After Purified Household shared a hadith regarding the Angels mourning for Imam al-Hussain (as), a person on Facebook openly questioned the authenticity of the hadith. The hadiths described how 4000 angels would cry at the grave of Imam al-Hussain (as) – and the hadiths were graded authentic (Sahih) by many scholars, based upon the chain of narrators, and source of the hadith – Kamil al-Ziyarat. The questioner commented, saying:

It is extremely difficult to ascertain if a hadith is authentic or not but Allah swt has given us out intellect to use as a starting point.
1. Why would 4000 angels be crying at his grave, like why that specific number? And don’t they have anything else to do? Did Allah swt with all his majesty create 4000 beings for only the purpose of crying?
2. What kind of crying do they cry? Is it that of sadness? If so, why are they sad? If Ali Akbar said death to him is sweeter than honey, and that the battle of Karbala was essentially a triumph for Imam Hussain, what is the need for their crying?
3. Can angles cry? Do they have a similar anatomy like us with eyes, tear ducts and tears?
4. In Hadith #13 why do they need to be replaced? Do angels get tired of crying? When they finish crying what do they do?
5. What is the use of such crying? What do they accomplish by it?
6. Why are they covered in dust? If they were covered in dust wouldn’t we see angel shapes made from dust around the grave of Imam Hussain a.s? They are made of Nur and so their body would not interact with matter like it does with ours.

What is important is to understand the intention of the Questioner before answering Questions. To reach a conclusion and understanding, we must understand what the underlying issue is, which has triggered these questions. Once this is understood, progress can be made.

The key point in their question was the first line, where the Questioner says: “It is extremely difficult to ascertain if a hadith is authentic or not but Allah swt has given us our intellect to use as a starting point.

From the beginning we have a problem we must deal with before even attempting to answer the questions. It is clear that the Questioner was not interested in the actual answers to their question, but rather to challenge the heritage of `ilm al-hadith, and the many sciences that are related to it in distinguishing it’s authenticity, leaving only the “intellect” to decipher what is truly from Allah (swt), and what is a fabrication. Any question that could come to mind, without real contemplation or attempt to reflect or research, was listed to make it appear that the “logical fallacies” within the hadith was so abundant, that it could not be considered true.

Thus, our response targeted this misconception, rather than attempting to answer each question posed. The response was as follows:

Salam Alaykum dear brother/sister.

Although every one of these questions can be answered, there is a clear difference in manhaj/approach in how you and we (Purified Household) understand the hadiths and the religion of Allah (swt) as a whole. Because of this, these questions are not going to solve anything even if answered.

Unfortunately, the Aql (intellect) is not the starting point in ascertaining if a hadith is authentic. It is just one of the many tools that we have, which must be used in conjunction with the others. Each tool we have has some deficiency which is why it is important to use all the tools to minimise the deficiencies and possibilities of falsehood so that we may strive to reach the authentic teachings of ahlulbayt (as).

If we use the intellect as our only tool for determining the authenticity of a hadith, it will lead us to deficient questions, such as the ones you have asked.

For the sake of example, let us look at the first question you have asked: “Why would 4000 angels be crying at his grave, like why that specific number?”

These questions are types of questions that the mushakakeen bring forth while ignoring the essence of the hadith and focusing on trivial things. Why is the number of angels an issue for you? Allah (swt) speaks about this mentality at length in the Qur’an:

سَيَقُولُونَ ثَلَاثَةٌ رَّابِعُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ وَيَقُولُونَ خَمْسَةٌ سَادِسُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ رَجْمًا بِالْغَيْبِ ۖ وَيَقُولُونَ سَبْعَةٌ وَثَامِنُهُمْ كَلْبُهُمْ ۚ قُل رَّبِّي أَعْلَمُ بِعِدَّتِهِم مَّا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا قَلِيلٌ ۗ فَلَا تُمَارِ فِيهِمْ إِلَّا مِرَاءً ظَاهِرًا وَلَا تَسْتَفْتِ فِيهِم مِّنْهُمْ أَحَدًا
Sahih International
They will say there were three, the fourth of them being their dog; and they will say there were five, the sixth of them being their dog – guessing at the unseen; and they will say there were seven, and the eighth of them was their dog. Say, [O Muhammad], “My Lord is most knowing of their number. None knows them except a few. So do not argue about them except with an obvious argument and do not inquire about them among [the speculators] from anyone.” (18:22)

The number is not something that will determine the validity of a story or a hadith or an ayah. For example, if we look at the following ayah when describing “saqar”:

عَلَيْهَا تِسْعَةَ عَشَرَ
Sahih International
Over it are nineteen [angels]. (74:30)

Now, should we doubt that there are angels above saqar because of the precision in the number 19 being selected by the narrator of the story (in this case, Allah) ?

