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From the Glorious Qur’ān
I S S U E N O . 1 2 1 5 T H M A Y 2 0 0 9

Why Are Prophets Not Angels?

‫َل َو ل َ ْو‬ ٌ َ ‫َو قَالُو ْا ل َ ْو ََل ُأن ِز َل عَلَ ْي ِه َم‬ In answering the first objection, the messenger of the Lord of the
first of the two quoted verses states Worlds!
‫ض ْ َاْل ْم ُر ُ َُّث ََل‬ ِ ‫أَ َنزلْنَا َملَ اًك ل َّ ُق‬ that if an angel were to be sent down, It is not possible for the Lord of the
then the matter would be decided Universe and the Creator of all
۞ ‫ون‬ َ ‫يُ َنظ ُر‬ without further delay and the disbe- creation to have a messenger like
lievers would not be granted respite you, an ordinary man just like us. If
POINTS TO ‫َو ل َ ْو َج َعلْنَا ُه َملَ اًك ل َّ َج َعلْنَا ُه َر ُج اًل َو‬ from their doom. This is the estab- you were really a messenger, you
lished sunnah of Allah. Whenever
PONDER would have been accompanied by

َ ‫لَلَب َْس نَا عَلَْيْ ِ م َّما يَلْب ُِس‬
‫ون‬ angels were sent to a disbelieving an angel, whom we could see, to
people, they have always descended verify your claims. Rather, if Allah
And they say: “Why has not an angel with divine punishment. wanted to send a prophet to us, He
 What were the
been sent down to him?” Were We to Another explanation given for this would have sent an angel, not a
send down an angel, the matter would answer is that since the angels are man.
raised by the
surely be decided , and then they from the immaterial realm and human
disbelievers? At this point these two verses of the
would not be granted any respite. beings are from the material realm, if Qur’an were revealed. Then the
 What other And had We made him an angel, We the human beings were to witness the Prophet (s) gave a lengthy answer to
verses of the would surely have made him a man, presence of angels, they would have Ibn Ubay and explained the wisdom
Qur’an mention and We would certainly have con- to first be removed and unshackled behind sending a man as a Prophet.
similar objec- founded them in regard to that which from the chains of this material realm
tions that they they confound. He (s) said: Allah sent some men as
- and this translated to death (as seen
raised? (Al-An’aam [6]:8-9) Prophets and gave them miracles to
in Q25: 21-22).
prove their prophethood. These
 How did the The answer given to their second miracles were such that no other
Prophet of Allah One of the objections that were raised objection is that, even if an angel were human could perform them and this
(s) answer these to be sent as a messenger, he would
by disbelievers among the people to was the proof that they were truly
objections? be sent in the form of a human being
whom divine revelation was brought Prophets.
was: Why has God sent us a messen- and they would perceive him as an
If an angel were to perform miracu-
ger in the form of an ordinary human ordinary man. Indeed the faculty of
lous actions how would you know
being? Why has He not, instead, sent sight in man is not strong enough to
whether his actions are actually
an angel to guide us? These verses of be able to see angels in their true
miracles or something that all an-
the Qur’an give a clear answer to this form.
gels are capable of doing? How
question. As a result, the disbelievers will be would you then establish the truth-
First, let us see the different variations right back where they started since fulness of his claim?
of this objection that were made by they will not be able to tell the differ-
Do you not see that the flight of
the disbelievers: ence between the angel who is sent in
birds is not a miracle for them be-
the form of a man, and an ordinary
i) Why was an angel not sent to the cause this is a natural ability for
man. They will end up rejecting his
Holy Prophet (s) to verify his claims them. However, if a human being
message and asking him why God did
and to support him in his mission? were to fly like a bird, that would be
not send an angel in his place!
Ii) Why was a (seemingly ordinary) a miracle.
Abu Ja’far Muhammad al-Baqir (‘a)
man sent as a specially chosen divine Allah has made the matter easy for
has narrated that at one time a man
messenger instead of an angel? you by sending to you Prophets who
from the disbelievers by the name of
The reason given for their making such are like you, so that they can estab-
‘Abdullah ibn Ubay al-Makhzumi came
objections is that they wanted to look lish the proof (of their claim) for you
to the Messenger of Allah (s) and said:
for some weakness in the Prophet (s) while you are suggesting something
O Muhammad! You have made a great
and use that as an excuse to deny the difficult in which there is no
claim and said some exceptional
message that he brought. (establishment of) proof.
things. You think that you are the