Important angels and free will

Angel Jibril

In Islam, the Angel Jibril is the bringer of good news. He is mentioned in both the Qur’an and the Hadith. The Angel Jibril revealed Allah’s words in the form of the Qur’an to Muhammad on the Night of Power. Because of this, he is also known as the Angel of Revelation, as he played a vital role in communicating Islam to humanity. The Angel Jibril is known as the Angel Gabriel in Christian scriptures.

The Angel Jibril also appeared to Maryam (who is known as Mary in Christianity). Maryam was the mother of Isa (known as Jesus in Christianity). She is considered to be the most respected woman, above all other women in the Qur’an. The Angel Jibril told her she was pregnant with Isa, one of Islam’s great prophets.

Characteristics of the Angel Jibril

According to Islamic belief, Jibril knows the beauty of Paradise but also how hard it is to get there. He has seen Hell and knows that no one would want to be sent there. In the Qur’an, Allah makes it clear that anyone who opposes Jibril or the other angels will become an enemy of Allah: Whoever is an enemy to Jibril – it is [none but] he who has brought the Qur’an down upon his heart, by permission of Allah, confirming that which was before it and as guidance and good tidings for the believers. Whoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His messengers and Jibril and Mika’il – then indeed, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers. (Qur’an 2:97–98)

Angel Mika’il and other angels

The Angel Mika’il (known as Michael in Christianity) is a friend to humanity. He is known as the giver of rain, which waters the land and helps to provide food for people. He is believed to guard places of worship and reward people’s good deeds. As the Angel of Mercy, he asks Allah to forgive people’s sins. It is believed that both the Angel Jibril and the Angel Mika’il will be present on the Day of Judgement.

There are other angels in Islam, such as Izrail, the Angel of Death, who takes the souls from bodies when people die. It is believed that the Angel Israfil will blow a trumpet to announce the final Day of Judgement.

Angels and free will – Shi’a and Sunni beliefs

Most Sunni Muslims believe that angels don’t have free will, so they are totally obedient to God. This means they are ideal for carrying out God’s tasks and communicating God’s word reliably. For many Muslims, this belief is key. It shows that the Qur’an, passed to Muhammad by Jibril, must have been the pure word of God. This is because Jibril had no free will and therefore could not change God’s messages.

Many Shi’a Muslims believe that angels do have a limited amount of free will, but no desire to sin. This makes the Angels worship and praise of Allah, as well as their obedience, more meaningful.

Question

According to Islamic belief, which angel passed on the words of God to Muhammad?

The Angel Jibril.