Is the Angel of Death one or multiple angels

بسم اللــــه الرحمـــــــــن الرحيم

▪️The Angel(s) of Death▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:

 📩 Question:

The Questioner say: Is the Angel of Death one or multiple angels and how is it/they able to take multiple souls in diverse locations at the same time?

📝 Answer:

Allah says:

{قُلْ يَتَوَفَّىٰكُم مَّلَكُ ٱلْمَوْتِ ٱلَّذِى وُكِّلَ بِكُمْ ثُمَّ إِلَىٰ رَبِّكُمْ تُرْجَعُون}َ

Say: “The angel of death, who is set over you, will take your souls, then you shall be brought to your Lord.”
(As-Sajdah 32:11)

This suggests that it is one angel that Allah has given tremendous capability. We do not know how this ability was given nor how this angel was created.

What we do know is that the angels are from the greatest of the creation. The Prophet ﷺ said concerning Jibreel (may peace be upon him) as mentioned in the hadith of ibn Masoud (may Allah be pleased with him) reported by Muslim:

[رأيته له ستمائة جناح قد سد بها الأفق على هيئته التي خلقه الله عليها]

[I saw him in the form Allah created him in. He had 600 wings blocking out the entire horizon]

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ also said

[أذن لي أن أتحدث عن ملك قد مرقت رجلاه الأرض السابعة والعرش على منكبيه ويقول سبحانك أين تكون.]

[I have been given permission to tell others about an angel. His legs have traversed the seventh planet and the throne is upon his shoulders. He says subhanAllah wherever he is]

(Narrated by Abu Hurayrah in the Musnad of Abu Ya’laa)

This shows the greatness of the angels. Likewise in another hadith, reported by Jabir, the Prophet said ﷺ

{أذن لي أن أتحدث عن ملك من حملة العرش إن مابين عاتقه إلى شحمة أذنه مسيرة سبعمائة عام}

[I have been given permission to tell others about an angel from the angels that bear the throne. Verily, the distance between his ear lobe and his shoulder is seven hundred years.]

Recorded by Abu Dawud and they are all authentic ahaadeth.

Look at this great matter. The person cannot comprehend it upon the limited capabilities of the human being.

Upon looking at the matter, we say that Allah ﷻ has given the angel the ability to take the souls of multiple people in dispersed locations at the same time. Allah enabled it to do this.

It has also been mentioned in the hadith of Al-Barra ibn Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him) in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad, the Sunan of Abu Dawud and elsewhere:

[فإذا قبضها لم يدعوها في يده طرفة عين]

[Once the angel of death takes the soul, the assisting angels do not allow it to remain in his hand for even a blinking of an eye.]

Meaning the angels in assistance who are appointed to take the soul (from the angel of death). As soon the angel of death extracts the soul, they immediately take the soul from his hand, so it doesn’t even remain there for the blinking of an eye, until they take it to a shroud from the shrouds of Jannah or a cloth from the shrouds of the fire. The point of relevance: they do not leave it in his hand for the blinking of an eye.

Similarly, Allah explains that there are assisting angels who take the extracted soul from the angel of death, as stated in suratul An’am:
(Al-An’am 6:61)

[وَهُوَ ٱلْقَاهِرُ فَوْقَ عِبَادِهِۦۖ وَيُرْسِلُ عَلَيْكُمْ حَفَظَةً حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا جَآءَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ]

[He is the Irresistible, Supreme over His slaves, and He sends guardians (angels guarding and writing all of one’s good and bad deeds) over you, until when death approaches one of you, Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul, and they never neglect their duty]

[Our Messengers (angel of death and his assistants) take his soul]

The scholars have reconciled between the two ayaat (i.e. this ayat and the ayah in Sajda) by stating that the angel of death removes the soul directly then the assisting angels take the soul from it as has been explained in the hadith of AlBaraa ibn Aazib (may Allah be pleased with him)

It is upon the muslim to believe in these matters. The Muslim has not been given this name except due to his submission, obedience and belief in what has been mentioned in the Book of Allah and the authenticated Sunnah which do not contradict the mind.

It is obligatory for the Muslim to believe in these matters and submit to them. He must not deal with them how he deals with the everyday occurrences that he witnesses himself.

This is from belief in the unseen that Allah has ordered with. He has also praised the muttaqeen for their belief in the unseen.

Translated by:
Abu Sufian Saami Al-Ghaani

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