fruit, and prove in brilliant fashion the existence and functions of the angels. Yes, in everything in the universe, particular and universal, in every realm of being, is a compassionate, splendid dominicality which makes itself known and loved. Most certainly it is necessary to respond to that splendour, that compassion, that making known and loved, with thanks and comprehensive, conscious worship, declaring them to be free of all fault. And it is only countless angels that can perform the duty on behalf of unconscious inanimate creatures and the great elements, and can represent the wise, majestic activity of the sovereignty of that dominicality everywhere on the earth, on the Pleiades, in the foundations of the earth, and outside it.
Through this fruit, for example, the creation of the earth and its natural duties, which the soulless laws of philosophy show to be dark and desolate, are placed in luminous familiar fashion on the shoulders of, that is, under the supervision of, two angels called Thawr (the Bull) and Hut (the Fish).1 And a truth, a substance of the hereafter called sakhra is sent as an everlasting foundation stone of the transitory earth, that is, as a sign that in the future part of it will be transformed into eternal Paradise, and is made a point of support for the angels Thawr and Hut. This was narrated by the old prophets of the Children of Israel, and also by Ibn ‘Abbas. Unfortunately, in the course of time, this sacred meaning and allegory was taken literally by the ordinary people and acquired a form outside the bounds of reason. Since the angels travel through earth and rock and the centre of the earth the same as they do through the air, they, and the earth, surely have no need of physical rocks and a fish and ox to support them.
Also for example, since the globe utters Divine glorifications to the number of its realms of beings, with tongues to the number of the members of those species, and to the parts, leaves, and fruits of those members, surely there will be an appointed angel with forty thousand heads and forty thousand tongues in each head, each of which will utter forty thousand Divine glorifications, which will know that splendid, unconscious, innate worship, represent it consciously, and offer it to the Divine Court, as the Bringer of Sure News informed us absolutely correctly.
Also, the existence and extraordinary nature of angels like Gabriel (Peace be upon him), who conveys and announces the dominical relations with man, the most important result of the universe’s creation; and Israfil (Peace be upon him) and Azra’il (Peace be upon him), who merely represent the Creator’s most awesome
Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, i, 329.