“Calling All Angels”


In the Name of God, the Kind, the Beautiful

The musical group Train has a popular song called, “Calling All Angels.” I find the song to be quite striking and inspiring. The song begins:

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
‘Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

It accurately encompasses the state of our world today, where there are so many evils being perpetrated by so many people (both in the name of God and in spite of God), that the tears of the aggrieved can form that “sea spilled from a cup.” When beholding and living in such a world, we all desperately “need to know that things are gonna look up.”

And then:

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you feel the world shake from the words that are said

The singer calls all angels:

And I’m calling all angels
I’m calling all you angels

And he asserts:

I won’t give up if you dont give up

The song continues:

I need a sign to let me know you’re here
‘Cause my TV set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me

This is particularly poignant for me, and it makes me think of the ongoing onslaught against Islam in many parts of the media and popular culture. Indeed, what many people see on the “TV set just keeps it all from being clear,” especially when it comes to Islam.There is so much confusion, so much misrepresentation, so much misinformation that is out there about Islam.

Yet, there is also so much evil that is really committed by actual, so-called Muslims. I can see how difficult it can be for young Muslims trying to navigate growing up Muslim in America. Add to that the fact that our world is such that:

When children have to play inside so they don’t disappear
While private eyes solve marriage lies cause we don’t talk for years
And football teams are kissing Queens
And losing sight of having dreams
In a world that what we want is only what we want until it’s ours

It can be very, very difficult. And despair can quickly become the easiest escape route. But, we must remember this mantra:

I won’t give up, if you don’t give up.

We must not give up; we must keep the struggle going; we must continue to work on the path, trying to be the best servants of God that we can possibly be. And the result will be that God will call His angels to help us. It reminds me of the verses that spoke of the angels who assisted the believers in their battles against the Meccans:

[And remember] when thou didst say unto the believers: “Is it not enough for you [to know] that your Sustainer will aid you with three thousand angels sent down [from on high]? Nay, but if you are patient in adversity and conscious of Him, and the enemy should fall upon you of a sudden, your Sustainer will aid you with five thousand angels swooping down!” (3:124-125)

Read also:

Lo! You were praying unto your Sustainer for aid, whereupon He thus responded to you: “I shall, verily, aid you with a thousand angels following one upon’ another!” (8:9)

Now, by citing these verses, I am not suggesting that angels will literally come down to earth and help us. And, although these verses are speaking in the context of a battle, I do not want anyone to misconstrue what I am saying as advocating “violence against the infidel.” Far, far from it.

Rather, I am citing these verses and echoing the sense of Muhammad Asad, who wrote:

As is evident from the next verse, the Prophet’s allusion to God’s aiding the believers with thousands of angels signifies, metaphorically, a strengthening of the believers’ hearts through spiritual forces coming from God (Manar IV, 112 ff., and IX, 612 ff.). A very similar announcement – relating to the battle of Badr – occurs in 8:9-10, where “one thousand” angels are mentioned.

The key for us is to remain patient in the face of the constant insults to us and our faith. Remain patient in the face of the constant attacks against our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Remain patient in the face of the evil deeds that a tiny minority of Muslims commit which make life difficult for the overwhelming majority of Muslims who coil in disgust from those deeds.

And when we do so, God willing, He will start “calling all [His] angels.”

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