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Angels Are Watching over You

The Islamic belief system consists of six pillars; namely, belief in God, belief in His angels, belief in the divine scriptures, belief in all messengers, belief in the Last Day, and belief in divine will and predestination.

God created everything for a purpose. Nothing in God’s creation has been created in vain. God created angels to worship Him and carry out His orders in the universe. They never disobey God; they are always obedient to Him. We read in the Quran what means:

{… who (i.e. angels) do not disobey God in whatever He has commanded them, but [always] do what they are bidden to do.} (Al-Tahrim 66: 6)

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) tells us that:

“When Allah decrees some order in the heaven, the angels flutter their wings indicating complete surrender to His saying which sounds like chains being dragged on rock. And when the state of fear disappears, they ask each other, “What has your Lord ordered? They say that He has said that which is true and just, and He is the Most High, the Most Great.” (Al-Bukhari, 324)

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This is how the angels receive God’s orders.

Muslims’ belief in the angels implies that they believe that the angels are created from light. We cannot see them. They do not have a will. Angels perish and die when the Day of Judgment comes. God says what means:

{All that lives on earth or in the heavens is bound to pass away.} (Ar-Rahman 55: 26)

Angels have different functions and roles in the universe. One of the roles of angels is recording our deeds and actions.

God says what gives the meaning of:

{O man! What is it that lures you away from your bountiful Sustainer, who has created you,… And yet, verily, there are ever-watchful forces over you, noble, recording, aware of whatever you do!} (Al-Infitar 82: 6-12)

Elsewhere in the Quran we read what means:

{Now, verily, it is We who have created man, and We know what his innermost self whispers within him: for We are closer to him than his neck-vein… not even a word can he utter but there is a watcher with him, ever-present.} (Qaf 50: 16-8)

We have to think deeply about the interpretation of these verses. God is telling us that we are watched; there are angels who are recording our deeds, actions and even everything we utter.

What should be our reaction to this warning? We have first to be God-conscious. Lacking this feeling is the origin of every sin. If we feel that we are self-righteous, we are bound to commit sins. Then, we have to think about those angels who are ever-watchful.

Think twice before committing anything that brings God’s wrath. Not doing this thing should not be because you fear the angels, but because you conscious of God. God says in the Quran what means:

{God loves those who are conscious of Him.} (Al-`Imran 3: 76)

God’s mercy is manifested in this narration: The Prophet said:

“Allah says, “If My slave intends to do a bad deed then (O Angels) do not write it unless he does it. If he does it, then write it as it is, but if he refrains from doing it for My Sake, then write it as a good deed (in his account). (On the other hand) if he intends to do a good deed, but does not do it, then write a good deed (in his account), and if he does it, then write it for him (in his account) as ten good deeds up to seven-hundred times.'” (Al-Bukhari)

This hadith tells us that the angel who records the bad deeds is ordered by God not to write down our intention to do something bad. If we do that bad thing, the angel records it as a one bad deed. On the other hand, the angel who records the good deeds is ordered to write down our intention to do a good deed. If we actually do that good deed, the angel records it as ten up to seven hundred good deeds.

In another hadith we are told that all sins, no matter how grave they are, will be forgiven as long as one offers a sincere repentance to God.

The Prophet said:

“Amongst the men of Bani Israel there was a man who had murdered ninety-nine persons. Then he set out asking (whether his repentance could be accepted or not). He came upon a monk and asked him if his repentance could be accepted. The monk replied in the negative and so the man killed him. He kept on asking till a man advised him to go to such and such village. (So he left for it) but death overtook him on the way.

While dying, he turned his chest towards that village (where he had hoped his repentance would be accepted), and so the angels of mercy and the angels of punishment quarreled amongst themselves regarding him. Allah ordered the village (towards which he was going) to come closer to him, and ordered the village (whence he had come), to go far away, and then He ordered the angels to measure the distances between his body and the two villages. So he was found to be one span closer to the village (he was going to). So he was forgiven.” (Al-Bukhari)

Everyone’s record of good and bad deeds will be presented to him to read on the Day of Judgment. God tells us in the Quran that:

{And every human being’s destiny have We tied to his neck; and on the Day of Resurrection We shall bring forth for him a record which he will find wide open; [and he will be told:] “Read your record! Sufficient is your own self today to make out your account!”}  (Al-Israa’ 17: 13-4)

In addition to these two angels recording our deeds, there are other angels who watch out our saying, actions, and thoughts:

{A record [indelibly] inscribed, witnessed by all who have [ever] been drawn close unto God,  i.e. angels.} (Al-Mutaffifin 83: 20-1)

Scholars agree that those angels are Jibril, Mika’il, Israfil, Azrail.

Now, after knowing about this complete system of monitoring your actions, what are you going to do? Think deeply about gaining the pleasure of Paradise. Do the good deeds and abandon the bad ones. The angels will record the good deeds and keep them for you so that you can enjoy their rewards in the Hereafter.

By believing in angels, you will feel that you are not alone in this universe; there are other creatures around you everywhere, and that God is the Knower of everything.

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.