In the Wikipedia page on Islamic views of angels, it's mentioned that they're messengers with wings.

Does Islam offer an explanation for the purpose behind these wings?

  • 1
    wing means organizational wing. i.e. the groups of angels working for Jibril. like a president having a wing per each minister. Jan 31, 2014 at 16:11
  • only a hint< angels have wing may imply they are given some jobs and they have responsibilities in this universe.
    – owari
    Jan 31, 2014 at 20:51
  • @owari so the wings don't have a biological function such as enabling them to fly? Jan 31, 2014 at 23:03
  • what I can say is that they have bodies, not necessarily like ours but anyway they have bodies (and they will die before the Day). In Quran Allah talks about hearth and chest but means concepts not exactly the same as the limbs of body, although we also have such limbs as hearth and chest. Also I can say not all the angels have the same bodies (almost clear from Ahadeeth that explain their different creations), so wings MIGHT have different meaning for them but what is meant by Quran is probably not limbs of their bodies if they have any such limbs, IMO, but rather about their functionality.
    – owari
    Jan 31, 2014 at 23:25
  • @LarryHarson, today I consulted a scholar who explained angels have no bodies so the wings can have no material aspect, I counted all my reasons for them being restricted to time, being evolved, having material bodies (material not like ours but like light), and else, and he rejected them by saying what the scholars believe in but honestly I was not convinced. I will be convinced if fully understand it as the only possible way for explaining all the available data or if find some Ahadeeth about it.
    – owari
    Feb 1, 2014 at 14:05

2 Answers 2


Praise be to Allah, Who created (out of nothing) the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels, messengers with wings,- two, or three, or four (pairs)

— The Holy Quran, Chapter 35 (Fatir), Verse 1

But again from the hadith we can find that Gabriel has 600 wings:

Narrated Abu Ishaq-Ash-Shaibani: I asked Zir bin Hubaish regarding the Statement of Allah: "And was at a distance Of but two bow-lengths Or (even) nearer; So did (Allah) convey The Inspiration to His slave (Gabriel) and then he (Gabriel) Conveyed (that to Muhammad). (53.9-10) On that, Zir said, "Ibn Mas'ud informed us that the Prophet had seen Gabriel having 600 wings." —Muhammad al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 54, Number 455

So the crux of the matter we can find from the same verse of 35:1

He increases in creation what He wills. Indeed, Allah is over all things competent. (35:1)

It doesn't matter that how many wings they have or why they have wings but what matter is Allah has set some examples for us to understand his greatness, knowledge,power whatever.


We must distinct between the language of Quran and ordinary language.when Quran describes angeles in such a cases we have to notice the symbolic language. angels are immaterial and perfect. Quran try to draw angels by this kind of language .

  • Immaterial and perfect? I don't think so! By the way, you better explain why Quran says they have wings, obviously you will need a commentary book at hand when the language is different as you mentioned!
    – owari
    Jan 31, 2014 at 20:49
  • bascally materiality is alog with imperfect.you have to notice to meaning of material .Islamic philosophers says material is a kind of mahyyah(quiddity) and mahyyah is imperfectness and boundary.one other point here is so important so as to when we say angels are perfect we describe them with which creator or creatures ?they are perfect in comparison with other creatures not Allah.
    – user4218
    Feb 1, 2014 at 12:50
  • Sorry, see this and this comment of me, now I am somewhat confused, so no way eligible to give opinion about the issue or the answers given on it. However, it would be great if you can improve your answer by adding some more explanations about the wings corresponded with them.
    – owari
    Feb 1, 2014 at 14:12

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