The Demonic Paradise Wiki
Advertisement

If I win three things from the son of Adam, I will have earned what I wanted from him: if he forgets his sins, thinks high of his actions, and becomes fond of his opinion
~ Iblis.

Iblis, formerly known as Azazil, is a fallen angel or a jinn turned high-ranking demon and King of Hell.

Overview

Iblis is a figure frequently mentioned and appearing 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. The story regarding his fall from grace is often compared to Satan in Christian traditions.

In Islamic tradition, Iblis is identified with Al-Shaitan ("the Devil"), often followed by the epithet al-rajim (the accursed). However, while Shaitan is used exclusively used for an evil force, Iblis himself holds a more ambivalent role in Islamic traditions.

Iblis rules over the demons known as the Jinn, where his court is held within the city of Jinnestan and became the spiritual enemy of the Islamic faith. His exact rank in the demonic hierarchy is not known, but he reports directly to both Lucifer and Satan.

Other sources claim that he was part of Lucifer's rebellion, and was present during his rally as well as the construction of Pandemonium. Despite this uncertainty of origin, the lord of the Jinn is arguably one of the most loyal demons serving under the Morning Star.

Appearance

Iblis' appearance before he fell was said to be unique and grand even amongst the ranks of the Jinn. Several Islamic scholars state that he has seven hairs on his chin and was blind in his right eye.

After his fall from the Heavens, Iblis' body is composed entirely of molten magma, or brimstone, that varies between forms. His original form was a giant, swirling ball of flames. After being released, Iblis' form grew tremendously and sprouted four arms with an armored head of molten rock.

History

Jinn of Heaven

Iblis was an angelic jinn created by God out of Vril and was known as Azazil. He stood out amongst the jinn as being unique in appearance and power, but regardless, he was no different in the eyes of Heaven when it came to how they viewed the jinn. When the angels took prisoners, Iblis was one of them and carried them 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 had the outer appearance of an angel, he was still a jinn, in essence, thus he was able to choose in terms of free will.

After being elevated to the ranks of the angels, Iblis became a leader and teacher of his own choir of angels, and a keeper of Heaven. God gave him authority over the lower heavens and the Earth. Iblis is also considered the leader of those angels who battled the Jann. Therefore, Iblis and his army drove these ancient jinn to the edge of the world, Mount Qaf. The jinn, in response, regarded Iblis as a traitor to their own kind and accused of him of slithering his way into the ranks of Heaven mainly to avoid persecution at the hands of the angels.

Rebelling in Heaven

When God created Adam, He ordered all the angels and jinn to bow before the new creation. All the angels and jinn bowed down, but Iblis refused to do so. 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 humans and their bodily flaws. 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.

As punishment for his haughtiness, God banished Iblis from Heaven and condemned him to Hell. But Iblis requested to prove that he is right, therefore God entrusted him as a tempter for humanity as long as his punishment endures, concurrently giving him a chance to redeem himself. As a result, his punishment was postponed until Judgment Day, when he and his host will have to face the eternal fires of Hell.

King of Jinnestan

Despite the circumstances of his eternal imprisonment within Hell, he became a demon serving under the reign of Lucifer, and even joined the Stygian Council, taking the name Iblis as a King of Hell, specifically the ruler of Jinnestan, the infernal city of the Jinn.

As his first demonic act, Iblis, referred to in this context as Shaitan. Disguised as the Hatif, the mysterious voice of Arab mythology, Iblis also tempted ʿAlī, Muhammad’s son-in-law, unsuccessfully trying to keep him from performing the ritual washing of the Prophet’s dead body. Moreover, Iblis's damnation is clear and he and his host are the first who enter hell to dwell therein forever, when he is not killed in a battle by the Mahdi, an interpretation especially prevalent among Shia Muslims.

Myth and Legends

Iblis has long been a figure of speculation among Muslim scholars, who have been trying to explain the ambiguous identification of Iblis in the Quran as either angel or Jinn, a contradiction in terms, as angels are created of light and are incapable of sin, while jinn are created of mist. Traditions on this point are numerous and conflicting: Iblis was simply a jinn who inappropriately found himself among the angels in heaven; he was an jinn sent to Earth to do battle with the rebellious jinn who inhabited the Earth before man was created; Iblis was himself one of the terrestrial jinn captured by the angels during their attack and brought to heaven.

Sufism

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. 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 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 a jinn to a devil. Iblis responds, his form is just temporary and his love towards God remains the same.

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." 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. 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

Trivia

  • Keep in mind that Iblis is not considered the Lord of Evil or a fallen angel, as he is not powerful enough yet.
  • His eye was put out by the prophet Idris, who was a tailor. Iblis once came to him with an egg in his hand and told him that God had shaped the world like an egg. Idris was enraged by this blasphemous talk and answered, ‘No, God made the world like the eye of this needle, look here.’ When Shaitan looked at the needle the prophet thrust it into his eye.
  • Iblis is often considered to be the Islamic version of Satan.

Gallery

Advertisement