Black Muslims : Islamic Cosmology and the Islamic View of Angels

Discussion in 'Islam Study Group' started by Omowale Jabali, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There is no standard hierarchical organization in Islam that parallels the division into different "choirs" or spheres, as hypothesized and drafted by early medieval Christian theologians. Most[who?] Islamic scholars agree that this is an unimportant topic in Islam, especially since such a topic has never been directly mentioned or addressed in the Qur'an. However, it is clear that there is a set order or hierarchy that exists between angels, defined by the assigned jobs and various tasks to which angels are commanded by God. The angel Jibraaiyl (Gabriel) is the most recognizable angel, as in Islam this angel delivers the message of God (Allah) to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. This message is the Qur'an. Angels can take on different forms, including human.[3]
    Some scholars suggest that Islamic angels can be grouped into fourteen categories as follows, of which numbers 2-5 are considered archangels. Due to varied methods of translation from Arabic and the fact that these angels also exist in Christian contexts and the Bible, several of their Christian and phonetic transliteral names are listed:
    • Hamalat al-'Arsh, Those who carry the 'Arsh (throne of God)[4]
    • Jibraaiyl/Jibril (Judeo-Christian Gabriel), the angel of revelation, who is said to be the greatest of the angels. Jibraaiyl is the archangel responsible for revealing the Qur'an to Muhammad, verse by verse. Jibrayil is widely known as the angel who communicates with (all of) the prophets and also for coming down with Allah's blessings during the night of Laylat al-Qadr ("The Night of Destiny").
    • Israfil/Israafiyl (Judeo-Christian Raphael), who will blow the trumpet twice at the end of time. According to the Hadith, Israafiyl is the angel responsible for signaling the coming of Qiyamah (Judgment Day) by blowing a horn. The blowing of the trumpet is described in many places in Qur'an. It is said that the first blow will bring all to attention. The second will end all life,[5] while the third blow will bring all human beings back to life again to meet their Lord for their final judgement.[6]
    • Mikail (Judeo-Christian Michael),[7] who provides nourishments for bodies and souls. Mikail is often depicted as the Archangel of mercy who is responsible for bringing rain and thunder to Earth. He is also responsible for the rewards doled out to good persons in this life.
    • 'Azrael/'Azraaiyl a.k.a Malak al-maut (Judeo-Christian Azrael), the angel of death. He is responsible for parting the soul from the body. He is only referred as malak al-maut, meaning angel of death, in the Qur'an.[8]
    • The angels of the Seven Heavens.
    • Hafaza (The Guardian Angel):
      • Kiraman Katibin (Honourable Recorders),[9] two of whom are charged with each human being; one writes down good deeds, and the other writes down evil deeds.
      • Mu'aqqibat (The Protectors)[10] who keep people from death until its decreed time and who bring down blessings.
    • Munkar and Nakir, who question the dead in their graves.
    • Darda'il (The Journeyers), who travel in the earth searching out assemblies where people remember God's name.[11]
    • The angels charged with each existent thing, maintaining order and warding off corruption. Their number is known only to God.[12]
    • Maalik is the chief of the angels who govern Jahannam (Hell).
    • Zabaniah are 19 angels who torment sinful persons in hell.
    • Ridwan is the angel who is responsible for Jannah (Paradise).
    The Qur'an also mentions angels who God has chosen to punish the sinful in hell, these angels take no pity on punishing them as they do what the Lord has commanded them to precisely and perfectly. A verse stipulates this:

    O ye who believe! save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded.
    —Qur'an, sura 66 (At-Tahrim) ayah 6[13]
    Also the number of Angels guarding Hell are mentioned as nineteen:

    Over it are Nineteen.
    And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind.
    —Qur'an, sura 74 (Al-Muddathir) ayat 30-31[14]
    The Qur'an also mentions that angels have qualities that may be typified by the word wings: "All praise and thanks are due to Allah the Originator of the Heavens and Earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, two or three or four..." .|Qur'an, sura 35 (At-Fatir or Al-Mala'ikah) ayah 1[15]
    However, according to hadith collected by Muhammad al-Bukhari, Muhammad said that Gabriel had 600 wings;

