Israfil

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Israfil (Arabic: إسرافيلtranslit.: Isrāfīl, Alternate Spelling: Israfel, Meaning: The Burning One [1] ), is the angel of the trumpet in Islam,[2] though unnamed in the Qur'an. Along with Mikhail, Jibrail and Izra'il, he is one of the four Islamic archangels.[1] Israfil will blow the trumpet from a holy rock in Jerusalem to announce the Day of Resurrection.[3] The trumpet is constantly poised at his lips, ready to be blown when God so orders. In Judeo-Christian biblical literature, Raphael is the counterpart of Isrāfīl.[3] Isrāfīl is usually conceived as having a huge, hairy body that is covered with mouths and tongues and that reaches from the seventh heaven to the throne of God. One wing protects his body, another shields him from God, while the other two extend east and west. He is overcome by sorrow and tears three times every day and every night at the sight of Hell.

In religious tradition[edit]

Although the name "Israfel" does not appear in the Quran, mention is repeatedly made of an unnamed trumpet-angel assumed to identify this figure:

"And the trumpet shall be blown, so all those that are in the heavens and all those that are in the earth shall swoon, except him whom Allah will ; then it shall be blown again, then they shall stand up awaiting." —Qur'an (39.68).

In Islamic tradition he is said to have been sent, along with the other three Islamic archangels, to collect dust from the four corners of the earth,[4] although only Izra'il succeeded in this mission.[5] It was from this dust that Adam was formed.[unreliable source?]

Israfil has been associated with a number of other angelic names not pertaining to Islam, including Uriel,[6] Sarafiel[7] and Raphael.[8]

Certain sources indicate that, created at the beginning of time, Israfil possesses four wings, and is so tall as to be able to reach from the earth to the pillars of Heaven.[4] A beautiful angel who is a master of music, Israfil sings praises to God in a thousand different languages, the breath of which is used to inject life into hosts of angels who add to the songs themselves.[1]

According to Sunni traditions reported by Imam Al-Suyuti, the Ghawth or Qutb, who is regarded among Sufis as the highest person in the rank of siddiqun (saints), is someone who has a heart that resembles that of Archangel Israfil, signifying the loftiness of this angel. The next in rank are the saints who are known as the Umdah or Awtad, amongst whom the highest ones have their hearts resembling that of Angel Michael, and the rest of the lower ranking saints having the heart of Jibreel or Gabriel, and that of the previous prophets before the Prophet Muhammad. The earth is believed to always have one of the Qutb.[9]

In 19th-century Occultism[edit]

Israfil appears in cabbalistic lore as well as 19th-century Occultism. He was referenced in the title of Aleister Crowley's Liber Israfil, formerly Liber Anubis, a ritual which in its original form was written and utilized by members of the Golden Dawn. This is a ritual designed to invoke the Egyptian god, Thoth,[10] the deity of wisdom, writing, and magic who figures large in the Hermetica attributed to Hermes Trismegistus upon which modern practitioners of Alchemy and Ceremonial Magic draw.

In Media[edit]

  • Israfil is the subject and title of a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, used for the exotic effect of the name:
In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
Whose heart-strings are a lute;
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfil,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
Of his voice, all mute.
  • Israfil appears as a character in the book Heavenly Discourse by C. E. S. Wood.
  • Israfil is a character in the Remy Chandler book series - specifically the book A kiss before the Apocalypse - by Thomas E. Sniegoski. In that series he plays the part of the Angel of Death.
  • Israfil appears as an angelic character in the Sheri S. Tepper book - "Beauty".
  • Israfil (Spelled Israphel) is the main antagonist in the popular machinima by the YouTube group, The Yogscast

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Lewis, James R., Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy, Sisung Kelle S. (Editor) (1996), Angels A to Z, p. 224, Visible Ink Press, ISBN 0-7876-0652-9
  2. ^ Webster, Richard (2009). Encyclopedia of angels (1st ed. ed.). Woodbury, he will blow the trumpet when the day comes to the end Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. p. 97. ISBN 9780738714622. 
  3. ^ a b "Israfil". Encyclopaedia. Britannica. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Davidson, Gustav (1967), A Dictionary of Angels, Including The Fallen Angels, Entry: Israfel, Free Press, pp. 151, 152, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 66-19757, ISBN 9780029070505
  5. ^ Weil, Dr. Gustav (1863), The Bible, the Koran, and the Talmud or Biblical Legends of the Mussulmans, Adam, p. 19, at sacred-texts.com
  6. ^ Gabriel on jewishencyclopedia.com
  7. ^ Death, Angel of on jewishencyclopedia.com
  8. ^ Israfil at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  9. ^ See Jalaluddeen As Suyuti's compilation on the proofs of Qutb, Awtad and Abdals.
  10. ^ Crowley, A., Bennet, A., Liber Israfil at sacred-texts.com

References[edit]

External links[edit]