Physical characteristics of Angels - II

Physical characteristics of Angels - II
  • Publish date:24/08/2006
  • Section:Angels
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The great size of the bearers of the Throne:

Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "I have been granted permission to speak about one of the angels of Allah, one of the bearers of the Throne. The distance from his earlobes to his shoulders is the distance of a seven - hundred year journey." [Abu Daawood]
Anas Ibn Maalik  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "I have been granted permission to speak to an angel, one of the bearers of the Throne. His feet are in the lowest earth and the Throne is resting on his horn. The distance from his earlobe to his shoulder is like that of a bird flying for seven hundred years. That angel says, 'Glory be to You, wherever You are. '" [At-Tabaraani]
 
The wings of the angels:
The angels have wings, as Allah Almighty has informed us. Some of them have two wings, some have three or four, and some have more than that.
Allah, the Most Exalted, Says in the Noble Quran (what means): "[All] praise is [due] to Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, [Who] made the angels messengers having wings, two or three or four. He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent." [Quran 35:1]
Moreover, We have already mentioned (in part one) the narration in which the Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) stated that Jibreel (angel Gabriel) has six hundred wings.
 
The beauty of the angels:
Allah has created them in a noble and beautiful form, as Allah Says of Jibreel (what means): "… [The Quran was] Taught to him by one intense in strength [i.e. Jibreel] —One of soundness. And he rose to [his] true form." [Quran 53:5-6]
Ibn `Abbaas  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him said: "(one of soundness) means one whose appearance is beautiful." Qataadah  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  him said regard the same verse: "One whose form is tall and beautiful." There is no contradiction between the two views, for he (Jibreel) is both strong and of a beautiful appearance.
The idea that angels are beautiful is well-established in people's minds, just as the idea that devils are ugly is also well-established. Hence, we often hear people liken beautiful human beings to angels. Look at what the women said when they saw Prophet Yoosuf (Joseph)  may  Allah  exalt  his  mention in the verse (which means): "And when they saw him, they greatly admired him and cut their hands and said, “Perfect is Allah! This is not a man; this is none but a noble angel!' [Quran 12:31]
 
Similarity in appearance and form between angels and humans:
The Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said: "The Prophets were shown to me (during his ascension), and I saw Moosaa (Prophet Moses), a man of average build, looking like one of the men of (the tribe of) Shanu'ah. And I saw `Eesa Ibn Maryam (Prophet Jesus, son of Mary), and the person I have seen who most resembles him is `Urwah Ibn Mas'ood. And I saw Ibraaheem (Prophet Abraham), and the one who most resembles him is your Companion (meaning himself). And I saw Jibreel; the person I have seen who most resembles him is Dihyah." [Muslim and At-Tirmithi]
Is this a similarity between Jibreel's true form, or the form which Jibreel took when he appeared in human form? Certainly, it is the latter, because as we shall see, Jibreel often used to appear in the form of Dihyah Ibn Khaleefah  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him. This is proven by the narrations in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) described Jibreel in his real shape having six hundred wings.
 
Variations in their physical shape and status:
The angels are not all the same in their physical shape and status. Some of them have two wings, some have three, and Jibreel has six hundred wings. They vary in their status before their Lord, Most High. Allah Says (what means): "[The angels say], 'There is not among us any except that he has a known position'". [Quran 37:164]
As concerning Jibreel, Allah Says (what means): "[That] indeed, it [i.e. the Quran] is a word [conveyed by] a noble messenger [i.e. Jibreel]. [Who is] possessed of power and with the Owner of the Throne, secure [in position]"[Quran 81.19-20]
This means that he (Jibreel) has a high status and important rank before Allah.
The best of the angels are those who were present at the battle of Badr. Rafaa'ah Ibn Raafi'  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that Jibreel came to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) and said: "What do you think of the people of Badr among you (i.e., who were present at Badr)?" He  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention ) said, "They are the best of the Muslims" or similar words. Jibreel said: "The same is true regarding the angels who were present at Badr." [Al-Bukhari]
 

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