The angels glorify their Lord and ask forgiveness for the Believers in this world and advise us to do good and refrain from wickedness, while the devils are the deceivers of mankind, leading them astray, making the evil seem good to them and the good appear evil - it is their task in life to persuade us to deviate from the path ordained for us by Allah (swt), Most Merciful. They work for our downfall and our destruction and damnation in the Hell-fire; Allah (swt) says:
" Verily, We made the devils helpers and protectors for those who disbelieve:" (Qur’an 7:27)The angels encourage us to do good deeds, while the devils encourage us to sin; Allah (swt) says:
" And whoever turns away from the remembrance of the Most Beneficent [i.e. the Quran and the worship of Allah] We appoint for him a devil to be an intimate companion for him." (Qur’an 43:36)So whoever rejects the Qur’an and the remembrance of Allah (swt) will be punished by his Lord, Who will appoint for him a devil as a companion. He, Most Glorified, Most High (swt) says:
" And verily, they [the devils] hinder them from the path [of Allah] but they think that they are guided aright! Till one comes to Us, he says to his companion [the devil]: "Would that between you and me were the distance of the two easts [or the east and west]." - the worst [type of] companion, indeed!" (Qur’an 43: 37-38)And nothing can protect mankind from the devils except the remembrance of Allah (swt) drives the devils away from the believer and draws the angels towards him. This is why Allah (swt) refers to the devil as:
" the whisperer [who whispers evil in the hearts of men], who withdraws [from his whispering after one remembers Allah]." (Qur’an 114:4-5)Bukhari reports, on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra), that Allah’s Messenger (saas) said:
" The Fire is surrounded by all kinds of desires and passions, while Paradise is surrounded by all kinds of disliked and undesirable things."
There are angels who go around the earth, seeking out circles of believers, who sit in remembrance of Allah (swt) and when they see such circles, they call to each other, saying: "Let us go to that which you love! [i.e. the remembrance of Allah (swt)]."
Remembrance of Allah (swt) is of several types: (i) recitation of the Qur’an, (ii) praying, (iii) by praising Him, seeking His forgiveness, making takbeer 1 and testifying to the Oneness of Allah (swt). Those who attend classes for the recitation of the Qur’an, those who study Islaamic sciences (Qur’an, hadeeth, fiqh, etc.) are attended by the angels.
Those who indulge their vain desires, such as playing music and gambling (playing cards, dice etc.) are surrounded by devils, while the angels stay away from them. Those who hang pictures (of people or animals) in their houses prevent the angels from entering their homes, as confirmed by many authentic hadeeth reported by Bukhari, Muslim and others.
Belief in the angels has a great and beneficial effect on the life of man: He guards himself against temptation, for he knows the angels are watching him and recording his every action day and night. One might hide his actions from other men, but there is no way to hide from the recording angels. Allah (swt) says:
" But verily, over you are appointed watchers, honourable [in Allah's sight], writing down [your deeds], they know all that you do." (Qur’an 82:10-12)Allah (swt) has pointed this out for us, that we may take care that our actions are good and praiseworthy rather than evil and reprehensible. Nothing is hidden from Allah (swt); He (swt) says:
" There is no human being but has a protector over him [i.e. angels in charge of each human being, writing his good and bad deeds etc.]" (Qur’an 86:4)And:
" And We are nearer to Him than his jugular vein [by Our Knowledge]." (Qur’an 50:16)The Jugular veins are situated on either side of the neck and carry returning blood from the brain to the heart. This saying of Allah (swt) is like His Words:
" He is the First [nothing is before Him] and the Last [nothing is after Him], the Most High [nothing is above Him] and the Most Near [nothing is nearer than He] and He is the Knower of everything." (Qur’an 57:3)
So nothing is hidden from Allah (swt), the Almighty, the All-powerful, on land, sea, behind closed doors, in the desert, in the market place, in the mosque, meeting places for vain entertainments, such as the theatre, the cinema, night-clubs, ballrooms, etc. - wherever you are, Allah (swt) sees you, He knows what you are doing and what you are thinking. That is why the Prophet (saas) when asked by Jibreel (as), said:
" Ihsaan is to worship Allah (swt) as though you see Him, because although you do not see Him, He sees you." (Narrated by Bukhari)When a person feels that the angels are watching him, and he knows that Allah (swt) says:
" For We are nearer to him than his jugular vein [by Our Knowledge]. Behold, two Receivers are appointed to receive him, seated on the right hand and on the left. He utters no word but there is with him an observer, ready." (Qur’an 50:16-18)And:
" Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private counsels? Indeed [We do]! and Our Messengers [the angels] are by them, to record." (Qur’an 43:80)
So Allah (swt) hears our secrets and our private counsels and the angels record them. Knowing about the angels is not simply a matter of accepting their existence, but that we may also remind ourselves that they are present, recording our deeds, both good and bad, and that we may reflect on their duties, such as their guardianship of the Hell-fire, and thus fear the torment visited upon the disbelievers and the sinners, or their destruction, at Allah’s Command, of former peoples who disobeyed their Lord, and haply we may avoid the same fate by obeying Allah (swt) His Messenger (saas). We also remember them because we are obliged to love these faithful servants of Allah (swt), because He loves them. They are, in the Words of our Rabb, All-High says:
" Noble, pious." (Qur’an 80:16)
It is also most important that we understand their abilities, their place in the order of creation, for it is only by knowing these things that we may truly love them and fear the punishments which they bring in Allah’s Name. As for those who oppose or hate the angels, Allah (swt) says about them:
" Whosoever is an enemy to Allah and His angels and His Messengers, to Jibreel and Meekaal, [should know that] verily, Allah is an enemy to the disbelievers." (Qur’an 2:98)It is plain from this verse that those who are enemies to the angels are indeed disbelievers, even though they may claim to be Muslims.