Last updated
Turkish Siyah Qalam depiction of Iblis, appearing as a bearded black man wearing a headcover Encounter by Candlelight (with black man).jpg
Turkish Siyah Qalam depiction of Iblis, appearing as a bearded black man wearing a headcover

Iblīs (alternatively Eblis [1] or Ibris [2] ) is a figure frequently occurring in the Quran, commonly in relation to the creation of Adam and the command to prostrate himself before him. After he refused, he was cast out of heaven. For many classical scholars, he was an angel, [3] [4] [5] but regarded as a jinn in most contemporary scholarship. [6] Due to his fall from God's grace, he is often compared to Satan in Christian traditions. In Islamic tradition, Iblis is often identified with Al-Shaitan ("the Devil"). However, while Shaitan is used exclusively for an evil force, Iblis himself holds a more ambivalent role in Islamic traditions. [7]


Naming and etymology

The term Iblis (Arabic : إِبْلِيس) may have been derived from the Arabic verbal root BLSب-ل-س (with the broad meaning of "remain in grief") [8] or بَلَسَ(balasa, "he despaired"). [9] Furthermore, the name is related to talbis meaning confusion. [10] Another possibility is that it is derived from Ancient Greek διάβολος(diábolos), via a Syriac intermediary, [11] which is also the source of the English word 'devil'. [12] Yet, another possibility relates this name back to the bene Elohim (Sons of God), who had been identified with fallen angels in the early centuries, but had been singularised under the name of their leader. However, there is no general agreement on the root of the term. The name itself could not be found before the Quran in Arabic literature, [13] but can be found in Kitab al Magall. [14]

In Islamic traditions, Iblis is known by many alternative names or titles, such as Abu Murrah (Father of Bitterness), adūw-Allāh or aduwallah (enemy of God) [15] and Abu Al-Harith (the father of the plowmen). [16]


Although Iblis is often compared to the devil in Christian theology, Islam rejects the idea that the devil is an opponent of God. [17] [18] Furthermore, there is no mention of Iblis trying to take God's throne. [19] According to the Quran, he was banished due to his disdain for humanity, a narrative already occurring in early apocrypha. [20] As a mere creature, Iblis can not be the cause or creator of evil in the world; he is merely a tempter who takes advantage of humanity's weakness and self-centeredness and leads them away from God's path. [21]


Iblis is mentioned 11 times in the Quran by name, nine times related to his rebellion against God's command to prostrate himself before Adam. The term Shaitan is more prevalent, although Iblis is sometimes referred to as Shaitan; the terms are not interchangeable. The different fragments of Iblis' story are scattered across the Quran. In the aggregate, the story can be summarized as follows: [22]

When God created Adam, He ordered all the angels to bow before the new creation. All the angels bowed down, but Iblis refused to do so. He argued that since he himself was created from fire, he is superior to humans, made from Clay-mud, and that he should not prostrate himself before Adam. [23] As punishment for his haughtiness, God banished Iblis from heaven and condemned him to hell. Later, Iblis made a request for the ability to try to mislead Adam and his descendants. God granted his request but also warned him that he will have no power over God's servants. [24]


Sufism developed another perspective of Iblis' refusal by regarding Muhammed and Iblis as the two true monotheists. Therefore, some Sufis hold, Iblis refused to bow to Adam because he was devoted to God alone and refused to bow to anyone else. By weakening the evil in the Satanic figure, dualism is also degraded, that corresponds with the Sufi cosmology of unity of existence rejecting dualistic tendencies. The belief in dualism or that evil is caused by something else than God, even if only by one's own will, is regarded as shirk by some Sufis. [25] For Iblis' preference to be damned to hell, than prostrating himself before someone else other than the "Beloved" (here referring to God), Iblis also became an example for unrequited love.

A famous narration about an encounter between Moses and Iblis on the slopes of Sinai, told by Mansur al-Hallaj, Ruzbihan Baqli [25] and Ghazzali, emphasizes the nobility of Iblis. Accordingly, Moses asks Iblis why he refused God's order. Iblis replied that the command was actually a test. Then Moses replied, obviously Iblis was punished by being turned from an angel to a devil. Iblis responds, his form is just temporary and his love towards God remains the same. [26] [27]

However, not all Sufis are in agreement with a positive depiction of Iblis. Rumi's viewpoint on Iblis is much more in tune with Islamic orthodoxy. Rumi views Iblis as the manifestation of the great sins of haughtiness and envy. He states: "(Cunning) intelligence is from Iblis, and love from Adam." [28] Iblis represents the principle of "one-eyed" intellect; he only saw the outward earthly form of Adam, but was blind to the Divine spark hidden in him, using an illicit method of comparison. [29] Hasan of Basra holds that Iblis was the first who used "analogy", comparing himself to someone else, this causing his sin. Iblis therefore also represents humans' psyche moving towards sin or shows how love can cause envy and anxiety. [30]


Illustration from an Arabic manuscript of the Annals of al-Tabari showing Iblis refusing to prostrate before the newly created Adam Adam and the Angels watched by Iblis.jpg
Illustration from an Arabic manuscript of the Annals of al-Tabari showing Iblis refusing to prostrate before the newly created Adam
Angels bow before the newly created Adam, but Iblis (top right on the picture) refuses to prostrate Adam honored.jpg
Angels bow before the newly created Adam, but Iblis (top right on the picture) refuses to prostrate

Islam differs in regard of Iblis' nature. Some scholars such as Tabari, Ash'ari, [31] Al-Tha`labi, [32] Al-Baydawi [33] and Mahmud al-Alusi, [34] regard him as an angel. Tabari argued for an angelic origin of Iblis in his tafsir:

"The reason people held this opinion [that Iblis was not an angel] is that God stated in His Book that He created Iblis from the fire of the Samum (15:27) and from smokeless fire (55:15), but did not state that He created the angels from any like of that. And God states he was of the jinn, so they said that it is not possible that he should be related to that which God does not relate him to; they said that Iblis had progeny and offspring, but the angels do not procreate or have children.

