Characteristics of Angels in Islam

As for the characteristics that accompany angels, the Muslim scholar Quraish Shihab in his book entitled ‘Angels in the Qur’an: The Subtle and Invisible’, said, angels are genderless and do not commit sins.

Here are other angelic traits that detikcom collected from various sources.

1. Very Large in Size

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا قُوا أَنْفُسَكُمْ وَأَهْلِيكُمْ نَارًا وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ عَلَيْهَا مَلَائِكَةٌ غِلَاظٌ شِدَادٌ لَا يَعْصُونَ اللَّهَ مَا أَمَرَهُمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ

It means: “O believers! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, overseen by formidable and severe angels, who never disobey whatever Allah orders—always doing as commanded..”

in another account it is mentioned that the magnitude of the angel Gabriel is equated with all the stars in the sky being between the two eyebrows of the angel Gabriel.

Another history also tells about the magnitude of the size of the angel. Abu Dawud narrated from Jabir bin Abdullah that the Messenger of Allah said:

“I was allowed to tell you about one of Arsy’s buffer angels. The distance between his ears and shoulders is a journey of seven hundred years.” (HR. Abu Dawud)

2. Angels Has Wings

Angels are also known to have wings as described by Allah Almighty in His word. Some have two wings, some have three or four wings, and some even more.

It is listed in QS. Faathir verse 1 which reads:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ فَاطِرِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ جَاعِلِ الْمَلَائِكَةِ رُسُلًا أُولِي أَجْنِحَةٍ مَثْنَىٰ وَثُلَاثَ وَرُبَاعَ ۚ يَزِيدُ فِي الْخَلْقِ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“All praise is for Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, Who made angels ˹as His˺ messengers with wings—two, three, or four. He increases in creation whatever He wills. Surely Allah is Most Capable of everything.”

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other histories mentioning about the wings that angels had numbering 600 wings are as follows:

“From Ibn Mas’ud RA with regard to the word of Allah which means: “Then the Lord revealed to His servant what He revealed Muhammad had seen gabriel (in his original form) at another time.” (QS. An-Najm: 10) Ibn Mas’ud said: “The Messenger of Allah once saw Gabriel in his true form. Gabriel has six hundred wings and every one wing is able to cover the horizon.” (HR. Imam Ahmad).

3. Many In Numbers

Quraish Shihab in the same book says the number of angels is numerous and counted. However, the number of angels that Muslims are obliged to follow is 10 angels, namely, Gabriel, Mikail, Israfil, Izrafil, Munkar, Nakir, Raqib, Atid, Malik, and Ridwan.

Of the ten angels, only one angel was ever seen by the Prophet Muhammad in his true form, namely the angel Gabriel during Isra’ Mi’raj in the Cave of Hira. This is also told in the word of Allah Quran Surat At Takwir verse 23:

وَلَقَدْ رَآهُ بِالْأُفُقِ الْمُبِينِ

It means: “And he did see that ˹angel˺ on the clear horizon,” (At Takwir: 23)

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