Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Was iblees an angel?

Was iblees an angel?
By: Khurshid Imam

A. Introduction
In response to my article "Prophet Adam, angels and iblees AND some clarifications" one brother said that iblees was actually an angel and he became jinn AFTER he disobeyed God.  Brother’s words are:

" He refused and was arrogant kana (AND BECAME) of the disbelievers

See, kana (AND BECAME) of the disbelievers is no different from Iblis becoming of the Jinn:

"And [mention] when We said to the ANGELS, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblis. kāna (HE BECAME) of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. Then will you take him and his descendants as allies other than Me while they are enemies to you? Wretched it is for the wrongdoers as an exchange." Sura 18/50

kāna (HE BECAME) of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord... .
Notice again the same word KANA is being used how does this changed from one ayat to the next first became and then was...

Was is not continues... Kana mean to be...."

In short – “Jinn is NOT a distinct creature, rather it refers to those angels who are BAD. Iblees was an angel who became JINN when he disobeyed Allah”.

I was somewhat shocked to hear this; because first time I encountered this claim. Let’s see through the lenses of Quran and find out whether iblees or jinn refer to BAD angels OR jinn is a distinct creature like human being?

B. Argument presented is:
1. Quran claims that Allah asked ANGELS to prostrate Adam and iblees refused. So it means that iblees was also one of the ANGELS.

2. As word KANA in 2:32 refers to Iblees becoming disbeliever; similarly KANA in 18:50 will refer to iblees BECOMING jinn. So it means iblees became Jinn at a certain point. Before that iblees was NOT a jinn. So jinn basically refer to disobedient Angels.

Lets analyze above arguments in the light of Quran.

C. Creation of MANKIND and creation of JINN - a separate race OR Creation of MANKIND and creation of JINN - bad angels?

وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ
We created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. Quran 15:26

وَالْجَانَّ خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ مِن نَّارِ السَّمُومِ
And the jinn, We created afore time from the smokeless flame of fire. Quran 15:27

Allah tells about creation of MANKIND and in next ayah Allah talks about creation of JINN. If Jinn are same creatures as angel then it’s absurd to mention about creation of ONLY BAD ANGELS (i.e. JINN). A logical mentioning should have been creation of MANKIND AND ANGELS and NOT creation of MANKIND AND BAD ANGELS = JINN – if we assume that bad ANGELS are called JINN.

Will you write: Creation of plants, creation of animals, and creation of BAD people??? OR
You will write: Creation of plants, creation of animals, and creation of human being !!

Which of below sounds logical?
1. Allah created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. Quran 15:26
Allah created JINN – (Who are BAD ANGELS) - from the smokeless flame of fire. 15:27
2. Allah created man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. Quran 15:26
Allah created JINN – (who are one of creations)- from the smokeless flame of fire. 15:27

This elaboration clearly tells that JINN is a separate race and NOT bad ones among angels.

D. Angles can NOT disobey Allah while iblees disobeyed Allah.
Argument presented was that when an angel disobeys then it becomes JINN. But the very fundamental question is: Can angels DISOBEY? Quran says – NO.
Referring to angels and other creations Allah says:
1. Angles can NOT disobey Allah
“O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who flinch not (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allah, but do (precisely) what they are commanded.” Quran 66:6 

2. Angles can NOT disobey Allah
“To Him belong all (creatures) in the heavens and on earth: Even those who are in His (very) Presence are not too proud to serve Him, nor are they (ever) weary (show laziness) (of His service).” Quran 21:19

3. Angles can NOT disobey Allah
“They celebrate his praises night and day, nor do they ever flag or slacken”. Quran 21:20

4. Angles can NOT disobey Allah
“They all revere their Lord, high above them, and they do all that they are commanded”. Quran 16:50

5. Iblees disobeyed Allah
"And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord. ..". Quran 18:50

So above ayah clearly make distinction between angels and iblees as creations. Angels can NOT disobey Allah. So it is NOT possible that iblees was an angel who disobeyed Allah.

