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Title: Israfil  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Azrael, Gabriel, Islamic view of angels, Devil (Islam), Gog and Magog
Collection: Angels in Islam, Biblical Figures in Islam, Individual Angels, Islamic Eschatology, Quranic Figures
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Israfil (Arabic: إسرافيلtranslit.: Isrāfīl, Alternate Spelling: Israfel, Esrafil, Meaning: The Burning One),[1] is the angel of the trumpet in Islam[2] though unnamed in the Qur'an and is the alternative name of the archangel Uriel for the Jewish people.[3] Along with Mikhail, Jibrail and Azrael, 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.[4] 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.[4] 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 1
  • In 19th-century Occultism 2
  • In media 3
  • See also 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

In religious tradition

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,[5] although only Izra'il succeeded in this mission.[6] It was from this dust that Adam was formed.

Israfil has been associated with a number of other angelic names not pertaining to Islam, including Uriel,[7] Sarafiel[8] and Raphael.[9]

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.[5] 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 Muhammad. The earth is believed to always have one of the Qutb.[10]

In 19th-century Occultism

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,[11] 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

  • 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 is mentioned in Lou Harrison's Second Symphony, "Elegiac," in the first and third movements (each entitled Tears of the Angel Israfel). Harrison writes that Israfel is the angel of music and that he "stands with his feet and his head in the sun. He will blow the last trumpet. Six times daily he looks down into hell and is so convulsed with grief that his tears would inundate the earth if Allah did not stop their flow"[12]
  • 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 appears as a character in the anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Israfil (Spelled Israphel) is the main antagonist in the popular machinima by the YouTube group, The Yogscast
  • Israfil is mentioned in Kazi Nazrul Islam's poem Bidrohi. (আমি ইস্রাফিলের শিঙ্গার, মহা হুঙ্কার; I am the mighty roar of Israfil's bugle[13]).[14]

See also


  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.). Woodbury, he will blow the trumpet when the day comes to the end Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. p. 97.  
  3. ^ ,
  4. ^ a b "Israfil". Encyclopaedia. Britannica. Retrieved 20 November 2012. 
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Weil, Dr. Gustav (1863), The Bible, the Koran, and the Talmud or Biblical Legends of the Mussulmans, Adam, p. 19, at
  7. ^ Gabriel on
  8. ^ Death, Angel of on
  9. ^ Israfil at the Encyclopædia Britannica
  10. ^ See Jalaluddeen As Suyuti's compilation on the proofs of Qutb, Awtad and Abdals.
  11. ^ Crowley, A., Bennet, A., Liber Israfil at
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Kazi Nazrul Islam, Sanchita


  • Campo, Juan E. (2009). Encyclopedia of Islam. New York, NY: Facts On File. p. 750.  
  • Oliver, Evelyn Dorothy; Lewis, James R. (2008). Angels A to Z (2nd ed.). Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 202.  
  • Schwebel, Rosemary Ellen Guiley ; foreword by Lisa (2004). The encyclopedia of angels (2nd ed.). New York: Facts on File. p. 193.  
  • Webster, Richard (2009). Encyclopedia of angels (1st ed.). Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. p. 97.  
  • Dale Hoiberg Indu Ramchandani; Ramchandani, vice president Dale Hoiberg; editor South Asia, Indu (2000). Student’s Britannica: India (Set of 7 Vols.) 39 Volumes 1-5 of Students' Britannica India, Students' Britannica India. New Delhi: Encyclopædia Britannica (India). p. 92.  

External links

  • Oval metal seal inscribed with the four archangels' names in Islm - Displayed at British Museum
  • Painting of a Israfil blowing a trumpet,from the ʿAja'ib al-Makhluqat of al-Qazvini - Displayed at British Museum
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