Assalamualaikum Dr, I’m sorry to disturb you. I just want to ask is there any truth regarding a story about a companion of the Prophet PBUH who saw an angel and turned blind?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Believing in angels is one of the pillars of belief. Hence, it is an obligation for us as believers to believe in the existence of angels. Furthermore, angels are created by Allah SWT from light, as stated by the Prophet PBUH:
خُلِقَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ نُورٍ
“Angels were created from light,”
Sahih Muslim (2996)
In answering the above question, humans are incapable of seeing angels in their true form. This is stated by Syeikh Sulaiman al-Ashqar under the chapter of witnessing angels:
“Angels are created from light, and thus, humans are incapable to see them. Furthermore, Allah SWT did not create our eyes with the ability to see angels. Hence, this ummah is incapable to see angels in their original form with the exception of the Prophet PBUH. The reason is, the Prophet PBUH has witnessed Jibril (Gabriel) in its true form twice. There are however evidences stating that humans are able to see angels after they have transformed from their original form into human.” (See ‘Alam al-Malaikat al-Abrar,10/1)
Among the examples of prophetic evidences which states how the companions of the Prophet PBUH saw an angel in human form is a hadith stating how the companions saw Jibril. The hadith narrates that one day, Jibril came to meet the Prophet PBUH while the Prophet PBUH was sitting with his companions and asked the Prophet PBUH regarding the pillars of Islam, Iman (Faith) and Ihsan (Proficiency). After their meeting, the Prophet PBUH explains to Saidina Umar:
فَإِنَّهُ جِبْرِيلُ أَتَاكُمْ يُعَلِّمُكُمْ دِينَكُمْ
“That was Jibril. He came to teach you your religion.”
Sahih Muslim (8)
The above hadith is an evidence that proves humans are able to see angels if the angel is in human form but not if the angel is in its original form. Thus, witnessing an angel in its original form is impossible for this ummah except for the Prophet PBUH. In regards to the question asked, we did not find any narrations regarding a companion of the Prophet PBUH who turned blind after he saw an angel.
To conclude, believing in the angels is one of the obligatory pillars of faith for every believer. However, witnessing angels (not in their original form) is not an impossibility for it has happened more than once before during the time of the Prophet PBUH. Lastly, may Allah SWT protect our faith and make us be among His slaves who are successful in this world and the hereafter. Amin.