The Quran claims that Allah sent messengers from among the Jinn and men:
"O ye assembly of JINNS and men! came there not UNTO you messengers FROM AMONGST YOU, setting forth unto you My Signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves." It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith. S. 6:130
This passage poses a rhetorical question to both the Jinn and men, telling them to recall the fact that Allah sent messengers from amongst them to warn them of the Day of Judgment. The question that naturally arises is what could it possibly mean that Allah sent messengers from the Jinn to warn them about Allah's judgment? Does Allah actually call on immaterial entities to preach amongst their own kind? The following verses say yes:
"Allah chooses messengers from angels and from men, for Allah is He Who hears and sees (all things)." S. 22:75
All praise is due to Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, the Maker of the angels, apostles flying on wings, two, and three, and four; He increases in creation what He pleases; surely Allah has power over all things. S. 35:1 Shakir
It should be noted that certain Muslims were of the opinion that the Jinn are a class of angelic creatures. The following traditions are taken from The History of al-Tabari: General Introduction and From the Creation to the Flood, volume 1, translated by Franz Rosenthal and published, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1989. All bold emphasis ours:
According to al-Qasim b. al-Hasan- al-Husayn b. Dawud- Hajjaj- Ibn Jurayj- Ibn `Abbas: Iblis was one of the most noblest angels and belonged to the most honored tribe among them. He was a keeper of Paradise. He had authority to rule over the lower heaven as well as earth.
According to al-Qasim- al-Husayn- Hajjaj- Ibn Jurayj- Salih, the mawla of al-Taw'amah and Sharik b. Abir Namir, either one or both of them- Ibn `Abbas: There was an angelic tribe of jinn, and Iblis belonged to it. He governed all in between the heaven and the earth.
According to Musa b. Harun al-Hamdani- `Amr b. Hammad- Asbat- al-Suddi- Abu Malik and Abu Salih- Ibn `Abbas. Also (al-Suddi)- Murrah al-Hamdani- Ibn Mas'ud and some (other) companions of the Prophet: Iblis was ruler over the lower heaven. He belonged to a tribe of angels called jinn. They were called jinn because they were keepers of Paradise (al-jannah). In addition to being ruler, Iblis was a keeper (of Paradise).
According to `Abdan al-Marwazi- al-Husayn b. al-Faraj- Dahhak b. Muzahim, commenting on God's word: "They prostrated themselves, except Iblis. He was one of the jinn": Ibn `Abbas used to say: Iblis was one of the noblest angels and belonged to their most honored tribe. He was a keeper of Paradise, and his was the rule over the lower heaven as well as the earth.
According to Ibn Humayd- Salamah- Abu al-Azhar al-Mubarak b. Mujahid- Sharik b. `Abdallah b. Abi Namir- Salih, the mawla of al-Taw'amah- Ibn `Abbas: There is an angelic tribe called jinn. Iblis belonged to them. He used to rule all in between heaven and earth. Then he became disobedient, and God therefore transformed him into a stoned Satan.
According to al-Qasim- al-Husayn- Hajjaj- Ibn Jurayj, commenting on: "And whoever among them says: I am a god besides Him": Whichever angel says: "I am a god besides Him" calls to worship of himself, and only Iblis said that. Thus, this verse was revealed with reference to Iblis. (Ibid., pp. 250-251)
One of the events that took place during the rule of the enemy of God while he was (still) obedient to God is what was mentioned to us on the authority of Ibn `Abbas in a report told us by Abu Kurayb- `Uthman b. Sa'id- Bishr b. `Umarah- Abu Rawq- al-Dahhak- Ibn `Abbas: Iblis belonged to a tribal group of angels called jinn. Among the angels it was they who were created from the fire of simoom. He continued. His name was al-Harith. He continued. He was one of the keepers of Paradise. He continued. All the angels except this tribal group were created from light. He continued. The jinn mentioned in the Qur'an were created "from a bright flame (marij) of fire"- (marij being) a tongue of fire blazing on its side(s and top). He continued. And He created man from clay. The first to dwell on earth were the jinn. They caused corruption on it and shed blood and killed each other. He continued. God sent Iblis to them with an army of angels. They were that tribal group called jinn. Iblis and those with him caused a bloodbath among them and eventually banished them to the islands in the oceans and the mountainsides. His success went to his head, and he said: I have done something nobody has ever done before. He continued. God was aware of how Iblis felt, but the angels who were with him were not. (Ibid., pp. 252-253)
Ibn Humayd gave us about the same account again, reporting from Salamah- Ibn Ishaq- Khallad b. `Ata'- Tawus or Abu sl-Hajjaj Mujahid- Ibn `Abbas, and others. However, he said: (Iblis) was an angel named Azazil. He was one of the dwellers and cultivators on earth. The dwellers on earth from among the angel used to be called jinn." (Ibid., p. 254)
Ibn Kathir also cites traditions which support the idea of Jinn being angels:
"There were many traditions about Iblis at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas, and a group of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said that Iblis had been the head of the angels in the worldly heavens. Ibn Abbas said in one narration that his name was Azazil, and in another narration he said it had been Al-Harith. Ibn Abbas also said that Iblis was a jinn and that they had once been the keepers of Paradise, with Iblis the most honorable, the most learned and the most pious of them. Another tradition says that he had been one of the famous four possessors of wings (i.e., angels), before Allah transformed him into the accursed Satan." (Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir, translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Geme'ah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Ahzar, edited by Aelfwine Acelas Mischler [El-Nour For Publishing and Distribution and Translation Est.; 38 Al-Madina Al-Monawara St., Toryl Al-Gadida], p. 13; bold emphasis ours)
... Here are some of the descriptions of Satan prior to his disobedience: he was from the community of the angels called Jinn, and was their master. He was a keeper of the Gardens and had power in the sky and on earth... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Part 1, Surah Al-Fatiah Surah Al-Baqarah, ayat 1 to 141, abridged by Sheikh Muhammad Nasib Ar-Rafai [Al-Firdous Ltd., London, 1998: second edition], pp. 101-102; bold emphasis ours)
If this is the case then the statement that Allah chose messengers from among the angels may be referring to spirit beings like Gabriel and Michael as well as individual Jinn.
