Harut and Marut are famous fallen angels in Islamic cosmology. They have taught people in Babylon about magic and have tested their faith. They are mentioned once in the Qur’an in the verse about the infidels following the teachings of the Devils (Shaitans).
“Instead, they followed what the evil ones used to practice during Solomon’s reign. Not that Solomon himself was one who denied the truth; it was the evil ones who denied the truth. They taught people witchcraft and what was revealed in Babylon to the two angels Harut and Marut, although these two never taught it to anyone without first declaring, “We are nothing more than a temptation to evil: Do not deny [God’s] truth.” From these two, they learned what can separate a man from his wife, although they harm no one with it except with God’s permission. They learned what harmed them, not what benefited them, knowing full well that whoever acquired [this knowledge] would have no share in the Hereafter. Surely, evil is the [price] for which they sold their souls, if only they realized that.”
The origin of these angels and the nature of their transgression remain unclear, which is why Muslim theologians are trying to explain them by referring to Talmudic, Iranian and even Greek legends.
The Harut and Marut’s History in Islam
As humanity was growing on the earth, its corruption forced the angels of heaven to complain to God who was too indulging in humans. However, God told them that if they were put in the place of man under the same conditions and surrounded by passions and pleasures, pushing people to commit sins the angels themselves would not have done differently and would succumb. Two of the noblest and most pure angels – Harut and Marut, voluntarily agreed to go down to Earth in Babylon and live as humans. Harut was sent as a judge and Marut as a scientist/wise man. They led their lives to righteousness, until the day when a tempting beauty named Zuhra came to them. With the help of her beauty she was able to deceive the angels to reveal to her the Most Secret name of God, through which they could rise back into the celestial realm. After saying it, she exalted and became the planet Venus (Al-Zuhra), leaving the angels powerless and misled to commit the sins of drunkenness and murder. God saw their transgression, and told them, “You reproached man about his defective nature, and after acquiring his carnal weaknesses, you behaved like him and his imperfection became yours.”
God gave the two angels the right to choose – to know the eternal torment of hell or torture on earth until the day of the Last Judgment. They decided to serve their sentence on earth and thus were chained to the ankles and hung down with their heads down in an underground cave under Babylon. Anyone who wanted to learn the secrets of magic and managed to find the entrance to their cave was gifted with great knowledge by the fallen angels. It is alleged that they stand there to this day in anticipation of the end of their punishment.
The origin of the legend
According to scientists and theologians studying the origin of the angels and the development of the legend, it is basically based on the motive for love between the sons of Elohim and the human daughters (Genesis 6: 1-4) and the one about the fallen angels trained in witchcraft (a book of Enoch 6-8). The Jewish apocryphal tradition speaks of the fall of the Angels Shemiaza (Semiasis) and Uza and Aza’el revealed the Most Secret name of the God and the beautiful woman who escaped from their lust and turned by God to the planet Venus.
The Islamic linguists accept that Harut and Marut are not of Arab origin, but depict the Avestan Haurvatat (Cordad) and Amertat (Amurdad) – two of the deities of Amesha Spenta, who are the guardians of the waters and plants. Accordingly, Zuhra from the story that has become Venus is not another but Anahid. Agathangelos describes that the Armenians combined the two names in the form of Huraut-Mauraut or the name of a flower of the Zyumbuli family, used in the church rites for the Ascension of the Lord. In the Slavic version of the book of Enoch Angels Ariuh and Mariuh (Pariurh) are described as guardians on Earth.
The demonization of Iranian Amesha Spenta is not surprising in a foreign environment. The Qur’an itself testifies to a similar case where Ifrit (demon) is a transformation from the Avestan genius Afrita, known by the nickname Dahman “Pious”.
The Islam-Persian version of myth tells the same story, but with a different end. After their transgressions, Harut and Marut are closed in a deep well in Mount Damavend, hung down with thirst -tongued tongues, while the distance between them and the water is as thin as the sword blade. They will remain closed there until the end of the world, and the one who wants to learn the secrets of magic can do so by descending to the well. The punishment of Harut and Marut in the Iranian version of history is the decoration stemming from classical antiquity. It reminds of the myth of Tantalum convicted of torture for offenses. He revealed the secret of the gods to the people, he was forced to stand at the neck in water without being able to quench his thirst, and every time he began to drink the water, it pulled away.
The torture of Harut and Marut is gaining widespread and lasting importance in the Muslim world. Persian dictionaries define their names as famous wizards or synonyms of witchcraft. Today, Harut and Marut take their position and role in Arabic magic Rouhania, with their names being found in different talismans and rituals. They are also the subject of numerous speculation related to suspected magic books whose authorship is attributed to fallen angels.©
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