Will you give information about the creation of satans and jinn and their nature?

Details of the Question
Satans are not born as satans; they become satans afterwards on their own accord; is that right?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Satans were not created as satans.Afterwards, they used their wills in the wrong way and became satans. Satan is of the species of jinn. The Quran clearly states that Hz. Adam was created out of clay, that he was given spirit and that he was made a living being. Similarly, it is stated that Satan (Iblis) is of jinn. The issue is narrated as follows in the Quran:

"Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: 'I am about to create man from clay: When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.' So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together; Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith. (Allah) said: 'O Iblis! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with My hands? Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?' (Iblis) said: 'I am better than he: Thou createdst me from fire, and him Thou createdst from clay.'" (1)

Is "being created from fire", which Satan regarded as a reason of superiority and a drawback to prostration, a reason of superiority? It is disputable. For, it is not easy for fire to contact other beings. It cannot make use of them a lot. It burns and melts them. Water and solid matters like sand and soil extinguish it. Therefore, this difference, which is basically seen as a reason of superiority, pushed Satan to loneliness throughout his life. Allah was definitely conscious of it and would give the ones He wished superior characteristics. In His eye, the basic principle for superiority was obedience to Him. Since Satan avoided it and regarded himself as superior, his claims of superiority were of not good and caused him to be dismissed from mercy and called "Satan". Maybe, he was superior with his previous rank because there is nothing better than being in Paradise and near Allah Almighty all the time. However, the disobedience of Satan and regarding being created from fire as an imperishable superiority since fire could burn clay and feeling proud because of it prevented this and caused him to be expelled from divine presence and Paradise as an unbeliever. It should be added that the unbelief of Iblis is not because of denying Allah but because of "denying and arguing the order and responsibility and the necessity of the deed." (2)

However, according to Satan, being created from fire was a reason of superioritybecause fire could burn clay. Those who follow Satan are usually in pursuit of this power: To reject others, to be powerful all the time and to satisfy themselves by exerting it on others.

It is stated in the Quran that jinn were also created from fire:

"And the Jinn race, We had created before, from the fire of a scorching wind." (al-Hijr, 15/27);

"And He created Jinn from fire free of smoke." (ar-Rahman, 55/15)

Some scholars accept that what is meant by "Jaann" that is, "father of Jinn" in the chapter of ar-Rahman is Iblis, the father of jinn, while other scholars say it is not Iblis but father of jinn. Yazır says that he does not hold the same view and states the following:

"The whole human species was created from salsal (hard red clay); so, what is meant by man is not only Adam but the whole human species; similarly, what is meant by Jaann is the species of jinn."(3)

Then, we can say, "Since Iblis, that is, Satan, is of jinn, he was also created from fire, from smokeless and scorching fire."

Bursalı İsmail Hakkı interprets the verse "He was one of the Jinn" as "He was originally a jinn created from fire. He was not of angels." He says the following verse includes a "joined exception":

"Behold! We said to the angels 'Bow down to Adam': They bowed down except Iblis." (al-Kahf, 18/50)

The rule explains joined exception as 'both the main noun and the excepted noun representing the same kind'. In the verse, Iblis was excepted from the angels. He made the following explanation in the form of a footnote to answer a probable question like the following: "Since Iblis is not an angel and is a jinni, how can he be excepted from angels?"

Bursalı writes: "For, Iblis was ordered to prostrate together with them. Then, he was excepted like one of them was excepted just like the following example: "All of them left except such and such a woman." The person excepted here is a woman among men. According to a view, what is meant by the sentence "He was one of the Jinn", is the indication that he is the first jinni. Jinn come from him. Similarly, Hz. Adam is of human beings because Hz. Adam is the first human being. (4)

According to another view, there was another species that Allah created before Adam and sent to the world. The name of this species was jinn. They shed blood and angels fought against them.

Baghawi writes the following: His name in Assyrian is Azazil and in Arabic Harith. When he rebelled, his name and shape was changed; he was called Iblis. For, he lost his hope of mercy. (at-Tahrim, 66/6)

This jinni called Iblis "disobeyed his Lord's order." He avoided obeying Allah. In fact, we know that, "Angels do not disobey Allah's orders; they do whatever He orders." (5) Besides, human beings and jinn have the responsibility of servitude; therefore, they will be punished or rewarded for what they do through their will. However, angels are not like that. They do not have any responsibility regarding the issue; therefore, they do not have will and they are protected from making mistakes.

Characteristics of Satan:

1.He tells lies and vows.
2. He has no power of sanction.
3. He is hypocritical.
4. He makes use of literature and philosophy.
5. He is the sliest enemy of man.
6. He is a bad friend.
7. He is the closest friend of those who are away from the Quran.
8. He sees man from everywhere and tries to deceive him.

Was Iblis one of the Angels?

Whether Iblis was an angel or jinni is a debatable issue. However, it is not such a complicated issue. For, Iblis is one of jinn because he was created from the material that jinn were created. The special name of the first satan that met Hz. Adam is Iblis. He is also one of the jinn and was created from the fire from which the jinn were created. Satan is the name given the type of them that seduce and misguide people; that is, the name of a different type of that species.  

The view that Iblis is one of the angels or is their "teacher" or "leader" emerges from Christianity, not from Islam. The concept of angel is clearer in Christianity compared to Judaism but it is not very clear. For, According to Christianity, Iblis was the leader of the angels and he rebelled against Allah with the angels under his command; then, they were all dismissed. The following statement in Matthew Bible seems to confirm it:

"(On the Day of Judgment) Then he (the king) will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.'" (Matthew, 25:41)

This issue is so clearly explained in the Quran that there is no doubt about it:

"Behold! We said to the angels 'Bow down to Adam': They bowed down except Iblis. He was one of the Jinn, and he broke the Command of his Lord. Will ye then take him and his progeny as protectors rather than Me? And they are enemies to you! Evil would be the exchange for the wrongdoers!" (al-Kahf, 18/50)

The phrase "Kana min'al-jinni (He was one of the Jinn)" in the verse is clear. The topic is prostration and the rebel is Iblis. His rejecting prostration is expressed in the previous verses.

The prostration mentioned here is not the prostration meaning worshipping but meaning greeting and respect showing appreciation of the person to be greeted and the one who made him valuable. This prostration was legitimate during the time of the previous nations but it was later abolished. (6) When Hz. Yusuf's mother, father and brothers found him in Egypt, they greeted him like that.   


(1) Sad, 38:71-76; al-A'raf, 7:11,12;
(2) Hak Dini, IV/20.
(3) ibid, VII/369.
(4) Mukhtasar Ruhu 'l-Bayan, V/122.
(5) ibid, V/123.
(6) ibid, V/122.

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