The following comments are taken from Moiz Amjad in response to a question relating to this very issue:
Just as no Jinn could be sent as a prophet towards the human race, no human being could be sent as a prophet towards the race of the Jinn. One of the basic reasons for this general rule is that a prophet of God is not merely a deliverer of God's messages to that race, but he is also meant to be an example for them to follow. Thus, just as an angel or a jinn could not be an example for the human race, similarly, a human being could not be an example for the Jinn or the angels to emulate. Thus, when the rejecters objected to believing in a human being as a messenger and representative of God, saying that were God to send a messenger, He should have sent an angel as His messenger, the Qur'an responded:
Had the earth been inhabited by angels, We would then indeed have sent an angel from the heavens as a messenger towards them. (Al-Israa 17: 94)
In the light of the foregoing explanation, it should be clear that the prophets from among Jinn are from among themselves, not from among humans ... (source)
If Mr. Amjad's claim is taken seriously this would imply that those angels that Allah chose as his messengers could have only been sent to other angels, which would also include Jinn (that is, of course, assuming that the Jinn are indeed angelic beings). Yet Mr. Amjad's claim contradicts the following passage:
And follow that which the devils falsely related against the kingdom of Solomon. Solomon disbelieved not; but the devils disbelieved, teaching mankind magic and that which was revealed to the two ANGELS in Babel, Harut and Marut (alal-malakayni bi-Baabila Haaruuta wa Maaruut). Nor did they (the two angels) teach it to anyone till they had said: We are only a temptation, therefore disbelieve not (in the guidance of Allah). And from these two (angels) people learn that by which they cause division between man and wife; but they injure thereby no-one save by Allah's leave. And they learn that which harmeth them and profiteth them not. And surely they do know that he who trafficketh therein will have no (happy) portion in the Hereafter; and surely evil is the price for which they sell their souls, if they but knew. S. 2:102 Pickthall
The Dictionary of Islam states:
"HARUT WA MARUT ... Two angels mentioned in the Qur'an. They are said to be two angels who, in consequence of their compassion of the frailties of mankind, were sent down to earth to be tempted. They both sinned, and being permitted to choose whether they would be punished now or hereafter, chose the former, and are still suspended by the feet at Babel in a rocky pit, where they are great teachers of magic." (T. P. Hughes, Dictionary of Islam [Kazi Publications, Chicago IL. 1994], pp. 167-168; bold emphasis ours)
Yusuf Ali comments:
"This verse has been interpreted variously. Who were Harut and Marut? What did they teach? Why did they teach? The view which commends itself to me is that of the Tafsir Haqqani, following Baidhawi and the Tafsir Kabir. The word 'angels' as applied to Harut and Marut is figurative. It means 'good men, of knowledge, science (or wisdom), and power'. In modern languages the word 'angel' is applied to a good and beautiful woman. The earlier tradition made angels masculine, and applied to them the attributes which I have mentioned, along with the attribute of beauty, which was implied in goodness, knowledge, wisdom and power... Among the Jewish traditions in the Midrash (Jewish Tafsirs) was a story of two angels who asked God's permission to come down to earth but succumbed to temptation and were hung by their feet at Babylon for punishment. Such stories about sinning angels who were cast down to punishment were believed by the early Christians also ... There may be an allusion about sinning angels here, but much spiritualized and we are expressly warned against dabbling in magic or believing that anything can hurt us except by God's will, and God is just and righteous." (Ali, Holy Quran, f. 104, p. 45)
The major problem with Ali's assertion is that the Quran never uses the term "angels" for human beings. The closest the Quran ever comes to calling a human being an angel is in S. 12:31, and even then it is in a metaphorical sense:
And when she heard of their sly talk, she sent to them and prepared for them a cushioned couch (to lie on at the feast) and gave to every one of them a knife and said (to Joseph): Come out unto them! And when they saw him they exalted him and cut their hands, exclaiming: Allah Blameless! This is not a human being. This is not other than some gracious angel. Pickthall (cf. 7:20)
In fact, angels are called messengers but humans are never called angels. (Cf. 11:69, 77, 81; 15:57; 22:75; 35:1)
One may argue that S. 2:102 is the exception to this norm, and that Harut and Marut were in fact human beings. Yet the burden of proof is upon the one making such a claim to show that this is the case. Claiming it isn't the same as proving it.
