The origin of Iblis and his fate on the Day of Judgment
Q 3: Is Iblis (Satan) a jinn or a fallen angel? If he is a jinn, what is the point of the exception made in the Qur’anic Ayah (verse) which reads: So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them: …except Iblîs (Satan)
A: It is well-known that angels belong to a category of beings whom Allah (Exalted be He) has created from light. They never disobey the commands they receive from Allah. However, Allah (Exalted be He) mentions Iblis in the Qur’an that he was from the jinn. Allah (Exalted be He) says: And (remember) when We said to the angels: “Prostrate yourselves unto Adam.” So they prostrated themselves except Iblîs (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the Command of his Lord.” Justifying his refusal to prostrate himself to Adam, according to the Qur’anic text, Iblis addresses Allah (Exalted be He) saying: “You created me from fire, and him You created from clay”.
As for excepting Iblis from the general class of angels in the Ayah which reads: “So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them: …except Iblîs (Satan)” the Arabic word illa (i.e. Except), which ordinarily means except and is used as indicating Istithna’( exception ), is sometimes used to indicate Istithna’ Munqati` (an exception where the thing excluded is not of the same type as the thing that was mentioned before the word illa).
It is grammatically correct in Arabic to say:” ja’ al-qawmu illa himaran”, the meaning of which is that “all the people came except a donkey”; the people and the donkey belonging to two different classes. It is exactly in this sense that the word illa (except) is used here; the angels and Iblis belonged to two different classes.
However, some scholars are of the view that Iblis originally belonged to the category of angels, but incurred the eternal curse of Allah (Exalted be He) when he disobeyed His command and persisted in rebellion.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions.
The Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’
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