In this verse Allah Ta’ala explains the commissioning of Harut and Marut who were two angels sent by Him. Allah Ta’ala says:

And that which came to the two angels at Babylon, Harut and Marut, but neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are a test, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).'' And from these (angels) the people learnt that by which they cause separation between man and his wife.”

There is a difference of opinion regarding this story. Some scholars say that this Ayah denies that anything was sent down to the two angels. As proof they use the verse:

Sulayman did not disbelieve” saying, "The negation applies in both cases. Allah Ta’ala then said,

"But the Shayatin (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels.”

The Jews claimed that Jibraeel and Mikaaeel Alaihis Salaam brought magic down to the two angels, but Allah refuted this false claim.

And such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels”-using this verse some scholars say that Allah Ta’ala did not send magic down.''

"They followed what the Shayatin (devils) gave out (falsely) in the lifetime of Sulayman.) means, magic. Solomon neither disbelieved nor did Allah send magic with the two angels. However, the devils disbelieved and taught magic to the people in the Babylon of Harut and Marut.”

According to others, Jewish sorcerers at that time claimed that Allah Ta’ala sent magic with Jibraeel and Mikaeel to Nabi Sulaymaan Alaihis Salaam who was the son of Nabi Dawood Alaihis Salaam. Allah Ta’ala denied this false claim and informed Nabi Muhammad Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam that Jibraeel and Mikaeel Alaihimas Salaam were not sent with magic. Allah Ta’ala also exonerated Nabi Sulaymaan Alaihis Salaam from practicing magic, which the devils taught to the people of Babylon by the hands of two men, Harut and Marut. Hence, Harut and Marut were two ordinary men (not angels or Jibraeel or Mikaeel Alaihimas Salaam).'' This explanation is not accepted by the majority of scholars though.

Most scholars say that Harut and Marut were angels who came down from heaven to earth and did what they did as the Ayah stated. To confirm this opinion with the fact that the angels are immune from error, we say that Allah Ta’ala has eternal knowledge what these angels would do, just as He had eternal knowledge that Shaytaan would act in rebellion notwithstanding the fact that Allah Ta’ala referred to him being among the angels in the verse:

And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves before Adam.'' And they prostrated except Iblis (Satan), he refused) (Surah 20, verse:116)

However, what Harut and Marut did was less evil than what Shaytaan did.

Learning Magic is Kufr (Disbelief)





But neither of these two (angels) taught anyone (such things) till they had said, "We are for trial, so disbelieve not (by learning this magic from us).”

Based on the verse above scholars have declared that anyone dabbling in witchcraft (black magic) instantly becomes a disbeliever.

When someone came to the angels to learn magic, they would discourage him and say to him, `We are only a test, so do not fall into disbelief by practicing black magic.' They had knowledge of what was good and what was evil and what constituted belief and disbelief, and they thus knew that magic is a form of disbelief. When the person who came to learn magic still insisted on learning it, they commanded him to go to such and such place, where if he went, Satan would meet him and teach him magic. When this man would learn magic, the light (of faith) would depart him, and he would see it shining (and flying away) in the sky. He would then proclaim, `O my sorrow! Woe unto me! What should I do.'' Hasan Al-Basri said that this Ayah means, "The angels were sent with magic, so that the people whom Allah Ta’ala willed would be tried and tested. Allah Ta’ala made the angels promise that they would not teach or show anyone the way to black magic until first warning them by saying to them, `We are a test for you, do not fall into disbelief.''

A scholar by the name of As-Suddi has written that when a man would come to the two angels they would advise him, `Do not fall into disbelief. We are a test. When the man would ignore their advice, they would say, `Go to that pile of ashes and urinate on it.' When he would urinate on the ashes, a light, meaning the light of faith, would depart from him and would shine until it entered the heavens. Then something black that appeared to be smoke would descend and enter his ears and the rest of his body, and this is Allah's anger.


Commenting on this ayah scholars have said that no one dares practice black magic except a disbeliever. As for the Fitnah, it involves trials and freedom of choice. The scholars who stated that learning black magic is disbelief relied on this Ayah for evidence. They also use the hadeeth wherein Nabi Sallallaahu alaihi Wa Sallam is reported to have said that:

Whoever came to a soothsayer or a sorcerer and believed in what he said, will have disbelieved in what Allah revealed to Muhammad.to strengthen this ruling.

This Hadeeth has an authentic chain of narration and there are other Ahadeeth which support it also.


Causing a Separation between the Spouses is One of the Effects of Magic





Allah Ta’ala says:

And from these (angels) people learn that by which they cause separation between man and his wife.”

From the above verse scholars have also deduced that black magic is used to separate between spouses who once enjoyed a loving and harmonious relationship. Today whilst most divorces take place for apparent reasons there are times when the matters are trivial but still a husband divorces his wife. How often we see a loving couple suddenly becoming bitter enemies for no real reason. Their relationship sour overnight to the extent that they cannot even stand the sight of each other. This most probably is the result of black magic. The following hadeeth strengthens this fact. It is reported that our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Salam said:

Satan erects his throne on water and sends his emissaries among the people. The closest person to him is the person who causes the most Fitnah. One of them (a devil) would come to him and would say, `I kept inciting so-and-so, until he said such and such words.' Iblis says, `No, by Allah, you have not done much.' Another devil would come to him and would say, `I kept inciting so-and-so, until I separated between him and his wife.' Satan would draw him closer and embrace him, saying, `Yes, you did well.”

Separation between a man and his wife occurs here because each spouse imagines that the other spouse is ugly or ill-mannered, etc. This is when the black magic done is to separate them. One partner no longer sees the beauty of the spouse but in fact begins to see them as ugly and unsightly and thus cannot bear the sight of them.


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