Angels- A Scientific
Ibrahim B. Syed,
Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc.
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462, USA
Iman (faith) is to proclaim the
Kalimah (principle) with the tongue and affirm its truth with the heart.
In the Kalimah one has to bear/witness to the truth in the
following words: "I bear witness that there is no god (deity) but Allah and I
bear witness that Muhammad is the Servant and Apostle of Allah." By proclaiming
this Kalimah one implicitly believes in the following Articles of
Existence and Attributes of
Destiny or Measure (Taqdir)
Iman is the basis of acts of worship
and righteous deeds in Islam.
One of the names and attributes of
Allah is Al Haqq (The Truth). In reading and understanding the
Qur'an, a Muslim man or a Muslim woman is seeking the truth. Muslims say Islam
is the religion of Truth. As defined above our Iman (faith) is affirmation of
the truths and not blind beliefs.
There are religions whose followers
believe the idols to be gods or Jesus(AS) to be Son of God. There are people who
worship fire as god or natural entities or phenomena as gods. There are people
who even worship Satan. One can have belief or faith in anything. So what is the
difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim.? As pointed out before,
the-Muslim's Iman is affirmation of the truth. In Dawah work a Muslim may
encounter the challenge in the Article of Faith in "Angels." In other words a
Muslim has to answer the question "Do Angels exist?" and what is the truth?
Belief in the Angels
The angels according to Western ideas
are anthropomorphic (human-like appearance), female in sex, white in color,
having two white wings and a halo above the head. In Islam this is a false
representation of the angels.
From the Qur'an we know that human
beings are made from clay and the Jinns are made of smokeless fire.
All life on earth is made of Carbon and
water. Living things on earth need energy for their activities. Some of these
activities are chemical reactions, which need a supply of energy. This supply of
energy comes from the foods we eat, particularly the sugars. Fat is also a
source of (stored) energy. When sugars (glucose) are oxidized by metabolism with
oxygen they are converted into water, carbon dioxide and energy. This process is
called respiration. Life as we know on earth consists of cells, etc., based on
Carbon and chemical reactions and cannot be applied- to life and creatures based
on physical reactions found on earth and elsewhere. For example, the author has
shown that the Jinns have a more complex basis for their life involving
electrical charges as well as magnetic forces. The positive and negative ions
interact and respond to the presence of magnetic forces which in turn affect the
stable structure and movement of the Jinns: This situation is similar to the
influence of proteins and nucleic acids in earthly life.
Hadith and Qur'an
Having belief or Imaan in the Angels is
a pillar of a Muslim's Aqeeda. Angels are a creation of Allah. According to
Hadith they were created from light, they do not eat or drink, they are
characterized by neither feminine nor masculine, and they do not tire. The are
the creation of Allah, a creation that took place before the creation of Adam –
In order to explain the existence of
the angels, one must know the nature of the angels. From the Hadith we get the
angels are created from light' and are invisible.
‘Aa’ishah (ra) reported: "The Messenger
of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: ‘The angels are created
from light, just as the jinn are created from smokeless fire and mankind is
created from what you have been told about.’ " (Reported by Muslim, No. 2996).
angels have no gender (neither male nor female). They cannot commit sin nor
The angels are created without a father
or a mother and that they do not eat and drink. This is indicated by the
conversation between Prophet Ibrahim, the "friend" of Allaah and the angels who
visited him. Allaah says "Then he turned quickly to his household, brought out a
fatted calf, and placed it before them. He said, ‘Will you not eat?’ (When they
did not eat), he conceived a fear of them. They said: ‘Fear not,’ and they gave
him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge." (al-Dhaariyaat, 51:26-28)
Elsewhere, Allah says : "But when he (Ibrahim) saw their hands went not towards
the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They
said: ‘Fear not: we have been sent against the people of Lut.’" (Hud, 11:70).
That is they do not have any emotions
including passion and they are devoid of instincts (biological urges).
They do not have any free will or an independent will to act on their own. That
is they have only a one-dimensional nature, something like a programmed robot.
They carry out without question all the Commands (laws) of Allah and do not
oppose or neglect them in any way.
5.Like everything in the
Universe, day and night they are engaged in praising and glorifying Allah and
are never tired of this. They do not get bored or tired of remembering and
worshipping Allah. Allah says: "They celebrate His praises night and day, nor do
they ever slacken." (al-Anbiya', 21:20) ". . . For in the presence of
your Lord are those who celebrate His praises by night and by day. Some spend
their entire existence in Ruku’, others in Sujood.
carry out their functions honestly, efficiently and responsibly and are never
guilty of shirking work.
