Fallen Angel

In Abrahamic religions, fallen angels are angels who were expelled from Heaven. The term “fallen angel” appears neither in the Bible nor in other Abrahamic scriptures, but is used of angels who were cast out of heaven[1]or angels who sinned. Such angels are often malevolent towards humanity.

The idea of fallen angels derived from Jewish Enochic pseudepigraphy or the assumption that the “sons of God” (בני האלהים‬) mentioned in Genesis 6:1–4 are angels.[2] Some scholars consider it most likely that the Jewish tradition of fallen angels predates, even in written form, the composition of Gen 6:1–4.[3][4][a] In the period immediately preceding the composition of the New Testament, some sects of Judaism, as well as many Christian Church Fathers, identified the “sons of God” (בני האלהים‬) of Genesis 6:1–4 as fallen angels.[6] The presence of these traditions in Christianity, not only in the East but also in the Latin-speaking West, is attested by the polemic of Augustine of Hippo (354–430) against the motif of giants born of the union between fallen angels and human women.[7] Rabbinic Judaism and Christian authorities after the third century rejected the Enochian writings and the notion of an illicit union between angels and women producing giants.[8][9][10] Christianity attributed the sin of fallen angels towards the beginning of history, instead of to humans. Accordingly, fallen angels became identified with angels who were led by Satan in rebellion against God[7] and became equated with demons.[11] However, during the intertestamental period, demons were not thought of as the fallen angels themselves, but as the surviving souls of their monstrous offspring.[12][13] Accordingly, fallen angels had intercourse with human women, giving existence to the Biblical giants. To purge the world from these creatures, God sent the Great Deluge and their bodies were destroyed. However their spiritual parts survived, henceforth roamed the earth as demons.

Islam also knows about the concept of fallen angels.[14] However, their affirmation was also opposed by Islamic scholars, who emphazised the piety of angels by certain verses of the Qur’an, such as 16:49 and 66:6.[15]On the other hand, these verses leave space for further interpretations, since they merely refer to a certain situation or certain groups of angels performing their assigned task. The angels protesting in 2:30 seem to indicate, that angels would have at least a minor ability to act self-sufficient.[15][16] Reports attributed to some of the companions of Muhammad, such as Ibn Abbas (619-687) and Abdullah ibn Masud (594-653), implied the existence of fallen angels.[17] Other scholars insist that fallen angels are not possible. Hasan of Basra (642-728), an early and influential Islamic ascete, not only emphasized verses which attest absolute obedience of angels to God, but also reinterpreted verses, which might imply the acknowledgement of fallen angels. For example, he read the term mala’ikah (angels) in reference to Harut and Marut in 2:102 as malikayn (kings), depicting them as ordinary men and not as angels.[18][19] Although sometimes denied, many classical scholars, accepted the existence of fallen angels.[20] These scholars provide different explanations for the impeccability of angels and their fall. Some assert that the impeccability of angels only applies to the messengers among them.[21] Al-Baydawi (d. 1280) and Mahmud al-Alusi (1802–1854) suggested that angels are impeccable as long they remain angels, but if they abandon their obedience, they fall and might become shayatin or jinn. Some academic scholars evaluated whether or not the jinn could be compared to the Biblical concept of fallen angels. But although the different types of spirits in the Quran are sometimes hard to distinguish, the jinn in Islamic traditions seem to differ in their major characteristics from that of fallen angels.[1][b]

Mention of angels who physically descended (and figuratively “fell”) to Mount Hermon is found in the Book of Enoch, which the Ethiopian Orthodox Church[23] and Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church accept as biblical canon; as well as in various pseudepigrapha.

Second Temple period

The concept of fallen angels is mostly found in works dated to the Second Temple period between 530 BCE and 70 CE: in the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees and the Qumran Book of Giants; and perhaps in Genesis 6:1–4.[24] A reference to heavenly beings called “Watchers” originates in Daniel 4, in which there are three mentions, twice in the singular (v. 13, 23), once in the plural (v. 17), of “watchers, holy ones”. The Ancient Greek word for watchers is ἐγρήγοροι (egrḗgoroi, plural of egrḗgoros), literally translated as “wakeful”.[25] In the Book of Enoch, these Watchers “fell” after they became “enamored” with human women. The Second Book of Enoch (Slavonic Enoch) refers to the same beings of the (First) Book of Enoch, now called Grigori in the Greek transcription.[26] Compared to the other Books of Enoch, fallen angels play a less significant role in 3 Enoch. 3 Enoch mentions only three fallen angels called Azazel, Azza and Uzza. Similar to The first Book of Enoch, they taught sorcery on earth, causing corruption.[27] Unlike the first Book of Enoch, there is no mention of the reason for their fall and, according to 3 Enoch 4.6, they also later appear in heaven objecting to the presence of Enoch.

1 Enoch

Chester Beatty XII, Greek manuscript of the Book of Enoch, 4th century

See also: 1 Enoch

According to 1 Enoch 7.2 the Watchers became “enamoured” with human women[28] and had intercourse with them. The offspring of these unions, and the knowledge they were given, corrupted human beings and the earth 1 Enoch 10.11–12.[28] Eminent among these angels are Shemyaza, their leader, and Azazel. Like many other fallen angels mentioned in 1 Enoch 8.1-9, Azazel introduced men to “forbidden arts”, but it is Azazel who is rebuked by Enoch himself for illicit instructions, as stated in 1 Enoch 13.1.[29] According to 1 Enoch 10.6, God sent the archangel Raphael to chain Azazel in the desert Dudael as punishment. Further, Azazel is blamed for the corruption of earth:

1 Enoch 10:12: “All the earth has been corrupted by the effects of the teaching of Azazyel. To him therefore ascribe the whole crime.”

