Quranic Reflection No 561. Āyat 8:12 – Assistance of Angels

It has been narrated that upon sighting the crescent of Rajab he (i.e., The Messenger of Allah) said: Allāhumma bārik lanā fī Rajabin wa-Sha‘bāna, waballighnā shahra Ramadāna, wa-a‘innā ‘alas-siyāmi walqiyām, wahifzil-lisān, waghaddil-basari, walā taj‘al hazzanā minhul-ju‘ū wal ‘atash.

O Allah! Bless us in Rajab and Sha‘bān and makes us reach the month of Ramadān. Help us [in these months] with fasting, standing [for prayers], guarding the tongue, casting down the gaze [with modesty], and do not make our [only] share in it [the experiencing of] hunger and thirst. (Ibn Tāwūs, Iqbāl al-A‘māl p. 628). 


إِذْ يُوحِي رَبُّكَ إِلَى الْمَلَائِكَةِ أَنِّي مَعَكُمْ فَثَبِّتُوا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا

Idh yūhī rabbuka ilāl-malā’ikati innī ma ‘akum fathabbitūl-ladhīna āmanū

Recall your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore strengthen those who believe.

(Sūrat al-Anfāl, No 8, Āyat 12)

The Quran speaks about angels in a number of verses It places the belief in angels in line with belief in Allah ‘azza wajall, the Prophets and the Divine books. This shows the importance of belief in angels. Allah says: The messenger believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and (so do) the believers; they all believe in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers. (Q 2:285).

Many verses and Hadith talk about the different roles of angels, especially at the time of death and in the life Hereafter. But the verse above gives an example of how angels also help believers in this world, under the orders of Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā. Apart from the fact that every human being has two angels who watch over him (he has guardian angels, to his front and his rear, who guard him by Allah’s command –Q 13:11), the Almighty also sends special assistance to believers who struggle in His way, through the angels.

The above verse talks about the assistance of the angels during the battle of Badr. The Muslims were facing a huge army that was very confident of its ability to defeat them. Almighty Allah helped them by strengthening their morale. The angels steadied their hearts and cast fear in the hearts of the enemies. The steadying of the believers was done through inspiring them with faith, confidence, and unity. 

The help of the angels came down upon the Muslims because their own efforts and sincerity deserved it. The Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam knew of the challenges of this battle but when he presented the matter to the Muslims, they spoke bravely of their willingness. From the Muhājirūn, Miqdād Ibn Aswad said: O Messenger of Allah, do what Allah has commanded you to do. We are with you, now and always; and we shall not tell you what the Israelites told Moses: ‘You and your Lord should go and fight against the enemy; as for us, we shall stay here, and sit here.’ No, we shall not imitate them. We shall follow you and obey your orders. Sa‘d ibn Mu‘adh, one of the leaders of the Ansār, rose and said: We have borne witness that you are the Messenger of God. We have given you our pledge to obey you. Wherever you go, we shall go with you. If there is a showdown with the polytheists, we shall be steadfast in our support to you. In war and in peace, we shall be consistently faithful to you. These courageous words spread among the people, encouraging the believers and casting fear in the enemies. The angels increased and boosted something that already existed in the hearts of the believers.

The verse starts with the word ‘recall’. This means it is asking the Prophet (s) to remember when this event happened. The Prophet (s) is being addressed, as he was witness to the revelation of Allah to the angels to strengthen the believers. Note that Allah tells the angels to steady the believers through His support: I am with you. All that the angels do is carry out His command. The calming of the spirit and instilling of peace and confidence in the hearts when facing a huge challenge is only from Allah. It is not power and ability that are enough to bring that type of spirit which leads to victory. It is the help that comes from Allah which brings victory.

Other verses also talk about the angels and their assistance to believers. Allah says: Indeed, those who say, Our Lord is Allah!’ and then remain steadfast, the angels descend upon them, [saying,] ‘Do not fear, nor be grieved! Receive the good news of the paradise, which you have been promised. We are your friends in the life of this world and in the Hereafter, and you will have in it whatever your souls desire, and you will have in it whatever you ask for, as a hospitality from One all-forgiving, all-merciful (Q 41:30-32).

Let this verse remind us of how Allah supports those who struggle in His way through the assistance of the angels. They have our backs when we are sincere and determined. Allah will not let us struggle alone; He sends His special creatures to increase our strength.

Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr; http://www.alketab.org/; https://www.al-islam.org/180-questions-enquiries-about-islam-volume-2-various-issues/9-what-reality-angels