Allah (swt) then goes on to describe those who question the number:

وَمَا جَعَلْنَا أَصْحَابَ النَّارِ إِلَّا مَلَائِكَةً ۙ وَمَا جَعَلْنَا عِدَّتَهُمْ إِلَّا فِتْنَةً لِّلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا لِيَسْتَيْقِنَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَيَزْدَادَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِيمَانًا ۙ وَلَا يَرْتَابَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ وَالْمُؤْمِنُونَ ۙ وَلِيَقُولَ الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ وَالْكَافِرُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۚ كَذَٰلِكَ يُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ ۚ وَمَا يَعْلَمُ جُنُودَ رَبِّكَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَمَا هِيَ إِلَّا ذِكْرَىٰ لِلْبَشَرِ
Sahih International
And We have not made the keepers of the Fire except angels. And We have not made their number except as a trial for those who disbelieve – that those who were given the Scripture will be convinced and those who have believed will increase in faith and those who were given the Scripture and the believers will not doubt and that those in whose hearts is hypocrisy and the disbelievers will say, “What does Allah intend by this as an example?” Thus does Allah leave astray whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And none knows the soldiers of your Lord except Him. And mention of the Fire is not but a reminder to humanity. (74:31)

You can see from that ayah, this trait of questioning trivial things like the number and trying to apply “intellect” to it is not something to be happy or proud of. May Allah (swt) save us from this.

Indeed, I can reply to each and every point you have raised with intellect as well as textual proofs from the Qur’an and Hadiths. Unfortunately, I fear it will still remain a fruitless discussion because of the different paths we have.

Remember, the intellect we have is deficient and not developed enough to be the furqan in itself. You may argue from your deficient intellect and i may argue from my deficient intellect – and we would just end up going in circles. Allah (swt) would not leave us with the only tool of our intellect (which is deficient) to reach Him (swt) or else he would not have sent prophets (as) or His books.

If the intellect was the primary tool, then we cannot blame the seculars who believe their intellect has lead them to athiesm and secular law – the law of the people – which is deficient by nature.

Hence, dear brother/sister, our deficient intellect may lead us astray without the guidance of Allah (Swt) since it is not enough for us to find the truth, alone. It is only a compass that points us towards the divine proofs left for us with the many other tools gifted so we may reach Him (swt).

When we look at these hadiths, my deficient intellect may reject it even if there is nothing in it that is false. I may also reject the Qur’an based upon their deficient intellect also. It is easy to create doubts and questions about many stories and ayahs in the Qur’an that we may think (in our minds) are intellectually strong points – but in reality nothing but satanic whispers and doubts.

I feel it is best to end the conversation here, for the sake of Allah (Swt).

May Allah (swt) guide us all, and in shaa’ Allah (Swt) no offence taken.

Salam Alaykum

The Questioner responded by highlighting that questioning is part-and-parcel of Islam, and an encouraged thing that should not have limits. They said:

An interesting excerpt i found:
“People have an intrinsic right to ask Muslim religious figures any kind of questions. They shouldn’t complain in any way about the number of questions, their nature, or complexity. They should not duck any question. So, they should answer it to the best of their ability, without allowing their personal choices or inclinations to alter their judgment.
In the dark ages, and it still is the case, religious activity has been damaged by those who answer briefly questions put to them, as if they are not in the mood to expand on them. They have no defence against the criticism apart form saying: people have to accept God’s ruling with neither objecting to them, nor understanding the reasons underlying those judgements”.