Treating theological issues such as the origin of evil as something supernatural, by shifting the origin of mankind’s sin and their misdeeds to illicit angel instruction, is a unique motif found in the Book of Enoch, but not in later Jewish and Christian theology.[30]

2 Enoch

The concept of fallen angels is also found in the Second Book of Enoch. It tells about Enoch’s ascent through the layers of heaven. During his journey, he encounters fallen angels imprisoned in the 2nd heaven. At first, he decides to pray for them, but refuses to do so, since he himself as merely human, would not be worthy to pray for angels. In the 5th heaven however, he meets other rebellious angels, here called Grigori, remaining in grief, not joining the heavenly hosts in song. Enoch tries to cheer them up by telling about his prayers for their fellow angels and thereupon they join the heavenly liturgy.[31]

Strikely, the text refers to the leader of the Grigori as Satanail and not as Azael or Shemyaza.[32] The Grigori are identified with the Watchers of 1 Enoch.[33][34]

The narration of the Grigori in (2 Enoch 18:1–7), who went down on to earth, married women and “befouled the earth with their deeds”, resulting in their confinement under the earth, shows that the author of 2 Enoch knew about the stories in 1 Enoch.[32] In the longer recension of 2 Enoch, chapter 29 refers to angels who were “thrown out from the height” when their leader tried to become equal in rank with the Lord’s power (2 Enoch 29:1–4), an idea probably taken from Ancient Canaanite religion about Attar, trying to rule the throne of Baal. The equation of an angel called Satanail with a deity trying to usurp the throne of a higher deity, was also adapted by later Christian about the fall of Satan.[35]


The Book of Jubilees, an ancient Jewish religious work, accepted as canonical by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Beta Israel, refers to the Watchers, who are among the angels created on the first day.[36][37] However, unlike the (first) Book of Enoch, the Watchers are commanded by God to descend to earth and to instruct humanity.[38][39] It is only after they copulated with human women that they transgressed the laws of God.[40] These illicit unions resulted in demonic offspring, who battled each other until they died, while the Watchers were bound in the depths of the earth as punishment.[41] In Jubilees 10.1, another angel called Mastema appears as the leader of the evils spirits.[40] He asks God to spare some of the demons, so he might use their aid to lead humankind into sin. Afterwards, he becomes their leader[40]:

“‘Lord, Creator, let some of them remain before me, and let them harken to my voice, and do all that I shall say unto them; for if some of them are not left to me, I shall not be able to execute the power of my will on the sons of men; for these are for corruption and leading astray before my judgment, for great is the wickedness of the sons of men.’ (10:8)

Both the (first) Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, include the motif of angels introducing evil to humans. However, unlike the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees does not hold that evil was caused by the fall of angels in the first place, although their introduction to sin is affirmed. Further, while the fallen angels in The Book of Enoch are acting against God’s will, the fallen angels and demons in the Book of Jubilees seem to have no power independent from God but only act within his power.[42]

Rabbinic Judaism

Although the concept of fallen angels developed from early Judaism during the Second Temple period, rabbis from the second century onward turned against the Enochian writings, probably in order to prevent fellow Jews from worship and veneration of angels. Thus, while many angels were individualized and sometimes venerated during the Second Temple period, the status of angels was degraded to a class of creatures, thereby emphasizing the omnipresence of God. The 2nd-century rabbi Simeon b. Yohai cursed everyone who explained the term Sons of God as angels. He stated, Sons of God were actually sons of judges or sons of nobles. Evil was no longer attributed to heavenly forces, now it was dealt as an “evil inclination” (yetzer hara) within humans.[43] However, narrations of fallen angels do appear in later rabbinic writings. In some midrashim, the “evil inclination” is attributed to Samael, who is in charge of several satans.[44][45] But these angels are still subordinative to God. The reacceptance of fallen angels in midrashic discourse was probably influenced by the role of fallen angels in Islamic lore.[46]

The idea of fallen angels is taken into account in the aggadic-midrashic work Pirke De-Rabbi Eliezer. The first fall of angels is attributed to Samael. Samael refused to worship Adam and objected God favoring Adam over the angels. Thereupon he descended to Adams abode and tempted him into sin. While the first fall of angels probably rooted in the motif of the fall of Iblis in the Quran and the fall of Satan in the Cave of Treasures, the second fall of angels echos the Enochian narratives. Again, the “sons of God” mentioned in Gen 6:1–4 are depicted as angels. During their fall, their “strength and stature became like the sons of man” and again, they gave existence to the giants by intercourse with human woman.[47]


Although not strictly speaking fallen, evil angels reappear in Kabbalah. Some of them are named after angels taken from the Enochian writings, such as Samael.[48] According to the Zohar, just as angels can be created by virtue, evil angels are an incarnation of human vices, which derive from the Qliphoth.[49] Further, the Zohar recalls a narration of two angels in a “fallen” state, called Aza and Aza’el, who taught magic to humans, affirming but simultaneously prohibiting such practices.[50]


Michael casts out rebel angels. Illustration by Gustave Doré for John Milton’s Paradise Lost.


