What is the correct opinion concerning Hārūt and Mārūt, are they two men or two angels?
The majority of the people of knowledge are on the opinion that they are two angels relying on narrations majority of them are Isrā’ēlīyāt (tales of the people of the book) and from what the soul is not content with, nor is it with proof, but this is what they said, and the verse does not have in it what establishes that they are two angels or two men Allāh said;
وَاتَّبَعُوا مَا تَتْلُو الشَّيَاطِينُ عَلَىٰ مُلْكِ سُلَيْمَانَ وَمَا كَفَرَ سُلَيْمَان
The (ما ) is nāfiyah (negation);
ُ وَلَٰكِنَّ الشَّيَاطِينَ كَفَرُوا يُعَلِّمُونَ النَّاسَ السِّحْر
i.e. the disbelieving Shayātīn are the ones who taught the people magic, then he negated and said;
َ وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ
“They followed what the Shayātīn (devils) gave out (falsely of the magic) in the lifetime of Sulaimān (Solomon). Sulaimān did not disbelieve, but the Shayātīn (devils) disbelieved, teaching men magic and such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Hārūt and Mārūt,” [Al-Baqarah, 102]
This is the statement of a group of the people of knowledge and from them are those that criticize it but it is a strong statement i.e. that magic was not given to the two angels because magic is disbelief and prohibited, we do not know of it’s permissibility in a legislation from the legislations so how can degrading these two angels be an act of worship, except that they said it is a trial;
وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنِ بِبَابِلَ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ
“And such things that came down at Babylon to the two angels, Hārūt and Mārūt, [Al-Baqarah, 102].”
His statement Hārūt and Mārūt they said is from the advanced and delayed i.e.
وَمَا أُنزِلَ عَلَى الْمَلَكَيْنَِ هَارُوتَ وَمَارُوتَ بِبَابِل
Meaning it wasn’t revealed upon the two angels which is ‘Atf Bayān or Tawkīd or Hārūt and Mārūt are Badl of Malakayn, so the meaning would be two angles upon this interpretation and the verse does not have what points towards this or that and we don’t have what obligates this statement but the majority of the people of knowledge said they are two angels and Allāh knows best.
Answered by: Shaykh, the Allamah, the Trustworthy Advisor, Abu Abdirrahman Yahya bin Ali Al-Hajuri – may Allah preserve him
Translated by: Abū ‘Abdillāh ‘Omar bin Yahya Al-‘Akawi