As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 6


Why did Allah not send Angels as Messengers to us?

The disbelievers have always found it strange that Allah sent a human as His Messenger and they said, 'Why are not the angels sent down to us, or why do we not see our Lord?' [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 21] Ad-Dahhak reported Ibn Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) saying, 'When Allah sent Muhammad (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) as a Messenger, most of the Arabs denied him and his message, and said, 'Allah is greater than sending a human Messenger like Muhammad.' [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer] Allah said concerning such disbelievers, 'Indeed, they think too highly of themselves, and are scornful with great pride.' [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 21]

The nature of angels is different from the nature of man, and the Mercy and Wisdom of Allah dictated that Messengers to humans should be of their own kind. Imam Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) writes in the Tafseer of the verse (17): 94-95, 'Allah says pointing out His Kindness and Mercy towards His servants, that He sends to them Messengers of their own kind so that they will understand what he says and will be able to speak to him directly. If He were to send to humanity a Messenger from among the angels, they would not be able to deal with him face to face and learn from him, as Allah says, 'Indeed, Allah conferred a great favour on the believers when He sent among them a Messenger (Muhammad) from among themselves.' [Soorah aal-Imran (3): 164] …Allah says here, 'Say, 'If there were on the earth, angels walking about in peace and security,' just as you do, 'We should certainly have sent down for them from the heaven an angel as a Messenger,' meaning 'one of their own kind. But as you are human, We have sent to you Messengers from yourselves, as a kindness and a mercy.' [end quote]

Allah says in another verse, 'And they say, 'Why has not an angel been sent down to him?' Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been judged at once, and no respite would be granted to them. And had We appointed him an angel, We indeed would have made him a man, and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion (i.e. the Message of Prophet Muhammad - sallallahu alahi wa-sallam).' [Soorah al-An'am (6): 8-9] 'meaning, if We had sent an angel along with the human Messenger, or if We had sent an angel as a Messenger to mankind, he would be in the shape of a man so that they would be able to speak to him and benefit from his teachings. In this case, the angel (in the shape of a human) will also cause confusion for them, just as the confusion they caused themselves over accepting humans as Messengers!...' [See, Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Nevertheless, the disbeliever's demand to see the angels and to have a Messenger from among the angels was no more than stubbornness on their part. It was not a request for guidance, and even if it were to happen, they would never believe, 'And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken to them and We had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they would not have believed…' [Soorah al-An'am (6): 111] Thus, Allah said in reply to the disbeliever's demand that the day on which they would see the Angels would be a bad day for them, because the disbelievers will see the angels when death approaches or when the punishment is about to befall them, '…On the Day, they will see the angels, no glad tidings will there be for the Mujrimoon (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners, etc.) that day. And they (angels) will say, 'All kinds of glad tidings are forbidden for you,' [Soorah al-Furqan (25): 21-22]

Moreover, seeing and keeping contact with the angels is not an easy task because the nature and creation of angels is different from those of the human beings. Ad-Dahhak said that Ibn Abbas said about the verse (6): 9, 'If an angel was sent to them, he would come in the shape of a man. This is because they will not be able to look at the angel due to light.' [Quoted from Ibn Katheer]

Although, the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) was the best of mankind and was physically and spiritually stronger, when he saw Jibraeel (alaihi as-salaam) in his true form, he (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) fainted. Imam Ahmad (1:322) recorded that Abdullah ibn Abbas said, 'The Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) asked Jibraeel to appear himself to him in his original shape and Jibraeel said to him, 'Invoke your Lord.' The Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) invoked his Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored, and a huge figure appeared to him from the east and kept rising and spreading. When the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) saw Jibraeel in his original shape, he was knocked unconscious. Jibraeel came down and revived the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) and wiped the saliva off his cheeks.’

Another wisdom behind the human origin of the Messengers is that all the Messengers had the same attributes as the other human beings to whom they were sent, including physical bodies which needed food, drink and rest. They had experiences similar to that of other human beings; they enjoyed health and suffered from sickness, they were exposed to trials and tribulations and they also faced death. They had no special divine qualities, power or strength. Thus, they could become a living example of the Deen they were sent with. This also discards any possibility of anyone arguing that the nature of the Messengers was different from the humans and thus, they could effectively accomplish all the duties of the religion, which are unfeasible for the humans to carry out. Thus, the sending of humans as Messengers is a greater test, it is mentioned in a Qudsi Hadeeth that Allah said, 'I have only sent you (i.e., Prophet Muhammad sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) in order to test you and to test others by you.' [Mukhtasar Saheeh Muslim by al-Mundhiri, p.283]

So, the disbelievers during the time of the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) rejected the message of Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) because he was a human being from among themselves and their argument was, 'How could a human being be a Prophet?' for they had seen and touched the Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) and knew that he was flesh and blood. So, they demanded an angel to be sent as a Prophet to them. Thus, asserting that an angel is more suitable for the job of Prophet-hood!!

The same can be said of those, who claim that Prophet (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) was created from Nur (light), which is a characteristic of the angels and their argument is also somewhat similar to that of the Arab disbelievers, - 'How could the Prophet be a human being (i.e., flesh and blood)?'
Thus, both reject an important characteristic of the Prophets that they were all humans and Allah says in the Qur'aan, 'Is it a wonder for mankind that we have sent Our revelation to a man from among themselves…' [Soorah Yunus (10): 2]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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