Concept of Angels in Hinduism and
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
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)
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 Lam 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
5. The Qur’an is mentioned in the previous scriptures and in scriptures of other
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
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
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.
iii) There is no unanimous opinion regarding the date of compilation or
revelation of the four Vedas. According to Swami Dayanand, who was the founder
of the Arya Samaj, the Vedas were revealed 1310 millions of years ago and
according to other scholars they are not more than 4000 years old.
iv) Similarly there is a difference of opinion regarding the places where these
books were revealed and the Rishis to whom these Scriptures were given. In spite
of these differences, the Vedas are considered the most authentic of the Hindu
Scriptures and the real foundations of the Hindu Dharma.
i) The word ‘Upanishad’ is derived from ‘Upa’ meaning ‘near’, ‘ni’ which means
‘down’ and ‘shad’ means ‘to sit’. Therefore Upanishads means sitting down near.
Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the sacred doctrines.
According to Samkara, Upanishad is derived from the root word ‘sad’ which means
‘to loosen’, ‘to reach’ or ‘to destroy’, with ‘upa’ and ‘ni’ as prefix.
Therefore Upanishad means ‘Brahma knowledge’ by which ignorance is loosened or
The number of Upanishads exceeds 200 though the Indian tradition puts it at 108.
There are 10 principal Upanishads however some consider them to be more than 10,
while others state that there are 18.
ii) The Vedanta meant originally the Upanishads, though the word is now used for
the system of philosophy based on the Upanishad. Literally, Vedanta means the
end of the Veda, Vedasya-antah, the conclusion as well as the goal of Vedas. The
Upanishads are the concluding portions of the Vedas and chronologically they
come at the end of the Vedic period.
iii) Some Pundits consider the Upanishad to be superior to the Vedas.
3. ITIHAS – EPIC
There are two Itihas or epics namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
Ramayana is an epic, which deals with the life story of Rama. Most Hindus are
aware of the story of the Ramayana.
Mahabharata is another great epic, which speaks about the feud between the
cousins: the Pandavas and the Kauravas. It also contains the life story of
Krishna. The story of this epic, the Mahabharata, is also commonly known to most
4. BHAGVAD GITA
Bhagvad Gita is the most popular and well known amongst all the Hindu
scriptures. It is a part of the epic Mahabharata and contains 18 Chapters in
Bhishma Parva Chapters 25 to 42. It contains the advice given by Krishna, in the
battlefield, to Arjun.
Next in order of authenticity are the Puranas, which are the most widely
read scripture. The word ‘Puranas’ means ‘ancient’ The Puranas contain the
History of the Creation of the Universe, history of the early Aryan Tribes and
life stories of the divines and deities of the Hindus. The Puranas are revealed
books like the Vedas, which were revealed simultaneously with the Vedas or at
sometime close to the revelation of the Vedas
Maharishi Vyasa has divided the Puranas into 18 voluminous parts. Chief among
the Puranas is a book known as Bhavishya Purana. It is called so because it
gives prophecies of future events. The Hindus consider the Bhavishya Purana to
be the word of God. Maharishi Vyasa is considered a mere compiler of the book
the real author being God.
6. OTHER SCRIPTURES
There are several other Hindu Scriptures like Manu Smriti etc.
7. MOST AUTHENTIC HINDU SCRIPTURES ARE THE VEDAS
Amongst all the Hindu Scriptures, the Vedas are considered the most authentic.
No other Hindu Scriptures overrule the Vedas. If there is a contradiction
between the Vedas and any other Hindu scripture, the opinion of the Veda will
prevail, according to Hindu Scholars.
Thus we have examined and highlighted similarities between the concept of angels
and revelation in Islam and in Hinduism as mentioned in their respective
scriptures. In subsequent articles in the present series, we shall study the
similarities between the concept of prophethood, life after death, fate &
destiny and worship in Islam and in Hinduism.
And all praises are for the One and Only God and Creator Allah, who alone is
worthy of devotion, complete submission and worship.
English translation of verses of the Glorious Qur’an is taken from Abdullah