Malik means "king." Other spellings include Maalik, Malak,and Malek.
Malik is known as the angel of hell to Muslims, who recognize Malik as an archangel. Malik is in charge of maintaining Jahannam
(hell) and carrying out God's command to punish the people in hell. He supervises 19 other angels who also guard hell and punish its inhabitants.
In art, Malik is often depicted with a stern expression on his face, since the Hadith
(a collection of Muslim commentaries on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad
) says that Malik never laughs. Malik may also be shown surrounded by fire, which represents hell.
Role in Religious Texts:
In chapter 43 (Az-Zukhruf) verses 74 to 77, the Qur'an
describes Malik telling the people in hell that they must remain there: "Surely, the disbelievers will be in the torment of hell to abide therein forever. [The torment] will not be lightened for them, and they will be plunged into destruction with deep regrets, sorrows and in despair therein. We wronged them not, but they were the wrongdoers. And they will cry: 'O Malik! Let your Lord make an end of us!' He will say: 'Surely, you shall abide forever.' Indeed we have brought the truth to you, but most of you have a hatred for the truth." A later verse from the Qur'an makes it clear that Malik and the other angels who punish people in hell aren't deciding to do so themselves; instead, they're carrying out God's commands: "O you who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a fire [Jahannam] whose fuel is men and stones, over which are [appointed] angels stern and severe, who flinch not [from executing] the commands they receive from God, but do [precisely] what they are commanded" (chapter 66 (At-Tahrim), verse 6). The Hadith describes Malik as a grotesque angel who runs around fires.
Other Religious Roles:
Malik doesn't fulfill any other religious roles beyond his main duty guarding hell.