The number of angels is only known to Allah, however four of them are well
(conveys Allah's revelations and messages to the Prophets); Israfil
(by Allah's Command will blow into the Trumpet on the Day of Resurrection);
Michael (arranges for rainfall and supply of provisions to the creatures of
Allah, with His Command); and Izrail (takes people's souls at the time of
Fifth one is Malik. He is the Keeper of
Hell, as Allah says : "They (the people in Hell) will cry: : ‘O Malik (Keeper of
Hell)! Let your Lord make an end of us.’ He will say: ‘Verily you shall abide
forever.’" (Al-Zukhruf 43:77).
Two angels, called 'Munkar' and 'Nakir'
arc sent to the graves to question a person after his/her death.
The Prophet (Peace & Blessings of
Allaah be upon Him) described the Much-Frequented House (al-Bayt al-Ma‘moor) in
the seventh heaven, and said: ‘Hell will be brought forth that day by means of
seventy thousand ropes, each of which will be pulled by seventy thousand
angels." (Reported by Muslim, No. 2842).
The Qur'an says:
Behold two (guardian angels) appointed
Who register (his doings): one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a
word does he (man) utter, but there is a sentinel by him ready (to register it)(
Surah, Qaf, 50: 17-18). These angels are responsible for recording
the deeds of man, good and bad, are called the Noble Scribes Kiraaman
(honourable), kaatibeen - writing down (your deeds)." (Al-Infitaar 82:10-11).
". . . and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and
bad deeds) over you . . ." (al-An‘aam 6:61). Others are responsible for
testing people in the grave. These are Munkar and Nakeer.
Some of the angels are the keepers of
Paradise. Some of them are the keepers of Hell, the "guards of Hell", whose
number is nineteen and whose leader is Malik, upon whom be peace.
About Haaroot and Maaroot, Allah says :
". . . and such things as came down at Babylon to the angels Haaroot and Maaroot
. . ." (al-Baqarah 2:102) ". . . and none can know the forces of
your Lord, except He. And this is no other than a warning to mankind."
And if it were Our Will, We could make
angels from amongst you, succeeding Each other on the earth. (Surah,
Az-Zukhruf, 43: 60).
Their speed :
The greatest speed known to man today
is the speed of light; the angels are able to travel much faster than this.
However the Jinn are particularly mentioned in the Qur'an (Al-Naml, 27:38-40).
Hardly had an enquirer completed a question to the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of
Allaah be upon Him), but Jibreel would bring the answer from Allah. Their duties
Among the angels is one whose task it was to convey the revelation from Allah to
His Messengers; this is al-Rooh al-Ameen, Jibril, upon whom be peace.
Their powers :The angels have great
powers given to them by Allaah, including the following:
The ability to take on different forms.
Allah has given the angels the ability
to take on forms other than their own.
Allah sent Jibreel to Maryam (Mary) in
the form of a man, as Allah says: ". . . Then We sent to her Our angel, and he
appeared before her as a man in all respects." (Maryam 19:17). Angels
also came to Ibrahim(AS) in human form, and he did not know that they were
angels until they told him so. Similarly, angels came to Lut in the form of
young men with beautiful faces. Jibreel used to come to the
Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) in different forms:
sometimes he would appear in the form of Dihyah al-Kalbi, a Sahaabee who was
very handsome, and sometimes in the form of a Bedouin. Many other
ahaadeeth refer to the angels taking human forms, such as the hadeeth
about the one who killed a hundred, in which it says ". . . there came to them
an angel in human form . . ." and the hadeeth about the blind man, the bald man
and the leper.
The author believes there is nothing
wrong in attempting to understand or to interpret the concept of angels in the
light of modern knowledge. After all, Muslims and scientists are seekers of the
truth and truth is the same in either domain. Some Ulema or Islamic scholars
have come very close to explaining the angels in terms of scientific terminology
and have given the analogy of radio-waves, cinematography and the recordings of
audio and video images . It is the intention of the author to make efforts in
better understanding and in conceptualization of angels, which are created by
Allah in terms of nature, natural laws and natural forces, which are also
created by Allah.
The word Malaa'ikah - Malak -
(Alif-Lam-K'af or Meem-Lam-K'af), in English means "angels," but the common
religious notion of the word is very different from its Quranic concept. Some
scholars think that its root is "Alkun" which means to convey a message and
Al-Malaa'ikah means the messengers. Alaka, means to chew something according to
Ibn-e-Faris. Jinns as per the Qur'an were created from smokeless fire. Qur'an
does not mention as to how angels were created. Only Allah knows what they are
and what they are made of. In the Qur'an Jibrail (AS) has been called 'rooh'
(spirit) but not an angel.
