Who Is Iblis In Islam?

Iblis is depicted as an evil entity whose purpose is to tempt the sons of Adam into committing sins. He is classified as a jinni (singular for Jinn) and is made from a smokeless fire. The word Jinn stems from Arabic and means to hide or adapt, which explains why these creatures are associated with such extraordinary capabilities as shape-shifting and invisibility.

All Jinn have free will and live their lives just like humans. They eat, drink, get married, have children, and they will be judged on the day of the resurrection. They are divided into two categories: the believers and disbelievers. However, among all the nations of Jinn, there is only one who is recognized as a leader: Iblis. He is the chief of Jinn and the supervisor of all the destruction and evil the devils (shaitan) cause. His ultimate plan is the destruction of humankind, and he will remain in pursuit of this goal till the Day of Judgement.

Origin Of Iblis

In Surah Sad, Allah SWT says to Muhammad SAW: Remember, O Prophet, when your Lord said to the angels that he is going to create a human being from clay?. And when he had created Adam, he said to the angels to prostrate themselves in front of him and they prostrated themselves except for Iblis, who watched arrogantly while becoming unfaithful. And Allah asked Iblis why he didn’t prostrate what He had created with his own hands. Had he (Iblis) just become proud or has he always been this arrogant?

Iblis replied that he is better than Adam. And that Allah created him from fire and Adam from clay. Allah then commanded Iblis to get out of Paradise because he is truly cursed and Allah’s condemnation is upon him till the day of resurrection. Hearing this, Satan appealed to Allah to delay his end until the day of judgment. Allah accepted his appeal and said that He will delay Iblis until the appointed day (day of Judgment)

Hearing that he had been saved from destruction till the day of Judgment, Iblis said to Allah SWT that by his glory he will certainly mislead all of Allah’s servants except for the chosen servants among them. On this comment of Iblis, Allah SWT replied that the truth is, and if He only speaks the truth, he will surely fill up hell with Satan and all those who follow Satan, all together. [Verses 71-85].

These verses describe the banishing of Iblis from Paradise and state how his ultimate purpose is only to manipulate humanity. Other verses show the ultimate plan that the devil has for humanity, such as

In Surah Al-Araaf, when Allah prolonged Iblis’s destruction till the day of judgment, Iblis replied that he would continue to misguide mankind from the straight path because Allah SWT had led him astray. He further stated that he will approach the sons of Adam from the front (raising doubts in them concerning their hereafter), from the back (making them more eager and inclined towards this life), from the right (causing them confusion and doubt about the religion), and from the left (tempting them to commit sins) and You (i.e., Allah SWT) will find most of the sons of Adam ungrateful. [Verses 15-17]

In Surah Nisa, Allah states that Satan said I will take an appointed number of your (Allah) servants, and I will mislead them and cause in them false desires and certainly I will order them to slit the ears of the cattle (slitting the ears of cattle who were dedicated to idols was a superstitious practice before Islam) and indeed I will order them to change the nature of Allah (such as tattooing)[Verses 118-119]

Iblis and Satan

Satan (al-Shaytaan) serves as a designation or a title for any entity, be it a Jinn or human,  who rebels against or disobeys Allah SWT. Derived from the Arabic language, the word satan literally translates to rebellious. On the other hand, Iblis is the name given to the first Jinn who disobeyed Allah SWT. The word Iblis originates from the Arabic noun Iblaas, which means despair, remorse, or grief.

Allah SWT named him (satan) Iblis, symbolizing that he ‘ablasa min rahmat-illah’ (despaired of the Mercy of Allah); that there was no hope for him of mercy. [Tafseer Ibn Katheer RA]

How Does Shaytaan Mislead Billions?

Shaytaan is a crafty enemy. He makes use of the little things to make the believers go astray. One such weapon is waswasa. Waswasa can appear in the form of a thought or a nagging voice at the back of the mind. The main aim of a waswasa is to deviate the believer from the right path.

In a hadith, Muhammad SAW stated that Satan comes to one of you and asks, ‘who created so-and-so?’ until he asks, ‘who has created your Lord?’ So, when he inspires a question like this, one should seek refuge with Allah and give up such thoughts. [Sahih al-Bukhari 3276]

Seeking Refuge From Satan

Although waswasas start small and insignificant, sometimes they can take a very dangerous turn. That’s why it is best to ignore them and seek refuge from them by reciting this:

وَقُل رَّبِّ أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ هَمَزَٰتِ ٱلشَّيَـٰطِينِ وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ رَبِّ أَن يَحْضُرُونِ


“Wa qur Rabbi a’oozu bika min hamazaatish Shayaateen Wa a’oozu bika Rabbi ai-yahduroon


And say, “My Lord, I seek refuge in You from the incitements of the devils, And I seek refuge in You, my Lord, lest they be present with me.”

Apart from waswasa, there are other weapons of Satan that he uses to misguide people. In a hadith, An-Nu’man ibn Bashir (a companion of Muhammad SAW) was heard saying on the minbar that Satan has snares and traps. These snares and traps of Satan include exulting ungratefulness in the blessings of Allah, boasting about the gifts of Allah, having pride at the expanse of the slaves of Allah, and following any passion except for the sake of Allah. [Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 553]

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