statements made in the Qur’an supporting the angels guarding the children of Adam.

Kiraaman Kaatibeen (Honorable Angles Writing Down Deeds of Mankind)

As mentioned earlier, like the angels accompanying and guarding mankind from front and behind there is the Kiraaman Kaatibeen (the honorable angels writing down deeds of mankind). They are angels assigned to every person carefully writing down their every deed whether good or evil. Hence on the Day of Judgement, mankind will bear witness to his or her deeds kept recorded by the angels. Thus, the Qur’an often mentions ‘Ashaabul yameen’ (the people of the right hand) or Ashaabul maimanah signifying those who are prosperous, blessed, and full of the grace bestowed upon them by Allah on the day. These are the blessed who will receive their book of deeds in their right hands full of illumination, success, and honor in a time there is no honor, success, or illumination except those whom which Allah has blessed.  Yet they will be those in contrary to those given their books or scrolls on the right which would be the people of the left. Their book of deeds will be given in the left-hand symbolizing disgraced, wrenched, low-disastrous and failure.

Allah mentions the honorable angels in Surat l-infitar describing their role in detail “But verily, over you (are appointed angels in charge of mankind) to watch you, Kiraaman (honorable) Kaatibeen writing down (your deeds), They know all that you do. Verily, the Abrar (pious and righteous) will be in delight (Paradise); And verily, the Fujjar (the wicked, disbelievers, sinners, and evil-doers) will be in the blazing Fire (Hell)” (Al-Infitar, 82:10-14)

Likewise, in Surat qaaf Allah further describes the honorable angels on both man’s left and right sides sitting, as a watcher and recorder.

“(Remember!) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being after he or she has attained the age of puberty), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions).  Not a word does he (or she) utter, but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it).” (Al-Qaaf, 43:17-18)

There is not a word the children of Adam say, or an action done which the recording angels miss thus recording as a witness for or against him. In fact, even when alone or in secret where mankind may feel or think he or she is alone the angels are ever watchful and recording. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala makes clear of this in Surat l-zukh’ruf warning mankind.

“Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private counsel? (Yes, We do) and Our Messengers (appointed angels in charge of mankind) are by them, to record.” (Al-Zukh’ruf, 43: 80)

The righteous that is aware of such angels as those recording his or her deeds should be at most in a constant state of dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and tadabbur (reflection, contemplation, consideration of consequences and end results). Hence the righteous should always be mindful of the actions of the heart, attempting good deeds and statements of worship etc. pleasing to Allah. Knowing about such angels should keep him or her guarded in remembrance of Allah and protecting him or herself from the state of ghaflah (heedlessness, negligence or forgetful of Allah).

Angels (By the Permission of Allah) Aid the Believers in Distress

 

Amongst the angels that are recording the statements, actions of mankind (which may aid him to be righteous) are the angels who aid the believers in distress. The believer should know, Allah is ever watchful and aware of the situation of His slaves. Through the believer patience, preservation, complete reliance, and trust turning in his Lord, no doubt comes various aid from Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala. This is confirmed as Allah mentioned “And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty).” (At-Talaq; 65:2) Amongst the aid are angels who alleviate distress when the righteous need aid.

Amongst the examples from the Qur’an and Sunnah are numerous which shows the angels aiding the believer when in distress. In the battle of Badr Allah Ta ‘ala assured His beloved Prophet and the believer’s aid with more than three thousand angels when they (the Muslims) were outnumbered.  Allah described His aid by sending the angels in Surat-l Anfaal…

“(Remember) when you sought help of your Lord and He answered you (saying): “I will help you with a thousand of the angels each behind the other (following one another) in succession.” (Al-Anfaal, 8:9)

With the Muslims significantly outnumbered Allah enforced the believers’ originally with three thousand angels and sent another two thousand angels. In total most scholars held the total amount of angels sent to aid was five thousand. The additional angels were to have the Muslims steadfast as they were troubled being outnumbered in the battle of Badr.