Some scholars think that the root word
of Malaa'ikah is "Malkun" which means force. And some Scholars are of the
opinion that Malaa'ikah, in fact, are the forces (M'alakun) that are
given the responsibility to carry out certain duties. Even among human-beings,
people who are given some authority and responsibility are called Maalikun. In
1850s, Mufti Muhammad Abduhu of Egypt , in his Tafseer Al-Minar, writes that
everything in the universe has some basic energy or force by virtue of which it
exists, survives, or retains balance. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan of India, a
contemporary of Shaikh Abduhu also interpreted that Angels are forces. People
who are trying to understand Wahi call these forces, the forces of nature, but
in the Qur'anic language they are called Malaa'ikah. Anyway, the name should not
make much difference as long as one acknowledges the existence of these forces.
In the Quran Malaa'ikah means
messengers as in verse (Al-Hajj, 22: 75). This, of course, is one aspect
of their functions or duties, otherwise they are those who are appointed for
planning and administration of the universe in general (An-Naziat,
79:5-Tafseer-E-Usmani, p.2521, New Delhi, India, 1992) and as Muqassimat
(angels) who divide provision, rain, etc. by the order of Allah (Zariyat, 51:
4). If the root of Malaa'ikah is taken as "Malkun" (the forces) then it
sounds better than "Alkun.". These forces are not given any free-will,
independent power or choice to do whatever they like, but carry out the given
responsibility as decreed by Allah. The knowledge as to how these forces
function has been given to man (Al-Baqarah, 2:31) and, therefore, it is
within human beings' ability to annex these forces. This is the meaning
of the verse (2: 34), where it is stated that all the Malaa'ikah bowed
before Adam and man is made vicegerent of Allah on earth.
Malaa'ikah are the forces not
only operating externally, they are also referred to as the subjective forces
that can have a psychological effect ( Ha-Mim, 41:30).
Nazul-al-Malaa'ikah, or Malaa'ikah's descent, is interpreted as " to bring about
psychological changes" in man. The positive psychological change is one which
removes all fears, apprehensions and replaces them with positive emotions such
as : interest, enthusiasm , laughter, empathy, action, curiosity, confidence and
Negative emotions such as: apathy,
grief, fear, hatred, shame, blame, regret, resentment, anger, hostility,
depression, dejection are referred to as negative forces of Iblees. The forces
which boosted the morale and strengthened the hearts of the Mujahideen in the
battles of Badar and Huneyn are referred to, in the Verses of Al-Anfal, 8:12
, and Al-Taubah, 9:26 respectively.
Malaa'ikah are also referred to as the
forces which constantly record human actions and then bring about their destined
results (Jonah, 10:21; Az-Zukhruf, 43:80); in another place, this
responsibility is attributed to Allah (Maryam, 19:79). So Malaa'ikah are
the heavenly forces which are operating in the universe according to the
charter of duties assigned to them by Allah (SWT).
Angels can be interpreted as Messengers
or Instruments of Allah's Will, and may have a few or numerous errands entrusted
In 1926 Oskar Klein, a
Swedish mathematician showed that the spatial fabric of our universe may have
both extended (the three spatial dimensions of everyday experience) and many
curled-up dimensions. The additional dimensions in the universe are tightly
curled up into a tiny space- a space so tiny that it has so far eluded detection
by even our most advanced experimental equipment.
The equations of string
theory show that the universe has nine space dimensions and one time dimension.
Why is it that three space and one time dimensions are large and extended while
all of the others are tiny and curled up? At present there is no answer to this
1 dimension of time + 9
dimensions (6 hidden and 3 known) of space = 10 dimensions.
It is possible for
creatures who are made of and living in one time dimension and the tiny, curled
up spatial dimensions that are invisible to human beings and that is eluding
detection by even our most advanced equipment.
Symmetry is a property
of a physical system that does not change when the system is transformed in some
manner. For example, a sphere is rotationally symmetrical since its appearance
does not change if it is rotated.
mathematical transformation) is a symmetry principle that relates the properties
of particles with a whole number amount (integer) of spin (bosons) to those with
half a whole (half-integer or odd) number amount of spin (fermions). Bosons tend
to be the mediators of fundamental forces, while fermions make up the "matter"
which experiences these forces. Bosons can occupy the same space, and have
integral spin (0,1,….), while fermions cannot occupy the same space and have
half-integral spin ( 1/2, 3/2, ….). Bosons are particles that transmit forces
such as photons (Electromagnetic Force), gravitons (Gravitational Force), W, Z,
particles( Weak Nuclear Force), mesons and gluons(Strong Nuclear Force). Many
bosons can occupy the same state at the same time. Fermions( matter) such as
electrons, muons, tau, protons, neutrons, quarks, neutrinos, can occupy a given
state at a given time, and this is why fermions are the particles that make up
matter. This is the reason why solids cannot pass through one another. This
explains why we cannot walk through walls--- the inability of fermions(matter)
to share the same space the way bosons (forces) can.
