What Religions Believe in Angels?

Angels constitute important figures in a great many world religions, including all three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Additionally, angels and angel lore are found in Baha’i, Zoroastrianism and Sikhism.

In Judaism, angels are often placed in a specific hierarchy, forming in ranks that proceed from the highest to lowest orders. For example, the Chayot Ha Kodesh is considered the highest of 10 ranks mentioned in the writings of the great medieval Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides. Judaism also recognizes specific angels, with Michael, Gabriel, Raphael and Uriel being among the most commonly recognized.

Unsurprisingly, Christianity inherited much of the Jewish angelic tradition, with specific angels playing important roles in several scriptural episodes. Among the most significant, the angel Gabriel is said to have informed Mary of her virgin conception of Jesus and comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane in the hours before his trial and death.

Gabriel plays an equally, if not more important, role in Islam, being the one who acted as the transmitter of God’s literal revelation to Muhammad, a recitation that resulted in the verbatim record embodied in the holy Qur’an. In Islam, angels are the products of light and have no free will. Islam does not recognize the potential for fallen angels who have surrendered to their own hubris and disobeyed God. Instead, malicious spirits are embodied in the Jinn.

In Zoroastrianism, every person is gifted with a guardian angel, called a Fravashi, and angels are believed to be benevolent creatures who patronize not only human beings but other creatures as well.