We shall now examine the belief in angels of God in these two major religions and study if there are similarities.
1. Angels in Islam
Angels are a creation of Allah (swt). They have been created from light and are normally unseen. They do not have a free will of their own and hence they always obey the commandments of Almighty Allah. Due to the absence of free will they cannot disobey God. Different angels have been appointed by Almighty Allah for different activities. For example, Archangel Gabriel (Jibreel) was appointed to convey the revelation of Allah (swt) to the prophets of Allah.
Since angels are a creation of God, and not God, Muslims do not worship angels.
2. Angels in Hinduism
There is no concept of angels in Hinduism. However Hindus believe that there are certain super-beings, which perform acts, which cannot be done by normal human beings. These super-beings too are worshipped as deities by some Hindus.
CONCEPT OF REVELATION IN HINDUISM AND IN ISLAM
Let us now study what the Hindu and Islamic scriptures state regarding God’s revelations or books revealed by God for the guidance of humans:
(i) Concept of Revelation in Islam
1. Allah (swt) has sent a revelation in every age.
Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
“For each period
Is a Book (revealed)
(Al Qur’an 13:38)
2. Four Revelations mentioned by name in the Qur’an:
There are several revelations sent by Allah (swt) in different ages for the guidance of human beings of the respective ages. Only four revelations are mentioned by name in the Qur’an: these are the. Torah, Zabur, Injeel and the Qur’an.
Torah is the Wahi, the revelation which was revealed to Prophet Moses (pbuh).
Zabur is the Wahi, the revelation which was revealed to Prophet David (pbuh)
Injeel is the Wahi, the revelation which was revealed to Prophet Jesus (pbuh) and
The Qur’an is the last and final Wahi, the final revelation, which was revealed to the Last and Final Messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
3. All previous revelations were only meant for a particular group of people and for a particular time period.
Each of the revelations, prior to the revelation of the Glorious Qur’an, was meant only for a particular period and for a particular group of people.
4. The Qur’an was revealed for whole of Humankind
Since the Qur’an was the last and final revelation of Almighty Allah, it was revealed not only for the Muslims or the Arabs but it was revealed for whole of Humankind. Further, the Qur’an was not revealed only for the era of the Prophet but it was revealed for the all of Humankind until the Last Day.
a. Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an:
Alif Ram Ra. A Book
Which We have revealed
Unto thee, in order that
Thou mightest lead mankind
Out of the depths of darkness
Into light – by the leave
Of their Lord – to the way
Of (Him) the Exalted in Power,
Worthy of all Praise!
(Al Qur’an 14:1)
b. Here is a Message for mankind;
Let them take warning therefrom,
And let them know that He
Is (no other than) One God:
Let men of understanding
(Al Qur’an 14:52)
c. Ramadan is the (month)
In which was sent down
The Qur’an, as a guide
To mankind, also clear (Signs)
For Guidance and Judgement
(Between right and wrong)
(Al Qur’an 2:185)
d. Verily We have revealed
The Book to thee
In truth, for (instructing) mankind
(Al Qur’an 39:41)
Al Qur’an is God’s Word. It is the most sacred scripture of Islam. It is the Last and Final Revelation of Almighty God which was revealed in the sixth century of the English Calendar to the last and final messenger Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
5. The Qur’an is mentioned in the previous scriptures and in scriptures of other religions
It is mentioned in the Qur’an:
Without doubt it is (announced)
In the revealed Books
Of former peoples.
(Al Qur’an 26:196)
The mention of the Glorious Qur’an, this last and final Revelation of Almighty God, is made in all the previous scriptures and in the scriptures of various religions.
The other sacred scripture of Islam besides the Qur’an are the hadith i.e. the sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). These hadith are supplementary to the Glorious Qur’an. They do not and cannot overrule the teachings of the Qur’an nor will they contradict the Qur’an.
(ii) BOOKS OF HINDUISM
There are two kinds of sacred writings in Hinduism: Sruti and Smrti.
Sruti means that which has been heard, perceived, understood or revealed. It is the oldest and the most sacred of the Hindu’s Scriptures. The Sruti is divided into two main parts: the Vedas and the Upanishads and these two are considered to be of divine origin.
Smrti is not as sacred as the sruti. Yet it is considered to be important and is popular with the Hindus today. Smrti means memory or remembered. This Hindu literature is easier to understand because it speaks about the truths of the Universe through Symbolism and Mythology. The smrti are not considered to be of divine origin but are accepted as human composition. The Smrti lists rules governing the actions of the individual, the community and the society, which regulate and guide individuals in their daily conduct. They are also known as Dharma Shastra. Smrtis consist of many writings including the Puranas and Itihaas.
There are several Holy Scriptures of the Hindus; among them are the Vedas, Upanishads and the Puranas.
i) The word ‘Veda’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘vid’, which means to know. The word ‘Veda’ therefore, means knowledge par excellence or sacred wisdom. There are four principal divisions of the Vedas. (Although according to their number, they amount to 1131 out of which about a dozen are available. According to MahaBhasya of Patanjali, there are 21 branches of Rig Veda, 9 types of Atharva Veda, 101 branches of Yajur Veda and 1000 of Sam Veda)
ii) The Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Sam Veda are considered to be more ancient books and are known as ‘Trai Viddya’ or the ‘Triple Sciences’. The Rig Veda is the oldest and has been compiled in three long and different periods of time. The 4th Veda is the Atharva Veda, which is of a later date.
Rigveda is mainly composed of songs of praise.
Yajurveda deals sacrificial formula.
Samveda refers to melody.
Atharva Veda has a large number of magic formulas.