Answered by Sidi Shariq Khan
If angels are protected from sin, then how could Harut and Marut engage in magic?
In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
Imam Laqani mentions in his primer in Islamic beliefs, Jawharat al-Tawhid ('Jewel of Divine Oneness'), that both prophets and angels are protected from sin. As such, it is sinful to believe that angels sin.
Harut and Marut were two angels that taught people magic. Their story is mentioned in verse 102 of Sura Baqara. Jewish scholars call these the sinful Angels (see the Midrash). We believe that they were commanded by Allah to teach people magic, and so not sinful in doing so. There are two opinions about why the angels were sent.
The first opinion, mentioned in the Tafsir al-Jalalayn, is that they were sent as a temptation and trial from Allah. Those who learned magic from them disbelieved, and those who did not, believed. This is why the angels warned the people before teaching them magic. The angels said, "We are only a trial; so do not disbelieve." (Quran 2:102)
The second opinion about why the angels were sent is explained by Shaykh Sabuni in his Safwat al-Tafasir. He says that during their time there were many magicians claiming Prophethood, and people needed to be able to distinguish between the miracles of Prophets and the magic of magicians. The magic they taught could have been used to do this, or, it could have been used for evil.
And Allah knows best.
Approved by Faraz Rabbani
MMVIII © Qibla.
All rights reserved
No part of this article may be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, please submit a request at our Helpdesk.
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "Knowledge is only through study." While some knowledge can be gained from reading or casually listening to lectures, the best means to gain knowledge is through finding a qualified teacher and then setting up a systematic program of learning. Picking up a book or reading an article and trying to figure things out on our own is no substitute for learning from someone who has a direct link to our living tradition.
Through joining an online class at Qibla, you can benefit from convenient, online courses that will give you access to reliable scholars and our popular curriculum learning tracks. Knowledge gained in these courses will both build your iman and assist you in putting into practice what you learn. Don't give yourself less than you deserve, register today.