Reflection No. 261 on Q 13:11 – Protective Angels
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ
Lahu mu‘aqqibāt mim bayni yadayhi wamin khalfihi yahfazūnahu min amrillāh
He has guardian angels, before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah’s command.
(Sūratur Ra‘d, No.13, Āyat 11)
In this verse Almighty Allah tells the human being that He has assigned angels to protect him. These angels guard him from the front and from the back, and take turns in their duties during the day and night. This continues until the decree of Allah causes them to withhold their protection.
In this world the human being faces many forms of dangers. Each day he is exposed to so much that could harm him. Sometimes it seems like a miracle that the human is not hurt. From microbes in the air, the hidden germs in water and food, to the hidden threats from other living creatures including the dangers of human error – such as traffic accidents due to his own or others’ irresponsible driving, man is vulnerable to much that could destroy him. However Almighty Allah sends guardian angels that protect him until his time comes.
Many traditions of the Ma’sūmīn (a) explain this concept. Tafsīr-e Namūne mentions the following Hadiths:
1. Imam al-Bāqir (a): It means they protect him from falling into a well, or that a wall should fall on him, or any such incident happens to him until the decree comes. Then they leave him to it. These are the two angels who guard him during the day and two angels who guard him during the night and they do their duties in succession.
2) Imam al-Sādiq (a): There is no servant of Allah except that he has two angels with him who protect him until the decree of Allah comes and they leave him to it.
Amīrul Mu’minīn Imam Ali (a) talks about the functions of the angels thus: Among them are those who work as trusted bearers of His message, those who serve as speaking tongues for His Prophets and those who carry to and fro His orders and injunctions. Among them are the protectors of His creatures and guards of the doors of the gardens of Paradise (Nahjul Balāgha, Sermon 1).
Recite this verse to remind yourself of the Love and Grace of Allah for the human being, His care and concern that nothing should harm him. Each day it is by the protection of these angels sent by God especially for you that you have been saved from so many dangers. It is yet another blessing that cannot be counted or comprehended.
Amīrul Mu’minīn Imam Ali bin Abu Talib, Nahjul Balāgha;
Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūne