Islamic Sufism Spirituality

The Story of Harut and Marut

Posted on: December 16, 2011


In The Name Of Allah – Most Merciful, Most Compassionate.


In the reign of King and Prophet Sulaiman (AS), Satan managed and succeeded in impersonating the Prophet for forty days by the mighty signet-ring on which was inscribed the greatest name of Allah. Sulaiman (AS) was exiled from his own land and nobody recognised him to be the very King and Prophet.

During these forty days Satan wrote several books on witchcraft and buried them under the throne of Sulaiman (AS). The Jinns used typical and treacherous ploys to convince people that Sulaiman (AS), derived power and kingdom by ‘witchcraft’. To prove his words, he exhumed the books from under the throne and showed them to the people. Thus the people were interested in magic; they thought they would be master of their fate by going through witchcraft and that ultimate power would be invested to them.

However, Satan spread corruption and discordance among the people. Only a few of them were God-fearing ones, but it was not an easy work for them to make such a people return to the path of success. the situation worsened! So, allah the Lord of the universe, the Lord of man and angels, the Lord of Satan and Jinn split open the heaven and let the angels see what mankind was doing and when the angels saw men committing wrong they said: "These humans you created with your hand, to whom you made the angels prostrate, to whom you taught names of everyrhing are committing wrong."

The scene the angels witnessed on man, impelled them to make derogatory remarks on mankind, criticizing the people on Earth and their illegal ruling. allah said to them, "But if you were in their place, you would be doing the same thing." In another source and tradition, it is said that Allah said to the angels, "I gave mankind ten carnal desires and it is through these they disobey me."

So, Allah challenged the angels to do better if placed under the same condition. They accepted and said, "O’ Lord, if you give us these carnal desires we would descend and we would judge with justice." The angels were commanded to choose one who would be sent to Earth and finally chose Harut and Marut.

Allah said to them, "Go down, I have given you ten carnal desires so judge between the people." So the two angels, Harut and Marut were sent to the city of Babylon (Capital of ancient Babylon on the bank of the lower Euphrates River. The site if now of iraq, 88km/55 miles South of Baghdad and 8km/5 miles north of Hilla, which is built cheifly of bricks from the ruins of Babylon). The Holy Qu’ran referes to Babylon and the two angels, Harut and Marut in Chaper 2 Verse 102.


Harut was sent as a Judge whereas Marut as a scholar with the instructions to avoid the grave sins of idolatry, fornication, murder and the consumption of wine. They lived, and consumed food as human beings. Their judgement were appraised. Then one day a woman named Zuhra appeared to them, she was wonderously beautiful as she was given half of all beauty. They were captivated by the charms and beauty of Zuhra. Now, Zuhra knew that the two men were no ordinary persons. She thought that theymust be other creatures in human forms who have got secrets. Therefore she tried her best by means of her beauty and tricks to bring out the secret.

The two angels, by means of the greatest name of Allah could leave the Earth in no time to thier abode in heaven. They used this secret to ascend to heaven whever they wished. Zuhra wanted at all costs to know the secrets of Harut and Marut; so she invited them to her place, served them with the best food. Now, they wanted to comimit adultery with her as they were captivated by her beauty, but she said. "No, not unless you associate ‘partners’ with God, consume wine, murder somebody and prostrate before idol." They said, "we cannot associate anything with God." Then one of them said, "Return to her". But she said "Not until you drink."

They were then said with wine, and the dance of Zuhra accompanied by music injected a satanic atmosphere, so they forgot their mission and commited several sins in order to win her favours. At the monet she was granting her favours a beggar was passing by and witnessed their misconduct, but they killed him. And during their state of inebriety they disclosed their greatest secret which Allah has vouchsafed to them. Thus Zuhra came to know the greatest name of Allah! The secret she eagerly wanted to know by leaving no stone unturned, had been finally unveiled to her!