Furthermore, Imam Ali (a.s) mentions in Nahjul Balagha: “Definite things are reasoned things, not sensed things.” In my many years of studying Islam I realised Islam is nothing but reason and logic.

We must interrogate every hadith and ruling so that we may find the truth. If it is the truth, it will stand up to scrutiny. I never said that the hadith was definitely unauthentic, i was just pointing out aspects we may want to consider. Let us not blind ourselves so that we can’t ask any questions or we’ll lose the true essence of Islam.

At this point, we felt that the discussion would not really reach any sort of productive conclusion, and Purified Household replied by saying there is a key difference between questioning to understand and learn, and questioning to cast doubt and to ultimately reject. We now feel it is time to elaborate on this point.

As shown earlier, there are some who question while having the wrong intention – i.e. to purposely cast doubt. For example, those who questioned the number of Angels guarding the hellfire in ayah 74:31, where Allah (swt) says: “And We have not made their number except as a trial for those who disbelieve“. Allah (swt) then gives the typical “question” of the hypocrites, “What does Allah intend by this as an example?”. This question is echoed time and time again by the hypocrites in order to cast doubt over the religion of Allah (swt). The first place it is mentioned is in Surah al-Baqarah:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَسْتَحْيِي أَن يَضْرِبَ مَثَلًا مَّا بَعُوضَةً فَمَا فَوْقَهَا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَيَعْلَمُونَ أَنَّهُ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا فَيَقُولُونَ مَاذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِهَٰذَا مَثَلًا ۘ يُضِلُّ بِهِ كَثِيرًا وَيَهْدِي بِهِ كَثِيرًا ۚ وَمَا يُضِلُّ بِهِ إِلَّا الْفَاسِقِينَ

Indeed, Allah is not timid to present an example – that of a mosquito or what is smaller than it. And those who have believed know that it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, “What did Allah intend by this as an example?” He misleads many thereby and guides many thereby. And He misleads not except the defiantly disobedient, (2:26 / Shakir)

Allah (swt) shows that those who disbelieve, or the hypocrites, will consistently try and question the intent of the words of Allah (swt) in order to cast doubt into the hearts of others. Of course, this does not effect the believers. As for those who disbelieve, these questions will only lead them further into misguidance.

This is also highlighted by Allah (swt) in Surah al-Tawbah, where the hypocrites will try and cast doubt over the ayaat of the Qur’an that were revealed by Allah (swt):

وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَٰذِهِ إِيمَانًا ۚ فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ

And whenever a surah is revealed, there are among the hypocrites those who say, “Which of you has this increased faith?” As for those who believed, it has increased them in faith, while they are rejoicing. (9:124 / Sahih International)

وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَىٰ رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُوا وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ

But as for those in whose hearts is disease, it has [only] increased them in evil [in addition] to their evil. And they will have died while they are disbelievers. (9:125 / Sahih International)

When the Qibla was changed, Allah (swt) describes the questioners as the foolish (السُّفَهَاءُ):

سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَن قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا ۚ قُل لِّلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ ۚ يَهْدِي مَن يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

The foolish among the people will say, “What has turned them away from their qiblah, which they used to face?” Say, “To Allah belongs the east and the west. He guides whom He wills to a straight path.”

One of the most fundamental and oft-repeated questioning with the intention of raising doubts in the religion of Allah (swt), was the questioning of the Day of Judgement. In the following ayah, we see that Allah (swt) clearly expresses that the one who raises these sorts of questions are indeed disbelieving in the concept, due to their intentions.

ذَٰلِكَ جَزَاؤُهُم بِأَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِآيَاتِنَا وَقَالُوا أَإِذَا كُنَّا عِظَامًا وَرُفَاتًا أَإِنَّا لَمَبْعُوثُونَ خَلْقًا جَدِيدًا

That is their recompense because they disbelieved in Our verses and said, “When we are bones and crumbled particles, will we [truly] be resurrected [in] a new creation?” (17:98 / Sahih International)

The Companions of the Prophets (as), whom many were hypocrites,  would also fall into this trap:

