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Islam’s view on the Devil

Muslims name the devil Iblis, or Shaytan (Satan). They understand him in quite a different way to
Christians. In Christianity the devil appears to have independent power and is the leader of hell. He is
a rival to God and a fallen angel.

Islam rejects these concepts. The devil is not a fallen angel. Angels were created without free will and
are always in obedience to Allah.

Shaytan is one of the creatures created from smokeless fire called the Jinn and they posses free will.
Shaytan has no independent power. There is no duality of power, as all power belongs to Allah and
Shaytan, like us, can only act because Allah has given him permission. However, he has no real
control over humans. In Islam, the devil and his followers can whisper, suggest and provoke, but
humans have the free choice whether to follow this whispering or not.

In the Quran Allah explains who the devil is, why and what he does without ambiguity.

Behold, We said to the Angels, ‘Bow down to Adam’. They bowed down, except Iblis, He was one of
the Jinn” (Quran chapter 18, verse 50)

“And surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape, then We told the angels,
“Prostrate to Adam”, and they prostrated, except Iblis, he refused to be of those who prostrated.
Allah said: “What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate when I commanded you?” Iblis
said: “I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire and You created him from clay.” Allah
said: “O Iblis get down from this (Paradise), it is not for you to be arrogant here. Get out for you are of
those humiliated and disgraced.” Iblis said: “Allow me respite till the Day they are raised up (Day of
Resurrection).” Allah said: “You are of those allowed respite.” Iblis said: “Because You have sent me
astray, surely I will sit in wait against them (human beings) on Your Straight Path. Then I will come to
them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left and You will not find
most of them as thankful ones (they will not be dutiful to You).” Allah said: “Get out from Paradise,
disgraced and expelled. Whoever of them (mankind) will follow you, then surely I will fill Hell with you

And O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach
not this tree otherwise you both will be of the unjust, wrongdoers.” Then Shaytan whispered
suggestions to them both in order to uncover that which was hidden from them of their private parts
before, he said: “Your Lord did not forbid you this tree save you should become angels or become of
the immortals.” Shaytan swore by Allah to them both saying: “Verily I am one of the sincere well
wishers for you both. So he misled them with deception. Then when they tasted of the tree, that
which was hidden from them of their shame (private parts) became manifest to them and they
began to stick together the leaves of Paradise over themselves (in order to cover their shame). Their
Lord called out to them saying “Did I not forbid you that tree and tell you, Verily Satan is an open
enemy unto you?” They said: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You forgive us not, and
bestow not upon us Your Mercy, we shall certainly be of the losers.”

Allah said: “Get down one of you an enemy to the other (Adam, Eve, and Shaytan). On earth will be
a dwelling place for you and an enjoyment, for a time.” He said: “therein you shall live, and therein
you shall die, and from it you shall be brought out (resurrected).” (Quran chapter 7, verses 11-25)

Allah then sent down teachings and guidance to Adam (as) as mentioned in the Quran:
“Then Adam received from his Lord words (of revelation), and He pardoned him. Verily! He is the Oftforgiving,
the Merciful. We said: ‘Go down, all of you, from this place; then whenever guidance
comes to you from Me; and whoever follows My guidance, will feel no fear and know no sorrow.”
(Quran chapter 2, verses 37-38)