#384: The Differences Between the Iblees and Jinn

Question:

Assalamualaikum ustaz. What are the differences and similarities between the jinn and the iblees?

Answer:

Waalaikumussalam wrt. wbt.,

Alhamdulillah, praise and gratitude to Allah SWT for His countless blessings for us all. Praise and salutations to our beloved Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions, and all those who follow his footsteps until the Final day.

Answering the above question, we first present the similarities and differences between the jinn and iblees.

The similarities:

First: Iblees and jinn are from the same type where they are created from fire that is described in the evidences. Allah SWT states:

وَالْجَانَّ خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ مِن نَّارِ السَّمُومِ

“And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.” [1]

Ibn Kathir cited a narration from Ibnu Abbas RA who said, indeed the jinn is made from a fiery, blazing fire. Furthermore, the narration from Amru bin Dinar said the jinn is made from sunlight. [2]

Likewise, with the words of the arrogant Iblees with the creation of fire as stated by Allah SWT:

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.” [3]

Al-Tobari said in his commentary: Iblees said that he has tougher hands compared to Adam, he’s stronger than Adam and his creation is better than Adam since he is created from fire. [4]

Second: Iblees and jinn cannot be seen through the naked eye except by the will of Allah.

Allah SWT states:

إِنَّهُ يَرَاكُمْ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا تَرَوْنَهُمْ

“Indeed, he sees you, he and his tribe, from where you do not see them.” [5]

In interpreting the verse (وَقَبِيلُهُ), Imam al-Qurtubi said that it means the armies of the shaytan. Furthermore, Imam Mujahid also holds the opinion (وَقَبِيلُهُ) are from the jinn and shaytan. Likewise, in another opinion, the word (وَقَبِيلُهُ) means the generation or lineage of shaytan. Imam Qurtubi further said, according to the opinion of scholars, this verse is evidence that the jinn cannot be seen. It is also said that it is permissible to see the jinn. The reason is if Allah SWT wills, Allah SWT will open the hijab so that they are visible. [6]

Third: They are also creations of Allah that are also given responsibilities just as humans do. Allah SWT states:

وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ

“And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [7]

Imam al-Qurtubi said in his commentary that the above verse clearly shows that the jinn and humans are included in the commandment to worship Allah SWT. This is as stated by Saidina Ali bin Abi Talib RA in his explanation of the above verse, he says: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [8]

Imam Al-Qadhi Badr Al-Din Al-Syibli states: This is among the several verses that show the jinn are included as mukallaf and they are included in the commandment verse and the prohibition verse. [9]

Likewise, it is stated by Allah SWT which shows the jinn are included as mukallaf:


قُلْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيَّ أَنَّهُ اسْتَمَعَ نَفَرٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ فَقَالُوا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا قُرْآنًا عَجَبًا ‏(1) يَهْدِي إِلَى الرُّشْدِ فَآمَنَّا بِهِ ۖ وَلَن نُّشْرِكَ بِرَبِّنَا أَحَدًا ‎

“Say, [O Muhammad], “It has been revealed to me that a group of the jinn listened and said, ‘Indeed, we have heard an amazing Qur’an. It guides to the right course, and we have believed in it. And we will never associate with our Lord anyone.” [10]

Dr Wahbah Zuhaili stated in his commentary that the above verse explains there are various lessons from the story in this verse, among them is an explanation that the jinn is given responsibilities to follow the shariah just like humans do. Likewise, among them are those who are believers and call the other disbelieving jinn to believe in Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad PBUH was sent to all creations including humans, jinn and angels. (See Tafsir al-Munir 29/163)

Fourth: Their creation preceded the creation of humans

Allah SWT states:


وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن صَلْصَالٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ ﴿٢٦﴾ وَالْجَانَّ خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن قَبْلُ مِن نَّارِ السَّمُومِ

“And We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud. And the jinn We created before from scorching fire.” [11]

Ibn Kathir said in his commentary that Allah SWT created the jinn before He created humans, from scorching flames. Ibn Abbas said it is a fire that kills. [12]

Whereas the differences between the iblees and jinn are:

 First: Every iblees and shaytan is from among the jinn but not every jinn is iblees or shaytan. This is as stated by Allah SWT when He describes the characteristics of iblees who originates from the jinn:

فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ كَانَ مِنَ الْجِنِّ فَفَسَقَ عَنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّهِ ۗ

“And they prostrated, except for Iblees. He was of the jinn and departed from the command of his Lord.” [13]

Imam al-Tobari said in his commentary: “Iblees is definitely not from the angels and just with a single glance (it can be understood from this verse), consequently the iblees is from the jinn just like Adam is the originator of all mankind.” [14]

Second: Iblees and shaytan are accursed creations while the jinn isn’t necessarily so.

Allah SWT states:

وَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ لَعْنَتِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ

“And indeed, upon you is My curse until the Day of Recompense.” [15]

Al-Qurtubi said in his commentary: Allah said that the iblees are from the cursed, exiled and distanced from His blessings until the day of Judgement due to his disbelief. The reason is the curse severed everything, then when he is thrown into hellfire, it shows the gravity of the curse. [16]

Third: Iblees and shaytan are disbelievers while the jinn is divided into two, there are some who are Muslims and there are others who are disbelievers.