Hence creatures that
are made of Bosons are invisible can walk through the walls, enter human bodies.
These Bosonic creatures do not eat or drink. They do not have emotions and no
biological urges. They perform their duties ceaselessly. They can travel at the
speed of light. Human beings are made of Fermions (matter).
Man is superior to the
angels because he has a two-dimensional nature. Firstly, he is endowed with an
immortal spirit, which is breathed into him by Allah (SWT). Secondly, he is
endowed with the faculty of reason and an independent will of his own (free
will) so that he can obey or disobey Allah's Commandments and choose his own way
freely. Unlike the angels, man-a fermionic creature, has a gender (sex),
instincts and biological urges.
Supersymmetry is the principle that
treats all particles of the same mass as different varieties of the same
superparticle. Supersymmetry means an equal matching between bosons(particles
that transmit forces) and fermions (particles that make up matter).
The Bosonic creatures can be
converted into fermionic creatures like human beings by Supersymmetry. "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). Ibn
‘Abbaas said: "‘Dhoo Mirrah means that he has a beautiful appearance.".
The idea that angels are beautiful is firmly established in all people’s minds,
so much so that they liken a beautiful human to an angel, as the women said
about Yusuf(AS): ". . . 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!’" (Yusuf 12:31).
Angels are made of light. We know that
light is made of electromagnetic radiation, which travels at 186,000 miles per
second. Like angels electromagnetic force obeys the laws of nature incessantly
without mistake and has no free will or an independent will of its own. Hence it
has a one-dimensional nature like angels. Electromagnetic radiation has no
gender, no emotions including passions and has no instincts or biological urges.
It is invisible except in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum
(4,000 to 7,000 Angstroms wavelength).
The Qur'an mentions that angels came in
-the form of humans to Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Lut and the Hadith mentions
about angel Gabriel talking to Prophet Muhammad " " in the form of human being.
This is also not difficult to
understand because we can create Holographic images, which are three-dimensional
human figures that can talk, using laser light and white light (visible light).
Again, laser light and white light are electromagnetic radiation. Communication
is possible by means of radio waves or microwaves, which are also
In the light of current knowledge there
are four forces that exist in nature. These four forces obey the laws of Allah
incessantly without any mistake, without any disobedience. These four forces are
the Gravitational Force, Electromagnetic Force, Weak Force, and the Strong or
According to String Theory which
supports the concept of the existence of multi-dimensions in our universe and
this does not violate the laws of physics. Living and experiencing only in the
three dimensional space and one dimensional time, we just do not or rather
cannot comprehend them. Furthermore Allah says that he has hundreds of angels
around us protecting us. Can you see them? If you cannot see them does not mean
they are not here. What about the verse in Al-An'am, 6:61(…He sendeth
guardians over you…)? We cannot see them; they thus exist in another dimension
but next to us. What about also the verses in Al-Imran, 3:124-125
(support of 3,000 angels sent down to help) ; and in Al-Anfal, 8:9 (a
thousand of the angels)? Perhaps these angels appeared in the same dimension.
Nevertheless they had to have change of dimension to be able to bodily appear on
earth so others could see them. This is possible with Supersymmetry as mentioned
Belief in angels is one of the six
pillars of belief or faith without which there is no faith. Whoever does not
believe in any of these pillars is not a believer (mu’min). These pillars are
belief in: Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, the Last Day, and the
predestination- both good and bad- comes from Allah.
When were they created?
Exact date is not known, however they
were created before mankind for certain, because the Qur’an says : "Behold, your
Lord said to the angels: ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ . . ." (al-Baqarah
2:30). The fact that Allah told them of His intention to create man
indicates that they already existed.
The ideas, opinions and theories
expounded by the author in this article may be proven wrong in the light of new
knowledge available in the future and the author takes full responsibility for
it. There is nothing wrong in expounding one's ideas today which may be proven
inappropriate or obsolete in the future. One can witness this in the study of
great scientists, both Muslim and non-Muslim, such as lbn Sina, Al-Razi, Al-Biruni,
etc. and the giants of the Western civilization such as Plato, Aristotle, Sir
Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and many others.