Calling Jibreel (Gabriel) Archangel
Fatwa No: 189393

  • Fatwa Date:1-11-2012 - Thul-Hijjah 17, 1433
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Question

Salam alaikum, I wanted to ask if it's allowed/recommended/good to use the Christian/non-islamic term "archangel"? Many websites use that word "archangel Gabriel ...." (alayhi salam), but as far as I know, Rasul Allah, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, never used this term, even though he knew that some angels, like for instance Jibril, alayhi salam, have special duties. So if he, sal Allahu alayhi wa salam, did not use such a term, why should we do so? Salam alaikum, Nuha

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

The angels are not all of the same status; this is proven in the Hadeeth when Jibreel (Gabriel)  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention came to the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and asked him: ''How do you consider the people who participated in the Battle of Badr.”  The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, replied: ''They are among the best Muslims.”  Then, Jibreel  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention said: “It is the same thing with regard to those who participated in the Battle of Badr among the angels.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This means that they were among the best angels.

Jibreel  may  Allaah  exalt  his  mention   is the best of all the angels and he is their master. The term ‘the Master of Angels’  is the term that is often used by the scholars when referring to him. Therefore, using the term ‘the Master’ is highly appropriate because this is the term that is used by the Law Maker (i.e. the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), as in the Hadeeth reported by Al-Bukhari and Muslim, in which Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ''I am the master of the people on the Day of Judgment.

Nonetheless, the term ‘the Master of Angels’ was used by many interpreters of the Quran such as Ar-Raazi, As-Suyooti and Al-Aloosi. Ibn Katheer also mentioned this term in his book entitled Al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah. The meaning of what they mentioned in this regard is the same as the word ‘Archangel’. The term ‘Arch’ refers to the head or the chief of a group. The fact that the Christians use this term is not an impediment to use it as long as it does not have a wrong or bad meaning.

On the other hand, using such terms is not necessarily based on evidence. For example, the Companions  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them called Abu Bakr  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  himthe Caliph of the Muslims’ and they called ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him   ‘the Commander of the Believers’, while there is no specific evidence for this.

Allaah Knows best.

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