Luke Luke 10:18 refers to “Satan falling from heaven” and only Matthew 25:41 mentiones “the devil and his angels”, who will be thrown into the hell. All Synoptic Gospels identify Satan as the leader of demons.[51] Paul the Apostle (c. 5 – c. 64 or 67) states in Corinthians 6:3, there are angels, who will be “judged”, implying the existence of wicked angels.[52] 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 1:6 refer paraenetically to angels who have sinned against God and await punishment on Judgement Day.[53] The Book of Revelation tells of “that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”, being thrown down to the Earth together with his angels.[54] It further speaks of Satan as a great red dragon whose “tail swept a third part of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth”. In verses 7–9, Satan is defeated in the War in Heaven against Michael and his angels: “the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him”.[55] Nowhere within the New Testament writings, fallen angels were identified with demons.[56] Only the several references to Satan, demons and angels combined, led early Christian exegetes to equating fallen angels with demons, whom Satan was regarded as the leader.[57][58]

Origen and other Christian writers linked the fallen morning star of Isaiah 14:12 of the Old Testament to Jesus’ statement in Luke 10:18 that he “saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven”, as well as a passage about the fall of Satan in Revelation 12:8–9.[59] The Latin word lucifer, as introduced in the late 4th-century AD Vulgate, gave rise to the name “Lucifer” for a fallen angel.[60] Christian tradition has associated Satan not only the image of the morning star in Isaiah 14:12, but also the denouncing in Ezekiel 28:11–19 of the king of Tyre, who is spoken of as having been a “cherub”. Rabbinic literature saw these two passages as in some ways parallel, even if it perhaps did not associate them with Satan, and the episode of the fall of Satan appears not only in writings of the early Church Fathers and in apocryphal and pseudepigraphic works, but also in rabbinic sources.[61] However, “no modern evangelical commentary on Isaiah or Ezekiel sees Isaiah 14 or Ezekiel 28 as providing information about the fall of Satan”.[62]

Early Christianity

During the period immediately before the rise of Christianity, the intercourse between the Watchers and human women was often seen as the first fall of the angels.[63] Christianity stuck to the Enochian writings at least until the third century.[9] Many Church Fathers such as Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria and Lactantius[64][65] accepted the application of the angelic descent myth to the “sons of God” passage in Genesis 6:1–4.[64] However some ascetics, such as Origen (c. 184 – c. 253),[66] rejected this interpretation. According to the Church Fathers who accepted this doctrine, these angels were guilty of having transgressed the limits of their nature and of desiring to leave their heavenly abode to experience sensual experiences.[67] Irenaeus referred to fallen angels as apostates, who will be punished by an everlasting fire. Justin Martyr (c. 100 – c. 165) identified pagan deities as fallen angels or their demonic offspring in disguise. Justin also held them responsible for Christian persecution during the first centuries.[68] Tertullian and Origen also referred to fallen angels as teachers of Astrology.[69]

The identification, based on an interpretation of Isaiah 14:1–17, which describes a king of Babylon as the fallen “morning star” (in Hebrew, הילל‬), was probably the first time identified with a fallen angel in by Origen.[70][71] This description was interpreted typologically both as an angel and a human king: The image of the fallen morning star or angel was thereby applied to Satan by early Christian writers,[72][73] following the equation of Lucifer to Satan in the pre-Christian century.[74]


Fallen angels dwelling in Hell

By the third century, Christians began to reject the Enochian literature. The sons of God became identified merely with righteous men, more precisely with descendants of Seth who had been seduced by women descended from Cain. The cause of evil was shifted from superior powers to humans themselves, and to the very beginning of history; the expulsion of Satan and his angels on the one hand and the original sin of humans on the other hand.[9] However the Book of Watchers prevailed among Syriac Christians.[23] Augustine of Hippos work Civitas Dei (5th century) became the major opinion of Western demonology and for the Catholic Church.[75] He rejected the Enochian writings and stated the sole origin of fallen angels was the rebellion of Satan.[7][76] As a result, fallen angels became equated with demons and depicted as asexual entities.[77] Whether or not fallen angels have a body became another topic of dispute during the Middle Ages.[75] Augustine of Hippo himself based his descriptions of demons on the perception of the Greek Daimon.[75] The Daimon was thought to be composed of ethereal matter, a notion also assimilated to the fallen angels by Augustine.[78] However, these angels received their ethereal body only after their fall.[78] Later scholars tried to explain the details of their nature, asserting that the ethereal body is a mixture of fire and air, but that they are still composed of material elements. Others denied any physical relation to material elements, depicting the fallen angels as purely spiritual entities.[79] But even for those who believed the fallen angels had ethereal bodies did not believe that they could produce any offspring.[80][81]

