said, ‘Choose ye out two angels of the best of you: I shall send them both down to the Earth.’ Accordingly they chose Harut and Marut, who were among the best and most devout of the angels. Al Kalbi says, ‘God Most High said, "Choose ye out three of you;" so they chose 'Azz, who is Harut, and 'Azabi who is Marut, and 'Azrail. And indeed he changed the names of those two when they became involved in guilt, as God changed the name of Iblis, for his name was 'Azazil. Then God Most High instilled into them the desire which He had instilled into the sons of men, and sent them down to the Earth; and He commanded them to judge justly between men, and He prohibited them from polytheism and from unjustly slaying and from unchastity and from drinking wine. As for 'Azrail, when desire fell into his heart, verily he asked pardon of his Lord and begged that He would take him up to heaven. Therefore He pardoned him and took him up. And he worshipped for forty years; then he raised his head; and after that he did not cease to hang down his head through feeling shame before God Most High. But as for the other two, verily they remained as they were. They used to judge among men during the day, and when it was evening they repeated the Great Name of God Most High and ascended up to heaven. Qatadah says that a month had not passed ere they fell into temptation, and that because one day Zuhrah, who


was one of the most beautiful of women, brought a law-suit to them. 'Ali says she was of the people of Fars and was queen in her own country. When therefore they saw her, she captivated the hearts of both of them. Hence they asked her for herself. She refused and went away. Then on the next day she returned, and they did as before. She said, ‘No, unless ye both worship what I worship and pray to this idol and commit murder and drink wine.’ They both said, ‘We cannot possibly do these things, for God has prohibited us from doing them.’ Accordingly she went away. Then on the third day she returned, and with her a cup of wine, and she showed herself favourable unto them. Accordingly they asked her for herself. Then she refused and proposed to them what she had said the previous day. Then they said, ‘To worship any but God is a fearful thing, and to murder is a fearful thing, and the easiest of the three is to drink wine.’ Accordingly they drank the wine: then they became intoxicated and fell upon the woman. ... A man saw them, and they slew him. Kalbi bin Anas says that they worshipped the idol. Then God transformed Zuhrah into a star. 'Ali and Sadi and Kalbi say that she said, ‘Ye will not obtain me until ye teach me that by means of which ye ascend to heaven.’ Therefore they said, ‘We ascend by means of the greatest name of God.’ Then she said, Ye will not therefore obtain me until ye teach it to me.’