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A miniature of Israfil's blowing the Trumpet

Isrāfīl (Arabic: إسْرافیل) is an angel commissioned to blow the Trumpet (see: Nafkh al-Sur) when this world comes to an end and the resurrection begins. According to hadiths, this angel is one of the close angels to God and his tasks include blowing the Trumpet, delivering divine messages to other angels, and receiving the daily records of people from angels appointed to record people's actions. He also carried out significant missions, such as waking up Seven Sleepers (Ashab al-Kahf) from many years of sleep, helping the Prophet Muhammad (s) in the Battle of Badr, and accompanying the Prophet (s) in Mi'raj.

Features and Characteristics

Israfil is one of the close angels to God known mainly for blowing the Trumpet to announce the end of this world. In hadiths, his name is said to be "'Abd al-Rahman" and his kunya is "Abu l-Manafikh".[1] The word, "Israfil", does not appear in the Qur'an, but there are verses concerning blowing the Trumpet[2] which is, according to hadiths, undertaken by Israfil.[3] According to hadiths, this angel is the manifestation of the divine attribute, al-Rahman,[4] and the manifestation of the tenet of "life" in the Preserved Slate (al-Lawh al-Mahfuz).[5] He was the first to mention "subhan rabbi al-a'la wa bi-hamdih" (exalted is my Lord the Highest and I praise Him).[6]

According to hadiths, Israfil has 12 wings one of which is located in the east of the world and the other is located in the west, and 'Arsh (the Throne) is located on his shoulder, but in comparison to the greatness of God, he is smaller than a sparrow.[7] He sees himself to be so little in comparison to God that he hides himself under one of his wings out of shame.[8] According to Shiite theologians and philosophers, angels are immaterial beings, and so their wings are not like those of material birds.[9]


According to hadiths, an important task of Israfil is to blow the Trumpet.[10] Israfil has an army of angels at his disposal,[11] and when the time of the resurrection approaches, God orders them to prepare the grounds for the resurrection. After that, Israfil blows the Trumpet after which everything in this world dies and the world comes to an end.[12] He then blows the Trumpet again after which everything comes back to life and the resurrection begins.[13]

Some scholars take Israfil to be one of the angels who carry God's Throne.[14] He is also taken to be commissioned to deliver God's messages to other angels. For example, when God wants to reveal something to a prophet, He shows the Preserved Slate to Israfil who then reveals what he saw to Jabra'il.[15] According to another hadith, when Nimrud threw the prophet Abraham (a) into the fire, Israfil was the first angel who went to help him at the command of God.[16] Other tasks have also been attributed to Israfil in hadiths, including:


There are four great and close angels before God: Israfil, Jabra'il, Mika'il, and 'Izra'il who are known as the "Heads of Angels".[28] According to hadiths, God has created Israfil, Jabra'il and Mika'il from one tasbih,[29] and Israfil and Jabra'il are said to be the closest creatures to God, because there are only four veils between them and God, while there are 70,000 veils between God and other creatures.[30] According to a hadith, the Prophet (s) always addressed God in his midnight supplications as follows: "O Allah, the Lord of Jabra'il and Mika'il and Israfil",[31] and Imam al-Sajjad (a) prayed for Israfil as follows: "O Allah! Send regards to Israfil who is the owner of the Trumpet and is waiting for your command to blow the Trumpet and wake up the sleepers of the graves".[32]

Israfil in Religions and Cultures

In the Torah, there are angels known as "Seraphs" who are sitting on the Throne and recite the dhikr: "holy, holy, holy".[33] Although there are hadiths in Islamic sources concerning Israfil's exaltation of God and his carrying the Throne, it refers to a single angel, but "Seraphs" in Judaism refers to a group of angels.[34]

Blowing the Trumpet by Israfil is not dissimilar to Shiva in Hinduism who makes people die or come back to life by banging a drum.[35] People of ancient Egypt also believed that people of the Heaven enjoy the hearing of the songs of Israfil.[36] Also, a scholar of the ancient Levant talked about a singing angel called "Israfil" who exalts God and as a result, residents of the sky quit their worships and listen to his exaltation.[37]

See Also


  1. Ḍīyāʾī Urzgānī, "Isrāfīl", vol.1, p. 241.
  2. Qurʾān, 39:68; 36:53.
  3. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 6, p. 340.
  4. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 259.
  5. Ibn al-Fanārī, Miṣbāḥ al-uns, p. 402.
  6. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 286.
  7. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 11.
  8. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 286.
  9. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 8, p. 170.
  10. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 249.
  11. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 248.
  12. Qurʾān, 36:53.
  13. Qurʾān, 39:68.
  14. Khomeini, Ādāb al-ṣalāt, p. 273.
  15. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 20, p. 257.
  16. Ḍīyāʾī Urzgānī, "Isrāfīl", vol.1, p. 243.
  17. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 261.
  18. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 261.
  19. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 261.
  20. Ḍīyāʾī Urzgānī, "Isrāfīl", vol.1, p. 241.
  21. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 288.
  22. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 13, p. 8.
  23. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 288.
  24. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 261.
  25. Ḍīyāʾī Urzgānī, "Isrāfīl", vol.1, p. 243.
  26. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 260.
  27. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 288.
  28. Rijālī Tihrānī, Firishtigān-i taḥqīqī Qurʾānī, p. 106.
  29. Ṭabāṭabāyī, al-Mīzān, vol. 17, p. 8.
  30. Rustamī & Āl Būya, Sayrī dar asrār-i firishtigān, p. 247.
  31. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 286.
  32. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya, supplication 3.
  33. Isaiah, 6:2-3.
  34. Ḍīyāʾī Urzgānī, "Isrāfīl", vol.1, p. 243.
  35. Bulkhārī, Ṭabl-i shīwā wa ṣūr-i Isrāfīl, p. 53
  36. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 287.
  37. Pākatchī, "Isrāfīl", vol. 8, p. 286.


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