    Narrated Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani
    I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) onvey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). (53.9-10)[16] On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings."
    Sahih al-BukhariVolume 4, Book 54, Number 455[17]

    Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels, messengers with wings,- two, or three, or four (pairs): He adds to Creation as He pleases: for Allah has power over all things.
    —Qur'an, sura 35 (Fatir) ayat 1[18]
    The preceding sentence does not imply that all angels have two to four wings. Most notably, archangels (namely Gabriel and Michael) are described as having thousands of wings.[citation needed] The angels also accompanied Muhammad up to Jannah (Heaven) when he received commands from God. Instead of riding on an angel, Muhammad rode a creature called a Buraq whose stride spans from horizon to horizon.
    In relation to some narrations (riwayah), it is stated that the angels had accompanied, and had been in the presence of Muhammad when he was born. A classic example of this is, when Muhammad was born, then in some narrations it has been said that Gibrael had swung the cot, in which Muhammad lay.
    The following is a Quranic verse that mentions the meeting of an angel with Mary, mother of Jesus: Surah Aal ‘Imran Chapter 3 verse 45

    Behold! The angels said: O Mary! God giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name is the Christ Eisa the son of Mariam, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those Nearest to God.
    — [Al-Qur’an 3:45]​
    Muhammad, speaking of the magnitude of the angel Gabriel, has said that his wings spanned from the Eastern to the Western horizon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_view_of_angels
     
  2. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Muslims believe that angels are spiritual beings who perform special tasks. Who are some of these angels, and what do angels do?
    Islam teaches that angels, called al-malaikah in Arabic, were created by Allah to worship Him and to carry out special duties both in heavenly and earthly life. Belief in these angels is an important aspect of a Muslim's faith, just as it is in Judeo-Christian tradition. But according to Muslims, who are the angels, and what exactly do angels do?
    From their primary religious sources of the Qur'an and Hadith (narrated teachings of the Prophet Muhammad), Muslims know the names and responsibilities of some angels.

    Do Muslims Believe in Guardian Angels?

    Muslims do believe in guardian angels, although Islam doesn't share the Christian concept of a single guardian angel. Rather, Muslims believe that there are a number of angels watching over and protecting each individual.
    In the Quran, it says, “For each (person), there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah." (Quran 13:10)

    Kiraman Katibin - Honorable Scribes

    In addition, two guardian angels are assigned to each person to record all deeds from the age of puberty on. "(Remember) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive (each human being), one sitting on the right and one on the left (to note his or her actions. Not a word does he (or she) utter but there is a watcher by him ready (to record it)." (Qur'an 50:16-18) In another verse (85:11), these angels are referred to as Kiraman Katibin, or "honorable scribes."

     
  3. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Rūḥ (روح) is an Arabic word meaning spirit. It is the third among the six purities or Lataif-e-sitta
    Thirteen stages of taming ruh

    To attend Tajalliy-e-Ruh, the Salik needs to achieve the following thirteen.
    1. Iradah or Commitment with God
    2. Istiqamah or Steadfastness in the way with God
    3. Haya or Shame in committing evil
    4. Huriyyah or Freedom: Ibrahim Bin Adham said, "A free man is one who abandons the world before he leaves the world". Yahya Bin Maz said, "Those who serves the people of world are slaves, and those who serve the people of Akhira are the free ones". Abu Ali Daqaq said, "Remember, real freedom is in total obedience. Therefore if someone has total obedience in God, he will be free from the slavery of non God"
    5. Fatoot or Manliness: Abu Ali Daqaq said, "Manliness is in one's being of continuous service to others. This is an etiquette that was perfected by Prophet Muhammed only".
    6. Hub or Love for God
    7. Aboodiyah or Slavery under God
    8. Maraqiba or Complete Focus on God
    9. Du'a or Prayer
    10. Faqar or Abandoning of materialism
    11. Tasawwuf or Wearing a dress of no material significance
    12. Suhbat or Company of the righteous ones
    13. Adab or Following Protocols of respect for the great ones
    Acknowledgements

