Which Version of Harut and Marut Is Accurate?
Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel
I read a story about the two angels, Harut and Marut, and how they committed sins in their human form, and Allah punished them. How accurate is this story? What is the correct story?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
I pray you are in good faith and health.
Allah (Most High) says,
“They (instead) followed the magic promoted by the devils during the reign of Solomon. Never did Solomon disbelieve, rather the devils disbelieved. They taught magic to the people, along with what had been revealed to the two angels, Harut and Marut, in Babylon. The two angels never taught anyone without saying, ‘We are only a test (for you), so do not abandon (your) faith.’ Yet people learned (magic) that caused a rift (even) between husband and wife; although their magic could not harm anyone except by Allah’s Will.” [Quran, 2:102]
Can Angels disobey Allah?
Angels are ambassadors and trustworthy messengers of Allah Most High. He says in the Quran, “overseen by formidable and severe angels, who never disobey whatever Allah orders—always doing as commanded.” [Quran, 66:6]
False Perceptions Related to the Story of Harut and Marut
There are numerous questionable stories on the narrative of Harut and Marut. Below is what is authentic to the truth.
How Can Angels Teach Magic When Magic Is a Form of Disbelief?
They were given this task to test them and see who a believer was and who was a disbeliever; accordingly, they did not teach any of the people until they made their point clear that Allah sent them for the trial of mankind.
Story of Harut and Marut in a Nutshell
Harut and Marut were sent to Earth to teach people the basic principles of magic by giving them a complete picture of magic as an equally evil and unfaithful act. Their work was similar to that of a scholar who, upon discovering that illiterate people occasionally utter heretical words or phrases due to their ignorance, collects all such phrases in his speeches or writings and informs them to avoid them.
Now, all sorts of people started coming to the Angels to seek information about nature and the specific formulas of magic. To provide particular teaching on this subject and to protect the people from error, the Angels were careful enough to make it a point to warn them of possible dangers in giving them the information. The task of Harut and Marut was to equip people with the knowledge of magic. Indeed, it was more of a test and trial from Allah Most High to see who sticks firmly to their belief system and avoids indulging in practices against their Iman. The Angels repeatedly advised them to seek this critical information only with good intent and not to misuse the knowledge to earn eternal damnation.
The Angels could not be more honest and forthright. So, they explained the basic principles of magic and even the minor details to all who were ready to take the pledge to remain steadfast in their faith. Of course, if anyone broke the promise and fell into transgression or infidelity, it was his own fault, and the Angels could not be held responsible for it. Some were faithful to their promise, while many did not fulfill the pledge and made their knowledge of magic a means of harming people — this in itself is a sin and transgression. Thus, through misusing their knowledge of magic, some turned into sinners while others became infidels.
Let us repeat that the Angels had taught magic to reform the people and help them to the straight path. But those who misread this teaching did so out of their deliberate desire to behave wrongly. [Mufti Shafi, Ma’riful Quran]
In summary, teaching mankind magic was a test for people set by Allah Most High. The argument has nothing to do with whether magic is acceptable or permissible. It was only to distinguish those who were going to disbelieve from those who would believe and accept the advice. This is not different from other tests in this life, by which Allah checks our faith, for tests often involve a choice between prohibited or disliked by our Lord and that which is permitted or encouraged. Other tests include making the best moral choice.
Am I Sinful for Black Magic Performed on My Behalf?
Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on SeekersGuidance?
I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.