(. .)

But these reasons only bespeak the weakness of these people's knowledge, for there is nothing objectionable in that God should have created the categories of His angels from all kinds of things that He had created: He created some of them from light, some of them from fire, and some of them from what He willed apart from that. There is thus nothing in God's omitting to state what He created His angels from, and in His stating what He created Iblis from, which necessarily implies that Iblis is outside of the meaning of [angel], for it is possible that He created a category of His angels, among whom was Iblis, from fire, and even that Iblis was unique in that He created him, and no other angels of His, from the fire of the Samum.

Likewise, he cannot be excluded from being an angel by fact that he had progeny or offspring, because passion and lust, from which the other angels were free, was compounded in him when God willed disobedience in him. As for God's statement that he was <one of the jinn>, it is not to be rejected that everything which hides itself (ijtanna) from the sight is a 'jinn', . . . and Iblis and the angels should then be among them, because they hide themselves from the eyes of mankind."

On the other hand, the Quranic exegete Ibn Kathir, preferred to regard Iblis as a genie, an opinion shared by scholars such as Hasan of Basra, Ja'far al-Sadiq, [35] Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, [34] Ibn Taimiyya and Al-Munajjid, stating in his tafsir:

"When Allah commanded the angels to prostrate before Adam, Iblis was included in this command. Although Iblis was not an angel, he was trying- and pretending - to imitate the angels' behavior and deeds, and this is why he was also included in the command to the angels to prostrate before Adam. Satan was criticized for defying that command, (. . .)

(So they prostrated themselves except Iblis. He was one of the Jinn;) meaning, his original nature betrayed him. He had been created from smokeless fire, whereas the angels had been created from light, (. . .)

When matters crucial every vessel leaks that which to contains and is betrayed by its true nature. Iblis used to do, what the angels did and resembled them in their devotion and worship, so he was included when they were addressed, but he disobeyed and went what he was told to do. So Allah points out here that he was one of the Jinn, he was created from fire, as He says elsewhere."

The common viewpoints about Iblis' affiliation can be summarized as follows: [36]

Apart from the Quranic narrative, within Islamic exegesis offers two different accounts of Iblis' origin, according to one, he was a noble angel, to the other he was an ignoble jinn, who worked his way up to heaven. [37]

As an angel

As an angel, Iblis is described as an Archangel, [38] [39] the leader and teacher of the other angels, and a keeper of heaven. At the same time, he was the closest to the Throne of God. God gave him authority over the lower heavens and the earth. Iblis is also considered as the leader of those angels who battled the earthly jinn. Therefore, Iblis and his army drove the jinn to the edge of the world, Mount Qaf. Knowing about the corruption of the former earthen inhabitants, Iblis protested, when he was instructed to prostrate himself before the new earthen inhabitant, that is Adam. He assumed that the angels who praise God's glory day and night are superior in contrast to the mud-made human and their bodily flaws. [40] He even regarded himself superior in comparison to the other angels, since he was (one of those) created from fire. However, he was degraded by God for his arrogance. But Iblis made a request to prove that he is actually right, therefore God entrusted him as a tempter for humanity as long as his punishment endures, concurrently giving him a chance to redeem himself. [41] [42] Since Iblis does not act upon free-will, but as an instrument of God, he will his abode in hell could be a merely temporary place, until the Judgement Day and after his assignment as a tempter is over, he might return to God as one of the most cherished angels. [42] His final salvation develops from the idea of that Iblis is only an instrument of God's anger, not due to his meritorious personality. Attar compares Iblis damnation and salvation to the situation of Benjamin, since both were accused to show people a greater meaning, but were finally not condemned. [43]

Furthermore, the transformation of Iblis from angelic into demonic is a reminder of God's capacity to reverse injustice even on an ontological level. [44] It is both a warning and a reminder that the special gifts given by God can also be taken away by Him. [44]

As a genie

On the other hand, as a genie, Iblis is commonly placed as one of the jinn, who lived on earth during the battle of the angels. When the angels took prisoners, Iblis was one of them and carried to heaven. Since he, unlike the other jinn, was pious, the angels were impressed by his nobility and Iblis was allowed to join the company of angels and elevated to their rank. However, although he got the outer appearance of an angel, he was still a jinn in essence, thus he was able to choose when the angels and Iblis were commanded to prostrate themselves before Adam. Iblis, abusing his free-will, disobeyed the command of God. Iblis considered himself superior because of his physical nature constituted of fire and not of clay. [45] God sentenced Iblis to hell forever, but granted him a favor for his former worship, that is to take revenge on humans by attempting to mislead them until the Day of Judgment. Here, Iblis damnation is clear and he and his host are the first who enter hell to dwell therein forever, [46] when he is not killed in a battle by the Mahdi, an interpretation especially prevalent among Shia Muslims. [47]