Muslim Scholar Mahmoud Ayoub comments on S. 2:102:
"Commentators likewise have disagreed with regard to the meaning of the phrase 'and that which was sent down to the two angels in Babel, Harut and Marut.' Tabari relates on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas, 'The word ma means "not" [instead of its alternate meaning, "that which"]; that is to say, magic was not sent down [ma unzila] to the two angels. Thus the exegesis of the verse would be, "And they followed the magic which the satans recited concerning the reign of Solomon; yet neither did Solomon reject faith, nor did God send down magic to the two angels. Rather, satans rejected faith in that they taught people magic in Babel, that is, Harut and Marut."' (This tradition assumes that Harut and Marut were the people who learned magic from the satans in Babel; thus they were not angels. The two angels are taken to be Gabriel and Michael.) 'This is because magicians among Jews used to claim that God sent down magic to Solomon by the tongues of Gabriel and Michael. Thus God revealed their false claim, for Gabriel and Michael never brought down magic. Harut and Marut were therefore two men who learned magic from the satans' (Tabari, II, pp. 419-420). Tabari also cites Qatadah, who said, ' "Ma" means "that which," or "what." Thus Harut and Marut were two of the angels. They taught men magic, but were charged not to teach anyone until they said, "We are surely a temptation; do not, therefore, reject faith.' Magic here is of two kinds: one which the satans taught, and another which was taught by the two angels' (Tabari, II, p. 420).
"Most early commentators have agreed, however, that Harut and Marut were two angels. Their story appears very early in the history of tafsir on the authority of the first masters of science among the Companions and their Successors. The story, as related by Tabari on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud and Ibn 'Abbas, is as follows: 'When the children of Adam had increased in the earth and committed acts of disobedience, the angels, heavens, earth and mountains invoked God against them, saying, "Our Lord, would You not destroy them?" God revealed to the angels, "Were I to put lust in your hearts and give Satan authority over you, and were you to descend to earth, you would do the same." The angels thought in their hearts that if they were sent down, they would not sin. God, then revealed to them, "Choose two of the best angels among you," and they chose Harut and Marut. They were thus sent down to earth, and Venus was sent down as a beautiful Persian woman. They fell into sin [by lusting after her]. They were therefore given the choice between the punishment of this world or that of the world to come, but they chose the punishment of this world' (Tabari, II, pp. 428).
"This tradition presents the basic elements of the story, accepted by most classical commentators. Some traditions, however, related the story of the two angels to God's saying, 'Behold I am about to place a vicegerent in the earth' (see above, Q. 2:30). According to this view, God sent down Harut and Marut to demonstrate to the prostrating angels man's uniqueness as a creature endowed with special faculties which even angels could not possess without also falling into sin and disobedience (see Nisaburi, I, p. 391, who relates the story on the authority of Ibn 'Abbas). Razi, on the other hand, for reasons which are discussed below, asserts that the two angels were sent down at the time of the prophet Enoch (Idris) (Razi, III, p. 220)." (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur'an and its Interpreters [State University of New York Press, Albany 1984], pp. 130-131; bold emphasis ours)
Ayoub cites al-Qurtubi as denying that Harut and Marut were angels, believing that they were satans instead. The only problem with this view is that Harut and Marut are specifically called angels. This implies that if Qurtubi is correct then these satans were at one time angels that disobeyed. Furthermore, even if they were satans this still wouldn't resolve Mr. Amjad's contradiction since this still would leave us with spirit entities being sent to teach mankind.
Finally, Ibn Kathir:
There is a difference of opinion regarding this story. It was said that this Ayah denies that anything was sent down to the two angels, as al-Qurtubi stated and then referred to the Ayah ...
<Sulayman did disbelieve> saying, "The negation applies in both cases. Allah then said ...
<But the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels>.
The Jews claimed that Gabriel and Michael brought magic down to the two angels, but Allah refuted this false claim."
Also, Ibn Jarir reported, that Al-Awfi said that Ibn Abbas said about Allahs statement ...
<And such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels>
"Allah did not send magic."
Also, Ibn Jarir narrated that Ar-Rabi bin Anas said about ...
<And such things that came down to the two angels>, "Allah did not send magic down to the [sic] them." Ibn Jarir, "This is the correct explanation for this Ayah ...
<They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely) in the lifetime of Sulayman.>
meaning, magic. However, neither did Solomon disbelieve nor did Allah send magic with the two angels. The devils, on the other hand, disbelieved and taught magic to the people of the Babylon of Harut and Marut."
Ibn Jarir continued; "If someone asks about explaining this Ayah in this manner, we say that ...
