Harut and Marut in Ars Magica

I've been thinking about using Harut and Marut (mentioned in the Qur'an) and in Ars Magica (especially the 4th edition book Blood and Sand). These guys were angels, if I understand it correctly, who were cast down by God for teaching humankind sorcery. They are chained in a pit somewhere near Babylon (can't remember exactly where).

Now, in Ars Magica, what are these angels? They fell, but not to Hell. Would that make them Watchers? Are they currently angels or demons? And what order/choir and rank would these have?

The story I'm planning will have the characters chase someone who wants to free these beings because he wants to be rewarded with great power.
Any suggestions?


Not being a scholar of the Quran, your guess is as good, or better than mine.

I'd say they're "daemons" - not necessarily fiendish/Infernal, but certainly no longer of the Divine. Magical? Perhaps, or default to Infernal, since they are of "not-Divine". They may not (easily) be categorized into Christian Theological terms.

Without a clearer definition (which may simply not exist), it's hard to say whether they are Divine, Infernal or Magical. But they should be large - and in the end, isn't that enough? :wink:

I haven't read Blood and Sand, but the legend itself is interesting. Is there any other texts than the Quran this is based upon? If not I would simply say they are angles of the quite unfallen kind.

Sorry for the long quote here:

(Emphasis mine, from Muhammad Asad's English translation)

If I remember correctly (no reference here, I'm afraid), Islam in general is traditionaly not very keen on disobedient angles, so having the pair as demons would be a Christian interpretation of the legend.

Which is cool, I guess.

Edit: Bold text added for easier reading.

One possible answer to your question may be found on pages 14-15 of Ancient Magic. There is a short reference to Harut and Marut. I had also thought they were mentioned in another Fifth Edition book, but I can't find the reference just now.

RoP: tD, maybe? I also seem to remember something like this...

I recall a former thread on this somewhere in the bowels of this forum - there's a quest refinding it. Or was it in fact by you also? :wink:

Ah, well here we've actually exposed one of the differences between Islam and Christianity, in that mainstream Islam doesn't really accept the existence of demons, at least in the sense of fallen angels, as Ars conceives them. This is a case where the Ars canon has been skewed for the sake of keeping things simple.

Supernatural, evil beings in Islam are usually jinn. Satan himself (Iblis, or sometimes al-Shaytan) is described as a jinni, though at times he also seems to be depicted as a disobedient angel. In the Qur'an we see him take on the role of tempter of mankind, but only with God's acquiescence.

The legend of Harut and Marut, which is expanded in Muslim literature expounding on the Qur'an, states that they were angels who initially were rather contemptuous of humans and their tendency to be ruled by their passions, so God made them prey to human emotions and sent them down to earth. Both sinned and were offered the choice of punishment in this life or the next. They chose this life, with the result that they were chained in the pit at Babel until Judgment Day. This suggests that they will be forgiven and freed at that point.

With that in mind, I would make them Divine beings in Ars Magica. At the moment, their "divinely appointed task," as it were, would be to suffer their punishment. This could raise an interesting saga possibility; imagine if someone sought out the pit to free the angels, but they refused to be freed...?

I hope that this helps.

Indeed, I've asked this before, way before RoP:Infernal came out, I think it was.
As I recall, in Blood and Sand, one person actually entered the pit, and seeing the angels chained there, he uttered the word God or Allah, and the angels became enraged on hearing the name of their captors. Doesn't sound very angel-like behaviour, does it? :stuck_out_tongue:


To niallchristie:
Yes, I think this friction is very interesting, which is one of the main reasons I brought it up. Jinn, Demons, Angles, Faries, Hermetic Magic and remnants of the older religions do not fit all that easily together. I vainly continue to try, though.

To Ferretz:

Well, no, but I suspect that there might be some friction between their descriptions in Ars and Islamic texts. In mainstream scholastic Islam, there are no disobedient angles, only angles with a divine mission to tempt humanity. In Ars this obviously is not the case, unless you want to rule that the infernal is directly controlled by the divine. A rather strong case is made in Islamic texts for their complete innocence in this matter, and if they are to be used as bad guys, they (or whoever wants to free them) could use this to falsely justify their actions.

The nature of out two friends depends largely on what you want them to be, but if you want to use the "fallen angels" story
I would make them infernal or divine creatures, but without any mandate from their respective realm.

How have Cain traditionally be represented in Ars (if ever)? He seems to occupy a slightly similar position. He is banished by God, but not really embraced by any infernal hierarchy.

Or what if one refused and the other didnt.... I could see some stories there as well.

And Ferretz, it seems my brain's Ars-folders (stuck somewhere in a frontal lobe between "I have to get around reading Name of the Rose" and the phone-number for the local pizza-delivery) arent as dusty as I feared... :smiley:

If we take the apocryphical book Enoch, the Grigori are the watchers. They are supposed to watch man and teach them justice. So they are in effect angels and therefore divine.
They then fall in love with the beauty of human women and mate. They also teach them different knowledge and arts: Azazel teaches weaponsmithinng and cosmetics, Armaros teaches magic!
There are some 20 fallen watchers out of 200 watchers If I have understood correctly. So I would say there are 20 demons and 180 angels and they know darn well of each others excistance and way of working. (personal interpretation)

I think this is practically the same story in Christian literature as the Qur'an story in this topic. (and I will use this version of the story IMS: Azazel already visited the covenant :open_mouth: and also the archangel Micheal plays a big part, he is one of the four 'managers' overseeing the grigori)

(in haste)

Harut and Marut are mentioned in RoP:tI, in Chapter 3. They are equated with Semyaza and Azael.