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Archangel Azrael

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Azrael, whose name means "Angel of God", "Help from God" or "One Whom God Helps", is the Angel of Death in various Abrahamic traditions. Notably, unlike most other well-known angels, he has no canonical presence in Christian scriptures. Instead, he originates from Judaic and Islamic material; he is especially important in Islam, where he is counted as one of the four great archangels. Nonetheless, through centuries of cultural exchange he has since percolated into Christian and generally European cultural consciousness, where he is often equated with the otherwise-unnamed angel of death mentioned in parts of the scriptures.

Azrael is traditionally considered to be the angel responsible for easing the passage of mortal souls out of the material world. Islamic tradition describes him as being forewarned by God in advance of each mortal death, giving him time to reach the mortal in question and usher their soul before God for judgement. Fiction typically follows suit and depicts him as a Psychopomp who carries mortal souls to the afterlife or a Judgement of the Dead. He often overlaps with The Grim Reaper, which has historically influenced and been conflated with depictions of Azrael in Western culture. Often Azrael is the Reaper himself; in other instances, he is depicted with accoutrements such as a hooded robe or a scythe.

Regardless of his specific depiction, Azrael is often portrayed as a dark, ominous, and unyielding figure. However, he's rarely a truly malicious being, and is more commonly presented as simply acting out a necessary part of existence.

For Azrael's fellow archangels, see Archangel Michael, Archangel Gabriel, Archangel Raphael, and Archangel Uriel. Subtrope of Celestial Paragons and Archangels and Psychopomp.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Devils and Realist: Azrael is depicted as the Angel of Death. He is in charge of leading souls into the afterlife and keeps a book containing the names of everyone living. He is depicted as a shy, reserved individual who wears glasses.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: In Knightfall, Batman's back is broken by Bane, keeping Bruce Wayne out of action for a time. He is replaced by Jean-Paul Valley, who calls himself "Azrael", a '90s Anti-Hero vigilante with no compunctions about killing, as he believes that God is commanding him to kill criminals. Bruce is chewed out by Nightwing over the decision, and Bruce admits that choosing Azrael to take up the cowl was one of his worst mistakes. Jean-Paul is shown to suffer from mental illness from the Order of St. Dumas' Program which raised him rather than being a pure Tautological Templar, and Jean-Paul eventually mellows out to become more of a hero, albeit one on a very short leash with the Bat Family.
  • Chicken With Plums: Azrael, the Angel of Death, makes an appearance. Although he looks dark and demonic, like a shadow with horns, he's actually a friendly, easygoing guy who talks Nasser Ali out of suicide. He also tells him the folk tale "Appointment in Samarra".
  • Lady Death: Azrael is the Angel of Death and is the servant of the Reaper, the universe's personification of Death. He appears in both the Chaos and Coffin Continuities as one of Lady Death's allies.
  • Marvel Universe: If someone cheats death or kills someone before their time, Azrael will personally come after the offender. If by chance the offender is able to fight Azrael off, they get to live another day. Wolverine is a repeat offender, and the two have been fighting each other since World War I.
  • The Smurfs: Gargamel's pet cat is named Azrael. It's an apt name, as he's a more considerable and capable threat to the Smurfs than his bumbling master.

    Fan Works 
  • Earth-27: "Azrael" is a position, rather than a person — the Azrael is the leader of the azraelim, the order of angels tasked with overseeing the souls of mortals admitted into Heaven.

    Film — Live-Action 

  • Discworld: Death's boss is Azrael, the Death of Universes, a being so colossal that galaxies appear as twinkles in his eye, and it takes a whole page to contain his single-word reply to a question. Also, he has a clock — the clock — which tells Time what it is.
  • Good Omens: Death, one of the Four Horsemen (or motorbikers) of the Apocalypse, doesn't get as much page time as the others because he's always busy, but towards the climax, he reveals that, in spite of his position with the Four Horsemen, he is not like the others. Whereas his three companions are more or less manifestations of facets of humanity, Death is actually the angel Azrael, with wings of darkest blackness and dotted with lights that aren't stars. When the others are defeated, he congratulates the characters and leaves.
    I am Azrael, created to be creation's shadow. You cannot destroy me. That would destroy the world.
  • Prayer: The FBI agent Gill Martin comes up against the Church of Izrael, led by the seemingly genuine Pastor Nelson van der Velden. He soon realizes that the odd spelling of "Izrael" is no error or eccentricity; Van der Velden spent time in Israel learning the inner secrets of Kabbalah, and his cult invokes and directs Azrael, the Archangel of Death, to do God's will — as mandated through His servant Nelson van der Velden.