Augustine, in his Civitas Dei, divided the world into two Civitates: Two societies distinct from each other and opposed to each other like light and darkness.[82] The earthly city was caused by the act of rebellion of the fallen angels and is inhabited by wicked men and demons (fallen angels) led by Satan. On the other hand, the heavenly city is inhabited by righteous men and the angels led by God.[82] Despite the appearance of dualism, Augustine always emphasized the sovereignty of God. Accordingly, the inhabitants of the earthly city can only operate within their God-given framework.[76] The rebellion of angels was also a result of the God-given freedom of choice. The obedient angels are endowed with grace, giving them a deeper understanding of God’s nature and the order of the cosmos. Illuminated by God-given grace, they became incapable to feel any desire to sin. The other angels, however, were not blessed with grace, thus they remained capable to sin. After these angels decided to sin, they fell from heaven and became demons.[83] In Augustine’s view on angels, they can not be guilty of carnal desires since they lack flesh, but of sins that are rooted in spirit and intellect such as pride and envy.[84] However, after they made their decision, they could not turn back.[85][86] The Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of “the fall of the angels” not in spatial terms but as a radical and irrevocable rejection of God and his reign by some angels who, though created as good beings, freely chose evil, their sin being unforgivable because of the irrevocable character of their choice, not because of any defect in infinite divine mercy.[87]Catholicism rejects Apocatastasis, the reconcilement with God suggested by the Church Father Origen.[88]

Orthodox Christianity

Eastern Orthodox Christianity

Like Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox Christianity shares the basic belief in fallen angels as spiritual beings who rebelled against God. Unlike Catholicism, there is no established doctrine about the exact nature of fallen angels, but Eastern Orthodox Christianity unanimously agrees that the power of fallen angels is always inferior to God. Therefore, belief in fallen angels can always be assimilated with local lore, as long it does not break basic principles.[89] Some theologicans even suggest that fallen angels could be rehabilitated in the world to come.[90] Fallen angels, just like angels, play a significant role in the spiritual life of believers. As in Catholicism, fallen angels tempt and incite people into sin, but mental illness is also linked to fallen angels.[91] Those who have reached an advanced degree of spirituality are even thought to be able to envision them.[91] Rituals and sacraments performed by Eastern Orthodoxy are thought to weaken such demonic influences.[92]

Ethiopian Church

Unlike most other Churches, the Ethiopian Church accepts 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees as canonical.[93] As a result, the Church believes that sin did not originate in Adam’s transgression alone, but also from Satan and other fallen angels. Together with demons, they continue to cause sin and corruption on earth.[94]


Like Catholisicm, Protestantism continues the concept of fallen angels as merely spiritual entities,[77] however it rejects angelology established by Catholicism. Martin Luther’s (1483 – 1546)sermons of the angels recount the exploits of the fallen angels rather than dealing with an angelic hierarchy.[95] Satan and his fallen angels are responsible for several misfortune in the world, but Luther always emphasized that the power of the good angels exceeds those of the fallen ones.[96] The Italian Protestant theologican Girolamo Zanchi offered further explanations for the reason behind the fall of the angels. According to Zanchi, the angels rebelled when the incarnation of Christ was revealed to them in incomplete form.[77] Nevertheless, Protestants are much less concerned with the cause of angelic fall, since it is thought as neither useful nor necessary to know.[77]

Paradise Lost

Angels, both obedient and fallen, play an important role in the 17th-century epic poem Paradise Lost. They appear as rational individuals,[97] thus their personality becomes comparative to that of humans.[98] The fallen angels are named after entities from both Christian and Pagan mythology, such as Moloch, Chemosh, Dagon, Belial, Beelzebub and Satan himself.[99] Following the canonical Christian narrative, Satan convinced other angels to live free from the laws of God, thereupon they are cast out of heaven.[98]The epic poem starts with the fallen angels in hell. The first portrayal of God the reader encounters, are from the fallen angels, who describe Him as a questionable tyrant and blame Him for their fall.[100] Outcast from heaven, the fallen angels establish their own kingdom in the depths of hell, with a capital called Pandæmonium. Unlike most earlier Christian representations of hell, it is not the primary place for God to torture the sinners, but the fallen angels’ own kingdom. The fallen angels even built a palace, play music and freely debate. Nevertheless, hell turns into a place of suffering by their own establishment.[101]



Depiction of Iblis, black-faced and without hairs (top-right of the picture), who refuses to prostrate himself with the angels.

The concept of fallen angels is well known in Islam. The Quran mentions the fall of Iblis in several Surahs. Further Surah 2:112 implies that a pair of fallen angels introduced magic to humanity. However, the latter angels did not accompany Iblis. Fallen angels work in entirely different ways in the Quran and Tafsir.[102] According to Umm al-Kitab, Azazel boasted himself to be superior to God until he was thrown into lower celestrial spheres and finally ended up on earth.[14] Nahj al-Balagha, an Islamic collection of sermons, letters, and narrations attributed to Ali (601 – 661), admonishes humans to avoid haughtiness by stating: “Allah, the Glorified One, will not let a human being enter paradise if he does the same thing for which Allah turned an angel from it”.[103] According to a hadith mentioned in Al-Tha’alibis Qisas Al-Anbiya, Iblis commands his host of rebel angels[104] and the fiercest jinn, from the lowest layer of hell. In a Shia narrative from Ja’far al-Sadiq (700 or 702–765), Idris (Enoch) met an angel, which the wrath of God fell upon, and his wings and hair were cut off; after Idris prayed for him to God, his wings and hair were restored. In return they become friends and at his request the angel took Idris to the Heavens to meet the angel of death.[105] Some recent non-Islamic scholars suggested Uzair, who is according to 9:30 called a son of God by Jews, originally referred to a fallen angel.[106] While exegetes almost unanimously identified Uzair as Ezra,[c] there is no historical evidence that the Jews called him son of God. Thus, the Quran may refer not to the earthly Ezra, but to the heavenly Ezra, identifying him with the heavenly Enoch, who in turn became identified with the angel Metatron(also called lesser YHWH) in merkabah mysticism.[108]


