Dr. Peter Riddell delivered a lecture on Angels, Spirits, and Demons during a CIU course. Here, Riddell presents the theme of Angels, Spirits, and Demons found within Islam, particularly its significance in Muslims’ daily lives.


  Here starts the auto-generated transcription of Dr. Peter Riddell’s Lecture: Angels, Spirits, and Demons:


Welcome back to understanding the Quran. We’re going to move on to a new topic now. We’re going to consider angels, spirits, and demons in Islam. Now this is a topic which impacts on the lives of Muslims in significant ways. While most non Muslims might not think a lot about angels, within Islam, angels are a much more conscious presence in the perceptions of ordinary Muslims.


And so it’s important for us as non Muslims to understand what Muslims are taught about angels and how their thought processes may be influenced by a perception of the functions of angels. I’d like to begin with an activity. I’ve given you on on the slide there a series of Quran verses, and I’d like you to go through each of those verses. Stop the rec recording now. Take your Quran.


Go through each of those verses, and just draw up a list of the functions of angels as they are referred to in those verses. As you’re doing so, try and be thinking at the same time how those functions of angels in Islam relate to your understanding of angels from a bib from a biblical context. Among the angels, of course, Jibril or Gabriel is extremely prominent. He’s the one who transmitted the Quran to Mohammed. He’s the holy spirit, the angel Gabriel.


Many references to him are found in the Quran. Another significant angel is the angel Micha’il. He’s the angel of sustenance, and he’s referred to in surah 2 verse 98. And a further significant angel is. He will sound the trumpet at the end of the world, and he rates a significant mention in the collection of Hadith by book 4 number 1694.


And a further significant angel is Israel, who is mentioned in the Quran by function rather than by name in Surah 32 verse 11. Now angels, we are told, are created from light. They’re incapable of refusing to do Allah’s will. Although having said that, the creation account in surah 2 from verses 30 to 34 and onwards have the angels are seeming to argue with Allah. They’re many in number.


They’re quite numerous, although only Allah knows their exact number. Angels are without gender. The famous medieval commentator, Arvazi, who we encountered previously, writes that the angels have no offspring because there are no female angels. I’ve included on the Moodle page a translation by doctor Tony Street of part of Razi’s commentary that relates to the angels for your greater information. Another Islamic scholar, al Bayjuri, who died in 8 18/60, considers that it’s wrong to ascribe either masculinity or femininity femininity to angels.


Angels pass on messages from god in the the kinds of couriers. And we have this recorded in the context of the Islamic account of Esa or the Islamic Jesus in surah 3 verse 45, where we’re told, behold, the angels said, oh, Mary, Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him. His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the hereafter and of the company of those nearest to Allah. So the angels are involved in giving the news to Mary of her the impending birth of Jesus. The great classical commentator, Tabari, defines angels as God’s messengers between him and his prophets and those of his servants to whom they are sent.


They’re messengers between God and his prophets. Now angels have been assigned other tasks. They are to continuous praise of God, which is one of the functions, one of the purposes of their existence to praise god. They bear god’s throne, we’re told. They accompany believers in prayer and one of their functions is to guard hell, administering it and directing its affairs.


Opposing the angels is tantamount to opposing god as they are his envoys, And that’s clarified in Surah 2 verse 98 where it is said, whoever is an enemy to Allah and his angels and apostles, to Gabriel and Michael, lo, Allah is an enemy to those who reject faith. In an interesting hadith account in Bukhary, volume 4, book 54 number 433, angels are seen to be recording the deeds of every person, including this very specific event. Narrated Abu Huraira, the prophet said, on every Friday, the angels take this stand at every gate of the mosques to write the names of the people chronologically, I. E. According to the time of their arrival for the Friday prayer.


And when the imam sits on the pulpit, they fold up their scrolls and get ready to listen to the sermon. It’s a very graphic image of angels. In another one of the canonical hadith collections by Abu Dawood, book 14 number 254, we read narrated Habiba. The prophet said, the angels do not go with a traveling company in which there is a bell. Now this, view of bells and of other musical instruments comes through in a number of hadith accounts where musical instruments are portrayed as undesirable.


In another very prominent collection of hadith by Imam Malik in his book called Muwatta, book 3 number 3 to 14, we read, related to me from Malik from Yahia ibn Said, that Said ibn al Musayab used to say, whoever prays on waterless, desolate land, an angel prays on his right and an angel prays on his left. When he calls both the and the for the prayer or calls out the angels like mountains pray behind him. The and the are key people in the worship cycle with the other calling people to prayer and the Akama leading people in the prayer. On the Moodle page, I’ve given you a link to this film on YouTube called The World of the Angels. I’d like you to watch that and, at the same time, be thinking comparatively.


How does this relate to Christianity? How would I respond to this from a Christian perspective, from a biblical perspective? Now angels only form part of the spiritual realm in in, Islam. The other key player in the spirit in terms of spiritual beings are the jinn. And so I’d like you to do the same kind of activity.


Stop your recording now. Take your Quran and look at those few Quran verses that make reference to jinn, just drawing up a list their characteristics. We find when we look at the Quran and associated literature that the jinn are unseen beings. They’re created from fire, whereas as we saw, the angels are created from light. They’re not angels, and it’s worth noting the comment by the classical scholar Atoonsi on the nature of Satan, who says angels do only good, Satan’s do only evil, jinns sometimes do good, other times evil.


So there you have your 3 spiritual beings, angels, jinn, and satans. We read in Surah 18 verse 50 that, Iblis is identified as one of the jinn, Iblis or Satan. That’s his other name, Iblis. That’s his main name. Whereas in surah 2 verses 31 to 34, Iblis or Satan seems to be portrayed as an angel.


So there’s some inconsistency there, and commentators have debated his nature. The fall of Satan or the fall of Iblis is referred to in Suras 2 34, Surah 7 verse 12, Surah 15 verse 28 and following, Surah 17 verse 61, and surah 20 verse 116. Do read those verses in your Quran. And in concluding now, I’d like like you to think about this question. After having surveyed the roles and functions of angels and jinn in the Quran, how does this discussion compare with the angels and spiritual beings in the bible?


Again, if you look at your Moodle page, you’ll find that I’ve given you a link to the very, to me, extensive answering islam.com website. And I’ve taken a reading from there, which talks about, provides a Christian perspective on the whole Islamic discussion of angels.