''And hold tight to the rope of Allah and divide not,'' [ Ale-Imran: 103],

Satan was not from Angels?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In fact, the whole topic of free will is very interesting, yet, a misunderstood topic. Almighty Allah has honored humans and endowed them with two important gifts.

The first is the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, and that is attained by the very clean human instinct and then furthered by the dos and the don'ts as explained by Shariah.

The second gift that was given to humans by their Creator is the free will to choose between what is good and what is bad. Of course, this choice is not a blind one; rather, it is based on the Divinely endowed will and the nature that is able to differentiate between right and wrong.

Bearing all this in mind, none can ask to be excused on the Day of Judgment because they had no knowledge of what is right and what is wrong or did not have the free will.

The simple reason for this is, as explained before, that people do have the ability to discern what is correct and what is not, and are endowed with responsible will that enables them to take full responsibility of all their words and deeds.

This very notion of being able to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong puts humans in a delicate test to explore and show their real obedience to their Creator.

Therefore, people who make the effort, struggle against their will and directs it towards Allah are better than angels in that sense.

This is because angels do not have this free will. They are there for specific purposes and to do specific jobs like carrying the messages of Allah to the messengers of Allah, protecting human beings and recording their deeds.
Because they have no free will, and they are just cut for obedience, angels will not be reckoned on the Day of Judgment, because there is no point of doing that to them.

Of course, this is then completely different from human beings who, on the Day of Judgment, will be taken to task for their deeds and punished or rewarded according to their choices.

Some people may question: if angels were created to obey and have no free will, how come then that Satan said: "No" when he was commanded to prostrate, amongst all other angels, to Adam? Is not that considered to be disobedience and thus it gives an indication of some kind of choice?

The simple answer to all this is no, simply because Satan was never one of the angels and never will be.

So, if that is the case, what is the whole story behind the Satan's being mentioned in the same context and what brought him to the scene? To answer this question, we need to refer to the Quran itself and the books of exegesis.

The Quran tells us in another place that Satan was one of the jinn and he disobeyed the command of his Lord.

Almighty Allah says:

[And (remember) when we said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam. And they fell prostrate, all save Iblis. He was one of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord’s command.] (Al-Kahf 18:50)

In his commentary on this verse, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, one of the most well-known translators of the meanings of the Quran, wrote: "The fact that Iblis or Satan is one of the Jinn and not of the angels, though he was among the latter, explains his disobedience, since Jinn, like men, can choose their path of conduct." (Pickthall, The Holy Quran, pg. 186)

With this in mind, we can understand what our scholars tell us that Iblis (a name of Satan) was actually one of the jinn, and was so obedient to Allah that He raised him, for wisdom and a purpose, to higher ranks and he was living in the heavens, worshipping with the angels.

When he was commanded to prostrate to Adam, he was there in his place amongst the angels, but because of his nature, he was still endowed with the free will to choose.

His presence there was definitely for a purpose. Probably, it was a test and Almighty Allah knew that Satan was going to do this.

Either way, Satan was not one of the angels and therefore, the characteristics of the angels do not apply on him.

One final thing remains. Humans have an eternal enmity with Satan and know that Satan is sparing no efforts all the time to misguide and mislead them. Therefore, they should be very cautious and alert, never to fall in the snares of Satan.

Islam teaches that the way out is to resort to Allah all the time and pray to Him for guidance and protection. Muslims are taught by the Quran to seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan and say: "I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan."

May God protect us all from Satan and forgive our sins and mistakes.


Ibn Hanif August 21, 2009 at 11:47 PM  

I agree with the explanation above.
Allah knows best.

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