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Prostration of the Angels to Adam and Shaytan's Arrogance Print E-mail

Allah informs the Children of Adam about the honor of their father and the enmity of Shaytan, who still has envy for them and for their father Adam. So they should beware of him and not follow in his footsteps. Allah said,

﴿وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَـكُمْ ثُمَّ صَوَّرْنَـكُمْ ثُمَّ قُلْنَا لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ اسْجُدُواْ لأَدَمَ فَسَجَدُواْ﴾

(And surely, We created you and then gave you shape; then We told the angels, "Prostrate yourselves to Adam,'' and they prostrated,) This is like His saying,

﴿وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلَـئِكَةِ إِنِّى خَـلِقٌ بَشَرًا مِّن صَلْصَـلٍ مِّنْ حَمَإٍ مَّسْنُونٍ - فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِى فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَـجِدِينَ ﴾

(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "I am going to create a man from dried (sounding) clay of altered mud. So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him the soul (which I created for him), then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him.'') ﴿15:28-29﴾. After Allah created Adam with His Hands from dried clay of altered mud and made him in the shape of a human being, He blew life into him and ordered the angels to prostrate before him, honoring Allah's glory and magnificence. The angels all heard, obeyed and prostrated, but Iblis did not prostrate. We explained this subject in the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah. Therefore, the Ayah (7:11) refers to Adam, although Allah used the plural in this case, because Adam is the father of all mankind. Similarly, Allah said to the Children of Israel who lived during the time of the Prophet ,

﴿وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى﴾

(And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you manna and the quail,)﴿2:57﴾ This refers to their forefathers who lived during the time of Moses. But, since that was a favor given to the forefathers, and they are their very source, then the offspring have also been favored by it. This is not the case in:

﴿وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الإِنْسَـنَ مِن سُلَـلَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ ﴾

(And indeed We created man out of an extract of clay (water and earth.))﴿23:12﴾ For this merely means that Adam was created from clay. His children were created from Nutfah (mixed male and female sexual discharge). This last Ayah is thus talking about the origin of mankind, not that they were all created from clay, and Allah knows best.

﴿قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَاْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ ﴾

(12. (Allah) said: "What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate, when I commanded you'' Iblis said: "I am better than him (Adam), You created me from fire, and him You created from clay.'') Allah said,

﴿مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلاَّ تَسْجُدَ﴾

(What prevented you (O Iblis) that you did not prostrate) ﴿7: 12﴾ meaning, what stopped and hindered you from prostrating after I ordered you to do so, according to Ibn Jarir. This meaning is sound, and Allah knows best. Iblis, may Allah curse him, said,

﴿أَنَاْ خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ﴾

(I am better than him (Adam)), and this excuse is worse than the crime itself! Shaytan said that he did not obey Allah because he who is better cannot prostrate to he who is less. Shaytan, may Allah curse him, meant that he is better than Adam, "So how can You order me to prostrate before him'' Shaytan said that he is better than Adam because he was created from fire while, "You created him from clay, and fire is better.'' The cursed one looked at the origin of creation not at the honor bestowed, that is, Allah creating Adam with His Hand and blowing life into him. Shaytan made a false comparison when confronted by Allah's command,

﴿فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَـجِدِينَ﴾

("Then you fall down prostrate to him'')﴿38:72﴾. Therefore, Shaytan alone contradicted the angels, because he refused to prostrate. He, thus, became `Ablasa' from the mercy, meaning, lost hope in acquiring Allah's mercy. He committed this error, may Allah curse him, due to his false comparison. His claim that the fire is more honored than mud was also false, because mud has the qualities of wisdom, for - bearance, patience and assurance, mud is where plants grow, flourish, increase, and provide good. To the contrary, fire has the qualities of burning, recklessness and hastiness. Therefore, the origin of creation directed Shaytan to failure, while the origin of Adam led him to return to Allah with repentance, humbleness, obedience and submission to His command, admitting his error and seeking Allah's forgiveness and pardon for it. Muslim recorded that `Aishah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

خُلِقَتِ الْمَلَائِكَةُ مِنْ نُورٍ وَخُلِقَ إِبْلِيسُ مِنْ مَارِجٍ مِنْ نَارٍ وَخُلِقَ آدَمُ مِمَّا وُصِفَ لَكُم

(The angels were created from light, Shaytan from a smokeless flame of fire, while Adam was created from what was described to you).

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