In this post Hazrat Inayat Khan now gives more detail about the angelic realm and the interaction between humans and angels. The previous post in the series is here.
The Guardian Angel is a term known to many. This angelic protection comes to some souls on earth; souls who are walking on the earth, and yet are linked in some way or other with the heavenly spheres. Often one sees an innocent child being saved from an accident; and often a person is warned to save a child at the moment when it is in danger. This guardian angel also appears in the same form as the angels sent to people on various duties. There are recording angels, who take a record of our good and bad actions; and the most interesting thing is that those who keep the record of the good actions do not keep the record of the bad actions. Those who keep a record of the bad actions are other angels; and there is a further explanation given by the prophet on this subject, that often a discussion takes place between those who keep a record of the good deeds and those who record the evil deeds. The former do not believe in the evil deeds because they are only conscious of man’s goodness; they cannot believe that one who is good can be bad also. Also those who record the good points want their record to be filled and the other angels want their record to be filled, and so there is a great rivalry between them. Is this not the condition which we see in human nature? There is no person living on earth of whom all say good things, and there is no person living about whom all say bad things and no one says any good. And the most interesting point for a keen observer of life is how each tries to prove his argument to be correct.
In Sufi terms these two are called the angels of Khair and of Khar, and the difference in the spelling is very small. This suggests how little difference there is between goodness and badness. As Omar Khayyam says:
A hair perhaps divides the false and true;
Yes, and a single Alif were the clue,
Could you but find it – to the treasure house,
And, peradventure, to the Master too.
The ancient belief is that immediately after a dead person is buried these two kinds of angels come to his grave with their records and dispute about him. But do we not see in human nature the same thing? People do not even wait until after death; they begin to say things about the people they know, about their friends and foes, and dispute about them even during their lifetime. The ancient belief was that after a dead person is put into his grave and buried, two angels come to ask him questions, and by this cross examination to prove their arguments for and against. Their names are Munkir and Nakir. There is a story in the Bible that Jacob wrestled with an angel all night; and before the breaking of the dawn Jacob won, and the angels asked his name, blessed him, and gave him a new name. The interpretation of this is that the illuminated souls of the angels coming into contact with earthly beings are in conflict, and that conflict ends when man has given up his earthly point of view and has adopted the heavenly point of view. Then there is no more conflict, but a blessing. And the asking of the name is a paradox, for when once the false ego is crushed, the soul does not know what its real name is; for the old name belongs to the false ego, and he is given the true name, Israel, the great Name of God. In reality there is only one kind of angel; but their relation with human beings, and their desire to experience life through human beings, divides them into nine degrees. Then there is a belief that there are angels who are the inhabitants of heaven, and others who live in the contrary place. Those of the heaven are called Nur, light, and the others Nar, which means fire in Arabic. This is an extreme point of view; in reality, they can be distinguished as two kinds, Jelal and Jamal, angels of power and angels of beauty. A question arises as to why the angels who descend on earth as angels do not come as human beings, for every human being was originally an angel. The angels who are related with human beings are souls now in the angelic world, and they keep connection with human beings because of their wish; and now that they have returned from the earthly regions to the angelic heavens, they still keep in touch with the earth, either being on a certain duty or because of their own pleasure.
To be continued…