IBLIS AND SATAN: FRUSTRATING FORCES IN MAN AND IMPLICATIONS

Adam, as the original human being, or as the archetype human has been bestowed potentialities to acquire knowledge of how everything else in the universe functions (2:33, The Quran). 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 God or may not; this discretion isn’t given to any other creature.

Man decides to disobey God’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 God 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 Iblis by the Quran allegorically.

Because of this rebellious nature, it was said that he was born out of fire (7:12 The Quran) and since feelings of human beings remain hidden, Iblis/Shaitan was also called a Jinn (18:50, The Holy Quran) and Jinn means one who is hidden. 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 Quran).

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 God: that is why Iblis is termed as the disappointed – the dejected or devoid.

About those who follow God laws, the Quran says that they will not suffer any fear or sorrow (2:38, The Quran) and Iblis will have no hold on them (15:42, The Quran).

The Quran has termed Iblis 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 “Iblis and Shaitan relationship”.

The Quran 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 Iblis and Satan. In fact these are the psychological feelings of a human being.

The Quran wants to establish such a social order, where chances of disappointments don’t occur (39:53, The Quran), as His resources of nourishment are boundless for everything and abundant throughout the Universe (7:156, The Quran). So in the Quran ic Social Order, the feelings of Iblisiat cannot overcome anyone; particularly in respect of those who follow His laws (15:43, The Quran).

The Quran 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 Quran, life is a continuous process and has to go a long way. If life is led according to the laws given by its Creator, God 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 Quranic 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?

Story of Man – Free Will and Enforcement

The Quran has resolved the problem of Freedom & Compulsion through the figurative story of Man. Both Man and Iblis (Devil) were given a command each. Both sinned (disobeyed the command). When Adam (Man) was asked to explain; he responded with a regretful “O our God, we have done ourselves harm” (7/23). That is, Adam, by regretting and confessing to the disobedience, admitted the responsibility for the action. This gave him a chance of redemption.  He was told not to worry (in 2/38): “I will be giving guidance to you. Whoever follows it will become free of fear and grief”. This is the potential of regaining the lost Paradise. The Quran calls it ‘repentance to reform after having erred’ (16/119).

On the contrary, Iblis responded by blaming God for his action, citing his own lack of free will (7/16 and 15/39). Because he did not assume responsibility, Iblis had no chances of reform (15/34) and was reviled (7/18). He was ‘destined’ to eternal frustration (Iblis literally means frustrated). One who considers himself bound cannot improve his lot and remains frustrated for ever.

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