    The excerpts are translation from Persian book "Shahid ul Wojood" written two hundred years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruh
     
  4. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Lataif-as-Sitta ("the six subtleties" singular: latifa) are psychospiritual "organs" or, sometimes, faculties of sensory and suprasensory perception in Sufi psychology. They are thought to be parts of the self in a similar manner to the way glands and organs are part of the body. Drawing from the Qur'an, many Sufis distinguish Nafs, Qalb, Sirr, Ruh, Khafi, and Akhfa as the six lataif. Similar concepts in other spiritual systems include the Dantian mentioned in Chinese traditional medicine, martial arts and meditation, the sephiroth of kabbalah and the chakras of Indian Tantra and Kundalini yoga.

    Among Sufis development involves awakening spiritual centers of perception that lie dormant in every person. The help of a guide is considered necessary to help activate them in a certain order. Each center is associated with a particular color, a general area of the body, and often with a particular prophet. Activation of all these "centers" is part of the inner methodology of the Sufi way or "Work". Purification of the elementary passionate nature (tazkiyat an-nafs), cleansing the spiritual heart (tazkiyat al-qalb), becoming a receptacle of divine love (ishq), illumination of the spirit (tajjali ar-ruh), emptying egoic drives (taqliyyat as-sirr) and remembering the divine attributes, often through repetition of the names of God, (dhikr) are a process by which the dervish is said to reach a certain type of "completion" in the opening of the last two faculties, khafi and akhfa.
    The ten lata'if

    According to Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi, humans are made of ten Lata'if or components of creation. Five of them pertain to Alam-e-Amr (the divine world) and the remaining five pertain to Alam-e-Khalq (Created world). The five lata'if of Alam-e-Amr are Qalb, Ruh, Sirr, Khafi and Akhfa. The five lata'if of Alam-e-Khalq are Nafs, Soil (solid), Water (liquid), Air (gas) and Fire (energy).[1]
    However there are seven lata'if in most of the sufi orders. The last four (corresponding to earth, water, air and fire) are collectively called lataif qalbia, referring to the physical human body (qalib), also referred to as Sultan al-Azkar in many sufi orders.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lataif-e-sitta
     
  5. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Among the more bizarre arguments used by Islamic apologists is the claim that the Qur'an contains scientific information that could not have been known 1400 years ago. Critical review invariably shows such claims to be entirely specious. There does not exist in the Qur'an any correct information that was not already known to ancient civilizations that long preceded the birth of Muhammad.
    But that is not the subject of this article. This article is designed more narrowly to uncover and explain the actual state of scientific knowledge that is represented in the Qur'an and the Sunnah. Specifically, we will explore Islamic Cosmology, in particular the Qur'ans understanding of the nature and structure of the physical universe.
    To no surprise, “Islamic Cosmology” was not advanced beyond that of any of its ancient neighbors, and in fact is far less sophisticated and accurate in its understanding than the Greeks or Romans that had preceded them by centuries. While other civilizations had (for example) long before realized that the earth was a globe, the Qur'an betrays no understanding that the earth is anything but flat.
    Now, it is recognized up front that (as in almost every other ancient text), some of what is reflected in the Qur'an was meant to be taken literally, while some is allegorical or symbolic. But such recognition does not give the reader license to simply reject some descriptions which are obviously in error without good reason. In fact, the cosmology suggested by the Qur'an and the Sunnah is remarkably consistent, regardless of the specific purpose of the particular story being read.
    This is because at no point was the purpose of the Qur'an or the Sunnah to describe the structure of the universe. In almost every instance, such descriptions exist only as side affects of the other religious or ethical lessons that were the real objectives of the texts we consider. If a detail of cosmology is contained in an allegory, yet itself has no allegorical purpose, then it must be accepted as the actual understanding of the author. So, while we have only a handful of direct statements concerning cosmology, a lot can still be determined from the occasional intriguing detail accidentally dropped by the authors as part of other discussions.
    The wealth of such “hints” provide a compelling resource, and provide a clear picture of what Muhammad thought the universe looked like.

    http://wikiislam.net/wiki/A_Qur’anic_Understanding_of_the_Universe
     
  6. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Islamic cosmology refers to cosmology in Islamic societies. It is mainly derived from the Qur'an, Hadith, Sunnah, and current Islamic as well as other pre-Islamic sources. The Qur'an itself mentions seven heavens[1] and a vast universe sustained by Allah.