Another painting of angels prostrating before Adam with Iblis refusing, here depicted with a headcover Iblis with turban.jpg
Another painting of angels prostrating before Adam with Iblis refusing, here depicted with a headcover

Illustrations of Iblis in Islamic paintings often depict him black-faced, a feature which would later symbolize any Satanic figure or heretic, and with a black body, to symbolize his corrupted nature. Another common depiction of Iblis shows him wearing special headcovering, clearly different from the traditional Islamic turban. In one painting, however, Iblis wears a traditional Islamic headcovering. [48] The turban probably refers to a narration of Iblis' fall: there he wore a turban, then he was sent down from heaven. [49] Many other pictures show and describe Iblis at the moment, when the angels prostrate themselves before Adam. Here, he is usually seen beyond the outcrop, his face transformed from that of an angel created from fire, to the envious countenance of a devil. [50]

Disputing his essence

Depiction of Iblis in the epic poem Shahnameh Iblis (The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp).png
Depiction of Iblis in the epic poem Shahnameh

Islamic traditions are undecided about the exact nature of Iblis. He may either be a fallen angel or a jinni or something entirely unique. This lack of final specification arises from the Quran itself, [51] while Iblis is included into the command addressed to the angels and apparently among them, he is identified as a jinni ('الجِنِّ') in Surah 18:50. in the Quran. [52] This combined with the fact, he himself boasts to be created from fire, suggests that he is not an angel but a jinni, since according to hadith the angels are created from light and the jinn from fire. But the term jinni itself is ambiguous. It has been suggested that in Pre-Islamic Arabia the term denoted any type of invisible creature including angels known from Arab Christians, Arab Jews and Zoroastrians. [53] Due to the otherwise unusual usage of the term jinn in the Quran led some scholars conclude, Iblis' identification was merely temporary [54] or a later interpolation. [55] [56] Strikely, the Quran describes the fire of which jinn are created with special features not mentioned regarding the fire from which Iblis is made of. This was further used to indicate, that Iblis as created from fire was not a support to identify Iblis with the jinn apart from the occurrence in Surah 18. [54] Additionally, the Quran does not mention light as a separate source from which the angels are supposed to be created. In Ancient Near Eastern traditions, the nature of angels was associated with fire, therefore Iblis could indeed be intended to represent an angel, such as a Seraph. [56]

Otherwise, the nature of the jinn in later Islamic tradition is not always clear either. Some hold the jinn to be a sub-category of "fiery angels" who are guardians of jannah , differing from the earthly jinn, who are like monsters or demons. Accordingly, they are named 'Jinni', because of their relation to heaven. [57] [36] On the other hand, in another story, the earthen jinn themselves are related to angels. Therefore, they were angels sent down to earth to experience bodily pleasure and although they remained obedient towards God during the beginning, they later found themselves lost in wars, bloodshed, and other unjust deeds. Iblis, disgusted by his fellow beings, prayed for his return to heaven until his prayers were answered. [58] [59]

Assuming Iblis was one of the jinn, who differ from the angels, scholars tried to explain his stay among the angels. According to a narrative provided by Ibn Kathir, Iblis was once an ordinary earthly creature, but, due to his piety and constant worship, elevated among the angels. He lived there for thousands of years, until his non-angelic origin was forgotten and only God remembered Iblis' true identity. To reveal his haughtiness, God commanded the angels, Iblis, due to his rank among the angels included, to prostrate himself before Adam. But Iblis refused, thus his own nature betrayed him, leading to his downfall. [60]

Other scholars, such as Hasan of Basra and Ibn Taymiyyah, do not provide an explanation for his abode among the angels. In this case, his stay in heaven is self-explanatory, because every creature is created in heaven first. Here, although created in heaven, Iblis is not regarded as an angel, but the equivalent father of the jinn, compared to what Adam is to humanity. Iblis, as the father of the jinn, was cast out of heaven due to his own sin, just as Adam was banished after his corresponding transgression of God's order not to eat from the Forbidden Tree.

Those scholars, who argue against Iblis' angelic origin also refer to his progeny, since angels do not procreate in Islam, pointing at 18:51. Islamic study scholar Fritz Meier also insists, that the Islamic Iblis can not be held as an angel, since angels have no progeny by definition. [61] Otherwise Walther Eickmann argued that the progeny of Iblis does not correspond with "progeny" in a literal sense, but just refers to the cohorts of Iblis. [62] On another place in the Quran, the progeny of Iblis are said to be created, therefore they can not be literal progeny. [63] Actually, according to some Islamic traditions, Iblis is indeed an asexual being just like the other angels. [64] On the other hand, he occurs as a hermaphrodite creature, whose children split from himself, for that he lays eggs, as šayāṭīn ("demons"). [65] The Quran exegete Tabari however, who defends Iblis' angelic origin, [66] asserts, that Iblis did not procreate until he lost his angelic state and became a demon. Therefore, the fact Iblis has progeny could not exclude him from an angelic origin.

