Angels Spread their Wings

Ahmad R transmitted in his Musnad as did the people of the Sunan that Abu’d-Darda’ RA said:

“I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘Allah will make the path to the Garden easy for anyone who travels a path in search of knowledge. Angels spread their wings for the seeker of knowledge out of pleasure for what he is doing. Everyone in the heavens and everyone in the earth asks forgiveness for a man of knowledge, even the fish in the water. The superiority of the man of knowledge to the man of worship is like the superiority of the moon to all the planets. The men of knowledge are the heirs of the Prophets. The Prophets bequeathe neither dinar nor dirham; they bequeathe knowledge. Whoever takes it has taken an ample portion.’

***

What does the phrase ‘Angels spread their wings for the seeker of knowledge’ mean?

Ibn Rajb’s Opinion [from ‘The World of Angels’ by Sh. Abdul Hamid Kishk]

Ibn Rajab said, “People disagree about the interpretation of the angels spreading their wings. Some of them apply its literal meaning, and say that what is meant is unfurling the wings and extending them to the seekers of knowledge in order to carry them on their wings to the places in the earth in which they are seeking knowledge, to help them in their quest and to make it easy for them. Some of them explain the spreading of the wings showing humility on their part and humbleness before the seeker of knowledge.” Ibn Rajab continued, “The meaning of the expression is open to question because the angels really have wings whereas humans do not. Some of them explain it as meaning the angels spreading their wings over the gatherings of dhikr up to the heaven as has come clearly in the haditb of Abu Hurayra. Something similar is related in some versions of the marfu’ hadith of Safwan:’The angels spread their wings over the seeker of knowledge and then one on top of the other until they reach the lowest heaven out of their love for what he seeks.’ Perhaps this statement is the nearest to it, and Allah knows best.”

Ibn Qudamah’s Opinion (as narrated by IbnabiUkhti on the authority of Sh. Waleed Baysouni)

“Whenever the Angels see the student of knowledge walking, they do not fly over the student while he/she passes (out of respect)! The meaning of ‘they spread their wings’ means either they literally put their wings out on which the student walks or it has a connotation of protection and humility for them.”

What an Eeman booster!

I know it’s a lame analogy but like how we know that in movies, the hero is ready to put his jacket on the floor over a dirty puddle so his heroine can walk over it without any trouble. He does it as a gesture of respect, care and possibly love.

This popular hadith in itself is so precious but considering what the Angels, the Creation of Heavens (not the earth) do…how beautifully they respect the seeker of knowledge! They spread their wings for the students… Allahu Akbar!  Seems like a divine red-carpet treatment before reaching Jannah!

I mean we care so much about what people on earth say and how they respect us. We give it so much weight. But looking at how the Angels, who are always obedient, respect us: surely, this is enough of a reason for a Muslim to seek knowledge even though this is just a glimpse of the reward and honor associated with seeking ‘Ilm.

This piece of tafseer of the hadith has made my heart glow with Eeman.

I knew I always loved Angel Jibreel AS but now I really love all of them so much that I want to meet them soon inshaa’Allah. Obviously only the Angels of Glad tidings.

A human is surrounded by Angels from the time the Rooh is breathed into the womb till the Angel of Death takes his/her life by the Command of Allah SWT.

Allah SWT loves humans so much and His Love can be seen how the Angels protect and pray for us all the time!

I officially put this hadith in my ‘precious possessions’.

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2 Responses to “Angels Spread their Wings”

  1. Assalamu ‘alaykum,

    Very interesting ma sha Allah. Nice blog by the way. Please visit mine sometime.

  2. Aslamo Alikum,

    I have shared this (the importance of knowledge) with great student who is, I don’t know, may be athiest, in a hope, God will guide that person with this.

    Let’s pray for that person and all mankind. Ameen.

    Jazak Allah.

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