أَمْ تُرِيدُونَ أَن تَسْأَلُوا رَسُولَكُمْ كَمَا سُئِلَ مُوسَىٰ مِن قَبْلُ ۗ وَمَن يَتَبَدَّلِ الْكُفْرَ بِالْإِيمَانِ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ سَوَاءَ السَّبِيلِ

Or do you intend to ask your Messenger as Moses was asked before? And whoever exchanges faith for disbelief has certainly strayed from the soundness of the way. (2:108 / Sahih International)

Time and time again, Allah (swt) equates certain questions and types of questioning something that is, or leads to, disbelief:

قَدْ سَأَلَهَا قَوْمٌ مِّن قَبْلِكُمْ ثُمَّ أَصْبَحُوا بِهَا كَافِرِينَ

A people asked such [questions] before you; then they became thereby disbelievers. (5:102 / Sahih International)

There are many more examples like the above – but the examples give is sufficient to prove that not all types of questioning is acceptable and positive. Even the Imams (as) would tell their companions and questioners to keep their intentions pure when asking a question. For example, Amir al-mu’minin, peace be upon him, replied to a man who had asked him a difficult question:

“Ask me in order to gain understanding but do not ask me seeking to create confusion, because the ignorant person who tries to learn is like the learned man, but the learned man who tries to create confusion is like the ignorant.” (سَلْ تَفَقُّهاً وَ لَا تَسْأَلْ تَعَنُّتاً فَإِنَّ الْجَاهِلَ الْمُتَعَلِّمَ شَبِيهٌ بِالْعَالِمِ وَ إِنَّ الْعَالِمَ الْمُتَعَسِّفَ شَبِيهٌ بِالْجَاهِلِ الْمُتَعَنِّتِ) (Nahjul Balagha, Saying #320)

In saying all this, we pose an extremely important question:

Does this mean we cannot question anything at all?

Of course not. Again, as the hadith above suggests, as long as our intentions are pure then questioning is not only good, but at times obligatory. We must always question with the pure intention of understanding, and gaining nearness to Allah (swt). In al-Khisal, Imam al-Baqir (as) said: “Knowledge is a treasure, the key for which is asking. Therefore ask, may God have Mercy upon you. Four people shall benefit from knowledge: those who ask questions; those who respond to the questions; those who listen to them; and those who like the above three.” (al-Khisal, Ch. 4, Hadith #101). al-Baqir (as) also said: “Indeed, people are destroyed because they do not inquire.” (al-Kafi, Volume 1, page 40, Hadith #2)

Allah (swt) has also commanded us to ask those who know, when we are in doubt, and do not understand:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا قَبْلَكَ إِلَّا رِجَالًا نُّوحِي إِلَيْهِمْ ۖ فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ

And We sent not before you, [O Muhammad], except men to whom We revealed [the message], so ask the people of the message if you do not know. (21:7 / Sahih International)

Thus, we encourage questions and inquiry, but not to cast doubt upon the sacred legacy left for us by the Ahlul Bayt (as), by using the “intellectual” card to belittle the beautiful words of the Imams (as).

Indeed, there are hadiths that are incorrect. There are hadiths that are fabricated. There are hadiths that go against the intellect. However, we should understand and appreciate that there are methods of establishing the authenticity / falsehood of a hadith that is much more complicated than jumping to the conclusion that it is “against the intellect” at first glance, without even an attempt to understand the hadith. Asking by posing an abundance of “logical” problems is certainly going to take you away from understanding, and towards misguidance.

Answers to the Questions

Now, just for the sake of showing that all these questions really do not hold up “intellectually” – and all can be proven with the intellect and, more importantly, the help of Allah (swt) through His Holy Book.

1. Why would 4000 angels be crying at his grave, like why that specific number? And don’t they have anything else to do? Did Allah swt with all his majesty create 4000 beings for only the purpose of crying?

It is sufficient to refer to the initial reply from Purified Household where the specifics of the numbers is a non-question, and this has absolutely no bearing upon the credibility of the hadith. As brother Naveen Hussain eloquently posited – what number would satisfy the questioner?