<They followed what Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely) in the lifetime of Sulayman.>
means, magic. Solomon neither disbelieved nor did Allah send magic with the two angels. However, the devils disbelieved and taught magic to the people in the Babylon of Harut and Marut, meaning of Gabriel and Michael, for Jewish sorcerers claimed that Allah sent magic by the words of Gabriel and Michael to Solomon, son of David. Allah denied this false claim and stated to His Prophet Muhammad that Gabriel and Michael were not sent with magic. Allah also exonerated Solomon from practicing magic, which the devils taught to the people of Babylon by the hands of two men, Harut and Marut. Hence, Harut and Marut were two ordinary men (not angels or Gabriel and Michael)." These are the words of At-Tabari, and this explanation is not plausible.
Many among the Salaf, said that Harut and Marut were angels who came down from heaven to earth and did what they did as the Ayah stated. To conform this opinion with the fact that angels are immune from error, we say that Allah had eternal knowledge what these angels would do, just as He had eternal knowledge that Iblis would do as he did, while Allah refered [sic] to him as being among the angels ...
and so forth. However, what Harut and Marut did was less offensive than what Iblis, may Allah curse him, did. Al-Qurtubi reported this opinion from Ali, Ibn Masud, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Kab Al-Ahbar, As-Suddi and Al-Kalbi.
Al-Hasan Al-Basri said that this Ayah means, "The angels were sent with magic, so that the people whom Allah willed would be tried and tested. Allah made them promise that they would not teach anyone until first proclaiming, We are a test for you, do not fall into disbelief" ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 1, Parts 1 and 2 (Surat Al-Fatihah to Verse 252 of Surat Al-Baqarah), abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; First Edition: January 2000], pp. 314-317; bold emphasis ours)
Interestingly, other passages state that Allah sent spirit messengers appearing as men to certain individuals:
Behold! the angels said: O Mary! Allah hath chosen thee and purified thee- chosen thee above the women of all nations. O Mary! worship thy Lord devoutly: Prostrate thyself, and bow down (in prayer) with those who bow down. This is part of the tidings of the things unseen, which We reveal unto thee (O Messenger.) by inspiration: Thou wast not with them when they cast lots with pens (or arrows), as to which of them should be charged with the care of Mary: Nor wast thou with them when they disputed (the point). Behold! the angels said: "O Mary! Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a Word from Him: his name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honor in this world and the Hereafter and of (the company of) those nearest to Allah. He shall speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. And he shall be (of the company) of the righteous." She said: "O my Lord! How shall I have a son when no man hath touched me?" He said: "Even so; Allah createth what He willeth: When He hath decreed a plan, He but saith to it, Be, and it is!" S. 3:42-47
Relate in the Book (the story of) Mary, when she withdrew from her family to a place in the East. She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her Our Spirit, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects. She said: "I seek refuge from thee to (Allah) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah." He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a pure son." She said: "How shall I have a son, seeing that no man has touched me, and I am not unchaste?" He said: "So (it will be): thy Lord saith, That is easy for Me: and (We wish) to appoint him as a Sign unto men and a Mercy from Us. It is a matter (so) decreed." S. 19:16-21
There came Our Messengers to Abraham with glad tidings. They said, "Peace!" He answered, "Peace!" and hastened to entertain them with a roasted calf. But when he saw their hands not reaching towards the (meal), he felt some mistrust of them, and conceived a fear of them. They said: "Fear not: We have been sent against the people of Lüt." And his wife was standing (there), and she laughed: But We gave her glad tidings of Isaac, and after him, of Jacob. She said: "Alas for me! shall I bear a child, seeing I am an old woman, and my husband here is an old man? That would indeed be a wonderful thing!" They said: "Dost thou wonder at Allah's decree? The grace of Allah and His blessings on you, o ye people of the house! for He is indeed worthy of all praise, full of all glory!" When fear had passed from (the mind of) Abraham and the glad tidings had reached him, he began to plead with Us for Lüt's people. For Abraham was, without doubt, forbearing (of faults), compassionate, and given to penitence. O Abraham! Seek not this. The decree of thy Lord hath gone forth: for them there cometh a chastisement that cannot be turned back! When Our Messengers came to Lüt, he was grieved on their account and felt himself powerless (to protect) them. He said: This is a distressful day." And his people came rushing towards him, and they had been long in the habit of practicing abominations. He said: "O my People! Here are my daughters: they are purer for you (if ye marry)! Now fear Allah, and cover me not with disgrace about my guests! Is there not among you a single right-minded man?" They said: "Well dost thou know we have no need of thy daughters: indeed thou knowest quite well what we want!" He said: "Would that I had power to suppress you or that I could betake myself to some powerful support." (The Messengers) said: "O Lüt! We are Messengers from thy Lord! By no means shall they reach thee! now travel with thy family while yet a part of the night remains, and let not any of you look back: but thy wife (will remain behind): To her will happen what happens to the people. Morning is their time appointed: Is not the morning nigh?" When Our Decree issued, We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay, spread, layer on layer,- Marked as from thy Lord: Nor are they ever far from those who do wrong! S. 11:69-83
