How Was Satan in Heaven While He Wasn’t an Angel?

06 August, 2020
Q Assalam Alaikum, I have a question that has been puzzling me for a while. I would like to know how Iblis (Satan) (may Allah's curse be upon him) was in heaven yet he wasn't an angel?

Answer

Short Answer:

  • We must remember that Iblis used to sit among the angels even though he was not an angel himself.
  • When Iblis disobeyed Allah, he was no longer allowed to do so and he was outcast. However, for Allah to teach Adam and his wife, Iblis’ tricks against him, He used him (i.e. Iblis).
  • When we learn the morals of the story, the location becomes irrelevant since if Ibis was temporarily allowed into a heavenly garden, currently he is no longer allowed. What matters is the ending after death.

………….

Wa Alaykum Assalam Dear Brother,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Garden or Paradise?

The testing grounds for Adam and his wife with Iblis is mentioned in the Quran as “Jannah“, which is translated both as Heaven or Paradise, or as Garden.

You find this world used in surah Al-Kahf, verses 18:32 & 35; in this context it definitely means “garden” since it is describing a worldly place.

Both translations are correct since the Paradise contains many Gardens; that is why the world “Jannah“, literally meaning “Garden” and is used to identify the Paradise as well as describe it at the same time.

Many scholars are of the opinion that Adam’s testing grounds is not the Paradise that is promised to the believers in the Hereafter.

How Was Satan in Heaven While He Wasn’t an Angel?

However, regardless whether it is or not, Allah used a testing place for Adam by using Iblis, human’s main enemy. We must remember that Iblis used to sit among the angels even though he was not an angel himself.

When Iblis disobeyed Allah, he was no longer allowed to do so and he was outcast. However, for Allah to teach Adam and his wife, Iblis’ tricks against him, He used him (i.e. Iblis).

When we learn the morals of the story, the location becomes irrelevant since if Iblis was temporarily allowed into a heavenly garden, currently he is no longer allowed. What matters is the ending after death.

Quranic Context

As for the context of the verse you refer to, Allah mentions in His Book what is translated as:

{Then We said, “O Adam, you and your wife, both dwell in the Garden and eat to your hearts’ content where from you will, but do not go near this tree otherwise you shall become transgressors” After a time Satan tempted them with that tree to disobey.

Our Command and brought them out of the state they were in, and We decreed, “Now, go down all of you from here; you are enemies of one another.

Henceforth you shall dwell and provide for yourselves on the Earth for a specified period.” At that time Adam learnt appropriate words from his Lord and repented, and his Lord accepted his repentance, for He is very Relenting and very Merciful.} (Quran 2:35-37)

The reason that scholars say that this is not the actual Paradise since in it, we are not forbidden from anything while there is a restriction for Adam and Eve (Hawwa), which is not to eat from a certain tree.

In addition to becoming transgressors, which is impossible in the Paradise. Also repentance is not a characteristic of the people of Paradise since Allah has already forgiven its dwellers; that’s why the reward of Paradise.

So we may easily conclude that the Garden mentioned where both Adam and Iblis were present in at one point in time, is not the same Paradise of the Hereafter.

I hope this helps answer your question.

Salam and please keep in touch.

(From Ask About Islam archives)

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

How to Repel Satanic Whispers?

How Did Satan Tempt Adam & Eve From Outside Paradise?

Where Is Satan? How Does He Mislead Billions?

About Dr. Mohsen Haredy
Dr. Mohsen Haredy holds a PhD in Hadith literature from Leiden University, the Netherlands. He is the former Executive Manager and Editor-in-Chief of E-Da`wah Committee in Kuwait, and a contributing writer and counselor of Reading Islam. He graduated from Al-Azhar University and earned his MA in Hadith literature from Leiden University.