    Islamic thought categorizes the entire cosmos into two domains: the Unseen Universe (Arabic عالم الغيب , Aalam-ul-Ghaib), which is imperceptible to mankind in general, has properties unknown to us, and includes Allah(metaphorically), angels, Paradise, Hell, seven heavens, and Al-Arsh (the Divine Throne)[1]; and the Observable Universe (Arabic عالم الشهود , Alam-ul-Shahood), perceptible through the five senses (possibly enhanced by means of instruments). The Qur'an says: "Allah is He, Who is the only God, the knower of the Unseen and the Observed."[2]

    In the light of a detailed description of the creation of the Universe drawn from the Qur'an and Sunnah, the purpose of existence is for God to become known, to be discovered by human beings. Before the creation, Allah was known only to himself, because nothing existed but he. It was part of his grand design that through created beings the Attributes of Allah were to be fulfilled.
    Allah may be known in two ways: through revelation and by means of reasoning. In the former case, he has conveyed his presence to humankind by sending messengers. Individuals also may become aware of Allah's existence through personal revelations, much as a schoolchild learns from teachers and books. Reasoning may lead to awareness of God's existence through formal logic, rational arguments, or deductions from the results of scientific or historical research, according to the individual's interests, education, and aptitudes. Those who choose to study the Qur'an and Hadith may obtain further understanding of Allah, his rights, and his judgement of the beings in both the unseen and observable universes.

    Sufi cosmology (Arabic: الكوزمولوجية الصوفية‎) is a general term for cosmological doctrines associated with the mysticism of Sufism. These may differ from place to place, order to order and time to time, but overall show the influence of several different cosmographies:
    There are several verses in the Qur'an (610-632) which some medieval and modern writers have interpreted as foreshadowing modern cosmological theories.[3] An early example of this can be seen in the work of the Islamic theologian Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (1149–1209), in dealing with his conception of physics and the physical world in his Matalib. He discusses Islamic cosmology, criticizes the idea of the Earth's centrality within the universe, and explores "the notion of the existence of a multiverse in the context of his commentary" on the Qur'anic verse, "All praise belongs to God, Lord of the Worlds." He raises the question of whether the term "worlds" in this verse refers to "multiple worlds within this single universe or cosmos, or to many other universes or a multiverse beyond this known universe." He rejects the Aristotelian view of a single world or universe in favour of the existence of multiple worlds and universes, a view that he believed to be supported by the Qur'an and by the Ash'ari theory of atomism.[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmology_in_medieval_Islam#Sufi_cosmology
     
