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The Angel Gabriel

According to the explanation of the above-mentioned writers, the prophet referred to his own pure soul as the "Faithful Spirit" or the giver of revelation.

The Qur'an, however, does not support this view and names Gabriel as the deliverer of the verses.

God says in chapter 11:97, "Say (0 Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy to Gabriel!for it is he who has revealed (this book) to your heart by God's permission. " This verse refers to Jews who wanted to know who had revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet.

' He replied that it was Gabriel. They said, "We are enemies of Gabriel as he it was who gave us (the tribe of Israel) the laws and legal punishments and as we are enemies to him, we do not believe in the book which he has brought.

" Thus God replies to them in the verse that Gabriel revealed the Qur'an to the Prophet by God's permission. God further says that the Qur'an is to be believed in, and that it is not the speech of Gabriel.

It is important to note that the Qur'an, in the words of the above verse was revealed "to the heart" of the Prophet Muhammad by Gabriel.

In another verse XXVI: 193-4 we read that it was transmitted by the Faithful Spirit, "which the Faithful Spirit has brought down upon your heart. " By comparison of these two verses it becomes evident that it is the angel Gabriel who is meant here by the words, "Faithful Spirit " In chapter LXXXI: 19-23 God describes the transmittance of revelation:

That this is in truth the word of an honoured messenger (Gabriel), Mighty established in the presence of the Lord of the Throne, one to be obeyed and trustworthy and your comrade (the Prophet) is not mad. Surely he saw him on the clear hori?~on. These verses show that Gabriel was one of the intimates of God, possessing great power and trust. Again in chapter XL: 7 we read, "Those who bear the power, and all who are around Him, praise their Lord and believe in Him and ask forgiveness for those who believe " Such characteristics as belief in God and seeking forgiveness from him are only to be expected from independent, sentient creatures.

In chapter IV: 172-173 we read, The Messiah will never disdain to be a servant of God, nor will the favored angels. Whoever disdains His service and is proud, He will gather them all to Himself, then as for those who believe and do good, He will pay them fully their rewards and give them more out of His grace, and as for those who disdain and are proud, He will punish them with a painful doom And they will not find for themselves besides Allah a guardian or a helper. It is clear that although the Messiah, Jesus, and the favored angels do not disobey the commands of God they are, nevertheless, warned of a painful punishment on the day of reckoning if they were to commit a wrong.

The possibility of neglect of their duties or committing wrong action is necessarily dependent on their being sentient beings, possessed of free will and entrusted with the task of transmitting the revelation of God Thus we learn from the Qur'an that Gabriel is the Faithful Soul: he is trustworthy and to be obeyed because he is obeyed by angels in his task. An indication of these obedient angels comes in the. Verse, But truly it is a warning - so let whoever will pay heed to it, on honoured leaves exalted, purified (set down by scribes) noble and righteous LXXX: 11-16

The Angels and the Devils

According to the explanation of contemporary non-Muslim writers, angel is the name given to forces in nature which represent goodness, and happiness and devils are forces in nature representing evil and unhappiness What we understand from the Qur'an, however, is that they are beings existing beyond our sense-range, which possess feelings and an independent free will. To the verses above, (indicating that angels possess independence and free will), may be added many other verses, which confirm these same qualities.

The refusal of Satan to prostrate himself before Adam and the dialogue between Satan and God occurs several times in the Qur'an. Satan, after having been expelled from intimacy with God, says in chapter XXXVIII: 82-83, "1 surely will lead every one of them astray except your sincere slaves among them " And God replies "1 shall fill hell with you and with those who follow you, together" XXXVIII: 85 It is clear that punishment can only take place if the punished understand the reason for the punishment. God in chapter XXXIV: 20, says in confirmation of Satan's warning to man, "And Satan indeed found his calculation true concerning them, for they follow them, all except a group of true believers

" Likewise, we read in chapter XIV; 22, "And Satan said when the matter had been decided: Indeed! Allah promised you a promise of truth; and I promised you and failed you. And / had no power over you except that I called to you and you obeyed me. So do not blame me but blame yourselves. " Blame is a matter, which can only be associated with those who possess the power of reason and free will We quote these verses to show that Satan, like the rest of the angels, is a thinking independent being rather than a force in nature.

Just as verses occur in the Qur'an concerning the angels And the devils, there also are verses which clearly and vividly describe the jinn (elemental spirits or invisible beings, either harmful or helpful). In chapter XLVI: 18 reference is made to those who, invited to believe in Islam, spurn it as just another ancient fable or superstition: Such are those in whom the word concerning nations of the jinn and mankind, which have passed away before them, has effect Indeed they are the losers.

We may understand from this verse that the finn, the invisible entities, like mankind, live in different nations, pass a period of time in their different societies and finally die.

In the same chapter, verses 29-32 we read, and when we inclined toward you (Muhammad) certain of the jinn who wished to hear the Qur'an and when they were in its presence said, listen! And, when it was finished turned back to their people warning. They said: 0 our people! Truly we have heard a book, which has been revealed after Moses, confirming that which was before it, guiding to the truth and a right road. 0 my people! Respond to God's Summoned and believe in Him He will forgive you some of your wrong actions and guard you from a painful doom. And whoever does not respond to God's Summoned he can in no way escape in the earth, and you (can find) no protecting friends instead of Him. Such are in clear error.

These verses clearly confirm that the jinn, like men, live in grolsps, are thinking individuals possessing free will and charged with duties, Moreover, there are other verses dealing with the day of rising which affIrms these same qualities in the jinn.

Adopted from the book: "Quran per Islam" by: "Allamah sayyid Mohammad Hossein Tabatabai"

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