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Why is there a number difference of angels in these two verses? Is it 1000 or 3000 or 5000 angels

(3:124-125):

[Remember] when you said to the believers, "Is it not sufficient for you that your Lord should reinforce you with three thousand angels sent down?

Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allāh and they [i.e., the enemy] come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]."

(8:9):

[Remember] when you were asking help of your Lord, and He answered you, "Indeed, I will reinforce you with a thousand from the angels, following one another."

People have interpreted it as a thousand following another thousand*

*Update: hadith almost never truly contradicts the Qur'an. So the Ibn Abbas interpretation, if reliable, is valid.

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    We are not here to debate or convince you. Ibn Kathir notes that verse 8:9 says the word مردفين which means a thousand followed by more. And this can mean a thousand followed by another thousand and then another thousand. And it could mean a thousand followed by three thousand etc.
    – UmH
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 4:57
  • The problem is that I don't see WHY it should mean that. It just does not seem to work. I don't see why it should mean that.
    – Vbscript
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 9:15
  • And how did three thousand turn into five thousand?
    – Vbscript
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 9:16
  • I am not trying to "debunk" the Qur'an, I am a Muslim but I can still ask questions
    – Vbscript
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 9:53
  • 1
    @Vbscript the extra 2000 angels was a reward/blessing for the believers for staying patient and conscious of Allah.
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 4:34

1 Answer 1

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In Tafsir Al-Jalalayn, it says that Allah promised them this number at first but then sent more becoming 3000 angels then 5000 angels:

[Quran 8:9]

When you sought help from your Lord, asking Him to help you by granting you victory over them, and He answered you [saying]: ‘I shall reinforce you, I shall assist you, with a thousand angels, rank upon rank’, one rank following after the next: God promised them this [number] at first, but it then became three thousand, and then five thousand, as stated in [sūrat] Āl ʿImrān [Q. 3:124-125] (a variant reading [of alf, ‘thousand’] has the plural āluf, ‘thousands’,1 similar [in pattern] to aflus, ‘coins’).

https://ia800900.us.archive.org/26/items/AlJalalainEng/Al_Jalalain_Eng.pdf, page 187

In Tafsir Kashani, it says that it could mean what Ibn Kathir's tafsir said or that it was just expressing a great multitude of angels [involved] and not the specific number:

[Quran 8:9]

When you sought help from your Lord, declaring that your might and strength was [not from you but] from Him and turning away from the veils of your acts by attaining certainty in that [the power to] effect and strength come from Him, neither from you, nor from your enemies; and He answered, your call at the instant of that disengagement from the garb of acts and the attributes of the soul, with [the statement]: 'I shall reinforce you, from the world of angelic beings by virtue of the correspondence in terms of genus of your hearts with that [world] at that instant, with a thousand angels, with a world from the dominion of vanquishing, that is, with the heavenly faculties and their spiritual beings, which in that state [that you were now in] corresponded to your hearts, as was alluded to already in [sūrat] Āl ʿImrān [Q. 3:124-5]. As for the difference in the numbers [of angels] in these two instances, this is either because what is meant is the great multitude [involved] and not the specific number, or because His saying here: rank upon rank', indicates that they are followed by another contingent of the same [angels]. As for their being reinforced [with these angels], this is either by their becoming embodied (tajassud) and imaginalised (tamaththul) in the forms of fighters, as for example when forms are imaginalised in dreams, such that they are awed by them, or by their effective and vanquishing powers reaching them such that they are destroyed and defeated.

https://quranx.com/Tafsirs/8.9

Regardless of which tafsir (explanation) you favor, there is no contradiction.

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