Angels in Islam
found at: en.wikipedia.org
In Islam, angels are light-based creatures, created by Allah to serve and worship him. They are technically incorporeal but can manifest themselves into a form comprehendable by human eyes. Their existence has sometimes been described as ethereal.
The four Archangels Muslims are required to acknowledge as part of surrender to Islam are:
Jibra'il (Gabriel in English). Gabriel is the Archangel responsible for revealing the Qu'ran to Muhammad sura by sura. He is mentioned specially in the Qu'ran.
Azra'il (Azrael in English). Azrael is the Angel of Death whose helpers are the ones (including himself) that are responsible for parting the soul of the human with the body. The actual process of separating the soul from the body depends on the history or record of good or bad deeds of the person. If the human was a bad person in his life, the soul is ripped out very painfully. But if the human was a righteous person, then the soul is separated like a 'drop of water dripping from glass'.
Mika'il (Michael in English). Michael is the Archangel charged with bringing down the thunder and lightning onto the Earth. He is also responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life. He is sometimes partnered with Gabriel in some contexts (but not in the Qu'ran though).
Israfil (Raphael in English). Israfil is the Angel responsible for blowing the horn and signalling the coming of Judgement Day.
The Qu'ran also mentions angels occupy the realms of the Seven Hells. A verse stipulates:
"O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern and severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded." [al-Tahreem 66:6]
The Qu'ran also mentions that angels (like in Christian and Catholoic belief) have wings to which they fly. Another verse stipulates :
"Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angel messengers with wings - two, or three, or four (pairs) and adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things." [Faatir 35:1]
The preceding sentence does not imply that all angels only have two to four wings. Most notably, Archangels (namely Gabriel and Michael) are described as having thousands of wings. Tradition also notes that certain angels, created solely for the purpose of praising God, have 70 thousand heads, each with 70 thousand mouths that speak 70 thousand languages solely to sing praises for the Almighty. This type of angel, whose type is nameless, was described as the type of angel that accompanied Mohammed up to Heaven when he received commands from God. Although specifically, Mohammed did not ride on the angel as some would assume, but he rode a magnificent creature, called a Buroch whose stride supposedly spanned from horizon to horizon.
Angels in Islam are also beautiful creatures, as another verse stipulates:
"He [the Prophet] has been taught by one Mighty in Power, Dhoo Mirrah (free from any defect in body and mind), then he rose and became stable." [al-Najm 53:5-6]
". . . When they [the women] saw him, they did extol him and (in their amazement) cut their hands: they said: ‘Allah preserve us! No mortal is this! This is none other than a noble angel!’" [Yoosuf 12:31]
Angels do not have any gender, God did not create them divided by gender since they are asexual and do not reproduce. But however, in the Qu'ran and Bible, Archangels are referred to as 'he' or 'he is'. This is due to the languages use of nouns and designation of what is feminine or masculine. Such as in English, a warship is usually a feminine noun, and thus referred to as 'her' or 'she'. This is not to personify the object and apply anthropomorphistic attributes, but merely as a designation of respect. This is the same case with Angels, and their references in the Qu'ran. They are always referred to as 'he' or 'him', mainly due to the fact that the word for angel in Arabic is a masculine noun. It is convention, when you refer to an angel in any context, to use masculine guises.
There are Verses in the Qu'ran that name Angels directly, Gabriel (Jibreel) and Michael (Mikaa'eel) are mentioned early on the Qu'ran in the second sura:
"Say: Whoever is an enemy to Jibreel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by Allah’s will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings to those who believe - Whoever is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and prophets, to Jibreel and Mikaa’eel - Lo! Allah is an enemy to those who reject Faith." [al-Baqarah 2:97-98]
found at: en.wikipedia.org