  7. Omowale Jabali

    Omowale Jabali The Cosmic Journeyman PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The Quran and Cosmology
    [​IMG]T the time the Holy Quran was revealed, the human understanding of the nature of the cosmos and the movement or the stillness of the heavenly bodies was extremely primitive and obscure. This is no longer the case, as our knowledge of the universe has considerably advanced and expanded by the present age.
    Some of the theories relating to the creation of the universe have been verified as facts, whereas some others are still being explored. The concept of the expanding universe belongs to the former category, and has been universally accepted by the scientific community as 'fact'. This discovery was first made by Edwin Hubble in the 1920s. Yet some thirteen centuries before this, it was clearly mentioned in the Quran:
    [​IMG]
    And the heaven We built with Our own powers (aydin) and indeed We go on expanding it (musi'un).1
    It should be remembered that the concept of the continuous expansion of the universe is exclusive to the Quran. No other Divine scriptures even remotely hint at it. The discovery that the universe is constantly expanding is of prime significance to scientists, because it helps create a better understanding of how the universe was initially created. It clearly explains the stage by stage process of creation, in a manner which perfectly falls into step with the theory of the Big Bang. The Quran goes further and describes the entire cycle of the beginning, the end and the return again to a similar beginning. The first step of creation as related in the Quran accurately describes the event of the Big Bang in the following words:
    [​IMG]
    Do not the unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass (ratqan), then We clove them asunder (fataqna)? And We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?2
    It is significant that this verse is specifically addressed to non-believers, implying perhaps, that the unveiling of the secret mentioned in this verse would be made by the non-believers, a sign for them of the truth of the Quran.
    In this verse the words ratqan (closed-up mass), and fataqna (We clove them asunder), carry the basic message of the whole verse. Authentic Arabic lexicons3 give two meanings of ratqan, that have great relevance to the topic under discussion. One meaning is 'the coming together of something and the consequent infusion into a single entity' and the second meaning is 'total darkness'. Both these meanings are significantly applicable. Taken together, they offer an apt description of the singularity of a black hole.
    [​IMG] BLACK HOLE is a gravitationally collapsed mass of colossal size. It begins with the collapse of such massive stars as are 15 or more times the size of the sun. The immensity of their inward gravitational pull causes the stars to collapse into a much smaller size. The gravitational pull is further concentrated and results in the further collapse of the entire mass into a supernova. At this stage the basic bricks of matter such as molecules, atoms etc. begin to be crushed into a nondescript mass of energy. Thus that moment in space-time is created which is called event horizon. The inward gravitational pull of that something becomes so powerful that all forms of radiation are pulled back so that even light cannot escape. A resultant total darkness ensues which earns it the name black hole, reminding one of the word ratqan used by the Quran indicating total darkness. This is called singularity which lies beyond the event horizon.
    A black hole once created grows rapidly because even distant stars begin to be pulled in with the progressive concentration of gravitational energy. It is estimated that the mass of a black hole could grow as large as a hundred million times the mass of the sun. As its gravitational field widens, more material from space is drawn in at a speed close to that of light. In 1997 there was observational evidence suggesting that in our galaxy a black hole of 2,000,000 solar masses existed. But other calculations show that in our universe there could be many black holes as big as 3,000,000,000 solar masses.4 At that concentration of gravitational pull even distant stars would stagger and lose their mooring to be devoured by a glutton of such magnitude. Thus the process of ratqan is completed resulting into that singularity which is both completely closed as well as comprising total darkness. In answer to the question as to how the universe was initially created, the two most recent theories are both Big Bang theories. They claim that it was initiated from a singularity which suddenly erupted releasing the trapped mass leading yet again into the creation of a new universe through the event horizon. This dawn of light sprouting from the event horizon is called the white hole5,6. One of the two theories relating to the expansion predicts that the universe thus created will carry on expanding forever. The other claims that the expansion of the universe will, at some time, be reversed because the inward gravitational pull will ultimately prevail. Eventually, all matter will be pulled back again to form perhaps another gigantic black hole. This latter view appears to be supported by the Quran.
    Whilst speaking of the first creation of the universe, the Quran clearly describes its ending into yet another black hole, connecting the end to the beginning, thus completing the full circle of the story of cosmos. The Quran declares:
    [​IMG]
    Remember the day when We shall roll up the heavens like the rolling up of written scrolls ...7


    [​IMG]
    Plate 1: The Ultimate Black Hole
    (click to enlarge)
    The clear message of this verse is that the universe is not eternal. It speaks of a future when the heavens will be rolled up, in a manner similar to the rolling up of a scroll. Scientific descriptions illustrating the making of a black hole, very closely resemble what the Quran describes in the above verse. (See plate 1).
    A mass of accretion from space falling into a black hole, as described above, would be pressed into a sheet under the enormous pressure created by the gravitational and electromagnetic forces. As the centre of the black hole is constantly revolving around itself, this sheet—as it approaches—will begin to be wrapped around it, before disappearing into the realm of the unknown at last.
    The verse continues:
    [​IMG]
    ... As We began the first creation, so shall We repeat it; a promise binding on Us; that We shall certainly fulfil.7


