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A demon or devil in Islam
Depiction of a Shaitan (a devil) made by Siyah Qalam between the 14th and the 15th century
Shayn (; devils or demons), singular: Shayn () are evil spirits in Islamic belief, inciting humans to sin by waswasa? (, "whispering") to the heart ( qalb). By such, they always try to lead humans astray. Although devils are usually spoken of in abstract terms, and more often described by their evil influences only, they are depicted as ugly and grotesque creatures of hell-fire.
Etymology and terminology
The word ?ayn (Arabic: ) originated from the triliteral root ?-?-n ("distant, astray") taking a theological connotation designating a creature distant from divine mercy. In pre-Islamic Arabia, this term was used to designate an evil spirit, but only used by poets who were in contact with Jews and Christians. With the emergence of Islam, the meaning of shayatin moved closer to the Christian concept of devils. The term shayatin appears in a similar way in the Book of Enoch, denoting the hosts of Satan. Taken from Islamic sources, "shaitan" may be translated as "demon" or "devil". Among Muslim authors, the term can also apply to evil supernatural entities in general, such as evil jinn, fallen angels or Tawaghit. In a broader sense, the term is used to designate everything from an ontological perspective that is a manifestation of evil.
The angels and the devils are the most frequently mentioned supernatural entities in the Quran. In the story of Adam and Eve, Iblis tempts Adam to eat from the forbidden tree, arguing, God only prohibited its fruit, so they shall not become immortal, as narrated in Quran 7:20. According to Quran15:16-18, devils rise against heaven in attempt to steal its secrets, but are chased by meteorites; however, unlike the jinn, they may partly succeed and snapping some information.2:102 mentions the devils as the teachers of sorcery. Quran37:62-68 describes the fruits of Zaqqum, the tree of hell, as heads of devils. Surah6:112 mentions devils among Ins (humans) and jinn. According to some exegetes, the term is used as an epithet to describe rebellious men and jinn, but others use it to refer to devils who tempt among the jinn or those who tempt among humans.
The hadith-literature depicts the devils as malevolent forces closely bound to humans and points to the presence of a Muslim's everyday life. A shaitan is assigned to every human (with Jesus as exception), and devils are said to move through the blood of human. Sahih Muslim mentions among the devils five sons of Iblis, who bring everyday calamities: Tir, "who brings about calamities, losses, and injuries; Al-A'war, who encourages debauchery; Sut, who suggests lies; Dasim, who causes hatred between man and wife; Zalambur, who presides over places of traffic." Devils try to disrupt the prayer or the ablution. Further, they might appear in dreams, and terrorize people. When someone yawns, the mouth should be covered, since the devils might enter the body. The sun is said to set and rise between the horns of a devil, when prayers should cease, since this is the moment the doors of hell open.Sahih al-Bukhari and Jami` at-Tirmidhi state that the devils can not harm the believers during the month of Ramadan, since they are chained in Jahannam (Gehenna (hellfire)).
The devils make up one of three classes of supernatural creatures in Islamic theology. But since they are invisible, like the jinn, some scholars put them merely under one category of the supernatural. However, the prevailing opinion among the mufassirs distinguish between the jinn and devils as following:
Among the jinn, there are different types of believers (Muslims, Christians, Jewish, polytheists, etc.), however the devils are exclusively evil.
The jinn are mortal and die, while the devils only die when their leader ceases to exist. The father of the jinn is Al-Jann and the father of the devils is Iblis.[a]
The devils are beings of hell-fire, and although their origin is not mentioned in the Quran (similar to the angels), Islamic scholars repeatedly asserted the idea that the devils have been created from either smoke or the hell-fire itself. Their exact origin is also up to interpretation. Different ideas have been proposed:
Fallen angels; whose who have disobeyed, from the tribe of Iblis and were cast out of heaven.
Evil jinn; who turn into devils as result of their evil deeds.
The offspring of Iblis; after he was banished from heaven. This is the view most exegetes of the Quran ascribe to.
Comparable to demons or devils in Christian theology, devils are incapable of good and limited to "evil". Abu Mufti writes in his commentary of Abu Hanifa's "al-Fiqh al-absat" that all angels, except with Harut and Marut, are obedient. But all devils, except Ham ibn Him Ibn Laqis Ibn Iblis, are created evil. Only humans and jinn are created with Fitra, meaning both angels and devils lack free-will and are settled in opposition.
Some Sufi-writers connect the descriptions of devils mentioned in hadith to human's psychological conditions. Based on the notion that the devils reproduce by laying eggs into the heart of humans, Ghazali linked them to inner spiritual development. Accordingly, from the eggs laid on the heart, the offspring of Iblis grew and unite with the person, causing the sin the shaitan is responsible for. He further explains the difference between divine inspiration and the devilish temptations of the devils, asserting one should test the inspiration by two criteria: firstly the piety and secondly whether the suggestion is in accordance with sharia. He further elaborates an esoteric cosmology, visualizing a human's heart as the capital of the body, in constant struggle between reason ('aql) and carnal desires invoked by the devils.Ali Hujwiri similarly describes the devils and angels mirroring the human psychological condition, the devils and carnal desires (nafs) on one side, and the spirit (ruh) and the angels on the other.
Devils are assumed to visit filthy or desacralized places. They tempt humans by their whisperings into sin and to everything disapproved by society. It is commonly believed among folk Islam that saying bismillah, or reciting a certain supplication (du'a), like "A'uzu Billahi Minesh shaitanir Rajiim" or the Suras "An-Naas" or "Al-Falaq", could ward off attacks of devils. In 2:102, it states Solomon did not practise witchcraft but rather the devils. Witchcraft is also traced back to the devils (compare with the Christian understanding). Field researches in 2001-2002, among Sunni Muslims in Syria, recorded many oral-tales about devils. Ibl?s (Satan) and his lesser devils (shayn) barely appeared in everyday stories. It seems they are primarily associated with their role within Islamic scriptures, as abstract forces tempting Muslims into everything disapproved by society. This fits the general notion that the devils whisper into the heart (qalb) of humans, but do not possess them physically and have no spatial existence.
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^Jurnal Ilmiah ISLAM FUTURA
Vol. 17. No. 2, Februari 2018, THE INTERTWINED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NAFS (CARNAL SOUL), AQL (REASONING) QALB (HEART) Hyder Gulam
Australian National Imams Council p. 207
A STUDY OF THE TERM SIRR (SECRET) IN SUFI LATA'IF THEORIES p. 18
^Marion Holmes Katz Body of Text: The Emergence of the Sunni Law of Ritual Purity SUNY Press, 2012 ISBN978-0791488577 p. 13
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