As for the question: “And don’t they have anything else to do? Did Allah swt with all his majesty create 4000 beings for only the purpose of crying?” – This again is a clear lack of understanding of the role of Angels. We know that Allah (swt) has created Angels for specific roles. Some were created to give revelation, som were created to blow trumpets, some were created to be guardians of heaven/hell, some who were created for questioning, some who take charge of where raindrops land, some who carry the throne, etc. etc. etc…

For someone to have a problem with angels created to cry for the the Master of Youth of Paradise, while we know the reward and merit in crying for him (as), is quite odd.

Aside from all this, there are narrations which suggest they had more roles that what this hadith mentions:

Imam Baqir (as) said: Four thousand disheveled angels, covered with dust cry over Imam Hussain (as) until Judgment Day. No one who comes to his Ziyarat but that they welcome him. No visitor of Imam Hussain (as) becomes ill, but that they visit them and none of them dies, but that they are present near him. (Kamil al-Ziyarat, Chapter 27, Hadith #10)

2. What kind of crying do they cry? Is it that of sadness? If so, why are they sad? If Ali Akbar said death to him is sweeter than honey, and that the battle of Karbala was essentially a triumph for Imam Hussain, what is the need for their crying?

Possibly the strangest of questions is the one who asks if the incident of Karbala was even a “sad” event, or the need for crying. The simple fact the Prophet (sawa) cried at the birth of the blessed Imam (as). In any case, the Questioner quoted the famous saying “death to me is sweeter than honey” which he/she attributed to Ali Akbar. In fact, it is actually attributed to al-Qasim, and not Ali Akbar. Furthermore, this statement (in my quick research) does not even have a chain – yet taken as something that is attributed to al-Qasim without questioning the “intellect” of the statement (we will assume the Questioner meant al-Qasim, and not Ali Akbar). Of course, we do not have a problem with this statement attributed to al-Qasim in itself, but ask shouldn’t an “intellectual” person question how an event such as being slaughtered by tyrants is not seen as something sad, while believing it is more intellectually feasible to think it is sweeter than honey? Indeed, for the one who ponders, they will know that sadness and sweetness can come together through parallel dimensions. Indeed it is sad that the family of the Prophet (sawa) are left to be slaughtered, but sweet for those who remained with al-Hussain (as) in that they stood up for Justice, and did not bow down to tyranny – in the name of Islam.

Sayeda Zaynab (as) and her family cried endlessly, despite the saying of “I saw nothing but beauty” also being attributed to her. There is no conflict in these two notions at all.

Aside from all this, there are also narrations which suggest that the Angels were actually crying for other reasons. For example:

Imam Sadiq (as) said: Four thousand angels came down to fight for Imam Hussain (as) but he did not permit them. When they came down again to seek permission, Imam Hussain (as) had already been martyred. So they remain at his grave, disheveled and covered with dust, crying over him until Judgment Day. Their leader is an angel called Mansur. (Kamil al-Ziyarat, Chapter 27, Hadith #2)

3. Can angles cry? Do they have a similar anatomy like us with eyes, tear ducts and tears?

Some things we may not particularly understand in full. However, we know and understand that in the realm of the Angels, things are quite different. The tears may be metaphorical, or they could be literal. However, to question the authenticity of the hadith based upon this is flawed. We will give some possible explanations to how the angels cry.

First, in the Qur’an, Allah (swt) describes the Angels as having hands. If this is literal, then having tear ducts is not a problem. If this is metaphorical, then also the tears may be metaphorical:

وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ بَاسِطُو أَيْدِيهِمْ

while the angels extend their hands (6:93)

Secondly, we know that Angels can be manifested in the image of humans. One example of this is when one Angel came to speak to Maryam, the mother of Jesus (as):

فَاتَّخَذَتْ مِن دُونِهِمْ حِجَابًا فَأَرْسَلْنَا إِلَيْهَا رُوحَنَا فَتَمَثَّلَ لَهَا بَشَرًا سَوِيًّا

And she took, in seclusion from them, a screen. Then We sent to her Our Angel, and he represented himself to her as a well-proportioned man. (19:17 / Sahih International)

Thus, it is not something strange for an angel to share attributes with a human, even if it were to manifest itself as one having limbs and tear-ducts etc.