    [​IMG]
    Plate 2: The Emergent Universe
    (click to enlarge)
    Following the eventual collapse of the universe into a black hole, here we have the promise of a new beginning. God will recreate the universe, as He had done before. The collapsed universe will re-emerge from its darkness and the whole process of creation will start yet again (see plate 2). This wrapping up and unfolding of the universe appears to be an ongoing phenomenon, according to the Holy Quran.
    This Quranic concept of the beginning and the end of the creation is undoubtedly extraordinary. It would not have been less amazing if it had been revealed to a highly educated person of our contemporary age, but one is wonder-struck by the fact that this most advanced knowledge, regarding the perpetually repeating phenomenon of creation, was revealed more than fourteen hundred years ago to an unlettered dweller of the Arabian desert.

    http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part_4_section_5.html
     
  8. noor100

    noor100 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    M.F. Gulen
    WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF ANGELS, JINN AND SATANS OR DEVILS?

    The characteristics of angels

    As was explained before, angels are created from light. The ‘Arabic word’ for angel is ‘malak’. According to the root word from which it is derived, ‘malak’ means ‘messenger’, ‘deputy’, envoy’, ‘superintendent’ and ‘powerful one’. The root of the word also implies descent from a high place. 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.

    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.

    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 native 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 all the 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, 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.

    The Majestic Maker of this huge ‘palace’ of creation employs four kinds of labourers 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.

    Constituting the foremost category of these servants, the angels resemble mankind in that they know the purposes of the Creator and act in conformity with those purposes. They differ from man by working solely for God’s good pleasure, asking no reward other than the spiritual pleasure and happiness of nearness to their Creator. Their worship varies according to their different natures and the variety of their functions as the representatives of most species, and the services they perform and praises they sing differ from each other, as to the duties carried out by the different departments of a government. Michael, for example, superintends the growth of all kinds of corn and provision upon the earth by God’s leave and power, and, if one my say so, he is the head of all the angels that resemble farmers. There is another great angel who leads by God’s leave, command and power the ‘incorporeal shepherds—angels — of all the animals.

    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’, each 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.

    The relevant verses of the Qur’an such as those to follow are an observatory from which we may look at angels:

    By the loosed ones successively, storming tempestously, by the scatterers scattering, and the severally severing and those hurling a reminder, excusing or warning (77.1-6)

    By those that plug out violently; and those that draw out gently; by those that float serenely, and those that outstrip suddenly; by those that direct an affair (79.1-5).

    …in (the Night of Power) the angels and the spirit descend, by the leave of their Lord, upon every command (97.4).

    …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 (66.6). Glory be to Him! Nay, hut they are honoured servants that outstrip Him not in speech, and perform as He commands (21. 26-27).

    Angels do whatever God commands them; they 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, rancour 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 meditation and the complexity of their nature, excel angels in being more comprehensive mirrors to God’s Names and attributes.

    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 Qur’an means by God’s Throne and how it is carried. There are also the groups of angels named Mala-i Ala (the Highest Council), Nadiyy-i Ala (the Highest Assembly) and Rafiq-i Aid (the Highest Company). There are angels appointed to Paradise and Hell. The angels who record men’s deeds are called Kiramun Katibin (the Noble Recorders), and as stated in a hadith, 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.

    Angels came to the aid of the believers at the Battles of Badr and Uhud, and also at the conquest of Makka. 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 sorth 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 behaviour.

    THE CHARACTERISTICS OF JINN

    The word jinn literally means something hidden or veiled from sight. As mentioned earlier, jinn are the species or kinds of beings that cannot be seen with the naked eye, nor we can see them with telescopes or microscopes. In the Qur’an, there is a short chapter called jinn, which tells us that a band of jinn listened to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, and some of them believed in his message and some did not. From this we understand that like mankind, jinn are also conscious beings charged with Divine obligations. Recent discoveries in biology made it clear that God created beings particular to each realm in the universe. Jinn might have been created while the earth was a body of some sort of fire. They preceded mankind in creation and were responsible for cultivating and improving the world. Although God later superseded them with mankind for ruling the world, He did not exempt the jinn from religious obligations.

