Creation: Angels are a creation of Allah, created from light. In Saheeh
Muslim, it is narrated from Aa'isha (radhi allahu anha) that the Messenger of
Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said, 'The angels were created from light,
the jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created from that which
has been described to you.' [Saheeh Muslim (4/2294, hadeeth no. 2996)] The
Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) did not explain what this light
is that the angels were created from. Hence, we cannot indulge in trying to say
more about this matter because it is a matter of the unseen concerning which no
further clarification has been narrated.
Similarly, we do not know when the angels were created, for Allah has not
informed us about it. But we do know that they were created before mankind for
certain from the stories of Adam (alaihi as-salaam) and Angels mentioned in the
Qur'aan and the Ahadeeth. Allah says in the Qur'aan, 'When your Lord said to the
angels, 'I am placing a khalifa (i.e., mankind) on the earth.' [Soorah
al-Baqarah (2): 30] The fact that Allah informed them of His intention to create
man indicates that they already existed.
Seeing the Angels: 'Because the Angels have bodies of light which are of
low density, mankind cannot see them, especially since Allah has not given our
eyes the ability to see them. No one among this Ummah has seen the angels in
their true form apart from the Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam). He saw
Jibraeel twice in the form, which Allah created him. The texts indicate that
human beings are able to see the angels when the angels appear in human forms.'
[See, Aalam al-Malaai'kah al-Abrar by Shaikh Umar al-Ashqar]