“(Remember) when you (Muhammad) said to the believers, “Is it not enough for you that your Lord (Allah) should help you with three thousand angels; sent down?” (Al ‘Im’ran, 3:124)

The Prophet (ﷺ) confirmed the aid of the angels at Badr in various accounts in the Sunnah. Hence established the angels aided the believers which became to be amongst one of the greatest turnaround points in the Prophet’s call to Allah. The sahih narration comes from Ibn Majah mentions Rafi’ bin Khadij said: “Jibril or an angel came to the Prophet and said: ‘How do you regard those among you who were present at Badr?’ He said: ‘They are the best among us.’ He said: ‘We think the same (of the angels who were present at Badr), they are the best of the angels.'”(Ibn Majah, 160) Another rewire from Sahih al-Bukhari, in his chapter of Military Expeditions led by the Prophet mentions The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “As the best of the Muslims.” or said a similar statement. On that, Gabriel (Jibreel) said, “And so are the Angels who participated in the Badr (battle). (Bukhari, 3992)

From the Sunnah we can see various forms of the angels aiding the believers of distress. Another example is the wife of Ibrahim (Abraham) Hagar, being added when in distress.  Ibn Abbas narrated the narration which is from Sahih Al-Bukhari, which mentions when Ibrahim taking Hajar, his wife (Ishmael’s mother) and Ishmael away to Mecca. Ibrahim left her and Ishmael to remain there under a tree as he left to return home. It is mentioned she questioned him (Ibrahim) and to whom he is leaving them to. “…he made her sit under a tree and afterwards returned home. Ishmael’s mother followed him, and when they reached Kada’, she called him from behind, ‘O Abraham! To whom are you leaving us?’ He replied, ‘(I am leaving you) to Allah’s (Care).’ She said, ‘I am satisfied to be with Allah.’ She returned to her place and started drinking water from the water-skin, and her milk increased for her child. When the water had all been used up, she said to herself, ‘I’d better go and look so that I may see somebody…’ “Hajar was in dire need as all her water was used up, all while in the desert taking care of her child. In such extreme desert heat conditions and circumstances of no form of drink, one can die quickly from dehydration.

The human body needs a lot of water to function properly and according to medical research may only survive a few days without water. From dehydration comes various issues rapidly such as extreme thirst, fatigue, and eventually organ failure and death.  The narration also mentions Hajar in strenuous activity. “…She ascended the Safa Mountain and looked, hoping to see somebody, but in vain. When she came down to the valley, she ran till she reached the Marwa mountain. She ran to and from (between the two mountains) many times…” These were several attempts by Hajar, to see somebody or find water while worrying about for the condition of her child. It came to the point when she did check on her child; he was at a point of dying. “She could not endure to watch it dying and said (to her), ‘If I go and look, I may find somebody.’ She went and ascended the Safa mountain and looked for a long while but could not find anybody. Thus, she completed seven rounds (of running) between Safa and Marwa” Hence this is where we as Muslims get the religious ritual of making Tawaaf.

 

Hajar would soon hear the voice of an angel (Jibreel) advising her to strike the earth at a specific location which she did, and water gushed forth from it. Ibn Abbas narrates “But suddenly she heard a voice, and she said to that strange voice, ‘Help us if you can offer any help.’ Lo! It was Gabriel (who had made the voice). Gabriel hit the earth with his heel like this (Ibn `Abbas hit the earth with his heel to Illustrate it), and so the water gushed out. Ishmael’s mother was astonished and started digging. (Abu Al-Qasim) (i.e., the Prophet) said, “If she had left the water, (flow naturally without her intervention), it would have been flowing on the surface of the earth.”) Ishmael’s mother started drinking from the water and her milk increased for her child. Afterwards some people of the tribe of Jurhum, while passing through the bottom of the valley, saw some birds, and that astonished them, and they said, ‘Birds can only be found at a place where there is water.’ They sent a messenger who searched the place and found the water and returned to inform them about it. Then they all went to her and said, ‘O Ishmael’s mother! Will you allow us to be with you (or dwell with you)?’ (And thus, they stayed there.) Later, her boy reached the age of puberty and married a lady from them.” (Bukhari, 3365)

By Allah’s decree, we see Hajar (may Allah be pleased with her) was aided by the angel (Jibreel) when she was in grave distress and in dire need of help. Likewise, the Muslims in the battle of Badr were aided when in distress due to being outnumbered.  However, the promise of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala is true, and His aid is the best of aid. Therefore, we as Muslims should place our reliance and trust in Allah alone especially in times of hardship and difficulties in our lives. The Qur’an mentions a verse all Muslims should remember in such times of distress and Allah Ta’ ala makes clear, as if a guideline principle in distress “So verily, with the hardship, there is relief, Verily, with the hardship, there is relief (i.e., there is one hardship with two reliefs, so one hardship cannot overcome two reliefs).” (As-sharh, 94;5-6) Allah Ta ‘ala affirms after all forms of hardship, trail, tragedy we face comes ease. Amongst the ways of granting us ease is aid from the angels when in distress.

