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They are not divine or semi-divine, and they are not God’s associates running different districts of the universe. Also, they are not objects to be worshipped or prayed to, as they do not deliver our prayers to God. They all submit to God and carry out His commands.
In the Islamic worldview, there are no fallen angels: they are not divided into ‘good’ and ‘evil’ angels. Human beings do not become angels after death. Satan is not a fallen angel, but is one of the jinn, a creation of God parallel to human beings and angels.
Angels were created from light before human beings were created, and thus their graphic or symbolic representation in Islamic art is rare. Nevertheless, they are generally beautiful beings with wings as described in Muslim scripture. Angels form different cosmic hierarchies and orders in the sense that they are of different size, status, and merit.
They do not eat or drink. The angels do not get bored or tired of worshipping God: “They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do they ever slacken.” (Quran 21:20)
The angels possess great powers given to them by God. They can take on different forms. The Muslim scripture describes how at the moment of Jesus’ conception, God sent Gabriel to Mary in the form of a man: “…Then We sent to her Our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.” (Quran 19:17)
Angels also visited Abraham in human form. Similarly, angels came to Lot to deliver him from danger in the form of handsome, young men. Gabriel used to visit Prophet Muhammad in different forms. Sometimes, he would appear in the form of one of his handsome disciples, and sometimes in the form of a desert Bedouin. Angels have the ability to take human forms in some circumstances involving common people. Gabriel is God’s heavenly messenger to mankind. He would convey the revelation from God to His human messengers. God says: “Say: whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by God’s will...” (Quran 2:97)
Some angels are put in charge of executing God’s law in the physical world. Michael is responsible for rain, directing it wherever God wishes. He has helpers who assist him by the command of his Lord; they direct the winds and clouds, as God wills. Another is responsible for blowing the Horn, which will be blown by Israafeel at the onset of the Day of Judgment. Others are responsible for taking souls out of the bodies at the time of death: the Angel of Death and his assistants. God says: “Say: the Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (duly) take your souls, then shall you be brought back to your Lord.” (Quran 32:11)
The Jewish belief in angels goes as far back as the Book of Genesis, where we read about angels calling out to Abraham at the binding of Isaac, angels appearing in Jacob's dream, Jacob fighting with an angel, and many more accounts of angelic activity.1 Angels are then mentioned numerous times throughout the other books of the Torah, Prophets, and Scriptures. According to Jewish tradition, an angel is a spiritual being and does not have any physical characteristics. The angelic descriptions provided by the prophets – such as wings, arms etc. – are anthropomorphic, referring to their spiritual abilities and tasks.
Angel Names The first angels mentioned by name in the Bible are Gavriel (Gabriel) and Michael, in the Book of Daniel.2 In earlier books of the Torah, when people asked angels to disclose their names, they refused; such as in the abovementioned encounter of Jacob with the angel,3 and the story of the angel who appeared to Samson's parents in the Book of Judges.4 The Jerusalem Talmud comments5 that reference to angels by name only became common in the period following the return of the Jewish people to Israel in 348 BCE. In the Talmud and Kabbala many more angels are identified by name. Some other commonly known names of angels include Uriel, Reziel, Metatron, and Laila.6 Maimonides explains7 that all angels fall under one of ten ranks. Namely: Chayot Hakodesh, Ophanim, Erelim, Chashmalim, Seraphim, Malachim, Elokim, Bene Elokim, Cheruvim, and Ishim. These ranks refer to the degree of the angel's comprehension of G‑d; some have a greater understanding of G‑d and His ways than others.
Angel Functions The Hebrew word for angel is "malach," which means messenger, for the angels are G‑d's messengers to perform various missions. Every angel is "programmed" to perform certain tasks; such as Michael who is dispatched on missions which are expressions of G‑d's kindness; Gavriel, who executes G‑d's severe judgments; and Rafael, whose responsibility it is to heal.8 Some angels are created for one specific task, and upon the task's completion cease to exist. According to the Zohar9 one of the angels' tasks is to transport our words of prayer and Torah-study before G‑d's throne.
Assuming Human Form There is some debate among the great Jewish philosophers whether the angels that the Torah describes as appearing actually assumed a visible physical form,13 or they appeared in the course of a spiritual vision or prophecy—in which the angels appeared as physical beings.14 According to all approaches, however, seeing an angel requires extra-sensory perception, as the bodies of the angels are not comprised of all the basic elements of a physical being.
Angels vs. Humans Notwithstanding the great spiritual level of the angels, the holiness of the Jewish soul supersedes that of the angel. Only the Jewish soul has the ability to descend to this physical and corporeal world and refine and elevate it.15 For the human's divine soul is a "veritable piece of G‑d Above," a "piece" of the Creator; as opposed to the angels which are creations—albeit very holy ones. This reflects itself in that fact that angels are one-dimensional: each angels has one specific form of Divine service. The human soul, on the other hand, serves G‑d in many different ways, expressing itself through love, awe, etc.
Furthermore, angels have no free-choice and are pre-programmed to serve G‑d, whereas the human is entrusted with the mission of serving G‑d—but is given the freedom to choose to do otherwise. As such, the mitzvot performed by the human are of much greater value than the angels' service, and propel him or her to infinitely greater spiritual heights, as opposed to the angels who are "trapped" in a consistent level of spiritual consciousness.
NIKE “VITTORIA ALATA” Original / Copy: Roman original derived from Greek statue style C4th BC Style: Early Imperial Date: C1st BC Period: Imperial Roman