Jibreel (AS) is the first being that Allah (SWT) ever gave life to. He was created before heaven and hell as per the hadith recorded in Bukhari.
When Allah (SWT) created the Garden, He asked the Angel Jibreel (AS) to go and take a look at it. So he went and looked at the Paradise and at all that Allah had prepared for its inhabitants. Then he said “O My Lord! By Your Honour, No one who hears about this place would stay away from it.” Then Allah surrounded the Paradise by difficulties and hardships and asked Jibreel again to go and take another look. Jibreel went again and after looking at it came back and said “O My Lord! By Your Honour, I am afraid now that no one will be able to enter it.” Then after Allah created the Hell, He asked Jibreel to go and take a look. When Jibreel came back he said “O My Lord! By Your Honour, no one who hears about it will ever enter it.” Then Allah surrounded the Hell by all kinds of lusts and desires and asked Jibreel to take another look. This time after looking at it Jibreel said “O My Lord! By Your Honour, I am afraid that no one will be able to avoid it.”
The name Jibreel is broken down and translates as: Jibra (‘Abd/Slave) + Eel (Allah) = Jibreel (Abdullah/Slave of Allah). All inhabitants of heaven obey and respect Jibreel, not because he is fierce but because he is trustworthy. One of Jibreel’s names is an-Namoos, the keeper of the secret (revelation). This is the opposite of jasoos, a spy, which generally has negative or evil connotations. Other variations of the name include Jibraeel and Jibreen. Sometimes the Prophet (SAW) would say Jibreel SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam.
Jibreel (AS) apportions the commands of Allah (SWT) and is responsible for revelation and war, war being against those who reject revelation. He is responsible for the light in our heart through bringing us the revelation. He brings us our soul and gives us life by giving us revelation.
Jibreel (AS) has 600 wings… Pearls and diamonds drip from these wings… Dehya ibn Kalbi (RA) was the most handsome of the Companions of Muhammad (SAW) and it is narrated that he resembled Jibreel…
Jibreel (AS) had relationships with many of the Prophets of Allah, as detailed in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and briefly outlined below:
– Idris (AS)
He was the first Prophet to write with a pen. Jibreel took him to the heavens to the Angel of Death in the fourth heaven to ask how much time he had to live, and his soul was taken there and then.
– Ibrahim (AS)
Jibreel appeared when Ibrahim (AS) was thrown in the fire, and asked if he could help Ibrahim, who responded that Allah (SWT) is enough for him. We learn that Jibreel (AS) always wanted to help the prophets.
Jibreel also came to help Haajar, the wife of Ibrahim (AS), tapping his heel to produce the water of Zamzam.
A group of Angels also went to the house of Ibrahim (AS) to give him the glad tidings of a righteous son in his old age, and that they are there to destroy the nation of Lut (AS).
– Lut (AS)
– Yusuf (AS)
As soon as Yusuf (AS) was thrown into the well by his brothers, Jibreel (AS) was standing at the bottom of the well to catch him. He caught him and comforted him (AS). As soon as Yusuf (AS) left the protection of his father, Allah (SWT) and Jibreel (AS) became his protectors.
– Zakariyya (AS)
Zakariyya (AS) came to Maryam (AS) asking her where she gets all her provisions from. He was given the glad tidings of a son, Yahya (AS).
– Maryam (AS)
When Maryam (AS) went to the east to contemplate and be away from the people, Jibreel (AS) came in the form of a perfect symmetrical man, whereupon she told him to fear Allah in case he had bad intentions, so he changed to his angelic form. He (AS) gave Maryam (AS) the glad tidings of Isa (AS).
– Isa (AS)
Jibreel (AS) raised Isa (AS) to Allah (SWT) when the people came to kill him. Isa was raised to Allah and Judas was made to look like Isa and was killed instead of Isa (AS).
– Muhammad (SAW)
Jibreel (AS) was the wali of the Prophet (SAW). Their first interaction was when Jibreel came down and Muhammad’s heart was cleansed as a child. At Mount Hira, Jibreel (AS) came to Muhammad (SAW) in the form of a human being and the process of Revelation began with Jibreel squeezing Muhammad (SAW) and ordering him to read.
The nature of revelation was such that it caused angels to faint. The sound would be like the pulling of a heavy chain over Mount Safa. Angels would ask Jibreel what Allah (SWT) had said, and he would reply ‘haqq’ (Abu Dawud). Angels could not handle the Revelation, so imagine the weight upon the heart of the Prophet (SAW). Revelation would shatter a mountain. The Prophet said the Revelation was like the ringing of a bell and then he would remember what Jibreel (AS) had brought to him from Allah (SWT). Sometimes he (SAW) would lose consciousness and sweat on a cold day.
The Prophet (SAW) was on a camel when Surah An’am revealed. 70000 angels brought it down. It was a harsh task, hence the squeezing by Jibreel in Hira as a preparation.
Jibreel (AS) had modesty. He would not enter when Muhammad (SAW) was in the lap of Khadijah (RA) or when Aisha (RA) was not fully covered.
Jibreel (AS) would teach the Prophet the Sunnah as well as the Qur’an in the same way, for example when he (AS) told the Prophet to take his shoes off while praying as there was dirt on them.
Umar (RA) who said “One day while we were sitting with the Messenger of Allah (SAW), there came before us a man with extremely white clothing and extremely black hair. There were no signs of travel on him and none of us knew him. He came and sat next to the Prophet (SAW). He supported his knees up against the knees of the Prophet (SAW) and put his hand on his thighs. He said, ‘O Muhammad, tell me about Islam.’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, ‘Islam is to testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, to establish the prayers, to pay the zakat, to fast the month of Ramadan, and to make pilgrimage to the House if you have the means to do so.’ He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully or correctly.’ We were amazed that he asks the question and then says that he had spoken truthfully. He said, ‘Tell me about Imaan (faith).’ The Messenger of Allah (SAW) responded, ‘It is to believe in Allah, His angles, His books, His messengers, the Last Day and to believe in the divine decree, both the good and the evil thereof.’ He said, ‘You have spoken truthfully.’ He said, ‘Tell me about al-Ihsaan (goodness).’ The Prophet (SAW) answered, ‘It is that you worship Allah as if you see Him. And even though you do not see Him, you know He sees you.’ He said, ‘Tell me about the time of the Hour,’ The Prophet (SAW) answered, ‘The one being asked does not know more than the one asking.’ He said, ‘Tell me about it’s signs.’ He answered, ‘The slave-girl shall give birth to her master, and you will see the barefooted, scantily-clothed, destitute shepards competing in constructing lofty buildings.’ Then he went away. I stayed for a long time. Then he (SAW) said, ‘O Umar, do you know who the questioner was?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He said, ‘It was the angel Jibreel who came to teach you your religion.’ (Muslim)
Notes taken at a course by Sheikh Omar Suleiman in London