 

The Angels Give Glad Tidings to the Believers 

After analyzing various verses from the Qur’an and Sunnah, how the angel’s aid’s the righteous when in distress we should also know angels give glad tidings or good news to the believers. The believer knowing the angels bring glad tidings to the righteous is another form of motivation to do good deeds and hope for the reward of Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ’ala. Glad tidings (goods news) are to give hope and encouragement for those sincerely seeking what Allah promised to those whom He is pleased with. Giving glad tidings is also a form to keep Muslims remaining in the fold of Islam and beautify Islam to non-Muslims making it easy on them. Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) mentions the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Treat people with ease and do not be hard on them; give them glad tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam).” [Bukhari]

Angels are known to give glad tidings to the righteous at different points of their lives. One of the times is when the righteous is approaching near (their) death. In general, we, as mankind naturally fear death for various reasons such as leaving our loved ones behind, or worried of our next abode or what is going to occur next (after death) etc. Such state of near death naturally brings numerous emotions such as worry, grief, fear etc. However, for the righteous though they may feel such emotions they are motivated and given some form of comfort, and grace in knowing the angels bring glad tidings when approaching death. Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala mentions in His noble book…

Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone),” and then they Istaqamu[3], on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!” (Al-Fussilat; 41;30)

The angels’ giving glad tidings when the righteous is approaching death is also found in the authentic Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). It comes in a long hadith from Abu Hurairah in the sunnan of Ibn Majah, in the book of Zuhd, chapter of ‘Death and preparing for it’. The hadith goes describing in further detail between the angel’s glad tidings and the process of the dying person. It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Angels come to the dying person, and if the man was righteous, they say: ‘Come out, O good soul that was in a good body, come out praiseworthy and receive glad tidings of mercy and fragrance and a Lord Who is not angry.’ And this is repeated until it comes out, then it is taken up to heaven, and it is opened for it, and it is asked: ‘Who is this?’ They say: ‘So-and-so.’ It is said: ‘Welcome to the good soul that was in a good body. Enter praiseworthy and receive the glad tidings of mercy and fragrance and a Lord Who is not angry.’ And this is repeated until it is brought to the heaven above which is Allah…” (Ibn Majah 4262)

 

Hence the hadith mentions Allah not being angry, and the terms “good soul” “praiseworthy” with glad tidings of mercy and fragrance, there is of no doubt the righteous should be relieved and delighted of such news at the time. If the believer is aware of such glad tidings of the angels for those Allah is pleased with, he or she is to strive in this world with imaan (faith), sincerity and good deeds, obeying what was commanded and abstaining from what is prohibited believing in His Lord reward for him or her. Hence Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta ‘ala mentions in the last verses of surat l-fajr about the soul of the righteous ‘[To the righteous it will be said], “O reassured soul, return to your Lord, well-pleased and pleasing [to Him], And enter among My [righteous] servants, And enter My Paradise.” (Al-Fajr; 89: 27-30)

Conclusion

From the Qur’an and Sunnah, the believers should have full certainty in the belief of angels alongside knowledge of their various roles in their lives. To have faith in something, or to believe in something one should have some form of information about the matter that he or she evaluated, analyze, or witnessed to lead to such conclusion. Therefore, we as Muslims are highly in need of knowledge of the angels and of them those who have a direct positive impact in our daily lives. Whether it is the angels recording our every word and statement uttered or every action attempted or done or the angels guarding us in our daily lives, or those who are aiding us (by Allah’s permission) when in dire need all play a vital role in our lives. Even up until the time of death, angels play a crucial role amongst the believers. The angels assist a person in being righteous and it is upon us to believe in them and understand how to believe in them. With believing in the angels should also come how to act accordingly to that belief, in a manner that is pleasing to our Lord, Allah, The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

 

 

References

Ahmed Badi, J. (2016). Commentary on the Forty Hadith of Imam Al-Nawawi – Timeless Prophetic

Gems of Guidance and Wisdom. (n.p.): Lulu.com.

al-Ashqar, Umar S., (2003) The World of the Noble Angels; Vol.2 Islamic Creed Series

            International Islamic Publishing House

Al-Jibaly, Muhammad., (n.a) Knowing the Angels-Eemaan Made Easy

Al-Kitaab as-Sunnah Publishing

 

[1] The good deeds mentioned here are those accepted according to Shariah law. The good deed composes of two conditions 1) It must be done with sincerity with the aim of the act being for Allah and pleasing to Allah. 2) It should be in accordance with the Shariah law

[2] Al-Adab Al-Mufrad, sleeping and going to bed, Book 50, Hadith 1214(English translation)

[3] Being truthful, sincere with imaan (faith: belief, speech, and actions of the limbs which increase and decrease) and remaining upright, and steadfast on the legislated path of guidance pleasing to Allah.

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