    Live-Action TV 

    Myths & Religion 
  • The various Abrahamic faiths each have their own interpretations and perspectives of him:
    • Judaism holds him as the Angel of Death; he is more often referred to as Azriel if he is referred to by name at all. Jewish mysticism portrays him positively and as a force for good, and he is known as the Angel of Destruction and Rebirth.
    • In Christianity, Azrael is not referenced by any major or apocryphal Christian text. However, The Bible mentions an angel who is either associated with Jesus or Jesus himself, wielding a scythe ready to reap the grapes of wrath, symbolizing the killing of all of the earth-dwellers who martyred Christians. He's identified in the Book of Revelation as one of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and in fact the only one to be explicitly named — Death.
    • Islam holds him in the highest esteem out of three faiths, referring to him as an archangel. Transcribed as "Azra'il" in Arabic, he is one of the four angels alongside Israfil (Raphael), Mikha'il (Michael), and Jibril (Gabriel), thus replacing Uriel from most Christian line-ups of archangels in angelology. He collects departed souls from their bodies and is told by God when their time is up — according to Islamic tradition, forty days before the death of a person approaches, God drops a leaf from a tree below the heavenly throne, on which Azrael reads the name of the person he must take with him.

  • Crimson Glory: In "Azrael", the "Angel of Mercy" acts as a judge of the deceased, sending them to either Heaven or Hell.
  • Warkings: "Azrael" describes Crusader armies on a Fatal Forced March against Jerusalem, calling the name of the archangel repeatedly.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: Azrael is present but, notably, entirely distinct from Death, who is a different entity. Azrael instead represents justice and goodness in a paladin-esque sense.

    Video Games 
  • Darksiders: Azrael is the Archangel of Death. He isn't however very involved with overseeing death or ushering souls, largely because that overlap with the thematic focus of Death, the second game's protagonist, and is instead a scholar and the protector of important places such as the Well of Souls.
    • Azrael is directly, though reluctantly, responsible for causing the Apocalypse prematurely through his alliance with the angel Abaddon and the Maker Ulthane, as he destroyed six of the seven sealsnote  with the Armageddon Blade, in a bid by Abaddon to draw out Hell's champions and destroy Hell altogether. The plan failed as Hell was far better prepared than they expected, and the Charred Council sent the Horseman War anyway, which distracted Abaddon long enough for one of Hell's champions to kill him and then depowered War. In the 100 years after, and after being imprisoned by Abaddon (who shortly after his death agreed to serve Lucifer), Azrael deeply regretted his actions and willingly aided War once again when War returned to Earth, fully expecting War to kill him when he no longer had any use for the angel. War simply asks Azrael to send him to Abaddon's location so that War can fulfill his mission to kill Abaddon, and it's the last they ever see of each other.
    • During the events of the prequel novel The Abomination Vault, Azrael is among the angels sent to reinforce a garrison defending Eden from the Construct Army sent by the Maker Belisatra to retrieve the lost Nephilim weapons that were left from battles past. Though he and his forces emerge victorious, the carnage is so great that he feels compelled to cast powerful illusion magic to hide it; even the Horseman Death himself is almost completely fooled by the spell when the Charred Council sent him to investigate what happened. He later aids the Horsemen by supplying them vital knowledge on Belisatra and her allies, and helps Death and War defeat the true Big Bad, an angel named Hadrimon, by disguising himself as Hadrimon's former lover and distracting the insane angel.
  • Fate/Grand Order: Alluded to with "First Hassan", the first Hassan-i-Sabbah of The Hashshashin. His Noble Phantasm is called Azrael: Angel of Death, which is a broadsword that has killed so many people that it now has a chance of killing anyone struck with it no matter how strong the target is.
  • Granblue Fantasy: Azrael appears though more In Name Only than any of the other archangels introduced in the setting, as rather than being an angel of death, she is a messenger angel alongside her twin Israfel, both formerly tasked with delivering messages to mortals and being keepers of the vast knowledge of the world, mirroring the roles of the previously introduced twin messenger angels Harut and Marut (who are called "Halluel and Malluel" in English). The role of being the "angel of death" of sorts went to the fallen angel Sariel instead, who was introduced in the same event. As well, it's likely that Word of God made Azrael and Israfel twins rather than separate angels solely because their names sounded similar.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Azrael appears somewhat infrequently as a demon of the Herald race. Notably, he's one of the few who regularly use Mudo spells.
  • Undertale: Asriel Dreemurr is partly based on Azrael and as such features numerous parallels with the archangel. Among others, his use of SAVE points as Flowey mimics Azrael's control over the book of men's names, his four-eyed, toothy-mouthed Omega Flowey form alludes to Azrael's design in the Islamic Book of Dead, and his One-Winged Angel form in the Pacifist Route's final battle is called the "God of Hyperdeath." His second form during his boss fight further cements the connection with his explicitly angelic yet menacing appearance.

    Web Comics 
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: Azrael is one of the three angels of God. He is depicted as a Casanova Wannabe flirting with his fellow angels. Azrael can see the future and hence basically lives his life with no care in the world since he views the future as set in stone.