Another central argument to determine Iblis essence, also relating to his theological significance, deals with his disobedience. Since angels are, according to Islam, merely servants of God, Iblis' disobedience speaks against his angelic nature, as opponents of Iblis' angelic origin argue. [67] Unlike the angels, he was endowed with the ability to choose, but he decided to disobey due to his own arrogance. His nature to disregard God is thought of a part of the free-will given to jinn. On the other hand, scholars who adhere to Iblis' angelic nature, regards him as just another instrument of God, a tester who acts within God's plan and not someone, who choose sin. [68] [69] [70] Therefore, his disobedience was in accordance with God's will. Although early scholars, who held him to be an angel (Ibn Abbas, Ibn Masud), described him as an infidel (kafir), in early Islamic period, but he did not actually sin. As thought in early Islamic period, he could not understand sin or expiate it. Therefore, Iblis was created as a rebellious angel. [71] Abu Hanifa, founder of the Hanafi schools jurisprudence, is reported as distinguishing between obedient angels, disobedient angels such as Harut and Marut and unbelievers among the angels, like Iblis. [72]

Several narratives attempt to explain the reason why he chose to refuse the command, unlike the other angels. According to one, Iblis, as the teachers of the angels, was more knowledgeable than the others and knew about a command, not to prostrate himself, when all the other angels do. [73] [74] In another narrative, Iblis has stolen the secret writings of heaven, therefore he had insight into the future. Knowing about Adam's future, he was no longer able to prostrate himself. However, this narrative is more unconvincing, since other angels protested alike, knowing about the corruption. [75] In another explanation, Iblis is endowed with the task to seduce humans, comparable to other angels, such as Gabriel, is endowed with the transmission of revelation, [76] and created for this purpose from fire differing from the other angels. [76]

Keeper of Paradise

In some interpretations, Iblis is associated with light that misleads people. Hasan of Basra was quoted as saying: "If Iblis were to reveal his light to mankind, they would worship him as god." [77] Additionally, based on Iblis' role as keeper of heaven and ruler of earth, Ayn al-Quzat Hamadani stated, Iblis represents the "Dark light" that is the earthen world, standing in opposite to the Muhammadan Light that represents the heavens. [78] Quzat Hamadani traces back his interpretation to Sahl al-Tustari and Shayban Ar-Ra'i who in return claim to derive their opinions from Khidr. [78] Quzat Hamadani relates his interpretation of Iblis' light to the shahada : Accordingly, people whose service for God is just superficial, are trapped within the circle of la ilah (the first part of shahada meaning "there is no God") just worshipping their nafs rather than God. Only those who are worthy to leave this circle, can pass Iblis towards the circle of illa Allah the Divine presence. [79]

In literature

Expulsion from 'the Garden'.jpg
Painting of the expulsion from "The Garden" by Al-Hakim Nishapuri. The main actors of the narration about Adams fall are drawn: Adam, Hawwa (Eve), Iblis, the serpent, the peacock and an Angel, probably Ridwan, who guards paradise.
Adam and Eve from a copy of the Falnama.jpg
This painting is coming from a copy of the Fālnāmeh (Book of Omens) ascribed to Ja´far al-Sādiq. Iblis characteristically depicted black-faced is bottom-left in picture above the Angels.

Although the serpent is not mentioned in the Quran, Quranic commentaries as well as the Stories of the Prophets added the serpent borrowed from Gnostic and Jewish oral tradition circulating in the Arabian Peninsula. [80] Iblis tries to enter the abode of Adam, but the angelic guardian keeps him away. Then Iblis invents a plan to trick the guardian. He approaches a peacock and tells him, that all creatures will die and the peacock's beauty will perish. But if he gets the fruit of eternity, every creature will last forever. Therefore, the serpent convinces the peacock to slip Iblis into the Garden, by carrying him in his mouth. In another, yet similar narration, Iblis is warded of by Riḍwan's burning sword for 100 years. Then he found the serpent. He says, since he was one of the first cherubim, he will one day return to God's grace, and promises to show gratitude if the serpent does him a favor. [81] In both narratives, in the Garden, Iblis speaks through the serpent to Adam and Eve, and tricks them into eating from the forbidden tree. Modern Muslims accuse the Yazidis of devil-worship for venerating the peacock. [82]

In Umm al Kitab, an Ismaili work offering a hermeneutic interpretation of the Quran, the peacock and the serpent were born after men mated with demonic women sent by Iblis. [83]

In the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, Iblis appears as a substitute for Ahriman, [84] [85] the Zoroastrian principle of evil and leader of the malevolent Diws. He supports Zahhak to usurp the throne and kissed his shoulders, whereupon serpents grew from the spot Iblis kissed, a narrative rooting in ancient Avesta. [86]

In Muhammad Iqbal's poetry, Iblis is critical about overstressed obedience, that caused of his own downfall. But Iblis is not happy about human's obedience towards himself either, rather he longs for humans who resist him, so he might eventually prostrate himself before the perfect human, that leads to his own salvation. [87]

See also

Related Research Articles

Devil Supernatural entity that is the personification of evil and the enemy of Angel and humankind

A devil is the personification of evil as it is conceived in many and various cultures and religious traditions. It is seen as the objectification of a hostile and destructive force.

Jinn Supernatural spirits integrated in Islamic beliefs

Jinn, also Romanized as djinn or Anglicized as genies, are supernatural creatures in early pre-Islamic Arabian and later Islamic mythology and theology. Like humans, they are created with fitra, neither born as believers nor as unbelievers, but their attitude depends on whether or not they accept God's guidance. Since jinn are neither innately evil nor innately good, Islam was able to adapt spirits from other religions during its expansion. Jinn are not a strictly Islamic concept; rather, they may represent several pagan beliefs integrated into Islam.

