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Question:

Assalamualaikum Ustaz, what is meant by qiyas iblis?

 

Answer:

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

In the discussion of qiyas as a source in the rulings as agreed by scholars, there is a famous saying of “Qiyas Iblis”. This is in accordance with an athar from Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma, where he said: “The first creature that apply the concept of qiyas is Iblis, then he made a mistake in his qiyas. Then, whoever that uses qiyas in religious matters only depending on logics, Allah SWT will make him be with Iblis.”

The above statement is also stated by Imam al-Hassan al-Basri and Imam Muhammad bin Sirin. The reason is, there is a statement made by Iblis himself in the Quran, when Allah SWT commanded him to prostrate himself to the Prophet Adam AS through the following verse:

قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ

[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."

Surah al-A’raaf (12)

According to the above verse, Iblis gave a justification for his refusal to prostrate himself to the Prophet Adam AS, even though the commandment is from Allah SWT using the qiyas of asl al-khilqah (the origin of creation).

This means, through qiyas of the origin of creation where he is created from fire and the Prophet Adam AS is created from clay, Iblis tries to justifies his refusal. Since Iblis concluded that fire is better than clay. Iblis’s statement means if the origin of something is honoured, then the furu’ (branch) of it is also honoured. Thus, through his qiyas, Iblis tried to logically explains his refusal to prostrate himself to Prophet Adam AS.

We simplify Iblis’s qiyas in several points:

  • Fire is better than clay.
  • The more honoured the origin, the more honoured the far’u (branches from it). Thus, he claimed that he is better than Prophet Adam AS.
  • The honoured and superior should not need to prostrate himself to inferior beings.

So true is the statement of Ibn Abbas R.Anhuma that said qiyas iblis is a mistake and misconception. The reason is, there is no accurate fact or evidences that supported the claim that fire is better than clay. Consequently, there are several arguments that prove clay is better and superior than fire.

The following, we state the superiority of clay compared to fire:

  1. Among the attributes of clay is calm, fixed and stable. Hence, this is the characteristic of the Prophet Adam AS for he is willing to repent, humble and courteous.

However, for fire, its attributes are rough, proud and disorganized. Thus, Iblis has the attributes of arrogance and conceited.

  1. There are evidences that showed the soil (clay) in heaven smells like musk. However, there are no evidence mentioning that there is fire in heaven but there is fire in hell.
  2. Fire can result in pain and sufferings. However, clay is not.
  3. Clay do not need fire. While fire need a place to burn and one of the places is soil.
  4. For clay (soil) when there is seed planted in it, it will produce trees, fruits and vegetables. Awhile for fire, if a tree is placed in it, it will burn it and produce ashes and cinder.

Iblis’s statement or qiyas iblis are also refuted with the following arguments:

  1. Iblis states that when the origin of a creation is honoured, then the branches of it is also honoured. In truth, the honoured origin does not mean that the branch is honoured. The same goes if the origin is dishonoured does not automatically means that its branch is dishonoured.

For example: The Prophet Noah is honoured but it does not automatically honour his son who is a disbeliever and deny the teachings of Prophet Noah AS.

The same goes for illegitimate child from adultery should not be degraded and insulted.

  1. Even if we agree with the statement that when the origin of something is honoured, then its lineage is also honoured, it still should not prevent anyone from prostrating to someone who is inferior to him, if it is the commandment of Allah SWT.

Thus, the above arguments prove that qiyas iblis is a fasid (wrong) qiyas and false.

Conclusion

To conclude, the following are the meanings of qiyas iblis:

First: Qiyas iblis is any qiyas that contradicts the Quranic and prophetic evidences.

Second: Any qiyas that leads to the contradiction of Islamic rulings and commandments of Allah SWT is considered as qiyas iblis. Those who are involved in qiyas such as these are considered as the followers of Iblis.

Thus, the Islamic jurists only use qiyas which do not contradict the evidences, do not lead to the rulings of Allah SWT, and follows the criteria agreed by scholars. This is the true and accepted qiyas. May Allah SWT give us true understanding in religion. Ameen.