The Quran repeatedly tells about the fall of Iblis. According to Surah 2:30 the angels objected to God’s intention to create a human, because they will cause corruption and shed blood,[109] echoing the account of 1 Enoch and the Book of Jubilees after the angels observed men causing unrighteousness.[110] However, after God demonstrated the superiority of Adam’s knowledge in comparation to the angels, He orders them to prostrate themselves. After the command, only Iblis refused to follow the instruction. When God asked for the reason behind Iblis’ refusal he boasted himself superior to Adam, because he was made of fire, thereupon God expelled him from heaven. In the early Meccan period, Iblis appears as a degraded angel.[111] But since he is called a jinni in 18:50, some scholars argue that Iblis was actually not an angel, but an entity apart, stating his numbering among the angels was just a reward for his previous righteousness. Therefore, they rejected the concept of fallen angels and emphasized the nobility of angels by quoting certain Quranic verses like 66:6 and 16:49, dinstinghuishing between infallible angels and jinn capable of sin. However the denotion jinni can not clearly exclude Iblis from being an angel.[112] According to Ibn Abbas, angels who guarded the Jinan (here: heavens) were called Jinni, just as humans who were from Mecca are called Mecci.[113][114] Other scholars asserted that a jinni is everything hidden from human eye, both angels and demons as well as earthly jinn. Therefore, this verse could not exclude Iblis from being an angel. In Surah 15:36 God grants Iblis’ request to prove the unworthiness of humans. Surah 38:82 also confirms that Iblis’ intrigues to lead humans astray are permitted by God’s power.[115] However, as mentioned in Surah 17:65 Iblis’ attempts to mislead God’s servants are destined to fail.[115] The Quranic episode of Iblis parallels another wicked angel in the earlier Books of Jubilees: Like Iblis, Mastema requests God’s permission to tempt humanity, and both are limited in their power, that is, not able to deceive God’s servants.[116] However Iblis’ disobedience derived not from the Watcher Stories, but can be traced back to the Cave of Treasuress, a work that probably holds the standard explanation in Proto-orthodox Christianity for the angelic fall of Satan.[109] Accordingly, Satan refuses to prostrate himself before Adam, because he is “fire and spirit” and thereupon he banished from heaven.[117][109] Unlike the majority opinion in later Christianity, the idea that Iblis tried to usurp the throne of God is alien to Islam and due to its strict monotheism unthinkable.[118]

Harut and Marut

The angels Harut and Marut punished by hanging over the well, without wings and hair.

Harut and Marut are a pair of angels mentioned in 2:102. Although the reason behind their stay on earth is not mentioned in the Quran,[119] the following narration became canonizied in Islamic tradition.[120] The Quranexegete Tabari attributed this story to Ibn Masud and Ibn Abbas.[121] Briefly summarized, the angels complained about the mischievousness of mankind and made a request to destroy them. Consequently, God offered a test to determine whether or not the angels would do better than humans for long: the angels will be endowed with humanlike urges and Satan would have power over them. The angels choose two (or in some accounts three) among themselves. However, on Earth, these angels entertained and acted upon sexual desires and were guilty of idol worship, whereupon they even killed an innocent witness. For their deeds, they were not allowed to ascend to Heaven again.[122] Probably the names Harut and Marut are of Zoroastrian origin and derived from two Amesha Spentas called Haurvatat and Ameretat.[123] Although the Quran gave these fallen angels Iranian names, mufassirs recognized them as from the Book of Watchers. In accordance with 3 Enoch, al-Kalbi (737 AD – 819 AD) named three angels, who descended to earth and even gave them their Enochian names. He explained that one of them returned to heaven and the other two changed their names to Harut and Marut.[124] However, like in the story of Iblis, the story of Harut and Marut does not contain any trace of angelic revolt. Rather the stories about fallen angels are related to a rivary between humans and angels.[125] As the Quran affirms, Harut and Marut are sent by God and, unlike the Watchers, they only instruct humans to witchcraft by God’s permission,[126] just as Iblis can just tempt humans by God’s permission.[127]


  1.  Lester L. Grabbe calls the story of the sexual intercourse between angels and women “an old myth in Judaism”. Further, he states: “the question of whether the myth is an interpretation of Genesis or whether Genesis represents a brief reflection of the myth is debated.”[5]
  2.  In classical Islamic traditions, the jinn are often thought of as a race of Pre-Adamites,[22] who dwelled on earth. However, their ethereal body, they share with the Christian notion of fallen angels, would allow them to climb up to heaven to steel its news, thus passing secret information to soothsayers, a concept corresponding with the GreekDaimon. The Quran also refers to the belief of jinn, trying to climb up to heaven. As Patricia Crone points out, one of the characteristics of fallen angels is, that they fell from heaven, not that they try to get back up to it.[1]
  3.  Nevertheless, a narrative attributed to Ibn Hazm states that the angel Sandalphon blamed the Jews for venerating Metatron as “son of God” “10 days each year”.[107]