E. Angels can NOT do takabbur (proudly reject truth) while iblees did takabbur (proudly reject truth). 
1. Angels are NEVER arrogant

وَلِلَّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ مِن دَابَّةٍ وَالْمَلَائِكَةُ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ

And to Allah obey all that is in the heavens and on earth, whether moving (living) creatures or the angels: for none are arrogant (before their Lord). Quran 16:49

2. Iblees was arrogant

Quran 7:11-13 says:
"And We have certainly created you, [O Mankind], and given you [human] form. Then We said to the angels, "Prostrate to Adam"; so they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was not of those who prostrated.

[Allah] said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?" [Satan] said, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay."

[Allah] said, "Descend from Paradise, for it is not for you to be arrogant (تَتَكَبَّرَ) therein. So get out; indeed, you are of the debased."

3. Iblees was arrogant

"Except Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers." Quran 38:74
So Allah made clear that iblees did takabbur. Angels can NEVER do takabbur.

F. Quran clears that ALL ANGELS prostrated
Initial argument pointed out that one angle named iblees did not prostrate. This point is also smashed by Quran.
1. Quran 15:30-33 says that ALL angels prostrated:

فَسَجَدَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ كُلُّهُمْ أَجْمَعُونَ                    So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together. 

2. Quran 38:73 says that ALL angels prostrated:

فَسَجَدَ الْمَلَائِكَةُ كُلُّهُمْ أَجْمَعُونَ          So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them:

Next ayah which says that iblees did not prostrate - refers to iblees: the JINN. Jinn and angels both were asked to prostrate; all angels prostrated but the JINN did NOT prostrate.

G. Some of jinn are bad and NOT ALL jinn are bad

a. Argument was that jinn are bad / disobedient angels so all jinn are bad. But Quran says that some jinn are bad.
"And surely, We have created many of the jinns and mankind for Hell...." Quran 7:179

In above ayah Allah says that many JINN and many human being will go to hell. If jinn are already sinful angels then obviously ALL of them should go to hell. Above ayah also present the picture that just as human being is a particular race / creation; similarly jinn  is a particular race / creation. The notion that - jinn refers to angels who disobey God - is false.
b. "And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies - Shayatin (devils) among mankind and jinn, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion..". Quran 6:112

Above ayah again clearly says that Shaytan or devil are FROM mankind and FROM Jinn. Not all mankind is shaytan and not all jinn are shaytan. This ayah smashes the very belief that all jinn are hell-bound or sinful or disobedient.

H. What does KANA refers to?
Brother said that kana used in 18:50 means that iblees BECAME jinn (to indicate that previously he was not jinn).
KANA - is a perfect verb (فعل ماض). The verb is third person masculine singular. The verb's triliteral root is kāf wāw nūn (ك و ن). This word is used in Quran numerous times. To say that it means "BECAME" is inappropriate; better meaning is that something that WAS. For example - look at very few ayah where this word is used:

Quran 3:67- kāna (he was)  مَا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّ - To say that it means that "he did not BECOME Jew or Christian" is inappropriate. Clear and better meaning is: "he WAS not Jew or Christian".

Quran 2:135- kāna (he was)  وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ - if we use brother's meaning then this ayah will mean "Prophet Abraham did not BECOME mushrik". Does it sound meaningful? Better and clear words are "Prophet Abraham WAS not among mushrikeen".

Quran 4:22- kāna (he was) إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَمَقْتًا وَسَاءَ سَبِيلً - Again: if you translate it as "Indeed, it BECAME an immorality and hateful [to Allah] and was evil as a way" then it does not give proper meaning. Proper meaning will be "Indeed, it WAS an immorality and hateful [to Allah] and was evil as a way".

Similarly in 18:50 Allah tells that iblees WAS of jinn and NOT that iblees became jinn.

I. Conclusion

1. My this Article deals with some very important questions and answers related to Prophet Adam, angels and iblees.

2. Iblees was one of the JINN. Iblees is NOT from the family of angels. Quran has lot of proofs for this.

3. Angels are obedient creatures of Allah. They are programmed do limited things and they do only that.

4. Jinn can disobey Allah. They have free will like human being.

5. Angels are never arrogant. Jinn can be arrogant like human being.
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