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Friday, April 29, 2011

Iblees was not one of the angels

Iblees was not one of the angels
My friend told me that iblis (shaitan) used to be an angel. My wife says that this is not true. Could you please give me some information.


Praise be to Allaah.


Iblees was definitely not one of the angels. This is
indicated by three things: the clear texts of the Qur’aan, the physical
attributes of Iblees and the attitude of Iblees.  

1 – With regard to the clear statements of the Qur’aan,
Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And (remember) when We said to the angels: ‘Prostrate
yourselves unto Adam.’ So they prostrated themselves except Iblees (Satan).
He was one of the jinn”

[al-Kahf 18:50] 

Al-Hasan al-Basri said: Iblees was never one of the angels,
not even for an instant. He is the father of the jinn, just as Adam (peace
be upon him) is the father of mankind. 

This was narrated by al-Tabari with a saheeh isnaad as stated
by Ibn Katheer in his Tafseer, 3/89. 

2 – With regard to his physical attributes, Allaah stated
that He created him from fire. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“He created man (Adam) from sounding clay like the clay of

And the jinn He created from a smokeless flame of fire”

[al-Rahmaan 55:14, 15] 

and it was narrated in Saheeh Muslim (2996) from the
hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) that the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The angels were created
from light, the jinn were created from smokeless fire, and Adam was created
from that which has been described to you.” 

So it is clear that there is a difference between the
physical nature of the angels and that of Iblees, and he is definitely not
one of them. 

3 – With regard to his attitude, Iblees disobeyed Allaah by
not prostrating to Adam, but we know from the Qur’aan that it is impossible
for the angels to disobey Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the

“…angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from
executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are

[al-Tahreem 66:6] 

Some reports which are not saheeh have been narrated from
some of the salaf, suggesting that Iblees was the best of the angels, that
he was one of the keepers of Paradise, etc. Imaam Ibn Katheer commented on
that by saying: 

Many reports to that effect have been narrated from the
salaf, but most of them come from the Isra’eeliyyaat (reports narrated from
Jewish sources) which were narrated to be examined. Allaah knows best about
the true status of many of them. There are some which can be rejected out of
hand because they go against the truth that we have before us. In the
Qur’aan there is sufficient information that we have no need of earlier
reports, because hardly any of them are free from alterations, additions and
subtractions, and many things have been fabricated in them. The earlier
nations did not have scholars to examine these reports and eliminate those
which are not sound, as  this ummah has its imams and scholars who have
great knowledge and are pious and righteous, who wrote down the hadeeth and
examined it and showed what is sound and what is not, and what is
fabricated, identifying the fabricators, liars and those narrators who were
unknown, and other categories of narrators. All of that was to protect the
status of the Prophet, the Seal of the Prophets and the leader of mankind
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), lest any lie be attributed
to him and lest anything be attributed to him that he did not say or do. May
Allaah be pleased with them and make them please and make the Paradise of
al-Firdaws their abode. 

Tafseer al-Qur’aan il-‘Azeem,

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