Characteristics of Angels
Angels are created from light. Angels are beings who build relations between the macrocosmic world and the material one, and convey the commands of God, superintend or direct the acts and lives of beings and represent their worship in their own realms.
Angels move very rapidly and permeate all realms of existence
Having refined or subtle bodies of light, angels move very rapidly and permeate or penetrate all realms of existence. As they place themselves in our eyelids or in the bodies of other beings to observe the works of God through our or their eyes, they also descend into the hearts of the Prophets and saintly people and breathe inspirations into them. The inspirations occurring to the hearts of saintly people are usually from God but they may sometimes be from angels.
Classes of angels:
There are angels representing in the inner dimension of existence species of earthly creatures and supervising them
Some animals, like honeybees, for example, act under Divine inspiration, although science asserts that all animals are directed by impulses. Science is unable to explain what an impulse is and how it occurs. Scientists are studying to find out, for example, how migrating birds find their way; or how, for instance, young eels which hatch in the waters of Europe can find their way to their nature waters in the Pacific Ocean. Even if we attribute this to the information coded into their DNAs, this information is assuredly from God, Who knows everything and controls the entire universe and angels deputed for such creatures direct their lives. If it is a scientific attitude that we unquestionably accept the existence of some invisible forces like the law of growth in living creatures, and then it will be more scientific to attribute those forces to God’s special servants, that is angels.
Each thing in existence, whether universal or particular, has a collective identity and performs a unique, universal function. As each flower displays a superlative design and symmetry and recites, in the tongue of its being, the Names of the Creator manifested on it, so the whole earth performs a universal duty of glorification as though it was a single flower. Likewise, the vast . ocean. of the heavens gives praise to and glorifies the Majestic Maker of the universe through its suns, moons and stars. Even inert material bodies perform a vital function in praising God although they are outwardly inanimate and unconscious. Angels are the representatives of such bodies in the world of the inner dimensions of things, and express praises on behalf of them, and these bodies are, in turn, the representatives, dwellings, and mosques of the angels in the material world.
One class of angels is worshippers, and the worship of another class consists in working. The working division of the angels of the earth have a kind of human occupation. If one may say so, one type is like shepherds and another type are like farmers. That is, the face of the earth is like a general farm and an appointed angel superintends all the species of animals on it by the command of the All-Majestic Creator, and by His leave, power and strength, and for His sake. For each species of animal there is a lesser angel who is appointed to act as a kind of shepherd.
The face of the earth is also an arable field where all plants are sown. There is an angel appointed for the supervision of all of them in the Name of Almighty God and by His power. There are also angels of the lower rank who worship and glorify Almighty God by supervising particular species of plants. The Archangel Michael who is one of the bearers of God’s Throne of Sustenance [. an official of the highest rank whom God employs to veil His acts in the administration of His providing for all His creatures. ] is the overseer of these of the highest rank.
The angels who are in the position of shepherds and farmers bear no resemblance to human beings, for their supervision is purely for God’s sake, and in His Name and by His power and command. Their supervision only consists in observing the manifestations of God’s Lordship in the species the supervision of which each is charged with, studying the manifestations of Divine Power and Mercy in it; communicating to that species the Divine commands through some sort of inspiration, and in some way arranging the voluntary actions of the species. Their supervision of the plants in the field of the earth in particular consists in representing in angelic tongue the glorification the plants do in the tongue of their being; proclaiming in the angelic tongue the praises and exaltations the plants offer to the Majestic Creator through their lives, and regulating and employing the faculties given to the plants correctly and directing them towards certain ends. Such services of the angels are actions they do through their partial will power and a kind of worship and adoration. The angels are not the originators or creators of their actions for on everything is a stamp particular to the Creator of all things. No one else has the smallest part in creation. In short, whatever the angels do forms their worship; it is not of the same sort as the ordinary acts of human beings.
Since there is an angel to represent every kind of creature in existence and present their service and worship to the Divine Court, the description given by the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, of the angels are entirely reasonable and true: There are angels with forty thousand heads, each with forty thousand mouths, and forty thousand praises sung by forty thousand tongues in each mouth. This Prophetic tradition means that the angels serve universal purposes, and some natural creatures worship God with forty thousand heads in forty thousand ways. The firmament, for example, praises the Majestic Creator through the suns and stars, whilst the earth, although a single body, worships with many thousands of . heads. , each with many thousands of . mouths. , earth with many thousands of . tongues. . Thus, the angel who represents the earth in the world of the inner dimensions of things or in the world of immaterial bodies is to be regarded as referred to by this tradition.
Angels carry out whatever God commands them
The Majestic Maker of this huge . palace. of creation employs four kinds or classes of laborers of which the first are the angels and other spirit beings. Second, there are inanimate things and vegetable creation, which are quite important servants of God working without wages. Thirdly, animals serve unconsciously in return for a small wage, which is their food and pleasures, while, finally, mankind work in awareness of the purposes of the Majestic Creator. They take a lesson from everything and supervise the other servants below their rank in return for wages, which are paid in the form of a reward here and in the Hereafter.
