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Last Updated: 2007/05/20
Summary of question
How old are the angels? Do the high angles die? How?
How old are the angels? Do the high angles die? How?
Concise answer

According to narrations, the angels were created after the creation of prophet Mohammad’s (s) and the imam's divine spirit. All of them, even Gabriel, Israfil, and other high angels, will die before Judgment Day. About how the angels die, possibility, they will die by breaking the relationship between their soul and their mithali existence or ending their continuous activities.

Detailed Answer

According to various narrations, the angels are the oldest creation of Allah, because in our traditions, it is said that the angel's creation was after the creation of prophet’s (s) and pure imams’ light and souls[1]. Again according to numerous and mutawatar traditions, the first creature of almighty Allah was the light of prophet Mohammad (s) and the pure imams, then Allah created the skies and the earth and then the angels.

Jaber Ibn Abdullah Ansari said that he heard Prophet Mohammad say: “Verily, Allah created Ali, Fatima, Hassan, Hussein, the imams and me from the same light, and then the light of our followers… then skies, planets, and angels."[2]

But about the angels' death, before the judgment day, all of creatures will die as it said in Quran: "And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those who are in the heavens and those who are in the earth shall swoon, except those who Allah pleases."[3] At first, this verse says that all those who are in skies and earth will die including all of the angels, and then there are some exceptions. So, we realize by this verse that some creatures will not die at sound of the trumpet. Who are they? There is a talk among commentators; some groups believe that there is a group of great angles such as: Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Israel. In another narration when Prophet Mohammad (s) recites this verse, people asked him who the exceptions are. He answered: Gabriel, Israfil and the angel of death and when all spirits was taken, they will die by order of Allah.[4] Another narration adds the carriers of Allah’s throne besides these angels[5].

In any case, by these narrations[6] and others that said: When the time of first horn comes, Israfil will blow on the trumpet and all creatures that have a soul will die except Israfil who will die later by Allah`s order.[7] And also by some verses like: "All things will die except His face,"[8] It is generally said that all things will die except Allah's face. We can use this verse to show that this rest group will eventually die as there is not any creatures that will remain alive in any part of the world, except Almighty Allah.

How do angels die? It must be said that what we call death (the spirit leaving the body and the material world) does not have any meaning for angels because they do not have bodies for their soul to leave. For this, there are some possibilities about what the essence of their death is:

The first possibility means death by breaking the relationship between their soul and their mithali[9] existence[10]

The second possibility means, ending their continuous activities and losing their perceptual ability.


[1] Bihar al Anvar, volume 15, page 8 and volume 18, page 345 and volume 24,page 88

[2] Ibid, volume 26, pages 344 and 343

[3] Zumar (the companies) verse 68

[4] Bihar al Anvar, volume 79, page 184

[5] Ibid, volume 6, page 329

[6] Ibid, volume 6, page329

[7] Ibid, volume 6, page 324

[8] Qasas, verse 88

[9] A Mithali body is a body that has a shape but does not have any other characteristic of a material body – similar to a body seen in a dream.

[10] Refer to Tafsir Namoneh volume 19 page 541

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