Satan Figure in Abrahamic religions

Satan, also known as the Devil, is an entity in the Abrahamic religions that seduces humans into sin or falsehood. In Christianity and Islam, he is usually seen as either a fallen angel or a genie, who used to possess great piety and beauty, but rebelled against God, who nevertheless allows him temporary power over the fallen world and a host of demons. In Judaism, Satan is typically regarded as a metaphor for the yetzer hara, or "evil inclination", or as an agent subservient to God.

Abraham in Islam Prophet from the Islamic perspective.

Abraham, known as Ibrahim, in Arabic, is recognized as a prophet and messenger of God in Islam. Abraham plays a prominent role as an example of faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Muslim belief, Abraham fulfilled all the commandments and trials wherein God nurtured him throughout his lifetime. As a result of his unwavering faith in God, Ibrahim was promised by God to be a leader to all the nations of the world. The Quran extols Ibrahim as a model, an exemplar, obedient and not an idolater. In this sense, Abraham has been described as representing "primordial man in universal surrender to the Divine Reality before its fragmentation into religions separated from each other by differences in form". The Islamic holy day 'Eid al-Adha is celebrated in memory of the sacrifice of Abraham, and each able bodied Muslim is supposed to perform the pilgrimage to pay homage at the Kaaba in the Hejazi city of Mecca, which was built by Abraham and his son Ishmael as the first house of worship on earth.

Azrael Angel in some Abrahamic religions; often identified with the angel of death

Azrael is the Angel of Death in Islam and some Jewish traditions. The Hebrew name translates to "Angel of God", "Help from God". Azrael is the spelling of the Chambers Dictionary. Both in Islam and Judaism, he is said to hold a scroll concerning the fate of the mortals. In Islam, he is one of the four archangels, and is identified with the Quranic Malak al-Mawt "angel of death", which corresponds with the Hebrew term malach ha-maweth in Rabbinic literature. The Arabic language adapts the name as ʿAzrāʾīl (عزرائيل). He is responsible for transporting the souls of the deceased after death. In comparison to similar concepts of angels of death, Azrael holds a rather benevolent role as the angel of death.

Fallen angel Religious concept of angel expelled from Heaven

In Abrahamic religions, fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven. The literal term "fallen angel" appears neither in the Bible nor in other Abrahamic scriptures, but is used to describe angels who were cast out of heaven, or angels who sinned. Such angels often tempt humans to sin.

In many Islamic and Islam-related traditions, Azazil is the name of Iblis before he was expelled from heaven. Although not mentioned namely in the Quran, he is well known in different traditions, such as Tafsir, Qisas Al-Anbiya and mystic oral traditions. He is usually seen as an archangel, but also regarded as a jinn according to some reports.

In Islam, Jannah, lit. "paradise, garden", is the final abode of the righteous and the Islamic believers, but also the Garden of Eden, where Adam and Hawa dwelt is called Jannah. Firdaus is the literal term meaning paradise, but the Quran generally uses the term Jannah symbolically referring to paradise. However "Firdaus" also designates the highest layer of heaven.

Jahannam in Islam refers to an afterlife place of punishment for evildoers. The punishments are carried in accordance with the degree of evil one has done during his life. In the Quran, Jahannam is also referred as an-Narالنار‎, Jaheemجحيم‎, Hutamahحطمة‎, Haawiyahهاوية‎, Ladthaaلظى‎, Sa’eerسعير‎, Saqarسقر‎, also the names of different gates to hell. Just like the Islamic heavens, the common belief holds that Jahannam coexists with the temporary world.

Islamic mythology Body of myths associated with Islam

Islamic mythology is the body of myths associated with Islam and the Quran. Islam is a religion that is more concerned with social order and law than with religious myths. The Oxford Companion to World Mythology identifies a number of traditional narratives as "Islamic myths". These include a creation myth and a vision of afterlife, which Islam shares to some extent with the other Abrahamic religions, as well as the distinctively Islamic story of the Kaaba.

Angels in Islam Angels in Islamic tradition

In Islam, angels are believed to be celestial beings, created from a luminous origin by God. They have different functions, including praising God in heavens, interacting with humans ordinary life, and carrying laws of nature. Islam acknowledges the concept of angels both as anthropomorphic and abstract. Belief in angels is one of the six articles of faith in Islam. The Quran is the principal source for the Islamic concept of angels, but more extensive features of angels appear in hadiths, Mi'raj literature, Islamic theology and Islamic philosophy. The angels differ from other spiritual creatures in their attitude as creatures of virtue in contrast to impure demons and morally ambivalent jinn.

Nūr (Islam)

Nūr may refer to the "Light of God". The word "nūr'" is Arabic for "light", and has been passed on to many other languages. It is often used in the Quran, notably in a verse that states has been the subject of much discussion. Many classical commentators on the Quran considered that this should be taken metaphorically, as in the sense that God illuminates the world with understanding, rather than literally. The Andalusian scholar Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi categorized nūr into different levels of understanding from the most profound to the most mundane. Shias believe nūr, in the sense of inner esoteric understanding, is inherited through the Imams, who in turn communicate it to the people.

