The Zoroastrian god-beings of healing, restorative powers and deathlessness and the Koranic Harut and Marut

Hárut and Márut are the name of two angels who taught mankind “every miraculous formula.” They are mentioned once in the Koran (2:96 [2:102].)

The passage admonishes the Jewish people concerning king Solomon. The koranic verse states: “Solomon did not disbelieve, but the satans disbelieved, teaching the people sorcery [siḥr] and what had been sent down to the two angels in Babel [Babylon], Hārut and Mārut; they do not teach anyone without first saying: ‘We are only a temptation, so do not disbelieve,’ so they learn from them means by which they separate man and wife; but they do not injure any one thereby, except by the permission of Allah.”

The origin of the angels is unexplained but they are cited as initially two of the purest and noblest of the angels in the Koranic commentaries. Muslim philologists knew well that Hárut and Márut were not of Arabic origin.

The THEME of the koranic verse is ultimately based on the love of the “sons of Elohim” and the daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4, with the motif of the fallen angels who mastered “every magic.”

However, the origin of their name is definitely Indo European and goes back to the Auspicious Immortals of Zoroastrianism. Hárut and Márut are none other than the two amešá/amertá speñtás of the poetic gathas namely: haûrvatát and ameretát.

Haûrvatát is the “miraculous power of healing, every cure, wholeness and wellbeing.” Greek hólos, Gothic hails and Old Icelandic heil “good, happy omen” are close cognates. Ameretát is “deathlessness and immortality.”

Moslem commentaries state that it is Hárut who performs magic (nirang.) Nirang or more accurately Neyrang is a technical Zoroastrian term that refers to effective formulas. In the context of haûrvatát, Neyrang refers to “every cure or restorative formula.”

In Armenian literature haûrvatát and ameretát were also combined to form Hauraut-Mauraut, the name for a flower of the hyacinth family used in popular rites on Ascension Day, (See Dumézil).

The 14th-century Armenian John VI Cantacouzenus cites the legend of Arōt and Marōt, whom God has sent to earth “in order to rule well and justly.”

The great Persian poet Rumi, explains “that the intellect and spirit are imprisoned in clay, like Hárut and Márut in the pit of Babylon” (R. A. Nicholson, tr., and ed., The Mathnawi of Jalālu’ddin Rumi, translation, III, repr. 1977, p. 14.)


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1 Response to The Zoroastrian god-beings of healing, restorative powers and deathlessness and the Koranic Harut and Marut

  1. zaneta garratt says:

    very interesting and fascinating comparison of the angel names, I never thought of this connection before-very nice information too in this article

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