Thirdly, Allah (swt) uses inanimate objects to give it “human” attributes, despite it lacking any similarities in physical characteristics:

فَلَمَّا أَتَاهَا نُودِيَ مِن شَاطِئِ الْوَادِ الْأَيْمَنِ فِي الْبُقْعَةِ الْمُبَارَكَةِ مِنَ الشَّجَرَةِ أَن يَا مُوسَىٰ إِنِّي أَنَا اللَّهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ

“So when he reached it (the fire), he was called from the right side of the valley, in the blessed place from the tree: “O Musa (Moses)! Verily! I am Allah, the Lord of the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)” (28:30 / Sahih International)

Thirdly, and most importantly, Allah (swt) implies that inanimate objects can also “cry”:

فَمَا بَكَتْ عَلَيْهِمُ السَّمَاءُ وَالْأَرْضُ وَمَا كَانُوا مُنظَرِينَ

And the heaven and earth wept not for them, nor were they reprieved. (44:29)

In a narration related to this ayah: “I heard Amirul Momineen (as) in Ruhba reciting this verse: “And the heaven and earth wept not for them, nor were they reprieved. (44:29)”, when Hussain (as) entered from one of the doors of the Masjid. Amirul Momineen (as) said, “Know that he [Hussain], will soon be martyred and the heavens and the earth will weep over him.” (Kamil al-Ziyarat, Chapter 28, Hadith #1)

In another hadith, it shows how the “crying” is not literally the same as how we (humans) cry:

I heard Imam Sadiq (as) say: The heavens wept over Hussain bin Ali (as) and Yahya bin Zakariya (as) and they have never wept over anyone other than them. I asked, “How was the weeping of the heavens?” Imam (as) replied, “The heavens became red for forty days, like the sun at the time of sunrise and sunset.” I asked, “Is that how the heavens weep?” Imam (as) replied, “Yes.” (Kamil al-Ziyarat, Chapter 28, Hadith #4)

4. In Hadith #13 why do they need to be replaced? Do angels get tired of crying? When they finish crying what do they do?

This should be sufficiently answered by the previous answers. In the answer to Q1 it showed how the roles of these angels are vaster than what Hadith #13 in article mentioned. Also, perhaps they do get tired, and God knows best. In a hadith attributed to Aba Abdillah al-Sadiq (as), he suggests none other than Allah (swt) does not need rest:

Ibn Babuwayh said, ‘My father narrated to us, from Sa’ad Bin Abdullah, from Ahmad Bin Muhammad Ibn Isa, from Al Abbas Bin Musa Al Waraaq, from Yunus Bin Abdul Rahman, from Dawood Bin Farqad Al Ataar who said:
‘One of our companions said to me, ‘Inform me about the Angels, do they sleep?’ So I said, ‘I do not know’. So he said, ‘Allah Mighty and Majestic is Saying “They are Glorifying Him night and day; and are not slowing down’.” (21:20) Then he said, ‘Have you got anything with regards to this from Abu Abdullah (as)?’ I said, ‘Yes. I asked him (as) about that, so he (as) said: ‘There is no one alive except that he sleeps, apart from Allah Alone, Mighty and Majestic, and the Angels sleep’. So I said, ‘Allah Mighty and Majestic is Saying “They are Glorifying Him night and day; and are not slowing down?” (21:20) He (as) said: ‘Their breathing is Glorification’. (Kamaal al-Deen, Page 666, Hadith #8)

5. What is the use of such crying? What do they accomplish by it?

Crying for Imam al-Hussain (as) is an act of worship. Many hadiths show the great merit in crying for the Imam (as), even if the tear is the size of the wing of a fly. Since the angels are always glorifying Allah (swt) – then what is the problem in them glorifying Him through their tears for His beloved Hussain (as) ?

Aside from this, who is to say that it is the Angels who are to benefit from this? The Angels were created for our benefit and service (hence their prostration to Adam, as their caliph). Thus, as the previous hadiths mention these angels serve the visitors of Imam al-Hussain (as). If Allah (swt) desired to send them for this purpose, then they do as they are commanded.