The first class is the angels. The angels do not gain promotion by endeavoring; each of them has a fixed, determined rank, but receives a particular pleasure from the work itself and radiance from worship. That is, the reward of these servants is found in their service. Just as man is nourished by air, water, light, and food, and derives pleasure from them, so are the angels nourished by the lights of remembrance, glorification, worship, knowledge, and love of God, and receive pleasure from them. For, since they are created out of light, light is sufficient for their sustenance. Fragrant scents even, which are close to light, are a sort of nourishment for them, which they enjoy. Indeed, pure spirits take pleasure in sweet scents.
In the jobs which the angels perform at the command of the One Whom they worship, in the actions they do for His sake, in the service they render in His Name, in the supervision they exercise through His view, in the honor they gain through connection with Him, in the . refreshment. they find in studying both the material and immaterial dimensions of His Kingdom, and in the satisfaction they have in observing the manifestations of His Grace and Majesty, there is such elevated bliss that the human mind cannot comprehend it, and one who is not an angel does not perceive it.
Angels have no sexes and they have no evil-commanding selves
Angels never commit sins and show disobedience, and since they have no evil-commanding souls to resist obedience to God, they have fixed stations; they are not promoted to higher ranks, nor reduced to lower ones. They are also free of negative moral qualities like envy, rancor and enmity and from lusts and animal appetites, which are to be found in mankind and jinn.
Angels have no sexes; they do not eat and drink, nor do they feel hunger, thirst and tiredness. Although they have no wages in return for their worship, they derive special pleasure in carrying out God’s commands and feel delight in being near to Him. They are not promoted but they receive some sort of spiritual pleasure from their worship. Praise, worship, recitation of God’s Names and glorification are their nourishment; they are also nourished with light and sweet fragrance.
Since angels do not have evil-commanding souls to struggle with, they are not promoted to higher ranks, but human beings are bound by creation to fight with their evil-commanding selves and Satan. While angels appointed to invite them to true guidance, always inspire in them belief, good conduct and virtues and call them to resist the temptations of Satan and their evil-commanding selves, Satan and their evil-commanding selves try to seduce them. It can be said that the life of a man is the history of his continuous struggle to make choices between the inspirations of angels through his spirit and the temptations of his evil-commanding self and Satan. That is why a human being can be elevated to the highest of the high or reduced to the lowest of the low. Also, that is why the elect of mankind. the Prophets and greatest saints. are higher in rank than the greatest of angels and ordinary believers than the commonalty of angels. Also, although angels are more advanced than human beings in knowledge of God and His Names and Attributes, human beings by virtue of having developed senses and abilities like reflection and the complexity of their nature, excel angels in being more comprehensive mirrors to God’s Names and attributes.
Angels have different kinds
As was pointed out, angels are of different kinds. Besides those deputed to represent and supervise species of creation on the earth and present to God their worship, there are four Archangels, and the angels carrying God’s Throne. we do not know what the Holy Book means by God’s Throne and how it is carried. There are also the groups of angels named “the Highest Council”, “the Highest Assembly” and “the Highest Company”. There are angels appointed to Paradise and Hell. The angels who record men’s deeds are called “the Noble Recorders”, and as stated in a Saying, there are 360 angels responsible for the life of each believer. They guard him, especially during his infancy and old age, and pray for him and ask God for his forgiveness. There are also angels who come to the aid of believers at war, attend the assemblies of praise and glorification of God and the meetings held to make studies for God’s sake and for the benefit of people.
Angels, particularly the angels of mercy, do not enter the houses where there are statues and dogs are fed, and refrain from close contact with those who are ritually unclean and women having periods. They also keep aloof from those who have bad breath because of what they have had like onions and garlic or because of smoking. Angels also do not visit those who break off relations with their parents and relatives.
God Almighty is powerful over everything; even though He is able to guard everyone by Himself, He may appoint angels to guard His servants. In order to deserve the guardianship and company of angels, one should use his free will in making good choices and build up a close relation with God Almighty. One must have strong belief in God and other pillars of faith and never give up worshipping and praying to Him regularly. One must lead a disciplined life and refrain from forbidden things or sinful acts.
They help the believers who struggle in the way of God sincerely, whenever they need and wherever they are.
Belief in angels has many benefits for man. It provides man with some sort of peace and removes his loneliness. The inspiration breathed by angels exhilarates him, enlightens him intellectually and opens for him new horizons in knowledge and thinking. Awareness of the continuous company of angels holds man back from committing sins and improper behavior.
How the Holy Book describes angels
The relevant verses of the Holy Book such as those to follow are an observatory from which we may look at angels:
By the loosed ones successively, storming tempestuously; by the scatterers scattering, and the severally severing and those hurling a reminder, excusing or warning.
By those that pluck out violently; and those that draw out gently; by those that float serenely, and those that outstrip suddenly; by those that direct an affair.
In (the Night of Power) the angels and the spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, upon every command.
A Fire whose fuel is men and stones, and over which are harsh, terrible angels who disobey not God in what He commands them and do what they are commanded.
Glory be to Him! Nay, but they are honored servants that outstrip Him not in speech, and perform as He commands.
By M. Fethullah Gulen