Angels of the Quran

What the Quran Says About Angels

Reading the Quran during Ramadan
A Muslim man reads the Quran during Ramadan, London. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

Muslims honor angels as an important part of their faith. Muslim angel beliefs are rooted in what the teachings of the Quran, Islam's holy book. 

Holy Messengers

God (also known as Allah in Islam) created angels to be his messengers to humans, proclaims Muslim's main holy text, the Qur’an (which is also sometimes spelled "Quran" or "Koran" in English). “Praise be to Allah, who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, who made the angels, messengers with wings …” says Fatir 35:1 of the Qur’an.

Angels, who the Qur’an says can appear in either heavenly or human form, are a vitally important part of Islam. Believing in angels is one of Islam’s six articles of faith.

An Angelic Revelation

The Qur’an declares that its entire message was communicated verse by verse through an angel. The angel Gabriel revealed the Qur’an to the prophet Muhammad, and also communicated with all of God’s other prophets, Muslims believe.

God’s Will Instead of Free Will

In the Qur’an, angels don’t have free will like they do in some other religious texts, such as the Torah and the Bible. The Qur’an says that angels can only do God’s will, so they all follow God’s commands, even when that means accepting tough assignments. For example, some angels must punish sinful souls in hell, but Al Tahrim 66:6 of the Qur’an says that they "do what they are commanded" without flinching.

Many Assignments

Beyond communicating divine messages to humans, angels take on a variety of other assignments, the Qur’an says.

Some of those different jobs include:

  • Worshiping God: Al Anbiya 21:20 describes angels worshiping God in heaven: “They celebrate his praises night and day, nor do they ever flag or intermit.”
  • Protecting people: Al Ra’d 13:11 of the Qur’an declares: “For each person, there are angels in succession, before and behind him. They guard him by the Command of Allah.”
  • Changing the weather: Angels bring wind and rain to Earth, according to Al Hijr 15:22 of the Qur’an.
  • Recording people’s choices: Two angels called the Kiraman Katibin (honorable recorders) pay attention to everything that people past puberty think, say, and do; and the one who sits on their right shoulders records their good choices while the angel who sits on their left shoulders records their bad decisions, says the Qur’an in Qaf 50:17-18. If people make more good choices than bad, they go to heaven, but if they make more bad decisions than good and don’t repent, they go to hell.