Whe the two angels were committing wrong with Zuhra under the effect of wine, as they were both intoxicated; Allah plit open the heaven and the nagels saw how their two brothers were misonducting, they said: "Glory to You, you know better", The other angles took this episode as a lesson and warning and they refrained from bearing the conviction thatthey would do better than man even with cranl desires. Allah knows perfectly the weakness of man due to his Nafs or desires, but nevertheless He wants man to achieve the greatest goal even though he is inclined to evil. Just think how the greed and desires of man pulled him to the threshold of sins, but he just thinks of Allah and moves away, this is in fact the greatest action he has done and reward for him either here or in the hereafter will be countless.

Now, man is not only the target of his evil desires but also the main target of Satan. Man has therefore to fight with his own self and Satan. How great is that man who is spite of all these traps exposing on his way reaches successfully the gate of bliss. A Sufi poet once said "Jubilantly I glide onto the furious waves; For life without hardship is a hell for the brave." May Allah help us to reach our destination successfully and let us not be enslaved by our passions and desires but rather let us be the masters of our desires and may Allah protect us from Satanic thoughts, Ameen.

The two angels, Harut and Marut were vulnerable as hman beings and they were unable to way-out from the women wiles and other offecnes. The ten carnal desires Allah gave to them were as if ten devils they have to fight and exterminate but that was not an easy task although they were angels. They did notever realise how much man must strive the evil dictation of his desries; how much man must be stilled as the mountain confronting the fierce winds of evil thoughts, temptation an desires. Harut and Marut boasted they could do better than man in previaling justice and peace on Earth, but unfortunately they became the prey for a beautiful woman.


Zuhra who came to know the greatest name of Allah from the two angels at once uttered the name and she disappeared from the surface of the Earth, and she was never seen again. The Lord however forgave her fot eh sins she commited, but she was refused entry into Paradise, instead, Allah transformed her into the planet ‘Venus’; she will be thus until the end of time. Venus can be seen in the sky in the early morning or evening.


When Harut and Marut became spber, they realised how they had transgressed and what had befalled them. They tried to acscend to heaven by uttering the greatest name of Allah, but they were made to forget it. They, therefore, realised how Allah’s word had turned true. They prostrated and prayed to win Allah’s forgiveness, they repented. Allah then said to them, "You reproached man for his faulty nature; now you have seen that having carnal desires as his, you will act in no way differently, and all his iniquity has become yours!"

The two angels were left to choose between punishment of this world and the external pains of hell, they preferred to expiate their offence here on Earth. The Lord accepted, and it was Prophet sulaiman (AS) whom Allah inspired after the recovery of his kingdom to make the two angels choose between the two; ‘the earthly punishement or the eternal fire!’ The two angels were put in fetters from their ankles to their neck and they were placed in a certain well in the Babel. The angels, Harut and Marut were strung up by their feet where they have been in torment ever since. It is said that they are strung up by their feet every day between the hour og Maghrib and Isha, such will be their punishment until the day of judgement. They will then be forgiven and will obtain their angelic nature and abode. Inshallah.


Harut and Marut were placed in the well and all those who were keen to learn magic, flocked to them for instructions. The two angels started to teach them magic or witchcraft amd they became great teachers of magic. In chapter 2 verse 102 of the Holy Qu’ran Allah says:

They (the Jews) followed what the devils taught in the reign of sulaiman; not that Sulaiman was unbelieving, but the devils were unbelieving. Sorcery did they teach to men, and what had been revealed to the two angels, Harut and Marut, at Babel. Yet no mad did they teach until they had said, "We areonly a temptation." Be not then an unbeliever. From these two did people learn how to cause division between man and wife; but unless by leave of God, no man did harm thereby. They learned, indeed, what would harm and not profit them: and yet they knew he who bought that art should have no part in the life to come! And vile the price in for which they sold themselves. if they had but known it!