Tell them about the guests of Abraham. When they entered his presence and said, "Peace!" He said, "We feel afraid of you!" They said: "Fear not! We give thee glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge." He said: "Do ye give me glad tidings even though old age has seized me? Of what, then, is your good news?" They said: "We give thee glad tidings in truth: be not then in despair!" He said: "And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord, but such as go astray?" Abraham said: "What then is the business on which ye (have come), O ye messengers (of Allah)?" They said: "We have been sent to a people (deep) in sin, Excepting the adherents of Lüt: them We are certainly (charged) to save (from harm),- All - Except his wife, who, We have ascertained, will be among those who will lag behind." At length when the messengers arrived among the adherents of Lüt, He said: "Ye appear to be uncommon folk." They said: "Yea, we have come to thee to accomplish that of which they doubt. We have come to thee with the truth, and assuredly we tell the truth. Then travel by night with thy household, when a portion of the night (yet remains), and do thou go behind them: let no one amongst you look back, but pass on whither ye are ordered." And We made known this decree to him, that the last remnants of those (sinners) should be cut off by the morning. The inhabitants of the City came in (mad) joy (at news of the young men). Lüt said: "These are my guests: disgrace me not: But fear Allah, and shame me not." They said: "Did we not forbid thee (to speak) for all and sundry?" He said: "There are my daughters (to marry), if ye must act (so)." Verily, by thy life (O Prophet), in their wild intoxication, they wander in distraction, to and fro. But the (mighty) Blast overtook them at sunrise, And We turned (the cities) upside down, and rained down on them brimstones hard as baked clay. S. 15:51-74
Someone may interject here and claim that the spirit entities were not sent to people in general, but rather to God's appointed messengers. The only problem with this interpretation is that the angels didn't just appear to Abraham and Lot, but also to Mary, Sarah and to the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. These individuals were not messengers or prophets. In fact, the hadith claims that Gabriel actually appeared to Muhammad in the presence of others:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
One day while the Prophet was sitting in the company of some people, (The angel) Gabriel came and asked, "What is faith?"... Then that man (Gabriel) left and the Prophet asked his companions to call him back, but they could not see him. Then the Prophet said, "That was Gabriel who came to teach the people their religion." Abu 'Abdullah said: He (the Prophet) considered all that as a part of faith. (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 2, Number 47)
Narrated Abu Uthman:
I got the news that Gabriel came to the Prophet while Um Salama was present. Gabriel started talking to the Prophet and then left. The Prophet said to Um Salama, "(Do you know) who it was?" (or a similar question). She said, "It was Dihya (a handsome person amongst the companions of the Prophet )." Later on Um Salama said, "By Allah! I thought he was none but Dihya, till I heard the Prophet talking about Gabriel in his sermon." (The Sub-narrator asked Abu 'Uthman, "From where have you heard this narration?" He replied, "From Usama bin Zaid.") (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 56, Number 827)
"... Umar ibn al-Khattab, told me: One day we were sitting in the company of Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) when there appeared before us a man dressed in pure white clothes, his hair extraordinarily black. There were no signs of travel on him. None amongst us recognized him. At last he sat with the Apostle (peace be upon him) He knelt before him placed his palms on his thighs and said: Muhammad, inform me about al-Islam. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Al-Islam implies that you testify that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, and you establish prayer, pay Zakat, observe the fast of Ramadan, and perform pilgrimage to the (House) if you are solvent enough (to bear the expense of) the journey. He (the inquirer) said: You have told the truth. He (Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: It amazed us that he would put the question and then he would himself verify the truth ... He (the narrator, Umar ibn al-Khattab) said: Then he (the inquirer) went on his way but I stayed with him (the Holy Prophet) for a long while. He then, said to me: Umar, do you know who this inquirer was? I replied: Allah and His Apostle knows best. He (the Holy Prophet) remarked: He was Gabriel (the angel). He came to you in order to instruct you in matters of religion." (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0001)
This indicates that much like Harut and Marut, God had in fact sent spirit creatures to other human beings.
Yet the problem gets even worse. According to other passages, Allah chose only human messengers to convey the message:
"Nor did We send before thee messengers ANY BUT MEN, whom We did inspire,- (men) from the people of the towns. Do they not travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those before them? But the home of the Hereafter is best, for those who do right. Will ye not then understand?" S. 12:109
"Before thee, also, the messengers We sent were BUT MEN, to whom We granted inspiration: If ye know this not, ask of those who possess the Message. Nor did We give them bodies that ate no food, nor were they immortals." S. 21:7-8
And the messengers whom We sent before thee were ALL (MEN) who ate food and walked through the markets. We have made some of you as a trial for others: will ye have patience? For Allah is One Who sees (all things). Those who do not hope to meet Us (for Judgment) say: "Why are not the angels sent down to us, or (why) do we not see our Lord?" Indeed they have an arrogant conceit of themselves, and mighty is the insolence of their impiety! S. 25:20-21
Behold, the messengers came to them, from before them and behind them, (preaching): "Serve none but Allah." They said, "If our Lord had so pleased, He would certainly have sent down angels. So we disbelieve in the message you were sent with." S. 41:14
These verses clearly contradict the passages that state that Allah sent Messengers from both angels and Jinn. Ibn Kathir notes in relation to 12:109:
All of the Prophets are Humans and Men
Allah states that He only sent Prophets and Messengers from among men AND NOT FROM AMONG WOMEN, as this Ayah clearly states. Allah did not reveal religious and legislative laws to any woman from among the daughters of Adam. This is the belief of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaah. Shaykh Abu Al-Hasan, Ali bin Ismail. Al-Ashari mentioned that it is the view of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamaah, that there was no female Prophets, but there were truthful believers from among women. Allah mentions the MOST honorable of the truthful female believers, Maryam, the daughter of Imran, when He said ...
