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I will continue to lead your servants astray, for as long as their souls are in their bodies.
Iblis to God.

Iblis, formerly known as Azazil, is a djinn 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. Iblis being an angel was generally accepted among classical scholars, while most contemporary scholars insist he always had been a djinn. The story regarding his fall from grace, he 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 Djinn, 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 Djinn 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 Djinn. Several Islamic scholars state that has seven hairs on his chin and was blind in his right eye. In his female form, Iblis appears in dark skin woman dressed in clothing akin to a belly dancer. She has yellow eyes with a third eye in the center of her forehead and her body seems to naturally exude flames.

After his fall from Heaven, Iblis' body became 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.

His second form consisted of a giant serpent-like body while retaining the armored, ripped up head. His final and most powerful form appears to be larger than the previous forms, but has a more human-shape; he has two arms, legs (which have no feet) and his head becomes less armored. However, he grows horns on both sides of his head and back, where he also grows a tail.

Personality

History

Djinn of Heaven

Iblis was an angelic Djinn created by God out of Aether, or simply smokeless fire, and was known as Azazil. He stood out amongst the Djinn 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 Djinn. He stood out amongst the Djinn 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 Djinn. When the angels took prisoners, Iblis was one of them and carried them to heaven. Since he, unlike the other Djinn, 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 got the outer appearance of an angel, he was still a Djinn, 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 Djinn to the edge of the world, Mount Qaf. The Djinn, 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 Djinn to bow before the new creation. All the angels and Djinn 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 noble and superior in comparison to the other angels, since he was (one of those) created from fire. while man came only from clay. However, he was degraded by God due to his exhibition of pride and disobedience.

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. God also warned him that he will have no power over God's truest servants.

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 Djinn.

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 is an Islamic figure and an Angel created by Allah from Fire rather than Light. While often seen as the Islamic counterpart to the Christian Satan, Iblis does not play the role of Adversary like in Christianity as Islam rejects the notion of Satan being an opponent to God. Rather, Iblis is seen as the Greatest Sinner due to his refusal to bow to Adam when he was created by Allah. He was banished from Heaven to Hell for his disobedience but later asked Allah for permission to lead Adam and his descendants astray which Allah granted but warned Iblis that he did not have any power over His servants.

When God created Adam, He ordered all the angels and djinn to bow before the new and greatest creation. All the angels and djinn bowed down, yet Iblis refused to do so. He argued that since he himself was created from fire, he is superior to humans, made from Clay-mud, and that he should not prostrate himself before Adam. As punishment for his haughtiness, God banished Iblis from heaven and condemned him to hell.

Thus, Iblis was thrown out from heaven, cursed by God till the day of judgement, and Iblis asked for "respite" till the day the dead are raised, which God granted him respite till the day, which Iblis said that the Lord "put me in the wrong," "by Your power, I shall lead them all astray," throwing man off "the straight path" till the end, and God stated that if any humans follow Iblis, they shall be thrown into hell with Iblis, seven gates for the type of sin the humans have committed. For this reason he is seen as an equivalent to Satan/Lucifer.

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 djinn, a contradiction in terms, as angels are created of light and are incapable of sin, while djinn are created of mist. Traditions on this point are numerous and conflicting: Iblis was simply a djinn who inappropriately found himself among the angels in heaven; he was an djinn sent to Earth to do battle with the rebellious djinn who inhabited the Earth before man was created; Iblis was himself one of the terrestrial djinn 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 djinn 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

Etymology

The term Iblis may have been derived from the Arabic verbal root bls ب-ل-س (with the broad meaning of "remain in grief") or بَلَسَ (balasa, "he despaired"). Furthermore, the name is related to talbis meaning confusion. Another possibility is that it is derived from Ancient Greek διάβολος (diábolos), via a Syriac intermediary, which is also the source of the English word 'devil'.'

Yet another possibility relates this name back to the bene Elohim (Sons of God), who had been identified with fallen angels in the early centuries, but had been singularised under the name of their leader. However, there is no general agreement on the root of the term. The name itself could not be found before the Quran in Arabic literature, but can be found in Kitab al Magall.

In Islamic traditions, Iblis is known by many alternative names or titles, such as Abu Murrah (Father of Bitterness), adūw-Allāh or aduwallah (enemy of God) and Abu Al-Harith (the father of the plowmen).

Quotes

Humans are weak. They believe in false hope and stand on the edge of despair and not even realize it until they have fallen. Trust me, I don't need any power and sorcery to taint mankind. All I need is a whisper, single thought inside their mind, and they will do the rest for me.
Iblis.
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.
Eternal Sun! The Living Flame that has been entrusted to the royal family! Fall into slumber with my soul, Iblis! You cursed Flames of Disaster!
An Abrahamic priest to Iblis during ancient Islamic times.

Iblis
I am better than him, You created me from burning fire, and him from tainted clay.
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God
Get you down from here as it is not for you to be arrogant on. Get out, for you are of the most malevolent of creatures.
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Gallery

Trivia

  • 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.
  • The term "Iblis" (Arabic: إِبْلِيس‎) may have been derived from the Arabic verbal root bls ب-ل-س (with the broad meaning of "remain in grief") or بَلَسَ (balasa, "he despaired"). Furthermore, the name is related to "talbis" meaning confusion. Another possibility is that it is derived from Ancient Greek διάβολος (diábolos), via a Syriac intermediary, which is also the source of the English word "devil". However, there is no general agreement on the root of the term. The name itself could not be found before the Quran.
  • Although the name Iblis possibly derived from the same source as the English word "devil", the proper translation of Iblis would be Satan, while the term devil corresponds to the Arabic Shaitan.
  • In Islamic traditions, Iblis is known by many alternative names or titles, such as "Abu Murrah" ("Father of Bitterness"), "Abu Al-Harith ("Father of Plowmen") and "Al-Hakam" ("The Arbiter" or "The Judge").
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