According to this verse Allah informs us that at the time of Sulaiman (AS), the Jinn who personated him for forty days was unbelieving but Sulaiman (AS), never disbelieved. Some people at that time were made to believe by Satan that Sulaiman (AS), derived his power and kingdom through witchcraft, but Allah removed the false accusations against the Prophet by informing the fact through this verse. Again, the two angels taught men magic, sorcery but after they had warned the would be student of mgic, "We are only a temptation, therefore, disbelieve not in the guidance of Allah."

Referring to the above verse we are also informed about seperation between huband and wife! Many types of witchraft are learned by man to ruin man, but the sorcery to disunite a husband from his wife had been spread that moment by the two angels. In fact Al-Ghazzali (RA), Ihya-Ulum-Al-Din, in the chapter of Attachment of the World, he reported a hadith in which the Prophet (Peace and Blessings be Upon him), is attributed to have said: "Beware of the world, as it is a sorcerer greater than Harut and Marut". We therefore confirm that fact Harut and Marut did teach sorcery after usual warning had been given.


The two angels taught men all the esoteric arts and branches of occult knowledge; astrology, alchemy, numerology, the healing arts and magic. Although the roots of astrology go back to anceint Babylon and assyria, it was the Greeks who took over the Babylonian Zodiac and went on to develop the first known horoscopes. Astrology became very popular in Greece.

These sciences showing how human souls may become prpared to exercise upon the world of the elements, either without the help of celestial matters. These sciences are forbideen by the religious laws, because they are harmful and require their practitioners to direct themselves to being other than Allah, such as stars among these Venus, and other things. these sciences were cultivated among Assyrian and Chaldean (inhabitants of abylon) and mong Copts of Egypt and others. They composed books dealing with sorcery and left information on these sciences. A few of these books have been translated. One of the books is the Falaha-an-Nabatiyah by Ibn Wahshiyah, a Babylonian work. Hence people learned the science of sorcery from that work and developed it manifold branches. However, these sciences breed nothing but total destruction of faith! And faith is the key to heaven.


According to Ibn Kaldun, the meaning of sorcery is as follows: Human souls are one in species, but they differ in view of their particular qualities. They are of different kinds and each kind of soul. These qualities come to its particular kind of soul.

The souls of the prophets have particular quality through which they are prepared to have divine knowledge, to be addressed by the angels in the name of Allah, and to exercise the influence upon created beings that goes with all that…

The souls of certain sorcerers also have the quality of being able to exercise influence upon created beings and to attract the spirituality of the stars, so that they can use it for being active among created being and to be able to exercise an influence through either a psychic or satanic power. Now, prophets are able to exercise their influence with the help of Allah and by means of divine quality. The souls of soothsayers, have the quality enabling them to observe supernatural things by means of satanic powers. Thus, every kind of soul is distinguished by its particular quality, which does not exist in any other kind.

The souls that have magical ability are of three degrees. The first kind exercises its influence merely through mental power, without any instrument or help. This is what the philosopher’s term sorcery. The second exercises its influences with the help of the temper of the spheres and the elements, or with the aid of properties of numbers. This is called Talisman. It is weaker in degree than the first one. The third exercises its influence upon the powers of imagination, he is somehow active in them. He plants among the different sorts of phantasms, Images and pictures whichever he intends to use. Then he brings them down to the level of sensual perception of the observers with the help of the power of his soul that exercises an influence over that sensual perception. As a result, the phantasms and so on, appear to the observers to exist in the external word, while in fact, there is nothing of the sort. For instance, a person is said to have seen gardens, rivers or castles, while in fact, there was no such things. This is what the philosophers term ‘prestidigitation, (Sha’badhah). These are the different degree of sorcery.

However, religious law put sorcery, talismans and prestidigitation into one and the same class, because they may cause harm. It brands them as forbidden and illegal. the Prophet Muhammed (Peace and Blessings be Upon him) is reported to have said "There are certain magicians among my followers. Do not call on them when they are sick, do not offer funeral prayers for them when they die and do not greet them with salutations when you happen to meet them." However, the occult sciences are in fact attempts of man towards spiritualism but through means contrary to divine injunction.