The evidence that iblees are from the disbelievers are stated by Allah SWT:

وَإِذْ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَائِكَةِ اسْجُدُوا لِآدَمَ فَسَجَدُوا إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ أَبَىٰ وَاسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

And [mention] when We said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”; so, they prostrated, except for Iblees. He refused and was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.”

Al-Baghawi in his commentary said: Most commentary scholars said that Allah has known that the iblees are from the disbelievers and that punishment is obligated for them. [17]

While for the jinn, there are divided into believers and disbelievers. Allah SWT states:

وَأَنَّا مِنَّا الْمُسْلِمُونَ وَمِنَّا الْقَاسِطُونَ ۖ فَمَنْ أَسْلَمَ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ تَحَرَّوْا رَشَدًا

“And among us are Muslims [in submission to Allah], and among us are the unjust. And whoever has become Muslim – those have sought out the right course.” [18]

Dr Wahbah Zuhaili in his commentary said, the above verse explains that some of the jinns are believers, obedient and worship Allah SWT and some are disbelievers and deviate from the true and good route … (الْقَاسِطُونَ) means disbelieving jinn, they deviated from the true guidance. Ans they are thrown in the hellfire by Allah SWT. [19]

Fourth: Iblees punishment is postponed but this isn’t so for the jinn.

Allah SWT states:


قَالَ رَبِّ فَأَنظِرْنِي إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ يُبْعَثُونَ (79) قَالَ فَإِنَّكَ مِنَ الْمُنظَرِينَ (80) إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ

“He said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.” [Allah] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved. Until the Day of the time well-known.”” [20]

Imam al-Alusi said: Allah SWT states: “إِلَىٰ يَوْمِ الْوَقْتِ الْمَعْلُومِ” (Until the Day of the time well-known), there is khilaf in the usage of the word, the famous opinion is on the day of the first blowing of the Horn (يوم النفخة الأولى ) and not on the day of Resurrection (يوم البعث ) because the day of resurrection is not the day of death. However, some of them are of the opinion that it means (يوم البعث) which means the Day of Resurrection and not the day of the first blowing of the Horn and not necessarily the shaytan doesn’t die on the first day, it may be possible that shaytan dies on the first day and then resurrected together with all the other creations. [21]

Conclusion

To close, it is clear that iblees and shaytan are the unequivocal enemies of mankind. Allah SWT narrated the existence of shaytan who is always the number one enemy of men. Allah SWT states:


يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ لَا يَفْتِنَنَّكُمُ ٱلشَّيْطَـٰنُ كَمَآ أَخْرَجَ أَبَوَيْكُم مِّنَ ٱلْجَنَّةِ يَنزِعُ عَنْهُمَا لِبَاسَهُمَا لِيُرِيَهُمَا سَوْءَٰتِهِمَآ

“O children of Adam, let not Satan tempt you as he removed your parents from Paradise, stripping them of their clothing to show them their private parts…” [22]

Likewise, in another statement of Allah SWT:

أَلَمْ أَعْهَدْ إِلَيْكُمْ يَا بَنِي آدَمَ أَن لَّا تَعْبُدُوا الشَّيْطَانَ ۖ إِنَّهُ لَكُمْ عَدُوٌّ مُّبِينٌ

“Did I not enjoin upon you, O children of Adam, that you not worship Satan – [for] indeed, he is to you a clear enemy,” [24]

Ibn Kathir stated in his commentary: This is derision from Allah SWT towards the disbelievers from the sons of Adam who worship or follow shaytan. When the shaytan is actually their clear enemy and sinful towards the All-Loving Allah SWT. He is their Creator and Provider. [24]

May Allah SWT grant us all understanding in this religion and protect us from the temptation and deceit of shaytan. We end with the supplication:


نَعُوذُ بِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ التَّامَّاتِ مِنْ غَضَبِهِ وَعِقَابِهِ وَشَرِّ عِبَادِهِ وَمِنْ هَمَزَاتِ الشَّيَاطِينِ وَأَنْ يَحْضُرُونِ

“I seek refuge in the Perfect Words of Allah from His anger and His punishment, from the evil of His slaves, and from the taunts of devils and from their presence.”

Wallahu a’lam.

[1] Surah al-Hijr, 27

[2] See Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/458

[3] Surah al-A’raf: 12

[4] See Tafsir al-Tobari, 12/327

[5] Surah al-A’raf: 27

[6] See Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 7/186

[7] Surah Al-Dzariyat: 56

[8] See Al-Jami’ Li Ahkam Al-Quran, 17/52

[9] See Akam Al-Marjan fi Ahkam Al-Jaan, pg. 63

[10] Surah al-Jin: 1-2

[11] Surah al-Hijr: 27

[12] See Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 4/533

[13] Surah al-Kahfi: 50

[14] See Tafsir al-Tobari, 15/286

[15] Surah Sad: 78

[16] See Tafsir al-Qurtubi, 15/229

[17] See Tafsir al-Baghawi, 1/82

[18] Surah al-Jin: 14

[19] See Tafsir al-Munir, 29/170

[20] Surah Sad: 79-81

[21] See Ruh al-Ma’ani, 8/91

[22] Surah Al-‘Araf : 27

[23] Surah Yasin: 60

[24] See Tafsir Ibn Kathir, 6/584

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