Iblis, Lucifer Islam

Iblis is the name for the devil in the Qur’an. Although the term “devil” comes from the GreekĀ diabolos, the Muslims derived the name from the Arabic,Ā balasa, “he despaired,” which can be interpreted “despaired of the mercy of God” but he is also al-Shairan, Satan, and “the enemy of God.” The latter aspect of Satan is a commonly shared belief of both Muslims and Christians. According to one tradition, when Allah ordered the angels to bow down to the newly created man,Ā Adam, Iblis refused to do so because he, being made of fire, thought himself superior to a creature made of earth. He continues tempting humans, especially through the whisper (waswas, “he whispered”) and false suggestion (haiif). In the end, it is believed, he will be cast into Jahannam. Another commonly shared belief held by both religions is that the universal existence of evil in personal lives is usually experienced as a consequence of a personal agent, the devil.

Although both Satan and al-Shairan are identified, Shairan also has a distinct existence, perhaps as the leader of theĀ jinns, a personification of temptation. This coincides with the Muslim belief that each individual is accompanied by two personal spiritual entities; an angel who urges toward good and a shairan who urges toward evil.


Bowker, John,Ā The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions,Ā New York, Oxford University Press, 1997, p. 273