Thus, since these four matters testify for you to the existence of the angels as a concept, the most satisfactory forms ascribed to them are those set out by the Shari‘a, as is agreed by all people of sound intelligence: they are honoured worshipful servants [of Allah] who never fail to do what they are commanded. They are subtle luminous bodies and are of various sorts.
The Third Station
Consider this: the question of the angels is one in which [the existence of] the universal can be verified by establishing [the existence of] a single particular and the species can be known through the sighting of one of its members. For if one is denied, all are denied.
It would surely be impossible in your opinion – otherwise may Allah awaken you [to the truth]! – for the followers of all the religions down the ages from the time of Adam to the present to have agreed on the angels’ existence, and on the certain occurrence of conversations with them and the definite sightings of them and the narrations about them and what people have reported about their various sorts – if one single angel, or several, had not been seen and if the existence of one or more of them was not certain or if their existence had not been perceived.
Similarly, it is impossible that a such a delusion would have become established in the beliefs of mankind and persisted in this way through all the upheavals [of time] if there had been no truth that gave rise to those general beliefs or to the necessary principles on which they were based. In which case, the basis of the consensus is a conjecture born of various different signs, provided by sightings, arising from necessary principles. And the reason for the general belief is the necessary principles arising from [the angels] having been seen and observed on numerous occasions, forming what is in effect a consensus concerning them. Otherwise none of the certain, well-known beliefs of mankind [concerning other things] would be reliable.
Thus, if the existence of any one spirit being (al-rūḥāniyya) has been verified at any time, the existence of the species has been verified. And since the existence of the species has been verified, it will surely be as described by the Shari‘a and expounded by the Qur’an.
The positioning of this verse’s meaning in relation to the preceding one. It has four aspects:
The First: The [earlier] verses enumerate the immense bounties [bestowed on man], and the previous one indicates the greatest of them –