How Did Satan (the devil) Disobey Allah (God)?
Islam does NOT say the devil was ever an "angel" (he always was a devil)
My question is: If humans have free-will and angels don't - then how did satan (who was an angel) refuse to obey Allah by prostrating on the occassion of the creation of Adam as Quran mentions in chapter 2, verse 31?
Good question. The simple answer to all this is - "No" Satan (shayton) is from the "jinn" and he was never one of the angels and never will be. The jinn are . .
But let's get the whole story from scholars at www.islamnewsroom.com/content/view/686/1/
. created from a smokeless fire and similar to humans in that they can choose to obey or disobey Allah. - actually, it is good to ask from the scholars and teachers rather than to work off of assumptions or just talking with people uneducate to Islamic teachings.
Warnings For Believers
Allah Has Honored Humans With Two Gifts
The fact is this whole topic of free will is very interesting, yet, a very misunderstood topic. Almighty Allah has honored humans and endowed them with two important gifts.
Gift #1 - Know Right From Wrong
The first is the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, and that is attained by the very clean human instinct and then furthered by the dos and the don'ts as explained by Shariah.
Gift #2 - Free Will to Make Choices in Their Lives
The second gift that was given to humans by their Creator is the free will to choose between what is good and what is bad. Of course, this choice is not a blind one; rather, it is based on the Divinely-endowed will and the nature that is able to differentiate between right and wrong.
No Excuses on Judgment Day
Bearing all this in mind, none can ask to be excused on the Day of Judgment because they had no knowledge of what is right and what is wrong or did not have the free will.
People Make the Choice
The simple reason for this is, as explained before, that people do have the ability to discern what is correct and what is not, and are endowed with responsible will that enables them to take full responsibility of all their words and deeds.
Test of Right & Wrong
This very notion of being able to differentiate between what is right and what is wrong puts humans in a delicate test to explore and show their real obedience to their Creator.
Struggle to Surrender to Almighty Allah
Therefore, people who make the effort, struggle against their will and directs it towards Allah are better than angels in that sense.
Angels Have No Free Will
This is because angels do not have this free will. They are there for specific purposes and to do specific jobs like carrying the messages of Allah to the messengers of Allah, protecting human beings and recording their deeds.
Because they have no free will, and they are just cut for obedience, angels will not be reckoned on the Day of Judgment, because there is no point of doing that to them.
Humans Will Be Punished Or Rewarded
Of course, this is then completely different from human beings who, on the Day of Judgment, will be taken to task for their deeds and punished or rewarded according to their choices.
Satan (shayton) Never Was An Angel
Some people may question: if angels were created to obey and have no free will, how come then that Satan said: "No" when he was commanded to prostrate, amongst all other angels, to Adam? Is not that considered to be disobedience and thus it gives an indication of some kind of choice?
The simple answer to all this is no, simply because Satan was never one of the angels and never will be.
Quran Explains Clearly
So, if that is the case, what is the whole story behind the Satan's being mentioned in the same context and what brought him to the scene? To answer this question, we need to refer to the Quran itself and the books of exegesis. The Quran tells us in another place that Satan was one of the jinn and he disobeyed the command of his Lord.
Almighty Allah says:
"And when we said unto the angels: Fall prostrate before Adam. And they fell prostrate, all except 'Iblis' (Lucifer - the devil). He was one of the jinn, so he rebelled against his Lord’s command."
Humans Choose Their Path Of Conduct
In his commentary on this verse, Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, a well-known translator of the Quran, wrote: "Iblis (Satan) is one of the Jinn and not an angel, although he was among angels. This explains how he could choose to disobely, since Jinn, like humans, can choose their path.." (Pickthall, The Holy Quran, pg. 186)
Iblis (the name of the Jinn who became the Devil) Was Raised to Level of Angels
With this in mind, we can understand what our scholars tell us that Iblis (a name of Satan) was actually one of the jinn, and was so obedient to Allah that He raised him, for wisdom and a purpose, to higher ranks and he was living in the heavens, worshipping with the angels.
Arrogance (kibr) Ruined Him
When he was commanded to prostrate to Adam, he was there in his place amongst the angels, but because of his nature, he was still endowed with the free will to choose.
Satan Failed His Test
His presence there was definitely for a purpose. Probably, it was a test and Almighty Allah knew that Satan was going to do this.
Either way, Satan was not one of the angels and therefore, the characteristics of the angels do not apply on him.
Satan Remains the Enemy of Mankind
One final thing remains. Humans have an eternal enmity with Satan and know that Satan is sparing no efforts all the time to misguide and mislead them. Therefore, they should be very cautious and alert, never to fall in the snares of Satan.
Muslims Seek Refuge and Protection In Allah - From the Cursed Devil
Islam teaches that the way out is to resort to Allah all the time and pray to Him for guidance and protection. Muslims are taught by the Quran to seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan and say: "I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed Satan."
We ask God Almighty, the God of Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus Christ and Muhammad, peace be upon all of them, to protect us all from Satan and forgive our sins and mistakes, Ameen.
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