Religious Beliefs

Do Muslims believe in angels?

Angels function in Islamic tradition much the way they do in Christian tradition. They are beings of light and great intelligence who enjoy the presence of God and do the divine bidding throughout creation. Several angels stand above the rest. The four archangels include Gabriel, who brings revelation to the prophets; Michael, archnemesis of Satan; Israfil, who will sound the final trumpet; and the angel of death, Azrael. In some important respects human beings stand above the angels. When God has Gabriel guide Muhammad through the seven Heavens, Gabriel must part company with the Prophet as they approach the Throne of God, lest he be burnt to a crisp. Even the first human being, Adam, knew something the angels did not: the divinely ordained names of all things created. God assigns two guardian angels to each human being. Two especially businesslike angels called Munkar and Nakir have the unpleasant but necessary task of visiting each deceased person in the grave and administering a “final exam” about the content of the individual’s beliefs. Numerous Hadiths and charming traditional stories tell of the solicitous presence of countless angelic spirits, who are ready to attend the devout at every important moment and squire them through life’s most trying challenges.


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