<The Messiah [Isa], son of Maryam [Mary], was no more than a Messenger; many were the Messengers that passed away before him. His mother was a Siddiqah [truthful believer]. They both used to eat food.> [5:75]
Therefore, the best description Allah gave her is Siddiqah. Had she been a Prophet, Allah would have mentioned this fact when He was praising her qualities and honor. Therefore, Mary was a truthful believer according to the words of the Quran.
All Prophets were Humans not Angels
Ad-Dahhak reported that Ibn Abbas commented on Allahs statement ...
<And We sent not before (s Messengers) any but men>
"They were not from among the residents of the heaven (angels), as you claimed." This statement of Ibn Abbas is supported by Allah's statement ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 5, Surah Hud to Surat Al-Isra, Verse 38 [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, Lahore; First Edition: July 2000], pp. 221-222; bold and capital emphasis ours)
As a side note, the Holy Bible disagrees with both the Quran and Islam regarding women not functioning in the role of a prophet or messenger since several are mentioned by name. They are Moses' sister Miriam (Exodus 15:20; Micah 6:4), Deborah (Judges 4-5), Huldah (2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22), an unnamed prophetess (Isaiah 8:3), Anna (Luke 2:36), and the four daughters of Philip the evangelist (Acts 21:9).
Returning to Ibn Kathir, here are his comments on 21:7-8:
The Messengers are no more than Human Beings
Here Allah refutes those who denied that human Messengers could be sent ...
<And We sent not before you but men to who We revealed.>
meaning, all the Messengers who came before you were men, human beings. There were NO ANGELS AMONG THEM ...
<So ask the people of the Reminder if you do not know.>
meaning, ask the people of knowledge among the nations such as the Jews and Christians and other groups: were the Messengers who came to you human beings? Indeed there were human beings. This is a part of the perfect blessing of Allah towards His creation: He sent to them Messengers from among themselves so that they could receive the Message from them and learn from them. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 6, Surat Al-Isra, Verse 39 To the end of Surat Al-Muminun, First Edition: July 2000, p. 427; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Furthermore, other passages indicate that the Jinn converted to Islam due to the preaching of human messengers such as Muhammad:
Behold, We turned towards thee a company of Jinns (quietly) listening to the Qurán: when they stood in the presence thereof, they said, "Listen in silence!" When the (reading) was finished, they returned to their people, to warn them. They said, "O our people! We have heard a Book revealed after Moses, confirming what came before it: it guides (men) to the Truth and to a Straight Path. O our people, HEARKEN TO THE ONE WHO INVITES (YOU) TO ALLAH, and believe in him: He will forgive you your faults, and deliver you from a Chastisement Grievous. If any does not hearken to the one who invites (us) to Allah, he cannot escape in the earth, and no protectors can he have besides Allah: such men (are) in manifest error." S. 46:29-32
Say: It has been revealed to me that a company of Jinns listened (to the Qurán). They said, "We have really heard a wonderful Recital! It gives guidance to the Right, and we have believed therein: we shall not join (in worship) any (gods) with our Lord. And Exalted is the Majesty of our Lord: He has taken neither a wife nor a son. There were some foolish ones among us, who used to utter extravagant lies against Allah. But we do think that no man or Jinn should say aught that untrue against Allah. True, there were persons among mankind who took shelter with persons among the Jinns, but they increased them into father error. And they (came to) think as ye thought, that Allah would not raise up any one (to Judgment). And we pried into the secrets of heaven; but we found it filled with stern guards and flaming fires. We used, indeed, to sit there in (hidden) stations, to (steal) a hearing; but any who listen now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush. And we understand not whether ill is intended to those on earth, or whether their Lord (really) intends to guide them to right conduct. There are among us some that are righteous, and some the contrary: we follow divergent paths. But we think that we can by no means frustrate Allah throughout the earth, nor can we escape Him by flight. And as for us, SINCE WE HAVE LISTENED TO THE GUIDANCE, WE HAVE ACCEPTED IT: and any who believes in his Lord has no fear, either of a short (account) or of any injustice. Amongst us are some that submit their wills (to Allah), and some that swerve from justice. Now those who submit their wills - they have sought out (the path) of right conduct: But those who swerve,- they are (but) fuel for Hell-fire-" S. 72:1-15
This implies that Allah used men such as Muhammad, and not Jinn, to convert the Jinn to Islam. Interestingly, the Quran states that Muhammad is a mercy to all creatures, which naturally includes the Jinn:
And We have sent you (O Muhammad SAW) not but as a mercy for the 'Alamîn (mankind, jinns and all that exists). S. 21:107 Hilali-Khan
This supports our view that Allah used men such as Muhammad to preach to Jinns. The following are Ibn Kathir's comments on S. 6:130 which relates to this specific point:
We should note here that the Messengers are from among mankind only, not vice versa, as Mujahid, Ibn Jurayj and others from the Imams of the Salaf and later generations have stated ...