  1.  “Mehdi Azaiez, Gabriel Said Reynolds, Tommaso Tesei, Hamza M. Zafer The Qur’an Seminar Commentary / Le Qur’an Seminar: A Collaborative Study of 50 Qur’anic Passages / Commentaire collaboratif de 50 passages coraniques Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG ISBN9783110445459 Q 72
  2.  https://www.hs.ias.edu/files/Crone_Book_of_Watchers.pdf: Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅN page 2 (from The Qurʾānic Pagans and Related Matters: Collected Studies in Three Volumes, Band 1)
  3.  Lester L. Grabbe, A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period (Continuum 2004 ISBN9780567043528), p. 344
  4.  Matthew Black, The Book of Enoch or I Enoch: A New English Edition with Commentary and Textual Notes (Brill 1985 ISBN9789004071001), p. 14
  5.  Grabbe 2004, p. 101
  6.  Gregory A. Boyd, God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict(InterVarsity Press 1997 ISBN9780830818853), p. 138
  7.  Heinz Schreckenberg, Kurt Schubert, Jewish Historiography and Iconography in Early and Medieval Christianity (Van Gorcum, 1992, ISBN9789023226536), p. 253
  8.  Douglas, Merrill & Silva 2011, p. 1384
  9.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅN page 4
  10.  Reed 2005, p. 218
  11.  DALE BASIL MARTIN When Did Angels Become Demons?Journal of Biblical Literature 2010 p. 657
  12.  Boccaccini Roots of Rabbinic Judaism Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing 2002 ISBN9780802843616 p. 126
  13.  Adele Berlin The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish ReligionOxford University Press 2011 ISBN9780199730049 p. 52
  14.  Christoph Auffarth, Loren T. Stuckenbruck The Fall of the Angels BRILL 2004 ISBN978-9-004-12668-8 page 161
  15.  Valerie Hoffman The Essentials of Ibadi Islam Syracuse University Press 2012 ISBN9780815650843 p. 189
  16.  M. Th. Houtsma E.J. Brill’s First Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Band 5 BRILL 1993 ISBN978-9-004-09791-9 page 191
  17.  Mahmoud Ayoub The Qur’an and Its Interpreters , Volume 1SUNY Press 1984 9780873957274 p. 74
  18.  Omar Hamdan Studien zur Kanonisierung des Korantextes: al-Ḥasan al-Baṣrīs Beiträge zur Geschichte des Korans Otto Harrassowitz Verlag 2006 ISBN978-3-447-05349-5 page 292 (German)
  19.  Al-Saïd Muhammad Badawi Arabic–English Dictionary of Qurʾanic Usage M. A. Abdel Haleem ISBN978-9-004-14948-9, p. 864
  20.  Alford T. Welch Studies in Qur’an and Tafsir American Academy of Religion 1980 digitized 18 October 2008 Original: Indiana University page 756
  21.  Fr. Edmund Teuma THE NATURE OF “IBLI$H IN THE QUR’AN AS INTERPRETED BY THE COMMENTATORSUniversity of Malta p. 15-16
  22.  Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the JinnSyracuse University Press 2009 ISBN9780815650706 page 39
  23.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅN page 5
  24.  Lester L. Grabbe, An Introduction to First Century Judaism: Jewish Religion and History in the Second Temple Period(Continuum International Publishing Group 1996 ISBN9780567085061), p. 101
  25.  ἐγρήγορος. Henry George Liddell. Robert Scott. A Greek–English Lexicon revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones with the assistance of Roderick McKenzie. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1940. p. 474. Available online at the Perseus Project Texts Loaded under PhiloLogic (ARTFL project) at the University of Chicago.
  26.  Andrei A. Orlov, Dark Mirrors: Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology (SUNY Press 2011 ISBN978-1-43843951-8), p. 164
  27.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1p.256
  28.  Laurence, Richard (1883). “The Book of Enoch the Prophet”.
  29.  Ra’anan S. Boustan, Annette Yoshiko Reed Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions Cambridge University Press 2004 ISBN978-1-139-45398-1 p.60
  30.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1 p.6
  31.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN9781139446877 p. 103-104
  32.  Andrei Orlov, Gabriele Boccaccini New Perspectives on 2 Enoch: No Longer Slavonic Onl BRILL 2012 ISBN9789004230149 pages 150, 164
  33.  Orlov 2011, p. 164
  34.  Anderson 2000, p. 64: “In 2 Enoch 18:3… the fall of Satan and his angels is talked of in terms of the Watchers (Grigori) story, and connected with Genesis 6:1–4.”
  35.  Howard Schwartz Tree of Souls: The Mythology of JudaismOxford University Press 2006 ISBN9780195327137 p. 108
  36.  “The Book of Enoch the Prophet: Chapter I-XX”www.sacred-texts.com.
  37.  Todd R. Hanneken The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees Society of Biblical Lit ISBN9781589836433p.57
  38.  Todd R. Hanneken The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees Society of Biblical Lit ISBN9781589836433p.59
  39.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1 p. 90
  40.  Chad T. Pierce Spirits and the Proclamation of Christ: 1 Peter 3:18-22 in Light of Sin and Punishment Traditions in Early Jewish and Christian Literature Mohr Siebeck 2011 ISBN9783161508585 p. 112
  41.  Jeffrey Burton Russell The Devil: Perceptions of Evil from Antiquity to Primitive Christianity Cornell University Press 1987 ISBN9780801494093 p.193
  42.  Todd R. Hanneken The Subversion of the Apocalypses in the Book of Jubilees Society of Biblical Lit ISBN9781589836433p.60