According to Urwah-ab-l-Zubayr, the mother of believers Aisha (RA) is reported to have said: A woman from the people of Dumat al-Janbal came to seem me. She arrived seeking the Messenger of Allah after he had recently passed away, to ask him about sorcery which had become involved in but had not practised. Aisha (RA) said to Urwa: "O’ son of my sister, I noticed that she cried when she did not find the Messenger of Allah to comfort her. She cried until I showed compassion for her, she said, ‘I am afraid that I have been ruined! I had a husband who left me, and an old woman came to me and I complained to her about that’. Then she said , ‘If you do what I tell you, I shall make him come back to you’. Then when the night fell, she came with two black dogs, she mounted one of them and I mounted the other one. In no time we had stopped at Babil, where there were two men suspended by their feet, they said ‘What brought you here’, I said I would learn sorcery, they said, We are a trial; do not disbelieve return! I refused and said No. They said ‘Go to this oven and urinate on it.’ So I went but I was terrified and returned back. Have you done it?, they asked, I said, ‘Yes’, They said, ‘Did you see anything?, I said, ‘No’. They said, ‘You did not do it-Go back to your place, do not disbelieve, you are in control of your affairs.’ But I stayed and refused to go. They said, ‘Go and urinate.’ So I went and urinated into the oven and I saw a horsemen wearing an iron mask come out of me and go up to the sky, and he disappeared from my view so that I could not see him. Then I came and said I’ve done it, and told them what I saw. They said ‘You are speaking the truth. That was your faith leaving you, go.’ I said to the woman I learned nothing. They taught me nothing. The woman replied, ‘No, you will not wish for anything without it happening. take this wheat and sow it.’ I sowed it and I said, ‘Sprout’ and it sprouted, then I said, ‘Burgeon forth’, and it bourgeoned forth. I said ‘Ripen’, and it ripened. I said ‘Be milled’ and it was milled, ‘Be baked’ and it was baked. When I saw everything, I wished for would happen. I was horrified and by God I repented. ‘O’ mother of the faithful. By God I have never done any sorcery nor will I ever do.’


Angels are creatures of Allah. They are created from ‘light’. They are endowed with life, speech and reason. The angels are sanctified from carnal desires and the disturbance of anger; they disobey not Allah in what He commanded them, but they perform what they are commanded. Their food is the celebrating of the glory of Allah, their drink the proclamation of His holiness; their conversation, the commeneration of Allah, Whose name be exalted. The angels’ pleasure is worshipping Allah, and they are created in different forms and with different powers.

Now, on making allusion to the two angels who were sent to Babil, Harut and Marut, we see that they possessed qualities other than angels; that is that they are free from carnal desires, they never turned angry and so on; but when they were allowed to see the disturbances occurring among mankind, they blamed man for his misconduct. They made such remarks by their angelic nature, that is, as they did not bear any carnal desires as man. But when Allah told them if they were in the place of man they would have done the same things. Harut and Marut could not think otherwise than what is good by their angelic nature; so they could not imagine acting themselves like the son of man if they were to be sent on Earth! The two thought that they would be doing the virtuous things and delivering good judgment among man but the burdens of ten carnal desires which man has, and how must the son of Adam (AS) struggle with his own self to prosper. So, Allah wanted the two angels to understand the situation of man, not by lecturing them, but rather by sending them in human forms with ten carnal desires as man so that they would come to know themselves that the creature they were blaming for committing wrong, did so by the carnal desires Allah created within themselves.

So the lesson Allah wanted to teach the two angels had been completely comprehended by them, after they had sinned on Earth. Allah who is the compassionate and the Merciful will give Harut and Marut their angelic position on the day of judgment. For the time being they are suspended in a well in Babil as a temporary punishment herein order to enjoy an eternal bliss in heaven.

The Above Article is taken from this book:

Title: Harut & Marut
Author: Mohamad Yasin Owadally

ISBN: 9830650456



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