    As we mentioned before, the Qur’an states that jinn are created from smokeless fire. In another verse, it clarifies that the fire from which jinn are created is scorching and penetrating as deep as the inner part of the body (15. 27). We are not certain whether the Qur’an means energy or something like X-rays by smokeless, penetrating and scorching fire.

    Like angels, jinn move extremely fast; they are not bound by the constraints of time and space within which we normally move. However, since the spirit is more active and faster than jinn, a man who lives at the level of the spirit’s life, who can go beyond the limits of matter and the confines of time and space within which normal people live, can excel jinn in speed and activity. For example, as we read in the Qur’an when the Prophet Solomon asked those around him who could bring the throne of the Queen of the Yemen, a member of jinn answered that he could bring it before he finished the meeting and stood up from his seat. However, a man who had special knowledge from God replied; ‘I can bring it to you in a time shorter than the twinkling of an eye,’ and he did so.

    Nothing is difficult for God Almighty; it is equally easy for Him to create the whole of the universe and a tiny particle. He has provided men, jinn and angels with power and strength appropriate for the function or duties of each. As He uses angels in the supervision of the movements of celestial bodies, He has allowed man to rule on the earth, dominate over matter and build civilizations and produce technology.

    Power and strength are not limited to the physical world, nor are they proportional to bodily size. We observe that immaterial things are much more powerful than huge physical bodies. For example, memory is much more spacious and comprehensive than a large room. We can touch with our hands a very near object, but our eyes can travel long distances in an instant while our imagination can go beyond time and space all at once. Winds can pull out trees and demolish huge buildings. A young, thin shoot of a plant can split rocks and appear in sun-light. The power of energy, whose existence we can know through the effect it produces, is known to everybody. All this shows that the power of something is not proportional to its physical structure, rather the immaterial world is dominant over the physical world, and immaterial entities are much more powerful than material ones.
    http://www.fountainmagazine.com/article.php?ARTICLEID=354
     
  9. noor100

    noor100 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Satan and His Contemporary Followers

