Fruits for the Week

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3. The Satan and the jinn

(1) Definition of the Satan

The Satan of whom Allah speaks a great deal in the Qur’an is from the realm of the jinn. In The beginning he used to worship Allah, and he dwelt in heaven with the angels and entered Paradise, then he disobeyed his Lord when He commanded him to prostate to Adam, out of arrogance and pride. So Allah cast him out from His mercy.

In Arabic, the word Satan is applied to this creature because of his insolence towards and rebellion against his Lord. Satan is known to most of the nations on earth in more or less the same form, as Al-‘Aqqad noted in his book Iblees. He is called taaghoot because he transgresses his limits, rebelled against his Lord and set himself up as a god to be worshipped.

This creature has despaired of the mercy of Allah, hence Allah called him iblees. Balas in Arabic means the one who has nothing good in him. Ablasa in Arabic means to be filled with despair and confusion.

Anyone who studies what is said in the Qur’an and the hadith about the Satan will know that he is a creature who can think, understand and move, etc. He is not as some of those who have no knowledge say,” The spirit of evil represented by the animalistic desires of man which divert him – if they take over his heart – from the highest spiritual values.”  

Is the Satan the father of the jinn or simply one of them?

We have no clear text to tell us whether the Satan was the father of the jinn or simply one of them, although the latter is more likely to be the case because of the verse:” Except Iblees (Satan). He is one of the jinn.” (Qur’an 18: 50)

Ibn Taymiyyah was of the opinion that the Satan was the father of the jin, just Adam was the father of humankind.”

(3) The Satan is ugly in appearance of the devils

This idea is well established in people’s minds. Allah likened the fruits of the tree of zaqqoom which grows at the bottom of Hell to the heads of devils; because it is known that their appearance and forms are ugly. Allah (swt) said:” Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire, the shoots of its fruit stalks are like the heads of Satan.” (Qur’an 37: 64-65).

The Christians in the Middle Ages used to depict the devil as looking like a black man with a pointed beard, raised eyebrows, a mouth breathing fire, horns, cloven feet and a tail.

(4) The Satan has two horns

In Shaheeh Muslim it is narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (saw) said:” Do not pray when the sun is rising, or when it is setting, because it rises between the two horns of the Satan.”

It is narrated from Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:” When the sun starts to rise, then delay your prayer until it has risen fully, and when the sun starts, then delay your prayer until it has set fully, and do not deliberately set out to pray at the time when the sun is rising or setting, for it rises between the two horns of the Satan.”

The meaning of this hadith is that groups of mushrikeen used to worship the sun, and they would prostrate to it when it was rising and when it was setting. At that moment the Satan would set himself up in the direction of where the sun was, so that they would be worshipping him

This is stated clearly in Shaheeh Muslim, where it is narrated that Amr ibn Absah Al-Sulami asked the Messenger about prayer, and he (saw) said:” Pray Fajr, then stop praying until the sun has risen and is above the horizon, for when it rises, it rises between the horns of the Satan, and at that point the kuffar prostate to it. Then pray after that, because prayer is witnessed and attended by angels.” Then he (saw) forbade him to pray after Asr,” Until the sun sets, for it sets between the two horns of the Satan, and that points the kuffar prostate.”

(To be continued)

by Dr. Omar Al-Ashqar