Islam and the Quran

Are Angels Male or Female?

Question: Are angels male or female?

The Arabic word “malaa’ikat = مَلاَئِكَة” , which is translated as “angels”, means “messengers” (Mufradat, art. الك).

“Jinn” is a common noun used for “beings hidden from perceptions”. The word “jannah”, which is of the same root as jinn is “a garden which hides the soil from sight by its trees and plants” (Mufradat, art. جنّ).

Angels are the jinn who are charged by God with various duties.

The Almighty God decrees:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنْسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“I created the jinn and the human beings to worship Me only” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56).

The Almighty God has decreed:

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ

“Once God said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam!’ They all prostrated, except Iblees. He was also one of the jinn but He had deviated from his Master’s command.” (Al-Kahf 18:50)

The two verses above show that the jinn are also tested like human beings, and they also have the choice to behave obediently or to stray. Iblees was also one of the angels charged with certain duties, because he was expected to obey the command given to angels. Iblees was the former name of the Devil. The expression “became of the ignorers” indicates that there were also other angels who became ignorers before Iblees.

The phrase “He was also one of the jinn” can only mean “he was also one of the jinn who were charged with the duties of angels”.

God has also decreed:
“Of all the beings we have created two mates, so that you might use your knowledge.” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:49)

The word “zawjayn” translated as “mates” here, is used to express the male and female in verse 53:45 in the Qur’an:

وَأَنَّهُ خَلَقَ الزَّوْجَيْنِ الذَّكَرَ وَالْأُنْثَىٰ

“He has created the two mates, the male and the female.” (An-Najm 53:45)

In conclusion, we understand that the angels are invisible beings who are created as male and female just like human beings, and they are also responsible for obeying the commands of God and fulfilling the duties given by Him.

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