Thus sending the prophethood and the Book exclusively through the offspring of the Prophet Ibrahim. No one has claimed that there were Prophets from among the Jinns before the time of Ibrahim, but not after that ...
Therefore, concerning prophethood, the Jinns follow mankind in this regard and this is why Allah said ...
<And (remember), when We sent towards you a group of the Jinn, listening to the Qurán. When they stood in the presence thereof, they said: "Listen in silence!" And when it was finished, they returned to their people, as warners. They said: "O our people! Verily, we have heard a Book sent down after Musa, confirming what came before it: it guides to the truth and to the straight way. O our people! Respond to Allahs caller, and believe in him: He (Allah) will forgive you your sins, and will save you from a painful torment (i.e. Hell-fire). And whosoever does not respond to Allahs caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no helpers for him besides Allah. Those are in manifest error.> [46:29-32] (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 3, Parts 6, 7 & 8 (Surat An-Nisa, Verse 148 to the end of Surat Al-Anam), First Edition: January 2000, pp. 470-471; bold emphasis ours)
"... Allah transfered the prophethood from the Children of Israel to the Arab, Qurashi, Makkan, unlettered Prophet, the Final and Last of all prophets and the Messenger of Allah to all mankind and jinn ..." (Volume 2, Parts 3, 4, & 5 (Surat Al-Baqarah, Verse 253, to Surat An-Nisa, Verse 147), p. 139; bold emphasis ours)
And on S. 3:32 he writes:
"... Indeed, Allah does not like whoever does this, even if he claims that he loves Allah and seeks a means of approach to Him, unless, and until, he follows the unlettered Prophet, the Final Messenger from Allah TO THE TWO CREATIONS: mankind and the Jinn ..." (ibid., p. 146; bold and capital emphasis ours)
Finally, regarding S. 7:158 we read:
Allah says His Prophet and Messenger Muhammad...
<Say>, O Muhammad ...
<O mankind!> this is directed to mankind red and black, and the Arabs and non-Arabs alike... <I am sent to you all as the Messenger of Allah,>
This Ayah mentions the Prophet's honor and greatness, for he is the Final Prophet who was sent to all mankind [and the Jinns] ...
There are many other Ayat and more Hadiths than can be counted on this subject. It is also well-known in our religion that the Messenger of Allah was sent to all mankind [and the Jinns]... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 4, Surat Al-A'raf to the end of Surah Yunus, pp. 182-183)
If the Quran is correct that Allah only chose men to be his messengers, then Ibn Kathir's comments that Allah sent the prophets and messengers to the Jinn must be correct. Otherwise, this would contradict the following Quranic verses:
"O ye assembly of Jinns and men! came there not unto you messengers from amongst you, setting forth unto you My Signs, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say: "We bear witness against ourselves." It was the life of this world that deceived them. So against themselves will they bear witness that they rejected Faith. (The messengers were sent) thus, for thy Lord would not destroy the towns unjustly whilst their occupants were unwarned. S. 6:130-131
For We assuredly sent amongst every People (Ummah- Community) a Messenger, (with the Command), "Serve Allah, and eschew Evil": of the People were some whom Allah guided, and some on whom error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth). S. 16:36
Who receiveth guidance, receiveth it for his own benefit: who goeth astray doth so to his own loss. No bearer of burdens can bear the burden of another: nor would We punish until We had sent a messenger (to give warning). S. 17:15
Verily We have sent thee in truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and as a warner: and there never was a people, without a warner having lived among them (in the past). S. 35:24
Who is more unjust than one who invents a lie against Allah or rejects His Signs? For such, their portion appointed must reach them from the Book (of Decrees): until, when Our messengers (of death) arrive and take their souls, they say: "Where are the things that ye used to invoke besides Allah." They will reply, "They have left us in the lurch," And they will bear witness against themselves, that they had rejected Allah. He will say: "Enter ye in the company of the Peoples who passed away before you - men and Jinns, - into the Fire." Every time a new People enters, it curses its sister-People (that went before), until they follow each other, all into the Fire. Saith the last about the first: "Our Lord! it is these that misled us: so give them a double punishment in the Fire." He will say: "Doubled for all": but this ye do not know. S. 7:37-38
"Many are the Jinns and men we have made for Hell." S. 7:179
"In truth thy Lord destroyed not the townships tyrannously while their folk were doing right. And if thy Lord had willed, He verily would have made mankind one nation, yet they cease not differing, Save him on whom thy Lord hath mercy; and for that He did create them. And the Word of thy Lord hath been fulfilled: Verily I shall fill hell with the jinn and mankind together." S. 11:117-119
Therefore flee unto Allah: I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open! And make not another an object of worship with Allah: I am from Him a Warner to you, clear and open! Similarly, no messenger came to the Peoples before them, but they said (of him) in like manner, "A sorcerer, or one possessed"! Is this the legacy they have transmitted, one to another? Nay, they are themselves a people transgressing beyond bounds! So turn away from them: not thine is the blame. But remind; for reminding benefits the Believers. I have only created Jinns and men, that they may serve Me. S. 51:50-56
These verses teach that Allah does not punish anyone without first sending them a warner. Since the Quran teaches that some of the Jinn will be thrown into hell, this means that Allah sent human messengers to warn the Jinn. This means that Amjad's claim that Allah would only send Jinn to preach to other Jinn, is wrong since the Quran denies that Jinn were sent as messengers of Allah.
