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September 28, 2004

The Library and Azrael's little black book

Kristof K. ( writes:

While doing some reading, I noticed a line about Azrael and the other three archangels of Islam going to the corners of the universe to gather 7 handfuls of dust for the creation of Earth and man. Of course, the number seven leaped out at me and I found the number of archangels (four) interesting. With some further investigation I found this page. 4 archangels. 4 Halos.

"Azrael reaches from one end of the world to the other (Jellinek, "B. H." v. 49), and has 70,000 feet and 4,000 wings. His whole body is covered with eyes and with tongues as numerous as the living creatures on earth. When any of these latter die, the corresponding eye bulges forth. At the end of the world all these eyes excepting eight are plucked out by God--those of Israfil (Sarafel), Michael, Gabriel, Azrael, and the four "Hayyot" of the Heavenly Chariot alone remaining. The times of the death of persons is made known to the angel of death through the roll-book in his possession showing a white stripe around the name of the person doomed. Forty days before death, however, a leaf falls from the tree of life, under the throne of God, into the lap of Azrael, who is seated in the seventh heaven, thus announcing the death." -from

The reported size of Azrael seems consistent with the idea of the Halo ringworld, being able to span an entire planet (albeit a small one).

But the bulging eye representing living creatures at death made me think of the Library. According to the Halo.Bungie.Net forums, the Library is:

1: A repository of information
2. A collection of cloned DNA sequences whose location and identity can be established by mapping the genome of a particular organism

That is, one 'book' in the Library represents the genetic make-up of an entire species, strikingly similar to Azrael's eyes.

Azrael was also generally depicted as constantly writing names in a book and erasing what he wrote, the writing representing birth and erasing representing death. The Library seems like it could serve that function but on a universal scale, studying the rise of new species and the extinction of older ones.

Constantly writing and erasing on a universal scale? Sounds like a bad case of Carpal Tunnel to me :P

Some great links.

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