Is it true that Iblees was originally an angel as stated in verse 34 Surah al-Baqarah?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the many countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
“And [mention] when We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam"; so, they prostrated, except for Iblees.” The scholars have two differing opinions regarding the meaning of the verse when it states except for Iblees:
- The first opinion state that it means that Iblees is from the angels, this is the opinion of Ibn Mas’ud narrated by Ibn Abbas, but then Allah SWT changed Iblees into shaytan.
- Iblees is not among the angels but from the among the jinn. This is the opinion of Hasan al-Basri and al-Zuhri.
Hence, the rules of exception applied in this matter is an absolute exception. We are inclined towards the second opinion in accordance with verse 50 Surah al-Kahfi in the Quran:
وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلاَّ إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنْ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ أَفَتَتَّخِذُونَهُ وَذُرِّيَّتَهُ أَوْلِيَاءَ مِنْ دُونِي وَهُمْ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ بِئْسَ لِلظَّالِمِينَ بَدَلاً
“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. 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.”
Surah al-Kahfi (50)
The word Iblees is explained by Ibn al-Jauzi as the following:
- It is an isim a’jam (non-Arabic word) which is a non-derivative, thus it cannot be derived. This is the opinion of Abu Ubaidah and Ibn al-Anbari.
- It is a derivative from the word iblas which means despair as narrated by Abi Soleh and cited by Ibn Qutaibah.
We are inclined towards the opinion that states that Iblees is from among the jinn and not from among the angels referring to the Quranic evidence that explains the creation of Iblees and angels:
- Angels are created from nur which means light.
- Iblees or jinn are created from nar or fire.
Hence, Iblees is not from the angels, thus the istisna’ or the exception of Iblees from among the angels are istisna’ munqati or absolute exception and they are not among the angels. Wallahua’lam.