Back to Home Page or Contents Page or Judaism or Index
Gabriel (Hebrew, "God is my warrior") is an archangel. He along with Michael are the only angels mentioned in the Jewish Bible, namely in the Book of Daniel several times. In rabbinic literature and later Judaism he is at the left hand of God and guards the left side of humans as they sleep. He saved Abraham from the fired into which Nimrod cast him, and was one of the three angels who visited him and saved Lot from Sodom. He is the Prince of Fire, and will fight the mighty battle with the Leviathan at the end of the world. In Christianity he announces the births of John the Baptist and Jesus (Luke 1:19, 20) suggesting eschatological importance of these events.
Im Islam Gabriel is identified as jibril or jibra'il. He is one of the angels named three times in the Qur'an, and once having brought the message, Qur'an, to the heart; the intermediary jibril is identified with the spirit, and also with the vision of a noble messenger before the Lord of the Throne. Allah may send the messenger, with Allah's permission, to reveal what he wills. In tafsir and hence in Muslim thought, it is jibril who brought the revelation and as related in the hadith held conversations with Muhammad. He was Allah's messenger from Adam onward. A.G.H.
Bowker, John, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 364