Belief in Angels
Muslims believe that Allah created unseen beings, including angels and jinn. Angels were created out of light, and they work tirelessly to administer Allah's kingdom. Without a free will of their own, these spiritual creatures carry out Allah's orders in full obedience. “They do not disobey Allah's commands that they receive; they do precisely what they are commanded” (Qur'an 66:6).
The Arabic word for “angels” is mala'ika. This word comes from the Arabic root meaning “to help and assist,” or “gathering, assembly.” According to the teachings of Islam, angels give full service and devotion to God, without any hint of disobedience. It is their very nature to be Allah's faithful servants.
The angels surround us at all times, and they have a multitude of duties and tasks. There are angels who record our words and deeds, and those who guard the gates of Heaven and Hell. A few angels who have special responsibilities are known to us by name:
Jibreel (Gabriel) is responsible for communicating revelation to the prophets.
Mikail (Michael) is in charge of rainfall.
Israfeel (Raphael) is in charge of blowing the trumpet that will sound to mark the Day of Judgment.
Izra'il (Azrail), also called the Angel of Death, is in charge of taking the souls of the dying.
Muslims believe that unlike the angels, jinn are unseen creatures that were created from fire. They have a free will to either obey or disobey Allah, and they will be rewarded or punished on Judgment Day just as human beings will. Muslims believe that jinn freely roam the earth and are capable of doing good or harm.
Many Muslims believe that psychics or fortunetellers have somehow tapped into this unseen realm and obtained knowledge from the jinn — an act that is forbidden in Islam. As with other religions, there are also many who believe that human beings can be possessed by these unseen spirits. Indeed, the Arabic word for madness is majnun, which comes from the same root word and implies that a person is tormented by a jinn.
The jinn were the basis for the Western idea of a “genie.” However, Muslims do not believe that the jinn live in magic lamps or grant wishes. Rather, the jinn are a serious but unseen presence; they are not to be joked about or used for entertainment purposes.
Since angels do not have a free will, there is no concept in Islam of a “fallen angel.” Muslims believe that Satan (called Shaytan or Iblis in the Qur'an) is in fact a jinn who strives to lead human beings astray. More information about Satan's interactions with Adam and Eve can be found in Chapter 16.