Adam in Islam The first man and Prophet in Islam

Âdam or Aadam is believed to have been the first human and nabi on Earth, in Islam. Adam's role as the father of the human race is looked upon by Muslims with reverence. Muslims also refer to his wife, Haawa, as the "mother of mankind". Muslims see Adam as the first Muslim on Earth, as the Quran states that all the Prophets preached the same faith of Islam.

Israiliyyat Sources from the Jews and the Christians were introduced into Islam

In hadith studies, Isra'iliyyat are narratives assumed to be of foreign import. Although indicating such stories develop from Jewish sources, narratives designated as Isra'iliyyat might also derive from other religions such as Christianity or Zoroastrianism. These narratives appear frequently in Qur'anic commentaries, Sufi narratives and history compilations. They are used to offer more detailed information regarding earlier prophets mentioned in the Bible and the Qur'an, stories about the ancient Israelites, and fables allegedly or actually taken from Jewish sources.

<i>ʿAjāib al-makhlūqāt wa gharāib al-mawjūdāt</i> Important work of cosmography by Zakariya al-Qazwini

ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt, The Wonders of Creation is a book in Arabic and an important work of cosmography by Zakariya al-Qazwini, who was born in Qazwin in the year 600 AH/1203 AD.

Shaitan A demon or devil in Islam

Shayāṭīn (شياطين), singular: Shayṭān are evil spirits, comparable to demons or devils, in Islamic theology and mythology, using waswas to incite humans and jinn. Usually, shayatin are regarded as the offspring of Iblis, but other beings, such as evil jinn, fallen angels or Tawaghit are also identified as shayatin. From an ontological perspective, shayatin are all beings that have become a manifestation of evil and ugliness. Surah 6:112 mentions shayatin among Ins and jinn, according to some exegetes, referring to shayatin who tempt among the jinn, and whose, who tempt among humans.

Exorcism in Islam

Exorcism in Islam is called 'aza'imIPA: ['aza'im]). Ruqya on the other hand summons jinn and demons by invoking the names of God, and to command them to abandon their mischiefs and is thought to repair damage believed caused by jinn possession, witchcraft (shir) or the evil eye. Exorcisms today are part of a wider body of contemporary Islamic alternative medicine called "prophetic medicine".

Hinn are supernatural creatures, besides jinn and demons, in Arabian lore and also a group of pre-Adamitic race in Islam-related beliefs. The existence of the hinn is accepted by the Druze, along with binn, timm and rimm.

Samūm is a demon in Ancient Arabic lore and later Islamic beliefs. As a kind of fire, it is also the origin of some kinds of evil spirits and further identified with both the fires of hell and the fire of the sun. The Samum probably originated from Jewish lore as an anthropomorphization of poisonous wind, which was probably also the origin of the concept of Samael and his lesser devils. Islam further developes the relation between the fires of Samum and Satan by asserting, that he or at least his minor devils, are created from the fires of Samum.

Riḍwan Arabic name

Riḍwan is an angel in Islam, who guards the gates of heaven. His name is absent in the Quran and early tafsir, named by Ibn Hisham Ismāʿīl instead, he namely appears in later reports and Mi'raj narration. Ridwan also plays an important role as the guardian of heaven in the Qisas Al-Anbiya, here he must prevent Iblis from entering the keep of Adam, but was tricked by a serpent, who consealed Iblis in his mouth, carrying him past the guardian. His name probably developed from the Quranic term riḍwan. However, in the Quranic usage, it does not refer to an angel.


