The Angel and the Horn

The Koran states that the Last Day will not come until the horn is blown: “For when the trumpet shall sound, surely that day will be a day of anguish” (74:8–9). Although the English translation calls it a “trumpet,” Prophet Muhammad describes it as a “horn.” When the time comes for the Hour (the Last Day), the sounding of the horn will announce the beginning of it.

The angel in charge of blowing the horn, whose name is not given in the Koran but is known as Angel Israfil according to the Prophet's teachings, is among the highest-ranking angels, running close behind Angel Gabriel and the Angel of Death. His sole duty is to blow the horn when the Hour arrives.

When the time comes, Allah will command Angel Israfil to blow the horn. The Koran speaks about more than one blow—at least two, and possibly three. Because the Koran only mentions two blows specifically, many scholars believe there are only two blows. However, another group says there are three blows, basing their conclusion on slightly different interpretation of the text and on the Sunnah. Whether there are two or three blows is not a major issue in Islam because all Muslims agree that the blows will first kill every living thing, then resurrect all the dead from the time of Adam to the time of the Hour.

Muslims believe that although Angel Israfil's job seems relatively minor compared to the hectic jobs of Angel Gabriel in delivering revelations, and the Angel of Death in taking every soul, his witnessing of the Last Day is far more strenuous on his soul than the other angels’ work combined.

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