According to accounts from the Qur’aan and the hadeeth, angels may take human form on certain occasions. An example from the Qur’aan may be found in the case of Mary, when Angel Gabriel came to inform her of her impending pregnancy: “And mention in the scripture [the story of] Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place facing east. She placed a screen between herself and them. Then we sent to her Our angel, who appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects.” Qur’aan, 19:16-17. It is also recorded in authentic traditions from the Prophet (PBUH) that Angel Gabriel used to visit him in various human forms. Sometimes the Prophet’s companions witnessed him visiting Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the likeness of a handsome sahaabee by the name of Dihyah ibn Khaleefah al-Kalbee, and at other times in the likeness of an unknown bedouin. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab said, “One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (r), there appeared before us a man whose clothes were exceedingly white and whose hair was exceedingly black. No sign of journeying were to be seen on him and none of us knew him. He walked up and sat down by the Prophet (PBUH). Resting his knees against his and placing the palms of his hands on his thighs, he said, ‘O Muhammad, tell me about Islaam…’ ” In the remainder of the hadeeth the man asked about eemaan (faith), ihsaan (piety) and the signs of the last Hour. After the man left, the Prophet (PBUH) informed his companions that the questioner was Angel Gabriel, who had come to teach them about their religion. Sahih Al-Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 17, no. 7. On another occasion, ‘Aa’ishah, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), reported that she saw him place his hand on the mane of Dihyah al-Kalbee’s horse while talking to him. When she asked him about it, he replied that it was Gabriel and that he had sent his greetings to her. Silsilah al-Ahaadeeth as-Saheehah, vol. 3, p. 105, no. 1111.