    Satan is a miserable and accursed one, who has fallen away from God’s Mercy,
    whose task is to go astray and to lead astray, who continues his existence around the axis of sedition, incitement, hypocrisy, and discord. All his pursuits are devilish and he constantly pursues evil. Thus, he triggers evil feelings in people; by drawing them away from kindness, goodness, and virtue, he virtually makes them resemble himself and become his followers. Rebelling against divine commands, doing the opposite of what God and the Prophet said, tempting people to the ways of transgression and leading them to bohemianism are the points he focuses on most. He always urges recognizing no law or rule to those who enter his territory. He arouses the passions of such people, incites their carnal desires, and constantly shows them the ways of misappropriation, entices them with pleasures and entertainment, and turns them into devils like himself.
    Nothing compares to him at abusing certain feelings ingrained in human nature for particular intentions and purposes, which are beneficial for us if used properly. Likewise, he is highly skilled at making beauty seem ugly, and ugliness seem beautiful to those who have been afflicted with the misfortune of entering his dirty atmosphere. He makes his unfortunate prey slaves to physicality with his enticement and propaganda to such a degree that it almost becomes impossible for those poor beings to turn toward the horizon of being true humans afterwards.
    Even though humanity recognized this evil creature for the first time on its refusal to prostrate before Adam, the history of this wicked one—God knows—may extend further back into the past in connection with its inner problems and conflicts. Satan is the meanest creature with the potential for jealousy, inclination to deceive, feeling of ego-centrism, spirit of rebellion, and weakness for renown in his nature—his willpower being the trigger—who keeps foaming with a rebellious code of conduct and who is fixed on malice. He keeps whispering the same thing to everyone who enters his orbit, be they human or jinn, since evil feelings keep boiling within the essential elements which constitute his inner world and character. He tries particularly hard to make people with character defects resemble himself, constantly blows devilish considerations into them, and travels through their blood and vessels, always inculcating negative things in those unfortunate ones. These poor beings consider the negativities of the words and expressions formed in their inner worlds or of the way of thinking they put on paper as their own, but it is obvious that there are devilish inculcations behind all of these negativities. In this respect, there are seditious organizations and followers of Satan who hold a grudge against people—particularly against believers—and try to lead them astray. They sometimes trigger the animal feelings in some weak ones and lead them to bohemianism, they attack those who do not think like themselves, sometimes raise a fuss, make the atmosphere tense and make different groups oppose one another, always pursuing hypocrisy and discord. These are the ones—as the Qur'an states—who pretend to have faith while near believers and reveal their true thoughts when they are back near the radical lords of unbelief. These organizations and followers of Satan are also metaphorically regarded as satans; these are the human satans described in the Qur'an as "satans from humankind and the jinn" (An'am 6:112).
    Just like Satan who chose rebellion by rejecting the order to prostrate before Adam and went even further by daring to engage in dialectics and argue against God, the modern Mephistos of our time in his footsteps always rebel against good, try to make people forget God and His Prophet, and pave the way for the flourishing of devilish considerations. As Goethe expresses in Faust, the struggle between Satan and man, the controversy between unbelief and faith, has never ceased and will never cease. During this struggle, occasionally circumstances were made suitable for unbelief and apostasy, apostates became completely insolent, at other times believers were intimidated through brute force, sometimes certain spoiled souls adopted the despotism of not letting anyone else but themselves live, and at times they committed or had others commit terrible cruelties—whose many examples appall us today. These tyrants did not even think about the existence of an Omnipotent Power, mightier than themselves. They just ignored the fact that the oppressed has the Almighty to take refuge in, that those who make people suffer today will moan in misery tomorrow. What is worse, the unfortunate ones who led their lives under the hegemony of oppressors and despots understood nothing of what was going on, and they kept serving the goals of the tyrants over them. They failed to realize the situation they had got into and what mean deals they were being pushed toward. The poet Namık Kemal described them thus:

    Helpers of the oppressors in this world are only rogues,​
    Those who enjoy serving merciless hunters are naught but dogs.​
    In fact, the ends of such people have always been grim. A proverb says, "The company of Satan lasts to the gallows." This is how they end up; as they do not enjoy the life of this world, they have never been confident about their future. They could not be, since human and jinn devils have caused their souls to deviate. One more time, they have fallen for the stealthy trick of Mephisto. They have been deceived by enemies disguised as friends, and by alienated souls whom they considered their fellows.
    The apostates, unbelievers, bohemians, dealers in lust, tyrants who do not recognize any right or justice nowadays are doing to the unfortunate masses what the satans have not been able to. This reaches such a degree that these networks of evil, whose thoughts are as filthy as can be, who are foul-mouthed, and whose insides boil with grudge and hatred, keep attacking those who do not think like themselves, besmirch everyone, laud those they favor, and easily defame those they do not. The poet Mehmed Akif criticized these strayers thus: "Our literary men are swearing at one another, / Published in different names¬, a paper always in print, / Disseminating seeds of discord all over!" This was the case the day before yesterday, it was so yesterday, and it is still the same now.
    God called us to keep away from Satan as stated in the command, "Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan; indeed he is a manifest enemy to you. He only commands you to evil and indecency" (Baqara 2:168–169).
    The Almighty reminds us of the grudge of that accursed one to alert us: "Of Your servants I will surely take a share to be assigned to me (by their following me). I will surely lead them astray and surely engross them in vain desires" (Nisa 4:118–119). God invites us to be sensible and wary of the Satanic grudge and hatred as revealed in "…now that You have allowed me to rebel and go astray, I will surely lie in wait for them on Your Straight Path (to lure them from it). Then I will come upon them from before them and from behind them, and from their right and from their left" (A'raf 7:16–17).
    If only we could understand all this!

    http://www.fethullahgulen.org/recent-articles/3424-satan-and-his-contemporary-followers.html
     
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