The Death of Angels
The majority of the Ulama of the Ahle Sunnat are of the opinion that Angels are created from light delicate bodies. It is categorically proven from authentic sources that Angels will experience death without any doubt. Such a belief is in accordance with the Qur’anic verse, which proclaims, “Every soul shall taste death [Surah 3, Verse 185].”
Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) states that when the verse, “All that is on earth is to perish [Surah 55, Verse 26],” was revealed, the Angels proclaimed, “All dwellers upon the earth will die” meaning that they (the Angels) are safe from death. Yet, when the verse “Every soul shall taste death” was revealed, they proclaimed, “Now, we too will die.” [Mafaatihul Ghaib]
Sayyiduna Imam Ibn Jareer (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) also reports from Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) who states, “The Angel of Death is appointed to capture the souls of Muslims and Angels alike.”
Imam Ibn Jareer (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) further narrates another Hadith from Hazrat Abu Hurairah (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) that the Beloved Rasool (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “The last Angel to die will be the Angel of Death.”
Sayyiduna Anas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) has narrated the following detailed Hadith from Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), which proves comprehensively that Angels too will also experience death.
Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said, “When everything will begin to perish only Jibra’eel, Mika’eel, and Isra’eel (Angel of Death) will remain. Then Almighty Allah will state, “O Angel of Death! who else is still spared?” The reply will be, “None but Thy Graceful Self, Who is Eternal, as well as Thy servants Jibra’eel and Mika’eel and the Angel of Death.” At this a Divine Command will be issued, “Capture the soul of Mika’eel,” at which point Mika’eel will fall like a great and mighty mountain.
Once again Allah Ta’ala, the All-Knowing, will Ask, “Who is spared?” The reply will be, “None but Thy Graceful Self, Jibra’eel and the Angel of Death.” Again the Command will be given, “Capture the soul of Jibra’eel,” at which point Jibra’eel will flutter his wings, fall into prostration and pass away.
Finally, when the Angel of Death himself will pass away, the All-Wise and Great Creator will proclaim, “In the beginning, I brought the creations into existence and I will once more bring it to life. Where are those rulers that laid claim to kingship?” There will be no answer. Then Almighty Allah Himself will reply, “Today, kingship belongs to Allah Alone, the Sole Controller.”” [Baihaqi]
From this Hadith we learn that even Allah’s closest Angels will not live beyond the Day of Judgment. The crux of the matter is that daily numerous Angels are created, who engage themselves in the constant Tasbeeh of Almighty Allah and who will live only until the Day of Judgement. These include Angels, which are created from the recitation of Durood Shareef. In fact, it is not substantiated from any Hadith that Angels will not be subjected to death. In fact, Sayyiduna Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) makes it clear that before the revelation of the verse, “Every soul shall taste death” Angels were not aware of themselves experiencing death.
With regards to the two Angels, Kiraaman Kaatibeen (the two Angels commissioned to every human being to record all their deeds), Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated, “After the death of the Muslim, they soar to the Heaven and seek permission to live there, but Almighty Allah turns down their request saying, “My Heavens are full of Angels who are constantly engaged in Glorifying Me.” Then they will implore to live on the earth to which Almighty Allah will reply, “My creation has filled the earth, constantly glorifying Me.” Thereafter, Almighty Allah will command them to stand at the graveside of the Muslims to recite the Glorification of Allah and the Sawaab (reward) of which will then be bestowed upon the deceased person.”
Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated:
Angels will die at the time when the first Trumpet will be sounded on the Day of Judgement. The Angel of Death will capture their souls. Thereafter, the Angel of Death himself will succumb to death.
A’la Hazrat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) quotes a fatwa regarding the Angels, found in Allama Ibn Hajr Makki’s (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) Fataawah Hadithiyyah, in which the learned Imam affirms that Angels will experience death when the first Trumpet will be sounded, but the Carriers of the Divine Throne and the four exalted Angels will be the last to pass away.
Regarding the birth of Angels too, he states, “Angels are not created at one time. Rather, this is an ongoing process.”
Hazrat Sayyiduna Imam Jaafar Saadiq (Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh) narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) has stated:
“Whosoever makes a Muslim happy, Almighty Allah will create one Angel out of this happiness who immediately engages himself in the worship of Almighty Allah and in exalting His Oneness. When this person passes away and enters the grave, this Angel will appear in front of him and ask, “Do you remember me? I am the same happiness with which you gladden the heart of a certain Muslim. Today, I will comfort you in your hour of fear, teach you the answers to the questions that will prove you a Believer and will show you your place in Heaven.” [Kitaabus Sawaab]
May Allah Ta’ala increase our knowledge and grant us the Taufeeq to ponder over His Qudrat, His Creations and His Signs, Ameen.
[Compiled from Al Hidayatul Mubarakah fi Khalq al Malaa’ikah by A’la Hazrat Imam Ahle Sunnat Imam Ahmad Raza Khan Qadri Radiallahu Ta’ala Anh]