  43.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅNpage 6
  44.  Geoffrey W. Dennis The Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, Magic and Mysticism: Second Edition Llewellyn Worldwide 2016 ISBN978-0-738-74814-6
  45.  Yuri Stoyanov The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy Yale University Press 2000 ISBN978-0-300-19014-4
  46.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1p.266
  47.  Rachel Adelman The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha BRILL 2009 ISBN9789004180611 p. 77-80
  48.  Adele Berlin; Maxine Grossman, eds. (2011). The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion. Oxford University Press. p. 651. ISBN978-0-19-973004-9. Retrieved 2012-07-03
  49.  Christian D Ginsburg The Kabbalah (Routledge Revivals): Its Doctrines, Development, and Literature Routledge 2015 ISBN978-1-317-58888-7 p. 109
  50.  Aryeh Wineman Mystic Tales from the Zohar Princeton University Press ISBN9780691058337 p. 48
  51.  MARTIN, DALE BASIL. When Did Angels Become Demons?Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 129, no. 4, 2010, pp. 657–677. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25765960.
  52.  MARTIN, DALE BASIL. When Did Angels Become Demons?Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 129, no. 4, 2010, pp. 657–677. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25765960.
  53.  J. DARYL CHARLES The Angels under Reserve in 2 Peter and Jude Bulletin for Biblical Research Vol. 15, No. 1 (2005), pp. 39-48
  54.  Revelation 12:9
  55.  Revelation 12:9
  56.  MARTIN, DALE BASIL. When Did Angels Become Demons?Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 129, no. 4, 2010, pp. 657–677. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25765960.
  57.  MARTIN, DALE BASIL. When Did Angels Become Demons?Journal of Biblical Literature, vol. 129, no. 4, 2010, pp. 657–677. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25765960.
  58.  Packer, J.I. (2001). “Satan: Fallen angels have a leader”Concise theology : a guide to historic Christian beliefs. Carol Stream, Ill.: Tyndale HouseISBN978-0-8423-3960-5.
  59.  John N. Oswalt (1986). “The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39”The International Commentary on the Old Testament. Eerdmans. p. 320. ISBN978-0-8028-2529-2. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  60.  Kaufmann Kohler Heaven and Hell in Comparative Religion: With Special Reference to Dante’s Divine Comedy Macmillan original: Princeton University 1923 digitized: 2008 p. 5
  61.  Hector M. Patmore, Adam, Satan, and the King of Tyre(BRILL 2012), ISBN978-9-00420722-6, pp. 76–78
  62.  Paul Peterson, Ross Cole (editors), Hermeneutics, Intertextuality and the Contemporary Meaning of Scripture(Avondale Academic Press 2013ISBN978-1-92181799-1), p. 246.
  63.  Gregory A. Boyd, God at War: The Bible & Spiritual Conflict, InterVarsity Press 1997 ISBN9780830818853, p.138
  64.  Reed 2005, pp. 14, 15
  65.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1page 149
  66.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 30
  67.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1p.163
  68.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the History of Judaism and Christianity: The Reception of Enochic LiteratureCambridge University Press 2005 ISBN978-0-521-85378-1p.162
  69.  Tim Hegedus Early Christianity and Ancient Astrology Peter Lang 2007 ISBN978-0-820-47257-7 page 127
  70.  Jeffrey Burton Russell Satan: The Early Christian TraditionCornell University Press 1987 ISBN9780801494130 p. 130
  71.  Philip C. Almond The Devil: A New Biography I.B.Tauris 2014 ISBN9780857734884 p.42
  72.  Charlesworth 2010, p. 149
  73.  Schwartz 2004, p. 108
  74.  “Lucifer”. Jewish Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2014-03-11.
  75.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 39
  76.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 42
  77.  Joad Raymond Milton’s Angels: The Early-Modern Imagination OUP Oxford 2010 ISBN9780199560509 p. 77
  78.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 40
  79.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 49
  80.  Jeffrey Burton Russell Satan: The Early Christian TraditionCornell University Press 1987 ISBN9780801494130 p. 210
  81.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 45
  82.  Christoph Horn Augustinus, De civitate dei Oldenbourg Verlag 2010 ISBN9783050050409 p. 158
  83.  Jeffrey Burton Russell Satan: The Early Christian TraditionCornell University Press 1987 ISBN9780801494130 p. 211
  84.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 47
  85.  Joad Raymond Milton’s Angels: The Early-Modern Imagination OUP Oxford 2010 ISBN9780199560509 p. 72
  86.  David L Bradnick Evil, Spirits, and Possession: An Emergentist Theology of the Demonic BRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-35061-8 page 43
  87.  “Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Fall of the Angels” (391-395)”. Vatican.va. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2012-07-03.
  88.  Frank K. Flinn Encyclopedia of Catholicism Infobase Publishing 2007 ISBN978-0-816-07565-2 page 226
