A friend of mine who has spent some time working in a city far from his wife and daughter suddenly feels a need to leave every­thing and visit them. He goes to his room, sits down, and begins writing a letter to his employer to ask permission to absent him­self from work. He then submits the letter to the secretary and expects to receive permission after two or three days have passed, as was usual in such cases. He waits impatiently, but when the letter comes back, it says that he cannot take holidays at that time. He thinks to himself, “As for such (wrong­doers), their guerdon is that on them rests the curse of God and of angels and of men combined” (3:87).

He cannot call his wife, as there are no telephones available in the area where they live. He comes back to his house, takes a shower and puts a log in the fireplace. It is a snowy day. He sits and begins to meditate, looking at the fire flickering from time to time. After a while he begins to see the images of the members of his family moving with the movement of the flames. In spirit he begins to visit them. He sees himself greeting them one by one.

His vision is rudely interrupted by heavy knocks at the door. At first he pays no attention to them and tries to concentrate on the dancing flames. The knocks continue. He regretfully leaves his pleasant reverie of his wife and daughter. Slowly getting up, he goes to the door and opens it. No one is there. He looks around: nothing but snow covering everything and continu­ing to fall. He closes the door, but as he is making his way back to the couch he hears another knock at the door. He goes back and opens it, but again there is no one there. He wonders what is happening and who it could be that is knocking on the door. “Is someone playing with me,” he thinks, “or am I imagining things? Can this be related to the angel I read about yesterday?” The third time, he hears harder knocks and this time he jumps up and runs to the door. He opens it in the hope of catching whatever he would see behind the door, as he has begun to suspect the presence of a special power. When he sees what is there he experiences a great shock.

A cloud of light is hovering three feet in front of him, covering everything within sight. Inside it, a face of inexpressible beauty is staring at him. Is it the face of a woman, a man, a child, or even a human being? All he can think at that time is that this is certainly an angel. He hears a voice that shakes his heart to the core with emotion and love. The voice says:

God is Most generous.

He calls us to His presence and gives us courage. He returns goodness for our indifference.

He covers our faults with His forgiveness,

And changes the sadness in our hearts to light.

We have become used to His benevolence

Which never leaves us.

Then the face looks at him with an expression of indescribable compassion and says, “I will be the messenger of your heart to your family. I shall inform them of your yearning for them. Tomorrow they will be on their way to you.

He is elated and begins to recall lessons he learned as a child: God bears witness before Himself to His own Oneness. “There is no god but He: that is the witness of God, His angels, and those endowed with knowledge, standing firm in justice. There is no god but He, the Exalted in power, the Wise” (3:18). God bears witness that as He Himself, the Exalted and the Wise, stands firm on justice, so do these angels and knowers. These angels are created from the ocean of justice, from the light of the divine attribute “al-Adil”: “The Just”. Their number is twice that of human beings since God created two of them as guardian angels for every single man or woman. Their food and drink, their rest and their sleep is to praise God in the same language as the per­son over whom they watch. Their duty is to direct us always towards what is of benefit to us, to bring satisfaction and happiness to our heart and thus implement the justice for which they stand. They appear to those who truly know of God as purple color, to children as green. On their heads they wear crowns decorated with unimaginable precious stones from paradise. These identify them as the angels of justice and make them distinct from other angels.

After speaking to him, the light seems to increase a little bit, then every thing disappears and nothing remains except snow falling softly on the ground. No footsteps. It is night. The man looks up and down, right and left, but he can see nothing anymore. He wears nothing on top of his flannel shirt but is insensitive to the cold. Every hair on his body is standing on end. His heart is beating faster than it has ever beat before. He is in a state of excite­ment and pleasure he has never felt in his life. What is happening to him? The room has disappeared. The fire has disappeared. The couch, the tables, the grandfather clock, the mirror, everything has disappeared. Nothing is there except the memory of that angel, engraved within the pupils of his eyes and on his heart. This state of ecstasy remains with him the whole night.

When morning comes and the darkness disappears, his state abates lit­tle by little. When the sun has completely risen, it has left him completely. He asks himself; “Was that a dream? Did I hallucinate? Or is this the angel­ic visitations that they are talking so much about?” He mentally reviews the stories of angels he heard about or read, but in none of these stories can he recall anything even remotely resembling what he has experienced. He struggles with himself between the states of belief and disbelief, unable to admit without reservation the truth of what he has seen. Finally he says to himself, “If that was an angel, then my wife and children are coming today”

That day he goes to work and everything seems to go on as usual. He is excited and feels that the day is lasting forever. He wants the day to finish, to go home and check to see if what happened is real or not. When five o’clock comes, he is the first to pack his things and leave. As he reaches home, to his amazement, he sees his wife and child in the distance, standing at the doorstep. He runs to them in a daze, asking himself a thousand questions at the same time. They greet him happily and hug him.

He is dumbfounded. “Can this be possible? Are they real, or am I hallu­cinating?” He hears the voice of his little girl saying to him, “Daddy, it’s us. The angel brought us, me and mom!” He takes her in his arms and turns to his wife. He realizes that he was indeed visited by an angel.

In his heart everything that he knew before has crumbled and been replaced with a new understanding about the reality of this world. Angels are present among human beings and exert their powers over worldly events to help them. He takes his wife into his arms and tries to open the door, but his hand is shaking. His wife says, “Dear, what is troubling you? Why are you shaking so much?”

He says,”Later, later, I’ll tell you about it.” She takes the keys from his hand and opens the door.

“What inspired you to come at this time?” he asks.

She answers, “I was reading a story to our daughter yesterday and telling her about the angels who chanted in heaven. She asked me what these were, and I was trying to explain the chanting of the angels. Suddenly we began to hear a wonderful melody filling the room. We saw a light and inside it a little girl just like ours, who said, `I am the chanting angel!’ Our daughter asked me if I could see what she was seeing and I reassured her that I could. She asked the angel, `Angel, where is my dad?’ The angel said, `He is waiting for you and he is sending his love.’ I could not believe this was happening, but here was our little child telling me that it is all true, so we decided to come, and here we are!

–Angels unveiled a Sufi Perspective