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Friday, April 29, 2011

Is Iblees one of the angels or one of the jinn?

Is Iblees one of the angels or one of the jinn?
Was Iblees one of the angels or one of the jinn? And are the jinn from among the angels?


Praise be to Allaah.


Shaykh Muhammad al-Ameen al-Shanqeeti (may Allaah be pleased
with him) said: 

Allaah says in the following aayah (interpretation of the

“He [Iblees] was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command
of his Lord”[al-Kahf 18:50] 

The apparent meaning is that the reason for his disobedience
of his Lord was the fact that he was one of the jinn. The conjunction fa’
in the Arabic text [kaana min al-jinn fa-fasaqa ‘an amri Rabbihi] is
indicative of the reason, as in the Arabic phrase saraqa fa quti’at
yaduhu which means, “he stole, so his hand was cut off”, i.e., that was
because he stole; or the phrase saha fa sajada which means, “he
forgot so he prostrated”, i.e., that was because he forgot. The same pattern
is seen in the aayah (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And (as for) the male thief and the female thief, cut off
[fa-qta’u] (from the wrist joint) their (right) hands”

[al-Maa’idah 5:38] 

i.e., because of their stealing. 

Similarly, the phrase kaana min al-jinn fa-fasaqa (he
was one of the jinn [so] he disobeyed…) means that this was because he was
in essence one of the jinn, because this feature is what made him different
from the angels, for they obeyed the command but he disobeyed. Because of
the apparent meaning of this aayah, a number of scholars were of the opinion
that Iblees was not originally one of the angels, rather he was one of the
jinn, but he used to worship Allaah with them, so he was called by their
name because he followed them, just as an ally of a tribe may be given their
name.  The dispute as to whether Iblees was originally an angel whom Allaah
changed into a devil, or whether he was not originally an angel but was
included in the word malaa’ikah (angels) because he had joined them and
worshipped Allaah with them, is a well known dispute among the scholars. The
evidence of those who say that he was not originally one of the angels is
based on two things: 

1 – The fact that angels are protected against committing
kufr as was committed by Iblees, as Allaah says (interpretation of the

“who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they
receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded”

[al-Tahreem 66:6] 

“They speak not until He has spoken, and they act on His
Command”[al-Anbiya’ 21:27] 

2 – Allaah clearly states
in this aayah [al-Kahf 18:50] that he was one of the jinn, and the jinn are
not angels. They said: this is a Qur’aanic text concerning which there is
some dispute.


Among those who stated that he was not originally one of the
angels based on the apparent meaning of this aayah was-Hasan al-Basri, who
was supported by al-Zamakhshaari in his Tafseer. 

Al-Qurtubi said in his tafseer of Soorat al-Baqarah: “The
idea that he was one of the angels is the view of the majority, Ibn ‘Abbaas,
Ibn Mas’ood, Ibn Jurayj, Ibn al-Musayyib, Qutaadah and others. It is the
view chosen by al-Shaykh Abu’l-Hasan and regarded as more correct by
al-Tabari, and it is the apparent meaning of the phrase “except Iblees”
[al-Kahf 18:50] 

What the mufassireen have quoted from a group of the salaf,
such as Ibn ‘Abbaas and others, that he was one of the noblest of the
angels, one of the keepers of Paradise, and that he controlled the affairs
of the first heaven, and that his name was ‘Azaazeel (Azazel) is all taken
from the Israa’eeliyyaat (reports narrated from Jewish sources) and is not

The most clear evidence concerning this matter, the evidence
cited by those who said that he was not an angel because of the aayah
(interpretation of the meaning): 

“He [Iblees] was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command
of his Lord” [al-Kahf 18:50] 

is the clearest text from the revelation that proves this
point. And Allaah knows best. 

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