  89.  Charles Stewart Demons and the Devil: Moral Imagination in Modern Greek Culture Princeton University Press 2016 ISBN9781400884391 p.141
  90.  Ernst Benz The Eastern Orthodox Church: Its Thought and Life Routledge 2017 ISBN9781351304740 p.
  91.  Sergiĭ Bulgakov The Orthodox Church St Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1988 ISBN9780881410518 p. 128
  92.  Charles Stewart Demons and the Devil: Moral Imagination in Modern Greek Culture Princeton University Press 2016 ISBN9781400884391 p.147
  93.  Loren T. Stuckenbruck, Gabriele Boccaccini Enoch and the Synoptic Gospels: Reminiscences, Allusions, IntertextualitySBL Press 2016 ISBN9780884141181 p. 133
  94.  James H. Charlesworth The Old Testament PseudepigraphaHendrickson Publishers 2010 ISBN9781598564914 p. 10
  95.  Peter Marshall, Alexandra Walsham Angels in the Early Modern World Cambridge University Press 2006 ISBN9780521843324 p. 74
  96.  Peter Marshall, Alexandra Walsham Angels in the Early Modern World Cambridge University Press 2006 ISBN9780521843324 p. 76
  97.  Andrew Milner Literature, Culture and Society Routledge 2017 ISBN978-1-134-94950-2 chapter 5
  98.  Biljana Ježik The Fallen Angels in Milton’s Paradise LostOsijek, 2014 p. 4
  99.  Biljana Ježik The Fallen Angels in Milton’s Paradise LostOsijek, 2014 p. 2
  100.  Benjamin Myers Milton’s Theology of Freedom Walter de Gruyter 2012 ISBN9783110919370 p. 54, 59
  101.  Benjamin Myers Milton’s Theology of Freedom Walter de Gruyter 2012 ISBN9783110919370 p. 60
  102.  Amira El-Zein The Evolution of the Concept of the Jinn 1995 p. 232
  103.  “Sermon 192: Praise be to Allah who wears the apparel of Honour and Dignity…”Al-Islam.org. December 27, 2017.
  104.  Robert Lebling Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar I.B.Tauris 2010 ISBN978-0-857-73063-3
  105.  Muham Sakura Dragon The Great Tale of Prophet Enoch (Idris) In Islam Sakura Dragon SPC ISBN978-1-519-95237-0
  106.  Steven M. Wasserstrom Between Muslim and Jew: The Problem of Symbiosis under Early Islam Princeton University Press 2014 ISBN ISBN9781400864133 p. 183
  107.  Hava Lazarus-Yafeh Intertwined Worlds: Medieval Islam and Bible Criticism Princeton University Press 2004 ISBN 978-1-4008-6273-3 p. 32
  108.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅNpage 16
  109.  Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis, Vered Tohar Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception BRILL 2016 ISBN978-9-004-33481-6page 66
  110.  Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis, Vered Tohar Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception BRILL 2016 ISBN978-9-004-33481-6 page 70
  111.  Jacques Waardenburg Islam: Historical, Social, and Political Perspectives Walter de Gruyter, 2008 ISBN978-3-110-20094-2p. 38
  112.  Mustafa ÖZTÜRK The Tragic Story of Iblis (Satan) in the Qur’an JOURNAL OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH p. 136
  113.  Al-Tabari J. Cooper W.F. Madelung and A. Jones The commentary on the Quran by Abu Jafar Muhammad B. Jarir al-Tabari being an abbridged translation of Jamil’ al-bayan ‘an ta’wil ay al-Qur’an Oxford University Press Hakim Investment Holdings p.239
  114.  Mahmoud M. Ayoub Qur’an and Its Interpreters, The, Volume 1, Band 1 SUNY Press ISBN9780791495469 p.75
  115.  Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis, Vered Tohar Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception BRILL 2016 ISBN978-9-004-33481-6page 71
  116.  Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis, Vered Tohar Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception BRILL 2016 ISBN978-9-004-33481-6 page 72
  117.  Paul van Geest, Marcel Poorthuis, Els Rose Sanctifying Texts, Transforming Rituals: Encounters in Liturgical StudiesBRILL 2017 ISBN978-9-004-34708-3 p.83
  118.  Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the JinnSyracuse University Press 2009 ISBN9780815650706 page 45
  119.  مصباح المنير في تهذيب تفسير إبن كثير Ismāʻīl ibn ʻUmar Ibn Kathīr, Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al Mubarakpuri, Ṣafī al-Raḥmān Mubārakfūrī / The Meaning And Explanation Of The Glorious Qur’an: 1-203 Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman “The Story of Harut and Marut, and the Explanation That They Were Angels [[God said]]
  120.  Stephen Burge Angels in Islam: Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti’s al-Haba’ik fi akhbar al-mala’ik Routledge 2015 ISBN978-1-136-50474-7 p. 8
  121.  Amira El-Zein Islam, Arabs, and the Intelligent World of the Jinn Syracuse University Press 2009 ISBN9780815650706page 40
  122.  Hussein Abdul-Raof Theological Approaches to Qur’anic Exegesis: A Practical Comparative-Contrastive AnalysisRoutledge 2012 ISBN978-1-136-45991-7 page 155
  123.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅNpage 10
  124.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅNpage 10-11
  125.  Patricia Crone THE BOOK OF WATCHERS IN THE QURÅNpage 11
  126.  Annette Yoshiko Reed Fallen Angels and the Afterlives of Enochic Traditions in Early Islam University of Pennsylvania 2015 p. 6
  127.  Alberdina Houtman, Tamar Kadari, Marcel Poorthuis, Vered Tohar Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception BRILL 2016 ISBN978-9-004-33481-6 page 78

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