The angel of
Death. Mentioned in the Qur'an under the
title of Malaku 'l-Maut, Surah xxxii 11, "The
angel of death who is charged with you shalt
cause you to die.". [MALAHU 'L-MAUT.]
However, there are conflicting [and contradictory]
opinions in the Qur'an concerning who takes the souls at death.
According to Samuel Zwemer's The Influence of Animism on Islam,
Chapter 2, Animism in the Creed and the Use of the Rosary:
Death takes place by means of a poisonous lance which is held by Izra'il the angel of death,
who pierces the soul and detaches it from the body. (Cf. Surah 32 :11.) "As long as the soul
slowly ascends from the heart through the throat, it is exposed to various temptations and
doubts, but when it has been pierced by the lance and thus separated from the body, these
cease. Izra'il is said to be frightful in appearance and of enormous size; his head in the highest
heaven, his feet in the lowest part of the earth, and his face opposite the preserved Tablet.
To a believer, however, he appears in a lovely shape, and his assistants as 'Angels of Mercy,'
while to the unbelievers they are tormenting angels. The soul or spirit, according to the
orthodox school, is said to be a subtle body, intimately united with the body of man, like the
juice is united with the green branch of a tree. The Angel of Death also takes the life of jinn,
of angels and even of animals."
The teaching that the Angel of Death takes care of the souls of animals as well as of men's
souls is clearly animistic.
The Influence of Animism on Islam
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