وَمَا نَتَنَزَّلُ إِلَّا بِأَمْرِ رَبِّكَ ۖ لَهُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِينَا وَمَا خَلْفَنَا وَمَا بَيْنَ ذَٰلِكَ ۚ وَمَا كَانَ رَبُّكَ نَسِيًّا

[Gabriel said], “And we [angels] descend not except by the order of your Lord. To Him belongs that before us and that behind us and what is in between. And never is your Lord forgetful. (19:64 / Sahih International)

6. Why are they covered in dust? If they were covered in dust wouldn’t we see angel shapes made from dust around the grave of Imam Hussain a.s? They are made of Nur and so their body would not interact with matter like it does with ours.

Again, taking this literal approach to the hadith is not the way of Allah (swt), the Prophet (sawa), and the Imams (as). The dust, perhaps, is of the heavenly type, or perhaps it is symbolic of how long they remain there, or perhaps even the possibility the angels have come down manifested as a human, crying upon the grave – yet we do not recognize them (see previous answers to see how manifestation as a human is not abnormal for an angel to do). The previous answers to questions should show how these questions are erroneous by nature.

Aside from this, we find the Angels have previously descended to aid the Muslims in battle:

إِذْ تَقُولُ لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ أَلَن يَكْفِيَكُمْ أَن يُمِدَّكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِثَلَاثَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُنزَلِينَ

[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? (3:124 / Sahih International)

بَلَىٰ ۚ إِن تَصْبِرُوا وَتَتَّقُوا وَيَأْتُوكُم مِّن فَوْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا يُمْدِدْكُمْ رَبُّكُم بِخَمْسَةِ آلَافٍ مِّنَ الْمَلَائِكَةِ مُسَوِّمِينَ

Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of Allah and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction] (3:125 / Sahih International)

Notice, how despite the angels actually engaging in battle, none could see or perceive this:

ثُمَّ أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ سَكِينَتَهُ عَلَىٰ رَسُولِهِ وَعَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَأَنزَلَ جُنُودًا لَّمْ تَرَوْهَا وَعَذَّبَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَاءُ الْكَافِرِينَ

Then Allah sent down His tranquillity upon His Messenger and upon the believers and sent down soldiers angels whom you did not see and punished those who disbelieved. And that is the recompense of the disbelievers. (9:26 / Sahih International)

We also know that the Angels of Death come to take the souls of people, and perform actions upon them – but we do not see or perceive any of it:

وَلَوْ تَرَىٰ إِذْ يَتَوَفَّى الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا ۙ الْمَلَائِكَةُ يَضْرِبُونَ وُجُوهَهُمْ وَأَدْبَارَهُمْ وَذُوقُوا عَذَابَ الْحَرِيقِ

And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved… They are striking their faces and their backs and [saying], “Taste the punishment of the Burning Fire.” (8:50 / Sahih International)

Allah (swt) also gives a protection to certain actions of the Angels so they cannot be seen or heard:

إِنَّا زَيَّنَّا السَّمَاءَ الدُّنْيَا بِزِينَةٍ الْكَوَاكِبِ

Indeed, We have adorned the nearest heaven with an adornment of stars (37:6 / Sahih International)

وَحِفْظًا مِّن كُلِّ شَيْطَانٍ مَّارِدٍ

And as protection against every rebellious devil (37:7 / Sahih International)

لَّا يَسَّمَّعُونَ إِلَى الْمَلَإِ الْأَعْلَىٰ وَيُقْذَفُونَ مِن كُلِّ جَانِبٍ

[So] they may not listen to the exalted assembly [of angels] and are pelted from every side. (37:8 / Sahih International)


We, at Purified Household, hope that this satisfies the questions of the questioner, and wish them well and all the best – and do not intend to harbour any enmity. We have sincere love for the lovers of Ali bin abi Taleb (as).

Furthermore, let us all be careful of rejecting hadiths so hastily. This could lead us to disbelief as mentioned in many ayahs above. Also, outside of al-Wilayah, as the following article explains:

Know, that our intellect may be deficient, so let us learn from our righteous scholars – who have invested their whole lives to find the true and authentic teachings of Ahlulbayt (as) – and investigate what they have said about our hadiths before passing judgement.

Finally, when we question, it should be to understand and gain knowledge, and not to cast doubt or to disprove something.

Salam Alaykum.