Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 6.djvu/75

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introduction.

The archangels are, Gibraʼîl, ‘ Gabriel’ (also called er Rûʿh el Amîn, ‘ the faithful spirit,’ or er Rûʿh el Qudus, ‘ the holy spirit ’), God’s messenger by whom the Qurʼân was revealed to Mohammed ; Mikâʼîl, the guardian angel of the Jews[1]; Isrâfîl, the archangel who will sound the last trumpet at the resurrection; Azrâʼîl, the angel of death.

Two angels are appointed to each human being, who stand one on his right and one on his left hand, to record his every action.

One angel, called Raswân, ‘ goodwill,’ presides over heaven; and one, named Mâlik, ‘ the ruler,’ over hell[2].

Munkir and Nakîr are the two angels who preside at ‘ the examination of the tomb.’ They visit a man in his grave directly after he has been buried, and examine him concerning his faith. If he acknowledge that there is but one God and that Mohammed is his prophet, they suffer him to rest in peace, otherwise they beat him with iron maces till he roars so loud that he is heard by all from east to west except by men, and ginns. They then press the earth down on the corpse, and leave it to be torn by dragons and serpents till the day of resurrection.

The angelology of Islâm is apparently traceable to Jewish sources, though the ancient Arab cult had no doubt borrowed some portion of it from the Persians, whence too it was introduced into Judaism.

The notions of the bridge over hell, Es Sirât, and of the partition wall, El Aarâf, between paradise and hell[3], are also common to the Jewish and Magian traditions.

Iblîs or Saitân, ‘ the devil ’ or ‘ Satan,’ was originally an angel who fell from paradise on account of his proudly refusing to adore Adam[4].

Besides the angels there are the ginn (collectively gânn), of whom I have before spoken. They are created out of


  1. See Part Ⅰ, p. 13, note 2.
  2. Mâlik is evidently identical with Moloch, as Gehennum, hell, is the same as the Gehenna of the Bible.
  3. See Part Ⅰ, p. 138, note 1.
  4. See Chapter Ⅱ, ver. 32.