  1. Briggs, Constance Victoria (2003). The Encyclopedia of God: An A-Z Guide to Thoughts, Ideas, and Beliefs about God. Newburyport, Massachusetts: Hampton Roads Publishing Company. ISBN   978-1-612-83225-8.
  2. Nagawasa, Eiji An Introductory Note on Contemporary Arabic Thought 1992-03
  3. Welch, Alford T. (2008). Studies in Qur'an and Tafsir. Riga, Latvia: Scholars Press. p. 756.
  4. Gauvain, Richard (2013). Salafi Ritual Purity: In the Presence of God. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 73. ISBN   978-0710313560.
  5. Mustafa ÖZTÜRK JOURNAL OF ISLAMIC RESEARCH Vol 2 No 2 December 2009
  6. Gauvin, page 69
  7. Campanini, Massimo (2013). The Qur'an: The Basics. Abingdon, England: Routledge. ISBN   978-1138666306.
  8. Kazim, Ebrahim (2010). Scientific Commentary of Suratul Faateḥah. New Delhi, India: Pharos Media & Publishing Pvt Ltd. p. 274. ISBN   978-8-172-21037-3.
  9. "Iblis".
  10. Nicholson, Reynold A. (1998). Studies In Islamic Mysticism. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 120. ISBN   978-1-136-17178-9.
  11. Basharin, Pavel V. (April 1, 2018). "The Problem of Free Will and Predestination in the Light of Satan's Justification in Early Sufism". English Language Notes. Durham, North Carolina: Duke University Press. 56 (1): 119–138. doi:10.1215/00138282-4337480.
  12. "Iblīs - BrillReference".
  13. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1986). Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. p. 55. ISBN   978-0-801-49429-1.
  14. Monferrer-Sala, J. P. (2014). One More Time on the Arabized Nominal Form Iblīs. Studia Orientalia Electronica, 112, 55-70. Retrieved from https://journal.fi/store/article/view/9526
  15. https://www.britannica.com/topic/Iblis
  16. Zadeh, Travis (2014). "Commanding Demons and Jinn: The Sorcerer in Early Islamic Thought". In Korangy, Alireza; Sheffield, Dan (eds.). No Tapping around Philology: A Festschrift in Honor of Wheeler McIntosh Thackston Jr.’s 70th Birthday. Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 149. ISBN   978-3447102155.
  17. Ahmadi, Nader; Ahmadi, Fereshtah (1998). Iranian Islam: The Concept of the Individual. Berlin, Germany: Axel Springer. p. 80. ISBN   978-0-230-37349-5.
  18. El-Zein, Amira (2009). Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn. Syracuse University Press. p. 46. ISBN   978-0815650706.
  19. Vicchio, Stephen J. (2008). Biblical Figures in the Islamic Faith. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock. pp. 175–185. ISBN   978-1556353048.
  20. Houtman, Alberdina; Kadari, Tamar; Poorthuis, Marcel; Tohar, Vered (2016). Religious Stories in Transformation: Conflict, Revision and Reception. Leiden, Germany: Brill Publishers. p. 66. ISBN   978-9-004-33481-6.
  21. Mathewes, Charles (2010). Understanding Religious Ethics. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons. p. 248. ISBN   978-1-405-13351-7.
  22. Awn, Peter J. (1983). Satan's Tragedy and Redemption: Iblīs in Sufi Psychology. Leiden: Brill Publishers. p. 18. ISBN   978-9004069060.
  23. Quran   7:12
  24. Quran   17:65 . ""As for My servants, no authority shalt thou have over them:" Enough is thy Lord for a Disposer of affairs."
  25. 1 2 Awn, page 104
  26. Gramlich, Richard (1998). Der eine Gott: Grundzüge der Mystik des islamischen Monotheismus (in German). Weisbaden, Germany: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 44. ISBN   978-3-447-04025-9.
  27. Lumbard, Joseph E. B.; al-Ghazali, Ahmad (2016). Remembrance, and the Metaphysics of Love. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. pp. 111–112. ISBN   978-1-438-45966-0.
  28. Schimmel, Annemarie (1993). The Triumphal Sun: A Study of the Works of Jalaloddin Rumi. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. p. 255. ISBN   978-0-791-41635-8.
  29. Allāh al-Dihlawī, Walī (1996). Shāh Walī Allāh of Delhi's Hujjat Allāh Al-bāligha. Albany, New York: Brill Publishers. p. 350. ISBN   978-9-004-10298-9.
  30. ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, Jalāl (2005). "The Step Into Placelessness". Collected Poetical Works of Rumi. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications. p.  51. ISBN   978-1590302514.
  31. Palacios, Miguel Asin (2013). Islam and the Divine Comedy. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 109. ISBN   978-1-134-53643-6.
  32. Wensinck, A.J. and Gardet, L., “Iblīs”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 4 October 2019 First published online: 2012 First print edition: ISBN   9789004161214, 1960-200
  33. 1 2 Vicchio, page 183
  34. 1 2 Fr. Edmund Teuma THE NATURE OF "IBLI$H IN THE QUR'AN AS INTERPRETED BY THE COMMENTATORS 1980 University of Malta. Faculty of Theology
  35. Ayoub, Mahmoud M. (1984). The Qur'an and Its Interpreters, Volume 1, Band 1. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. p. 86. ISBN   978-0-791-49546-9.
  36. 1 2 Hughes, Patrick; Hughes, Thomas Patrick (1995). Dictionary of Islam. New Delhi, India: Asian Educational Services. p. 135. ISBN   978-8-120-60672-2.
  37. Muhammad Mahmoud. “The Creation Story in ‘Sūrat Al-Baqara," with Special Reference to Al-Ṭabarī's Material: An Analysis.” Journal of Arabic Literature, vol. 26, no. 1/2, 1995, pp. 201–214. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/4183374.
  38. Muhammed, John (June 1966). "The Day of Resurrection". Islamic Studies . Islamabad, Pakistan: Islamic Research Institute. 5 (2): 136.
  39. Houtsma, M. Th.; Arnold, Russel; Gibb, Camilla, eds. (1987). E.J. Brill's First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 351. ISBN   978-9-004-08265-6.
