Iblees and Shaitan: Thwarting Forces in man and Implications (Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

Adam, as the original human being, or as the archetype human (Rashid: Human Development Theory: Islamic Vs. Western Perspective, P.4) has been bestowed potentialities to acquire knowledge of how everything else in the universe functions (2:33, The Qur’an). Now it is unto him to utilize these potentialities and conquer/ harness all that lies in the universe.

In this universe, man is the only creature who is given choice and discretion. He may obey the laws of Allah or may not; this discretion isn’t given to any other creature. Man decides to disobey Allah’s laws when his feelings and emotions overpower him. These emotions instigate him for personal gains as against universal good. He bypasses the laws of Allah and starts following his own emotions. At this stage his intellect manipulates him the ways and means to achieve these objects. These emotions or feelings and the intellect which guides such feelings to achieve the objectives are given the name of Iblees by the Qur’an allegorically. Because of this rebellious nature (Taj and Lane), it was said that he was born out of fire (7:12, The Qur’an) and since feelings of human beings remain hidden, Iblees/Shaitan was also called a Jinn (18:50, The Holy Qnr’an) and Jinn means one who is hidden (Raghib). Along with the feelings or emotions, the man is also given the discretion by virtue of which he is capable of disobedience at the time of his birth and these accompany him through his life span (15:36, The Qur’an).

A person who decides to follow the path of disobedience becomes deprived of the resultant benefits which accrue by virtue of following the laws of Allah: that is why Iblees is termed as the disappointed – the dejected or devoid. About those who follow Allah’s law, the Qur’an says that they will not suffer any fear or sorrow (2:38, The Qur’an) and Iblees will have no hold on them (15:42, The Qur’an).

The Qur’an has termed Iblees and Shaitan as the two faces of the same  to the foreground. These are termed as projection, repression, fantasy, denial of reality, rationalization, intellectualization and reaction formation. All these varieties of adjustive mechanisms have the underlying roots in disappointment. And a feeling of rebellion or aggression closely follows this. In this way there is clearly a direct and deep-rooted connection between the feelings of rebellion and disappointment experienced by a person. This is also exemplified as “Iblees and Shaitan relationship”.

The Qur’an supports the above deliberations that frustration leads to aggressiveness. When a person feels that he cannot achieve what he desires, he gets angry. If he gives vent to his anger against his own self, it results in worry, tension or depression; the last stage of which is suicide. When he uses this anger against anyone else, which/ who in his opinion is responsible for this, it is called revenge. But if he is incapable of taking revenge from the person concerned, then at times he gives vent to his feelings against unconcerned thing – which is madness. One can see the direct and deep contact between disappointment and rebellion. And this is the relationship of Iblees and Shaitan. In fact these are the psychological feelings of a human being. The Qur’an wants to establish such a social order, where chances of disappointments don’t occur (39:53, The Qur’an), as His resources of nourishment are boundless for everything and abundant throughout the Universe (7:156, The Qur’an). So in the Qur’anic Social Order, the feelings of Iblisiat cannot overcome anyone; particularly in respect of those who follow His laws (15:43, The Qur’an).

The Qur’an has described the results of misdeeds as the torturing fire! As the fire burns everything, so the bad deeds burn the human personality and stop its growth.

According to the Qur’an, life is a continuous process and has to go a long way. If life is led according to the laws given by its Creator, Allah, then its latent potentialities are developed and enable it (life) to continue progressing and going from one stage to another. But if the potentialities/capacities are not developed, it doesn’t have the strength to travel or grow further and stops at one stage or point. This process of stoppage is called al-jaheem in the Qur’anic terminology.

Life is like an ever-flowing stream, the moment it stops, it turns into a pond, then gets stagnant. Out of dust rose Adam, and out of good deeds would rise the man for the world hereafter.

How to overcome these thwarting forces? What to do? And who will think and reciprocate for the establishment of Quranic Social Order? 

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