According to this way, for the human and particular image of the Angel of Death represented in a human being’s mirror when he is taking possession of his spirit to receive the blow of a resolute, angry, awe-inspiring person like Moses (Upon whom be peace), and for that image-form, which resembled the Angel of Death’s clothes, to have his eye put out, would be neither impossible, nor extraordinary, nor irrational.
The Second Way: The archangels Gabriel, Michael, and Azra’il are like general supervisors. They have helpers that are similar to them in kind and resemble them, but are lesser than them. The assistants differ according to the sorts of creatures; those who take possession of the spirits of the righteous1 are of one sort, while those who take possession of the spirits of the wicked are of another,2 as the following verses point out:
By the [angels] who tear out [the souls of the wicked] with violence; * By those who gently draw out [the souls of the blessed].(79:1-2)
In view of this way, it is perfectly reasonable that, because he was naturally awe-inspiring and brave, and was an acceptable suppliant of God, Moses (Upon whom be peace) should have dealt a blow not at Azra’il (Upon whom be peace), but at the wraith-like body of one of his helpers.3
The Third Way: As is explained in the Fourth Principle in the Twenty-Ninth Word and is indicated by some Hadiths, there are some angels who have forty thousand heads, and in each of their heads are forty thousand tongues, (which means that they also have eighty thousand eyes), and with each of those tongues they utter forty thousand divine glorifications. Yes, since the duties the angels are charged with are in accordance with the sorts of beings of the Manifest World, they represent those species’ glorifications in the Spirit World. It is certain to be thus, for the globe of the earth is a creature; it glorifies Almighty God. It has not forty thousand, but perhaps a hundred thousand sorts of beings, which are like heads. Each sort has hundreds of thousands of individual members which are like tongues;
In my native land, the Angel of Death charged with taking possession of the saints’ spirits came while a great saint well-known as Seyda was in the throes of death. Seyda shouted out beseeching the divine court: “I love students of the religious sciences, so let the angel charged with taking possession of their souls take possession of mine!” Those who were present testified to this incident.
Nasa’i, Jana’iz, 9; Ibn Maja, Jihad, 10.
In my native land, even, a very bold man saw the Angel of Death while he was in the throes of death. He said: “You’re seizing me while I’m lying in my bed!” And he got up, mounted his horse and challenged him, taking his sword in his hand. He died on horseback, like a man.