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THE ANGELS: NON-HUMAN

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In their normal state, angels are not human-like creatures with a pair of birdlike wings, as portrayed in Greco-Roman legends and Christian influenced works of art. Instead, they are normally huge in size and their wings may number anywhere from two to several hundred: “…making the angels messengers, with wings two and three and four; He increases in the creation as He wills…” Qur’aan, 35:1. The companion, ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas‘ood, reported that the Prophet (PBUH) saw Angel Gabriel (Jibreel) in his natural state in which he had six hundred wings, each of which filled the horizon. And there were multicolored drops like pearls and coral falling from the wings. Collected by Ahmad. Ibn Katheer rated its chain of narrators as jayyid (good). In another narration the Prophet (PBUH) was reported to have said the following about Angel Gabriel: “I saw him descending from the heavens and his great size filled the space between the earth and the sky.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 1, pp. 111-112, no. 337). Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah quoted the Prophet (PBUH) as saying, “I have been allowed to speak about one of the throne bearers. The distance between his earlobe and shoulder is [what a bird would fly in] seven hundred years.” Qur’aan, 69:17, states that on the Day of Judgment Allah’s throne will be borne by eight angels.

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