Yet, this still leaves us with the problem with Allah sending angels as messengers when elsewhere Allah claimed that all the messengers were human beings. Such conflicting passages led Islamicist F.E. Peters to write:
"None of the pronouns is identified in these verses, though there is little doubt that the recipient of the vision was Muhammad. Who was seen is less clear, and if Muhammad's being referred to as his 'servant' in verse 10 suggests that is God Himself, the Muslim tradition preferred to understand that it was Gabriel in all the other instances, chiefly because later in his own career Muhammad, as we shall see, had unmistakably come to the same conclusion. But there is no other mention of Gabriel in the Meccan suras, and it appears far more likely that God Himself first appeared to Muhammad 'on the high horizon' and then on a second occasion by the lotus tree near the 'garden of the dwelling' to show him 'the signs of his Lord.' Muhammad was clearly earthbound when he had his first experience, but where the latter vision took place, whether in a known locality in Mecca or, as is often thought, in some heavenly venue, is not further indicated. Neither is there anything to suggest that it was on either of these occasions that Muhammad received the words of the Quran.
If Sura 53:1-18 seems to say that Muhammad believed that on two distinct occasions he had a vision of God, who thereby prompted him and showed to him His signs, the second vision is referred to only in briefing in passing. (Quran 81:19-27)
Although verse 10 appears to refer back to the same vision 'on the high horizon' mentioned in 53:7-9, the Muslim commentators saw in the first three verses of this passage from Sura 81 an unmistakable reference to Gabriel. But there is abundant evidence that Muhammad not only did not identify Gabriel as the agent of revelation until his Medina days, but that while at Mecca he was criticized for the fact that God had not sent an angelic messenger: 'They said: "If your Lord had so pleased, He would certainly have sent down angels; as it is, we disbelieve your mission".' (Quran 41:14)
Muhammad's earliest response did not encourage them to think that there was in fact an angel in God's revelation to him:
They say: 'You to whom the Reminder is being sent down, truly you are jinn-possessed! Why do you not bring angels to us if you are one of those who posses truth? We do not send down the angels except when required, and if they came, there would be not respite.' (Ibid., 15:6-8)
'And before you as well the Messengers we sent down were but men, to whom We granted inspiration. And if you do not understand that, ask the people who possess the Reminder.' (Ibid., 16:43)" (Peters, Muhammad and the Origins of Islam [State of University Press New York, Albany 1994], pp. 142-143; bold emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathir attempts to reconcile the obvious contradictions between these conflicting passages:
<... that they may obtain understanding, in religion and warn their people when they return to them, so that they might be cautious (of evil).> (9:122)
This Ayah has been used as evidence that the Jinns have warners from among themselves, but no Messengers. There is no doubt that Allah did not send Messengers from among the Jinns, because He says ...
<And We did not send before you as Messengers any but men, to whom We revealed from among the people of cities.> (12:109)
And Allah says ...
<And We never sent before you any of the Messengers but verily they ate food and walked in the markets.> (25:20)
And He says about Ibrahim Al-Khalil, upon him be peace ...
<And We placed in his descendants prophethood and Scripture.> (29:27)
Thus, every Prophet whom Allah sent after Ibrahim was from his offspring and progeny. As for Allahs saying in Surat Al-Anam ...
<O company of Jinns and human beings! Did there not come to you Messengers from among you> (6:130)
It only applies to the two kinds collectively, but specifically pertains to just one of them, which is the human. This is like Allahs saying ...
<From both of them (salty and fresh waters) emerge pearl and Marjan.> (55:22)
Although He said "both of them" this applies to only one of the two types of water (salty water). Allah then explains how the Jinns warned the people ... (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (Abridged), Volume 9, Surat Al-Jathiyah to the end of Surat Al-Munafiqun, First Edition: September 2000, pp. 76-77; bold emphasis ours)
Ibn Kathir's attempt of harmonization will not work since it still fails to resolve the problem of Allah sending angels such as Harut and Marut as messengers to Babylon.
In light of the stated insurmountable problems, we leave it to the Muslims to reconcile these glaring contradictions.
In the service of the eternal Son of the Most High, Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and eternal King forever. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. We love you Lord of eternal glory.
Articles by Sam Shamoun
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