Religious Beliefs

Do Muslims believe in the devil?

Within the larger category of jinn are many beings who were once angels. The principal diabolical figure is called Iblis (pronounced ibLEES, from the Greek diabolos). God ordered him to do homage to the newly created body of Adam, but Iblis refused, arguing that a creature of fire need not bow to one made of clay. God banished Iblis from Paradise and he became the personification of the choice for evil over good. It was Iblis who tempted Adam and Eve (Qur’an 2:35-39, 7:19-25, 20:120-121). Tradition also names the devil Shaytan (shayTAAN) and often refers to many Satans, the lesser minions of Iblis who fan out to beset humanity with temptations of every kind. Some of Islam’s mystics have focused on the story of Iblis’ fall as an occasion for discussing the infinite mercy of God. As evil as the devil is, they argue, even Iblis still has hope of enjoying the transforming power of divine forgiveness at the end of time. The mystics are not suggesting that the devil is soft on sheer nastiness, only that no power in the universe can compare with God’s mercy.


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