  40. Hampson Stobart, James William (1876). Islam & Its Founder. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. Oxfordshire, England: Oxford University. p. 114.
  41. Elias, Jamal J. (2014). Key Themes for the Study of Islam. London, England: Oneworld Publications. p. 86. ISBN   978-1-780-74684-5.
  42. 1 2 Schimmel, Annemarie (1963). Gabriel's Wing: A Study Into the Religious Ideas of Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 212. ISBN   978-9694160122.
  43. Awn, Peter J. (1983). Satan's Tragedy and Redemption: Iblīs in Sufi Psychology. Leiden, Germany: Brill Publishers. p. 177 ISBN   978-9004069060.
  44. 1 2 Gauvain, Richard (2013). Salafi Ritual Purity: In the Presence of God. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 74. ISBN   978-0710313560.
  45. Unal, Ali (2008). The Qur'an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English. Clifton, New Jersey: Tughra Books. p. 29. ISBN   978-1-597-84144-3.
  46. Lange, Christian (2015). Paradise and Hell in Islamic Traditions. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 141. ISBN   978-1-316-41205-3.
  47. Idelman Smith, Jane; Yazbeck Haddad, Yvonne (2002). The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection. Oxfordshire, England: Oxford University Press. p. 86. ISBN   978-0-198-03552-7.
  48. Brosh, Na'ama; Milstein, Rachel; Yiśraʼel, Muzeʼon (1991). Biblical stories in Islamic painting. Jerusalem: Israel Museum. p. 27. ASIN   B0006F66PC.
  49. ibn Muḥammad Thaʻlabī, Aḥmad; Brinner, William M. (2002). ʻArāʻis al-majālis fī qiṣaṣ al-anbiyā, or: Lives of the prophets, Band 24. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 69. ISBN   978-9-004-12589-6.
  50. Melion, Walter; Zell, Michael; Woodall, Joanna (2017). Ut pictura amor: The Reflexive Imagery of Love in Artistic Theory and Practice, 1500-1700. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 240. ISBN   978-9-004-34646-8.
  51. Nünlist, Tobias (2015). Dämonenglaube im Islam (in German). Berlin, Germany: Walter de Gruyter. p. 51. ISBN   978-3-110-33168-4.
  52. Quran   18:50
  53. El-Zein, Amira (2009). Islam, Arabs, and Intelligent World of the Jinn. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 34. ISBN   978-0815635147.
  54. 1 2 Eichler, Paul Arno, 1889-Die Dschinn, Teufel und Engel in Koran p. 60
  55. Russell, Jeffrey Burton (1986). Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. p. 56. ISBN   978-0-801-49429-1.
  56. 1 2 Dammen McAuliffe, Jane (2003). Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼān. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 46. ISBN   978-9004147645.
  57. Allen, Roger (2015). Studying Modern Arabic Literature. Edinburgh, Scotland: Edinburgh University Press. p. 81. ISBN   978-1-474-40349-8.
  58. Rippin, Andrew (2012). Approaches to the History 0f the Interpretation of The Qur'an. Piscataway, New Jersey: Gorgias Press. p. 121. ISBN   978-1607240464.
  59. Awn, page 30
  60. Saed Abdul-Rahman, Muhammad (2013). Tafsir Ibn Kathir Juz' 1 (Part 1): Al-Fatihah 1 to Al-Baqarah 141 2nd Edition. London, England: MSA Publication Limited. p. 136. ISBN   978-1-861-79826-8.
  61. Nünlist, page 54
  62. Eickmann, Walther (1908). Die Angelologie und Dämonologie des Korans im Vergleich zu der Engel- und Geisterlehre der Heiligen Schrift (in German). New York City: Eger. p. 27.
  63. Eichler, Paul Arno, 1889- Die Dschinn, Teufel und Engel in Koran p. 59
  64. Bouhdiba, Abdelwahab (2013). Sexuality in Islam. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 59. ISBN   978-1-135-03037-7.
  65. Nünlist, pages 53-54
  66. Wheeler, Brannon M. (2002). Prophets in the Quran: An Introduction to the Quran and Muslim Exegesis. London, England: A&C Black. p. 16. ISBN   978-0-826-44957-3.
  67. El-Zein, page 46
  68. Schimmel, page 212
  69. Abicht, Ludo (2008). Islam & Europe: Challenges and Opportunities. Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press. p. 128. ISBN   978-9-058-67672-6.
  70. Awn, page 86
  71. Basharin, pages 119–138
  72. Masood Ali Khan, Shaikh Azhar Iqbal Encyclopaedia of Islam: Religious doctrine of Islam Commonwealth, 2005 ISBN   9788131100523 p. 153
  73. Awn, page 50
  74. Abicht, page 128
  75. El-Zein, page 45
  76. 1 2 Awn, page 97
  77. Ernst, Carl W. (1985). Words of Ecstasy in Sufism. Albany, New York: SUNY Press. p. 8. ISBN   978-0873959186.
  78. 1 2 Günther, Sebastian; Lawson, Todd (2016). Roads to Paradise: Eschatology and Concepts of the Hereafter in Islam. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishers. p. 569. ISBN   978-9-004-33315-4.
  79. Awn, page 135
  80. El-Zein, pages 98-99
  81. Shabaz, Absalom D. (1904). Land of the Lion and the Sun: Personal Experiences, the Nations of Persia-their Manners, Customs, and Their Belief. New Haven, Connecticut: Harvard University. p. 96.
  82. Açikyildiz, Birgül (2014). The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion. London, England: I.B. Tauris. p. 161. ISBN   978-0-857-72061-0.
  83. Barnstone, Willis; Meyer, Marvin (2009). The Gnostic Bible: Revised and Expanded Edition. Boulder, Colorado: Shambhala Publications. p. 738. ISBN   978-0-834-82414-0.
  84. Warner, Arthur George; Warner, Edmond (2013). The Shahnama of Firdausi, Band 1. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 70. ISBN   978-1136395055.
  85. Beeman, William O. (2008). The Great Satan Vs. the Mad Mullahs: How the United States and Iran Demonize Each Other. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. p. 122. ISBN   978-0226041476.
  86. Rapp, Stephen H., Jr. (2017). The Sasanian World through Georgian Eyes: Caucasia and the Iranian Commonwealth in Late Antique Georgian Literature. Abingdon, England: Routledge. p. 192. ISBN   978-1317016717.
  87. Awn, page 9